wechat trend 2020

WeChat Trends in 2020 – One Step ahead in China Digital Marketing

David Henriques

Whether you’re just starting out with a fresh WeChat account or have been tasked with growing an established one, it’s never a bad idea to stay on top of key updates, new trends and major announcements revolving around WeChat marketing. 2020 will be a busy year for WeChat, with a range of updates and changes that will help to advance and evolve the platform, and provide new opportunities for both users and brands.

For business owners and marketers alike, WeChat has proven to be one of the biggest players in the game when it comes to brand promotion. That’s why we decided to compile a list of everything you should know about WeChat for 2020. From things you might want to avoid to the latest engagement stats or just figuring out new ways to engage users, we’ve got you covered.

 

WeChat growth & engagement

WeChat has always been considered China’s most important app and will always play a major role when it comes to brand awareness, but the days of WeChat completely dominating the social media scene are long gone.  New rivals, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Toutiao continue to disrupt the WeChat ecosystem.

WeChat Trend

The fast levels of WeChat growth has slowed down, which is to be expected. WeChat’s market penetration is close to complete when it comes to China. Even though the time spent on WeChat has dropped by 8.6% between December 2018 and June 2019, its user base increased by 3.2% during the same time period. Other smaller apps are emerging and taking over some of the market share and user engagement. Although, WeChat still remains the number 1 platform of conversion rates for higher-priced products.

 

WeChat official accounts

Users are continuing to follow a large number of WeChat official accounts. About half the users on the platform follow 10 to 20 WeChat OAs. These users mainly discover new accounts through recommendations from existing accounts that they follow or though organic searches on WeChat. Over 50% of users spend 10-30 minutes on OAs per day, and a little over 20% of users spend 30 minutes to an hour.

WeChat Official Account

The most popular categories on OAs vary based on gender. Male users are more interested in finance, while female users are more into shopping-related accounts. Only 3% of articles on OAs receive more than 10,000 views, which means new brands looking at WeChat for only organic growth will most likely have a hard time achieving positive results.  Cross-promotion should be a go-to strategy when launching a new account or brands looking for more exposure with 47.8% of users purchasing products directly from influencer recommendations.

 

WeChat advertising

Tencent has steadily increased their WeChat advertising efforts in order to compete with TikTok, but the platform has seen better days. The advertising growth rate has dropped from 38% in 2018 Q4 to 16% for Q2 2019. Due to increased competition, WeChat is drastically revamping its advertising features to make them more beneficial and affordable.

WeChat Banner ads

WeChat advertising updates:

  1. Banner ads

Ads are now more precise with the ability to target users down to a few blocks and the address of the brand can be directly displayed within the ad. Users can also see how many of their friends are following the official account when viewing an ad.

  1. Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are displayed during transitions within mini programs and cover the entire screen of a device. It aims to offer more context to the user for an increased level of engagement

  1. WeChat mini program video ads

Video ads are now available within WeChat mini programs. It comes in two formats, including in-content ads and pre-roll advertisings. Mini programs developers decided where the ads will be shown and they receive 50% of the advertising revenue.

 

WeChat mini programs are booming

Mini program growth is getting closer to the scale of traditional app stores all within less than 2 years. While engagement and advertising are on a decline, mini programs have increased by more than 23% during the same period. The number of monthly active users has also increased by 52% to 746 million.

mini program data

There are now more than 2.3 million mini programs on the market with over 60% of WeChat users having used one. Most WeChat mini programs are found through sharing (35%), drop down navigation (25%) or official accounts (14%). It’s recommended to follow the best WeChat mini program design practices to maintain the highest user retention. Mini programs that have 1-2 core functionalities tend to have higher engagement rates.

 

Consumer marketing with WeChat CRM

WeChat CRM makes it easier than ever for brands to stay connected to their customers. Brands can now track and engage across the entire WeChat ecosystem from campaigns to customer service. The system tracks each user with a unique ID and collects data for each and every interaction with a brand. You can send tailored messaged by gender, location and even relationship status. It’s one of the best ways to drive customer engagement with conversions, but the process can be quite challenging without the right strategy. The key comes down to translating the values and personality of your brand into a signature customer experience.

wechat crm

Here are some of the top CRM platforms worth checking out:

  • Parllay
  • Jing Digital
  • Drip
  • Youzan
  • Weimob

 

WeChat loyalty tactics to consider

When it comes to traditional customer loyalty, brands push rewards programs during or after a purchase. China’s new retail strategy is the way to go when it comes to loyalty programs in 2019 where membership programs are required before a user even thinks about making a purchase. Brands can offer free membership giveaways with discounts for just downloading an app or a huge discount on a first purchase for signing up for a loyalty program. This means that all potential customers are now members, which leads to more data and better segmentation for increased revenue growth.

wechat loyalty program

Important steps for rolling out a new loyalty strategy include:

  1. Gather and combine all customer data across a variety of platforms.
  2. Differentiate customers and followers for the best user engagement strategies.
  3. Develop a WeChat mini program for brand loyalty.
  4. Send personalized messages to your customers and give membership incentives to your followers.

 

The new influencers on the block

By now, everyone pretty much knows what a KOL is and how to go about finding one that is right for your brand. But have you ever heard of China’s Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs)? KOCs might be even more beneficial than KOLs depending on your brand and product. KOLs have recently lost quite a bit of hype due to consumers becoming more aware of their lack of authenticity. This loss in credibility has given birth to the influence of everyday consumers.

key opinion consumer

KOCs entire value is based on how trust worthy they are along with their relatability. Their entire existence revolves around product reviews. Chinese consumers are preferring this method of influence because it has such a friendly feel for making purchasing decisions. However, KOCs cannot completely replace KOLs, but they are here to stay and they can be super beneficial for smaller brands that are entering the Chinese market.

 

New WeChat regulations to keep in mind

WeChat has gotten a lot stricter when it comes to incentivized sharing and external links. Some of the most common campaign tactics have now been banned.

wechat regulation

 

Here are some of the main bans to watch out for:

  • Providing services similar to a WeChat feature
  • Group buying campaigns are highly regulated
  • Any form of re-using a user’s profile picture or user information is not allowed

WeChat is super strict when it comes to disrupting the user experience and breaking any of the regulation rules could mean getting your company banned from using WeChat. However, WeChat typically gives a warning of some sort before completely blocking a brand.

 

WeChat is a powerful marketing tool and social media platform any business can take advantage of. The platform may be experience a bit of slow growth due to competition, but it still has the ability to improve brand awareness and create personal relationships with your customers. As WeChat continues to come out with new updates and features, we will continue to provide you with the latest so you can stay on top of new trends and revamp your marketing tactics for the best approach when engaging your followers.

 

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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