Wechat is a social media app that’s similar to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all rolled into one. The app has over 1 billion active monthly users with about 700 million daily active users. Because of its success with Chinese netizens and wide range f communication tools, Wechat has been invested by brands and marketing. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about advertising on WeChat: what it is, how it works, why you should be using it now more than ever before!

How to Successfully Advertise on Wechat?

When you enter the world of WeChat advertising, be prepared to get your hands dirty. You will have to become familiar with its characteristics so that you may successfully manage a campaign.

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Growing your follower base on WeChat is Key

The key to success on WeChat is growing your follower base. It’s essential for any newcomer, especially those without a following already established in China, that they first understand how the closed network of Wechat works and why it’s important to grow their followers here. The main way users can see content from accounts they are not currently following is through posts shared on group chat or a connection moment. From our experience, there is a magic number when it comes to WeChat: 10,000 followers. This number is an important key factor for your future growth with more re-posts, shares, and an animated community engaging with your brand & business.

The more you’ll satisfy your Wechat followers base, the more chance you’ll have to reach their friends as they will probably talk about your brand, or post content mentioning your brand. WeChat is a key portal not only as a way to share information but also engage with users in Q&A, sending newsletters & ultimately providing incentives for followers to engage with your account.

The most powerful way to engage interaction is by providing quality content. You have to wonder what you can offer them, how far they are willing or able to go with your offerings in order for them to give up 2 minutes of their day on a Wednesday morning and read about the latest news from ABC-123 company? WeChat may be that “2.0 word-of-mouth” channel where millions hear about breaking information just hours after it happens thanks to someone who happened across the article while scrolling through social media feeds at work during lunch break.

Here are some tips to grow your Wechat followers base

  • Stay focused on sharing content about your activity
  • Establish yourself as a native expert in your area
  • Provide unique insights/offers that are only available from your account.
  • Create and use HTML5 content to advertise and engage consumers
  • Use WeChat as a way to interact with your followers. Be responsive and bring them into the conversation. You can also reward them for doing so.
  • It’s a well-known fact that the more people you can reach, the better chance your content has at going viral. However, one of the best ways to do this is via peer-to-peer sharing – which means getting followers to share your content with their own contacts on their Moments feeds! One of the strategies for getting your content shared is to provide entertaining, original, and qualitative content.

Paid Advertising on WeChat

WeChat Banner Ads

One of the most effective ways to advertise on WeChat is by using banners. These are like ad banners you would see on a website, but they can be very different from what people expect when messaging with friends and family. In these cases, banner ads appear at the bottom of posts published by a Wechat Official Account

WeChat banner advertising is a great way to grow your Wechat followers with a steady ROI. With this in mind, it’s important to run test campaigns and calculate the CPA by adjusting different content. A WeChat follower costs between 8 RMB – 20 RMB depending on targeting and campaign optimization skills so get started today!

There are three components to Wechat Banner Ads:
  • WeChat article: WeChat banner ads are usually displayed at the bottom of WeChat posts
  • Ad banner: the banner is made of a logo, account name, and headline. When clicked, it takes the users to a page containing additional information about the brand/product.
  • Call to action: this redirects users to another landing page.
Wechat Banner Ads targetting is more relevant

If you are wondering why are Wechat banner campaigns popular with advertisers, one of the reasons is that they target relevant users who already have an interest in what you’re selling, as well as being cheaper than Wechat moment ads for instance.

Footer & Exchange ads for example can be placed at the bottom of targeted articles about that specific topic, thus you know there is already a degree of active engagement with relevant topics.

WeChat is often referred to as the ‘WeChat Times’ because users surf for information through it. With, Wechat articles being such relevant content in users’ daily life, banner ads placement inside those posts have also grown in importance for brands and publishers.

WeChat Banner ads can drive traffic to:

  • WeChat Official Accounts
  • WeChat Stores
  • Store page
  • External Links (opened within WeChat browser)

WeChat Banner ads have also developed with a greater range of options

  • Footer ads (底部广告) – a banner placed below a WeChat article with a call-to-action button
  • Pre-scrolling video ads (视频贴片广告) – Pre-roll ads in a video
  • Exchange ads (互选广告) – Exchange ads are similar to footer ads. The major difference is that exchange ads may be presented in a larger card format with a call-to-action button.

Pricing & Costs if Wechat Banner Ads

For the standard footer banner ads, the primary pricing model is CPC (Cost per click).

  • For the auction scheme (竞价购买), it’s more suitable for advertisers who need flexible advertising time and constant optimization of the ad. The advertising cost is determined by the number of ad clicks. The CPC ads price on WeChat is based on real-time bidding and the minimum bid for each click starts at 0.5 RMB.
  • For the scheduling scheme (排期购买), it is ONLY open to account ads for the purpose of promoting the brand or a campaign. Advertisers can schedule a fixed advertising time during the following 2 to 28 days. The price also depends on the location where the ad will be displayed. The pricing model is CPM in this case and the minimum budget is 1,000 RMB for one advertising campaign.

To go further when advertising on Wechat

WeChat Subscription Ads

When subscribing to an official account, users will be able to receive instantly all the news, content, and shared articles of this account. For example, after creating your Official WeChat account, you have the possibility to configure an automatic welcoming message, send e-vouchers, news, etc. It’s a powerful way to directly target your followers. In fact, users following your account, are most of the time interested in your brand/company and are most likely to click on your ad and maybe purchase your products.

WeChat Mini-program Ads

As mentioned earlier, you can create a mini-program that will be accessible directly on WeChat. It’s a way to directly engage consumers to go on your website/online shop, look at your products, and return to the mini-program easily afterward. These mini-programs are directly accessible on WeChat, don’t require a download, and can also be shared on WeChat.

WeChat Moment Ads

WeChat Moments ads are a great tool considering a user will typically check its WeChat moments when opening the app. Moments ads are placed in-feed for users, this is typically a higher-budget approach in terms of minimum ad spend but offers the highest exposure levels.

WeChat moment ads were launched in 2015 when 25 brands including Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz took part in the first testing campaign. Moments ads tend to be best for brands that already have a certain level of engagement in China. The starting price for moments ads is 50,000 RMB in mainland China

WeChat Moments Ads includes:
  • Brand’s name and profile picture
  • Up to 40 characters and description
  • Link to an HTML5 webpage hosted on Tencent’s server
  • Up to 6 pictures or 6-15 seconds short videos
  • You can target users according to their location, interest, age, gender, device, and phone network.
Moments ads can drive traffic to
  • WeChat Official Accounts
  • WeChat Stores
  • Store page
  • External Links (opened within WeChat browser)
Pricing & Costs of WeChat Moment Ads

Moments ads adopt the CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions) pricing model. There are also two purchasing schemes: scheduling and auction.

  • For the scheduling scheme (排期购买), advertisers can schedule a fixed advertising time between 2 to 28 days. The price also depends on where the ad will be displayed. The minimum budget is 50,000 RMB for one advertising campaign.
  • For the auction scheme (竞价购买), it’s more suitable for advertisers who need flexible advertising times and constant optimization of the ad. It’s based on real-time bidding and the minimum budget is 1,000 RMB for one day.
Interactivity on Wechat Moments Ads

There is now a greater degree of interactivity with companies using Wechat. Advertising and engaging directly with consumers is part of WeChat’s ecosystem.

The updates on WeChat Moments ads have been game-changer! Not only are they more focused on video content, but the format has also changed for an improved user experience. This feature allows advertisers to integrate all their content into one ad banner and it’s easier than ever to interact with them through instant messaging or watching videos online.

How to Leverage WeChat as a Powerful Tool for Growth

Content is actively re-shared outside of your social network into targeted groups, the effectiveness of this depends on the target market in terms of group interest & engagement levels but a successful strategy involves having access to quality, high-level groups that are less associated with spam but linked to the active conversation.

Re-Posting & Sharing on Wechat

Content (weekly or daily) can be posted in groups and then animated through conversation + relevant topic discussion. Spam groups are avoided and will not drive traffic to articles or posts whilst quality groups will. Regular discussions led my multiple members it the key (rather than one domineering one). P2P sharing on WeChat is an important element for growth. P2P can be artificially stimulated with multiple covert accounts but needs to result in organic sharing, again why will the content be shared? It comes back time and time again to content.

Groups can be searched via topics type, you can then re-post and integrate content into groups but the conversation must also be animated to drive prospects to the WeChat page.

Organic strategies can drive traffic to

  • WeChat Official Accounts
  • WeChat Stores
  • Store page
  • External Links (opened within WeChat browser)

A Promising Advertising Eco-System

One of WeChat’s defining traits is the development of its own ecosystem. Users remain within the system for:

  • Social communications
  • Moments/news feed updates
  • Web links (WeChat Browser)
  • Mini apps/programs optimized within this ecosystem shopping (via WeChat Stores)
  • E-wallet payments/transfers
  • Didi (taxi ordering application)
  • Dating/Ticket Booking Third-Party Apps
  • Mapping/Location Sharing Services

And the list really does go on… But what does this mean?
For advertisers, you have an incredible amount of data about your consumers. WeChat actually has historically been a trickier platform for advertisers with higher minimum spending and fewer ads options than China’s second-largest network ‘Weibo’.

One reason for this is that Weibo boasts an ad structure more akin to Twitter whilst WeChat has adopted a different methodology. WeChat is determined to keep the user funnel relatively free of ads and focus on user experience before monetizing through paid promotions.

Useful Tips to Advertise on WeChat

If you want to take advantage of WeChat and advertise your business, you will need to clearly understand WeChat’s ecosystem, as well as to plan carefully your advertising strategy beforehand.

Understanding the purpose of WeChat

Firstly, it is important to understand the vision & scope of this platform as an advertiser. In fact, WeChat’s ultimate goal is to be the definitive ‘one-stop shop’ for Chinese consumers. It is a platform that caters to users’ daily needs in a unique way.

WeChat has become the bedrock of social communication and is also one of the most integrated service providers in the world. If you want to advertise on WeChat, you have to understand that you’ll have to be creative and responsive in order to stand out amongst your potential competitors.

WeChat Pay: The Most Popular Digital Wallet Service in the World

WeChat Pay’s Website

When it comes to advertising products and services on WeChat, understanding the e-wallet system is vital. As a digital payment service linked directly with your bank account, you can pay instantly through this platform.

For example, if you are advertising a product on WeChat, WeChat Pay will be a powerful tool for ‘Flash Sales’ or ‘Impulsive Purchase’. Flash sales promotions have been used by several international fashion brands in China, within a limited period of time of 24 hours. This functionality is especially used by luxury brands, such as Dior, Burberry, Chanel, Lancôme, etc.

Burberry’s 24-hours Flash Sales on WeChat (© Jing Daily)

One of the most successful flash sales on WeChat was organized by Burberry in 2017, with more than half of the items sold before the end of the event. Following this commercial and advertising success, many brands did the same in recent years.

Clinique – Wechat Store – CNY 2021

The power of WeChat Pay is that it combines e-commerce and social media. WeChat-hosted stores can be used to drive traffic and generate sales without even leaving the platform. You have to consider it as an in-system way to drive traffic to your store. This also means that you must optimize content at every stage of the advertising process (HMTL5 brochure for WeChat for example).

WeChat’s H5 Brochures

Wechat H5 are interactive and fun to use. They come in a variety of styles, some with video animations or triggering events like shaking your phone for the animation to move on its own. Wechat H5 is versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to promote your brand. One way is by using them as event flyers or ads for products. They’re great because they give you the opportunity to engage with customers on multiple levels through interactive content like quizzes that work well alongside visual graphics and other multimedia features!

Scapa’s H5 Brochure by GMA

With a WeChat H5, you can share the link and QR code to your content on groups or ‘We Chat Moments’. You’ll be able to view it in any browser too, but some features may not work. Remember, this is designed for sharing within Wechat.

WeChat’s Mini-Programs

Pandora’s mini-program on WeChat

Another useful functionality available on WeChat is its mini-programs. The platform’s Mini Programs, are third-party “apps” that are running on WeChat without requiring users to download them.

WeChat Mini-programs have skyrocketed to over one million in 2018, used by brands such as Burberry, H&M, and Dior. Furthermore, SMEs are increasingly connected with users via WeChat Pay – the annual transaction volume from mini-programs has more than doubled last year alone (2020)!

More on WeChat: China’s Most Popular App

Even though WeChat is one of the most used social media in the world, not everyone is aware of WeChat’s potential thanks to its rich and vast ecosystem. Following its success and omnipresence in China, it is undeniable that for those who want to do business in China, WeChat is a must-have.

What is WeChat?

© Tencent Holdings

Tencent, the famous company behind WeChat (known in China as “Weixin” 微信), launched its popular app to Mainland China in 2011 and overseas markets in 2012. The incredible growth of this mobile application has helped it become one of the largest standalone apps on earth with over 1 billion monthly active users in 2018. As of today (2021) WeChat has over 1.2 billion monthly active users, and it’s become an integral part of Chinese people’s daily life! So as you know, WeChat started out as a messaging app but Tencent saw its potential to reach more customers by implementing services right in the app itself. That’s why WeChat is dubbed “the super app” or the “app for everything.” It quickly established itself as China’s most popular mobile application and has become an essential tool in companies entering the Chinese market.

(© Hootsuite)

While our days are punctuated by the use of instant messaging and multiple social media, Chinese people are mainly using WeChat to do almost everything. From the beginning till the end of the day, Chinese people are using WeChat.

Use of WeChat in a day

Wechat is an extremely valuable resource for its users. You can use it to chat with friends, share posts and messages, order food or entertainment services (such as a car ride), all while paying in the app through Wechat Wallet!

WeChat’s Ecosystem

The WeChat ecosystem is multifunctional and allows its users to send text/voice messaging, video conferencing, and playing games, and so on. It also has the possibility of sharing pictures or videos on what’s called “WeChat moments” which are similar to Instagram or Facebook.

Because of the sheer size of its users base and how mainstream the app has become (with consumers and companies), if you’re looking to build your brand in China, then WeChat is a staple.

WeChat Users Demographic

According to Hootsuite‘s report,

  • 54.6% of WeChat users are male, while 45.4% are female users.
  • As of 2019, about 25% of WeChat users in China were between 25 and 30 years old.
  • 19% of users aged over 41 (2019).
  • +26% of China’s mobile users spent above 30 minutes per day on WeChat

The number of active accounts on WeChat has been increasing steadily over the years. In the last quarter of 2020, WeChat had over 1.2 billion monthly active users.

Conclusion: Wechat Advertising in a nutshell

The key take-home is that both organic & paid ad options provide a certain and particular comprehensive infrastructure to advertise and market effectively your brand and your products.

With growing informational asymmetry in relation to WeChat, it’s more important than ever to talk about your projects with experts on the Chinese market who will review your strategy, give you tips and advice, and help you get the best of the Chinese market.

Contact us and Start advertising on WeChat

GMA is one of the largest & most reputable digital marketing agencies in Mainland China. We focus purely on Chinese digital strategy & implementation.

WeChat is a core aspect of GMA’s Business, and we work intensively in:

  • Mini/Micro-Site Development
  • Ad Campaign Management
  • Content Promotion Strategy (Organic)
  • WeChat Content Creation & Formatting
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • HTML5 Content & Account Development

Why should you choose GMA for WeChat Development?

  • We are Tencent’s Official Partner
  • Almost 10 years of experience on WeChat
  • WeChat content & formating specialists
  • In-depth reporting & analytics
  • An international team with experts specialized in various fields (Luxury, Fashion, F&B, Alcohol, Cosmetics, Tourism, Education, Entertainment, Real Estate, etc.)
  • We manage all projects according to your needs, expectations, and budget. Our strategy is tailored for your business in particular, and we’ll plan everything with you.

If you have any questions or inquiries about WeChat or if you have a serious project in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us directly and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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