WeChat opens its door to target Chinese migrants and tourists in Australia

By Doris Li

Tencent has been working on WeChat Moments ads for a couple of years now. If you are not familiar with WeChat Moments, think of Facebook Timeline and you will get the idea. While Facebook Timeline has been flooded with sponsored ads causing user complaints, Tencent has been careful to keep its ‘user friendly’ promise and not turn WeChat into a commercial playground. 

Tencent’s initial strategy was to ‘set the barrier high’ to prevent the platform from being completely overridden by advertisers competing for space. When WeChat Moments ads first launched in January 2015, the minimum spend was RMB¥5 million (approximately AU$965,000) so it was no surprise that only global brands such as BMW, Coca Cola and Vivo Mobile could afford ad placement on WeChat Moments and justify the spend for only one day of advertising. 

In August 2015, Tencent reduced the spend of WeChat Moments advertising to RMB¥200,000 (approximately AU$38,500) and again in 2016 to RMB¥50,000 (around AU$9,500), opening up opportunities for a much wider scope of brands. According to Tencent, its online advertising revenue reached USD$1.2 billion (AUD$1.59 billion)  in the fourth quarter last year, up 45% from the previous year. Advertising on WeChat Moments was one source of growth with the number of advertisers more than doubling since November last year.

Thanks to Tencent’s massive amount of user data, WeChat Moments ads are able to accurately target consumers based on demographic, interests, behaviours, consumption level and even ‘user environment’ which recognises user’s device type and price, operating system, location, weather status and the way they connect to the internet. Historically, these segmentation capabilities have not been available for advertisers to target Australian-based WeChat users as the market is ‘too small’. 

However, according to our inside source, Tencent has confirmed plans to roll out geo-targeting tools to Australian-based WeChat users which means advertisers can target Chinese residents and travellers in Australia through advertising on Moments. This means Australia is now one of the 16 overseas countries and regions outside of Mainland China that Tencent has opened its Moment ads to, alongside Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Here is what we think it means for your business. 

Who are you able to reach?
Based on IP information, Tencent are able to target WeChat users who have registered their accounts in Mainland China, wherever they are located in the world. This means that while advertisers are able to reach Chinese WeChat users in Australia, such as new migrants or international students, advertisers will not have access to Chinese WeChat users who have registered their account in Australia, such as Australian-born Chinese or Chinese individuals living in Australia prior to WeChat’s launch in 2011. The upside is advertisers minimise the risk of spending marketing budget on showing Chinese advertisements to Australian WeChat users. 

The Chinese audience you could reach will mainly be new migrants, students and travellers who happen to be in Australia when your ads goes out. The audience can be further segmented based on the age (between 5-60), marriage status, education level and the device they use.

How can you reach them?
In Mainland China, brands can run WeChat Moments ads in a variety of formats, including text, images, slideshows, full-screen videos, embedded videos and 360-degree panoramas. And there is no limit set on the number of formats that brands are allowed to use in one ad. Unfortunately, not all of the formats have been applied to the Australian market yet. Currently, Australian advertisers only have the option of image or video ads (6 seconds or 15 seconds), however the ads can be linked to an HTML5 web page with more brand information and further consumer engagement.

How much will it cost?
It is not cheap, but not scary either! Moments ads charges on CPM (cost per thousand, or the price of 1000 impressions), meaning that your budget can be used up within a day or up to three weeks, depending on how many people you are trying to reach and how quickly you want to reach them.

Talk to us to understand your expected spend on WeChat Moments ads and how to utilise Moments ads to best reach the Chinese market. For more information about WeChat Moments advertising, please contact Doris Li via doris.li@bastionsgo.com.au. 

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