50% of WeChat Accounts are losing followers and 3 other news

Tingyi Chen New WeChat features

WeChat Official Account Reading rate/followers growth rate are dropping

According to a New Rank survey of 131 Official Account operators, there is a clear decrease in reading rates and growth rates on WeChat in 2017.

As shown in the graph below, 39% of the accounts are experiencing a decrease in their article reading rate; while only 28% are seeing an increase.

This trend is even more clear when focusing on the number of follower of official accounts. Only 51% of accounts reported a growth in number of followers during 2017. This is a surprisingly low number. It means that half of the official accounts are seeing a stagnant number of followers, and 23% of accounts are even losing followers when publishing articles.

It’s normal to lose followers as you post articles. The less relevant/ lower quality follower will naturally unfollow your account, while you gain new followers who are actually attracted by your latest articles. But a net decrease is a strong signal that your content quality is too low.

For brands, this means that when you look for influencers for marketing, don’t focus on the number of followers. It’s much more important to look at the reading amount, reading rate and user engagement when choosing KOLs.

WeChat Mini Program Advertising/Marketing

Tencent has been actively pushing updates on WeChat Mini Program. Out of the 25 WeChat Official Account updates announced by Tencent over the last 6 months, 20 are about Mini Programs. That’s 80% of the marketing effort.

Despite this marketing push from Tencent, WeChat Mini Programs remain just hype for marketers. Lately Mini Program have however received some interesting updates:

  1. When searching for a Mini Program, you can now see functional cards that can take users directly to a sub-page of a mini program. This makes the top Mini programs stands out, and enable users to directly access the feature that they are looking for.
    To a large extent, it can be compared to the feature from Google Search, displaying main sections of a website in the search results. This update also shows the willingness of WeChat to provide better service in the search business.
  2. Tencent is testing advertising of Mini Programs. When you search for general keywords such as hotels, phone, shoe or hat, it will display ads for Mini Program. This kind of ads also appears on Mini Program “near me” feature.

We have written a couple of articles questioning the relevance of WeChat Mini Programs. The optimized search feature and keyword advertising, are a step in the right direction.

The question is: how targeted could could these ads be, and can they bring positive ROI for marketers? As of now, Tencent advertising system still seems in its infancy when compared to Western tech giants like Facebook or Google.

New Analytics WeChat Mini Program

WeChat Official Account operator can now check the Official Account’s data directly on the phone. Compared with the desktop version, there are two major advantages:

  1. You are automatically logged in to the accounts that you operates, even for first time users. No more passwords, or scanning of QR code. A much more elegant way to access your data.
  2. You will be able to see each articles performance at any range of time.  Comparatively on desktop, you can only select articles over a 6-day period. I find it much easier to use, especially for historical data inquiry.

You can access this Official Account mini program via this QR code below. It will automatically display the accounts that you manage.

It’s now Alibaba vs Tencent in the bike sharing space

Ofo just finished its Series E founding round of $700 million led by Alibaba. It’s the first time Alibaba officially invested in the bike-sharing space. Previously Alipay offered free deposit for Ofo bike users with good credit score.

Here is a graph of market penetration of Ofo and Mobike made by 7 Park Data. Ofo seems to be winning in most of tier one cities.

Ofo claimed to have provided 2 billion rides for more than 100 million users. It now has 6.5 million bikes in 150 cities (but how many of these still in activity?), with peak activity of 25 million ride per day.  The company plans to place 20 million bikes on the market and plans to grow to cover 200 cities by the end of 2017.

Mobike, it’s major competitor backed by Tencent, is also aiming to have 100 million users in 100 cities. And it is also aiming to reach 200 cities worldwide.

Once again, it’s Tencent against Alibaba, like in the car sharing era of 2015. We shall expect another merge sometimes next year, although Ofo’s CEO has denied such plans.

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