WhatsApp Communities

whatsapp communities

WhatsApp Communities is now rolling out

Social media apps have grown in popularity over the past decade. Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Telegram, and more, have become mainstays in today’s world. 

But social media isn’t a one-use term – it encompasses several different platforms which serve their own unique purposes. And one popular purpose is to bring groups together, small or large.

WhatsApp, known as one of the most popular messaging apps, recently started rolling out WhatsApp Communities– a new feature that helps users organize groups.

In this post, we’ll tell all about WhatsApp and the new WhatsApp Communities, as well as other new features that make the app more useful than ever. Read on to find out.

About WhatsApp

The groups sector of the social media market has been dominated by messaging apps, which are a hit amongst social media users worldwide. Apps like Telegram have carved a niche in this regard, giving users a wide range of features and groups to connect across borders.

But one of the most popular messaging apps to date (if not the most popular) is WhatsApp. The app was launched over 13 years ago, known for its ease of use when it comes to messaging, video calls, and group chats, giving it significant appeal amongst users globally.

In Australia, WhatsApp has become the most used messaging app, gaining around 4 million users last year alone, according to Civic Web Media. In total, WhatsApp claims around 12 million active users, and more Australians use the app more than Facebook Messenger. In fact, WhatsApp is now the third most used social network in Australia, showing its strengths are not just limited to messaging alone.

WhatsApp’s popularity stretches beyond Australia. According to Statista, as of April, the messaging app had approximately 2.44 billion unique active users worldwide. This represents a 6.4 percent jump from April of last year, and the growth momentum is expected to continue.

According to Statista, WhatsApp unique active users continue to grow

According to Statista, WhatsApp unique active users continue to grow. src

WhatsApp Communities – what’s different about it?

WhatsApp isn’t new to the groups feature. Even before their recent announcement, users were able to create and participate in groups. However, WhatsApp Communities adds some useful features to groups. We’ll cover them here.

WhatsApp Communities essentially allows users to compile similar groups under one community. For instance, a school could use WhatsApp Communities as an umbrella for other groups that have to do with the school – for instance, groups for each grade level, sports teams, parents, and so on. All those similar groups can now be placed into a single community while preserving their exclusivity.

This is a useful feature for a number of reasons. For one, being able to compile different groups under one community is great for keeping things organized. It can also help ease communication and improve collaboration amongst group members. It also gives admins of different groups more control – easy and efficient control.

whatsapp communities

WhatsApp Communities is rolling out. src

Besides organization, here’s a closer look at some of what WhatsApp Communities offers:

  • Privacy 
    WhatsApp will continue with end-to-end encryption to keep your communication private, and phone numbers won’t be visible accross communities – they will only be visible in groups. Also, if a message has already been forwarded, it can only be forwarded to one group. According to WhatsApp, this can help reduce misinformation.
  • No discoverability
    In line with the privacy mantra, WhatsApp Communities won’t be able to be discovered through search. Users will have to know about the group before joining.
  • Admin delete 
    Admins have been given more control, including the ability to delete messages for everyone.
  • Admin announcements 
    Admins can use WhatsApp Communities to send messages to all groups (or some groups) at once.
  • User controls 
    Users are still allowed to decide who can add them to a group, block other users, leave an entire community (not just a group), report abuse, etc.

While other messaging and group apps cater to larger groups, WhatsApp Communities is focusing on smaller, close knit groups like families, close friends, teams, organizations, etc. The lack of discoverability makes sure of this, so that users can only join communities and groups they are familiar with. 

Other new WhatsApp upgrades

In addition to WhatsApp Communities, WhatsApp plans to roll out more features for non-group users, some of which are already live. Here’s a look at three significant new features:

  • Reactions 
    Instead of replying to a message with an emoji, users can now react to the message instead – much like a Facebook like.
  • Share large files 
    WhatsApp has had a 100 megabytes limit for a long time, but this is about to change. The platform will allow users share files of up to 2 gigabytes.
  • Group phone calls 
    The one-tap call feature can now include up to 32 users at once.

Conclusion

There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg paid a whopping $16bn to purchase WhatsApp back in 2015 – an increasing proportion of the time we spend on our mobile phones is being spent in messaging apps. 

Communications apps are also strategically important. When chats become the way we interact with brands online (a day that is not too far away), we’ll likely engage with them through apps like WhatsApp.

Whatsapp communities are essentially the formalisation of existing group chat capabilities with additional privileges for the administrator and some other useful features. They’re also likely just one step forward for Meta in this significantly important element of their digital footprint. More will follow.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.