In July of 2017, WhatsApp boasted 450 million active users per month. With so many users and thousands of businesses looking to reach them, the new Business API has potential.
The API can help companies reach their target audience through advertisements that lead to chat boxes. It can assist in shipping confirmations, appointments reminders, and event tickets. It can also be used to respond to customer service inquiries, taking the place of call centers.
However, there’s a cost to the service. Messages can only be initiated by customers and, should businesses choose to respond after 24 hours, all replies will be charged.
For customers, there seems to be little difference between chatting with a company on Facebook Messenger and chatting through WhatsApp. For companies, one option is free. Another is not.
In general, the new Business API presents an opportunity to monetize WhatsApp, the top communications platform in the world. But the impact will be greatest on corporations who can both benefit from the API and afford the fees that come with it.