Wechat Advertising

Tencent’s WeChat, as China’s largest social media pla orm with 987 million Monthly Ac ve Users, has evidently developed a fascina ng & lucra ve model for growth in what has become a ‘WeChat Centric Society’. It is the bedrock of social communica ons in China & the pla orm you need to develop a presence on as part of any comprehensive strategy.

Here I want to explore the key features of:
1. Prac cal Adver sing Strategy
2. How to Leverage WeChat as a Powerful Tool for Growth

The aim is to help you come to informed conclusions about China’s number one social network and how you can u lize it for growth in a pragma c way.

Practical Advertising Strategy

WHAT IS WECHAT’S VISION?

Firstly It’s important to understand the vision & scope of this pla orm as an adver ser with WeChat’s ul mate goal of being the de ni ve ‘one stop shop’ for users realized in modern China. This is a pla orm that caters for users daily needs in a unique way.

WeChat has become the bedrock of social communica on & one of the most integrated service providers in the world.

CONSIDER HERE A SHORT RUN-DOWN OF WECHAT SERVICES

  • Text, Audio, Image Messaging
  • Live Video Sights
  • Moments (akin to a FB News Feed)
  • Didi (Taxi ordering app embedded)
  • Da ng Services
  • E-Wallet & Payment Services
  • Booking trips, cinema ckets etc
  • Tencent News
  • Incorporated JD Shopping Channels
  • WeChat Stores
  • Mini Programmes/Apps
  • WeChat Browser
  • Geoloca on & Mapping ServicesTencent have either directly developed WeChat services to cater for user demand or formed lucra ve partnerships (as is the case with DIDI & JD), to cater to the Chinese consumer.If there is one thing western rms can learn from WeChat is their extra-ordinary ability to meet user needs and localize.This wealth of services & vast user number is a huge feat and puts WeChat in a very powerful posi on.They can now tap into their wealth of data for Business Development as well as partner with Global players hungry the world over to reach Chinese consumers on the pla orm.

WECHAT PAY AS A POWERFUL INFRASTRUCTURE

When adver sing products & services on WeChat it’s vital to understand the e-wallet / WeChat payment system. This is a digital payment service linked to a users bank account for instant payment on the pla orm.

For adver sing products this lends itself o en to ‘FlashSales’or‘ImpulsivePurchasing’.Thepower of this payment is that it couples e-commerce with social networking. WeChat hosted stores can be u lized to drive tra c and generate sales all without leaving this pla orm.

Consider then that in-system ads drive tra c to an WeChat hosted store which allows for an in-built and instant payment. In many ways an adver sers dream.

The e ec veness of adver sing on WeChat is that users do not leave the pla orm. This also means you must op mize content at every stage of the adver sing process (HMTL5 Format for WeChat).

Growing WeChat Followers the Key

This is the key for any new brand or business on WeChat. It’s essen al to understand that WeChat is a closed network, that is, users can only see posts & content if they are connected with you.

For content to be visible you need to develop and build that community around your account. I view WeChat as a key portal for not just sharing informa on but also engaging with users in Q&A, sending news- le ers & ul mately providing incen ves for followers to engage with your account.

The most powerful incen ve is quality content; what unique o ering, insights and educa on can you provide to the end user? What will keep them returning to your account and ins l that much sought phenomena of brand loyalty.

HERE’S SOME KEY TIPS FOR FOLLOWER GROWTH

  • Keep Content Focused on Your Speci c Niche
  • Establish yourself as a na ve expert in your area
  • Provide completely unique insights / o ers that are only available from your account.
    • Consider HTML5 content forma ng for a far superior user experience.
    • It sounds so obvious but remain highly social, re- post and re-share user generated content on your page, bring consumers into the conversa on and reward them for your doing so.
    • Quality content equates to shares on ‘moments feeds’, nothing is more powerful than P2P sharing amongst social groups.So what you have is a chicken/egg situa on, how do you grow your followers without that current base & social group.Evidently you need content to be viewed outside of your network.

THERE ARE TWO APPROACHES ORGANIC ADVERTISING & PAID ADVERTISING

ORGANIC GROWTH ON WECHAT

Outside of paid adver sing on the pla orm there are also a wealth of op ons. Here are the most frequently adopted strategies that aim to grow your follower base in the smartest way.

GROUP INTEGRATION & POSTING

Content is ac vely re-shared outside of your social network into targeted groups, the e ec veness of this depends on the target market in terms of group interest & engagement levels but a quality strategy involves having access to quality, high level groups that are less associated with spam but linked to ac ve conversa on.

Content (weekly or daily) can be posted in groups and then animated through conversa on + relevant topic discussion. Spam groups are avoided and will not drive tra c to ar cles or posts whilst quality groups will. Regular discussions led my mul ple members it the key (rather than one domineering one).

A smart strategy therefore u lizes mul ple accounts pos ng covertly.

Once through to the ar cle users can engage with the content, leave comments & reach a call to ac on to follow the account.

Hence s ll the phrase holds true, content really is king.

Best wechat advertising strategies for good roi

RE-POSTING & SHARING

Very e ec ve as content is being pushed into user’s networks directly. P2P sharing on WeChat is an important element for growth. P2P can be ar cially s mulated with mul ple covert accounts but needs to result in organic sharing, again why will the content be shared? It comes back me and me again to content.

ORGANIC STRATEGIES CAN DRIVE TRAFFIC TO

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

A DEVELOPING ADVERTISING ECO-SYSTEM

One of WeChat’s de ning traits is the development of it’s own eco-system. Users remain within the system for;

  • Social communica ons,
  • Moments/news feed updates,
  • Web links (WeChat Browser),
  • Mini apps/programmes op mized within thisecosystem
  • Shopping (via WeChat Stores),
  • E-wallet payments/transfers
  • Didi (taxi ordering applica on)
  • Da ng/Ticket Booking Third Party Apps
  • Mapping/Loca on Sharing ServicesAnd the list really does go on.. But what does this mean?For adver sers you have an incredible amount of data on consumers.WeChat actually has historically been a trickier pla orm for adver sers with higher minimum spends and fewer ad op ons than China’s second largest network ‘Weibo’.

One reason for this is that Weibo boasts an ad structure more akin to Facebook whilst WeChat has adopted a different methodology.

One explanation for WeChat’s mass uptake on such a scale is the platforms determination to keep the user funnel relatively free of ads and focus on user experience before monetizing through paid promotions.

But international companies want to reach WeChat users. Therefore ad options are changing and becoming more accessible for registered accounts.

Moment Ads

MOMENTS ADS

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.

MOMENTS ADS CAN DRIVE TRAFFIC TO

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

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?

A normal Moments ad consists of the following elements:
• Advertiser’s name and profile picture
• Text: A short description of less than 40

characters
• Visuals: Up to 6 pictures or a short video

that lasts up to 15 seconds
• Hyperlink: Link to a promotional article,

a native advertising page, a list of previous articles from an official account, an app download page or external H5 pages.

PRICING & COSTS

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

• For the scheduling scheme (排期购买), adver sers can schedule a xed adver sing me during the following 2 to 28 days. The price also depends on where the ad will be displayed. The minimum budget is 50,000 RMB for one adver sing campaign.

• For the auc on scheme (竞价购买), it’s more suitable for adver sers who need exible adver sing mes and constant op miza on of the ad. It’s based on real- me bidding and the minimum budget is 1,000 RMB for one day.

INTERACTIVITY ON MOMENTS ADS

There is now a greater degree of interac vity with companies such as Trip Advisor encouraging users to comment and interact with content. In an interview with social beta Trip advisor commented that they had ‘replied to 1000’s of comments’ (see below).

Adver sing op ng this social approach is very im- portant in a unique WeChat ecosystem.

WeChat Moment ads are also far more focused on video content, and have developed a clearer format for an improved user experience. This integrates the content all onto a single ad banner & allows for in- creased company interac vity on ads.

BANNER ADS – A MORE TARGETED REACH

Developments in banner on WeChat have been exci- • ng to witness, the bene t of banners is they target • users already engaging with RELEVANT content on • WeChat. •

Footer & Exchange ads for example can be placed at the bo om of targeted ar cles about that speci c topic, thus you know there is already a degree of ac- ve engagement with relevant topics.

WeChat is some mes fondly referred to as the ‘WeChat Times’ in terms of users browsing for infor- ma on, ar cles have become much more important with placing ads alongside such content key for long term growth.

Banner Ads

Developments in banner on WeChat have been exci- • ng to witness, the bene t of banners is they target • users already engaging with RELEVANT content on • WeChat. •

Footer & Exchange ads for example can be placed at the bo om of targeted ar cles about that speci c topic, thus you know there is already a degree of ac- ve engagement with relevant topics.

WeChat is some mes fondly referred to as the ‘WeChat Times’ in terms of users browsing for infor- ma on, ar cles have become much more important with placing ads alongside such content key for long term growth.

WeChat O cial Accounts
WeChat Stores
Store page
External Links (opened within WeChat browser)

  • Footer ads
  • Pre-scrolling video ads
  • Exchange ads

Conclusion & Get in Touch

The key take-home is that both organic & paid ad op ons provide a more comprehensive infrastructure for intelligent consumer marke ng.

This is a complex & compe ve arena, you should ensure you speak with an expert rst about how best to develop your WeChat Strategy.

With growing informa onal asymmetry in rela on to WeChat it’s more important than ever to consult, review strategy and invest funds in the wisest possible way.