WhatsApp Channels. What is it and how does it work with a WhatsApp platform like charles?

WhatsApp Channels. What is it and how does it work with a WhatsApp platform like charles? blog

By Grace Hemberg

WhatsApp Channels has landed in Europe and is making waves across eCommerce. What is it and who is it for? And the big one – how do I use WhatsApp Channels with charles for my marketing?


Here we explain what WhatsApp Channels is, how it works, and why it's better used as an addition to your WhatsApp Marketing strategy (not the main event).


What is WhatsApp Channels?



WA Channels

WhatsApp Channels is a way for businesses and organizations to broadcast news

to many users at once



Think of WhatsApp Channels as a “public feed" that lets you send news and updates to many people simultaneously. The same message is sent to everyone, and interaction is limited to emoji reactions.


This public feed won’t be found alongside chats with friends or family. Instead, customers will see an “Updates” tab. Browse the Channels with the "Find Channels" button, tap "Follow" and updates will appear a bit like a Facebook or Instagram feed, but without interaction possibilities besides emoji reactions. Plus, notifications are off by default.



Is WhatsApp Channels now available for my business?

Yes, WhatsApp Channels is now (most likely) available for your business.


After initial testing from Meta in Colombia and Singapore from June 2023, it was launched in 150 countries globally in September 2023 – including Germany, Italy, the UK and WhatsApp Business' core markets of India, Brazil and Indonesia.


It's still early days and it remains unclear how it will develop in terms of functionality and cost.


Is WhatsApp Channels free?

Yes, right now WhatsApp Channels is free for businesses. It's possible Meta may monetize this feature in future, but for now, it's completely free.


What can I do with WhatsApp Channels?

As a business or organization, you can publish updates to customers on WhatsApp. 


Brands can create a WhatsApp Channel and allow people to follow it, similar to an Instagram feed.


It's a simple broadcast tool for companies to send out news to large numbers of people at the same time and have them react to it via emojis.


typie-the-authorSee our article about how to create a WhatsApp Channel for your brand.



Who uses WhatsApp Channels?

Soccer teams, media outlets and creators are some of the biggest potential users of WhatsApp Channels.


These are organizations and companies that have a big following and who are hugely interested in hearing news from them.


For companies, especially eCommerce brands, that want to nurture customers, host VIP programs and grow profitable relationships, WhatsApp Channels isn't suitable as the centrepiece of a WhatsApp strategy, but can work together with platforms like charles.


Should I use WhatsApp Channels?

The answer depends a bit on how you’re thinking of using it, as well as the limitations of the channel (we’ll outline these below for you). Ultimately, Channels is not designed to be a revenue driver or to collect data as an orchestrated channel within your CRM tech stack.


Integrations, automations, interactive flows and extensive performance tracking are not possible via Channels like they are via the API. But that doesn’t mean it won’t make a great addition to your holistic marketing strategy, especially as Channels is currently still free.


How can I use WhatsApp Channels within my marketing strategy?

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

  • Grow your community: Share content that doesn’t have to “perform” or that’s not connected to revenue (e.g. soccer clubs sharing community news with their fans)
  • 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 public promotional codes, in addition to private deals


What are the limitations?

WhatsApp Channels is a useful tool but it doesn't measure up with the WhatsApp Business API functionality offered through charles:

  • No personalization: you can only send the same message to all followers, without segmentation or targeting
  • Only 1-way interactions: customers can’t reply to your or ask questions to your shared content
  • No data: it’s not possible to track performance
  • Not connected via the API: this means it’s not accessible through charles or any other software
  • Limited visibility: the broadcasts only appear under “Updates” and notifications are off by default. Posts are also deleted after 30 days
  • No end-to-end encryption


Here's a quick summary of what you can do with charles compared with WhatsApp Channels:


WhatsApp API/charles platform WhatsApp Channels
1:1 conversation with subscribers via main private inbox 1:all push to subscribers via public feed in a separate inbox
Personalized messages via subscriber management, and audience segmentation Generic message to all subscribers
Event-based message triggers such as abandoned carts, last purchases, campaign engagement, and more No event-based message triggers
Interactive & rich formats like quick reply buttons, CTAs, lists, carousels, and more Limited interaction only emojis.
Automated marketing and conversation flows No automation
Integrations with CRM, CDP & Shop No integrations
Custom 1:1 conversations to meet specific customers’ needs No 1:1 conversation
Human or Gen AI conversation possible No human or Gen AI conversation
Higher opening rates (main inbox and notifications usually on) Lower opening rates (notifications off by default for “Updates” inbox)
Cost per conversation Free (so far)
360° tracking of leading and lagging indicators Shop tracking only
Contact information (WA name and WA phone number) No information on users is available, only the total number of followers
Notification available from the default user’s setting No notification about a new channel message for user
Built on WhatsApp API Not manageable via third-party software



To sum up: the charles view on WhatsApp Channels

WhatsApp Channels is a great tool for complementing your marketing strategy, brand awareness, and community engagement.


Next to its native branding potential, we see 2 major benefits of using WhatsApp Channels as an addition to your WhatsApp marketing strategy.


  1. Generate hype around upcoming exclusive WhatsApp deals by sending out a mass communication via Channels first 
    By doing this 👆 you’ll 👇
  2. Collect more subscribers for your private 1-to-1 deals sent via charles directly to the main, private inbox



Talk to us about charles x WhatsApp Channels

We’re really excited by the launch of Channels, because it supports what we’ve known all along – brands can boost revenue by using WhatsApp to connect with customers.


If you have questions about how charles with WhatsApp Channels could boost your sales and customer relationship, talk to usour team of experts are ready to help you make the best out of both channels.


Please keep in mind that channels is not connected to the API and thereby cannot be orchestrated via charles software or any other software. It also requires a separate phone number.


FAQs about WhatsApp Channels

Is WhatsApp Channels now available for my business?

Yes, it is, freshly launched globally after initial testing from META in Columbia and Singapore. Yet it is still early and it remains unclear how it will develop and what it will cost going forward, currently it is for free and continuously rolled out to WhatsApp user base.

Should I use WhatsApp Channels?

It depends. Ultimately WhatsApp Channels lacks capabilities to be constantly optimized towards revenue ad data collection as an orchestrated channel within your CRM tech stack & activity. Still there are use cases that we consider interesting based on the fact that channel updates are currently free to send.


As an example, if you find that Instagram Broadcast Channels worked well for you, WhatsApp Channels might too.

What business use cases is WhatsApp Channels for?

Here are 6 we've identified:

1. Community/brand content that doesn't have to “perform” or that is not connected to revenue. (e.g. soccer clubs updating their fans with news)

2. Collecting community feedback based on emoji reactions

3. Creating hype for an upcoming release or campaign that you are about to send out via private inbox notifications

4. Using channel as an opt-in collector for private inbox opt-ins

5. Big public promotion codes next to private sendout when you want to maximize reach (although you won't be able to track)

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