September 8, 2022

What Is a WhatsApp Business Partner & How to Choose the Best One for Your Business

Reading time about 7 min
WhatsApp partner

You’ve decided to do WhatsApp marketing. Good choice. But once you dive in, the process appears to be more complicated than it sounded at first. Why do you need a WhatsApp partner now?

Can’t you just start sending WhatsApp messages to your subscribers? Not quite.

You can’t set up promotional campaigns directly from the WhatsApp Platform, you need to use the interface of a WhatsApp BSP. Let’s figure out a partner’s role in the relationship between you and WhatsApp Business.

What Is a WhatsApp Business API Partner?

Until recently, WhatsApp didn’t let marketers send broadcasts or mass advertising messages to WhatsApp users. Brands could only use the channel for customer support conversations.

It didn’t stop some apps from offering WhatsApp marketing services without approval or support from Meta though. Then earlier this year, WhatsApp finally announced the official launch of WhatsApp Campaigns and expanded their marketing capabilities for business. Now, the messaging app is one of the best communication channels for companies of all sizes.

Marketing features are now available inside the WhatsApp Business app interface and through the official WhatsApp Business API. If you choose to run campaigns through the interface, you’ll face quite a few limitations. One of them is a limit of 256 contacts per broadcast list – a serious problem for a company with 10,000 contacts on the mailing list. 

Moreover, WhatsApp Business only lets you reach people that have added you to their phone contacts, which makes no sense if you want to run marketing campaigns. On the contrary, the Official API lets you reach opt-in contacts just like you would do with email marketing.

Learn more about the difference between the WhatsApp Business app and API.

Unless yours is a microbusiness, you’re most likely to choose WhatsApp API for business messaging. 

The Official WhatsApp API is a connector between your WhatsApp Business profile and a third-party tool like CRM software or a marketing automation platform. 

With it, you can reach as many people as you want with your marketing messages, create multi-channel automation workflows, send transactional messages, and many more.

However, the API isn’t accessible through WhatsApp directly. And this is where WhatsApp Business API Partners come in. 

A WhatsApp Business API partner is a third party, typically a marketing platform or CRM solution that’s been recognized by WhatsApp as an official business solution provider. It provides you with access to the full range of WhatsApp marketing capabilities.

Why you need a WhatsApp service provider

WhatsApp Business Solution Providers like Sendinblue come with a number of benefits for marketing and customer service teams:

  • The only way to access the WhatsApp API. Users won’t receive the API token from WhatsApp directly. The Official WhatsApp Business API is accessible only through partnering with third-party companies, namely WhatsApp Business Solution Providers.
  • Interface. With some rare exceptions (see below), WhatsApp API partners offer user-friendly interfaces for non-tech savvy marketers to enjoy all the benefits of WhatsApp Campaigns. No need to touch the API documentation – just use the WhatsApp marketing features through the partner’s app interface.
  • Easy submission for approval. To send promotional messages with WhatsApp, you need to have WhatsApp message templates approved by Meta. WhatsApp API providers make submitting messages for approval easy within the campaign creation flow without leaving a sleek interface.
  • Convenient list management. WhatsApp business solutions providers (BSPs) often offer CRM features. Along with sending WhatsApp Campaigns, you can also store and manage your contacts inside a centralized solution.
  • Real-time analytics. Meta partners usually offer advanced analytics functionality and real-time performance tracking, data visualization, and reporting. 

How Does a WhatsApp API Partner Work?

There are two types of WhatsApp API Partners: 

  • Marketing platforms like Sendinblue allowing businesses to access the functionalities of WhatsApp API inside their interface;
  • Connectors like 360dialog integrating the WhatsApp API and another third-party marketing platform.

Connectors don’t have any interface and are good for companies looking to build a fully customized marketing infrastructure. You’ll need a developer to set up the integration. 

These apps usually charge a monthly fee for using the WhatsApp API plus message fees according to the WhatsApp price list for user and business-initiated conversations. For instance, 360dialog’s API Only plan starts at a fixed fee of €49/month plus campaign expenses.

On the other hand, a marketing platform that’s recognized as a WhatsApp Business Partner lets you run WhatsApp marketing campaigns directly through its interface. Choose a platform that doesn’t charge any API setup or monthly fee and pay only for conversations.

What does ‘conversations’ mean?

WhatsApp now has a conversation-based pricing model where businesses are only charged per conversation, which includes all messages delivered within a 24-hour window. Depending on who sent the first message – a customer or a business – and the destination country, conversations are priced differently.

One very important thing is that the first 1,000 conversations each month are free (so check if the provider you choose actually gives you what you’re owed). More details on how the WhatsApp API pricing works here.

From there, pricing models vary among WhatsApp API partners. Quality messaging applications usually follow the WhatsApp model, charging only for conversations. The total cost is calculated from the WhatsApp fee and a small markup for the partner platform.

What to Look For in a WhatsApp API Partner

With the abundance of options, how do you find a good WhatsApp API partner? 

One way to do it is to check the Meta Partner directory first. There you’ll find an ultimate list of all official WhatsApp Business Partners. 

The problem is that most of the companies on the list don’t offer WhatsApp Campaigns as a part of their functionality. Many of them are geared towards customer service conversations only. To help you identify the right WhatsApp API provider, we’ve compiled a list of features to look for.

  • Pricing model. Avoid platforms that charge extra fees for setup or licensing. The most cost-effective pricing model is the ‘pay as you go’ one. 
  • Opt-in lists. A partner should let you send messages to opt-in contacts, not limiting your reach to those who’ve added your phone number to their contacts. The ability to grow your WhatsApp opt-in list with integrated signup forms is a  big advantage, too.
  • All-in-one platform. The partner’s solution should make it easy to create and submit templates for approval, import and verify contacts, schedule campaigns, etc.
  • Embedded signup. If your Business Solution Provider has embedded signup, you’re able to connect the WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) and access the WhatsApp messaging API functionality directly from the BSP’s interface.
  • Languages and countries. Needless to say, the platform should offer all languages and countries offered by WhatsApp.

Get Started With an Official WhatsApp Business API Partner

Sendinblue is one of the first Meta partners for WhatsApp Campaigns. Run marketing communication on the messaging app legitimately without limitations or fear of being banned. 

  • Seamless API integration makes the activation process easy and fast. No coding skills needed. 
  • Connect your WhatsApp Business Account, manage campaigns, and monitor performance right from the Sendinblue interface thanks to the embedded signup.
  • Access streamlined message template approval and automated contact validation without leaving the app.
  • Sendinblue is a multichannel marketing platform providing tools for email marketing, transactional messaging, SMS sending, live chat, push notifications, marketing automation, and more. 
  • One tool for list building, campaign management, and CRM. Use GDPR-compliant forms to collect opt-in contacts and target them with WhatsApp Campaigns right away.
  • Sendinblue lets you reach contacts in all languages across all countries supported by WhatsApp.
  • No subscription is needed to access WhatsApp Campaigns. Pay as you go for conversations only. 

Try WhatsApp Campaigns by Sendinblue for your business

Seamless integration, no coding required, signup forms to grow your WhatsApp list and unlimited contact storage! Pay only for messages, no setup or license fees.

Open my free Sendinblue account now >>

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