Research company QuestMobile released a new report about WeChat Official Accounts in April 2019. The report sheds some light on users interests and their content consumption behaviors.
Demographics of WeChat Official Account followers
WeChat Official Account followers tend to have proportionally more male users than the general WeChat users population (57.2% of WeChat OA followers are male, against only 53.3% of WeChat users)
Age distribution is relatively balanced, with 49.5% of WeChat Official Accounts younger than 30 years old, and 50.5% being 31 years old or older.
The proportion of WeChat OA followers older than 46 years old is however only 4.3%. WeChat influencer marketing might therefore not be the best strategy to reach out to older users.
The geographical distribution of WeChat Official Account followers is also relatively balanced, with 49.8% of followers living in Tier 3 cities or smaller cities.
The larger cities are however slightly over-represented, with 28.6% of followers living in Tier 1 or new Tier 1 cities.
Discovery of new accounts
Users discover new accounts mainly through recommendations from existing accounts they are following, or via organic searches on WeChat.
This trend highlights the importance of collaboration with other WeChat Official Accounts in the same industry, especially for brand new accounts trying to get traction.
Cross-promotion can be particularly useful in the B2B sector, where display advertising or traditional influencer marketing might not be efficient. Finding other B2B accounts with whom to cross-promote via gifts or knowledge-sharing can be a perfect way to grow a quality audience.
Discover mechanisms can also vary based on cities. Users in larger cities are more likely to leverage existing accounts for recommendations. However, users in Tier 3 cities or smaller are more likely to discover accounts via friend recommendations (direct recommendation, groups or moments) or via offline conversion.
Notice WeChat Moment only counts around 30% for new account discovery. As many users use added their boss and co-workers on WeChat and use it for work, users tend to feel more reluctant to share an article on WeChat moment.
Another feature to be noticed is the “like” feature. Since when a user clicked on “like” after reading an article, the article will then be recommended to his/her friends via the “Look” (看一看) feature. The “Like” feature has increasingly become a substitute to WeChat Moment.
Number of accounts followed
WeChat users tend to follow a large amount of WeChat Official Accounts. Almost half of the users follow 10 to 20 WeChat OAs. About a quarter of users (26.7%) follow more than 20 WeChat Official Accounts.
Male users are more likely to follow an average number of accounts (54.7% of them follow 10-20 accounts, against 44% for female users)
Female users are more likely to be “power users” following more than 30 accounts (30% of them against only 23.3% for males users)
Time spent on WeChat Official Accounts is high, with 53.7% of users spending between 10-30 minutes on them each day, and 22% of users spending between 30 minutes to an hour.
Moments and Chat remain however the core functions of WeChat, and only 5% of users spend more than 1 hour per day on WeChat Official Accounts.
Actions on WeChat Official Accounts
The most common action when reading an article is to “Like” it.
This action used not to have any effect on visibility, but with WeChat new “看一看” section, readers can access the content which got liked by most of their friends.
It is therefore important for content publishers to add action calls encouraging users to like or share the content, in order to increase the opportunity for it to reach more people (as of today, a lot of articles have action calls for follows, but few of them for sharing or like)
Popular categories on WeChat Official Accounts vary depending on gender. Male users are more likely to be interested in finance, while female users are more likely to follow shopping-related accounts.
It is however worth noticing that “Shopping” is a top-ranking category for both male and female users. WeChat Official Account are being used more and more as a way to source new product recommendations.
WeChat Official Accounts, beside getting a lot of competition from new content Apps such as Toutiao are Douyin, are still going strong, reaching out to a broad percentage of the Chinese population.
Users are eager to get recommendations for new accounts from influencers they already trust, especially in large cities. Cross-promotion should, therefore, be a key strategy when launching a new account or looking for new followers.
Given the strong interest in shopping among WeChat Official Account followers, a straightforward focus on high-quality products recommendations can be a good strategy to drive an engaged and relevant audience in an e-commerce context.