How to Advertise on WeChat

Advertising on WeChat is a booming trend: the platform has a long history of protecting users and forbidding entry from advertisers, but it is now slowly opening up. This is a huge opportunity for marketers trying to advertise in China.

Here are the ways you can get started with WeChat ads.

What is WeChat Advertising?

WeChat advertising is the Tencent program enabling companies to display promotional messages on users timeline or at the bottom of WeChat Official Account articles. WeChat ads enable brands to grow WeChat Official Account followers, drive traffic to website and generate App downloads.

There are 3 major types of WeChat advertising:

  • WeChat Moments Advertising
  • WeChat banner adverting 
  • WeChat Key Opinion Leader advertising

Method 1: WeChat moments advertising

The first and most familiar method of WeChat advertising for Western marketers is to promote on WeChat moments. They are the equivalent of Facebook ads appearing on the timeline.

WeChat advertising

Let’s dig deeper into this method.

Who can advertise on WeChat Moment?

WeChat advertising on moments is restricted to two major cases:

  • Companies registered in Mainland China (either local companies or Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises – WFOE) willing to invest at least 50k RMB (~8,000 USD)
  • Foreign companies willing to invest $1,500 – $8,000 USD (updated on April 2017)

Chinese companies can follow the following link to apply:

For foreign companies the process goes through a dedicated Tencent team, you can reach out for questions. As of writing of the blog, Tencent does not take advertising application from real estate and financial industry.

What is WeChat Moments advertising?

WeChat moment ads were launched in early 2015, when 25 brands including Coco Cola and Mercedes-Benz took part into the first testing campaign.

Even before this official launch, the WeChat “timeline” had been a target for advertising companies who relentlessly tried to find ways to access user’s Moment. They usually used forwarded message via a network of personal accounts (a practice forbidden by Tencent terms of use).

For example, a WeChat advertising company created a scheme for advertising on personal WeChat Moments. In Shanghai and Beijing, they leveraged 600 individual accounts, each with at least 500 friends. The price of posting on individual’s moments ranged from 10 RMB to 400 RMB per post.  Advertising through such a network enabled to reach over 300,000 WeChat users. However this was a very manual process.

What Tencent Moment ads bring is a much more sophisticated way to reach the user timeline by directly buying access from WeChat.

How does it work?

Moment ads can have the following component:

  1. Brand name and profile picture
  2. Up to 40 character ad description
  3. Link to a html5 webpage that’s hosted on Tencent’s server
  4. Up to 6 pictures or 6-15 seconds short videos

You can target users according to their location, interest, age, gender, device and phone network.


Three category including Beijing&Shanghai, 35 first and second tier cities, and non-specific cities.

Since April 2017, Tencent start to offering WeChat Overseas Advertising to target Chinese travelers in 42 countries and regions:

Asia: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Philippine, Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, India, Indonesia

Europe: Germany, France, England, Italy, Finland, UAE, Egypt, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Morocco, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabian, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Spain

North America: United States, Canada, Mexico

Oceania: Australia, New Zealand 

South America: Brazil, Argentina 

The Chinese tourists is defined by the current location data. WeChat advertising is not open to local residents in overseas countries yet due to legal reason.

Gender & Age:

Gender and age from 5 to 60 years old

Industry specific:

Companies can choose to advertise to 18 industries and 122 sub-categories. The 18 core categories including: education, travel, finance, cars, real estate, furniture, fashion, F&B, personal services, professional services, cosmetics, home electronics, sports, health, child education, bags, watches, shoes, jewelry, politics and law, luxury goods, drinks, Internet, entertainment.

Marital Status:

Single, married, newly married or raising a kid

Education level:

PhD, master, bachelor, high school, primary school

WeChat behavior:

Currently following your public account, already using your APP, collected a WeChat coupon from ads within the past year, showed interest in your previous ads during the past year, remove users who are not interested in your content

Individual users can see up to one Moment ad every 48 hours. The ad will disappear within 6 hours if the user did not like, comment or click on the link. If the user interacts with the ad, this will increase the likelihood of his/her friend receiving the same ad. This viral effect will increase the number of target users.

How much does it cost?

WeChat Moment Advertising:

Minimal entry price (both foreign companies and Chinese companies): 50,000RMB

CPM (cost per 1,000 impression):

City sizeText & Pictures Ads CPMVideo ads CPM
Core city150180
Large city100120

Core cities: Beijing, Shanghai

Large cities: Guanzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Guiyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

WeChat Overseas Advertising:targeting Chinese tourists

Minimal entry price:

50,000 RMB for the following countries/regions:

Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Australia

10,000 RMB for the following countries:

Germany, France, England, Italy, Canada, New Zealand

Text & Pictures AdsVideo ads
CPM (1,000 impression)150180

How to apply?

Chinese companies:

  1. Verify your WeChat Official Account. Step by step guide for WeChat Official Account verification.
  2. Apply for the right to advertise on WeChat by going to the backend of your official account, and click on 广告主 to apply 
  3. Once you got approved for 广告主 (right to advertise on WeChat), you can then create campaigns via the WeChat Official Account backend.

Note you will need to provide industry specific certificates when applying for the right to advertise.  If the first application didn’t go through, you can try to apply again by selecting another industry category.

Is WeChat Moments advertising right for you?

WeChat Moments Advertising program is not for everyone.  Compared to Tencent’s other advertising channel, Q-zone and Tencent Weibo has CPM between 0.2-1RMB; WeChat banner ads has CPC (cost-per-click) of between 2-5 RMB; KOL campaign has a CPC of 0.5-1 RMB, WeChat Moment ads is comparatively much pricier.

Moment advertising tend to be a better choice for well known brands with visually attractive products.  It is great to build brand awareness and encourage user engagement. For small and medium companies, or companies in service or B2B industry, other advertising channels such as KOL, WeChat banner ads, and Tencent ads on QQ and Q-zone maybe a better choice.

Method 2: WeChat banner advertising

There is another form of advertising on WeChat called “banner advertising”. These banners are very much like the ad banners you would see on a website. Except that in the context of WeChat, they will be featured at the bottom of a message written by a WeChat Official Account.

There are two types of WeChat banner ads:

Standard WeChat Banner Ads

Launched in August 2014, this type of WeChat ads has notoriously low performance (most people don’t click on them). Advertisers can pick some rough targeting (gender, location, age, and type of account in which the banner are displayed) and the ads will be shown to the target group of users. The targeting is same as the WeChat Moment advertising, see above for detail. Advertisers can’t control on which specific account their ads appear.

WeChat banner ads has three component:

  1. WeChat article: WeChat banner ads appear at the bottom of a WeChat article written by another WeChat Official Account
  2. Ad banner: the banner contains a logo, account name and headline. If clicked, it takes the users to a page containing additional information about the brand/product
  3. Action call: the action call takes users to another landing page, see below for detail.

The banner ads can take drive users to follow WeChat Official Account, download an app, claim coupon code, buy a product, signup link or to a customized landing page.

  • KOL banner version: launched in October 2016, these new WeChat b
    anner ads enable the advertisers and the WeChat official account to enter into an agreement about the ad. They must both agree on the cost paid per view by the advertiser, and a range of views which will be accounted for (for example, if the first article of the account has an average of 100k views, the promised view rate will be limited to 80k to 150k views). Here is an example:

How much do WeChat banner ads cost?

Standard WeChat Banner advertising:

Minimal entry price (both foreign companies and Chinese companies): 50,000RMB

CPM (cost per 1,000 impression):

City sizeCPM1CPC2
Core city25Bidding system Starts at 0.5 RMB / click
Large city20

Core cities: Beijing, Shanghai

Large cities: Guanzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi’an, Guiyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

The WeChat KOL Banner version:

The KOL banner version is much more expensive. Although the payment is also performance based, it still depends on the KOL to determine the price. You an inquiry price from the specific KOL

Who can use WeChat banner ads?

WeChat banner ads are mostly restricted to Chinese companies. Unlike Western systems like Facebook and Google, there is a large amount of oversight about who can publish ads on Tencent platform. For the most part you will need:

  • A registered company in China
  • All the licenses to justify the fact that you can advertise in the specific industry that your ads are associated with (ex: if you want to advertise food, you will have to provide all the licenses allowing you to sell food to China)

It is also possible for foreign companies to apply for banner advertising. You will have to go through a manually application process. Contact to learn more.

Are WeChat banner ads a good choice for your WeChat advertising?

WeChat banner advertising is the most predictable way to grow your WeChat followers with stable ROI. We suggust to run a few test campaigns with different content to calculate the CPA. A WeChat follower cost between 8 RMB – 20 RMB depending on your targeting and how well you optimize the campaign. It’s a good method to get started on WeChat. However the quality of the followers tend to be lower compared with WeChat Moment advertising. And brand should not neglect the importance of posting original and useful content on WeChat to organically grow WeChat followers.

The “new version” is much more promising, but take it on a case-by-base basis. The way it works is very similar to a traditional Key Opinion Leader campaign, with pros and cons:

  • Pros: performance based pricing, and easier to link users to your website
  • Cons: few KOL have this feature available today. Very pricey. Tencent gets part of the money.

If your budget enable it, these new banner ads are likely to be a good choice for your brand.

Method 3: Key Opinion Leaders

Influencers are another way to market your brand on WeChat. It means paying a popular WeChat blogger (either through a flat fee, a result-based fee or by giving away products) in exchange for a promotional post on their WeChat account.

The push message can be either a full article talking about your brand, or a banner ad at the end of a content piece (of course, the first option is usually much pricier).

Here’s an example of banner ad at the bottom of a WeChat influencer message:

Some KOLs would event work with brand on affiliate sale model.  These KOLs usually have large group of followers (usually more than 500,000). And they can drive more than a couple of hundreds of unit sales within posting of one article. Instead of charging for advertising cost, these KOL charges on a commission bases, usually between 20-40% commission. If you can find such KOL to work on commission bases, it will always be great for market and sales. The draw back is it’s very difficult to find the right KOL. Large accounts tend to be extremely picky about the quality, price and type of your product.

Why should you use Key Opinion Leaders?

Key Opinion Leaders are a truly efficient way to market on WeChat for several reasons:

  • WeChat is a social network first, and endorsement from trusted sources can be a huge source of conversion
  • Key Opinion Leaders enable to get started to get started with all types of budgets
  • KOL aren’t subject to as much red tape as the ads bought directly from Tencent: vendors selling cross-border will have a much easier time using KOL rather than WeChat native ad program
  • Because WeChat has been only recently opening up to advertisers, there is a rich network of Key Opinion Leaders you can tap from on WeChat, and users are already used to receiving ads from them

Where can you find KOL for WeChat advertising?

There are a few platforms enabling you to find influencers for your WeChat ads:

  • is the leader in the field
  • is a great platform as it provides a bilingual interface and access to influencers across WeChat, Weibo, Instagram, Youku and Meipai
  • is a platform with a mix of accounts their run by themselves and influencers they represent. Quality is uneven though, so have a careful look.

How much do influencer cost for WeChat advertising?

The cost of using WeChat influencers for advertising can vary widely:

  • On the low-end, you might find some advertisers willing to put up a banner for as low as $100 USD
  • On the high-end, there is no real upper limit, with large KOL regularly charging as much as $50,000 USD for one push message

Are influencers the right approach for your WeChat advertising?

There are plenty of good reasons to advertise through influencers: they enable targeted, flexible and (sometimes) affordable ad campaigns. They are particularly suited to new brands with little existing recognition in China, for which the endorsement of KOL’s will prove to be an invaluable asset. And for established brands to drive up sales.

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