WeChat’s growth in popularity (it has around 650 million active users) makes it potentially a great option for digital marketing to China. It may also be increasingly attractive now that it has more widely rolled out its ad feature ‘Moments’ – a self-service style of advertising somewhat similar to Facebook’s newsfeed ads.
Previously, WeChat Moments advertising was only available to selected big brands, requiring $US800,000 to get started. This barrier was removed in 2015, allowing access to any brand wishing to use the feature, although it still requires an initial investment of $US30,000.
How Moments advertising works
To make use of Moments advertising, you will need a service account with WeChat. When you use this software, it identifies key active users and targets them with your ads.
The ads will then remain for viewing on the network for 48 hours, unless the user ignores them or opts out – in which case they will be removed within six hours. If a user clicks on an ad or interacts with it, it will be far more likely to spread throughout their network of friends. Only one advert will appear in the user’s newsfeed every 48 hours.
Advertisements can be targeted to specific groups based on various demographics such as gender, age, education, interests, location, device and telephone network. Rates depend on CPM (cost-per-thousand views) and also on location – that is whether or not a specific location such as Beijing or Shanghai is specified.
Moments ads come with the brand name, profile image, text of up to 40 Chinese characters, a link to an HTML5 page, and up to six photos.
Other types of WeChat ads
Other than Moments, WeChat’s options for advertising include CPC (cost-per-click) advertising, viral marketing campaigns, banner ads (available to businesses with subscription accounts), and using key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote your brand online.
Advertising through Moments may be best suited to better-known brands. Smaller businesses or those engaged in B2B marketing may do better with other advertising methods such as banner ads or blogs from KOLs.
WeChat use in Australia
According to some reports, there are about 1.5 million WeChat users in Australia – which includes students, employees, tourists and visitors from China. Australian companies may benefit from advertising and marketing to these users as well as to those that are currently in China itself. Being a popular social platform it may enable greater connection with customers than other types of more traditional marketing, and it avoids the problem of overloading people’s email inboxes with advertising material.
Making the most of WeChat advertising
Whichever type of WeChat marketing or advertising you use, it’s important to research your target market in order to ensure your message reaches the right audiences, to develop a content strategy, and to make use of analytics software so that you can test the success of your campaigns and adjust accordingly. It’s also important to be mindful of correct etiquette and cultural sensitivities when you post on Chinese social media platforms.