Last Updated on July 28, 2023
From being a simple messaging app, WeChat has become more than a communication platform. Over time, it turned into a digital space where brands can unlock a wider audience reach.
As businesses learn the value of WeChat Advertising, they quickly learn that it requires more than just familiarity. It needs a deep understanding of its intricacies. That’s where we come in.
In this article, we’ll help you discover your brand’s potential in the Chinese market using WeChat Ads and decide which advertising option best suits your needs.
A Comprehensive Guide to WeChat Advertising
WeChat Ads is a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to promote their products or services on this popular Chinese social media and messaging app. With over a billion monthly active users, WeChat provides a vast user base and various advertising formats to reach and engage with a wide audience in China.
Before we go into the topic any deeper, here is key information you should know about WeChat:
What is WeChat Advertising?
WeChat Advertising refers to the marketing activities conducted on the app’s platform. It involves creating and running ads promoting businesses, products, or services to Chinese WeChat users.
These WeChat marketing assets come in different formats, such as display ads, moments ads, official account ads, mini-program ads, and collaborations with key opinion leaders (KOLs).
How does advertising work on WeChat?
Typically, advertising on WeChat revolves around official accounts that function as business profiles on the platform. You must first set up and verify a WeChat official account to run ads for your brand.
Once verified, you access the WeChat Advertising admin platform, which provides ad creation, targeting, and campaign management tools. From there, advertisers must define their target audience based on demographics, interests, behavior, and location.
It’s crucial to specify these parameters on your digital marketing and advertising campaigns so that your business can deliver tailored ads to specific user segments, increasing the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Can I run ads on WeChat?
Yes, businesses and individuals can run WeChat Ads. You don’t need a Chinese business license or citizen ID to make promotional content on the platform. However, you must still undergo account registration and get approved by WeChat. Because of this, we highly advise getting familiar with China’s internet laws and researching which industries are prohibited from advertising in the app.
After the successful registration, you can create and manage ads through the WeChat Advertising platform or partner with authorized advertising agencies in China. These agencies can assist with ad campaign planning, creative design, targeting, and optimization.
However, it’s crucial to note that WeChat has specific guidelines and regulations for advertising content. Ads must adhere to WeChat’s advertising policies, prohibiting misleading information, banned products, and content violating local laws and regulations. Advertisers must ensure their ads comply with these guidelines to avoid rejection or account suspension.
What are the different types of WeChat Ads?
WeChat Moments Ads
WeChat Moments Ads are native advertisements that look similar to getting an update from a friend but with a small sponsored button in the top corner. They are the most familiar form of WeChat advertising and can be considered the Facebook ad equivalent. Tencent has put a lot of thought into how ads impact the user experience and designed ads to appear with that in mind.
An ad only appears after a user has received at least four WeChat moment updates and will automatically disappear after 6 hours if it doesn’t receive any likes or comments.
Regular WeChat Moments Ads are the only form of WeChat Advertisement that supports physical store promotion. There are a few variations of how brands can use WeChat moment ads, such as image & text ads, video ads, basic card ads, card ads with options, and interactive advertiser ads. In the meantime, you can target users based on location, age, gender, interest, device type, and phone network.
WeChat Moment Ads are pure and simple: a chronological account of what a WeChat user’s direct contacts have chosen to share. It makes the Moments feed attractive for advertisers, as ads placed there will not have to compete with other forms of content.
There are two main formats in which a WeChat Moments ad may be displayed: as a post, which looks almost identical to a normal user’s post, or in ‘card format.’
For advertisers with substantial campaign investments surpassing one million RMB, WeChat provides special formats for Moments ads.
These enhanced WeChat moment advertising formats offer additional features and capabilities to create more impactful and immersive ad experiences. Notable features available in these formats include the ability to feature links to external sites outside of the Tencent ecosystem, the inclusion of full-size videos to leverage the power of moving visuals, card posts with two buttons for increased interactivity, interactive videos that allow Chinese consumers to engage through touch or gestures, and 360-panoramic image displays for a captivating visual experience.
Depending on the type of WeChat Moment Ads you choose for your advertising campaign, your media or content will have the following components:
- Display Ads
- Videos for WeChat Moments Ad
Example of the user journey:
How Can Advertisers Target Users With Moments Ads?
These types of WeChat advertising options offer extensive targeting settings to help advertisers reach their target audience. In the Moment ad panel within the WeChat app, you can adjust the demographic parameters, including location, gender, age, education, interests, device type, and telephone network. Through this, you can tailor your brand’s ad campaigns and ensure they reach the most relevant users on the platform.
WeChat Public Accounts Ads
On WeChat, public account ads can appear within articles published by subscription or WeChat service accounts. These ads typically come in three primary formats, each serving a specific purpose.
The first two formats are relatively easy to understand and include large-format single-image or video ads that prominently feature a brand’s title or logo. Remember that these ads can be positioned at the end or in the middle of a WeChat article.
Like Moments ads, ad banners can redirect users to destinations such as online stores, WeChat official accounts, or H5 pages. It enables advertisers to drive traffic to their desired landing page seamlessly and engage with their WeChat followers and target audience more interactively.
- WeChat Article bottom Ads
WeChat Article Banner Ads provide a prominent advertising format within the platform. These ads allow brands and businesses to promote brand activities, stores, applications, public accounts, small games and collect sales leads to a wider audience reach. When users browse articles on WeChat, banner ads appear, capturing readers’ attention and driving traffic to the promoted content.
This format is effective for content marketing strategies and can increase the visibility and engagement within the WeChat ecosystem. Your WeChat banner ads will appear between an official account article and the comment section below, and support both pictures and videos.
- WeChat In-text Ads
In-text WeChat Banner Ads are seamlessly integrated advertisements displayed within articles on the platform. You’ll see these ads as part of the article content, allowing brands to reach users non-intrusively.
This type of WeChat official account advertising format is in the middle of a published article. Because of this, In-text ads can even increase your click-through rate. Users may come across in-text banner ads relevant to the article’s topic or the reader’s interests as they read it.
- Subscription accounts messages listing Ads
Subscription account news list ads runs through the content flow of subscription account messages section as native horizontal large images and videos. They covers a large number of high-quality users and helps brands and performance advertisers to achieve brand exposure and efficient conversion.
WeChat Mini Program Ads
Besides using a banner ad, businesses looking into advertising on WeChat can also consider the platform’s Mini Programs feature. It’s an internal function within the app that serves as sub-applications where users can access pretty much any type of service they’d like.
WeChat Mini Programs are a convenient way to captivate your audience and change the tedious format of targeted ads. Instead of directly leading the users to your company’s landing page, these ads come in mini-game, banner, and pop-up ads.
- Rewarded Ads
Rewarded ads are an advertisement of 6-60 seconds that will play and link to the brand’s landing page. After watching the video or browsing the page for 15 seconds and being actively closed by the user, the user will get the corresponding incentive provided by the mini program (such as bonus points, etc.)
These WeChat Mini Program Ads increase interactive promotion capabilities as advertisers can create interactive H5 landing pages and place them in conjunction with incentive videos to create an immersive interactive experience for users and improve conversion efficiency.
These intricacies require the developer to know the ins and outs of the WeChat mini-program design if you decide to create your own.
- Banner Ads
These types of WeChat advertising options are similar to sticker ads. They are strategically placed within mini-programs, and the mini-program owner determines its placement.
You can utilize WeChat’s targeting capabilities to match your ads with relevant mini-programs based on your target audience. These WeChat advertising content often factor in user demographics, interests, behavior, and other parameters to ensure your ads are displayed to the most relevant audience.
- Pop-up Ads
Pop-up ads within WeChat mini-programs are designed to appear during specific user interactions or scenarios. Users will see these ads appear when pausing a video or navigating different features.
The main purpose of these WeChat advertising assets is to capture the user’s attention at strategic moments during their interaction with the mini program.
WeChat Search ads
Through WeChat Search Ads, advertisers can display their campaigns on the platform’s search result pages. This feature also provides paid keyword advertising options, allowing brands to target short-tail keywords directly related to their niche or industry.
Because of the diverse capability of the WeChat Search ad, you can expect it to be highly effective in generating buzz and acquiring leads. When utilizing this advertising option, your ads will appear in various sections within the platform when a user performs a search.
- WeChat Search Results
When a user searches for a keyword, WeChat typically displays relevant results from official accounts, brand websites, Mini Programs, and more. By choosing this ad format, businesses can boost their visibility within these results.
Your ads will appear alongside the organic results whenever a user searches for your targeted keywords. It’s also worth noting that these advertisements will appear with an “Ads” tag.
- WeChat Super Brand Zone
On the other hand, WeChat’s Super Brand Zone s a special advertising feature that focuses on promoting the brand’s content. These search ads will specifically show up for queries related to your business information, product, and services. Typically, these features provide users easy access to your official account and mini-programs within the platform.
5. WeChat Channels ads
You may not know, but WeChat Channels is a short-video platform recently integrated into the app. And like any other feature in WeChat, advertisers can choose an ad format to display within its video stream. The available content promotions brands can explore on this platform includes:
- WeChat Channels Mutual Selection Ad
This type of WeChat Channel advertisement requires collaboration between advertisers and video creators. And while both parties can choose each other based on their preferences and requirements, the account owners can set the content marketing fee. Currently, the platform supports two quotation options: 1-60 seconds and more than 60 seconds.
These ads blend organically with the rest of the video content, resulting in a more seamless and immersive viewing experience for users.
- WeChat Channels Small Task Ad
Through this Channel ad, advertisers can initiate tasks that multiple creators independently contribute. Typically, it includes creating and sharing content based on the advertisers’ requirements. Creators are then compensated based on the effectiveness of their work in driving advertising conversions.
- WeChat Channels Native Ad
For native ads within WeChat Channels, advertisers can add promotional content on real-time live broadcasts or within native short-video ads. When advertisers promote their content during live broadcasts, it’ll seamlessly blend into the video stream. Meanwhile, native ads appear as half-screen landing pages that don’t interrupt the viewing experience, accelerating conversions by allowing users to make purchases while watching.
How Does WeChat Distribute Impressions?
WeChat is well aware that introducing advertising to any website or mobile app poses the challenge of balancing the interests of marketers and maintaining a positive user experience. To address this challenge, it’s worth noting that the platform distributes advertisements in a manner that makes users feel the ads they encounter are relevant to them.
By ensuring the ads align with users’ interests and needs, WeChat aims to strike a balance where advertisers can achieve their marketing objectives without compromising the user experience within the platform.
Regardless of the types of WeChat advertising options marketers and businesses choose, Tencent ensures that the content visible to their users is targeted and relevant. By leveraging their robust targeting capabilities and a dedicated team of professionals, WeChat endeavors to create a win-win situation where advertisers can reach their intended audience, and users perceive the ads, they encounter as valuable and meaningful.
How much does it cost to advertise on WeChat?
Advertisers can customize their campaigns to reach specific audience segments, but pricing may vary based on the selected targeting options and campaign objectives. Nevertheless, here are the estimated WeChat advertising costs you can expect when running different ad formats.
- WeChat Moments Advertising: The minimum entry price for Chinese and foreign companies is 50,000 RMB. The cost is determined using two key metrics: CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) and CPC (cost per click). For Text & Pictures Ads in Core cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the CPM ranges from 150 RMB. It can go up to 180 RMB for video ads.
- WeChat Banner Ads: The WeChat banner ads cost around 50,000 RMB for the minimum entry price. This range applies to international and local WeChat users wanting to advertise on the platform. In Core cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the CPM is 25 RMB, while in Large cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen, it is 20 RMB. For Other cities, the CPM is 15 RMB.
- WeChat Mini-Program: These advertisements also have the same minimum cost. Like banner ads, the pricing varies based on city size. In core cities, the CPM is 25 RMB, while in large cities, it is 20 RMB. For other cities, the CPM is 15 RMB.
What Are The Bidding Methods On WeChat?
Here are the WeChat advertising bidding options brands must fulfill in each campaign type:
- Scheduled Ads: Minimum investment of 50,000RMB per day for Moments ads.
- Bid by Impression: Banner and mini-program ads start at 1,000RMB per time.
- Bid by Click: Moments ads require a 50,000RMB down payment for bidding, while other formats do not.
Always remember that the pricing variations are based on target location and ad format:
- Core cities (e.g., Beijing, Shanghai) have the highest rates.
- First and second-tier cities are relatively more affordable.
- Third-tier cities and below have the lowest rates.
- Single-image ads are the least expensive, while additional images or videos increase the price.
For precise pricing, it’s recommended to consult an agency or log in to the WeChat advertising backend to enter campaign details.
How to Target An Audience On WeChat?
WeChat offers diverse targeting options:
- Location: Target specific areas in China and Chinese travelers abroad (useful for post-pandemic travel).
- Gender and Age: Define the target audience by gender and age range (5-60 years old).
- Interests: Select from 18 industries (e.g., technology, education, fashion) and 122 sub-categories for precise audience targeting.
How to Set Up WeChat Advertising
Now that we’ve understood the platform’s ads and how they work, here’s the step-by-step overview of setting up campaigns in the WeChat backend admin platform.
Step #1: Log in to the Official Accounts Platform
When venturing into WeChat advertising, log into the WeChat backend and choose between subscription and service accounts, considering their advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to note that this decision should align with your broader marketing strategy rather than being solely based on advertising considerations.
Step #2: Open WeChat ads and select industry
To start advertising on WeChat, you’ll need to review and accept the terms and conditions, select your industry type, and provide additional licenses related to your industry. You’ll also be required to provide the contact details of the person responsible for managing advertising on behalf of your company.
Step #3: Select ad format
In the picture below, you can see official account promotions and WeChat Moments ads. It’s now also possible to select a Mini-Program ad.
(Source: WeChat Wiki)
Step #4: Select the promotion and payment type
The type of promotion you choose on WeChat will depend on your specific objectives, whether you aim to direct users to a WeChat official account, promote a mobile app, or create a general brand promotion. Consider your goals and target audience when determining the most suitable promotion type.
Before proceeding with the following steps, it is important to clearly understand whether you prefer bidding or scheduled payments for your WeChat advertising campaigns. Bidding allows for flexible pricing based on competition, while scheduled payments involve predetermined costs. Assess your requirements and preferences to determine which payment method aligns better with your advertising strategy before proceeding further in this guide.
Step #5: Select launch time and target audience
Step #6: Set budget
Minimum budgets vary, as mentioned in the cost section. For Moments ads, the minimum budget is 50,000RMB.
Step #7: Choose an ad template, or promote WeChat official account article.
From here, several templates and customization options will be available.
It’s also possible to choose at this stage to promote a WeChat official account article:
Step #8: Sign the agreement and submit the funds
Tencent will need to review the ad for approval.
Step #9: Double-check and preview your WeChat ads demo before the launch.
After approval, sending the ad to an allowlist of people is possible. If no adjustments need to be made, it can be launched on schedule.
Step #10: Monitor and analyze the performance of your WeChat Moments or other advertising campaign.
Your account is open, your ad has launched, and it’s time to bask in the light of insightful data. Check back for all manner of metrics.
These tools show how well your WeChat ads work through their impression, interaction, and sharing data reports.
WeChat Public Account Ads
So let’s start with the basics. Before going any further, it’s important to understand that only service and subscription accounts can buy or display public account ads.
How does it work?
Verified public accounts on WeChat can become advertisers and launch ads at the bottom of eligible posts published by other public accounts, given that the advertiser and publisher have compatible targeting preferences.
Advertisers pay on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, and the generated revenue from clicks is shared between Tencent and the publisher.
What requirements must publishers fulfill to display ads?
Would-be publishers with protected content (meaning that they regularly publish original content) require at least 10,000 followers to display ads, while public accounts with unprotected content need at least 20,000 followers.
What targeting options are available to advertisers and publishers?
On WeChat, publishers and advertisers can choose partners based on industry compatibility. Advertisers can target specific users for their WeChat marketing plans by demographics, such as gender, age, location, and interests.
What Types Of Brands Should Use WeChat Advertisements?
A WeChat advertising strategy may not be suitable for small companies with limited budgets. Moments ads are expensive and more convenient for well-known brands, while smaller companies may benefit from using KOLs or exploring other Tencent advertising channels.
WeChat public account and mini program advertisements are cheaper options, but exposure depends on account or program popularity. WeChat advertising can provide significant brand exposure if within budget and is a gateway to connect with Chinese consumers.
Businesses That Cannot Participate In WeChat Advertising
Certain business industries are not eligible to participate in WeChat advertising. It includes e-businesses related to smartphones, smart wristbands, power banks, and heating vests.
In the gaming industry, fishing games, games involving certain money transactions, and card games are restricted. Food and wine categories such as health food, shark fin/sea cucumber, and tobacco are also excluded.
Similarly, personal services like phone repair, pet hospitals, lottery, sauna/massage centers, and e-cigarettes are restricted. Entertainment sectors, including art auctions/art collections, video dating, and adult products, are also not eligible according to WeChat advertising restrictions. For the complete list of restricted business industries, please contact us directly.
Best Practices When You Advertise on WeChat
The lengthy registration time leaves brands plenty of time to make marketing strategies and get familiar with some WeChat advertising best practices so every campaign can succeed.
- Choose your ad type wisely.
- Use eye-catching, upbeat visuals.
- Set clear goals aligned with specific objectives.
- Create a WeChat-specific marketing funnel and map out KPIs.
- Focus on high-quality content to drive follower growth.
- Utilize interactive features like group chats, games, and competitions.
- Localize your content for the Chinese audience.
- Maintain consistency across channels within the WeChat ecosystem.
By following these best practices, brands can maximize the success of their WeChat advertising campaigns and ensure a cohesive brand image and user experience.
Your Trusted WeChat Advertising Partner in the Chinese Market!
Chinese consumers dance to a different beat when it comes to WeChat advertising. To truly captivate their interest, you must unravel their unique preferences and tailor your advertising approach accordingly.
Don’t let the complexities of the Chinese market hold you back! Our team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, transforming your brand’s potential into a resounding success.
Whether it’s crafting compelling paid WeChat advertising campaigns, harnessing the power of SEO and social media, or making waves with PR, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let the world witness your brand’s remarkable growth in China’s thriving business landscape. The possibilities are endless – let’s make them a reality!