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Is influencer marketing really better than paid advertising on WeChat?


WeChat is the most popular social platform in China, making it an essential platform for brands wanting to succeed in the country.

But what are the most effective strategies when it comes to marketing on WeChat? WeChat is a unique platform unlike any other, meaning that you must tailor your WeChat marketing strategy specifically to what works best on the platform.

In this blog post, I will explore influencer marketing and paid advertising on WeChat, and explain why influencer marketing may actually be a more effective strategy than paid ads.

Paid advertising on WeChat

Let’s start by looking at paid advertising on WeChat.

The paid advertising method is not widely utilised on the WeChat platform because WeChat users tend to have a negative perception of paid ads. WeChat users consider WeChat to be a private platform, and therefore they prefer more private, uncluttered and original content.

Perhaps you do not realise just how private users consider WeChat to be. Imagine someone calls you on your personal mobile phone to sell you something – it feels confusing and uncomfortable. That is how people on WeChat feel when they see an ad on their feed.

Currently, the only industries that seem to have any success with advertising on WeChat are those that are visually appealing or based on lifestyle topics, such as gaming or international retail giants. This is because these types of industries are able to blend more seamlessly into the user’s feed.

For example, the screenshot below shows a WeChat ad from the clothing retailer Uniqlo. It is a very visual ad that shows various outfits from the brand. It fits in very well with the “lifestyle” kind of posts that are common on WeChat, and therefore it works without looking odd.

Whilst retail and lifestyle-related industries may be suitable for paid ads on WeChat, the same cannot be said for B2B industries. If a B2B company were to run an ad on WeChat, it would look strange. It would not fit in with the rest of the feed. It may even result in a negative perception of the brand, which is the last thing you want.

Influencer marketing on WeChat

Let’s now turn our attention to influencer marketing on WeChat.

Influencer marketing on WeChat tends to happen through subscription accounts. WeChat subscription accounts act like online digital magazines, publishing content on a regular basis. They exist across a wide range of industries, from lifestyle to technical. People subscribe to these subscription accounts to see frequent news and updates within their niche. This is where B2B companies in particular should focus their WeChat marketing efforts, because these subscription accounts already have a specific target group of users who are interested in their content.

For example, the screenshots below are from XINDE Marine News, a WeChat subscription account that describes itself as a “professional maritime news, update, consultancy and service platform”. Basically, the purpose of this WeChat subscription account is to update its followers about maritime news, updates, consultancy and services.

As you can see, its WeChat articles each receive hundreds to tens of thousands of views. Good reader numbers are basically guaranteed, because the people who follow them are in their industry and want maritime content. Subscription accounts usually create articles with very catchy headlines, unlike WeChat official accounts where companies often prefer a more professional, formal tone.

Furthermore, WeChat articles can have a list of hashtags. So, when a user visits a subscription account, they can click on the hashtag for the specific topic they are interested in. WeChat subscription accounts really are just like an online magazine or publication for WeChat users to gain everyday information.

So, to summarise, collaborating with subscription accounts can help you to gain visibility and exposure for your brand. Subscription accounts usually have a strong base of engaged followers within a specific industry, so it is a more efficient marketing method compared to paid ads, especially for B2B brands. Subscription accounts offer the most accurate audience targeting and guaranteed reach.

Need help with marketing on WeChat?

I hope this blog post has been a useful introduction to influencer marketing and paid advertising on WeChat.

If you would like assistance with any aspect of WeChat marketing, reach out to Webcertain today! Our friendly team of international social media marketing specialists will be happy to help.

Want to learn more?

This blog post is part of a series on WeChat marketing. Check out the others below:

You can also read our full-length guide to marketing on WeChat here. From reading this guide, you will learn:

  • what WeChat is
  • how WeChat can help you achieve your marketing goals
  • how to get started on WeChat
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Sivan Hu

Social Media and Influencer Marketing Executive at Webcertain
Sivan is a Social Media and Influencer Marketing Executive at Webcertain. She holds a degree in Product Design and early on realised her particular interest in market research. As a result, she pursued a career in audience marketing, helping clients develop customised social media strategies and campaigns to win customers’ recognition on social platforms, using her exceptional research and analysis skills. Originally from Shanghai, China, Sivan now lives in the UK, and her cross-cultural background has taught her to appreciate the value of individuality. She firmly believes that understanding the target audience’s needs is the key to creating personalised and emotional content that truly resonates with customers.

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