What Are The Differences Between WhatsApp And WhatsApp Business?

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Want to harness the power of WhatsApp marketing? You’ll need to understand the key differences between WhatsApp Messenger, WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API, and find out which platform is best suited for your needs.

Where WhatsApp’s basic messenger app is for personal messaging use, WhatsApp Business is designed for use in a professional environment, offering specific features and options that make it ideal for (as the name suggests) use by businesses, and the WhatsApp Business API is for bigger businesses or enterprise customers who need high volume messaging with additional technology options. Let’s dive in to find out more.

Whatsapp vs WhatsApp Business at a glance

More than ever, customers expect to be able to get in touch with businesses via messaging apps. WhatsApp is the ideal channel for prompt customer service, seamless sales funnels, and impactful marketing campaigns.

In fact, studies have shown that WhatsApp messages have a much higher open rate (a staggering 98%) which just can’t be matched by email (at an average 21%).

With all those rewards waiting to be reaped, it’s never been more important for companies to get set up properly on WhatsApp Business.

So what are the different options when it comes to using WhatsApp for business? Three different solutions are currently available: WhatsApp Messenger, WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API.

Let’s look at the most significant differences first.

WhatsApp Messenger

  • For personal use
  • Free
  • No special tools for managing messages
  • 1:1 and group chats
  • Intended for contacting family and friends
  • Available on app & browser
  • 1 user, 2 devices
  • End-to-end encryption

WhatsApp Business

  • For professional use
  • Free
  • Range of business tools including profile, catalog and automated messages
  • 1:1 and group chats
  • Intended for small to medium businesses
  • Available on app & browser
  • 1 user + up to four linked devices
  • End-to-end encryption

WhatsApp API

  • For professional use
  • Paid
  • Intended for medium to large businesses managing many hundreds of messages
  • Extended business tools including session messages, green tick verification
  • 1:1 chats + can create (but not participate in) group chats
  • Available on app & browser
  • Unlimited users and devices
  • Cloud API Encryption

What is WhatsApp Messenger?

When most people refer to ‘WhatsApp’, they mean ‘WhatsApp Messenger’. This free messaging app is available on both Android and iOS devices, and allows users to send one-to-one messages or group chats to their contacts.

You can access the same WhatsApp Messenger account on both mobile and browser. In the app, you can send media including text, images, voice notes and video files. You can also make voice calls through the phone app.

The very smallest and simplest businesses, such as sole traders, may be able to use WhatsApp Messenger for their interactions with clients – though this comes with downsides, such as mixing personal and professional chats together in one app. Any larger or more complicated companies will likely struggle to rely on the limited tools that WhatsApp Messenger provides.

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is similar in many ways to the WhatsApp Messenger app, but it is a separate app which is aimed at business interactions. You can send the same types of media as on WhatsApp Messenger, and participate in one-to-one and group chats.

WhatsApp Business is free to download and available on Android and iOS. WhatsApp Business provides a range of tools for business use, including a profile, catalog, automated messaging options, chat categorisation and more.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API is a paid-for product that is designed for integrating with CRM, analytics and third-party apps. For example it can be used to set up a WhatsApp chatbot or conversational customer service experience. You can also apply for a green tick to verify your business profile and send bulk notification message broadcasts.

If you want to set up the WhatsApp Business API, you’ll need to work with a WhatsApp partner. Unlike the WhatsApp Business app, the WhatsApp Business API is a paid-for product, which uses conversation-based pricing. Each chat falls into two categories:

  1. Session messages or user initiated messages: a user gets in touch, and the business has 24 hours to respond for free.
  2. Template messages or business initiated messages: the business sends a message to the user outside of the 24-hour customer service window and pays a per-message fee.

The first 1,000 conversations per month are free, regardless of whether they’re user initiated or business initiated – and this allowance is refreshed monthly.

The price you pay is determined by the WhatsApp Business Solution Providers or WhatsApp Partners, and is set to change in June 2023, so it’s worth checking for any hidden costs. If that doesn’t look right for your organisation, you might want to look at YourBusinessNumber’s own solution for WhatsApp Business for teams, which allows you to manage multiple users much more easily.

Is it better to use WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Messenger is best for contacting family and friends, while WhatsApp Business is best for professional use. When it comes to marketing, WhatsApp Business wins hands down over WhatsApp Messenger.

Even if you’re a sole trader or a very small business, there are many benefits to setting up WhatsApp Business separately from your WhatsApp Messenger account. In fact, our recent survey showed that more than 1 in 10 people have accidentally sent a personal message to a client or colleague, with the potential to inadvertently let NSFW info or images slip. WhatsApp Business offers the perfect solution – a separate app that keeps your professional contacts safely away from your private ones!

What happens if I switch to WhatsApp Business from WhatsApp?

WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger are two different apps. The logos are different to make them easy to tell apart – the WhatsApp Business app has a ‘B’ in the middle.

While it is possible to convert your WhatsApp Messenger app to the WhatsApp Business app, you can’t use the same number for both apps. This means that you would lose your ability to use WhatsApp Messenger on your phone, and would have to use WhatsApp Business for all your conversations.

That’s where YourBusinessNumber comes in. In just a few clicks, we set up a second business phone number which is delivered to your device and can be used to verify and set up the WhatsApp Business app from a single device while keeping your WhatsApp Messenger account active.

Find out more about how to change your WhatsApp to a Business account.

Why use WhatsApp Business instead of regular WhatsApp?

WhatsApp Business has a wide range of tools to help you connect with clients.

Your WhatsApp Business profile acts as the face of your business on WhatsApp, showing your customers your photo, profile image, contact details, opening hours, website, social media links and catalog.

Set up pre-templated Quick Replies to respond to your customers’ most-asked FAQs, and you’ll never have to type out the same stock message again! You can create your own greetings, seasonal messages, contact detail requests, refund and return notifications, price list links and conversation closers.

QR codes and Short Links allow potential new customers to get in touch with you in just one click – saving your customers valuable time and making it as easy as possible to purchase from you.

If you want to get your business life in order, WhatsApp Labels are a powerful organisational tool to help you get on top of your comms. Track customers through the sales funnel, monitor high-priority messages, and create an at-a-glance overview to make your life much, much easier.

Last but certainly not least, the WhatsApp Business catalog is one of the best of the bunch. This mobile storefront is incredibly easy to set up and provides an accessible way for customers to browse your products or services.

How can I set up WhatsApp Business?

It isn’t hard at all – just download the app from the iTunes or Play store onto your phone, put in your number, verify it by SMS, and you’re off. Of course, if you want to use a separate number for WhatsApp Business without needing to fiddle about with a dual sim, get a second handset, or lose your number by trying to bypass verification with a one-off disposable sim, you’ll want to grab a virtual number to use instead, which is where we come in!

Get A Virtual Number Now!

Receive your number for WhatsApp verification in just 3 clicks!

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Picture of George Lineker

George Lineker

The co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George has a lasting interest in modern communications technology, and is an advocate of simple and easy to use tools for businesses of all sizes. He has a background in mobile telecom solutions along with qualifications in business and management support services.
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