With a vast number of brands competing for eyeballs on WeChat, brands need to utilize WeChat advertising wisely to create more followers and customers.
What is WeChat Advertising?
WeChat advertising is one of the most integral parts of digital strategy in China. WeChat allows companies to advertise to get people to follow a brand’s official accounts, download their app or lead them to the brand’s website.
The three major types of advertising available on the platform are Moment advertisements which appear on users’ social streams, banner advertisements which appear on content like blog posts, and mini program advertising which can be inserted into the many mini-applications and games available on WeChat.
1. WeChat Moment Advertising
WeChat moment advertising displays ads on users’ social media feeds (analogous to the Facebook wall). In terms of creatives, image and video posts can be used and the ad appears natively with posts from the user’s friends.
For local companies and WFOEs (wholly foreign owned enterprises) with local bank accounts, there are two methods of purchase available- campaign-based reserved purchase where the minimum spend is 50k RMB over each campaign or a bidding method that sets the minimum spend at 50 RMB per day. These companies can register on the WeChat website.
For foreign companies, $1500-$8000 needs to be invested and the application needs to be submitted to the advertising team directly and will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Targeting is available according to interests, age, location, industry, gender, device type, and phone network. WeChat also has a program to target Chinese users traveling overseas but due to new data privacy laws in China, this program is currently paused.
2. WeChat Banner Advertising
Another option to advertise on WeChat is banner advertising.
“Banner advertising puts display advertising on content created by official accounts on WeChat. There are two main types of banner ads －article ads which appear at the bottom of blog posts or banners which appear to users when using mini-programs.
The ads can lead users to follow your official account, lead them to a landing page, download an application, claim a coupon or use a mini-app. The targeting parameters here are similar to the ones available for moments advertising.
However, banner advertisers cannot choose which specific account’s content they want to advertise on.” mentions Ashley, founder of WeChat marketing agency Alarice.
There is an exception to this which is collaboration with specific influencers. Influencers or KOLs (Key online leaders) set their own prices for banner advertising on their content and prices are directly negotiated between advertisers and KOLs.
Using a KOL allows for better targeting and a higher ROI as normal banner advertising is usually a very weak spend. For example, many cosmetics brands have relationships with beauty and makeup KOLs and promote their products through ads on their content. Application and approval for Chinese and foreign companies are the same as for moments advertising.
3. WeChat Mini Programme Advertising
WeChat mini-programs are applications that run on the platform itself and can be games, e-commerce applications, and much more. There is an opportunity to advertise directly on some of these programs where the developers have enabled advertising.
The three formats available are placing a banner (the developer choosing where ads can be placed), playing a video in a popup (only available in games), and having an image pop up. The ads are priced on a bidding system. Brands can also develop their own mini-programs using the proprietary programming language WeChat uses.
An optimal strategy to advertise on WeChat requires a thorough understanding of the capabilities and advantages of each of the types. Spending the most on moments advertising is recommended, with a lower amount on banner advertising and a small amount on mini-programs. You can find the optimal mix for your brand through testing.