If you haven’t heard of WeChat, you’re not alone – only 8% of users live outside of China. But WeChat is one of the world’s largest platforms with over a billion accounts and 818 million active users (whereas Facebook has 1.2 billion active users).
Although classed as a “messenger app”, WeChat is integrated into every aspect of its users lives – a hub for all internet activities from morning until night. A combination of Facebook Messenger, PayPal, Slack, Amazon, Uber and Instagram, WeChat is the Swiss Army knife of applications. Whether social (video calls, group chats), commercial (exchanging QR codes, online shopping, buying movie tickets, digital wallet) or practical (setting doctor appointments, hailing taxis, sending files), WeChat can do it.
The appeal of WeChat is that users can easily build a single digital identity to use across multiple mobile devices. For advertisers there are several interesting functions within the app: Moments, Subscriptions, Stickers and Games.
- Moments – the equivalent of a private Facebook feed, where advertisers can place sponsored content in timeline
- Subscriptions – a powerful publishing platform that sits within the app’s contact list and can be used to publish articles, push out links, link to downloadable apps and receive payments
- Stickers – similar to the stickers functionality on other messaging platforms (Facebook Messenger, LINE, KIK, etc.)
- Games – these are found under the Discover tab, and have been monetized through in-app game purchases
In a huge market that is getting more and more connected (half of online sales in China are via mobile, compared to only a third in America), one of China’s most popular apps is only going to grow.