How to Reach Chinese Consumer Living Abroad with WeChat Moment Ads

Chances are if you’re reading this guide it is most likely that you are looking to reach and attract more Chinese customers for business but you have no idea where to start.

You may have thought about working with local Chinese newspaper, communities, radio, or television but the problem is like every else in the world these channels are becoming less and less effective.

More and more people around the world are putting their attention on social media and Chinese consumers are leading the way.

According to Google 96% of all purchase decisions starts online.

So, you start to think but there is another problem….

Chinese consumers don’t really use the popular western social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or even Google. They use WeChat which the most popular hybrid messenger and social media app in China…

Great, so now all you have to do is advertise on WeChat and then you’ll get a flood of Chinese customers for your business, right?

Not exactly…

The problem with WeChat is that it is not very friendly to foreign businesses, setting up a WeChat official account is extremely difficult at least until now.

Recently in the past year, WeChat has increasingly opened up their platform to foreign businesses allowing them to set up their own official service account and even run advertisement through their official accounts.

Yes, now as a foreign business owner you can set up your very own Wechat Official Account and use it to reach Chinese consumer and tourists but there are a few catches.

With an foreign Wechat official account if you want to advertise on WeChat moments or any other format you’ll have need to find a licensed Chinese Tencent partner to manage the ads for you and then go through another round of approval before your ads can go live.

Second, you can create content on your foreign official account however you’ll probably need an agency in China to run and manage your content for you as all the back end UI is still strictly Chinese.

So, if you can get past the approval process and don’t mind working with Chinese UIs then here is what you’ll need to do to advertise to Chinese consumers.

Step #1: Setup a Foreign Wechat Official Account

First thing first, I know I mentioned this earlier but in order to advertise on WeChat you’ll need at least 1 WeChat official account for your business setup and certified. If you don’t have that done yet you can read this step by step guide to setup up your foreign WeChat official account.

Step #2: Craft Your WeChat Strategy

Needless to say, I always advise brand to think about the strategy behind everything they do and advertising on WeChat is no an exception. What is the goal of the advertisement? Is it sells? Leads? Brand Awareness? Or is it to increase follower on your WeChat official account?

All of these can drastically affect how you should approach advertising on WeChat. Based on our experience of companies that have a strategy always outperforms companies who just run ads to get sales and leads on WeChat.

Step #3: Setting Up and Running Ads

Awesome, you have made it. You’re not read to set up and launch your very first WeChat moments advertising campaign. While you cannot really do any of the following setups yourself as you’ll need a certified agent to run and manage the ads for you (technically), it still pays to know how the ads are going to be served.

For the most part, unless you’re a national company WeChat is probably not the most ideal channel to advertise on because it is actually pretty expensive to get started as WeChat require you to be able to spend a minimum of 30,000($6,000 USD) RMB per month.

If you’re a local company looking to reach more Chinese consumer in your city there are other less capital heavy ways to reach them which we outline here:

But if budget is not an issue then first check if you the country you want to run WeChat ads in is available. Currently, WeChat ads are only available in 12 countries across the world outside of mainland China and they are:

  • Asia: Hongkong, Taiwan, Macao, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore Korea, Thailand
  • North America: United States, Canada
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand

Once you confirmed that the country you want to run ads to is listed above then here is how WeChat moment ads work

Two WeChat Moments Ad Type

Currently, at least for WeChat Moment Ads (there are banner ads but it’s not as effective), you have two types of ad creatives that you can use video and image ads.

Video Ads

With video moment ads as you’ll be able to add a small 4:3 or 16:9 6 – 15-second video instead of an image. I know you may be thinking 6 – 15 seconds what can you do with only 6 – 15 seconds and you’re right.

For the most part, 6 – 15-second video can really only be used for branding and awareness purpose, however, there is a caveat. First, the 6 – 15 seconds video auto-plays as the user scrolls down their moments but if a user clicks on the video itself the advertiser has two options.

  1. You can display a longer 5 minutes version of the video in full-screen mode which is not the greatest but much better than 6 – 15 seconds.
  2. You can display the same video but just in full-screen mode.

All and all the video ads on moment is rarely used and if used most brands use it to future a new product.

  1. Brand Logo & Name
  2. Ad Copy Maximum 40 Chinese Characters and cannot be longer than 4 rows.
  3. Video Creative that is 6~15 seconds long in formats of 4:3 or 16:9.
  4. Call to Action Link
  5. Store Location (Available for Local Advertisement Only)
  6. Comments and Like.

Image Ads

With image ads, it is pretty much like having a standard moments post, you can either have 1 large image or 3,4 or 6 small ones. Apart from the ad creative there is no other difference between image and video ads.

  1. Brand Logo & Name
  2. Ad Copy Maximum 40 Chinese Characters and cannot be longer than 4 rows.
  3. Image creatives. You can have 1, 3, 4 or 6 images.
  4. Call to Action Link
  5. Store Location (Available for Local Advertisement Only)
  6. Comments and Like.

3 Types of WeChat advertisement

With WeChat moments ads there is 3 ultimate objectives you can choose from and they are to “Increase Brand Awareness”, “Generate Leads” or “Get More Subscribers”.

Increase Brand Awareness

The goal of the brand awareness campaign as well to get more people to be aware of your brand. However, on WeChat there is really no such thing as a pure brand awareness campaign as you can connect your H5 landing page or send people your official account, here are some examples:

Sending People to H5 Campaigns: Here you see an example of moment ad where if people click on the “Learn More” call to action link, it will direct them to a piece of content or an H5 landing page.

Sending People to Templated Landing Page: Here if the user clicks on either the image or call to action link they will be directed to a templated landing page that you can customize provided by WeChat.

Sending People to Mini Program: Here is an example of sending people directly to your WeChat mini program.

Lead Generation

The second objective you can choose is to collect leads on WeChat, this is much like Facebook’s Lead Generation objective where WeChat will provide you with a customizable lead generation template to collect name, phone, etc…

Increase WeChat Follower and Subscribers

Lastly, you can just send people directly to your WeChat official account to as them to subscribe to your account.

H5 Landing Page

Before I wrap up this guide, I want to quickly talk about H5 campaigns and H5 landing pages because this is unique to China only. The term H5 is rare or never used outside of China because most people just call it a landing page.

H5 really stands for HTML5 and due to HTML5’s ability to allow fancy animation, that website development not as popular in China and that most Chinese consumers is mostly on their smartphone, businesses in China just use HTML5 highly animated and interactive landing pages.If you want to learn more about H5 campaigns and landing pages you can read more about it here:

Wrapping Up

You can now as a foreign business operation and run WeChat moments ads to Chinese consumers and WeChat users living or traveling abroad. The cost of advertising is a bit high but it is probably one of the best channels to reach Chinese consumers.

If you are a national business or eCommerce brand who want to reach more Chinese consumers, I would highly recommend giving WeChat moment ads a shoot. If you’re a local business owner with a huge population of Chinese consumers in your city and you have the budge then consider WeChat moment ads well.

Do you want to sell your product or services to Chinese consumers?

At Simplify our mission is to help consumer-facing business and brand reach more Chinese consumers. My only question is, will it be yours?

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