Telegram is stepping up its game with new attributes designed to enrich interaction within channels, giving it a competitive edge against WhatsApp. Owned by Meta, WhatsApp launched its broadcast channels feature worldwide in September, prompting Telegram to enhance its channel offerings.
Now, when a Telegram user subscribes to a channel, the application will prompt them with suggestions of similar channels, improving the visibility of diverse content within the app's ecosystem.
Previously, in August, Telegram had introduced stories for all its users. With the latest upgrade, it also facilitates users and channels to share their stories again on their profiles, allowing for additional text, images, or video to be added to the reposted content.
Channels have the opportunity to personalize their reactions with custom emojis that correlate with their level, which in part is determined by channel boosts. Premium members of Telegram have the privilege of boosting a channel of their choice, contributing to the channel's level. The higher the level achieved by a channel, the more features it can access, including the option to post stories. This tiered approach introduces a gaming element to channel engagement.
For those channels with the stories capability, Telegram now provides detailed analytics for individual stories. These insights encompass view counts, reactions, and the frequency of shares, enriching owners with data about user engagement over time.
Moreover, Telegram introduced a giveaway tool that allows channels to organize giveaways of Telegram Premium subscriptions and other incentives. These giveaways aim to attract new followers and strengthen the channels' communities.
In addition to the channel-centric features, Telegram is expanding the availability of its voice-to-text transcription service, previously exclusive to premium users, to all users but limited to two transcriptions weekly. The new update also incorporates enhanced formatting options for code in messages, exclusive dual-sided wallpaper for premium users that participants in a chat can view, and a refined topics layout in group discussions.
Although Telegram has featured channels for some time, the platform has been motivated to further innovate due to WhatsApp's introduction of a similar channel feature. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg broadcasted that WhatsApp's channel feature had surpassed 500 million monthly active users. To give some perspective, WhatsApp boasts of a user base exceeding 2 billion monthly activities, while Telegram claims over 800 million.