WhatsApp is ready to make money at long last with the launch of its WhatsApp Business API.

The new product is touted as being developed with small businesses in mind and while it allows companies to communicate with customers via WhatsApp it can also do a lot more.

As this is an API (application programming interface) a business could use to send shipping confirmations, tickets to events and reminders right through WhatsApp. In addition to this Facebook is also rolling out the ability to create adverts that will launch a WhatsApp conversation when clicked.

A business can respond to customers for free, so long as that response is submitted within 24 hours. Respond after that time period and a company will be charged a fixed rate according to their country. Crucially, companies will not be able to WhatsApp you out of the blue, and customers must initiate the conversation according to TechCrunch.

The WhatsApp Business API can also be integrated into existing applications such as Zendesk.

The big question is whether this Business API will be the thing that makes WhatsApp some money. The firm appears to be resting its hopes on the fact that companies will be slow to respond to messages thus incurring fees.

While that may work the alternative is that companies get better at customer service. That in itself isn’t a bad thing either though because if WhatsApp communications are popular among customers that may become the preferred way of engaging with companies leading to more eyes on the app.

More eyes on the app could help WhatsApp monetise its platform in other ways. It’s a step in the right direction for the firm which is owned by Facebook, which too, desperately needs to right its ship.

We’re excited to see what sort of solutions companies think of with this WhatsApp Business API. We’ve already seen the launch of WhatsApp ChatBanking from Absa so companies are already tapping into the perks of using the platform for customer service.

You can find out more about the WhatsApp Business API including technical requirements and frequently asked questions over on the firm’s website.

 

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.