What is WhatsApp Business Platform and how should organisations use it?

If you’re considering adding WhatsApp Business Platform to your customer communications stack, you may be wondering how best to use it. If your organisation is already using it, you may be curious whether you’re getting the best out of it.

Or, perhaps you’re just curious about the benefits and how other organisations are using WhatsApp Business Platform.

Look no further than this resource. We will be covering everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business Platform, from what it is and key features to the benefits and applications for different industries. We even discuss the differences between WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Business Platform.

Continue reading to find out more…

Woman in yellow shirt thinking about WhatsApp

What is WhatsApp Business Platform?

For customers, WhatsApp is the free-to-download app they use to connect with friends, family and businesses. It requires an internet connection and they can send unlimited messages, photos, videos, audio, make calls (including video calls) and more.

For businesses, it’s an opportunity to have two-way conversations with customers. Instead of notifications, you can send rich, interactive messages that boost customer engagement, enhance response rates and help reduce customer churn. Read more about WhatsApp Business Platform and a summary of its capabilities here.

How much impact is WhatsApp having today?

Image of a cartoon woman looking at her phone and text beside her states that WhatsApp is available in over 180 countries and 60 languages
Image with text that reads 2 billion monthly active users
In 2021, users spent 18.6 hours per month using WhatsApp
81% of global consumers would consider purchasing thanks to WhatsApp marketing
40% of consumers are more likely to complete a survey through WhatsApp rather than email

Want to learn more about the customer demand for WhatsApp and how the platform can fit into your existing communication strategy?

Your essential guide to WhatsApp Business Platform

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How does WhatsApp Business Platform compare to other channels?

WhatsApp Business Platform vs SMS

They’re two of the world’s biggest and most popular messaging channels. What are the similarities and differences? Is one better than the other? We compare the two channels in more depth in this blog post, but here’s a summary.


Image of a group of cartoon people, representing the fact that WhatsApp is widely used to connect groups of people


Globally, there are 5 billion people using SMS and 2 billion using WhatsApp.

High open rate

SMS has an average open rate of up to 98% while WhatsApp Business Platform’s is up to 99% – both are incredibly effective, especially when you compare to alternative channels e.g. email’s 21% and direct mail’s 42%.

Image of a cartoon person walking, looking at their phone as a message arrives
Image of a cartoon man standing next to a dashboard depicting graphs with an upward curve

High conversion rate

It’s up to 45% for SMS and up to 60% for WhatsApp Business Platform.



Thanks to end-to-end encryption, you can use WhatsApp Business Platform to send messages that include sensitive information. This isn’t advisable for SMS as SMS messages are not end-to-end encrypted.

Image of a man holding a giant lock, representing platform security
Cartoon woman looking at a phone with an image of the globe behind her


For WhatsApp, users need to download the app and have an internet connection. In contrast, SMS is available on any device with a working mobile connection.

Two-way chats

The ability to have two-way conversations is built into WhatsApp Business Platform, while you (the business) need a virtual mobile number to have two-way conversations via SMS.

Two people looking at each other with a message bubble in between them, showing a two-way conversation
A cartoon person looking at their phone while walking

Industry restrictions

Meta prohibits certain industries from using WhatsApp Business Platform while any industry is permitted to use SMS.

SMS vs WhatsApp Business Platform

Dive deeper into the world of SMS and WhatsApp Business Platform, how the two compare and how real-life businesses are using both channels side-by-side.

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WhatsApp vs WhatsApp for Business vs WhatsApp Business Platform

You’ll know what ‘WhatsApp’ is. But what is ‘WhatsApp for Business’? Is it the same as ‘WhatsApp Business’. What about ‘WhatsApp Business Platform’? Here are the main similarities and differences.

WhatsApp (consumer app)WhatsApp Business (app)WhatsApp Business Platform
The free app many of us know and use on a personal basis – usually for one-on-one or group messages, voice and video calls.The free app popular among local businesses. Used to connect with customers, send appointment reminders etc.The platform best used for automating processes via API. Typically used for customer support, notifications and marketing messages by medium to large companies.
UsageIndividual user on a mobile device. One user per device.Individual users on up to 5 devices.Multiple users on premium messaging platforms.
Setup requirementsAn account on a mobile device that is linked to a mobile phone number.An account on a mobile device that is linked to a mobile or landline phone number.Account(s) on various devices created by applying through a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).
Types of messages supportedText messages, multimedia, locations and documents with a 100MB limit.Text messages, multimedia, locations and documents with a 100MB limit.Templated messages with a range of features e.g. attach images, videos, documents, interactive buttons and more.
Additional rich or automated features?No.No.Yes, including the ability to deploy chatbots.
Opportunity to become an Official Business Account (with green tick)?No.No.Yes.
Integrations supported?No.No.Yes.
Support levelBasic.Basic.Expert support offered by Partners.
ReportingBasic.Basic.Downloadable CSV reporting via bespoke platform.
Ability to group customers?No.No.Yes.
Send bulk messages?No.Yes – only to customers who have your number saved.Yes – send bulk, personalised rich messages.
Welcome/away messages?No.Yes – automated welcome/away messages and quick replies.Yes – complete automation via chatbots.
Calling capabilities?Yes.Yes.No.

The benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform

Did you know that WhatsApp has more than 2 billion monthly active users and that the average user spends up to 17 hours a month using the app? Aside from user popularity, here are some other reasons why you should be incorporating WhatsApp Business Platform into your customer communications strategy.

Rich features, personalisation, the familiarity of the platform and the ability to have two-way conversations – these are the main reasons organisations are using WhatsApp Business Platform to improve customer loyalty and retention

Why WhatsApp Business Platform is worth it

Discover more reasons that make WhatsApp such an excellent channel for businesses.

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5 best ways to use the platform

Wondering how to use WhatsApp Business Platform or want to improve how you’re currently using it? Here are some of the best and most popular ways this platform can be used:

A cartoon woman holding a video icon, showcasing the rich messaging capability of WhatsApp

1. Rich notifications

If you were sending an appointment reminder, a button for your recipient to reschedule via your online booking system or a button to call the practice makes it quick and easy to move the appointment (if they need to).

2. Marketing campaigns

Use WhatsApp Business Platform’s rich features such as buttons, QR codes and web link previews. They will help your messages stand out and drive traffic to your intended destination.

Cartoon woman standing in front of a dashboard with pie charts and graphs on it, representing a marketing campaign
A cartoon man wearing a headset, representing customer support

3. Customer support

Rather than waiting on hold or in a queue (virtual or otherwise), customers can conveniently send you a message on WhatsApp even when on-the-go.

4. Alerts

Integrated delivery and read notifications will give you peace of mind that your critical messages have been delivered and engaged with.

Cartoon person walking as they receive a message notification on their phone
Cartoon man holding up a giant coin while sitting next to a pile of coins which represents the sales you can drive with WhatsApp

5. Sales

When promoting products and services, instead of a basic text message with a link, create innovative campaigns by adding images, videos and buttons to boost engagement and conversion.

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Industry applications for WhatsApp Business Platform

A messaging solution like WhatsApp Business Platform can help organisations reach more customers, improve deliverability and engagement rate, boost conversion, customer satisfaction, experience…and more! The platform can be used in many industries but here’s how WhatsApp can be used for retail, finance, healthcare and utilities.

WhatsApp Business Platform in retail

How WhatsApp Business Platform can help retail

Retailers are constantly competing for attention, trying to create emails with attention-grabbing subject lines and SMS messages with short, persuasive copy. With the richness of the WhatsApp Business Platform, catching your audience’s eye doesn’t need to be time-consuming and challenging.

For example, you can…

  • Send rich messages (eg use images, video, call-to-action buttons, etc) to improve your marketing promotions’ performance.
  • Create automated interactions so customers get instant answers to their questions and your customer service team has more time to work on more complex queries.
  • Send personalised offers and promotional codes, both of which can entice customers to buy your products and drive footfall into your stores.

These are just a few of the ways WhatsApp Business Platform can help increase sales in retail. The platform can also help you ensure business continuity, thanks to its:

  • Popularity – when you send important communications via WhatsApp Business Platform, you’re sending them via a channel your audience is most likely to be on.
  • High engagement rate – the channel’s average open rate is as high as 99%. Use it alongside your existing comms channels to boost the reach and engagement of your critical messages.

Read more about how WhatsApp Business Platform can ensure business continuity in retail here.

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WhatsApp Business Platform in finance

WhatsApp allows financial service businesses to reach customers on a platform they already use and know well. Here are some ways WhatsApp Business Platform can be used in the finance sector:

Dive deeper into the ways financial service providers can use WhatsApp here.

WhatsApp Business Platform in healthcare

How WhatsApp Business Platform can help the healthcare industry

Technology such as digital portals, chatbots and automated reminders have been helping the healthcare industry enhance the patient experience. In particular, a solution like WhatsApp Business Platform can be ideal for:

  • Sending appointment reminders
  • Enabling patients to manage their appointments
  • Offering medical advice
  • Boosting patient engagement
  • Sending feedback forms and surveys

This is thanks to the platform’s rich features, such as quick replies, interactive buttons, documents attached to messages, the ability to send media messages and more. 

When healthcare providers use WhatsApp Business Platform, they can benefit from:

  • Enhanced patient trust 
  • Stronger relationships with patients
  • Reduced appointment no-shows
  • The ability to better manage long-term health conditions
  • A fast connection between patients and hospitals

Learn more about the benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform in healthcare here.

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WhatsApp Business Platform in utilities

When it comes to customer service, customers value a fast response time. Like retail, finance and healthcare, WhatsApp Business Platform can also help the utility sector provide a better customer experience.

Here’s how:

Read about the benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform for the utility sector here.

Want to keep reading about the real-life applications for WhatsApp Business Platform?

Head over to our blog to dive deeper!

Key features of WhatsApp Business Platform

Here are some of the main WhatsApp Business Platform features that will help you stand out from competitors and improve overall customer experience:

How to get the most out of WhatsApp Business Platform

When WhatsApp Business Platform is used as per best practices, you can reduce customer churn, boost retention and see other benefits. So, whether you’re thinking about trying out the platform or you already are using it, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your investment.

Check out our blog post on the top do’s and don’ts of using WhatsApp Business Platform here to dive deeper. 

Did you know that WhatsApp is opened up to 25 times a day?

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Creating an opt-in strategy for WhatsApp

To reduce spam and excessive notifications, Meta requires businesses to obtain opt-in permission from every user before communications are sent.

In addition to complying with applicable laws, your opt-in must state the following:

Here are some common ways you can request opt-in permission:

Tips to create a high-quality opt-in experience

  1. Make sure users expect the messages they receive. 
  2. Give clear guidance on how people can opt out of receiving certain types of messages.
  3. Clearly explain to users the value of receiving this information via WhatsApp.
  4. Respect requests made by a user to stop receiving communications from you via WhatsApp, even if it’s made through another channel (e.g. via email).

What if I don’t obtain opt-in permission?

If you don’t obtain opt-in permission before you contact users via WhatsApp Business Platform, you risk reducing your business’ quality rating and messaging limits for your account. 

For example, users may report or even block your business if they receive too many and/or unsolicited messages. This will impact your quality rating, which can cause you to move down a messaging tier and significantly reduce the number of messages you can send daily.

Learn more about WhatsApp opt-in and out policies here.

Quality ratings and message limits on WhatsApp Business Platform

In the previous section, we mentioned that not providing users with a clear opt-in and out policy can impact your quality rating and message limits. The three quality states, which can be found under the phone number tab in your business’ WhatsApp Business Manager, are:

Your quality state depends on how the messages have been received by your recipients over the last seven days. If you reach ‘low quality’, you will receive a notification in the Business Manager. Your WhatsApp status will also change to Flagged or Restricted and your ability to send messages will be impacted.

If your quality state remains low for a while, Meta will rate limit your business. Here are the rate limit tiers:

If you exceed your daily tier limit, your message will not be delivered. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a good quality rating on WhatsApp Business Platform. Moving down a tier can reduce the number of messages you can send daily and significantly impact your company’s communication strategy.

Read more about quality ratings and how to improve yours here.

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Success stories

Wondering how other businesses have been using WhatsApp Business Platform to improve customer satisfaction and experience? 

Melia Hotels International provides customers with all the information they might need, from reservations to booking confirmations and location services.

Netflix sends users personalised recommendations and information related to their accounts.

Cartoon woman with a head covering using mobile banking

Absa Bank uses WhatsApp so customers can easily connect with customer service and still bank via a secure interface.

Discover more success stories…

Want to learn how you can follow in these businesses’ footsteps?

WhatsApp Business Platform: Your path to richer, more engaging experiences

WhatsApp Business Platform is a great addition to your communications stack if you want to:

Are you ready to get started?

We’re offering all of our customers – new and existing – a free trial so it’s the perfect time to try the platform and see how it fits in with your business.

You will benefit from 250 conversations, 1,000 messages, access to our intuitive platform to better manage your messaging, the opportunity to become a WhatsApp Official Business Account and more – all for free!