For Western publishers and brands, Asia needs a special approach. And the most relevant tool to expand Western business in Asia is the Chinese app WeChat. Many US media companies have adopted the asian model on WeChat, but Huffington Post stepped further and decided to create two account on WeChat: one in English and other in Chinese. Is it really worth it and how it all functions?


WeChat’s tools

Messaging app WeChat seems like a real phenomenon. It was created by Tencent in 2011 and now it has about 697 million active users monthly. Nowadays it’s ranked the fifth most popular mobile app in the world. Therefore, Western publishers simply cannot ignore such platform. Besides, in some ways WeChat is much more usable for brands and publishers. Here are some points.

The fundamental WeChat’s feature is Moments. It can remind you Timeline in Facebook or Twitter News Feed. But unlike these western platforms, Moments provides users with the high level of privacy. You can decide who can see your updates, comments, etc. Thanks to such privacy are more loyal to WwChat than to other similar apps. If marketers think that such restrictions interfere with posting branded content, they’re mistaken. WeChat has opportunities for sponsored content since last August. Now all advertisers can buy a space for its content in Moments, which cost comparatively less than on US platforms.

The most powerful tool for publishers and marketers can be Subscriptions. Here a user is offered content by different companies and brands. Subscriptions are provided with a special button which directs interested consumers on companies’ websites. For instance, such Tesla, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn are already mustering this tool.

WeChat Statistics


Does it really work?

Of course. And there are rational reasons. WeChat’s users are not so irritated by the amount of ads and sponsored content thanks to the politics of privacy. They rely on the platform and statistics shows than more than a half of user direct to other websites from WeChat. The other feature of asian users is their curiosity about events from outside, and about 50% of users are even glad about introduction ads in their Moments. However, there are some shortcomings, too. The main problem with WeChat is the difficulty to control your content. It always has to be approved by the platform’s policies.

WeChat Advertising

Media publishers on WeChat

Asian users take WeChat not only as a messaging app, but also as the main source of news. That’s why it’s up to media companies to establish good relationship with this platform. As it was already mentioned, Huffington Post uses WeChat in two languages. That helps to break languages barriers and provide different reading preferences. According to John Zhou, China Editor for Huffington Post. Chinese users are more likely to read deep analysis of current events translated into Chinese. However, Huffington Post itself refused to make any comments about its statistics on WeChat. Probably, the reason is that US publishers think that WeChat and Asian marketing is a tricky player to deal with.

Nevertheless, in 2014 BuzzFeed also announced its partnership with WeChat and was its first experience of collaboration with international messaging app. The reason to create an account on WeChat was an increase of sharing content via private messaging. “WeChat’s innovative technology and strong international user base is a natural fit for our first major partnership with an international messaging platform”, said Scott Lamb, VP of International at BuzzFeed.

Thanks to such apps like WeChat and Lines Western publishers have now an opportunity to expand their businesses so far abroad. And by showing successful international campaigns it proves that european and western people and Asian have much in common, still remaining so different.

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