Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp for Business

23 December 2023
Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp for Business

The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp for Business: Connect, Communicate, Succeed

In today's rapidly evolving digital age, where the pace of communication is more crucial than ever before, WhatsApp emerges as a shining beacon of connectivity. It has firmly established itself as one of the world's most beloved and widely used messaging applications, setting the gold standard for seamless, instantaneous communication.

With its elegant and user-friendly interface, WhatsApp has effortlessly bridged the gap between personal and professional realms, seamlessly integrating into our daily lives. It's the digital thread that weaves our global society together, connecting people across continents, cultures, and time zones.

However, WhatsApp is no longer just a messaging app; it has changed into a multifaceted tool with immense potential for businesses and advertising starting from automated messages to connectivity to any CRM system. In this comprehensive guide to WhatsApp, we'll dive deep into its transformation—from a simple chat platform into a robust business communication powerhouse. We'll uncover the multiple ways in which it empowers enterprises, facilitates customer engagement, and plays a pivotal role in modern advertising strategies.

Introduction to WhatsApp

WhatsApp began its journey in 2009, founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum. The duo's vision was clear: to create a messaging platform that was simple, secure, and reliable. Little did they know that their creation would soon connect billions of people worldwide. Today, WhatsApp boasts over two billion monthly active users, making it a global communication giant.

WhatsApp's significance in modern communication cannot be overstated. It has revolutionized the way we connect with friends, family, and colleagues. WhatsApp offers a seamless experience that transcends borders and time zones.

Due to the massive popularization of WhatsApp it was only a matter of time before the app turned into a powerful tool for business. Further in this article only the business aspect of the messenger will be discussed.

WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business, introduced in 2018, serves as a tailored solution for small businesses seeking to manage two accounts on a single device, eliminating the need for an additional standard WhatsApp account. This distinction makes it easy for employees to differentiate between their personal and business communication, as WhatsApp Business has a distinct logo.

Notably, WhatsApp Business offers a convenient "Quick Reply" feature, enabling users to swiftly send predefined responses to commonly asked questions. Beyond this, the application lets businesses send greeting messages, set away messages, and organize conversations through labeling, among other capabilities.

One compelling aspect that attracts companies to use WhatsApp Business is its capacity to send messages directly to clients' devices, maintaining a professional touch and being cost-free, provided an internet connection is available.

WhatsApp Business API

While WhatsApp Business caters to the needs of small businesses, WhatsApp Business API is purpose-built for larger enterprises. It empowers extensive global communication, enabling companies to connect with their clientele on a worldwide scale.

WhatsApp Business API caters to the demands of larger organizations that handle substantial message volumes, surpassing the capacity of the Business App. The Business App's limitations, including single-user, single-device usage, can be inhibiting for more sizable companies, particularly in terms of automation capabilities.

Developing and implementing a Business API provides companies the means to seamlessly integrate it with their CRM systems. Unlike the app, the API offers scalability, accommodating an unlimited number of users and devices. Companies can leverage the API to send notifications to their clients. It's worth noting, however, that API account creation requires approval, message responses within a 24-hour window, and pre-approval from WhatsApp for Template Messages.

In summary, the Business API stands as a more robust solution compared to the standard business application, delivering greater utility for larger enterprises seeking enhanced communication capabilities.

The following table is a comparison of Business API.

FeatureWhatsApp BusinessWhatsApp Business API

Best for

Local businesses with templates

Automation, central support, call-centers

User base

Individual users (iOS and Android)

Call-centers, automated systems

Account Creation

Mobile number

Apply for a WhatsApp provider

Ban Probability

Low probability, only in case users actively report your account

High probability due to mailings and active threads



Charged per message template or session (some free)

Messaging Capabilities

Text, audio, multimedia, location, files (100MB limit)

Session and template messaging, template approval required

Calling Capabilities

Voice and video calls

Not available


Up to 256 contacts

No limitations


Greeting messages, away messages, quick replies

Achieved through API

Contact Management

Phone contacts, labeling

Achieved through API


- User-friendly
- Basic automation

- Integration with CRM systems
- Automated API messages
- Best utilized with APIs (requires approval)


Message forwarding limit

Message responses within 24 hours (or paid)

Depending on the scale and goals of your enterprise, different types of WhatsApp might be required. If you have a small business and your sales manager texts 5-7 new prospects every day, then your choice is WhatsApp Business. It is somewhat inconvenient to work with but if you are running a small-scale enterprise, it is more than enough to fit your needs.

However, if you have a larger business and your sales team processes 50 leads a day, then you need to use WhatsApp Business API, and any business sooner or later comes to understand the importance of having Business API. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of acquiring API.

Attention: Large volumes of simultaneous conversations in WhatsApp Business might trigger WhatsApp systems and get your account banned. Thus, we strongly recommend using WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Business API Account Setup

As WhatsApp doesn’t provide direct access to API services for individual businesses, you need to contact a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP). Typically, BSPs take all the necessary steps to set up an account for you for a fixed price.

Based on our experience, it is better to opt for BSPs as they provide a reliable solution for your business and can support you with any occurring issues. In the next section, we’ll take you through different requirements and nuances of the process.

1. Phone Number Verification

You'll need to verify your business phone number during the setup. WhatsApp uses this phone number for account authentication and communication purposes. It is worth saying that WhatsApp uses the phone number given in the contact information of your business rather than your number of the WhatsApp Business account you are trying to set up.

2. Supporting Documentation

There are basic messaging limits imposed on your unverified account and as WhatsApp claims, it is not necessary to verify it in order to be able to use your Business API account. While this is true, we strongly recommend verifying your account because sooner or later you will encounter a situation where you will need to be verified, and this may happen when you least expect it. Moreover, the traffic of unverified accounts is usually low. That is why in our projects we always verify business accounts to avoid any issues.

Thus, to pass the basic limits of 250 chats and to be more trustworthy in the face of WhatsApp you need to verify your WhatsApp Business account.

Here's a list of common documents typically required for verification:

Utility Bills

Documents like phone or electricity bills that show your business's physical address can help establish your location.

Bank Statements

Providing recent bank statements can demonstrate your business's financial history and stability.

Business Licenses and Permits

Copies of licenses and permits issued by government authorities at any level showcase your legal authorization to operate.

Certificate of Formation or Incorporation

This document proves your business's legal formation or incorporation.

Business Tax or VAT Registration Certificate

If applicable, include certificates confirming your business's tax registration.

EIN Confirmation Letter from the IRS (U.S. only)

In the United States, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) confirmation letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be necessary.

Federal Tax Returns to the IRS by Company (U.S. only)

If you're in the U.S., you might need to provide federal tax returns filed with the IRS by your company.

Business Bank Account Statements

Statements from your business's bank account can further validate your financial standing.

Business Credit Report

A report from a credit reporting agency can help demonstrate your business's creditworthiness.

3. Business Verification

Business verification is a critical step in establishing trust and credibility with your customers. It's the process through which WhatsApp confirms the authenticity and legitimacy of your business, allowing you to connect and engage with your audience with confidence.

There are some steps you can take to increase your chances of being approved.

  • Complete and Active Website: Ensure that your company's website is up and running smoothly. It should contain vital details such as your company's name, physical address, and phone number. An active and comprehensive website demonstrates your business's legitimacy.

  • Accessible Phone Number: If you plan to verify your business through a phone call, ensure that your business phone is readily accessible and can receive calls. If your phone system uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, consider temporarily disabling it to ensure a smooth verification call process.

  • Consistent Trade Name: Maintain consistency in your business's trade name across your documentation, website, and Facebook page. If the relationship between your company and the brand is not obvious, indicate the relationship using “by [company name].” For example: Fruit Snacks by Fresh Produce.

To further elaborate on that, if Global Voyager signs up for WhatsApp and wants to use the display name Commercial Air, they must submit links to both websites stating that Commercial Air is a subsidiary of Global Voyager.

4. Dedicated Phone Number

WhatsApp Business API registration typically involves obtaining a dedicated phone number for your business. This number is used to send and receive messages with your customers.

5. Message Templates

WhatsApp Business API requires you to use message templates for outbound communications. Therefore, whenever you create a new template message it is automatically sent to Facebook for approval and if it gets approved,only then you can use it to communicate with your audience. 

6. Pricing Structure

WhatsApp Business API services often have associated costs, which can vary based on your usage and the specific BSP you choose. Be sure to understand the pricing structure and any potential fees.

7. Compliance and Quality Assurance

Meta closely monitors businesses using the API for compliance with their policies. Engaging in spammy or abusive behavior can result in account restrictions or even permanent bans. Depending on the severity of violations, Meta can temporarily block you from using your WhatsApp Business account or permanently ban your Facebook Business Manager (FB BM) account, especially if it was not verified. Hence, the more trustworthy your account is, the less severe Facebook’s sanctions will be. 

8. Additional Features

WhatsApp Business API offers advanced features like automated responses, message broadcasting, and the ability to handle a high volume of messages efficiently.

9. Messaging Limits

Messaging limits determine how many business-initiated conversations you can start using each of your phone numbers within a 24-hour period. A business-initiated conversation begins when the first template message is sent to a customer and ends after 24 hours.

For business phone numbers that do not have a connected status and an approved display name, there is a limit of 250 business-initiated conversations in a 24-hour period. This limitation applies to all phone numbers associated with an unverified business because these numbers cannot get display name approval until the business itself is verified.

However, for business phone numbers with a connected status and an approved display name, the capacity to start conversations varies based on the number of unique customers:

  • Up to 1,000 unique customers

  • Up to 10,000 unique customers

  • Up to 100,000 unique customers

  • An unlimited number of unique customers

The starting limit is 1,000 unique customers, and this number can automatically adjust based on factors like phone number status, phone number quality rating, and the frequency of initiating conversations with different customers. This flexibility ensures that your business can efficiently engage with customers while adhering to messaging limits.

10. Official Business Account (Green Badge)

Official Business Account (OBA) also known as a green badge signifies its official status. This badge is reserved for Official Business Accounts, indicating that a recognized and reputable brand owns the account. Unlike regular Business Accounts, Official Business Accounts proudly display their business name in various WhatsApp views, such as chat lists and contacts, rather than the phone number. It's a symbol of authenticity that cannot be purchased; it's earned through notability. Achieving Official Business Account status involves meeting stringent notability requirements, such as having a substantial online presence in news articles from reputable sources. Unfortunately, if your application for Official Business Account status is denied, there's no appeal process. However, you can continue to enhance your business profile while waiting 30 days to reapply, building your online presence to meet WhatsApp's notability criteria for future consideration.

Let’s break down main points of acquiring OBA status:

  • Notability Requirements: To qualify for OBA status, your business needs to achieve notability. This means your brand must have a substantial online presence and be frequently mentioned in news articles from reputable publications.

  • Online News Presence: Notability is assessed based on your business's mentions in news articles from sources with sizable audiences. Paid or promotional content, including business or app listings, does not count towards notability.

  • Display Name Level: OBA status is issued at the display name level of your business account. If you change the display name after receiving OBA status, you'll need to go through the approval process again.

  • No Guarantee for Multiple Numbers: Previous OBA approvals for one phone number do not guarantee approval for other numbers associated with the same business account.

  • Denied Requests: If your OBA request is denied, it means WhatsApp has carefully reviewed your account and determined it does not meet the notability requirements. Unfortunately, these decisions cannot be appealed.

  • Reapplying: If your OBA request is denied, you can continue building your online presence. You can reapply for OBA status after waiting for 30 days, giving you time to enhance your business's presence in news articles as described above.

It's important to note that WhatsApp Business API registration and usage come with certain complexities and requirements. Working with a reputable WhatsApp Business Solution Provider and carefully following WhatsApp's guidelines is crucial to ensure a smooth registration process and to maintain compliance throughout your usage of the API.