WeChat Live Streaming

How Does WeChat Live Streaming Work? [Guide For New Marketers]

Live streams are a common sight on any Chinese social media platform nowadays. This trend stems from the continued preference of the local audience to consume real-time video content, generating a massive user base of 765 million.

In the WeChat ecosystem, live-streaming capabilities also extend as an e-commerce tool. While not as popular as Douyin or Kuaishou, it garnered a total gross merchandise volume of 13.9 billion USD in 2023.

In this post, we’ll explore the different ways of implementing WeChat live-streaming sessions for your brand and discuss how the feature generally works.


How to Launch a Live Streaming Session on WeChat

Only users with a WeChat official account can launch a live-streaming session on the platform. On top of that, marketers need to send an application and get approved before they can promote products through these features.

Here are two ways brands can host live streams on the platform:


●     WeChat Channels Live

Since its launch in 2020, WeChat Channels has aimed to serve both public and private audiences. Today, it’s positioning itself as a powerful tool to enhance brand influence within the WeChat ecosystem.

Brands will need an official brand account to leverage this relatively new function. Unlike WeChat mini-programs, the activation process for this feature is straightforward, with no specific category requirements.

In the WeChat Channels application, official account operators must indicate the type of live-streaming function they want, short- and long-term plans for the platform, and their contact information.


WeChat Channels Application

WeChat Channels Application


When launching a live video stream, WeChat official account operators have the option to use a mobile device or desktop. Nevertheless, once your live broadcast application is approved, you’ll be given a streaming address and key.

You can input these codes in a third-party platform like OBS and manage the live stream backend from there.

While it offers significant exposure due to public traffic, WeChat Channels faces challenges in user retention and conversion. It’s mainly due to having less integrated live shopping functions.


WeChat Channels livestreaming

WeChat Channels In-app Feed


●     WeChat Mini-Program Live Streaming

Before the launch of WeChat Channels in 2020, mini-program live streaming could only be done through the Tencent Live app or other custom solutions. Now, all you need to do is select the three-dot button in the upper right corner of your own mini-program.

This action will redirect you to WeChat Channels. The only difference is it’s more focused on private traffic. It typically attracts specific viewers already interested in the brand, offering a more targeted live-streaming approach.

Right now, live-streaming through mini-programs is only available for selected industries and local official accounts. However, since it’s still a newly introduced function, the possibility of its full implementation is reasonably high.


Sephora’s Mini-Program Live-streaming Content on WeChat

Sephora’s Mini-Program Live-streaming Content on WeChat

The internal integration of live streaming on WeChat meant that users didn’t need to install a third-party app to watch livestreams from official accounts. They can easily access a brand’s real-time content by visiting its mini-program within the platform.

WeChat mini-program live streams include interactive features like lotteries and coupons, all aimed to boost potential sales conversion, foster user loyalty, and increase brand engagement.


How Do Users Discover a Live Stream on WeChat?

As mentioned earlier, live-streaming content on WeChat can benefit from public and private traffic entry points. Depending on how your brand approaches the content creation process, WeChat users can discover your live stream through various features like:


●      WeChat Moments or Chat Threads

The live-stream events you launch on WeChat are viewable through your follower’s Moments feed. They can come across your brand’s live broadcast while randomly scrolling through the section, thus initiating potential sales conversion.

Besides that, many brands utilize WeChat’s messaging features, like group chats or direct conversations, to share an upcoming live stream. This way, they can inform their official account followers when and how to access the event.


●      WeChat Brand Zone

The Brand Zone offers a specialized area for an official account to highlight their presence and activities, including live-streaming sessions. You can optimize this paid ad format so users can see your real-time content on top of the results when looking for a specific keyword on WeChat Search.

It can also serve as a booking feature, allowing users to schedule reminders for the live streams before they begin. If an official live streaming Mini Program is optimized to appear on the brand zone, the target audience can find it a lot faster.


WeChat’s Brand Zone.

WeChat Brand Zone


●      WeChat Article

You can post an article through your official WeChat account informing your target audience of an upcoming live stream. A mini-program code or a live-streaming card can be added in the middle or end of a blog post, giving brands a chance to attract users already reading their content.

When readers come across the card while reading a WeChat article, they can click on it to view more live-streaming information. They can even set a reminder to avoid missing the event.

Integrating a mini-program card into the article’s content serves as a direct call to action, encouraging users to participate in the live stream.


Who are the Live-streaming Users on WeChat?

Live-streaming users on WeChat include a diverse audience, reflecting the platform’s solid influence across different demographics in China. Before integrating the app into your digital marketing strategy, it’s worth remembering that it has an extensive user base exceeding 1 billion monthly active users.

It attracts a broad spectrum of individuals who utilize the platform for various purposes, including communication, shopping, and entertainment. When it comes to live-streaming, WeChat users tend to fall under these categories:


Live-streaming Users 
on WeChat


  • Young Consumers: Many live-stream users on WeChat are young Chinese consumers, particularly those from the Gen Z and Millennial generations. Real-time content consumers often fall under the age of 20 to 29.


  • Tech-Savvy Shoppers: Real-time interaction typically appeals to tech-savvy shoppers looking for a more informative shopping experience. They leverage this feature to see products in action, ask real-time questions, and make informed purchasing decisions.


  • Brand Followers: Individuals loyal followers of specific brands constitute another significant segment of live-streaming users on WeChat. These users are interested in staying up-to-date with the latest offerings, news, and exclusive live events.


  • Rural and Urban Users: WeChat’s live-streaming audience is not limited to urban users. It also reaches consumers in rural areas, thanks to the widespread internet penetration across China.


How to Leverage WeChat Live-streaming For Your Brand

1.    Collaborate with Influencers (KOLs & KOCs)

For brands not yet widely recognized in the Chinese market, working with key opinion leaders (KOLs) is a gateway to tap into their dedicated and highly engaged audiences. It can provide an immediate boost to your platform’s reach.

Beyond conventional WeChat advertising formats, their endorsements are often seen as more credible due to the solid and trustful relationships influencers have built with their followers over time.

These professional hosts excel in creating captivating and entertaining live-stream content that can enrich your brand’s appeal to new and existing audiences.


Host doing product demo by live-streaming on WeChat

Host doing product demo by live-streaming on WeChat


2.    Leverage Multi-Channel Promotion

Your live-streaming content should not be restricted to one traffic source. Take advantage of WeChat’s rich social media ecosystem and spread the word about the impending release of your real-time content through Moments, Search, articles, and other functions.

For example, you can post regular updates and teasers about your upcoming live-streaming event on your WeChat Official Account. Doing this will build anticipation among your followers.


3.    Implement Offline-to-Online (O2O) Strategies

O2O strategies work well in bridging the gap between physical and virtual marketing experiences. It can enhance customer engagement and drive participation in WeChat live-streaming events.

Most brands utilize this strategy by placing QR codes throughout physical stores, packaging, and online advertisements.

When participating in trade shows and exhibitions related to your industry, you can give out a QR code to offer exclusive previews or special content available only through the live stream. This strategy can create excitement and anticipation among the attendees.


WeChat qr code

Source: WeChat


4.    Strategic Timing and Scheduling

Timing is critical in maximizing the impact of your WeChat livestreaming campaign. During your market research, you should understand when your targeted audience is most active on WeChat.

Always consider time zones, work schedules, and typical online habits to choose the optimal time for your livestream. To avoid wasted resources, you can send event reminders a week, a day, or an hour before the event.

You can also align your live-streaming campaigns with special dates or shopping festivals, such as Chinese New Year, Singles’ Day (11.11), or your brand’s anniversary. These periods often see heightened consumer activity and interest in shopping, making them ideal for hosting real-time content.


Other WeChat Live-stream Features

WeChat livestreaming offers various features designed to boost user interaction and streamline the shopping experience. Here’s a closer look at how these functionalities can enhance viewer engagement and facilitate seamless purchases:


  • Lucky Draws and Red Packets

The platform supports interactive features like lucky draws, where viewers can comment to enter and win prizes, such as e-commerce coupons—a popular engagement tool. Live stream hosts can distribute virtual red packets as gifts to their audience.


  • Livestream Sharing Feature

Viewers can share the live stream with friends or post it on their WeChat Moments, complete with a cover preview. If the stream has ended, the preview appears blurred, but users can still click to reserve a spot for upcoming live videos if scheduled by the brand, promoting future engagement.


  • Customer Service Option

The platform encourages live interaction through its ‘comment’ function, where viewers can ask questions about products. Users can navigate to a customer service portal directly from the product page for more in-depth inquiries.

Brands can enhance this service by integrating a WeCom customer service button, enabling personalized one-on-one conversations with the sales team. It also allows viewers to initiate a live video or audio call with the host, adding a personal touch to the shopping experience.


Quick Q&A

Can you livestream on WeChat?

Yes, you can livestream on WeChat. The platform’s live-streaming feature is available through Channels and Mini-Program. It allows official accounts to broadcast live videos to their followers and engage with them in real time. This functionality supports interactive features such as direct e-commerce links, live chat, and customer service, enhancing the viewing experience and facilitating instant purchases.

What is a channel in WeChat?

A channel in WeChat refers to “WeChat Channels,” a feature within the app that allows you to create your own channel for posting and sharing video and photo content publicly. It’s designed to help users discover content beyond their immediate social circles, offering a platform for broader engagement and interaction.


Your Trusted WeChat Marketing in the Chinese Market!

Although live-streaming is not WeChat’s strongest feature, leveraging its perks will help you connect with new and younger audiences. Jumping into the platform’s trend as early as now will help you get ahead of your strongest competitors in the industry.

At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the importance of staying ahead of the changing trends in China’s virtual business scene. With our extensive industry experience, we offer you the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential in the Chinese market.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


We offer comprehensive services to empower your marketing strategies in China. Whether it’s launching a live stream on WeChat or collaborating with a KOL, we provide the digital solutions you need to thrive. Contact us today to learn more!


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