WeChat Subscription Account: The Lowdown
You may have already heard of WeChat, the dominant instant messaging tool for millions of Chinese. Viewed as a hybrid of Whatsapp and Facebook, WeChat is however much more than that and provides unlimited opportunities for brands to connect with consumers.
On August 2012, WeChat Subscription Accounts were launched. By August 2015 , 10 million+ Subscription Accounts were created and the number is rapidly increasing by 15,000 daily.
Estimates today indicated there are more than 14 million WeChat Subscription Accounts with page views of articles totalling 3 billion!
Every sector sees the huge opportunities and wants to dig for that gold. Not only individuals but also many businesses have since opened Subscription Accounts.
However, as the platform grows so do the challenges to ensure it is at the forefront of innovation and delivers on its brand promise.
Here is an overview of the future direction of WeChat Subscription Accounts:
1. Quality Content
WeChat encourage users to produce their own quality content. If a user really loves any articles, he/she can ‘tip’ the author by using the “Reward (赞赏)” function. The user can choose the amount he / she is willing to give, from RMB¥2 to RMB¥200 or more.
WeChat also punishes copycat users in order to protect original content producers.
One of WeChat’s core values is to delivery best-in-class user experience. It includes protecting user’s privacy, preventing useless content and advertisement distraction, and protecting an author’s rights. WeChat aims to deliver useful content to its users, rather than bombarding them with commercial ads.
2. Niche market focus
WeChat is a selective platform (unlike Weibo’s open platform), and users choose what to follow rather than being pushed by systematic recommendations.
3. WeChat + eCommerce
There is no doubt that Subscription Accounts are commercialised and this isn’t going to change any time soon. There is an opportunity for brands to use the WeChat accounts to do businesses, combining quality content and eCommerce within Subscription Accounts.
Quality content shares useful information and engages consumers. eCommerce highlights this link between consumers and the shopping platform. Users can access to products and buy them within the same Subscription Account. It provides another platform for O2O businesses.
Some successful examples include: 三只松鼠 (Three Squirrels)；TCL; 良品铺子 (Ryohin keikaku shop) .
4. User experience is king
WeChat’s core value is to enhance the user’s experience. WeChat doesn’t want Subscription Accounts to overly depend on advertising, as this would be to detrimental to the brand’s look and feel.
Is it a MUST to open a Subscription Account?
Subscription Accounts are across different sectors:
Nike — Athlete Footwear
Chanel — Fashion
Monash University — Education
China Everbright Bank — Bank
This might sound cliché, but it really depends on the nature of your business and your objectives. It is not a must to have a Subscription Account, but it is a MUST to know how to operate and operate it well.
WeChat, also called Weixin in Chinese literally means ‘micro-messaging’, was developed by Tencent in China and first released in January 2011. Currently it has 700 million active monthly users, with more than 70 million outside of China.
The app supports hold-to-talk voice messaging, one-to-many messaging, video conferencing, video games, sharing photos and video (on Moments), and location sharing. The platform also provides opportunities for brands and self-media by launching Subscription Accounts and Advertisement Inserts.
WeChat is building an eco-system, in which users can chat and share, pay bills, order food and read relevant information and quality content. It has become the most popular and important messaging tool to individuals as well as businesses in China.
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