WeChat Advertising 101: All You Need To Know
The best way for foreign businesses to enter the giant market in China is having a clear digital marketing strategy. In most markets Facebook, Twitter, and Google act as your go to advertising platforms, however since these platforms are blocked in China, marketeres need to learn how to advertise on entirely new platforms.
Often called the Chinese Facebook, WeChat offers advertising similar to these platforms marketers are familiar with, albeit on a more limited scale.
But first, every business needs to create a WeChat official account .
How To Advertise on WeChat?
There are 3 types of WeChat advertising:
- WeChat Banner Advertisements
- WeChat Moments Advertisements
- Key Opinion Leader(KOL) Promotion
So, how do they work? Let’s discuss them here.
WeChat Banner Advertising
Banner Advertising on WeChat is similar to other website banner ads. It normally appears at the bottom of a message.
WeChat banner advertising has its pros and cons. The good things are that it is performance-based pricing and it is easier to link users to your website. Yet, the downside is they are quite pricey.
WeChat banner advertising has 2 categories: a standard banner ad and a KOL banner.
A standard banner ad has 3 elements
Location: Banner ads are located at the bottom of articles that have been written by a WeChat Official Account.
Ad banner: this ad has a logo, account name and headline. It will open a new page that has additional information about the product when clicked.
Action call: the action call takes users to another landing page for to encourage conversion.
A KOL banner
This is a relatively new type of banner advertisement that requires collaboration between the advertiser and an official account. Both the advertisers and the official account have to come to an agreement on the cost paid per view and the total amount of times the advertisement will be shown. These banner ads are much larger and link to HTML5 pages within WeChat rather than taking users outside of the WeChat app for more information.
These were essentially created to eliminate the “black market” for advertising that has grown around the WeChat platform. Previously, brands would collaborate with KOLs outside of the WeChat platform, essentially cutting Tencent out of the deal. This feature has allowed Tencent to earn a chunk of advertising revenue for itself, as it takes a percentage of the agreed upon price.
1. The reasons to use WeChat banner advertising
First, standard banner ads are very simple. A banner ad only requires basic design skills. Brands can either outsource the work, use free banner creators found on the web, or even download pre-made banners.
Second, banner advertising is performance-based, advertisers have the flexibility to test and measure the effectiveness of their banner ads without pouring so much money into them. KOL banners, while also performance based, can be more expensive as the KOL can set the price to whatever they choose.
Third, it helps grow brand awareness, especially in the case of KOL banners, as people can easily recognize the products or services and associate them with KOLs that they follow on WeChat.
Lastly, it is multi-sensory, so users can read the message on the ad while looking at a visual representation at the same time. Therefore, it brings more interest and recognition to the brand.
2. Is it possible for foreign companies to use WeChat banner ad?
In most cases, only Chinese companies have the license to advertise in their specific industry. However, some foreign companies are also able to apply for banner advertising through a manual application process.
However, before being granted permission to advertise, businesses must prove that their products are legitimate and approved by the Chinese government. This can be time consuming, but the benefits can be worth it.
3. Are WeChat banner ads expensive?
Based on the performance of the 2 channels, the KOL banner is much more expensive than the standard one. It also depends on the KOL to set the price, though companies can make negotiate with KOLs.
Depending on the level of investment your company is willing to make will most likely determine which type of banner ad to use to promote your products.
Although KOL banner ads are much more targeted and in most cases much more effective, these advertisements are still too costly for most businesses to consider.
4. Who should use WeChat banner advertising?
For small businesses, banner advertising can help target specific groups of customers. This allows businesses to cut down their cost, by only spending on the groups where it is most likely to succeed.
While targeting isn’t as advanced on WeChat as other platforms, like Facebook, it can still be incredibly effective for getting your message out to customers who would be genuinely interested in your product or service.
It can be particularly effect for any businesses with an e-commerce function on their website, as banner advertising can bring potential customers directly to the right page of their website where they can convert to a sale.
On the contrary, business that offers a very wide range of products and services will be the least likely to benefit from banner advertising. That is because a banner ads that attempt to cover everything end up being less attractive and less likely to catch attention.
WeChat Moments Advertising
1. How does it work?
A Moments Ad allows advertisers to advertise within the Moments section, which is comparable to Facebook’s Newsfeed. WeChat Moments advertisement offers brands an easier and more affordable way to advertise on the app.
It comes in 2 different formats, display ads and video ads. If a user clicks or shares an ad with friends, it means that ad is a good fit. Then, WeChat will place the ad on the Moments pages of other similar users, which helps the ad to go viral. If a user likes or shares an ad it will also be placed in the moments of their contacts.
Advertisers are able to target based on users’ information, specifically: location, interests, age, gender, education, marital status, device, or even behavior within the WeChat app. Marketers anticipate WeChat will add further targeting options to improve its advertising system in the future.
2. How does it look?
A Moments ad consists of the brand name, profile image, text of up to 40 Chinese characters, a link to an HTML5 page, and up to six photos, however the amount of pictures and content allowed depends on the amount invested into the campaign.
3. The reasons to use WeChat Moments advertising
In the past, brands can only post text with up to six photos or a video. At this time, however, ads are available under the formats of text, photos, slideshows, full-screen videos, embedded videos, and 360-degree panoramas. Also, there is no limit of how many formats brands are allowed to use in one ad.
With these new features on Moments, brands now can include short videos, from 6 to 15 seconds, as a teaser so that those videos can be shown on a user’s timeline.
If a user clicks on the teaser, an internal ad page will be opened enabling the user to view the full video. Full videos can be from 30 to 90 seconds long. One Moments Ads only lasts for 7 days and each WeChat user only sees one Moments Ads within every 48 hours. If nobody engages with the ad, it will be replaced after 6 hours.
4. Better approach to luxury brands
In January this year, an ungraded version was launched developing a number of different storytelling methods to attract and engage with WeChat users.
Chanel, Miu Miu, and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) have become one of the first brands to put multimedia ads on Moments.
Today, Moments ads are one of the top choices for advertising for luxury brands in China.
5. Who should advertise on WeChat Moments?
The price of Moments advertising is higher than other advertising channels. For that reason, well-known brands with visually attractive products can benefit greatly from using Moments ad.
For small to medium businesses, banner advertising would be more cost-effective due to the performance payment system and the lower overall cost.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)
KOL refers to celebrities who have the power to influence others. Advertisers will have to pay a KOL in order to post an ad on their accounts.
Nevertheless, it’s not always easy to find the right KOL for your brand. Accounts with more followers will most likely be more careful about picking a product as they risk losing followers if it doesn’t match the interests of their target audience. KOLs will typically make their decision based on the quality, price, and type of the products.
The price that is paid to a KOL can range anywhere from $100 USD to $50,000 USD. KOLs that have larger fanbases naturally charge more, however advertisers have recently begun to value engagement more than the number of followers, as an active fan base is more likely to interact with advertisements.
1. Reasons to use KOLs
The Chinese people are very interested in following famous people on social media. They most often trust the influencers more than brands. A strong distrust for corporate advertisement has developed in the Chinese culture, making endorsements far more effective for promotion. Therefore, KOL collaboration can be one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and acquire customers’ trust.
Previously, TenCent restricted advertisements on WeChat, which allowed for the development of an incredibly large network of KOLs that advertisers can turn to.
This large network has provided advertisers with a wide variety of KOLs to choose from. This has given marketers a larger degree of flexibility, as their are KOLs available at a variety of different price points with fan bases in different industries. With a little research, most businesses can easily find a KOL that can help them reach out to their target audience at a price that they can afford.
2. Sources to find the right KOL
Here is a list of where to look for a KOL that might fit your advertising strategy.
3. Is KOL advertising expensive?
Brands have to be very careful to select the right KOL. This KOL will essentially be the face of their business on social media. He or she can either grow the reputation of the business or ruin it. Proper research into the nature of the KOL and their previous interactions with users can be essential to choosing the right KOL for your brand.
There are many social media agencies that will give brands access to influencers and celebrities in packaged offers.
Advertisers can pay a higher price to get the KOLs to create text, visual, or video content. The price is either proposed by the KOLs themselves or the social media agencies.
Again, A KOL can cost from $100 USD to $50,000 USD or more. It all depends on the KOL’s duties, and mostly his or her reputation.
Frequently, the more effort it takes for the KOL to create the branded content, the more expensive the advertiser has to pay. Brands can have a cheaper KOL, but of course, it is not going to be very effective.
4. Who should use a KOL?
A KOL would be good for start-up business or brands with less recognition in China since they can help to draw the attention of their target audience. While it can bring about greater visibility for the business it can also help drive conversions, as it also builds trust among Chinese social media users.
For bigger brands that already have more recognition, KOLs can be used to increase sales, advertise promotions, or advertise the launch of a new line of products.
For more information about KOLs, please visit here.
General Pricing of WeChat Advertising
WeChat advertising is charged on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand) or CPC (Cost Per Click) basis. According to WeChat, there are three types of impressions:
- When the ad appears in front of a user (whether at the bottom of an article or in moments)
- When the user interacts with the ad (likes or comments)
- When the external link is clicked
Other than that, different geographic locations will result in different prices.
Core cities: Beijing and Shanghai (The most expensive)
Large Cities: Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xian, Shenyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Chengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Haarbin, Fuzhou, Shijiazhuang, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Xining, Yingchuan, Taiyuan, Hefei, Guiyang, Kunming, Nanning, Lhasa, Nanchang, Changchun, Haikou, Hohhot. (Still pretty expensive!)
Also, Tencent will charge a minimal entry fee of RMB 20,000-50,000 for both domestic and foreign companies that want to advertise on WeChat.
1. How much does WeChat banner ad cost?
For banner ads, there are 2 types of cost: CPC and CPM. Below is the CPC chart of banner ad.
Banner Ad Pricing Chart
For CPM, both core cities and large cities companies will be priced on a bidding system, while the cost for other cities will start at RMB 0.5 per click.
2. How much does WeChat Moments ad cost?
Moment Ad Pricing chart
Understanding the importance of WeChat advertising is the key to success for every business wishing to expand to China. Not only that, a business must know its target market to reach the right audience and develop the right content marketing strategy to generate organic growth. Knowing proper business etiquette and the cultural nuances of China when conducting a marketing campaign can be crucial to building trust and gaining recognition from your target audience.
With so many different options and a constantly shifting social media landscape marketing in China can be quite difficult. Are you having difficulties with your marketing strategy in China?
Related article 5 Big Mistakes Foreigners Make when Marketing to Chinese Consumers.