Getting started with WhatsApp

Archived on 31 August 2020


As one of the most-used chat applications in the world, WhatsApp is the ideal chat channel to use for your business to see higher delivery, open and conversion rates. The WhatsApp Business solution offered by Clickatell is intended for medium and large businesses who want to use an API integration to engage with their customers on the WhatsApp channel. As an authorized WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, we will assist you in applying for your own WhatsApp Business account and number, and show you how to integrate with the other powerful features available on the Clickatell platform. 

Note: this is not to be confused with the WhatsApp Business app.

The WhatsApp channel enables your business to: 

  • Send and receive messages, images, video and more
  • Track the status of sent, delivered and read messages 
  • Secure two-way chat with customers
  • Automate routine two-way communication
  • Take advantage of WhatsApp notification templates

Clickatell will deliver WhatsApp messages securely, reliably, and instantly to enable two-way high-value conversations for you and your customers. We’ll also proactively determine whether the destination phone number is WhatsApp enabled before attempting delivery and returning a relevant status code. Reports will be available within your Clickatell portal.

Once your WhatsApp channel is activated, it will also be available to use with the following Clickatell products:

  • Flow
  • Chat Desk 


To use WhatsApp as a communication channel, you will make use of Clickatell’s One API. By following the prompts on screen and/or the instructions below, we will guide you through this setup process.

Getting started with the WhatsApp channel

To activate the WhatsApp channel on your Clickatell account, follow these steps (discussed in more detail below): 

  1. Register Clickatell account & log in to the portal
  2. Apply for a WhatsApp Business account
  3. Test your API integration (optional, but recommended)
  4. Set up your billing details and purchase a subscription
  5. Set up your business profile and number 
  6. Link to One API (if haven’t yet)
  7. Deploy integration to production

Step 1: Register your Clickatell account & log in to portal

Sign up and create your free Clickatell account. Once you’ve verified your account, log in to your Clickatell portal. The first page you see is the Launchpad which is the home page that gives you an overview of the channels and products available in Clickatell and also gives you a summary of all the channels and products you have activated on your account. From here you can activate and set up the channels and products that you want to utilize. You can also use the left panel to navigate to the specific sections for more details. 


Step 2: Apply for WhatsApp Business account

In order to engage with your customers via the WhatsApp channel, you require a WhatsApp Business Account that is verified by WhatsApp themselves.  

On your Launchpad, under the WhatsApp section, select ‘Apply Now’ and follow the prompts through an easy wizard-driven process to complete an application for a WhatsApp Business account. 

As part of your application, WhatsApp requires the following information:

  • Company name and website URL
  • Facebook Business Manager ID 
  • Products and services offered
  • The industry your business operates in – Note: some industries are not supported in terms of the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

The information you submit will play a vital role in whether WhatsApp will approve your business account or not.

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive an email (at the address your Clickatell account is registered on) with next steps. Ensure you follow these steps since it might impact the speed of the approval process (may take anything between 48 hours and two weeks). Once your WhatsApp business account has been processed, you will be notified whether it was approved or declined. If declined, you will have to start the application process from scratch. You cannot reuse the application that was declined. If approved, the email sent to you will contain information about your next steps. 

Note: Clickatell will submit the application for you, but we do not have control over the approval of your application. We’ll do our best to make the process as easy and seamless as possible for you and will keep you updated throughout.


Step 3: Start testing with demo number (optional)

Once your application has been submitted (Step 2), Clickatell will immediately provide you with a temporary demo number to use for testing while your WhatsApp business application is under review.

Note: this demo integration is available on your account for 90 days, or for up to 3 days after your approved Business account has been enabled.

At the end of the wizard (completed in Step 2), click on ‘Start testing‘ if you want to start testing immediately. You can also navigate to this same place later by clicking WhatsApp → WhatsApp Numbers from the left panel, and then selecting the ‘Test‘ button for the number you want to test.




This will open a screen prompting you to set up your test integration. Enter the required information and click ‘Generate API‘.

Note: You will notice that ‘SMS’ is already selected as a channel. This is because you are automatically directed to use the One API that allows you to communicate with your mobile customers on multiple communication channels with a single integration.



You will be provided with an API Key and Integration ID at the top of the page.


At the bottom of the page, there will be an example showing how to send the API call in JSON format using the CURL tool.


The demo integration is enabled in a sandbox mode, which means that it can only send messages to test phone numbers that you have registered within your Clickatell Platform account. These numbers must also be WhatsApp enabled in order to receive the messages. You can add up to three test phones by clicking on the ‘Test phone numbers‘ tab as shown below, or clicking on the ‘Add a Test Phone‘ button in the Test Phones section on your Launchpad.



Step 4: Set Up Billing Details & Purchase Subscription 

Once your business has been approved for the WhatsApp Business solution, you have to set up your billing details and purchase a subscription package.  

To set up your billing details, navigate to Settings → Billing & payments from the left panel. In the ‘Billing details’ tab, complete the required fields and click ‘Save changes


To purchase a WhatsApp subscription, click on the ‘Purchase Subscription‘ button in the WhatsApp section on your Launchpad. You can also navigate to WhatsApp → WhatsApp Numbers from the left panel, and click ‘Purchase Subscription’ for the specific number you want to purchase a subscription for.


Select the desired subscription package by clicking on ‘Add to Cart‘. Proceed to Check out, confirm your details, add/select a payment method, and pay. 


Step 5: Set up your business profile and number

After purchasing your subscription package, you can proceed to set up your business profile.

Navigate to WhatsApp → WhatsApp Numbers from the left panel, and click on the ‘Set up your profile‘ button in the relevant block.




The information you provide here will be used as your WhatsApp Business profile that your customers will see when they connect with you on WhatsApp. Complete the following fields and click ‘Save‘.

  • Display name: This is the name that your customers will see on the profile for your WhatsApp number. You can read more about display names here.
  • Number: You may use any number for your business, including landlines, mobile numbers, or toll-free numbers. You must, however, be able to receive an OTP or answer a verification phone call from WhatsApp on the number you provide. It should also be a number with no previous WhatsApp registrations associated with it.


Once your business name and number are approved, you will be notified that you can verify and activate your number. 



Clicking on ‘Activate number‘ opens a text field where you are required to enter an OTP sent to you. Click ‘Submit’. If the OTP is entered correctly, your number will now be active on the WhatsApp network.  

Step 6: API setup

Once your number has been activated, you can link it to an existing API, or add a new API to link it to.

Navigate to WhatsApp → WhatsApp Numbers from the left panel, and click on the ‘Setup API integration‘ button in the relevant block.


You can either select one of your current APIs from the list displayed (note: the current number connected to this API will be unlinked) or you can choose to create a new API. 


Once linked to an API, you can now select to manage the API integration or edit your profile.


When editing your profile, you can add a profile image, status, description and business address. You will see a preview of your WhatsApp Business profile (i.e. what your customers will see in their WhatsApp contacts) on the right.


Step 7: Promote to production

Once you have an activated and verified WhatsApp number linked to an API, you can deploy your integration into production so that you can interact with your customers.

Navigate to My APIs → Configure One API from the left panel, and select the API you want to promote to production from the table. Select the ‘Production‘ radio button. 


Ensure that the correct number is chosen from the drop-down and that your reply callbacks are set correctly. You can define the method as well as the destination for the ‘Message Status Callback URL’ where Clickatell will send callbacks for message status changes.

Note: the callbacks may arrive in a different order to which they were sent, but a timestamp is included with each

Click ‘Save changes‘. Your WhatsApp integration is now live.


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