A lot of noise was made this month when WeChat announced it had ticked over the 1 billion monthly active user mark. This staggering number refers to WeChat’s global users, a growing number of which are located outside of China.
While WeChat’s user base is still predominantly Chinese, it’s growing global footprint is presenting a number of opportunities for brands to target Chinese travellers and Chinese communities. In Australia, WeChat has 800,000 monthly active users and a further 180,000 in New Zealand, and those number swell with the constant waves of incoming Chinese travellers.
While WeChat official accounts remain a preference for brands hoping to develop long standing connections with Chinese consumers, in this increasingly cluttered environment marketers are seeking other alternatives.
WeChat’s highly targeted advertising features, such as Moments Ads, are becoming increasingly attractive to brands looking to connect with local users – both Australian and New Zealand residents and inbound Chinese tourists.
Moments Ads are fixed banner or video ads which appear in the feed section, or Moments section of WeChat. This section is similar to the Facebook Feed and the ads are similar in the basic formats and styles. The big difference, however, is that while Facebook is saturated with advertising targeting Australian and New Zealand users, there is significantly less activity on WeChat targeting these users, which has the potential to create higher engagement rates.
WeChat Moment Ads, much like Facebook and Instagram, feature precise filter functions which enable the advertiser to narrow down to very specific target audiences and present opportunities for highly targeted and relevant advertising.
This presents advertisers and brands with the ability to not only connect with Chinese consumers in local communities but also inbound travellers from China, or even niche segments of consumers within China.
Last year more than 1.2 million Chinese travellers visited in Australia, while a further 400,000 travelled to New Zealand, all of these travellers are avid WeChat users, with many likely to spend more than 2 hours per day on the app.
Chinese travellers have a propensity to spend and Targeting these lucrative consumers with targeted WeChat Moments Ads provides local brands and marketers with an effective way to get their brand in front of Chinese consumers and potentially drive sales and attract followers for your products.
As WeChat is still a very small channel in Australia and New Zealand, brands utilising this channel will gain high cut-through rates as users are not receiving much advertising and as such are more receptive to it. Therefore, Australian and New Zealand brands that utilise the channel will have access to an otherwise hard to reach audience.
Chinese communities are tight-knit and word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most trusted and effective form of communications. Moments Ads which incorporate entertaining or engaging creative can attract shares and retweets, ensuring they reach a larger target audience which will help the brand to collect more fans through the process.
Vodafone New Zealand utilised this format recently with a campaign targeting Chinese Kiwi’s during the Chinese New Year Spring Festival. Vodafone wanted to raise awareness of its brand among New Zealand’s Chinese community and encourage more people to follow its WeChat account.
UMS created a WeChat campaign, using Moment Ads to drive engagement. The branded Moments Ad received more than 200,000 impressions and over 80,000 unique visitors resulting in a 20% interaction rate to Vodafone New Zealand’s WeChat profile.
This strategic approach to maximising the world’s third largest social media platform provides brands with a highly targeted way to connect with audiences. As WeChat users continue to grow globally these platforms will become increasingly crowded, however, for now they represent an excellent opportunity for brands looking to engage with local users.