Data: where does WeChat traffic REALLY come from?

Tingyi Chen New WeChat features, WeChat guides & tips, WeChat news

On Feb 24th, WeChat made an upgrade to its analytics backend.  The newly available information includes:

  • Source of traffic (where does the reading come from): Official Account push messages, account posting history page, WeChat Moments, Directly shared by a friend, and Other source.
  • Transparency about the number of reads and the number of unique users
  • Number of users who shared the article (used to be combined with bookmarked)
  • Number of users who bookmarked the article
  • Hourly data analytics report
  • Demographic of readers: gender, location, device information (used to be aggregated across the account. The data is now available for each article)

We are going to focus on the Source of Traffic 

Why does it matter?

For the first time, you can learn how readers reach your WeChat articles.  The reading rate is usually directly correlated with the number of followers you can acquire through an article, and ultimately could lead to conversion and sales.  Knowing where people read your article can help you refine your content marketing strategy and understand the reading behavior of your followers. This key statistic can help you generate greater ROI.

Where does the reading come from?

The reading traffic may come from 5 places: push message, WeChat Moments, shared from friends, article history and others.   You can access the following data by click on 图文分析 on the left-side menu in WeChat Official Account backend, and then “全部图文” tap on the top menu.

WeChat-analytics did a survey of 308 WeChat account operators asking this questions: where does your reading come from?  We will use the results of this survey as a benchmark for this article.

  1. Traffic from WeChat Official Account push messages

This is the reading clicks directly from your WeChat account’s push message. People who read from your WeChat OA are your existing followers.  According to data collected by Newrank, this percentage of reading goes up for larger accounts:

  • For WeChat accounts with less than 100,000 followers, traffic from WeChat Official Account push messages represents below 40% of traffic
  • For WeChat accounts with followers between 100k to 1M, the traffic from WeChat Official Account push messages tends to increase to above 60%

The percentage of reads from WeChat Official Account push message is negatively correlated with the number of new followers you can acquire.  An account with a rate over 90% may have negative growth rate.

A high percentage (over 70%) of reading from WeChat OA push message could mean one of two things: 1. Most of your target users are already following your WeChat account.  2. Your followers are less excited about your content thus less likely to share your article

In the WeChat Analytics backend, the traffic from Push Message is in light green.  Check if this rate is over 70%. If it is, it is a red light as to the engagement rate of your current followers: try out new content such as interactive quiz, host offline events, or incentivize your users to share the content.

2. Traffic from WeChat Moments 

Traffic from WeChat Moments is the number one key to the growth of a WeChat account.  This number represents the people who clicked on your article after seeing it on their WeChat Moments.  Most of these clicks are from non-followers, and therefore the key to acquiring new and high quality followers. Before the release of the upgraded analytics backend, the common myth was that 80% of reads were coming from WeChat Moments.

Now we know that this is obviously not true.

According to the Newrank survey,  only 5% of accounts have above 80% of their reading traffic coming from WeChat Moments. For most of accounts, this number is around 30%.


There is an exception to this, if one of your article goes viral (more than 100,000 reads), the reading rate from WeChat Moments will go up dramatically to 80% or more. This is the sign you have reached so many new followers.


The new “chicken soup” theme account MiMeng is a good example of account who create viral content on a regular basis.  Her resent article is about losing weight. This article got 6.8 million reads, and brought 40k new followers per day.

If you have a rate that is lower than 10%, it should be a real concern for the health of your WeChat account.  Here is a couple of ways to encourage sharing:

  • Try to vary the positioning of your content. Instead of pushing promotional content, push useful or interesting information that naturally encourages sharing on Moments
  • Encourage your user to share through providing incentives. But be aware of potential risks if you break Tencent terms of use.
3. Traffic from sharing with a friend

This statistic represents the reading rate coming from either sharing of an article with a friend, or sharing from a WeChat group.  According to the survey, sharing with friend’s reading rate is surprising high. 40% of WeChat account have traffic from friends’ sharing higher than 11%. For WalktheChat, this rate is 19.9%.

28.picWhy would an account get so much reading traffic from sharing with friends:

  • The article might be shared in a lot of very interactive WeChat groups where the group members are interested in this particular article
  • The article maybe relevant to some users so that the followers would share this message to that friend. In this case, the message opening rate will be close to 100%.
4. Traffic from account history

This reading comes from users clicking on the “history message” tab on the account introduction page. Usually this traffic comes from the following two scenarios:

  • First time users find your account, he/she is checking the history message to learn more about your account and decide if they want to follow you or not.
  • A follower wants to go back in history message to find a particular article he or she read in the past.

For most accounts, traffic from account history is bellow 5%.  This button is not a common way for users to access content.  For accounts for which this rate is above 5%, this might be a sign the account has a large number of fake followers.  Some agents may use zombie followers to increase the reading rate and likes of articles.  A lot of the “zombie followers” will go to the history articles and click on everything that’s on the list.

If you are planning to post articles on a KOL account and you are not sure about the legitimacy of the account, ask for a screenshot of traffic source of a past article. If the reading rate from history is above 20% then you might want to discount the effect of the KOL article.

4. Traffic from other sources

This traffic comes from outside of WeChat: sharing on other social media, other Apps, on a web browser, and etc.  For most of accounts, this number is below 15%.  This means more than 85% of content consumption still happens inside the WeChat ecosystem. A good sign that Tencent successfully created a closed ecosystem with high level of retention of users.

Elevate your China Marketing with AI-Driven Analytics and Creativity. Let’s Talk.