Introducing the One-Billion-User Wechat Ecosystem and Adobe Analytics

Using China’s Valentines Day as an example, this article introduces the Adobe Experience Platform SDK for WeChat Mini Programs and how and why you should get started.

Ben Hutchinson
Dec 27, 2019 · 5 min read

August 7th, 2019.

Many of us would consider ourselves every-day romantics. We might also consider ourselves open-minded to global influence, tastes, trends and culture (or at least something that’s trending on Netflix). Yet with a blink or swipe-right on August 7th, many of us sitting in the Western world will have missed the passing of Chinese Valentine’s Day (QiXi) earlier this year.

Yet just as we sit here in the midst of a festive period, QiXi represents one of a number of dates in China’s “gift-giving calendar” that are increasingly precious and lucrative to global brands. Dollars are being set aside for not just campaigns but also the launch of designated exclusive products and collections. Estee Lauder reportedly shifted over 10,000 $110+ tubes of lipstick on “5/20” (a date offering prominence for sounding like “I love you” in Chinese) while Michael Kors has been investing in the expansion of limited edition QiXi collections. Exclusives for QiXi abound; LV promoted a Music Box, Gucci ran a Greek God collection, while Burberry ran its first locally-produced campaign with products such as a doggie keyring, a take on “true love in modern Chinese society” and how that “significant other” sometimes “has four paws.”

In short, the release of limited edition, short-run collections is becoming more and more commonplace and, with this, so discussion inevitably veers towards the most effective routes to market.

In this respect, one of the key channels assisting brands with reach, commercial impact, but also campaign agility is WeChat and specifically within, WeChat’s Mini Programs, teasing brands in with the hook of the 1bn WeChat installed user base. These Mini Programs — lightweight apps that run within WeChat rather than an app store — represent an ecosystem in and of themselves. Numbering in excess of 1m — half the size of the App Store — and beholding >200m daily active users, they are also becoming richer and more interactive with video, quizzes, panoramic virtual gardens, to name but a few. Hence set against these clear commercial, market adoption, campaign and product investment trends, lies a clear need for instrumentation and with this, democratised access to that measurement in order to infer brands with a deeper understanding of local customer needs, where to optimise, and learnings to draw upon in order to inform future direction.

With this in mind, Adobe recently extended the Adobe Experience Platform SDK to include support for WeChat Mini Programs. The SDK aims to bring Adobe Experience Cloud & Adobe Experience Platform functionality to developers building Mini Programs, with the initial scope for release set at Adobe Analytics customers who want to track behavioural usage of branded Mini Programs.

The SDK will automatically collect certain metrics and data-points out-of-the-box (so-called “lifecycle metrics”) from within the WeChat Mini Program and send these to Adobe Analytics for reporting in Analysis Workspace or Real-Time Reports. The implementation can be extended to enable more custom action, event, and screen tracking to give you a picture on cart additions, article views, sign-ups, or custom behaviours relevant to your Mini Program and business, with some example screenshots below.

Keen to give it a go?

If you are technically minded and would like to take a closer but casual look relating to how this is enabled, the best place to get started is by watching this 7 minute technical overview and demonstration video. This illustrates how you can use the Adobe Experience Cloud SDK to bring Experience Cloud functionality into your Mini Program within the WeChat Devtools IDE. It illustrates screen and action tracking along with debugging APIs and the default (“lifecycle”) metrics that the SDK is going to collect, with the supporting documentation accessible on Github.

The video along with some example screenshots from Analysis Workspace, a Real-Time report, and WeChat Devtools, and a further YouTube recording related to Adobe & Wechat from Adobe Summit are shown below. These materials essentially illustrate a sample Node.JS Mini-Program, configured to reference the Adobe Experience Cloud Javascript library. When the app launches, the library is initialised along with relevant account settings (such as designated Analytics report suite details), exposing a series of functions that can ultimately pass data to Adobe Analytics through constructing the necessary “beacon requests.” As with most Analytics deployments, these functions can simply be invoked in tandem with the actions and supplementary data elements that you wish to track across your Mini-Program application.

More generally, Adobe now sits with over a decade of experience in China and is equipped to understand and address some of the challenges marketers face when engaging Chinese consumers. Adobe is committed to more data-focused retail solutions and localised integrations for the China market in the years to come, so if you are keen for a new project to lead in to the New Year, explore our official portal to learn more about Adobe Experience Cloud for China and how we can support your organisation.

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

Ben Hutchinson

Written by

Adobe Inc, London

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

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