You can invest hundreds of thousands to build a good WeChat platform and acquire followers through advertising and long term content marketing.
You can take the shortcut: acquire an existing WeChat account with millions of followers.
Discover a multi million dollars market that most people have never heard of.
How do you value a WeChat account?
There isn’t any scientific formula to define the value of an account. The biggest factors are content and follower base.
The more targeted the content is, the higher the account values. For example, an account talking about skiing will be worth more than an account talking about sports in general.
Here are a few examples of accounts with different valuations:
Generally speaking, the bigger an account is, the higher its value per follower. According to NewRanks, most of WeChat accounts are valued at 3RMB per follower.
This is to be compared with typical follower acquisition costs on WeChat (through advertising), which are around 7-13 RMB per follower depending on the industry (using Guangdiantong ads platform).
The risks: due diligence checklist
The biggest risk when acquiring a WeChat account is that Tencent doesn’t allow you to change the registered entity. This means that every year, the company that original created the account has to renew the account verification with their business license.
Signing a proper agreement is extremely important. But even then, the company can still claim back the WeChat account with their business license.
If you are acquiring an Official Account, the safest way is to acquire the business entity which owns it (if the account you are acquiring is a personal Official Account or unverified Official Account, you can avoid the issue of annual verification).
Check the stats
Check every statistics and monitor over time.
Check reading rate, sharing rate, and growth rate. Match all the stats with content to make sure they are reasonable. And monitor the performance over time. You don’t want to end up with an account with millions of zombie fans.
You should also make sure the account does not have any “criminal record”. Tencent punishes accounts that break its rules, for example incentivized sharing, spreading false rumor, sensitive information, etc. The punishment is usually gradual. If the account already got blocked by Tencent before, the next time you send messages that break Tencent’s rule, the account could be deleted.
Monetization of the account
For a lot of the WeChat account, the way to monitize is through pushing native advertising. This means the followers should in general match the target of most advertisers: tier 1, tier 2 city urban population aged between 25 to 35.
The most popular accounts for acquisition are therefore in the categories of fashion, lifestyle, and humor.
Some WeChat accounts have strong personality and the fans read the content because of one influential person writing it. These accounts, while they might have high quality followers, are usually difficult to manage after acquisition. In these cases, companies should consider acquiring the content creation team along with the account.
WeChat content is, for the most part, deeply related to one’s brand. It might therefore be very difficult to find a perfect fit: an account which is targeting the right users, which could be realistically operated by the acquiring company, and is actually for sale.
But for brands which might have already spotted an account worthy of acquisition, knowing the market rates is game changing, as such purchase can be a powerful shortcut toward growth.