WeChat launched a live streaming feature for Official Accounts. How does it work and is it the next big thing to sell your products?
How does WeChat Official Account live streaming work?
How to create an Official Account Live Stream?
Tencent Live Streaming team is still testing this new feature, and only a few selected KOL (key opinion leaders) were invited to use it. However, you can apply to use Official Account Live Streaming via the following steps.
- Step 1: Download the 腾讯直播APP following the instruction in the link below on your phone (only available on iOS devices for now): https://dwz.cn/8vbn3Ugl
- Step 2: Register as a user on 腾讯直播 APP, note you need to submit a photo of a Chinese ID in order to become a live streaming host.
- Step 3: Follow the Official Account “腾讯直播测试” and click on “申请内测” on the menu to apply. You will need to provide a screenshot of your Official Account backend with the number of followers.
It will take around 3 days for the WeChat team to check and approve your application.
Once approved, you can create a live stream event using the Tencent Live Stream App.
Campaign user path
The Official Account can send out a live streaming invitation via either a Mini Program link within a WeChat article or a poster with Mini Program QR code.
The link is usually shared several hours before the start of the live-streaming.
Users can signup to receive notifications about the live streaming campaign. The Tencent Livestream Mini Program will send a service notification to the users who signed up.
The Tencent live streaming is integrated with WeChat store platforms such as WeStock 波罗蜜 and See小店铺. The official API has not been released yet. According to a reliable source, WeChat will later launch an official Live Streaming plugin.
Campaigns case study
Hibetterme – 48% sales conversion rate
Hibetterme is one of the largest WeChat account focusing on educational content related to cosmetics and lifestyle products. It has an e-commerce platform focusing on selling Japanese cosmetics products. The live-streaming campaign was hosted by Jiutian, the founder, focusing on promoting the products on her WeChat store.
The live-streaming notice was sent only 2 hours in advance. Users were asked to scan a QR code in order to get a reminder for the live-streaming.
The content of the live-streaming featured Jiutian trying out each product and recommending the skin care products to users with different skin types. Most product were between 40 RMB to 300 RMB.
According to ebrun.com, here are the impressive campaign results:
- 4,212 users signed up for the live-streaming reminder (average article view is > 100,000)
- A maximum of 1,363 users watched the Hibetterme campaign simultaneously
- 28% of the user finished the whole 1-hour live-streaming
- Users left 1,553 comments
- Sales conversion rate was 48.5%!
Although campaign signup rate is less than 4% of the average article view, 28% of the viewer completed the one-hour campaign! This is extremely high given WeChat users’ attention span on their mobile phone is usually less than 5 minutes.
48.5% sales conversion rate (# of user who made a purchase/ # of users visited the store during live streaming) also shows that live-streaming format is extremely effective in converting users to making a purchase.
Compared with the WeChat KOL campaigns we conducted for clients, including the ones we’ve run with Hibetterme, the average sales conversion rate is 2-3% (although the average item price of our client is also much higher, usually between 1,000 RMB to 3,000 RMB).
Ta Read is an Official Account focused on recommending and selling fashion/cosmetics products.
It launched a 2-hour live streaming campaign via a push message on WeChat.
The article linked to the Tencent live-streaming Mini Program.
According to ebrun.com:
- The article got over 70k views, 11,951 (17%) users clicked into the live streaming campaign
- Of all the viewers, 6,704 of them ( 56%) visited the WeChat store
- 1,228 orders were made: around 18% conversion rate from live streaming to sales
The live-streaming content is less impressive. 2 hosts selling shirts, lipsticks, and skin care products, just like a typical Taobao live streaming or even an infomercial. The 2 hosts were not sure if the broadcast had begun and said hello to the audiences 5 times.
The poorly designed video content is made up by the steady high-quality articles that the Official Account sent throughout the years. Because it is an account that focuses on making purchasing recommendations for women, users are used to trusting its advices. This strong base of followers was the key to the success of the campaign.
Another element helping with the conversion rate was a generous discount of 15% off on all store items, and a lucky draw to win lipsticks during the livestream.
What makes Tencent live-streaming so effective for e-commerce?
Traffic is generated from the Official Account, instead of from a “news feed” like other platforms. This means the WeChat audiences are already followers who are familiar with the content of the Official Account. This “trust factor” significantly impacts conversion rates.
The drawback of Tencent live-streaming is that the platform won’t drive any traffic to the host even if the campaign engagement is high. You are on your own for traffic generation.
Urgency to make a purchase
In both Hibetterme and Ta Read campaign, the host provides special discount codes that only work during the live-streaming period. In the case of Hibetterme, even the product quantity is limited. These time-sensitive action call helps to improve the conversion rate, as social commerce is all about making impulse purchases.
Live streaming on WeChat is usually content focused, instead of purely sales focused. Unlike a marketplace, where users would make a purchase mostly due to the discount, the incentive to buy on WeChat store is a lot more driven by the recommendation from the influencer
An influencer like Jiutian, who gives scientific dermatologist recommendation on skin care can have a much higher conversion rate, and help with the acquisition of new customers who would not have considered buying the product otherwise.
Not all good authors can be engaging in live video. Creating good and enticing live-streaming shows takes a whole different set of skill. Some influencers will become great hosts, but some won’t.
A lot of Official Accounts are also not focused on one single influencer. Instead, most accounts are focused on specific topics: bags, skin care, sports, etc. Without the connection to a specific person providing recommendations, live streaming might be less efficient.
The audience focus is also different, the users who are drawn to live-streaming are usually younger and have more spare time. This suggests the conversion rate might be much higher with lower-priced items.
The connection between live-streaming features and WeChat Mini Program could be game changing for brands entering China.
While it might be hard for brands to get sales simply by listing on Taobao or Tmall, the live endorsement of a beloved influencer can be the perfect way to convince a customer to try a new product.
And with almost 50% conversion rate on some campaigns, there is no reason not to try it out!