[eMarketer] Marketers in China can leverage WeChat for Lunar New Year campaigns
Chinese multi-purpose app WeChat is entering its second decade. Allen Zhang Xiaolong, chief architect of the super app, pledged at an annual conference to make videos its cornerstone in the coming years. More specifically, Zhang spotlighted Channels, its short-form video feature, and a more seamless user experience with official accounts and miniprograms (lightweight apps within WeChat that require minimal downloading and disappear after use).
WeChat has figured as a prominent part of the marketing stack in Lunar New Years past. Over the previous month or so, the number of new COVID-19 cases has become relatively high, and despite a decline in recent days, authorities are still sounding a cautious note and urging citizens to avoid unnecessary travel. More people are likely to stay local and indoors, rather than traveling to see family, as has been the tradition. This means the emphasis on digital will be greater than usual.
The app has recently made several new updates to boost user engagement, shareability, and discoverability, such as an enhanced search function, hashtags within chats, and livestreaming video.
These changes have helped unleash tantalizing possibilities for marketers. WeChat users can now perform a search directly within a chat for content across the app’s ecosystem, which include official accounts, articles, short videos, listings of related services, and miniprograms. WeChat Search had 500 million monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of last year.
WeChat Mini Programs have continued to gain traction in the commerce arena. According to official data, transaction value via WeChat Mini Programs doubled year over year in 2020 and, per calculations by news site Caixin, reached RMB 1.6 trillion ($231.58 billion), with transaction volume growing twofold as well. Its number of DAUs expanded from 300 million to more than 400 million over the same period.
According to our newest forecast, retail social commerce sales in China will reach $363.26 billion in 2021, growing by 35.5% year over year.
WeChat has also launched live streaming functionality under Channels, where live streamers and brands can easily connect to their WeChat Shops to enable shoppable live video.