By Daniele Gori
eCommerce and Business Innovation at Florentia Village (佛罗伦萨小镇) – Luxury Designer Outlets / RDM Asia
The vastly popular messaging application called WeChat used to keep advertising away from their users, but now they are beginning to open up and allow ads. This is an excellent opportunity for marketers looking to advertise in China, because WeChat is a great way to put ads in the right place at the right time. There are a few different options for WeChat advertising and it all depends on your budget and brand.
WeChat Moments is excellent for advertising
WeChat moments is very similar to Facebook ads in timelines and it’s one of the most popular and effective ways for Western marketers to promote their brands. Companies can advertise in WeChat moments if they are registered in Mainland China and willing to invest a minimum of 50,000 RMB, by applying at http://ad.weixin.qq.com/.
Tencent directly bought access for Moment ads from WeChat to provide a more sophisticated and effective way to reach users on their timelines. Moment ads include:
A brand name
A profile picture
A 40-character ad description
A link to an html5 webpage hosted on Tencent’s server
Up to six pictures
Marketers can target users by location, interest, age, gender, device, and phone network. Users can be shown a Moment ad once every 48 hours, and it will disappear after six hours if the user didn’t interact with it. When users interact with an ad, it increases the likelihood of their friends seeing the same ad, which virally increases the target user audience.
Marketers are charged per each 1,000 views, and the price varies according to the type of targeting used. Ads that aren’t location-specific cost 40 RMB, ads specific to users in 35 first- and second-tier cities cost 90 RMB, and ads specific to Beijing and Shanghai cost 140 RMB, with the minimum set at 50,000 RMB.
WeChat Moments advertising works best for well-known brands with visually attractive products and a large advertising budget, because it is a more costly method of advertising than some of the other options. Small- to medium-sized companies tend to work better with other advertising options like Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), WeChat banner ads, and Tencent ads on QQ and Q-zone.
Marketers looking to apply for Moments ads can email the application form to firstname.lastname@example.org to reach a Tencent sales representative.
Key Opinion Leaders are an affordable, effective method for advertising
WeChat is primarily a social network and getting your company endorsed by a trusted source can be an excellent way to increase conversions. This is why KOL are such a valuable resource. KOL aren’t subject to the same amount of red tape as ads bought directly from Tencent, which makes it easier for vendors who are selling cross-border.
WeChat only recently started allowing advertisers in, so KOL used to be one of the best ways to get a brand in front of their users. This means there is already an excellent network of KOL in existence that you start using right away. You can find them on the following platforms: parkly.com / wemedia.cn / newrank.cn
WeChat influencers can cost as low $100 USD per banner ad, but there is no real limit to what they can charge. Some larger KOL regularly charge up to $50,000 USD for a single push message. KOL are great for new brands with little reputation in China and can provide targeted, flexible ad campaigns that you can afford.
WeChat banner ads are another great option
Banner advertising on WeChat appears at the bottom of a message written by a WeChat Official Account and the version launched in October 2016 is an excellent option. Advertisers agree on the cost paid per view with the official account, along with the range of views that will be accounted for.
Payment is performance-based but Tencent requires an investment of 500,000 RMB to allow a campaign to be run. WeChat restricts banner ads almost entirely to Chinese companies, and there is much more oversight about who can publish ads on the Tencent platform than you would see in Western systems like Facebook and Google. You need a company registered in China and all the licenses required to justify advertising in your specific industry. You can bypass some of this as a cross-border company, but you can expect to spend a minimum of $20,000 USD on your initial campaign.