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How to Reach the Untapped Market on WeChat and Channels

In recent years, the open rate for WeChat Official Accounts (“OA”) has been declining due to fierce competition for readers’ attention. However, this is not the case for accounts with mostly senior followers who tend to stay loyal and focused.

The perfect place to engage directly with seniors

Seniors (51 years and older) account for 23% of WeChat’s 1.31 billion monthly active users, [S]. WeChat’s extensive list of features designed for better communication, content sharing and entertainment makes it the most popular social media platform for seniors in China.

Wonderland for online community building
Screenshot of the WeChat official account of LORTUI (LOve ReTirement yoU & I )

“乐退族” LORTUI (LOve ReTirement yoU & I ) is a local company focusing on education, culture and domestic travel services for seniors.

Long-term senior followers of its WeChat OA have helped the brand maintain 30k+ average reads for each main article. In addition, articles continue to receive views long after publishing, signaling that followers continue to grow and that users continue to come back to this channel for news and info.

The Boom of WeChat Channels

Modeled after “Dou Kuai” and launched in 2020, Channels was not originally                        considered a serious competitor, yet just 2 years later, its video views have increased by 200%, and live-stream views increased by 300%. The number of Channels’ content creators with 10k+ followers also increased by 308% [S].

Wonderland for online community building

In 2020, more than 70% of WeChat Channels users are over 45 years old, and most e-commerce purchases via Channels were made by consumers 55 years old or over [S]. The average age among viewers and purchasers only started to shift in 2022 after more young viewers joined the platform.

MAU on short video platform (until December 2012): Channels 820m; Douyin 706m; Kuaishou 626m.

Why do seniors love Channels ?

WeChat is where seniors engage with friends, family and form online communities. Content goes viral here through shares and recommendations within social circles. As part of the WeChat ecosystem, Channels has been effortlessly taking advantage of the following features:

1. One-click easy share to a friend, a group or on Moments

Many seniors don’t even know they are using Channels as it’s perfectly integrated into WeChat.

2. Embedded in WeChat articles with seamless linking to WeCom or e-commerce mini programs

Adding more touch points for content exposure and streamlining the conversion process.

3. Highlight videos liked & and commented by WeChat friends

Building trust through established social circles.

All friends are on WeChat but not all on Douyin. It's difficult to share content directly between Douyin and WeChat; Channels has unique feed for you to bond with friends over the same content

How Does Poise Reach Its Audience?

Poise LOGO
Embrace the WeChat ecosystem

Poise provides incontinence pads designed for seniors and women after pregnancy. The brand cleverly utilizes the WeChat ecosystem and app functions to reach and continuously engage their target audience.

Bond with audience by providing free value

Most videos on Poise’s Channels account are not about the product but topics related to female body care with a brand character named “Sister Bei” sharing tips and tricks on how to regulate hormone and restore energy. 

Bond with audience by providing free value

WeChat mini programs offer a myriad of features that make linking to e-commerce, accessing services, product details, bookings etc. seamless and straightforward, especially for seniors.

The graph showing how Poise reach its audience within WeChat ecosystem.
The graph showing how Poise reach its audience within WeChat ecosystem 2

The Importance of Trust for Seniors

Unlike “Dou Kuai”, where a sophisticated algorithm pushes content to users, short videos and live-streams on Channels gain views from social influence. Content is shared and spread through private group chats and Moments. This creates an atmosphere of trust for seniors, who make 90% of their purchases based on recommendations from family, friends or immediate community. [S].

Trust plays a significant role in seniors’ buying habits, and senior KOLs on Channels have a much higher percentage of senior followers compared to other platforms. This setup makes it ideal for word-of-mouth to thrive, which is why live commerce has a higher conversion rate on Channels among seniors compared to other platforms.

Senior influencer “Classy Lady” reached 3 million views during her first month of live-streaming, with a conversion rate over 30%, a repurchase rate of 70%, and a return rate below 10%. [S]. The return rate of the live commerce benchmark is above 30% at the time.

Screenshots of the livestreams as well as its sharing in WeChat private chats of influencer "Classy Ladies".

Channels: Improve stickiness of WeChat users

Although lacking the addictive nature of “Dou Kuai”, Channels has 1.3 billion loyal WeChat users to draw from, and it’s not going anywhere. 

Channels gives brands the opportunity to reach audiences who are ready to be nurtured. In some cases, brands even move from “Dou Kuai” to WeChat for community management.

Unlike “Dou Kuai”, the most urgent need for Channels now is to increase usage time and retain users. Channel has executed tactics to encourage original content by giving additional traffic and revenue bonus to creators [S]

Between 2022 and 2023 many creator accounts on Channels enjoyed a period of relatively easy growth, but it’s yet to say who’ll win the final race when it comes to stickiness and conversion.

If you are interested in knowing more how to reach seniors on Douyin, Kuaishou, Little Red Book or Bilibili, feel free to download “Social Media Marketing to Seniors in China 2023”.

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