1) Implementation of Floating Windows to improve User Retention on WeChat
Details: Any smart phone owner can relate to the frustration of wanting more than one window on their screen at a time. WeChat tries to solve this to an extent, with floating windows. With this, users can now minimise any article they are reading to a circle on the side of their screen.
- The circle can be dragged around and placed anywhere on the screen for the convenience of the user.
- Users can perform any WeChat function they would normally do while the article is minimised,
- At the time of launch, WeChat only allows for one floating window at a time. Creating an additional floating window will be something that users can look forward to in the future.
Impact: This provides Tencent with increased reader retention rates on WeChat. After all, the ease of switching focus at the sight of anything remotely ‘sparkly’ is all too prevalent. Thus, having the ability to give readers a way to multitask is a great approach to stand out among social platforms.
Ashley G. Dudarenok, founder of marketing strategy company ChoZan says, “This move is seen as Tencent’s effort to further retain users and lengthen their usage time. Time spent in WeChat has been gradually decreasing due to competition from other popular apps, especially ones that deal with short videos and livestreaming. This feature creates a convenient way for users to revisit unfinished articles and then back to official accounts for further navigation.”
2) Makeover for WeChat Official Accounts, and Increased Differentiation Between Service and Subscription Type Accounts
Details: In the new update, WeChat has made changes to the appearance of an official account’s info page. It is now divided into two separate sections, a basic information area on the top and a content/service area below it. While the top is the same for everybody, the bottom will differ depending on your account type (Service or Subscription).
- Service accounts gain features allowing users to more easily access the available services that a brand provides.
- A service account is an account that offers brands an advanced array of features, i.e. interactive menus and mobile payments. Service accounts encourage users to proactively engage with these brands.
- Subscription accounts will show the three most viewed articles at the bottom. This allows followers to immediately see the most trending/informative articles at any given time.
- A subscription account is a more basic account, in terms of benefits. Their main use is the ability to post a message or piece of content per day to followers.
Impact: This change will provide a cleaner layout for users. Most of all, it will emphasise the benefits that WeChat service accounts provide. Therefore, service accounts will have a distinct advantage in providing a better user experience.
3) WeChat now allows their users to filter out unwanted content, allowing for a more compact and targeted Top Stories Feed
Details: Along with ease of use and improved profile layouts, WeChat has also improved their search function within Top Stories. Users now have a more targeted selection of search categories they can use, such as:
- Most popular news in the past 24 hours
- What your friends are looking at
- Articles from official accounts you follow
- What are nearby people reading
In addition to the search categories, users can now customise their Top Stories feed by filtering out content and accounts by clicking on the X on articles they may not like. This will prompt a choice of removing all content from the particular accounts. While this little update may confuse readers as it seems similar to the Facebook subscription style of news feed, there are differences to note. The foremost being that this change will not decide what content to show for the reader, and will only remove types of content from the News Feed at a given time, as opposed to preventing all similar posts from even reaching the user indefinitely. This allows control over what is ultimately shown to still be given to the user.
Impact: In conclusion this change is pretty simple; it gives WeChat users more power and control over what they see. In the long run, time spent on seeing stories that don’t provoke interest will be reduced.
Furthermore, there is now an opportunity for a targeted compilation of interests for every individual. As a result, brands that have strong marketing and social media presence, they will gain increased exposure to an audience that actually wants to see their content. Consequently, brands with a less-than-optimal WeChat strategy will be hindered in their outreach.
We hope you have enjoyed this WeChat 2018 Update. Every brand would benefit from knowing as much about Tencent’s enormous multi-purpose app! That’s what we at Luxion Media want to help provide. If you’d like hands-on professional advice on how your brand can successfully leverage WeChat, just contact us or apply here!
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