Mumbai: Earlier this month, Meta chief Mark Zukerberg has announced the launch of WhatsApp Channels to over 150 countries including India. With channels, WhatsApp’s goal is to build the most private broadcast service available, according to the company statement. Channels are separate from chats, and who you choose to follow is not visible to other followers.
A WhatsApp Channel allows companies to send messages to a large number of customers at once. This broadcast feature makes the communication easier and saves resources, as you only need to send one message to reach a lot of people at once.
Companies can send, for example, important information, updates, product launches, special deals, and company news on the channels. This direct style of communication can improve customer loyalty and brand awareness.
Several movie stars including Katrina Kaif, Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay Kumar, and Vijay Deverakonda, have already unveiled their WhatsApp Channels. Also, the Indian Cricket Team has also launched its WhatsApp Channel, aligning with the excitement building up around the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
With all this, we will see what the industry experts have to say regarding Channels, on whether this platform will be a boon for brands and content creators or is it just another gimmick? Let's find out!
Chtrbox VP Karan Pherwani
The introduction of WhatsApp Channels represents an exciting development for both brands and creators within the digital landscape. This feature promises to be a game-changer in terms of community building, offering a unique platform for engagement. While platforms like Discord and Instagram have made strides in this area, WhatsApp's extensive reach holds the potential to resonate even more profoundly with India's tier 2 and Tier 3 audiences.
WhatsApp Channels will serve as open channels for brands and creators to foster meaningful interactions with their followers and consumers. It provides a seamless avenue for keeping the audience informed and engaged. The ability to communicate directly through WhatsApp, a widely used messaging app in India, will undoubtedly enhance the accessibility and intimacy of these connections. This innovation is poised to redefine how brands and creators connect with their target demographics, offering a fresh, dynamic channel for engagement and communication.
FoxyMoron (Zoo Media) business director Shubit Rakshit
The platform is a game-changer for content creators and marketers alike, providing an intimate space to connect with audiences. With its enhanced features and commitment to privacy, WhatsApp Channels opens new doors for personalized engagement and authentic communication. It would also be interesting to see how businesses leverage this platform, especially in a diverse market like India, by delivering content in regional languages and vernacular.
With WhatsApp Channels, the industry at large gains a versatile tool to amplify brand visibility, engagement, and ultimately, ROI.
TheSmallBigIdea CEO & co-founder Harikrishnan Pillai
I have reservations against any feature that mimics another platform, especially when the genesis of the existence of the app is far away from that.
WhatsApp is primarily used for direct and personal conversations with people you know, and you don't see the need for it to become a platform for one-to-many communication. The core of the platform is interactivity and conversations, which the feature gives a complete miss in the current avatar.
An extension to the absence of interactivity is the absence of a comments section on WhatsApp, which is a feature that drives engagement on other social platforms. While WhatsApp can argue it as a feature or a limitation, in a one-to-many scenario, there has to be a door for a 2-way conversation.
WhatsApp is an already overwhelming space. Work conversation, personal conversation groups, status and now this.
SoCheers group head - outreach Kunal Khandelwal
WhatsApp's transition into this territory feels more natural and promising, considering its wide user base. The vision is to offer brands a distinct avenue for connecting with their audience in a more personalized and exclusive manner. However, it would require brands and creators to establish their subscriber base from scratch unlike Instagram's ‘Broadcast Channels’, where brands and creators can get their existing follower base.
Thus, to make the most of WhatsApp Channels, brands can captivate their audience by offering special promotions, exclusive insights into upcoming products, and showcasing variations within their product line. This strategy cultivates a sense of exclusivity, ensuring that the audience remains engaged and eagerly anticipates what the brand has to offer. Particularly in industries like entertainment, where frequent updates and releases are the norm, WhatsApp channels prove highly effective. Moreover, brands in this sector can share relatable content, engage directly with fans, and maintain a consistent stream of updates.