WeChat is one of the largest social networks in the world, with over one billion active users per month and more than 900 million active users per month. For global marketers, this is a unique opportunity to showcase your brand to the world's largest single market.
WeChat is not just social media software. Since its first release in 2011, it has evolved into a network of services linked through its core social media capabilities. Some call it a "super app". I would like to go one step further, WeChat has evolved in recent years to what can only be described as a "social operating system". I will explain what I mean by this term.
In China, WeChat is used for almost every day by almost anyone with a mobile device. They have designed their service design to alleviate the everyday needs of the Chinese public. WeChat is not only used on social networks, but also talked to friends, colleagues, customers and customers. WeChat is also used as a mobile wallet. Unlike Apple Pay, it is widely used. WeChat pay is accepted everywhere in China, from the local vegetable market to street performers.
What does all this mean for companies that turn to Chinese consumers? Well, it's good news, because China and WeChat are the only country and the only platform where you can serve your customers in one place during the entire user journey, in one place, from awareness to advocacy. It is even attributable to the activities from online to offline (O2O). Imagine the marketing and CRM opportunities!
Other features ̵
Apart from these primary services, WeChat has also been pushing mini-programs. This makes WeChat a true social OS. Essentially, mini-programs are apps that can be permanently stored in WeChat. Just like apps on iPhone / iOS. For example, Mini-Programs opens up an almost infinite number of new features for the WeChat ecosystem.
We also see western internet giants copying this model. Amazon positions Alexa as the most important social operating system with apps or, as Amazon calls it, skills. This is the natural step – how does a technology giant in the field of service design become indispensable in the daily lives of its users? By integrating more essential services of course.
Now that we have a context, I'll go over the key WeChat announcements from the last Tencent Annual Meeting.
. 1 WeChat becomes even more indispensable for daily life
New collaboration with Chinese public transport to enable ticket purchase with a simple QR code scan.
This integration starts with public transport in Tier 1 cities and initially applies only to buses. However, this is a big step on the road to a better public transport experience – everyone in China knows that – the infrastructure is no less amazing, but buying tickets can be a nightmare and is even worse for foreign visitors. For example, the underground in SH remains one of the last places you can not pay WeChat. The more important the services in WeChat are, the more customer behavior data becomes available. And great campaigns are always based on strong insights.
. 2 WeChat consolidates its dominance over business communications
Strengthening the enterprise version of WeChat as a business platform to effectively communicate with its customers.
WeChat Enterprise is the third type of account introduced a few years ago that helps businesses manage their internal communications, created by WeChat's organic acceptance by business users, which replaces emails in most cases. This update will take the enterprise account one step further and enable better communication and management for customers / suppliers.
The other two WeChat account types are for brands only. The WeChat service account offers full tech and API integrations, better presence and reach, but you can only book four times a month. Think of it as email marketing on an instant messaging platform. The WeChat Subscription account is not post-restricted, but has limited reach and almost no Tech / API integration options. All contents of the subscription account are stored in a feed for the user. A better choice for publications.
. 3 WeChat like the new Office 365 in China
Internal collaboration tools for companies such as in-office-office products with co-authoring, group conferencing, automated reporting, etc.
Connected to point two is not just WeChat's dominating The Business communication in China clearly has the ambition to become an integrated solution as well. Enterprise and B2B WeChat capabilities are the key announcements at this year's Tencent Annual Meeting.
. 4 Simplify the Old Issue of Fapiao's China Issue
Real-time storage and distribution of vouchers / invoices integrated with WeChat to support fraud and ease the costing process for businesses.
Thus, Fapiao is a receipt in China both bill and bill, from which the confusion for most foreign companies emanates. It is also a very traditional system based on mechanical machines and paper records. It is easy to manipulate and unreliable. Integrating the process into WeChat (in addition to other business solutions) will further strengthen the platform as an important enterprise tool and create a more robust and secure accounting and voucher system.
. 5 Mini-Program Stores Receive Better Data Analysis and Ad Integrations
Users can collect, map, and analyze store shopping data for both organic and WeChat payment media.
The third and last main category of announcements. WeChat has promoted both mini-programs and social commerce features. Mini-programs can not only be apps, but also shops. You can already collect data by asking users for approval before using a mini-program. The revenue allocation of WeChat Organic and Paid Social, however, is poor. This is a very gratifying update for social sellers on the WeChat platform – and for marketers.
In conclusion, this year's Tencent Annual Meeting has made some of the biggest announcements for WeChat in recent years. They are focused on three things: strengthening WeChat as an indispensable platform for users, providing more integrated solutions for business users, and ultimately improving e-commerce performance for social sellers. Big announcements, big future and even bigger market dominance for Tencent's WeChat – exciting and somewhat weird times.
Arnold Ma, founder of QUMIN