Advertising on WeChat: A Personal Experience


If you’re currently in the Chinese market and looking to boost your user base, we’d strongly advise advertising via WeChat.

Advertising on WeChat: A Personal Experience

Social media has been an incredibly resourceful tool in the Western marketplace. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, have revolutionized how companies interact with their consumers and how these same consumers interact with each other.

In China, however, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit aren’t nearly as popular or as accessible. That doesn’t stop the Chinese population from embracing social media though.

china wechat

There are many social media platforms in China that serve the same purpose, and much like the Western marketplace, social media can be utilized within a marketing strategy to significantly boost brand awareness and improve organic user acquisition rates.

Without a doubt, the most popular social media platform that exists in China is “WeChat”. Owned by Tencent, WeChat rivals Facebook in terms of active users, with approximately 889 million monthly users.

The app’s success is largely due to its accessibility, security, and range of features. Not only is it a tremendously successful communications app, but millions of users use the application to receive news and updates, play games, send money, and pay for goods and services.

Through their e-commerce platform, users spent an estimated US$1.2 trillion on digital payments in 2016 (Based on a case study by Better Than Cash Alliance, April 2017).*

The app is fastly becoming a one-stop-shop for all consumer needs and as such, there are many potential opportunities for touchpoints to occur.

Let’s analyze how you can create these moments and how they can be used to build your user base and expand your reach.

WeChat moments

WeChat moments work in a similar way to Facebook’s timeline feature. Users post pictures and videos that others can see, like, and comment on.

It’s a scrollable feed that is populated by the accounts you follow. It’s within these feeds that you have the opportunity to advertise directly to your audience.

  1. Your Company name and logo
  2. Brief app description (40 characters max)
  3. Images (6 max)
  4. Call to action (CTA) link
  5. Social interaction (like comment, share)

You’ll have the ability to target specific audiences based on industry, location, education, marital status, gender, age, and user behavior.

In doing this, you can ensure that your ad will be seen by the people most likely to engage with your app. The ad itself integrates seamlessly into the user’s feed so as not to be too intrusive.

In order to take advantage of the social media hooks, you’ll want to create an ad that’s fun, unique, and involves user interactivity.

In doing so, the ad becomes more than a message and transforms into a positive experience that users would be more inclined to share with their friends. This effectively creates a free additional marketing stream that grows with each user interaction/share.

WeChat Banner Ads

wechat projection

Banner ads contain a short amount of information and have the option to include imagery too.

They can be targeted to certain audiences but unlike the ads within moments, they appear at the bottom of the page instead of organically throughout.

  1. Ad banner (logo, name, and headline)
  2. Call to action (CTA) link

In the above example, upon tapping the ad, the user is either taken to the app store to download the app (ios) or is prompted to download and install the app directly to their device (Android).

You can set the CTA button to link to purchasing, coupon code generation, or follow your official WeChat page. We highly recommend that you build your followers on WeChat, as it will allow your content to populate their feed at no additional cost.

The pricing model for banner ads is performance-based, which offers a fair amount of flexibility to test levels of effectiveness and to adjust marketing budgets accordingly.

Influencers/WeChat Bloggers

As shown below, the majority of users follow official accounts that relate to their specific areas of interest and keep themselves informed via news feeds and blogs.

Much like Western cultures, there are popular figures throughout social media in China.

Known as influencers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), they can incorporate your app into their content. This could be within a blog reviewing your app, a moment highlighting a cool feature of the app, or as a banner ad at the foot of their content.

Followers of a trusted influencer will see the endorsement of your product and by associating with someone they respect/admire, your brand will build a certain level of legitimacy.

It’s also a good opportunity to put your app in the hands of someone who is able to speak to the audience directly, highlighting the benefits of your app and the ease of use and navigation.

With that in mind, it’s key to align yourself with an influencer that has a similar target audience to your app. This will ensure that you enjoy higher levels of conversion.

Influencers vary in popularity and this will be reflected in their fees. Working with a relatively new or smaller influencer is a great way to get your message across without spending too much money to acquire their services.

Paying for influencers can be at a fixed fee or through a results-based model (more about affiliate marketing here), which can further reduce your spending on marketing.

In Summary

Moments are a great way to introduce viral marketing campaigns that can generate additional free opportunities to expand your reach and grow your brand awareness.

Banner ads are a simple solution to encourage users to download links and can be a valuable tool in building your official WeChat page.

Users that follow your page will have access to your latest updates and any posts you make will appear on their feed organically, saving you money.

Influencers (KOLs) are a good resource for building brand awareness through association with a trusted figure or even initiating direct sales if you know you customer’s shopping behavior good enough.

Pricing varies between influencers so there are many opportunities to connect with someone within your budget.