Difference between WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, and WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp Ecosystem

The use of WhatsApp for both personal and business purposes is widespread and growing. The business sector is already seeing the common use of WhatsApp among financial advisers, asset managers, wealth managers, bankers, traders, and others, and it already enjoys their loyalty and that of their clients.

Many financial services organizations have already understood the effectiveness of WhatsApp in their operations. Companies also understand the importance of archiving such messages to become compliant with the various regulatory requirements to which they are subject.

Due to the popularity of WhatsApp, many people are using different versions of the application for various purposes. The standard WhatsApp is commonly used for personal purposes, while both WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API can be used for official company operations.

WhatsApp

Most WhatsApp users are Millennials and Generation Y members who have enjoyed the benefits of free messaging, especially relative to historically expensive SMS. WhatsApp users can send messages for free regardless of the word count, the content type, and the number of contacts, and enjoy other free messaging services.

WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business was released in 2018 and is specially designed for small businesses to let people use two accounts on the same phone without having to use another standard WhatsApp account. Employees can easily identify which app is for their personal use and which one is for business purposes since WhatsApp Business has a different logo.

WhatsApp Business also comes with the “Quick Reply” feature, which lets people send predefined replies regarding frequently asked questions. Besides “Quick Reply,” WhatsApp Business also comes with the capability to send greeting messages and away messages, to label conversations, and others features.

Many companies are enticed to use WhatsApp Business since it allows them to send messages directly to their clients’ devices, professionally and free of charge, as long as they have an internet connection.

With WhatsApp’s popularity outside the business sector, it made the app desirable for companies, particularly the ability to send free messages directly to their clients’ devices, as long as they’re connected to the internet.

WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp Business is tailored for small businesses, but WhatsApp Business API is specifically made for larger companies. WhatsApp Business API powers the company’s communication with customers all over the world, allowing it to connect with its clients around the globe.

The WhatsApp Business API is designed for larger companies that receive a large volume of messages, which the Business App can no longer handle. The WhatsApp Business App can only be used on one device by one user, which is severely limiting for more prominent companies. The standard business app is also limited in terms of automation.

Developing and programming a Business API allows companies to connect the API with their WhatsApp Business Solution or their WhatsApp CRM. Unlike the app, the API can also support an unlimited number of users and devices. Companies can also use the API to send notifications to their clients. Note, though, that for APIs, creating an account first requires approval, the messages must be responded to within 24 hours, and that Template Messages require pre-approval from WhatsApp before being sent.

The Business API is more robust than the standard business application and is more useful to more prominent companies than the latter.

WHATSAPP

WHATSAPP BUSINESS APP

WHATSAPP BUSINESS API

Best for personal use by individuals in one-on-one and group messages

Best for local businesses for one-on-one and group messages with templates and indication it’s a business chat

Best for automation of processes via API. Mainly for central support and call centers at medium to large companies

Used by individual users. iOS and Android Apps

Used by individual users iOS and Android Apps

Used by call centers or automated systems. No real mobile interface (unless connected to YesHello)

Account made using a mobile phone number

Account made using a mobile or landline phone number

Account made by applying from a WhatsApp partner

App is free to use

App is free to use

Messages sent via API are charged per message template or session, some free based on reply pattern

App can exchange text messages, audio clips, multimedia, location, files and documents with a 100MB limit

App can exchange text messages, audio clips, multimedia, location, files and documents with a 100MB limit

API can send messages through session and template messaging. Template messaging must first be approved by WhatsApp

App can make voice and video calls

App can make voice and video calls

No calling capabilities

App can broadcast any content to a maximum of 256 contacts

App can broadcast any content to a maximum of 256 contacts

API broadcasts are not limited, but businesses need to be compliant to WhatsApp policies or risk WhatsApp number being banned

App has no automation or quick replies

App automation includes greeting messages, away messages, and quick replies

Automation is achieved through API

App contacts are retrieved from phone contacts

App contacts are retrieved from phone contacts and can be labeled

Contacts are achieved through API

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

Friendly for users, install app and you are ready

Account can only be used by one user on one device (two devices/numbers with TeleMessage)

Friendly for users, install app and you are ready. Can install in parallel to WhatsApp App (requires a 2nd number you can get from TeleMessage)

Account can only be used by one user on one device (two devices/numbers with TeleMessage)

Can connect to WhatsApp Business Solution or into CRM via integrations. Automated API messages.

Best utilized using APIs. Account creation requires approval.

Free messaging

Message forwarding can only be done five times. No message automation.

Free messaging. Basic automation. Allows installation of a 2nd WhatsApp on a single phone.

Limited automation. Chats displayed as chats with a business.

Can support an unlimited number of users and devices

Messages must be responded to within 24 hours, otherwise paid.

Despite the differences present with the different WhatsApp solutions available in the market, it’s still vital that companies can meet regulatory compliance standards with whatever solution they’re using.