Major Types of WeChat Advertising

So you’ve already created a WeChat official account for your business. What next? You probably want to do some WeChat advertising to reach out to potential customers because frankly, it is almost impossible to get much publicity without doing some WeChat advertising in China.

WeChat Advertising: Marketing to a Chinese Audience

There are a few kinds of WeChat advertising that you can use, and we will cover them each in detail.

WeChat Moments Advertising

WeChat Moments is just like a Facebook page and its newsfeed, and it let users share their status, images, videos and articles with their WeChat friends. When you advertise here, your ads will blend in with the usual Moments posts but they will be tagged with an additional “Sponsored” text in the upper right hand corner.

WeChat Moments advertisement allows brands a more affordable way to advertise to Chinese audience, and they can be used to publicise an official account or a campaign, encourage users to download an app, distribute coupons or launch promotions.

Targeting Options:

Advertisers are able to specify their target audience’s gender, age, location, industry, marital status, behaviour, educational level or more. Locations include Beijing, Shanghai, 35 1st and 2nd-tier cities, non-specific cities and Tencent has also opened up WeChat advertising to target Chinese travellers in 42 countries which include selected countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.

Also, businesses can select from a total of 18 industries to advertise in, including: Internet, travel, cosmetics, fashion, F&B, drinks, finance, education, entertainment, personal services, real estate, luxury goods, furniture, cars, shoes, jewelry, politics and law, professional services, sports, health, home electronics, bags, child education and watches.

Also of interest to marketers is the ability to target your advertisements to WeChat behaviour, such as those who are currently following your public account, using your app, checked out a WeChat coupon from advertisements in the past 1 year, shown interest in your previous advertisements in the past 1 year or remove users who are not interested in your content at all.

Formats:

WeChat Moments advertisement comes in 2 formats – display ads and video ads.

Usually, a normal Moments advertisement consists of:

  • The name of the advertiser and a small profile picture
  • A description or writeup restricted to 40 characters
  • Up to 6 pictures or a video that is no more than 15 seconds
  • A link to an article, a page to download your app, articles on your account, a native advertising page or external H5 pages.

If a user clicks or shares your ad with friends, WeChat will then put it on the Moments page of other similar users, creating a viral effect for your ad. Users can see up to one Moments advertisement every 48 hours, but if the advertisement did not get any like, comment or click within 6 hours, it will disappear.

Recently, WeChat Moments has a new format in a card form instead of the previous “text + image or video + link” format, with two buttons that let advertisers showcase two sets of advertising materials in one ad, which means users can be led to two different advertisements. This new format enlarges the advertisement, making it more visible, with more information possible. Also, one other advantage is that clicking on the ad takes the user to a H5 page or a native advertising page, drastically shortening the user conversion path.

Pricing:

WeChat Moments advertisements use the CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) pricing model and you can purchase it using two scheme: scheduling and auction schemes.

(1) Scheduling Scheme (排期购买)

For this scheme, advertisers are able to schedule a fixed advertising time for the next 2 – 28 days and what you pay will depend on where your advertisements will be shown. One advertisement will set you back by approximately USD8,000 (SGD10,000).

For WeChat advertising targeting Chinese tourists, the minimum entry cost is USD8,000 (SGD10,000) for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Korea, Japan, Australia and US and USD1,600 (SGD2,100) for New Zealand, France, England, Germany, Canada and Italy, according to WalktheChat.

(2) Auction Scheme (竞价购买)

This is specially for customers who are looking for more flexible advertising times and constant optimization. You need a minimum USD160 (SGD220) per day.

Eligibility:

Wait, because not everyone can advertise on WeChat Moments as it’s only available to two kinds of companies – China-registered businesses (local companies or wholly foreign owned enterprises) and foreign companies who are willing to invest at least USD8,000 (SGD10,000).

Advice:

In comparison to Tencent Weibo and other digital advertising platforms in China, WeChat Moments advertisements are comparatively pricier but it is a great platform to build brand awareness and create user engagement. Hence, it tend to be used by more famous or luxury brands with more attractive products, such as Chanel, Miu Miu and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL).

WeChat Banner Advertising

Banner advertising on WeChat is the same as banner advertising on other websites. Such advertisements are usually featured at the bottom of a message written by a WeChat official account.

Such banner advertisements come in two forms.

Standard WeChat Banner Advertising  

This format was launched in 2014 and advertisers can choose targeting such as gender, location, age,and type of account in which the banner are displayed, similar to the WeChat Moments advertising we have discussed above. Advertisers are also unable to control which account their advertisements will appear.  

WeChat Article: Appear at the bottom of a WeChat article written by another WeChat official account.

Ad Banner: Banner has a logo, account name and headline and if clicked, users will be taken to a page that has more information on the brand, product or service.

Action Call: Brings users to another landing page, follow WeChat official account, a page to download a new app, use a coupon, purchase a product or service or sign up for a program.

Pricing: The minimum cost for both foreign and Chinese companies is USD8,000 (SGD10,000).

KOL Banner Ads

KOL, or Key Opinion Leaders as they’re called, are an integral part of social media in China. KOL banner ads, launched in 2016, is a very new type of banner advertisement on WeChat. It lets advertisers and WeChat official accounts to seal an agreement on the cost paid per view by the advertiser, and a range of views which will be accounted for. How it works is that, if the article advertised gets 100k views, the promised view rate will be restricted to 80k to 150k views.

These banner ads are much bigger and bring users to HTML5 pages within WeChat rather than outside of the WeChat app for more information. 

Pricing: The KOL banner ads are more expensive than the standard banners and are based on performance and also depends on the KOL.

Eligibility:

WeChat banner advertisements are only allowed for registered companies in China, though foreign entities can apply for it manually, subject to approval. You also need to provide the licenses for the specific industry that you are advertising in, such as for F&B industry.

Advice:

One significant advantage of WeChat banner advertising is that it is good as a method to grow your WeChat followers with stable ROI and is also performance-based, with the flexibility to test and measure the effectiveness of the advertisements with little upfront costs, which is great for small to medium-sized businesses. On average, it could cost you between USD1.30 to USD3.20 to acquire a follower, depending on your targeting and optimization.

WeChat banner advertising is also excellent for e-Commerce businesses as it could bring potential customers to the correct page of their website where a conversion can be made.

Advertisers like WeChat banner advertising because it is also easy to just create a banner using simple design software.

One of the disadvantages is that followers acquired are usually of lower quality as compared with other channels such as WeChat Moments or KOLs. KOL banner ads, while also performance-based, can be a little bit more expensive.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

WeChat advertising KOLs, celebrities or famous people with the power to influence many others, are another avenue to market your brand on WeChat. Usually, advertisers will work with a KOL or WeChat blogger or influencer to post an advertisement on their accounts to get publicity for their brand, products or services, in exchange for a flat fee, a performance-based fee or just product sponsorship.

KOLs are an efficient way to market your brand because it is first a social network, and such KOLs are seen as trusted endorsements of the particular product or service that they represent and conversions can be huge. Businesses like to use KOLs because they are not subject to as much restrictions as the other advertisement types bought directly from Tencent.

Pricing:

Some KOLs are willing to put up a banner for as low as USD100, but on the high end, you can be quoted for as much as USD50,000 per message for KOLs with huge followers. The advertisements that KOLs can provide for your business are either a full article about your brand or a banner advertisement at the end of an article, with the former being much more expensive.

But it’s difficult to find the right KOL for your brand or products/services. For KOLs, they will also choose the brand to work with as it will affect their follower numbers. A number of other factors such as price, engagement rate and quality of the brand will seal the decision for KOLs and businesses. For certain KOLs, they can also work with you based on an affiliate sale model, taking up to 40% per unit sold.

Advice:

KOL advertisements allow businesses to reach out to a targeted and often affordable audience and are suitable for new brands or small setups. It’s also good for existing brands with little budget, though you have to be very careful when selecting the right KOL(s) for your brand or product, as they can either help your business, or completely ruin it. Do the proper research and ensure that both sides are a good fit for each other.

WeChat Account Advertising

Account advertising is an alternative advertising channel that you can use. There are 3 kinds of account ads: exchange ads, video ads and footer ads. These types of ads are very much similar to Moments ads because they can also be used to publicise a campaign, an official account, to entice users to install an app or use coupons. You can also advertise products in their WeChat store (微信小店) for your customers to find out more details about your products or directly make purchases. Here are the different kinds of account ads in detail.

1. Footer ad (底部广告): This is a banner that is placed at the bottom of a WeChat article with all the company’s information and a call-to-action.

2. Video ad (视频贴片广告): These are the pre-roll ads (no longer than 15 seconds) before a video inserted in a WeChat article. Such ads will only appear when the video is played using Wifi.

3. Exchange ad (互选广告): These are similar to footer ads with the main difference being that they can be presented in a larger card format with a call-to-action button.

Source: Chozan

WeChat Mini Program Ads

Recently, WeChat has launched a new feature for its mini programs that let advertisers bid for an ad space in the “Mini Programs Nearby” section.

When users click on the “Mini Programs Nearby” list, they will be shown a list of mini programs based on their current location. These ads also appear when people are using WeChat’s search function with related keywords.

However, WeChat mini program ads are still under internal testing mode and are not available to the public yet.

Source: Chozan

For WeChat advertising to work effectively, a lot of planning has to be done way beforehand, such as deciding on your target audience, is it 1st or 2nd-tier cities, etc., for example, or do you want to target the Chinese in the other cities? How much is your budget, and for how long will your campaign run? All these factors, together will well-designed graphics and sensitive copywriting will give your WeChat advertising campaign a much better ROI.

With so many different ad options and an evolving and constantly changing social media landscape, marketing in China can be very tricky and difficult. But with a team of Chinese professional marketers, the right resources and many years of experience in marketing to a Chinese audience, we can help! Just fill in the enquiry form below and we will give you a call back.

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Bei

Bei

Bei is a content strategist and SEO trainer with over 15 years of experience in brand management, integrated marketing communications and digital marketing. Connect with her at [email protected]
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