All Things WeChat: Stats, Features & Updates that will Kickstart your Business in China

David Henriques

Since its launch in 2011, WeChat has continuously shocked the mobile application industry with its groundbreaking developments and functions to create an app for everything. The tech giant has reached 1.08 billion monthly active users and shows no sign of slowing down. WeChat still dominates areas from communication to payment services, and there is still significant room for growth in the the gaming and advertisement industry.

The world has paused to take notice of the WeChat ecosystem and overseas brands are often at a loss of how to effectively market on the platform. We’ve complied some of the most significant updates and noteworthy WeChat features of the past few years to keep you in the loop and give you the best tools to put your business on the right path to WeChat success.

 

WeChat Accounts Get Revamped

WeChat made changes to the official account information page, which is now divided with the basic information area on the top and the content or service information on the bottom. The bottom area is now different for both subscription and service accounts. WeChat service accounts now have a more user centric experience by giving service menus better positioning.

Subscription Accounts

WeChat subscription accounts focus on information and brand communication. They are used similar to a daily news feed. They can publish once a day to subscribers with 1-6 articles at a time.

Service Accounts

WeChat service accounts focus on customer service, API integrations, e-commerce, and CRM. They offer a more versatile functionality as compared to subscription accounts. Verified service accounts can also register for WeChat Pay and set up a WeChat Store.

Enterprise Accounts

WeChat enterprise accounts are mainly for internal communication and management. These type of accounts work in a similar fashion to Slack. They play a role in strengthening staff communication and enhancing corporate culture.

 

Snapchat Stories with WeChat Time Capsule

A feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram stories, time capsule lets users add videos up to 15 seconds in length to their news feed, which disappear 24 hours later. After content is uploaded, users have the option to add emojis, stickers, location and a list of recommended music based on video content. But instead of lining up all short videos at the top of the app like Instagram, WeChat users can find videos through moments, in group chats, or one’s starred friend list.

 

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This feature has the opportunity to create a massive opportunity for brands because any form of video content that can become consumer centric and personable always has the opportunity to do well with new users. A brand can create a group chat with followers to share relevant brand information such as product, service or deals through short video content. Creating highly authentic video content that is consumer relatable does wonders to a brand’s image.

 

Wow Feature in Top Stories

WOW

 

One of the perks of having a WeChat Official Account or Subscription Account is the ability to connect and share news, updates and posts with all of your followers. Before Wow, users could only show recognition for an article by clicking on the like button without the opportunity for exposure. The wow update allows the article to be seen by all of the user’s contacts once the user clicks on the “wow” tab located at the bottom right of a top story. Brands can now gain more organic exposure and awareness for any content that is liked. By offering incentives or encouragement for readers to click wow, brands can gain more article visibility and drive user engagement.

 

Mini Program Dashboard Analytics

miniprogram-dashboard

 

WeChat mini programs are here to stay with over 200 million daily users and one million apps all within a span of a few years. They are cheaper and easier to build than native apps, and developers of all kinds are rushing to the market.  Mini programs now allow users to give real-time feedback in 6 different categories including Overview, Live Statistics, Traffic Analysis, Source Analysis, Customized Analysis and Demographics. This new flow of data allows brands to drastically improve services while boosting user conversion rates if used correctly.

  • Overviewgives you a general idea of how your mini program performs.
  • Live Statsgives you real-time data of your mini program including time usage comparisons.
  • Traffic Analysis gives you detailed information on user metrics, traffic distribution and page performance.
  • Source Analysis gives you detailed information of the user’s entry point.
  • Customized Analysis gives you the option to create events and build reports.
  • Demographics gives you data based on gender, age, city and even phone model.

 

Latest Consumer Trends

As of the third quarter of last year, WeChat has over one billion active monthly users. That’s only 300 million less than the entire population of China. It’s only behind WhatsApp and Facebook as the world’s most popular messaging apps. Around 30% of mobile internet time in China is spent on WeChat and 83% of WeChat users use the app for work related purposes. The majority of WeChat users are between the age group of 26-35 with a 1.8:1 male to female ratio. Surprisingly, 63 million WeChat users above the age of 55 open their account at least once a month and the older population of 36-50 are not far behind Gen Z in regards to usage.

WeChat is clearly one of the dominant platforms where brands can reach their target audience, but has experienced saturation with official accounts and a decline in readership. For smaller official accounts, there was a 24% decline in average read rates in 2017. The decline might seem a bit shocking, but consistent user engagement will maintain healthy readership.

 

Audience Segmentation via Social CRM

Social CRM uses a combination of data from social media platforms to help brands get a better understanding of their customers. The data typically refers to the customers’ purchase history and membership status. Brands on WeChat can gain a unique insight into how consumers engage with their brand and product. Social CRM has the following key features:

  • It provides a data hub to centralize data from various platforms, such as e-commerce sites like JD.
  • It enables the creation of customized user profiles including QR code tracking, content clicking and sharing.
  • It provides message targeting features based on user interests.
  • It provides instant customer support through a direct communication channel for companies to give feedback.
  • Data measurement and reporting for campaign effectiveness.

 

WeChat has built its success on its seamless user experience through integrating the most popular brands and services, which is all held together by a secure and dependable payment system. With the advancement of its social search engine and the massive consumer data at its disposal, WeChat will continue to grow and adapt new features that benefits both brands and users.

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See the French version of the article here.

David Henriques
David Henriques

Digital entrepreneur and co-founder of Sekkei Studio, a digital marketing agency in Shanghai, Paris and Hong Kong. More than 10 years of experience in helping the communication of foreign companies in China.

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