With over 200 million daily active users, WeChat is the most important social media platform in China. It’s become the standard means of communication and has swiftly replaced emails and even company websites, which makes it one of the most effective platforms for brands to reach their target audience in China.
On WeChat, you can create ads using video, photography, or full pages and direct users to your original articles or internal resources like landing pages for lead generation. WeChat’s massive user base, variety of ad format choices, and targeted advertising feature make WeChat ads a natural selection for brands to promote their brand and products. An effective marketing strategy on WeChat is to combine your organic and paid efforts and leverage ads to further increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your OA, grow your audience, and capture leads all from one interface.
On this blog, we’re taking a look at how WeChat Ads work, the different types you need to know, and how to optimize your campaigns for the best return on investment.
How Each Type Of WeChat Ads Works
WeChat moment ads
If you’re not familiar with WeChat moments, it is essentially a news feed where users can go and post content or explore the content posted by their WeChat friends, similar to Facebook News Feed. WeChat moment ad, as their name suggests, is a type of feed ad that appears in users’ WeChat moment along with their friends’ content.
The post on the Moment can be made with photos, short video clips, links to other WeChat content (to landing pages or articles), and text posts.
WeChat prioritizes engagement, so the ad will disappear from the user’s Discover tab after 6 hours if they don’t interact with it. Additionally, the WeChat algorithm shows ads based on the users’ network, so if your viewer interacts with the ad, their friends on WeChat will likely see it too.
WeChat moment ads work best for B2C brands and e-commerce businesses due to two main aspects: First, WeChat moments give you the flexibility to test different creative assets. Second, they provide the same social features as organic content, allowing users to interact with your ads, which is perfect for consumer product promotion or brand awareness campaigns.
There are many formats and display options you can choose from when setting up your WeChat moment ads, which makes it a good idea to test and optimize as you start getting results.
WeChat OA ads
WeChat OA ads are the most predominant type of ads on WeChat along with moment ads.
WeChat OA (Official Account) ads are similar to banner ads that show up at the bottom of a WeChat OA article (a bottom ad) or be inserted in the body of the article.
As with WeChat moment ads, you can select between different formats such as photos and videos. However, you can’t choose which OAs your ad will appear on. Instead, you can choose your target audience based on their demographics and interests.
To select where your ad shows up, you’ll have to use what’s called a ‘mutual selection ad’, which is an ad you request to display on a KOL’s (Key Opinion Leader) account. The way this works is you propose the KOL account to post your ad on their WeChat OA article and they can approve or deny your request.
Mutual-selection ads are suitable for both B2B and B2C brands. Since you’re booking this ad on a specific OA within the platform, it allows you to reach a targeted audience — the account’s followers —, which makes it more effective to gain followers. It all comes down to the WeChat OA you select.
Mini program ads
A mini program is an app that’s built within the WeChat interface. They’re basically an add-on that users can access from their WeChat app for things like e-commerce shopping or food ordering.
Mini program ads on WeChat are the most similar to what you’d see on your smartphone’s iOS or Android apps. Your mini program ad can include photos, a full-screen video, and pop-ups.
Like WeChat OA ads and Moment ads, mini program ads allow you to target an audience with specific interests, which works well for B2C brands. However, you can’t choose the specific app your ad will be displayed on, only the target audience. The WeChat mini-program owner manages the ad placement from there.
Brand zone ads
On WeChat, your brand zone is a branded page that showcases everything about your business. It can include your OA, your mini program store, your physical location, and more. As a business, your brand zone will have the top ranking when a user searches your name.
Brand zone ads are similar to display ads in that they show up under the search function in WeChat. Besides, they fill up the whole screen, which provides great exposure for brands and makes them ideal for lifestyle and premium brands.
What WeChat Ads Can Do For You
WeChat ads can serve different campaign objectives that you’ll be able to benefit from as a B2B or B2C brand. The basics are:
Brand promotion: Promote brand awareness by linking the ad to WeChat articles, your website, or mini program.
Product/event promotion: Highlight your product or promote an event by directing users from your WeChat ads to your e-commerce store or event sign-up page.
Official account promotion: Increase your follower base by promoting your OA and adding a ‘Follow’ call to action.
Offline store promotion: Promote a physical business through LBS (location-based service) ad and choose your audience based on their locations.
Sales lead collection: Use incentives like free trials to collect users’ information through online forms. Make your incentive attractive enough to captivate your intended audience.
Coupon distribution: Boost your sales and gain momentum by giving out a coupon to incentivize users to try your offer.
How To Use WeChat Ads To Maximize Your Campaign ROI
Define your campaign objective
Before you define an audience or assets, you want to clearly define what your campaign is for. Is your goal commercial-driven? A few examples of a commercial-driven campaign include boosting app downloads, driving website traffic, or increasing product sales. Another commercial-driven goal could be to drive foot traffic to your offline location.
However, if your goal is awareness, your campaign might focus on gaining followers and increasing interaction.
Regardless of the placement or goal you choose, be clear of your objectives from the start and use these as a foundation for your strategy, as it will directly impact how your campaign success is being measured and help you get the best of your investment.
Choose the ad format
WeChat ad spend can greatly vary depending on your selected ad type. Placing moment ads requires a minimum investment of 50,000 RMB (~7800 USD), but OA ads start at 1,000 RMB (~150 USD). Different ad types may also use different pricing models such as CPA or CPM, which also have an impact on your ad spend.
Once you’ve selected the type (moments, OA, or another), you’ll need to choose specific formats for each, like OA’s bottom ads or in-article ads before creating your assets.
Refine your target audience
As with any advertising, the more specific you can define your audience, the more likely you are to see a higher return. Hone in on your ideal customer by exploring their interests, age, location, gender, marital status, educational background, and any other data that can help you place a highly relevant ad on your preferred WeChat ad type.
Create captivating content
People’s attention span is short on WeChat so your content is crucial for capturing your audience’s attention. Plus, the more users engage with your WeChat moment ad, the more likely their friends are to see the same WeChat ads.
On WeChat, ads can be images, video, text, and interactive. Depending on your goal and the format you chose, play with these formats to find the best combinations.
Another element to consider is that local advertising laws restrict the type of content along with the changing platform policies. So always be aware of the latest policies and best practices to prevent being banned or facing other issues.
Monitor and improve your campaign performance
As with any advertising, and even organic WeChat B2B marketing, monitoring your performance regularly and performing tests can help you improve your results over time.
In the case of WeChat ads, you can try different copy or assets, AB testing the same placement with different captions, and if possible, use multiple placements to cull the ones that underperform. Over time, you’ll also be able to spot why a certain ad doesn’t perform the way you expected and how you can prevent it from flopping in the future.
Combine WeChat Ads with a strong organic strategy to support your China expansion
WeChat users rely on the platform for anything from daily communication to interacting with their favorite brands and learning from trusted KOLs. The WeChat ecosystem has expanded well beyond instant messaging and now acts as a one-stop-shop where anyone can engage with their favorite brands, stay in touch with friends, and conduct business all in one app.
This makes it crucial to build a presence on WeChat if your brand is expanding in China. Thankfully, a strategic ad campaign can be a game-changer and help hit your local objectives if you invest the time to learn the ins and outs of how advertising works on WeChat.
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