Editor’s note: This originally appeared on Mikey Chee’s WeChat Official Account. Mikey is an entrepreneur based in Beijing. Founder of his own WeChat company, Fresh Prints, he also enjoys writing articles on ways businesses and people can use WeChat to grow their channels. 

Lately, I’ve been seeing posts about mini programs and whether or not you should develop one for your organization. After four weeks of a mini program running alongside our Service Account, I now feel confident writing about it and about how to brainstorm your mini program if you plan on building one.

Since our launch, I have been monitoring our daily activity and every day I see a green line pop up and down.

Looking at the 48-hour window, we can see that the MP is being used every day.

This is super exciting.


Every day, without us sending any messages or articles, people are opening up the mini program and placing orders for photo books. Every day, someone is looking at the mini program and following our Service Account to complete their order. Every day, someone is printing their memories.

Daily engagement, hell yes. Give me some of that.

Does this mean it’ll work for every business? Probably not.

So here are some questions you should ask yourself before developing a mini program.

  1. How are you currently using a WeChat Official Account?
  2. What is your brand reach?
  3. What services, goods, or value do you deliver and share with your readers/followers/customers?
  4. What are some pain points in your business operations or organization that need solving and have WeChat touch points?

From there, you should be able to map out your next steps which are identifying functionality a mini program can provide for your business.

Is it product education? Is it a tool that can be shared in a group chat or conversation? Is it an e-commerce store? Is it an onboarding tool for customers?

Every business has different online needs, so each business can brainstorm for Mini Programs differently. The key is understanding what issues you have and how can they be solved with a Mini Program.

Let’s take Airbnb for example. I did an article about them a while back.

Article here: 【WeChat What If】Airbnb: 7 Star Experience using WeChat

In my honest opinion, the Airbnb WeChat OA still blows. Not much has changed with their menu bar and it seems the main focus is to download their app. Their content, however, is off the charts. A lot of visual storytelling.

If the goal is to get app downloads, do you think the best way to do that is by shoving a URL to an app store down our throats? No.

Here’s how I think Airbnb could use a mini program to tie in their business model but also create a better call to action:

720-degree visual tours with potential rentals everytime you open the mini program.

Every time you open up the Mini Program, you either choose a city, budget and # of rooms OR you randomly choose and Airbnb lets you roam in a 720-degree view. That’s it. That’s the mini program.

Can’t this be done with an H5 page? Sure, but is it gonna be sexy when you share it in a group chat with your best buds planning the bachelor party to Chengdu? No. Because H5 pages are little cards when shared. Mini programs shared are sexy and have a more visual bounce to them.

With a visual mini program tool that complements your brand and digital strategy, you can then suggest users download the App to learn more. Badda bing badda boom. Everyone’s happy.

How do you know this will work?

I don’t, but I do know one company has already tried this. Monument Valley, the mobile puzzle game did something similar with WeChat mini games, and the user experience was excellent. Did I download the game after? No. I don’t play video games. Did I click the Call to Action? Yes, because it was that damn good.

Hope this little bit of information helps you break down whether you need mini programs in your life. I’m happy with ours, I can’t wait to improve it further.

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...

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