The Ultimate WhatsApp Business API Guide

All you need to know to create and manage your WhatsApp Business Profile with tyntec.

Whatsapp Image

Introduction

Have you been considering the use of WhatsApp Business but don’t know where to start?

The tyntec Starter Guide for WhatsApp gives you the right tools to create your own WhatsApp Business Profile, how to manage and leverage it, to ultimately accelerate customer service, increase sales conversions, and more.

💪 Ready to get started? Create your tyntec account and follow the next steps.

🎁 You’ve got 1,500 complimentary messages to try out WhatsApp with a live account!

Why WhatsApp

It’s no secret that people prefer to use WhatsApp instead of voice calls, SMS. On top of that, WhatsApp remains the world’s preferred chat app.

  • 2 billion active monthly users in 180 countries send 100M messages a day.
  • 70% of WhatsApp users check it daily.
  • 175M people message a WhatsApp Business account every day.

Also, people prefer to message businesses on WhatsApp for:

  • A personal connection: 64% of WhatsApp users agreed that WhatsApp fostered a personal connection to businesses.
  • More confidence: 65% feel more confident messaging businesses vs. sending an email.
  • Easy communication: 68% call WhatsApp the easiest method of contacting a company.
  • Greater trust: 71% feel more confident about a business after messaging on WhatsApp.

At the same time, this is why companies also love WhatsApp:

  • 225% faster customer service (GlobeAir)
  • 99.4% reduced time to complete an order as the entire process (Source.One)
  • 60% cost reduction with fewer paper statements delivered (Tarjeta Plan Platino) 
  • 21% increase in net promoter score (TRADEofficer)

WhatsApp is THE channel where customers want to talk to your brand. Let’s get started, shall we? 💪

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and start engaging with your customers

An overview of the WhatsApp Business API

While WhatsApp has a no-cost business app for small companies, the WhatsApp Business API is the right product for companies that wish to professionalize and scale WhatsApp interactions with a programming interface, allowing you to connect at scale.

Whatsapp Overview

With the API, you can:

  • Leverage WhatsApp through your company’s infrastructure and access via custom UI or third-party interface, e.g., CRM.
  • Connect thousands of agents as well as bots to interact with customers programmatically and manually.
  • Option to verify account (green checkmark).
  • Integrate with numerous back-end systems such as CRM and marketing automation platforms.

⭐ Resources worth your time

With tyntec’s Conversations API, you can leverage WhatsApp Business and easily integrate it in your enterprise stack – or use the Support Inbox.
 

Top use cases on WhatsApp

How do companies leverage WhatsApp? Businesses can leverage WhatsApp throughout the customer journey:

  • Discovery: promotional messages, guided shopping, product recommendations, inbound marketing

  • Purchase: payment links, order confirmation, and fulfillment

  • Customer retention: service, loyalty, feedback, upselling.

Check essential use cases here 🌟

Retail and eCommerce

Business-initiated notifications

  • Order confirmations
  • Purchase receipts
  • Delivery notifications
  • Delivery tracking
Business-initiated notifications

User-initiated

  • Return or refund request
  • Order update or change
  • Product availability request
  • Billing or product service inquiry
User-initiated

Financial services and insurance

Business-initiated

  • Fee notice
  • Reaching credit limit alert
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Appointment reminder
  • Transaction approval
  • Policy change
Business-initiated

User-initiated

  • Statement request
  • Loan balance inquiry
  • Credit limit inquiry
  • Lost/stolen card reporting
  • Account-related service request
User-initiated

⭐ Resources worth your time


 How to use WhatsApp & co. in:

WhatsApp Business API Profile

With the WhatsApp Business API, a company can create a business profile to communicate with users securely and in a scalable manner. By default, business accounts are fully encrypted and provide instant recognition to users of the company’s brand. 

There are two different business account types for WhatsApp Business Profile:

  • Standard Business Account
  • Official Business Account (also known as verified badge or green checkmark). 

Depending on your business account type, users will see different things. If a user has saved the business number in the address book, the company display name will appear. 

The phone number remains visible in the contacts view. Please be prepared for users who may call this number and plan to handle these incoming calls.

Companies onboarded to the WhatsApp Business API will start with a standard business account. Notable companies can apply for the official business account (also known as verified account or green badge), offering greater brand recognition.

Creating your WhatsApp Business Profile with tyntec

Before getting started:


Also, you’ll have to collect the following information to create your WhatsApp profile:

  • Decide on which phone number to associate your WhatsApp Profile with. Learn how to pick a phone number. In case your number is associated with an IVR, manual onboarding applies. 
  • Display name. Check best practices. 
  • Business information: description, website, public email, logo URL. 
  • Get your tyntec API key to associate your future WhatsApp Business Profile with tyntec. Check how to get your API keys
  • Webhook URLs: define the webhook URLs for incoming messages and delivery notifications. Learn more about webhooks


Setup your WhatsApp Business Profile:

WhatsApp Business API Policies

The Business Policy provides guidance related to the user experience and main elements of the WhatsApp Business Profile and messaging.
 

  • Business profile: a company commits to maintaining its WhatsApp Business profile with accurate and up-to-date contact information. 
  • Opt-in: To initiate a WhatsApp message to a person, you must first receive their opt-in permission. See Opt-in Tutorial for more information.
  • Business initiated chats: You may only initiate chats via approved message templates. 
  • User-initiated chats: If a person initiates a chat with you, you may continue that conversation via WhatsApp for up to 24 hours after the last message sent to you by that person without charge or message templates. 
  • Automation: You must have direct escalation paths to human agents in case automation is used. 
  • Opt-outs: You must respect all requests by a person to block, discontinue, or otherwise opt-out of communications from you via WhatsApp. 


The Commerce Policy provides guidance related to terms, taxes, transaction processing, and what industries are allowed or forbidden to use WhatsApp.

Message Types

WhatsApp supports two types of messages:

Message Types

User-initiated messages (session or chat messages)

When a user initiates a message (or responds to company-initiated messages), the 24-hour support window opens. During this time, a company can communicate with the user without an approved message template or opt-in.

Ideal for:

  • Customer service
  • Clienteling
  • Other high interaction use cases. 

Company-initiated messages (message templates)

Used by a company to initiate conversations with users, message templates are preformatted, non-editable messages reviewed and approved by WhatsApp.

Ideal for:

  • Notifications, e.g., appointment reminders, shipping updates
  • Non-transactional, e.g., promotional messages
  • Customer re-engagement, follow-ups.

 Let’s get down to the specifics of message templates in the next section! 💬💬💬

Message Templates

Companies that wish to start a conversation with a customer needs message templates. Let’s dive deeper into the world of message templates!

#1 - What are message templates, exactly?

Message templates are standardized messages that businesses can send to customers, ranging from appointment reminders, shipping information, issue resolutions, payment updates, and more. Message templates can only be sent to customers who have opted-in and have to be approved by WhatsApp.

There are 3 types of message templates:

  • Text-based: send a message with text only.
  • Media-based: send a message with an image, video, document, etc.
  • Interactive: buttons that facilitate a user response.
Message Templates

#2 - Can I send a message template with promotional content?

It depends on the country where the brand is based. Non-transactional messages (aka marketing) are available for selected countries. The submission process is the same as any other message template. 

 

#3 - How can I create a message template?

Get to know the elements message templates are composed of: 

  • For text-only message templates, all you need is body text. 
  • For media message templates, you can use all the elements at your disposal, including a header caption for your media, footer text, and interactive buttons. 


#4 - Is there anything else I should know about creating media message templates?

Yes! In addition to requiring approval for your message template by sending a sample of your media component, you need to integrate a code to enable the content types you wish to send a media message template. 


#5 - How can I submit my message templates for approval? 

You can use the following options:

  • Message Template API: self-service API to get current and request new templates, etc. It takes ca. 15 minutes for approval. Check the API 
  • Message Template Manager on tyntec's customer portal (my.tyntec.com): web interface to submit and manage Message Templates. It may take 2-3 business days for approval. Check instructions

⭐  Resources worth your time

Content Types

Businesses and users can share more than text with WhatsApp! A wide range of content types is available, from images to documents, videos, audio files, and buttons.

Check what is supported via tyntec’s API for WhatsApp Business to pimp up your messages ✌️

Content-type Send in message templates Send in session messages Incoming messages
Text ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Images ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Documents ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Audios ✔️ ✔️
Videos ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Locations ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Interactive buttons: call-to-action ✔️
Interactive buttons: quick replies ✔️
Interactive buttons: reply buttons ✔️
List messages ✔️
Stickers ✔️ ✔️

⭐ Resources worth your time

Quality Rating and Messaging Limits

Every WhatsApp Business profile is constantly monitored and therefore assigned to a quality rating and respective messaging limits.

Quality Rating and Messaging Limits

What is Quality Rating?

Your WhatsApp business account Quality Rating shows the message quality your customers received in the past 24 hours. Your phone number status can be: 

  • Pending: Your phone number hasn't been approved yet.
  • Connected: Your phone number is online and functioning normally.
  • Offline: Your phone number is currently not reachable.

Under the Quality Rating column, there are three different quality states:

  • Green: High quality
  • Yellow: Medium quality
  • Red: Low quality

Suppose your Quality Rating reaches a low state or your phone number status changes. In that case, you will receive an email and notification in Business Manager as a warning, and your status will change to Flagged or Restricted.

  • Flagged status occurs when the quality rating reaches a low state. If the message quality improves to a high or medium state and maintains this for 7 days, your status will return to Connected. If the quality rating doesn't improve, your status will still return to Connected, but you'll be placed in a lower messaging limit tier.
  • Restricted status occurs when you reach your messaging limit. During a Restricted phase, you can’t send any notification messages until the 24-hour window is reset. You can still respond to any messages customers initiate.

These ratings indicate how WhatsApp views your business’ conversation quality. To avoid getting a number blocked or being reported by contacts, companies have to ensure they are sending only high-quality Message Templates.

When blocked, your phone number quality rating will drop from high (green) to medium (yellow) or low (red). Consequently, your phone number will be moved to a Flagged status when your number quality rating is low (red).

Once it improves to medium or high in 7 days, your phone number status will return to Connected. If your quality rating does not improve in 7 days, WhatsApp will still reinstate your status to Connected but impose a lower messaging limit on your number.

What are Messaging Limits?

Messaging limits define how many unique users your business can send messages to daily.

In summary, WhatsApp imposes three tiers of messaging limits on businesses:

  • Starts - Tier 1: Allows your business to send messages to 1K unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
  • Then - Tier 2: Allows your business to send messages to 10K unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.
  • Finally - Tier 3: Allows your business to send messages to 100K unique contacts in a rolling 24-hour period.

Note that the messaging limit does NOT:

  • Limit the number of messages your business can send, just the number of users you are trying to message. 
  • Apply to messages sent in response to a user-initiated message within 24 hours.

Note that businesses can upgrade their phone number to the next tier if their quality rating is not low.

If a client reaches the daily messaging limit, the client will receive error code 471 when attempting to send a message template.

⭐ Resources worth your time

Best Practices and Guidelines

Companies that wish to use the WhatsApp Business API need to be aware of key guidelines, such as opt-ins, human escalation, quality rating and messaging limits, and more. Stay tuned! 😎

Opt-ins

As stated in the Business Policy, a company can initiate a WhatsApp message only to a person that has opted-in (or given permission to receive a message). 

Follow the Opt-In guideline:

Communicate the value of receiving essential updates on WhatsApp.

Be explicit about the types of messages a customer is opting into.

Collect an active opt-in (customer must actively show their consent by entering/editing a phone number or checking a box)

Opt-ins can be obtained via SMS, website form, in a WhatsApp thread, etc.

⭐ Resources worth your time

Human Escalation

WhatsApp requires that companies automating conversations provide human escalation options to the user. Some acceptable escalation methods include human agent handoff, phone number, email, web support form, and prompting in-store visits. However, indirect channels such as social media, a help center webpage, or a link to an app do not meet this requirement.

Human Escalation

How WhatsApp enforces this policy:

  • Businesses without a valid human escalation path may receive a low (red) phone number quality rating.
  • Enforcement has started with clients that send less than 1,000 notifications but will expand to all clients in December.
  • If you do not create a valid human escalation path after receiving our notice, we may lower the messaging limit for that business phone number.

If your business number is flagged for not having a human escalation path, you will be advised by email and a notification from the Business Manager.

Entry Points

In-the-know companies are ready to leverage WhatsApp and need a strategy to let their customers know this new channel is available for every step of the customer journey. From conversation starter buttons on their website to product packaging in local supermarkets, companies can get creative about letting their customers know that they can use WhatsApp to converse with them.

Here are the main strategies to increase your WhatsApp presence:

#1 – Organic entry points: social media

Add a persistent click-to-chat link on social media, enabling users to quickly get in touch via WhatsApp without getting lost in Stories.

Organic entry points

#2 – Organic entry points: website

The easier it is to find an entry point into WhatsApp on a website, the easier it is to start a conversation. Tapping a link or scanning a QR code is faster and easier than manually typing in a phone number.

The more prominent the placement, the more likely people will choose WhatsApp to engage with your business.

Deep links allow the business to trigger different chatbot responses or connect to otherteams to provide additional context to a conversation.

Organic entry points website

#3 – Paid entry points: sponsored posts on Instagram & Facebook

Reach users outside of a business’ own/organic properties to generate leads. With one tap on the “Send Message” button, the user will open a conversation on WhatsApp.

The experience in WhatsApp needs to offer benefits of messaging—there needs to be a reason to take users out of Facebook and into messaging. Example: Bot that will ask customer questions to make a personalized product recommendation then.

Paid entry points

#4 – Paid entry points: packaging

Users scan the QR to connect without entering the number into their device, enabling n easy offline access. Because contacting a brand via WhatsApp might be new to some users, including the phone number alongside the QR code is recommended.

You can use this entry point to collect feedback on a product, share further information about the benefits of its usage, etc.

Product packaging

Getting started is easy – and for free

The following steps are to create your WhatsApp Profile and start rocking your customer engagement! 🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻

  1. Create your tyntec account and submit all the information for your WhatsApp Profile
  2. Once your WhatsApp Profile is live, test it out!
  3. Collect your opt-ins and define your entry points
  4. Create your message templates
  5. Start exchanging messages with your customers!

How to claim your free trial

Option #1 – with Support Inbox

Try out WhatsApp with the Support Inbox for 30-days – for free. Also included: 1,500 complimentary WhatsApp messages. Start here.


Option #2 – with WhatsApp API

Get your live WhatsApp Business Profile and enjoy 1,500 complimentary other teamsmessages to test. Create account.

Top 10 resources worth your time!

#2 - WhatsApp policies

#4 - Content types

#5 - Opt-in 

#6 - Quality rating and messaging limits

#10 – Frequently Asked Questions

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Start now for free

Create your free Whatsapp Account
and start engaging with your customers

Manuela Marques
Updated