Using WhatsApp Business Accounts with Twilio
Types of WhatsApp and Meta Business Accounts
WhatsApp has 3 types of products:
- WhatsApp Consumer app, with over 2 billion users globally;
- WhatsApp Business app, generally used by small businesses and micro businesses; and
- WhatsApp Business Platform, previously known as the WhatsApp Business API, or WhatsApp API
Twilio offers access to the WhatsApp Business Platform. To use the WhatsApp API with Twilio, each business or brand must have a Meta Business Manager. The Meta Business Manager is used by Meta to verify the company's identity. Using the Meta Business Manager, companies can have a WhatsApp Business Account ("WABA") created. Within the WABA, businesses can register phone numbers with WhatsApp, which Twilio calls "WhatsApp Senders."
Types of WhatsApp Business Accounts
Your business designation within the WhatsApp ecosystem determines how your business appears to end users. There are two types of Business Accounts:
Any phone number registered on the WhatsApp Business API is by default a Business Account. Any business that can complete Business Verification on the Meta Business Manager can have a WhatsApp Business Account.
WhatsApp verifies authenticity of a brand for every account on the WhatsApp Business Platform. If the account has completed Business Verification, the name of the business is visible even if the user hasn't added the business to their address book.
|"Official Business Account" ("OBA")||
WhatsApp has performed an additional level of vetting to provide a branded profile on the WhatsApp application. Reserved for a few globally recognized enterprises, chosen at WhatsApp's discretion.
An official business account has a green checkmark badge in its profile and chat thread headers.
Please note: Official business account approval is done at the sole and full discretion of WhatsApp. Generally, Meta reserves Official Business accounts for internationally recognized brands. Being verified on Facebook or Instagram does not help your business to become an Official Business Account. OBA designations are evaluated by WhatsApp per brand. This means that a company with multiple brands may have some brands that achieve OBA status, while others may not.
How Business Accounts appear to WhatsApp users
By default, when you register your phone number with the WhatsApp Business API, your account will be a Business Account (the default). Users will see the business phone number when they message you. The Display Name will be shown in smaller text in the Profile view. (See example screenshots below)
Please be prepared for users who try to call the number in the Contacts view and plan for how to handle such calls accordingly. WhatsApp does not offer any voice capabilities via API.
You can help customers learn more about your company by filling out your business information, such as your business website, address, and hours of operation. These fields can be updated in the Twilio Console.
In the above example photo, the Business name Perspective Coffee is displayed in small text next to the phone number on the contacts view (left-hand image) for the business name. In the one-on-one chat view (right-hand image), only the phone number is displayed.
How Official Business Accounts appear to WhatsApp users
If your sender has been approved by WhatsApp as an Official Business Account, the Display Name will be visible in the chat list, chat screens, chat groups, and contacts view, instead of the phone number. There is also a green checkmark beside the displayed name in the contacts view.
In the above example photo, only the Display Name "Twilio FAQ Bot" appears on the Profile view (left-hand image). The Chat view (right-hand image) also displays only the Display Name, rather than the phone number. Please note that on most devices, the phone number will be shown below the display name in the Profile view, until the contact is saved to the phone's address book.
Benefits of WhatsApp Official Business Accounts
Having a WhatsApp Official Business Account offers the following benefits for your business:
- A Verified Account badge: A green check mark, shown in the chat header, to ensure that users recognize your business as a WhatsApp Verified Business.
- Named Conversations: Incoming notifications show the business display name, rather than a phone number. A business display name is more recognizable than a phone number, so this results in higher engagement and conversion rates.
- Designation that the business is a known sender on a user's device. Known senders benefit from clickable embedded links.
Applying for a WhatsApp Official Business Account
Note that approval for a WhatsApp Official Business Account is not guaranteed and is subject to approval by WhatsApp. WhatsApp does not disclose their criteria for approving Official Business Accounts (OBA).
Accounts that use self sign-up to register phone numbers on the WhatsApp Business Platform should follow these instructions to apply for OBA, since you have access to your WhatsApp Business Account.
If you do not know which onboarding process applies to you, see this article.
Accounts enabled with Guided Sign-up only
To apply for a WhatsApp Official Business Account, follow the steps below for each WhatsApp sender (phone number) that you wish to apply for.
- Submit your Meta Business Manager account (Please note: this is a different account from your WhatsApp Business Account) for Business Verification. Check your business information under Business Verification Status at https://business.facebook.com/settings/info. If the account shows Unverified, follow the linked steps to get verified. (Learn more about the verification process on Facebook's website.)
- Once your Meta Business Manager account is verified, open a support ticket with Twilio. In this ticket, request to apply for a WhatsApp Official Business Account and provide the following information. Twilio will use this information to open a ticket with WhatsApp to confirm the account. After you submit the following information, it typically takes up to three (3) weeks to complete the review process when applying for a WhatsApp Official Business Account.
- A screenshot showing your verified Meta Business Manager account status
- The business website address
- The Facebook page URL
- The business name in languages other than English (if any)
- Please note that once a sender has been approved as an Official Business Account, it may take 1-2 days for the changes to take effect across the desktop, web and mobile applications.
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