On the night before Chinese New year, a WeChat advertising campaign featuring virtual red envelopes through the WeChat Shake function (摇一摇) became the most popular activity, beside watching the Spring festival gala. WeChat gave out 500 million yuan (80 million USD), the Shake function was used 11 billion times by people over 185 countries. In just a few days, around 200 million new users signed up to WeChat’s Tencent payment system and lined their bank accounts. Jack Ma of Alibaba, which owns the Alipay payment system, called the move a “Pearl Harbor moment” for his company.
How did Tencent conduct this successful WeChat advertising campaign?
1. A feedback loop to incentivize user
One way to incentivize user is to give feedbacks about they have a chance of winning. When people use the Shake, they are given the number of the red envelope that is left. Despite the small value of each red envelop, mostly below 1 yuan, the quantity is huge. This provides the illusion that there is still a chance to win big money.
2. Real time interaction
One of the feature of the Shake function is you can receive a personal New Year best wishes in a voice recording from celebrities who perform in the Chinese New Year gala. Depending on who is performing real time, you will get voice message accordingly. The real time feedback is a way to get users engaged and let them relate to the biggest TV show in China.
3. Make it personal
Uploading a picture of your family was another popular function of the “Chinese New Year Shake”.
Not only does it combine the tradition of taking family photos during the New Year, users also use this as a way to express themselves. It is interactive and personal.
As a result, within 40 minutes, over 40 millions of family pictures were uploaded.
4. Make it social
When you shake your phone, you can get a card of your friends showing their profile picture and the real distance between you and your friends. You can either give red envelope or make a personal New Years card with a picture you upload and send it to your friend. This brings the social aspect to the “Chinese New Year Shake” advertising campaign.
5. Make it emotional
Chinese New Year is an emotional time and a good marketing advertising campaign manages to convey and leverage these emotions to enhance the WeChat advertising campaign efficiency.
When people used Shake during the “off-time” of the Champaign, they got some fun and interactive content. For example a timeline containing the videos you shared during the past year.
Another example is a picture showing a computer tired up with the fire crackers, meaning the server is down because too many people are using it. Or “take a break, embrace the love ones who sites besides you”.
A successful case of relevant WeChat advertising campaign
At the end of the day, the success of the WeChat advertising campaign reminds us of core principles of viral marketing: engage with users, help them relate with your product, leverage the social dimension of WeChat, connect with the emotional dimension of your product and provide feedback & transparency to users.