Operating an Official Account is an effective tactic to leverage the full benefits of WeChat and engage WeChat users as a long-term strategy, but before you are ready to publish organic contents and build up subscriptions, what are some quick marketing wins on WeChat?

WeChat advertising can help companies reach billions of WeChat users the right time, in the right place, even without content marketing on Official Account. Here’s our insights from The Ultimate Guide to WeChat.

  1. Introduction to WeChat Advertising

Although WeChat was launched in 2010, it was not until 2015 that it introduced advertising capabilities and the first ad on its Moments timeline. Since then, WeChat ads have made a significant contribution to the revenue of Tencent Holdings, the owner of the application. In 2018, that revenue from WeChat ads alone was more than 10 billion renminbi.

As one of the most popular social media apps in China, WeChat supports both and KOL advertising to accomplish various marketing objectives. What features of WeChat are available for programmatic advertising and KOL advertising respectively? What are the differences between the two approaches?

  1. Features of Programmatic Advertising on WeChat

To put it simply, programmatic advertising is the more traditional approach of advertising, where companies bid for advertising space on WeChat. It can drive traffic to different landing pages for eight marketing objectives – brand promotion, physical store promotion, product promotion, mobile app promotion, coupon distribution, Official Account promotion, lead generation and mobile game promotion.

WeChat programmatic advertising runs with the following features to help companies accurately reach the right audience, at the right time, in the right way.

a. Targeting

To market effectively, segmentation is surely an indispensable stage, especially in China – the world’s most populated country with diverse regional cultures and lifestyles. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, companies can target specific audiences on WeChat based on their location, demographics, interest, behavior, devices and network. They can also choose to retarget and de-target certain types of users.

b. Backstage Management

Through the backstage management system, companies can have control on the WeChat ad campaigns. Monitoring data over time, they can adjust the ads content, schedule, target audience and quote accordingly to improve the campaign performance.

c. Data Analysis

Data is important in digital marketing because it enables you to evaluate campaign’s performance and gain insights into customer journeys. advertising campaign dashboard allows companies to track the campaign coverage, number of clicks and shares as well as negative comments of the ads to optimize the performance. The data can also be accessed by companies through APIs for more sophisticated analysis. After the launch of ads, the system will generate a data report for companies to evaluate the effectiveness of promotion.

Programmatic ads can be displayed in three formats: Moments, Official Accounts and Mini Programs.

a. Moments Advertising

Moments, or “Friends’ Network” (朋友圈) in Chinese, is where you view your friends’ updates or sharing. Moments ads are naturally embedded here like a personal feed from friend. Moments ads have several components to interact with users and achieve various objectives.

Let’s look at an example of an Official Account promotion ad to understand how Moments ads work. Users can access the Official Account by clicking the icon, title or read more. Just click any of the six images, and it will expand to a full-page image and can drive traffic to the Official Account. Users can also leave likes or comments on the ad, just like other normal feeds. If users don’t like the ad, they can click “Not Interested” or report the ad.

b. Official Accounts Advertising

Official Accounts ads are more like banner ads on websites, but they are displayed in an article of Official Account. As mentioned in our previous blog post, Official Accounts help individuals and organizations connect with the billion users on WeChat effectively by publishing content and building interactive services. Official Account ads are shown in the middle or bottom of the article, or the pre-movie adverts.

c. Mini Programs Advertising

Mini Programs are sub-applications that function within WeChat. They are accessible on WeChat and don’t require downloading another app that occupies more phone memory. Hosted on Tencent’s servers, they are a creative tactic to engage audiences and generate leads for brands.

d. Restriction of WeChat Programmatic Advertising

Although programmatic advertising is powerful and effective to reach an enormous group of subscribers, companies from certain industries are restricted from it, such as specific medical services – but it’s not the end of the world!

3. KOL Advertising

Programmatic ads are the more advisable approach, yet some industries are restricted from them because of WeChat’s regulations. For these industries, collaborating with KOLs would be the best choice to engage consumers. Chinese consumers are often drawn more to celebrities than brands. There are over 20 million Official Accounts, covering various vertical markets and consumers who varied in demographics. Businesses that leverage influencer marketing can partner with these Official Account owners who have accumulated a significant number of followers. In other words, the KOLs. Ideally, KOLs with 50k to 500k followers would be a suitable range for companies to partner and advertise with. As middle to top tier KOLs, their accounts exert a certain degree of influence.

Work with KOLs: It’s all about negotiation

Companies may provide the content for KOLs to publish, or they would brainstorm with the KOLs to create original contents, as KOLs may be more well-aware of their followers’ interests. Leveraging the credibility and influence of KOLs, this advertising strategy is particularly efficient for B2B marketing.

Our Success Story for Clients

Current Asia assists clients with marketing expertise to build their digital presence in China and engage with followers. One of our significant cases was to promote the business of and engage more target audience. Our strategy was to cooperate with several KOLs in finance, private equity investment and biotech sectors, including unclehome and 肖恩大侠. Capitalizing on KOLs’ influence in the vertical market, we successfully helped Intralinks reach the target audience and generate sales leads.

WeChat advertising is growing rapidly in China. Tapping this booming trend can effectively contribute to company and brand success in China.

For more inspirational ideas and insights, download The Ultimate Guide to WeChat, and contact us at info@currentasia.com.