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WhatsApp Business API
One of the key challenges in creating a WhatsApp bot is making sure your customers know it exists and where they can find it. So think carefully about where you want to position your WhatsApp conversational experience.
We have some suggestions to help you get started:
- Communicate via your social media channels that users can now reach you on WhatsApp.
- List WhatsApp as an option in your list of contact options on your contact webpage.
- Use wa.me links to guide customers to your WhatsApp channel using this link: http://wa.me/32472041640. Make sure to replace that last string of numbers with your own WhatsApp Business API phone number. Users that navigate to this webpage will see the following message:
- After clicking "Message," the WhatsApp App will open on the user's smartphone, or the WhatsApp web interface will open on desktop, and users can start messaging your business straight away.
- You can also include text messages in your wa.me links, by using the following template: https://wa.me/32472041640?text=Hello%20there. This text will be filled in, ready to be sent by your user with the click of a button. Make sure you use URL query encoding correctly.
- This link can be easily included in website buttons, Facebook campaigns or as a QR code.
Compared to the web widget or Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp is more restrictive in what you can do with your bot. The following features are not supported on WhatsApp via the Sinch Conversation API:
- Voice and video calling are not supported
- Typing indicators and read receipts are not supported
- GIFs are not supported (as a workaround you can download the GIF you want to use as an .mp4 and upload it to Chatlayer as a video instead. You can learn more about the media types WhatsApp supports here)
- iFrames are not supported
- Carousels are not supported natively by WhatsApp. If you do use one it is displayed as a non-interactive plain text message. Images are displayed as links.A carousel message displayed as plain text in WhatsApp
Both buttons and quick replies are supported on WhatsApp though there are some restrictions to take into account:
- The text in buttons or quick replies can't be more than 20 characters
- URL or call buttons can't be used (as a workaround you can display the full URL or phone number in a separate bot message)
- Buttons or quick replies within one menu can't have the same title twice
If you do break any of these restrictions, the button or quick reply menu is displayed as non-clickable plain text.
Menu with buttons shorter than 20 characters
Menu with a button longer than 20 characters