A short introduction into WeChat and what makes it unique
WeChat is in short, a free, cross-platform and instant messaging application developed by Chinese company Tencent back in 2011. Over the last couple years, it’s gained quite a bit of notoriety for its ease of use and an impressive variety of functions including:
- Money transferals
- Video calls
- Instant messaging
- Reading news
- Review posting
- Ordering food and services
- Fitness Assistance (e.g. WeRun step tracker)
Just like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and any other social media platforms, WeChat is a great way to connect with friends and families.
However, with its versatility and range of features it possesses, many companies have begun viewing WeChat in a different way; as a opportunity to improve and promote their brand, with some of these being:
- Fast Food King, McDonalds
- Multinational food, snack and beverage coorporation, Pepsico
- The Swiss watch brand, Montblanc
- British luxury fashion company, Burberry
- Luxury automobile manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz
How has WeChat been used for business in the past?
WeChat as mentioned before, has a huge variety of uses and can be used differently depending on what a business is trying to accomplish. Thanks to Adage and Quora, we’ve compiled information on a range of different companies and how they’ve used WeChat.
During the 2014 lunar new year period , Chinese people send good wishes to friends and family. PepsiCo, as part of a huge annual holiday campaign called “Bring Happiness Home,” gave the tradition a twist.
- People used WeChat to record an audio message that would get mixed in with a soundtrack of the well-known “Bring Happiness Home” theme song.
- “You could also add in effects like the sound of a train, and say, ‘Mom, I’m on my way home,'” said Tim Cheng, chief creative officer of DDB Group Shanghai, which created the campaign.
- Another sound offer was a horse’s gallop, since it’s the Year of the Horse. (WeChat is big on audio messaging – many Chinese people prefer that to texting because typing in characters is time-consuming.)
- The brand message, coming mostly from the theme song, was subtle. “It’s about spreading happiness, as opposed to ‘buy Pepsi,'” Mr. Cheng said.
Like PepsiCo’s campaign, McDonald’s latest offer plays with WeChat’s voice capabilities.
- The fast food brand sponsored a contest asking people to record a “Big Mac Rap” in the style of the host of the hit singing show “The Voice of China.” MC Hua Shao’s monologues – reminiscent of auctioneer-speak, with quick staccato syllables – have inspired online chatter and countless spoofs.
- As China-based branding agency Labbrand points out, uploading the audio on WeChat is simple, and the app opens up possibilities of user-generated content on a mass scale.
The Swiss watch brand, Montblanc, launched a campaign based on the importance of moon phases for the Chinese population.
- Through WeChat, Montblanc offered its followers the chance to participate in a promotion of its Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar and Bohème Perpetual Calendar Jewelry watches, which included on the watch dial a moon phase complication that tracks the wax and wane of the moon.
- In the campaign, members typed their gender and birthdate into the app in order to receive information of their birth moon phase and the effect on their personality, love, hobbies and work.
- The results were developed by Wang Xiaoya, a notable Chinese astrology author.
The most ingenious, and viral, Chinese social marketing campaign lately came from WeChat itself.
- As WeChat moves into e-commerce and prepares to challenge China’s online shopping giant Alibaba, it needs people to plug their bank numbers into its payment service, Tenpay.
- So it offered an updated take on another lunar new year tradition: exchanging cash-stuffed “red envelopes,” or hongbao, as gifts.
- WeChat digitized the tradition and created a gambling-like game where users sent money to a group of friends, with sums randomly distributed among them.
- The feature was a smash hit at family gatherings, in offices and online, and 20 million envelopes reportedly changed hands.
Important data for brands thinking of using WeChat
WeChat recently unveiled their “2016 WeChat Data Report” at the 2017 WeChat Workshop Pro Edition event in China. Listed below are a selection of the key takeaways from the data report.
Key statistics for ‘Overall’ and ‘Messages’ include:
- 768 million daily users along with a 35 percent growth from 2016.
- 50 percent of users use WeChat for at least 90 minutes a day.
- 65 percent of all Monthly Active users were born in the 80s or 90s.
- 67 percent Year-over-Year growth in total messages sent per day.
Key statistics for ‘Video & Voice Calls’ and ‘Moments’ include:
- 100 million calls average daily, up by 180 percent from the previous year.
- 70 percent of calls are from Typical Users (Users born in 80s or 90s).
- Average calling minutes per User each month for Youth Users and Typical Users is 65 minutes each while Senior Users sit at 82 minutes.
- Proportions of WeChat Moments posts with original content are 73 percent among youth users and 65 percent among typical users.
Key statistics for ‘Travel’ and ‘Red Packets’ include:
- The top holiday overseas destinations by Chinese travelers are U.S.A., Taiwan (China), Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
- The sending of red packets is most prevalent during the Lunar New Year’s Eve, at over 2 million packets sent. This is then followed by the Mid-Autumn Festival and Valentine’s Day (in that order).
- A Typical User sends 28 red packets (hongbao) on average, followed by Senior at 25 and Youth at 20.
- Despite Senior Users sending more red packets than Youth Users, Youth Users still spend practically just about as much money Seniors do.
If you’re looking to learn more about WeChat and how your brand can use it for success within the Chinese market, here are 2 links to get you started!
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