WeChat Channels: is it worth your attention?

Shilin Song New WeChat features, WeChat guides & tips

WeChat Channels (微信视频号, which means “Video Account”) is WeChat’s public short-video feature, benchmarking Douyin and Kuaishou. Only one year after launch, it reached 500 million Daily Active Users in 2021. So, what does it mean for your brand? Is it worth trying?

In this article, we will explain:

  • What is WeChat Channels (Video Account) and what’s the difference with WeChat Moments?
  • How promising are WeChat Channels?
  • Should you create a WeChat Channel for your brand?
WeChat Channels Logo

What is WeChat Channels?

WeChat Channels is a dedicated space to watch video content, similar to Instagram Reels, but more “down to earth”.

Up to 2021, WeChat Channels have 500 million DAU (Daily Active Users), growing at 79% year-on-year. It’s expected to reach 600 million DAU in 2022.

Compared to Douyin‘s 800 million DAU, WeChat Channels still have some way to go. However, considering WeChat has 1.2 billion Monthly Active Users, it’s still possible for it to catch up with Douyin in user volume.

Here are some main differences between WeChat Channels and WeChat Moments:

  • WeChat Channels are public by default, while WeChat Moments are private, only visible to your contacts.
  • You can publish videos of up to 1 hour on WeChat Channels, while on WeChat Moment, the duration is limited to 30 seconds.

How promising are WeChat Channels?

WeChat Channels are connected with WeChat’s ecosystem, fully integrated with WeChat Official Account, Mini Program, WeChat Search, and WeChat payment.

With established infrastructure, WeChat has been pushing for the commercialization of WeChat Channels.

Since November 2021, WeChat Channels has held several online shopping festivals such as the Live-stream Good Things Festival, the New Year Goods Festival, etc. Brands, live stream influencers, and celebrities started earning money on WeChat Channels.

How do merchants and influencers make money on WeChat Channels? Read further:

In 2022, Chinese singers and rock stars held several online concerts on WeChat Channels, attracting more young people to explore the feature.

On July 18, WeChat Channels allowed in-feed ads for the first time. BMW China, Armani Beauty, and Yili Satine became the first advertisers to participate in the beta test. Words have it that WeChat will allow large-scale in-feed ads in Q4 2022.

On July 21, WeChat launched “Channel Store“, allowing merchants to open stores and sell directly in the video account scenario. WeChat’s “Video Store” model can learn from the existing experience of “Kaishou Store” and “Douyin Store”.

The Everbright Securities Research Report believes that once Video Store can close the loop of live stream eCommerce, it’s likely that the GMV (Gross Merchandising Value) of this channel will grow rapidly.

Should you create a WeChat Channel for your brand?

Here are several points for brands to consider.

WeChat Channels work better with Official Accounts and Mini Program

As a part of the WeChat ecosystem, WeChat Channels can better fulfill its functions if you already have WeChat Official Accounts and WeChat Mini Program. Without these, it doesn’t make much sense to have a WeChat Channel alone.

Most of the brands that created WeChat Channels already have these two features. Even for big brands like Dior and Lancome, the average views on their Channel accounts aren’t too optimistic without extra marketing spend – the view per video is quite flat, usually below 100.

Armani, Dior, Lancome, Zara, etc have WeChat Channels
Armani, Dior, Lancome, Zara, etc have WeChat Channels

WeChat Channels can be the next step for brands with existing awareness

If your brand entered China a while ago and has a presence on major social media channels such as WeChat Official Account, Douyin, Red (Xiaohongshu), and Weibo, you may consider creating a WeChat Channel. To save resources, you can use the same video creatives published on Douyin. Having a Channel can help you better distribute your brand’s video campaigns and live streaming in the public traffic pool of WeChat.

However, if you are a niche brand looking to enter China or at an early stage of your China expansion, it’s better to focus your marketing efforts on other channels such as Red (Xiaohongshu) or Douyin.

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