Not long after offering brands an easier and more affordable way to create Moments advertising, WeChat recently gave its marketing tool a major facelift. The upgraded version, which was launched in January, offers an improved marketing opportunity for luxury brands, as now they are able to utilize a number of different storytelling methods to attract and engage with WeChat users in a more creative way. Luxury brands, including Chanel, Miu Miu, and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) among others, have become early participants in placing multimedia ads on Moments.
Today, the Moments stream within WeChat is one of the top options for advertising platforms for luxury brands in China. But it wasn’t always this way. After launching Moments ads in early 2015, Tencent took a cautious stance in completely opening up the space to advertisers. It wasn’t until 2016 that Tencent lowered the costs of advertising on Moments to 50,000 RMB from 200,000 RMB, and added a self-service feature to make it more accessible for brands, according to a report by Walk the Chat.
It’s arguable that WeChat’s move to improve the functionality of its Moments ads is a timely one for the luxury industry. Many studies, including recent research by digital intelligence firm L2, have shown that organic growth of WeChat followers had stagnated for luxury brands in 2016. The option to advertise on Moments, the place where more than 60 percent of app users spend most of their time, has thus become increasingly crucial for luxury brands to further attract new users and retain the interest of their existing followers.
WeChat Moments’ latest features allow brands to include short videos—either in a six-second or 15-second format—as a teaser to be shown on a user’s timeline. Interested viewers can click on the video, through which they will be directed to an internal ad page to view the full commercial.
Currently, brands can run ads in the following formats: text, photos, slideshows, full-screen videos, embedded videos, and 360-degree panoramas. There is no limit set on the number of formats that brands are allowed to use in one ad. In the past, brands were only able to post text with up to six photos, or a video.
The new Moments ads have also stopped linking to an HTML5 web page that’s hosted on Tencent’s server in an attempt to improve user experience. An official statement on WeChat’s website reads, “the new Moments ads accelerate the loading speed by nearly 10 times,” which has the potential to greatly decrease user bounce rate.
However, it is still unclear if Moments ads rates are the same with the new features. Tencent was not available for an immediate comment.
The upgraded Moments advertising features provide luxury brands with a more appealing and engaging way to grow and interact with WeChat users. Italian high fashion brand Miu Miu is one of the early adopters of this ad format, using it to promote its 2017 spring/summer ready-to-wear collection. Targeted users on WeChat will see Miu Miu’s six-second promotional video, which is marked as “sponsored” on their timeline. If they are interested in the brand, they can click on the video to see the full ad. Miu Miu’s ad first shows its audience the commercial video shot by photographer Alasdair McLellan (Image 2, above). The text below the video says which actresses, including Elle Fanning and Karen Elson, are featured in it. If users scroll down, they will continue to see a page with four pictures that they can shuffle through (Image 3). The ad ends with a picture of Fanning dressed in Miu Miu’s clothes and invites viewers to follow the brand on WeChat by clicking on the button below (Image 4).
Aside from recruiting new followers, luxury brands such as YSL have directly used Moments advertising as a way to convert viewers to buyers. After entering the ad page of the brand, viewers are first prompted to watch a 15-second long video that teaches them how to use the Touche Éclat Concealer. The following two pages contain a link to the product, intending to encourage viewers to buy it immediately.
With new the features in action for less than two months, it is too early to assess the effectiveness and costs and benefits of it for luxury brands, but the new and improved Moments ads are poised to be the next important marketing opportunity for companies that want to keep growing and engaging with a Chinese audience on WeChat in 2017.