WhatsApp Channels

WhatsApp Channels are a one-way tool for administrators to broadcast photos, videos, stickers, and polls. Accessed through the "Updates" tab, users can find both Status updates and followed channels, separate from personal chats.

This feature acts as a "public feed," allowing simultaneous distribution of news and updates with limited interaction, only through emoji reactions.

For businesses, it's a simple way to publish updates directly to customers. Brands can create a channel similar to an Instagram feed, making it easy to broadcast news to a large audience and receive emoji reactions.

The public feed is under "Updates" in the WhatsApp User App. The channel can be found by tapping "Find Channels" and opting to "Follow." Notifications are off by default.

WhatsApp Channels has a few limitations when compared to the Business API:

  1. No Personalized Messages: No personalized or targeted messages.

  2. One-way Interactions: No customer responses or questions regarding shared content.

  3. No Data Tracking: No performance monitoring is available yet.

  4. Non-Integration with API: Channels feature is available only on the WhatsApp Consumer App and WhatsApp Business App in the near term (no ETA for now).

  5. Limited Visibility: Broadcasts only appear under "Updates," and posts are deleted after 30 days.

While yet lacking API features, Meta recognizes that Channels and Paid messaging services have distinct use cases and fit for different aspects of business-to-customer engagement funnel.

Whereas Channels is a one-way, one-to-many broadcast to share timely, lightweight updates with followers, the WhatsApp Business Platform remains the best choice for businesses to engage with customers for 2-way, personalized interactions. It offers a number of tools uniquely designed for business needs, including the ability to integrate it with their CRM, enable conversational commerce, offer personalized customer service, send customer care notifications and purchase updates. The WhatsApp Business Platform allows for optimization and measurement that has proven to lead to better ROI, as well as before and after purchase support.

Here are some ways you can use WhatsApp Channels to improve your WhatsApp marketing efforts:

  • Grow your community: Share content that doesn’t have to “perform” or that’s not connected to revenue (e.g. restaurants sharing weekly menus with their customers)

  • Collect feedback: Collect community feedback based on emoji reactions

  • Create hype: Get people excited for an upcoming release or campaign (then send via charles as a private 1-to-1 message)

  • Collect opt-ins: Use Channels as a driver for opt-in collection (chat-in)

  • Maximize reach: Send out to public promotional codes and deals

WhatsApp Channels is gradually rolling out but isn't available to everyone yet. Meta tested and launched in 150 countries, including Colombia, Singapore, Germany, Italy, the UK, India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

As it's still early days, it's unclear how WhatsApp Channels will develop in terms of features and cost. Meta is slowly adding new features in places where Channels is available. Some features, like creating a channel, might not be available to everyone. If you're interested, you can join the waitlist to get notified when WhatsApp Channels becomes available to you.

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