Advertising on WeChat: a Step by Step Guide

Tingyi Chen WeChat guides & tips, WeChat news

Advertising on WeChat is a booming trend: the platform has a long history of protecting users and forbidding entry from advertisers, but it is now slowly opening up. This is a huge opportunity for marketers trying to advertise in China.

Here are the ways you can get started with WeChat ads.

What is WeChat Advertising?

WeChat advertising is the Tencent program enabling companies to display promotional messages on user’s timeline, in WeChat Official Account articles, or even in 3rd party Mini-programs. WeChat ads enable brands to grow WeChat Official Account followers, drive traffic to the official website or mini-program, and generate App downloads.

There are 3 major types of WeChat advertising:

For all types of WeChat ads applications, you can reach out via or by filling this form.

Method 1: WeChat moments advertising

The first and most familiar method of WeChat advertising for Western marketers is to promote on WeChat moments. They are the equivalent of Facebook ads appearing on the timeline.

WeChat advertising

Let’s dig deeper into this method.

Who can advertise on WeChat Moment?

WeChat advertising on moments is restricted to two major cases:

  • Companies registered in Mainland China (either local companies or Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises – WFOE) willing to invest at least 50k RMB (~8,000 USD) per campaign (reservation method), or starting from 50 RMB (~8 USD) per day (bidding method).
  • Foreign companies willing to invest $1,500 – $8,000 USD (updated on April 2017)

Chinese companies can follow the following link to apply:

For foreign companies the process goes through a dedicated Tencent team, you can reach out for questions ( As of the writing of the blog, Tencent does not permit advertising from the real estate, drugs, tobacco or electronic cigarettes, and financial industry.

What is WeChat Moments advertising?

WeChat moment ads were launched in early 2015, when 25 brands including Coco-Cola and Mercedes-Benz took part in the first testing campaign.

Even before this official launch, the WeChat “timeline” had been a target for advertising companies who relentlessly tried to find ways to access user’s Moment. They usually used forwarded messages via a network of personal accounts (a practice forbidden by Tencent terms of use).

For example, a WeChat advertising company created a scheme for advertising on personal WeChat Moments. In Shanghai and Beijing, they leveraged 600 individual accounts, each with at least 500 friends. The price of posting on individual’s moments ranged from 10 RMB to 400 RMB per post.  Advertising through such a network enabled to reach over 300,000 WeChat users. However this was a very manual process.

What Tencent Moment ads bring is a much more sophisticated way to reach the user timeline by directly buying access from WeChat.

How does it work?

Moment ads can have the following component:

  1. Brand name and profile picture
  2. Up to 40 character ad description
  3. Link to a html5 webpage that’s hosted on Tencent’s server
  4. Up to 6 pictures or 6-15 seconds short videos

You can target users according to their location, interest, age, gender, device and phone network.


You can target Chinese residents by province, city, or any area of 0.5 – 5km within a customized location.

Since April 2017, Tencent starts to offer WeChat Overseas Advertising to target Chinese users traveling overseas, which is attractive for foreign brands looking for Travel Retail. However in 2021, due to changes in data protection law and regulations, the WeChat Overseas Advertising capacity for overseas residents and tourists has been paused.

As WeChat’s advertising capacity is constantly changing, in case of doubt please reach out to for the most updated version.

Gender & Age:

Gender and age from 14 to 60 years old

Industry specific:

Companies can choose to advertise to 18 industries and 122 sub-categories. The 18 core categories include education, travel, finance, cars, real estate, furniture, fashion, F&B, personal services, professional services, cosmetics, home electronics, sports, health, child education, bags, watches, shoes, jewelry, politics and law, luxury goods, drinks, Internet, entertainment.

Marital Status:

Single, married, newly married, or raising a kid

Education level:

PhD, master, bachelor, high school, primary school

WeChat behavior / Remarketing:

You can choose to either retarget or exclude users who: are currently following your official account; collected a WeChat coupon from ads within the past year; showed interest in your previous ads during the past year; and remove users who are not interested in your content.

Individual users can see up to one Moment ad every 48 hours. The ad will disappear within 6 hours if the user did not like, comment or click on the link. If the user interacts with the ad, this will increase the likelihood of his/her friend receiving the same ad. This viral effect will increase the number of target users.

How much does it cost?

WeChat Moment Advertising:

Minimal entry price (both foreign companies and Chinese companies): 50,000RMB per campaign

CPM (cost per 1,000 impression):

City sizeText & Pictures Ads CPMVideo ads CPM
Core city150180
Large city100120

Core cities: Beijing, Shanghai

Large cities: Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Guiyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

WeChat Overseas Advertising: targeting Chinese tourists

Minimal entry price:

50,000 RMB for the following countries/regions:

Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Australia

10,000 RMB for the following countries:

Germany, France, England, Italy, Canada, New Zealand

 Text & Pictures AdsVideo ads
CPM (1,000 impression)150180

How to apply?

Chinese companies:

  1. Verify your WeChat Official Account. Step by step guide for WeChat Official Account verification.
  2. Apply for the right to advertise on WeChat by going to the backend of your official account, and click on 广告主 to apply 
    WeChat advertising
  3. Once you got approved for 广告主 (right to advertise on WeChat), you can then create campaigns via the WeChat Official Account backend.

Note you will need to provide industry specific certificates when applying for the right to advertise. If the first application didn’t go through, you can try to apply again by selecting another industry category.

Foreign businesses:

Need to manually submit application request to WeChat advertising team. Contact to apply.

Is WeChat Moments advertising right for you?

WeChat Moments Advertising program is not for everyone.  Compared to Tencent’s other advertising channel, Q-zone and Tencent Weibo have CPM between 0.2-1RMB; WeChat banner ads has CPC (cost-per-click) of between 2-5 RMB; KOL campaign has a CPC of 0.5-1 RMB, WeChat Moment ad is comparatively much pricier.

Moment ads tend to be a better choice for well-known brands with visually attractive products.  It is great to build brand awareness and encourage user engagement. For small and medium companies or companies in service or B2B industry, other advertising channels such as KOL, WeChat banner ads, and Tencent ads on QQ and Q-zone could be a better choice.


Method 2: WeChat banner advertising

There is another form of advertising on WeChat called “banner advertising”. These banners are very much like the ad banners you would see on a website. Except that in the context of WeChat, they will be featured at the bottom of a message written by a WeChat Official Account, or while browsing in a WeChat Mini-program.

There are two types of WeChat banner ads:

Standard WeChat Banner Ads

Launched in August 2014, this type of WeChat ads has notoriously low performance (most people don’t click on them). Advertisers can pick some rough targeting (gender, location, age, and type of account in which the banners are displayed) and the ads will be shown to the target group of users. The targeting is the same as the WeChat Moment advertising, see above for detail. Advertisers can’t control on which specific account their ads appear.

WeChat banner ads has three component:

  1. WeChat article: WeChat banner ads appear at the bottom of a WeChat article written by another WeChat Official Account
  2. Ad banner: the banner contains a logo, account name and headline. If clicked, it takes the users to a page containing additional information about the brand/product
  3. Action call: the action call takes users to another landing page, see below for detail.

The banner ads can drive users to follow WeChat Official Account, download an app, claim coupons, buy a product, enter a mini-program, signup link, or enter a customized landing page. Compared to other objectives, this placement is more efficient for follower acquisition (by simply one click) or coupon collection, where users enjoy a clear benefit.

  • KOL banner version: launched in October 2016, these new WeChat banner ads enable the advertisers and the WeChat official account to enter into an agreement about the ad. They must both agree on the cost paid per view by the advertiser, and a range of views which will be accounted for (for example, if the first article of the account has an average of 100k views, the promised view rate will be limited to 80k to 150k views). Here is an example:


How much do WeChat banner ads cost?

Standard WeChat Banner advertising:

Minimal entry price (both foreign companies and Chinese companies): 1,000 RMB (around 160 USD)

CPM (cost per 1,000 impression):

City sizeCPM1CPC2
Core city35Bidding system


Starts at 0.1 RMB / click

Large city30

Core cities: Beijing, Shanghai

Large cities: Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Guiyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

The WeChat KOL Banner version:

The KOL banner version is much more expensive. Although the payment is also performance-based, it still depends on the KOL to determine the price. You can inquiry price from the specific KOLs.

Who can use WeChat banner ads?

WeChat banner ads are mostly restricted to Chinese companies. Unlike Western systems like Facebook and Google, there is a large amount of oversight about who can publish ads on Tencent platform. For the most part, you will need:

  • A registered company in China
  • All the licenses to justify the fact that you can advertise in the specific industry that your ads are associated with (ex: if you want to advertise food, you will have to provide all the licenses allowing you to sell food to China)

It is also possible for foreign companies to apply for banner advertising. You will have to go through a manual application process. Contact to learn more.

Are WeChat banner ads a good choice for your WeChat advertising?

WeChat banner advertising is the most predictable way to grow your WeChat followers with stable ROI. We suggest running a few test campaigns with different content to calculate the CPA. A WeChat follower can cost between 8 RMB – 20 RMB depending on your targeting and how well you optimize the campaign. It’s a good method to get started on WeChat. However, the quality of the followers tends to be lower compared with WeChat Moment advertising. Brand should not neglect the importance of posting original and useful content on WeChat to organically grow WeChat followers.

The “KOL version” is much more promising, but take it on a case-by-case basis. The way it works is very similar to a traditional Key Opinion Leader campaign, with pros and cons:

  • Pros: performance based pricing, and easier to drive users to your website
  • Cons: few KOLs have this feature available today. Very pricey. Tencent gets part of the money.

If your budget permits, these new banner ads are likely a better choice for your brand.


Method 3: Key Opinion Leaders

Collaborating with Influencers is another way to market your brand on WeChat. It means paying a popular WeChat blogger (either through a flat fee, a result-based fee or by giving away products) in exchange for a promotional post on their WeChat official account.

The push message can be either a fully customized article talking about your brand, or a banner ad at the end of a content piece (of course, the first option is usually much pricier).

Here’s an example of banner ad at the bottom of a WeChat influencer message:


Some KOLs would even work with brands on an affiliate sales model. These KOLs usually have a great number of followers (usually more than 500,000). And they can drive more than a couple of hundreds of unit sales within posting of one article. Instead of charging for advertising costs, these KOL charges on a commission basis, usually between 20-40% commission. If you can find such KOL to work on a commission basis, it will always be great for market and sales. The drawback is it’s very difficult to find the right KOL. Large accounts tend to be extremely picky about the quality, price and type of your product.

Why should you use Key Opinion Leaders?

Key Opinion Leaders are a truly efficient way to market on WeChat for several reasons:

  • WeChat is a social network first, and endorsement from trusted sources can be a huge source of conversion
  • Key Opinion Leaders enable you to get started with all types of budgets
  • KOL aren’t subject to as much red tape as the ads bought directly from Tencent: vendors selling cross-border will have a much easier time using KOL rather than WeChat native ad program
  • Because WeChat has been only recently opening up to advertisers, there is a rich network of Key Opinion Leaders you can tap from on WeChat, and users are already used to receiving ads from them

Where can you find KOL for WeChat advertising?

There are a few platforms enabling you to find influencers for your WeChat ads:

  • is the leader in the field
  • is a great platform as it provides a bilingual interface and access to influencers across WeChat, Weibo, Instagram, Youku and Meipai
  • is a platform with a mix of accounts their run by themselves and influencers they represent. Quality is uneven though, so have a careful look.

We conducted a more in-depth study of some of these platforms in this article:

How much do influencer cost for WeChat advertising?

The cost of using WeChat influencers for advertising can vary widely:

  • On the low-end, you might find some advertisers willing to put up a banner for as low as $100 USD
  • On the high-end, there is no real upper limit, with large KOL regularly charging as much as $50,000 USD for one push message

Are influencers the right approach for your WeChat advertising?

There are plenty of good reasons to advertise through influencers: they enable targeted, flexible and (sometimes) affordable ad campaigns. They are particularly suited to new brands with little existing recognition in China, for which the endorsement of KOL’s will prove to be an invaluable asset. And for established brands to drive up sales.

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