A Quick Guide to Get Started on WhatsApp Channels

Meta introduced the latest WhatsApp feature: WhatsApp Channels globally, providing a private broadcast service for marketers to reach out to their audience, and customers to receive updates from their favourite organisations and celebrities.

Source: WhatsApp

What are WhatsApp Channels?

According to WhatsApp, channels are a one-way communication tool for organisations and people to broadcast updates including text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to followers. Verified WhatsApp Channels are shown with a Green Tick, which is primarily media, sports teams, International governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations.

Channels are separate from conversations, and the personal information of both admins and followers is not visible. In other words, the channel admin can only get access to the number of subscribers without knowing their individual profiles. Unlike WhatsApp chats, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default, and the updates will be stored on servers for 30 days only.  

To follow a channel, WhatsApp users can simply open the App, tab ‘Updates’, and select the channels they would like to follow.  Once followed, they will receive the private broadcast from time to time.

WhatsApp has also built a search directory for users to look for their interested news media, organisations, sports teams, and thought leaders. Channel followers cannot directly reply to the channel updates or send messages to admins but they can react to the feeds by using emojis and see the number of total reactions. 

Source: WhatsApp

WhatsApp Channels v.s. WhatsApp Broadcast

WhatsApp Channels enables businesses to publish regular updates to a larger audience while WhatsApp Broadcast allows businesses to share personalised marketing messages with segmented customers. 

Which one is better to connect with customers? In the following, we compare the differences between WhatsApp Channels and WhatsApp Broadcast, and you may decide which tool is more suitable for your business.

One of the major differences is the method of communication. WhatsApp Channels are a one-way broadcast rather than a two-way conversation, which means customers are not able to respond to the updates directly via text. Brands cannot provide 1-on-1 personalised services, or promote the latest deals and offers based on customer segmentation by using WhatsApp Channels. On the other hand, WhatsApp Broadcast may be a better choice if you plan to target the audience precisely and maximise the returns with minimal effort.

As WhatsApp would like to build the most private broadcast service, the identities and full profiles of admins and followers on WhatsApp Channels will not be revealed. Brands are not allowed to get the personal details of followers for further remarketing activities. Also, without CRM integration and marketing automation, no data of followers on WhatsApp Channels can be collected for potential business opportunities. WhatsApp Broadcast through the WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to integrate with CRM systems and eCommerce platforms, and use automation to scale marketing strategies for business growth.

Managing WhatsApp Channels can be challenging for organisations because of the current restriction of having one admin per channel, and the channels can only be managed by the same phone number they were created with. On the contrary, collaborating on WhatsApp Broadcast by multiple users is available, making it much easier to divide tasks and facilitate team communication.

How to create WhatsApp Channels?

  1. Open WhatsApp App and go to the ‘Updates’ tab
  2. Tap +, and select Create Channel
  3. Click ‘Continue’ to accept the service terms and privacy policy
  4. Add a channel name, description and icon, and tap Create Channel to finish creating your own channel

Note: WhatsApp Channels are not available to every WhatsApp user at this moment.

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