On Jan. 9, 2007, Steve Jobs changed the world with iPhone. 10 years later on the same day, Zhang XiaoLong, recognized as the “father” of WeChat, has changed the world again with WeChat’s mini program.
During the last 10 months, WeChat mini program’s usage and adoption have both surged. It’s offering 40 access points directly to Wechat now, and is truly connecting offline and online worlds. It’s been optimized to fit with consumer’s user experience, and is accelerating the evolution of many businesses, especially service-oriented businesses.
“The Wechat mini-program ecosystem” is now ready to serve the B2B and service-oriented business sectors.
Today, it marks another major step in integrating WeChat to Mini Program – WeChat is now allowing direct access to Mini Program in its most-used advertising real estate – the banner ads under subscription accounts.
Now, advertisers can use the ad space under the subscription accounts (What is a subscription account?) to promote mini program, removing a middle step needed previously and directly increasing the conversion rate.
Some context – previously, this ad real estate was reserved to promote Wechat-related content only, and access to mini program to make a reservation or purchase would need to be redirected from Wechat content.
It’s more efficient, and more accessible now. This move makes many people wonder if Wechat is planning to build a world of “content + social + ecommerce + B2B service” ecosystem.
A major breakthrough in driving traffic to Wechat’s Mini Program
Wechat is now the biggest social platform in China with 963 million monthly active users.
But since the early age with the booming of Wechat subscription accounts, it has become increasingly difficult to build followers and realize financial returns. Wechat intends to create another revolution with the Mini Program.
How? Consumers could use many wechat features such as search, nearby Mini Programs, and social sharing to find mini programs that businesses offer, B2B, B2C, or service-oriented.
Till now, Tencent has been very cautious in allowing directly advertising of Mini Programs, and common ways to access the mini program in WeChat are:
- Wechat discovery
- Wechat nearby Mini Programs
- Top-used Mini Programs
- Offline scan of Mini Program codes
- Wechat search
- Social sharing
- Push notifications
- Wechat QR code scan
- Subscription account link
- Paid Advertising
- Subscription account menu
Wechat has been researching the idea of “Mini Program + Ads” business model internally. On June 16, the first Mini Program-related ad appeared – when user searches the company name in wechat, related mini programs would be suggested with the footnote “advertisement” on the top right corner. Similarly, this is available when user use the Wechat’s “Nearby Function” to view services or restaurants around.
On July 6, Mini Program was open for access by posts from subscription accounts. Previously, users have to click the link at the bottom of the Wechat post, “Click here to learn more” to access the content. The mini program has made it easier to allow direct link-embeding to the article. It means that, users could click the link at the moment when readying the content. This will improve click-through rate, and ultimately conversion ratio.
Such a function has a major impact on ecommerce business relying on Wechat posts in driving traffic to product page. For example, one of the early adopters, “Moguojie” (invested by Tencent), has integrated the link to Wechat Mini Program in its wechat posts.
When consumers read about a particula product, they could reach the product page with a click to the keyword (vs. scroll to the bottom of post), land on Mini Program-based product page, and purchase products all in 5 seconds, significantly reducing the conversion lag time.
After 4 months of beta launch, Wechat has decided to open the bottom page of the subscription account now for mini program.
From today, B2B/service businesses could market to consumers directly on Wechat via subscription accounts. For example, car dealers could post the mini program to let consumers book a reservation directly, and restaurants could promote to distribute coupons to customers online and coupons could be redeemed offline, truly connecting online and offline worlds.
Wechat Moment + Mini Programs
The mini program is enjoying a steady adoption rate, especially in the ecommerce, restaurant, entertainment, education, real estate, and transportation sectors. As a result, businesses are increasingly investing to promote their mini programs, but the problem has always been how to bring more traffic.
Wechat’s decision to allow advertising the Mini Program under subscription account is a major step forward. What’s more powerful is in allowing the mini program to be advertised through Wechat’s moment section.
Since 2015, advertising on Wechat’s moment has been widely recognized by advertisers as the best way to build brand awareness and increase traffic. Internally, Wechat moment advertising is one of the biggest revenue drivers for the company. Now, even small to median-sized businesses could advertise on Wechat moments, an area that was exclusive to big brands previously with high financial requirement.
The LBS (location-based-service) advertising function offered by WeChat moments and the service-oriented nature from the mini program will join to create a great chemistry. For example, businesses could use moment to build exposure on it’s upcoming promotions. Consumers could use the nearby feature offered on Wechat to find businesses’ mini programs and promotions, connecting different consumer journey touch points (awareness, discovery, consideration, and conversion).
Mini program’s instant access and quick loading time make it the ideal choice for businesses to showcase its brand, services and products. It’s not exaggerating to say every business needs to have a mini program in the near future.