Wechat is a social media app that’s similar to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all rolled into one. The app has over 1.2 billion active monthly users with about 700 million daily active users. Because of its success with Chinese netizens and a wide range of communication tools, Wechat has been invested in by brands and marketers.

In this blog post, we are talking about Wechat Marketing and more precisely WeChat Advertising: what it is, how it works, and why you should be using it now more than ever before!

What is WeChat advertising?

WeChat advertising offers a variety of innovative ways for brands to engage their customers and expand their reach within the highly popular Chinese platform. Through targeted ads, companies can display meaningful messages on users’ timelines, in mini-programs, or in WeChat Official Account articles. Tencent advertising program for WeChat is a great tool for brands that want to enhance and maximize the number of WeChat business account followers.

What are the different types of WeChat Ads?

In general, there are three types of WeChat advertising;

  • WeChat banner advertising (often called WeChat official accounts advertising)
  • WeChat moments advertising (video ads/ picture ads/ interactive ads..)
  • WeChat mini-program advertising
  • Wechat KOLs advertising through WeChat articles with ad banners and products reviews

KOLs advertising, although not listed as one of the main three types, has become very popular in recent years, so it’s definitely worth mentioning, as it might be the best solution for many companies.

wechat advertising - different types of ads on wechat

WeChat banner advertising

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, redirecting traffic to another account.

business wechat
example of a WeChat banner ad sending users to a landing page on JD

WeChat banner ads cost

WeChat banner advertising is a great way to grow your Wechat followers with a steady ROI. With this in mind, it’s important to 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.

The minimum entry price for both Chinese and foreign companies is 50,000RMB.

City size CPM1 CPC2
Core city 25 Bidding system
Large city 20
Others 15 Starts at 0.5 RMB / click

CPM (cost per 1,000 impression).                Core citiesBeijing, Shanghai

Large cities: Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Guiyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

All these price bases for advertisement targeting depend on granular targeting, and your activation link.

There are three components of Wechat banner ads

  • WeChat article: WeChat banner ads are usually displayed at the bottom of WeChat posts, redirecting traffic to another WeChat business account
  • 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 official account ads

WeChat banner ads targeting

If you are wondering why Wechat banner campaigns are 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 moments advertising for instance.

Footer & exchange ads 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 the WeChat browser)

Developed WeChat banner ads 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.

WeChat Moment advertising

Probably the king of Wechat Advertising, WeChat Moments ads are a great tool considering users will typically check their 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.

Who can advertise on WeChat Moments?

WeChat Moments is restricted to only certain types of advertisers. Companies must either be established brands that are already known in China or foreign companies that are registered and operate in the country.

Restricted categories such as alcohol, tobacco, and certain events are not allowed on WeChat Moments or just with few restrictions. Foreign companies also need to obtain a series of certifications in order to be able to advertise their products on the platform.

WeChat Moments ads Include:

  • 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 of short videos
  • Picture or videos ads format that can be interacted with
  • You can target users according to their location, interest, age, gender, device, and phone network.

WeChat Moments ads can drive traffic to

  • WeChat Official Accounts
  • WeChat Stores
  • Store page
  • External Links (opened within the 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 WeChat advertising campaign.
  • 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.

Wechat mini-program ads

With the launch of WeChat mini-programs in 2017, it became an instant success among China’s brands and digital marketers. To further extend its reach into social e-commerce, Tencent unveiled a brand new advertising platform within the popular messaging app – allowing businesses to access its users through widely used mini-programs, as an addition to Moments and banner ads.

There are different types of WeChat advertising using mini-programs, which include:

  • Pop-up ads – just like in the West, there is a possibility to use pop-up ads, which are banner ads that will appear every time a user opens the mini-program, switches tabs, etc.
  • Banner ads – those ads are the same as the banner ads in WeChat articles, and they will appear in different places of mini-programs
  • WeChat mini-games advertisement – those ads appear in a form of short videos redirecting to another landing page. Those ads are incorporated into the game plot and tie to incentives provided within the game, which makes it more fun than normal advertisements.

How much do WeChat mini-program ads cost?

The minimum entry price for both Chinese and foreign companies is 50,000RMB.

City size CPM1 CPC2
Core city 25 (70) Bidding system
Large city 20 (65)
Others 15 (60) Starts at 0.1 RMB / click

The prices in brackets are for mini-game ads.

Key Opinion Leader advertising collaborations

To further your brand promotion on WeChat, engaging Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) is a great way to make an impact. Working with these KOLs can be done through exchanging their promotional posts for products from your company or via payment of flat fees and commission-based payments – usually, 20%-40% based on the sale results.

With 500,000+ followers each, KOLs are able to provide extensive reach and potentially deliver large numbers of sales just by posting relevant product information.

WeChat Advertising Platform: Yay or Nay?

WeChat, although the biggest social media in China in terms of users, may not be the best ad space for many of you and there are reasons for that.

Cons of Wechat Advertising

  • For one, Wechat has historically been hesitant to monetize its app with advertising as it wants to keep users’ moments  “personal” and avoid the spam feeling that some apps have. Typically, users will only see one WeChat moment every 24h.
  • The second point is, that WeChat advertising targeting is not all that great, especially when compared to Douyin or Weibo.
  • Last but not least, WeChat advertisement is costly.

The Bright Side of Wechat Advertising

  • Wechat moment ad offers brands an enormous reach, and good ROI for well-known companies
  • Advertising on WeChat comes in many forms. Ad formats are varied: video ads, pictures, banner ad
  • You can now link to the landing page of your choice

In short, choosing to integrate WeChat advertising into your China marketing strategy really depends on your budget and the status of your brand in China. Wechat Moments advertising is absolutely great if you are well-established in the country and have the budget. If you are on a tighter budget, maybe postpone advertising on Wechat moments in favor of banner advertising.

WeChat Advertising: How to be Successful at It?

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

Growing your follower base on WeChat is key

The key to success on WeChat is growing your official account follower base. It’s essential for any newcomer, especially those without a following already established in China. 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.

The more you’ll satisfy your Wechat followers base, the more chances 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 to engage with users in Q&A, sending newsletters & ultimately providing incentives for followers to engage with your account. The most powerful way to create interaction is by providing quality content. 

Tips to Grow Your Wechat Official Account Followers Base

  • Stay focused on sharing content about your activity with “Wechat articles
  • Establish yourself as a native expert in your area to increase user engagement
  • 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 of 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.

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).

Re-posting & sharing on Wechat

Content such as WeChat articles (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. Similarly, WeChat official account articles of quality will be shared on WeChat moments, whereas low-effort one won’t.

Regular discussions led by multiple members are 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.

WeChat’s H5 Brochures

Wechat H5 brochures 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 Wechat e-brochure
Scapa’s H5 Brochure by GMA

WeChat’s Mini-Programs

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 in 2020!

Pandora’s mini-program on WeChat