After a successful launch in Colombia and Singapore, WhatsApp Channels are coming to more regions! WhatsApp now has users in 150 markets, giving it plenty of reach and offering plenty of opportunities. Channels is a one-way broadcast service that allows users to stay up to date with topics of interest.
Channels reside in a separate tab from your chat. At the same time, WhatsApp, as a real-time news and info provider, mostly displays key interests. Now, more people can sign up. As per WhatsApp:
“Our goal is to build the most private broadcast service available. Channels are separate from your chats, and who you choose to follow is not visible to other followers. We also protect the personal information of both admins and followers.”
Channel updates last only 30 days, ensuring the freshness and relevance of the information shown. In addition, WhatsApp is also introducing an enhanced Channels directory, which will have more options to consider. WhatsApp mentions that users can follow thousands of organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders. That provides users with more options for improved topical engagement.
With more and more users switching to DMs, as opposed to public posting, WhatsApp Channels could be highly valuable. Subsequently, Meta has been working to hook into the broader DM shift. The same shift has driven the development of a similar option on Instagram – ‘Broadcast Channels’
Instagram has added ‘Notes’ as an extra DM interaction option, while Meta seeks to build on WhatsApp’s business potential. Meta has long wanted to weaponize WhatsApp as a business platform through enhanced connective and discovery features. However, it remains uncertain if this is what people actually want to use DMs for.
Messaging is a more personal and intimate space and one that Meta has attempted to branch into in the past. Meta has used ads, promotions, games, etc., all of which have fallen flat. Channels is different, in that users remain in total control over the topics they do or do not follow. But even so, stretching the DM connection into other areas may not generate the response that Meta hopes for.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, and for many, it remains the primary connective option. For many, WhatsApp is the link to the broader web. With that said WhatsApp Channels might be the perfect complement to build on the app’s value. If Meta can get more people to spend more time in the app and engage with more activities, then that could pave the way for more WhatsApp options in the future. WhatsApp Channels will come to 150 regions starting September 13th.