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Wondering what the new WhatsApp Channel feature is all about? Let’s decode it.

WhatsApp has become a household name worldwide, available on all platforms, from KaiOS, MacOS, Windows to Android and iOS. It’s been the choice of millions since its inception back in 2009.

It has become so synonymous with messaging that people will now often just say, “I’ll WhatsApp you,” whenever they want to send a message or a file.

With an estimated 2.7 billion active users, the success of WhatsApp is undeniable. A large part of the credit goes to their consistently good service and addition of features. Their latest update includes a cool new feature called “WhatsApp Channel,” so we’ll discuss that in this post to find out what it’s all about.

Interesting? Let’s dive right into it, then! 

What are WhatsApp Channels?

Assuming you have the latest version of WhatsApp, you would have noticed the missing “Status” tab. That is because now the tab reads “Updates,” and it has integrated our beloved Status and the new Channels within itself. You can find Status in the Updates tab; it should be the first tab from the top.

The channels feature on WhatsApp is a broadcast service that allows users to follow a channel of their choice, which may belong to any topic or content creator of their interest.

It is a private way for a user to keep track of all the updates from people and topics they care about and for admins of those channels to provide their followers with updates in the form of photos, messages, videos, or polls.

Evolution of Messaging Apps

This recent update made by WhatsApp is another step in its evolution. The messaging apps industry has noted significant growth in recent years. 

All messaging apps perform the same task: deliver and receive messages. So, in a market like that, it is necessary to stand out and offer your users features they desire and make legitimate use of, and WhatsApp has made its move with Channels.

Here’s what WhatsApp has introduced over the years:

  • Introduced Voice Messaging in 2013
  • Added the option to call users in 2015
  • In 2016, the app was introduced to Windows and Mac

In addition, there are features like the ability to edit and delete messages, end-to-end encryption, easy transfer, backup and restore, etc. This shows WhatsApp has constantly been evolving, trying to be the Chad of the messaging world.

Features and Benefits of WhatsApp Channels

There are quite a lot of features and benefits of WhatsApp channels, but here are just a few of them:

#1. All Updates in a Single Place

Thanks to the channels feature, you do not have to jump between apps to get the latest updates on whatever topic you want to know about.

Instead of shifting from one app to another, you can stay on WhatsApp, chat with your buddies, and, with a single swipe, check if your favorite channels have sent out any new messages, uploaded any photos or videos, or have active polls. Neat! I love😍the convenience.

#2. History Retention

WhatsApp has decided to follow the same philosophy with its Channels feature as they do with its messaging system. Instead of data like your channel history being around forever, it will be deleted from WhatsApp’s server within 30 days. They have promised to decrease the retention period of data with future updates.

With more and more people being well aware and cautious with their data usage, it is good to see WhatsApp taking this step.

Also read: Common WhatsApp Scams and How to be Prepared for Them

#3. Great Platform for Users and Businesses

With well over 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is a massive platform that any business would love to create a strong foothold.

Channels provide a super simple and effective way for admins (owners/creators of a channel) to keep their followers updated on the latest news about them or their organization. Establishing a connection with your target audience and keeping in touch is necessary if any content creator, business, or organization hopes to succeed.

While a channel can send out its latest updates in the form of a message, photo, or video, users won’t be able to reply as they have only been given the ability to react. It is like seeing an Instagram or Facebook post and being able to only react to it instead of commenting. We can expect that to change in the future.

#4. Free of Cost

Currently, there’s no price tag attached to creating a WhatsApp channel; it is free. So, users and businesses can take full advantage of this mass message broadcasting method.

The pricing should not change for users, but potentially, for businesses, there might be modifications in the future. However, nothing can be said for sure. What matters for now is that creating a WhatsApp Channel is free!

How to Create a WhatsApp Channel

The ability to create a WhatsApp Channel isn’t available to everybody at the moment, but it’s slowly being rolled out to every user. In the coming weeks, you should have the option to create one.

If you’re one of the people who has received the ability to create a WhatsApp Channel, follow the below steps:

Step 1: Make sure you have the latest version of WhatsApp.

Step 2: Open the WhatsApp app and go to the Updates tab.

Step 3: Scroll down, and you should see Channels. Next to it, you will find a + icon. Tap on it and select New Channel.

Step 4: You will be shown a prompt on your screen displaying vital information about Channels and the guidelines. Tap Continue.

Step 5: You’ll be asked to add a description (providing your potential followers with some information regarding your Channel) and the icon (essentially the profile picture for your channel.) You can opt to add these in later as well.

Step 6: Finally, tap Create Channel, and you are all done! 

The process is the same for Android, iOS, and WhatsApp Web. If you’re a business, you’d need the WhatsApp Business app to carry out the above steps.

How to Find and Follow a WhatsApp Channel

WhatsApp has made its UI very user-friendly, so finding channels isn’t complicated at all. Here is how you can go about it:

Step 1: Open the Updates tab on your WhatsApp.

Step 2: Scroll down until you see the Find Channels section. You will notice there are several channels listed here. 

Step 3: You will find a Follow button on every channel listed. By tapping on it, you will start following that channel, and it will show up in your Channels feed.

You can also apply filters and look for channel suggestions based on popularity, activity, date of creation, and region, which is a great option if you don’t have any particular channels in mind you’d like to follow.

Alternatively, if you have a particular channel in mind you want to search for; you can tap on Find Channels and then use the search bar to look for it.

Another nifty way of following a channel is via a link. A fellow user might share a link to a channel they think you would like. The link to the channel will have a “View Channel” button at the bottom of it.

By tapping that, you will reach the home page of that channel, and from there, you can choose to follow it if you like by tapping the “Follow” button on the top right.

Closing Thoughts

Although you might think WhatsApp Channels is an unnecessary feature, it can prove to be useful if you like staying on top of the latest buzz around your favorite creators or news channels. It’s still fairly new, so there are a lot more improvements we might see in the near future.

Next, check out these WhatsApp business API gateways to engage with customers at scale.

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  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan, holding a BMS degree, is a senior writer at Geekflare, known for his expertise in Mac, Mobile, Smart Gadgets, Digital Marketing, AI, and Health Tech. With a knack for simplifying complex subjects, he has also contributed insightful…
  • Joy R Bhamre

    Joy R Bhamre is a multifaceted professional, holding the title of Editor at Geekflare. She is a Google-certified Digital Marketing Specialist, a seasoned Editor and writer, and a Cambridge-certified English Language Trainer, boasting…

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