WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API

Profile Headshot of Satyam Gupta
Satyam Gupta

mins read

February 16, 2024

Key Takeaways

  1. There are three versions of WhatsApp - the consumer app, the business app and the business APIs. Businesses use the app and APIs to reach their users at scale using WhatsApp as a channel
  2. WhatsApp business app is designed for small business owners to reach their users with personalized WhatsApp broadcasts with multimedia messages
  3. WhatsApp business APIs are for medium to large businesses. A third party API provider or a WhatsApp marketing software like WhatsApp Now is required to leverage WhatsApp business APIs
  4. There are a lot of differences in both the app and APIs based on suitability, limits on broadcasting, automated messaging, group chats, green tick verification etc.
  5. The right solution for business depends upon their size, requirement and the particular use case

WhatsApp has revolutionized the way we communicate, with over 2.7 billion active users per month. As a business owner, leveraging WhatsApp for customer engagement and enhancing their experience can be a game-changer especially in certain geographies like WhatsApp marketing in India.  
There are three versions of WhatsApp: -

  1. WhatsApp consumer app: Used for personal communication by people.
  2. WhatsApp business app: Used for small scale marketing by businesses.
  3. WhatsApp business API: Used for medium and large-scale marketing by businesses.

To achieve this, you have two options: the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API. In this article, we'll explore the differences between the two and help you decide which solution is best suited for your business needs.

Understanding WhatsApp Business App

The WhatsApp Business App is a free download available on both Android and iPhone devices. It is designed for small business owners looking to interact with their customers in a personalized and efficient manner mainly using personalized WhatsApp broadcasts.

With the app, you can automate, sort, and respond to messages seamlessly, just like you would with your personal WhatsApp account. It allows you to share photos, messages, and create a personal connection with your customers.

In addition to messaging capabilities, the WhatsApp Business App allows you to create a business profile. This profile includes important information about: -

  1. Your company
  2. Business address,  
  3. Official email, and  
  4. Website.  

By providing these details, you can establish a professional image and make it easier for customers to find and engage with your business using just an app on your phone.

Exploring WhatsApp Business API

If you're a medium to large business or an SMB looking to scale, the WhatsApp Business API is the ideal solution for you. Unlike the free WhatsApp Business App, the API requires a paid subscription and integration with a reliable third-party provider, usually a WhatsApp marketing software.  
One such provider is WhatsApp Now by Message Central, trusted by brands worldwide for their WhatsApp-powered communication.

The WhatsApp Business API offers advanced functionalities beyond what the Business App provides. It allows you to:-

  1. Integrate WhatsApp with your existing systems, such as CRMs and chatbots,  
  2. Enable seamless communication and automation
  3. Send automated messages
  4. Create customer chatbots, and  
  5. Access features like green tick verification for an official business account

Now with WhatsApp flows, there are quite a lot of opportunities of automation using WhatsApp. You can enable the entire experience from acquisition to support within the app.  

WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API: A Detailed Comparison

To help you make an informed decision, let's compare the key features of the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API use cases:-

Infographic Displaying Comparison between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp Business App is suitable for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are starting out or have a smaller customer base. It provides basic features like a business profile and product catalogue.  
On the other hand, the WhatsApp Business API caters to larger businesses and offers more advanced capabilities such as automated messages and chatbot integration.

Pricing and Usage of WhatsApp Business API

To access the WhatsApp Business API, you'll need to sign up with a provider like WhatsApp Now. While the API itself is not free, you can enjoy a free trial period to evaluate its effectiveness for your business.  
Once you've exhausted the trial period, WhatsApp charges you per 24-hour conversation. The rate depends on the type of conversation, such as marketing, utility, authentication, or service conversations. You can read about the same in detail in our guide – WhatsApp conversation pricing.

Marketing conversations involve activities like cart abandonment notifications and product promotions.  
Utility conversations include transactional notifications like order confirmations and receipts. Authentication conversations focus on security measures like verification codes. Although for authentication, SMS verification is prominent, WhatsApp is also becoming a popular mode for authentication.
Service conversations are user-initiated and help resolve customer issues. The cost of the WhatsApp Business API varies depending on the conversation type and volume.

Which Solution is Right for Your Business?

Now that we've discussed the features and pricing of both the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business API, it's time to determine which solution suits your business requirements. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the size of your business? Are you a small business or a larger enterprise?
  2. Do you have the need to automate messages and integrate with existing systems like CRMs and chatbots?
  3. How many agents will be handling customer communications on WhatsApp?
  4. Are you willing to invest in a paid solution for enhanced customer communication?

If you're a small business owner with limited customer communications, the WhatsApp Business App can be a great starting point.  
It allows you to establish a business presence and engage with customers in a personalized manner with WhatsApp marketing campaigns.

However, if you're a larger business or looking to scale, the WhatsApp Business API offers the flexibility and advanced features you need to streamline customer communications and automation.

Remember to consider your budget and long-term business goals when making your decision. WhatsApp can be a powerful tool for customer engagement, and choosing the right solution will ensure you make the most of its capabilities.


WhatsApp is an incredibly popular messaging platform with billions of active users worldwide. By leveraging the WhatsApp Business App or the WhatsApp Business API, businesses can enhance customer communications and establish a professional image.  
The choice between the two solutions depends on the size of your business, your need for automation and integration, and your budget.  
Evaluate your requirements carefully and choose the solution that aligns with your business goals. Start using WhatsApp for your business today and unlock the full potential of customer engagement.

Remember, WhatsApp Business API can be a game-changer for your business, enabling you to scale your customer communications and provide a seamless experience to your customers. Choose the right solution and take your business to new heights with WhatsApp marketing.

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