WhatsApp boosts revenue with global launch of cloud API and soon a paid tier for its business app – TechCrunch

WhatsApp continues its push into the business market with today’s news that it is launching the WhatsApp Cloud API for all businesses worldwide. The new developer tool, which entered beta testing last November, is a cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business API – WhatsApp’s first revenue-generating enterprise product – but hosted on parent company Meta’s infrastructure.

The company had been building its business API platform over the past few years as one of the main ways the otherwise free messaging app would make money. Businesses pay WhatsApp per message, with rates varying by region and number of messages sent. By the end of last year, tens of thousands of companies were set up on the non-cloud version of the Business API, including brands such as Vodafone, Coppel, Sears Mexico, BMW, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Itau Brazil, iFood, Bank Mandiri, and others. This on-premise version of the API is free to use.

However, the cloud-based version aims to attract a smaller business market and reduce integration time from weeks to just minutes, the company had said. It’s also free.

Businesses integrate the API into their backend systems, where WhatsApp communication is usually just a part of their messaging and communication strategy. They may also want to direct their communications to SMS, other messaging apps, email, and more. Typically, companies work with a solution provider like Zendeks or Twilio to facilitate these integrations. Vendors during Cloud API beta testing included Zendesk in the US, Take in Brazil, and MessageBird in the EU

During Meta’s messaging-focused live event, Conversations, today, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the global, public availability of the cloud-based platform, now called the WhatsApp Cloud API.

“The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than 1 billion users connect to a business account through our messaging services every week. They seek help, search for products and services, and buy everything from expensive items to everyday necessities. And today I’m excited to announce that we’re opening up WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with the WhatsApp Cloud API,” he said.

He said the company believes the new API will help both large and small businesses connect with more people.

The Cloud API not only helps businesses and developers get set up faster than with the on-premise version, but also helps partners eliminate costly server expenses and give customers quick access to new features as they arrive.

Some companies may forgo the API and use the dedicated WhatsApp Business app instead. Launched in 2018, the WhatsApp Business app is aimed at smaller businesses that want to build an official presence on WhatsApp’s service and connect with customers. It offers a number of features that would not be available to users of the free WhatsApp messaging app, such as: B. automatic quick replies, welcome messages, FAQs, away messages, statistics and more.

Today, Meta is also introducing new performance features for its WhatsApp Business app, which are offered for a fee – like the ability to manage chats on up to 10 devices. The company will also provide new customizable click-to-chat links for WhatsApp that will help businesses attract customers through their online presence, including of course Meta’s other apps like Facebook and Instagram.

These will be part of an upcoming premium service for WhatsApp Business app users. More details, including pricing, will be announced at a later date.

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