Why is WeChat the Preferred Platform for Advertisers?


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One of the most popular Chinese websites, Weibo has 212 million monthly active users. This number is up 36 percent every year, even though the other popular app, WeChat has similar features , it’s still not a competition to Weibo.

Weibo’s mobile active users are making now up 85 percent of total MAUs (monthly active users). The number of daily users increased and it stands at 93 million and it’s up from 34% from the same period a year ago.

A Tencent product manager once defined WeChat as = Whatsapp + Facebook Timeline + Google Earth + Skype Translator + PayPal + Unlimited Group Chat + News Feed + Shopping/ Games/Dating apps. All these available features are supported by Tencent’s well-structured network across the lifestyle and entertainment spaces. With powerful features, the WeChat team used to claim that they created the app for the purpose of preserving the user experience, and would not copy Facebook’s ads model to let brands mess up the peace in users’ WeChat Moments.

However, earlier this year we saw BMW posted a test of paid ads on WeChat Moments, and on August 20th 2015 saw the official announcement of the opening of WeChat ads (on WeChat Moments) to all brands. Although WeChat promises that one user would see only one branded ad within 48 hours, the feature update is still a sign that WeChat will beat most active social tools in China and see higher popularity among brands, as it’s high user base will appeal to brand advertisers. Within brands’ WeChat official subscription/service accounts, the main metrics we adapt to measure the success of communication is:

  1. Fans increase
  2. The average readership of WeChat blogs
  3. User interactions by share or like
  4. Traffic and conversions to brand websites.

“Weibo’s MAU growth continues to be robust, reaching 212 million in June, as we sought to improve user experience, increase penetration into lower tiered cities and expand our partnerships with the television and movie industries,” said Wang Gaofei, Weibo’s CEO. “We are also seeing strong momentum in the adoption of Weibo social advertising, especially in the SME [small- to medium-sized enterprises] segment, where our revenues grew 163 percent year over year and the number of customers reached 443,000 in the second quarter of 2015.”

By adding WeChat Moments Ads to a WeChat action feature, two other measurement directions could be considered. One is to calculate ROI metrics like CPC (cost per click) of a WeChat ad and compare them to common ads formats in search engines and portal/vertical sites. The other is to profile the audience who takes action on a WeChat ad, and then measure the similarity between the audience profiling and the original audience plan your brand set up. The latter will help brands adjust to make precise marketing decisions on WeChat, which in turn can hopefully offer brands a clear picture of the best ways to approach WeChat users.

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