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Slack promotes «ad channels» for team update feeds

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Slack administrators can now designate any channel to be used only for advertisements, a move designed to minimize distractions and ensure that important information is communicated to employees.

Although it is now possible to limit publishing to the default #general channel in Slack workspaces, the change introduced today allows Slack Plus Plus and Enterprise Grid plan administrators to restrict other channels as well. Thus, for example, the # it-ads or # emea-ads channels can be limited only to the transmission of information.

The purpose is to prevent employees from posting messages on advertising channels (such as IT-related requests on an IT ad channel), which may cause other workers to disable the channel and ignore it completely.

You will still be able to reply to messages using chain replies on ad channels.

«Advertising channels are a highly sought-after feature by customers, especially in the growing number of wall-to-wall Slack organizations,» said Ilan Frank, Slack’s director of enterprise products.

«We created this feature to make sure communications are seen, to create a reliable source of truth within organizations, and to allow users to immediately share their comments about ads through emoji reactions or topics,» said Frank.

«Based on customer feedback, we believe that IT administrators and corporate communications teams will be delighted …»

Larry Cannell, research director at Gartner, said that while it’s not an «excellent feature,» changing the ad channel will be a welcome addition for administrators dealing with busy workspaces. «If Slack is going to replace email, then you need that kind of ability,» he said.

Slack will also introduce APIs to help automate some of the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that administrators must perform when managing large-scale deployments. APIs, for example, will allow administrators to create workspaces and allocate members, as well as invite thousands of guest accounts to multiple channels simultaneously. These «events» can be triggered automatically by information collected through web forms, Slack said, such as a user submitting a request to create a new workspace.

It will soon be possible to automate application approvals and rejections in Enterprise Grid implementations. Thus, an organization that relies on Box, for example, as the main document storage platform, can whitelist the application, eliminating the need for manual approvals every time a new workspace is created. It will also be possible to create rules to authorize certain applications, allowing workers to use applications that publish only instead of reading data, or banning all applications for certain types of applications.

«Use cases for management and procurement are the most obvious scenarios for capitalizing on these management APIs,» Cannell said. «For example, a third-party tool could use APIs to help manage a Slack installation with other IT infrastructures. Or it could be as simple as a Slack administrator creating a provisioning script to facilitate their own efforts. I hope to see administrators publicly sharing these types of scriptures as well. «

Enterprise Grid was launched in 2017 for Slack’s largest customers, with additional features to support large-scale deployments. Among the 150 organizations that now use Enterprise Grid are Capital One, IBM and Target.

The latest features build on the new Enterprise Grid security capabilities announced by Slack earlier this month to help manage Slack on mobile devices.

Ad channels are now available for Plus and Enterprise Grid customers.