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WeChat under lockdown

WeChat (or WeiXin the Chinese version) started life as a chat app, like WhatsApp, now it is like an operating system for your life using QR codes. B2B marketers are most likely to deal with WeChat Official Accounts (company pages with blogs) and may run a company chat group. It is important to remember that it is an instant messaging app, so anything you post to a group should be targeted. The attitude to WeChat is similar to the attitude to WhatsApp, rather than the attitude to Facebook from which we expect more mass-market content. About 30% of mobile internet time in China is spent on WeChat and they handle 1 billion WeChat Pay commercial transactions a day. WeChat traffic is heavily driven by influencers, or Key Opinion Leaders, and they can command huge sums. Asian audience, particularly Chinese audiences will respond to posts that mention a celebrity. WeChat has a reputation for censorship.

What can B2B marketers use it for

B2B marketers can create updates about their company and post them in the Chinese language from their WeChat Official Account. You must be careful what you say on WeChat messages as it is widely understood that the government monitors the content in the app, especially of foreign companies.

Key statistics

Monthly active users (MAU): 1.17 billion (WeChat and WeiXin combined)

Daily messages sent: 45 billion

China penetration: 78% of 16-64 year olds use it

Biggest markets: China, Hong Kong (44% penetration), Singapore (24% penetration)

Time spent on site per session: 6 minutes (with 10+ sessions a day)

Time spent on site daily: 66 minutes

Best content to post

Tone: Friendly and enthusiastic

Posting times: 9pm

Do: Post in Chinese, consider SEO, use emojis, QR codes, and highlighted text, considerately share the content via group chats, engage with your audience regularly via the customer service chat on your OA.

Don’t: Put text within the image, copy + paste from a word doc and publish without checking, share the content to groups with abandon.

Impact of Covid-19 disruption

Total daily messages and time spent on the site increased at “double-digit percentages” on a year-on-year basis. WeChat has been extremely agile and has successfully deepened and broadened its role as China’s operating system during covid-19. They created eLearning features that support tens of million of teachers and students a day, including a QQ toolbar with relevant mini-programs. They also deepened their service in online grocery shopping and municipal services. As a result, they are seeing a rapid growth of mini-programs with daily active users now exceeding 400 million. They made additional revenues from in-game purchases both inside China and internationally and they released a number of high-quality updates to cater to this market. They also saw a growth spurt in video subscriptions, which rose 26% year on year to 112 million and music subscriptions which grew 50% year on year to 4 million. Bucking the trend across the other platforms, ad revenue increased overall, driven by ads for internet services, online learning, and games as well as news in-feed. Covid-19 content has attracted 600 million views. Overall their revenues increased 26% year on year.

How should you use WeChat under lockdown?

  1. If you are one of the lucky ones with an ad budget and you need to target a China and/or Southeast Asian audience, then consider putting ad spend on WeChat as engagement with ads has gone up on the platform

  2. Design a mini-program for your business that can teach what you know to others. With business dropping, people have a lot of time and many are spending it on upskilling.

  3. Increase the posts from your WeChat Official Account updating people on company efforts to support the community uring covid-19.

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Other articles in this series.

  1. B2B social media under lockdown

  2. LinkedIn under lockdown

  3. YouTube under lockdown

  4. Facebook under lockdown

  5. Twitter under lockdown

 

References

Business of Apps (2020). WeChat revenue and usage statistics (2020).

WeChat Wiki (2019). What I've learnt from making over 1,200 WeChat posts.

WeChat Wiki (2020). WeChat Official Accounts: An epic guide.

Hootsuite (2020). WeChat Marketing.