How Brands Captivate Digital Consumers with WeChat Moments Ads
by Queenie Yao
It’s not surprising that the world’s largest e-commerce market – China – is also one of the biggest markets for marketing. Over 70% of brands increased their budgets for online marketing investment in China in 2021, according to a report from CBN Data. As global brands seize opportunities to sell to China, they are focusing on increasingly digital-savvy Chinese customers who turn to the popular social media platform WeChat to follow brands’ activities.
Now WeChat Moments ads connect international brands with the 1.2 billion monthly active users on this mega-app. Advertisements appear on users' news feeds, where they spend the majority of their time scrolling through their friends' updates — prime social capital for retailers. According to Tencent, WeChat Moments Ads has a colossal daily active user base of 750 million.
WeChat is constantly optimizing the ads’ features and functions, which now empower brands to promote stores and products, celebrate new launches, amplify campaigns’ influence (livestreaming, Member Day), attract new customers, etc.
In this article, we summarize best practices used by leading brands like Gucci, M.A.C, Guerlain, and Sephora to leverage WeChat Moment ads features to differentiate their marketing strategies and achieve specific goals.
An effective way to appeal to high-potential customers
A new product launch is one of the most vital steps in brands’ marketing strategies. Naturally, the sheer size of its user base already makes WeChat a key battlefield for luxury brands to gain organic traffic. Among all luxury brands with a WeChat presence, Gucci, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Armani Beauty’s WeChat Moments ads were among the top-rated campaigns in the Q1 2022 rankings.
Gucci debuted on WeChat Moments ads for its new designs of GUCCI Bamboo 1947 Handbag Collection. Once users click the post, they are directed to the GUCCI Bamboo Handbag landing page of the brand’s WeChat mini program boutique, where they also have the chance to browse the bag in different colors.
Earlier in 2021, Gucci Beauty launched a short video to display the new Rouge de Beauté Brilliant lipstick collection. Different from redirecting the WeChat audience to Gucci’s mini program store, this high-end beauty brand encourages users to share the video on their personal WeChat Moments feed or send it to friends. This approach helps Gucci Beauty acquire access to customers’ WeChat Moments timelines.
Landing pages’ content varies greatly depending on the business purpose. For instance, homegrown skincare group Bloomage Biotech reckons WeChat Moments ads is its new entrance to draw new customers and turn them into high-potential customers. Bloomage Biotech develops a built-in community of fans, and its WeChat Moments marketing is designed to share a collection of sample sets from the brands it holds. This way of distributing samples increased the interaction of fans in the community and deepened customers’ brand awareness to a certain extent. Newly-registered customers can receive a brand BIO-MESO sample package with 2 facial masks and 2 eye masks inside for only RMB 19.90 ($3 US).
<BM 肌活’s sample marketing pulls in new customers>
WeChat Moments ads help brands to amplify the sample marketing campaign and efficiently pull in new customers.
Increase engagement with limited festival campaigns
International brands now seize opportunities to sell to China’s retail market, as embracing Chinese traditional festivals in their marketing calendar boosts brand relevance, engagement, and sales.
Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Lunar New Year, is the biggest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, and upscale brands have flocked to celebrate the Year of the Tiger through tiger-themed collections.
In one WeChat Moments ad for French brand Guerlain, Chinese actor Yang Yang acted as the brand spokesman and invited users to explore the tiger-themed gift box via a link to the special landing page. To better leverage his celebrity power, Guerlain’s display also integrated Yang Yang’s festival greeting and exclusive stickers, making them available to download. It's smart for brands to create interactive WeChat Moments ads campaigns to boost consumer engagement and social sharing.
<Guerlain x Yang Yang>
Gift-giving is a significant tradition during annual Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese New Year offer an exciting, creative opportunity for beauty brands to figure out a chic way to brand their products for the Lunar New Year.
Another time-honored tradition of Lunar New Year for Chinese families and friends is to give and receive “Hong Bao红包” (red envelopes, which usually contain money). Many brands chose to embed WeChat digital red envelope covers to engage online Chinese customers and motivate them to click and interact with the brand’s New Year limited-time WeChat ads campaigns. Meanwhile, users now seek glamorous graphics and decorations to customize and embellish their envelopes. Brands are taking WeChat’s red envelope function and social feature to expand their brand awareness and cultivation.
<Fresh encourages WeChat users to click and download a red envelope cover>
Leverage the celebrity halo effect to amplify exposure
In early April, Tencent joined hands with top livestream influencer Austin Li to amplify exposure for its centralized e-commerce marketplace, Huiju Luxury. Tencent launched the luxury section "Huiju Luxury" within its centralized e-commerce marketplace "Tencent Huiju" last August. However, it hasn't seen much traffic or influence in the WeChat ecosystem.
This time, Tencent attempted to leverage top key opinion leader (KOL) Austin Li's influence to break through the limitations of reaching an audience. Each day, from April 8–14, Austin Li's official WeChat account featured a graphic of brand product recommendations from Huiju Luxury to present his fashion outfit choices for Spring/Summer 2022. This approach helped to motivate and drive Li's colossal following to visit Tencent Huiju Luxury and even finalize their purchases.
To amplify the exposure and partnership as much as possible, Tencent Huiju debuted WeChat Moments ads to promote the "Luxury Trends Renewal Day" campaign short video, which features Li. WeChat users can visit and browse the campaign page of the mini program with one click, featuring seven global luxury houses: Chopard, Dunhill, Fendi, Kenzo, Loro Piana, Ferragamo, and Valentino.
<Huiju Luxury x Austin Li collaboration>
Leveraging celebrity power to optimize digital strategies and amplification is a big deal in China. Will a solid relationship win over an audience for Tencent? Perhaps the customers will provide the answer.
Posting an imitation celebrity profile that links to a company’s marketing campaign on WeChat Moments is another new form of making the ads more social.
Besides using these celebrity profiles as ads, WeChat has also introduced interactive ads, in which the user can swipe the photos or tag their friends in the comments area to draw more attention to an ad.
Estée Lauder runs an interactive video campaign that features the brand’s new spokesperson – Olympic ski champion Eileen Gu to promote Estée Lauder’s hero product “Advanced Night Repair Serum.” In this ad, a user swipes to watch Eileen Gu’s free-skiing short video.
<Estée Lauder x Eileen Gu>
Invite customers to visit official stores
Aside from inviting users to visit the brand’s WeChat mini program store, WeChat Moments ads empower retailers to expand their marketing boundaries.
M.A.C debuted exclusive offers for customers who make purchases within its official flagship store on JD.com. When customers join M.A.C’s membership program, they receive extra gifts with purchase (GWP) when they buy any full-size product.
For M.A.C, the member-exclusive GWP offers or sample set of hero products effectively activate potential customers to make purchase decisions. Meanwhile, distributing these sample kits is beneficial to establish greater reach and deeper connections with customers, increasing overall purchase frequency and improving product exposure.
<M.A.C promotes JD.COM flagship store>
Leading players that have a digital presence on WeChat can flexibly integrate online traffic to experience physical events and services. For instance, Lancôme has used WeChat Moments ads to combine sample marketing. Customers who join Lancôme’s WeChat membership program can redeem a set of five samples of the Absolue series in selected offline stores exclusively. This way of distributing samples increased Lancôme’s interaction with online customers from WeChat and deepened customers' brand awareness to a certain extent.
Delivering dedicated experiences and engaging customers with ease
WeChat targeted ads empower Sephora to reach potential customers accurately, while they are more likely to fulfill their consumption demands within Sephora’s WeChat mini program mall. Sephora’s WeChat ads display usually aligns with China’s important campaign calendar, including the 618 mid-year shopping festival, Singles’ Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.
For its Queen’s Day campaign in March 2022, Sephora debuted 5-day member offers to its members. Customers are more willing to make purchases and more impulsive during the sale. During the campaign period, members received 20% off the entire order Sephora GOLDEN members can get an exclusive 25% off when they spend over 3,000 RMB ($470 US).
<Clinique attempts to engage customers with its livestreaming>
Clinique amplifies its customer base via WeChat Moment ads for its livestreaming campaigns. Users can participate in a livestreaming session directly when they click the URL, which lets them watch the anchor’s skincare knowledge sharing session and product introduction.
For customers, brand livestreaming is another sales channel alternative to the WeChat mini program store. Customers tend to make decisions quickly and are susceptible to exclusive offers, discounts, and gifts presented during livestreaming events.
Clinique anchors can directly communicate and introduce product offerings, share skincare tips, and answer inquiries from thousands of livestream viewers in real time. With in-depth recommendations and exclusive offers, brands are likely to achieve an efficient sales conversion rate.