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Integrating WhatsApp with Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and System Integrators (SI)

Independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators (SIs) and other third parties that wish to integrate with WhatsApp for their customers must follow a specific process. This guide explains the procedure for setting up a WhatsApp integration with third parties. 

Note: ISVs who integrated with Twilio prior to February 1st, 2024 or who are not part of the Tech Provider Program are limited to the following onboarding limits:
- 6 new businesses (WABAs created) per week
- 6 new senders registered (per ISV, not per end client) per week
- Further volume restrictions will apply to ISVs with over 10 Senders
For more information see the WhatsApp ISV Onboarding Explained section below.

Who does this guide apply to?

This guide applies to anyone who is implementing the WhatsApp Business API on behalf of their end client or a brand that they do not own. This includes any ISVs that wish to manage their customers' WhatsApp integrations in their own Twilio subaccounts or Twilio projects.

This does not apply to brands that set up WhatsApp on a Twilio account that is directly owned by them. For example, if Owl Shoe Store creates their own Twilio account and invites a systems integrator to that account to help with the WhatsApp integration, then this guide does not apply, as that's not considered an ISV setup.

WhatsApp ISV and End Client Onboarding Explained

For ISVs integrating after February 1st, 2024

In February 2024, Twilio started onboarding all new ISVs through Meta’s Tech Provider Program. This program allows ISVs to:

  • Provide self-serve WhatsApp onboarding for their customers through a "Login with Facebook" button within their UI using WhatsApp Embedded Signup
  • Manage their customers’ WhatsApp Business Accounts to provide higher level of support
  • Register WhatsApp numbers programmatically with Twilio's Senders API

For more information on the Tech Provider Program on Twilio, see here.

For ISVs who integrated with Twilio prior to February 1st, 2024 and who have not migrated to the Tech Provider Program

There are currently limitations on how many end clients can be onboarded each week. For these customers, WhatsApp onboarding is a manual process because WhatsApp does not offer tools to automate ISV WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) creation or sender registration. These limitations do not apply to those in the Tech Provider Program.

Twilio does not charge onboarding or registration fees for WhatsApp. However, due to the manual onboarding process, there is an expectation that ISVs and SIs onboard end clients with production usage that will scale to certain annual messaging volumes.

To make sure we maintain quality service and reasonable onboarding times for all of our ISV and SI customers, please note the following limitations:

  • 6 new businesses onboarded (WABA created) per week
  • 6 new senders registered (in total, not for each ISV/SI end client) per week
  • A fair usage policy applies to any ISV / SI customer with 10 or more approved senders across all clients, as follows:
    • Each additional sender is expected to send or receive at least 20,000 messages annually.
    • If the ISV’s approved senders are not sending or receiving at least 20,000 messages annually, Twilio will waitlist additional sender requests and onboard them as capacity allows. In severe cases of underperformance or abuse, Twilio may refuse onboarding additional sender requests until the messaging volume per sender increases.
  • Using non-Twilio phone numbers (e.g. “Bring your own numbers” or “BYONs”) also have specific limitations documented here that must be followed.

Please note that Twilio may update these guidelines at any time as the onboarding processes and business priorities change over time. If you are an ISV or SI that requires dedicated onboarding support beyond these current limits, and you have a Twilio Account Manager, please reach out to them directly to discuss your requirements. Your Twilio Account Manager will work with you to come up with an agreed upon onboarding plan for your use case if our team is able to support it. If you are not currently assigned a Twilio Account Manager, please complete this form to contact the Twilio Sales team.

New ISV Integration Prerequisites

ISV Onboarding

All new ISVs need to onboard through Meta's Tech Provider Program which is currently in private beta. ISVs and their customers need to complete the following prerequisites:

1. ISVs: Complete Meta Business Verification

Before a company can participate in the Tech Provider Program, Meta requires all businesses to be verified by successfully completing Business Verification.

  1. Go to Business Manager Settings > Security Center and click "Start Verification". If it states that your business is not eligible for Verification, then complete WhatsApp Self Signup for your company first.
  2. You will need to provide business documents to verify your company's name, email, address and/or phone number.

Learn more and view Meta's documentation on Business Verification and accepted documents.

2. ISVs: Create a subaccount

Twilio recommends that ISVs create one dedicated subaccount for each of their end clients. Subaccounts can be managed programmatically to keep accounts organized and separate billing concerns to provide cost transparency. For instructions, see View and create new Twilio subaccounts.

If you will be using Flex with WhatsApp, please have the Flex project created ahead of time. Each end client should have its own dedicated Flex project.

2.1. Customers and ISVs: Locate your Meta Business Account ID

Customers and ISVs must each have their own separate Meta Business Account. This is not the Facebook page. The Meta Business Account ID will be needed when submitting the request for access, as it is used by WhatsApp to identify your business. If you don't already have a Meta Business Account, you must create one at business.facebook.com.

If you already have a Meta Business Account, follow these steps to find the ID:

  1. Access the Business Settings page on the Business Manager.
  2. Click Business Info.
  3. Your ID will be listed under "Business Information."

3. Submit ISV to Request Access to Tech Provider Program

3.1. ISVs: Submit a request for access for the ISV

To begin the process, an ISV must let the Twilio WhatsApp onboarding team know that your company is planning to participate in the Tech Provider Program by filling out the request access form.

Use the ISV's own brand information, including Meta Business Account ID and Twilio Parent Account SID. This should be the same Parent Account SID that is associated with any subaccounts that will be used for end client integrations.

While ISVs are not required to have an integration as a direct client, Twilio strongly recommends that all ISVs onboard onto WhatsApp directly using the Self Sign Up flow. This allows ISVs to get a complete understanding of the process so they can guide their own customers.

3.2. ISVs: Wait for approval and next steps

Twilio’s WhatsApp onboarding team will be in contact with you once you submit the request access form. You will need to provide proof that you have completed Meta Business Verification.

Once you have been accepted into the Private Beta, Twilio’s WhatsApp onboarding team will share additional documentation regarding how to complete the ISV Onboarding process in the Tech Provider program and begin registering your End Clients' phone numbers on WhatsApp using the Twilio Senders API.

End Client Onboarding - ISVs in the Tech Provider Program

By completing the Tech Provider Program, your End Clients will onboard their business to WhatsApp using WhatsApp Embedded Signup.

Here's how the flow will work for ISV End Clients:

  1. End Client will click the "Login with Facebook" button on the ISV’s UI and the Embedded Signup popup window will launch.
  2. In the popup window, they will follow Meta's flow to create or select a Meta Business Manager, create a WhatsApp Business Account ("WABA"), and verify a phone number.
  3. When the popup window is closed, the number is automatically registered behind the scenes by the ISV and can be used within the ISV’s product.

Once you have been granted access to the Tech Provider Program, our WhatsApp onboarding team will send you more information on how to implement your end client onboarding. Please see here for more information.

End Client Onboarding - ISVs not in the Tech Provider Program

Notice: All ISVs that work with multiple clients must ensure this process is followed for each unique business. Approval for one brand cannot be applied to other companies.

1. ISVs or Client: Fill in your business details directly in the Twilio Console using the client's subaccount.

Please note, under this updated process, the client is not required to create their own Twilio account.

To avoid delays, please ensure the console form is filled out as follows:

  • All client information, such as company name and region, must correspond to the client’s brand, not the ISV.
  • Meta Business Account ID: Use the client's Meta Business Account ID, not the ISV's. 

ISV_client_onboarding.png

Notice: Please note that Twilio's free client onboarding is subject to fair use policy. Client onboarding is not intended for prospects. ISVs should leverage their WhatsApp Business Account for prospecting and demos.

Notice: The Sender Display Name must match the name of the end customer's company to avoid rejection by Meta. Please see the Meta's Display Name rules.

Sender profile registration can take 3-5 days to be approved, depending on the volume of requests. If you are working with a Twilio Account Manager, ask them about the status of your request - they may be able to expedite your request.

2. End Client: Approve Twilio's request in Meta Business Account

Once a WhatsApp Sender has been submitted, the client will receive a notification in their Meta Business Account from Twilio. The client must click to "approve" Twilio to message on their behalf. Here's the process:

  1. The client, not the ISV, must access the Business Settings page on your Business Manager.
  2. Click Requests.
  3. Click "Approve" on Twilio's request. 

3. End Client: Submit Business Verification on Meta Business Account

WhatsApp requires all companies to submit Business Verification in their Meta Business Account. This only has to be done once for each client, but it is the longest part of the process. Average processing times by Meta are 3-7 business days, but in some regions this can take up to 4 weeks. Here's the process:

  1. The end customer must access the Business Settings page on your Business Manager.
  2. Click on Security Center.
  3. Click to Start the Business Verification process and complete Meta's steps. For more info, refer to Meta's help article.

4. ISV: Wait for Approval

Once Meta has completed Business Verification, WhatsApp will review the client's business in accordance with their commerce policy. This process happens once per client and takes 3-5 days. Once this step is complete, Twilio will register the WhatsApp number and you will receive an email notification with the subject "Congratulations! Your Sender Profile is Registered".  The sender will show as "approved" in the Twilio console and you will be able to use it in production.

5. ISV: Submit Message Templates for Approval

Outbound messages to any WhatsApp users that have not responded to you in at least 24 hours must be sent using a pre-approved message templates. These are generally transactional messages (delivery alerts, appointment reminders, etc.) sent to users who have opted in to receive messages from you.

Templates are managed in the customer's subaccount on the Content Template Builder page in console or via the Content API. With these tools you can see previously approved templates, and submit approval requests for new templates (or additional language translations for existing templates). All templates apply to all approved WhatsApp Senders in the Twilio account.

For full details, see our Content Template Builder docs here

 

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