Promoting Your App In Chinese Social Media

Because Chinese audiences are primarily exposed to their own local social media and news platforms, any global strategy that you currently have in place for social media marketing would not include the 1.1 billion Android users in Mainland China. Not only are popular services like Facebook and Instagram completely banned in China, but even those that aren’t are often offered in English-only versions.

Therefore, it is essential to become familiar with the most popular “walled gardens” where Chinese Android users are spending the majority of their time. As with any good marketing campaign, you want to be sure to have accurate tracking and measuring at each step of the way, and target your message and audience as specifically as possible to maximize your marketing ROI. 

Social Media Platforms in China

WeChat (微信)

At the number one most used app in the China, WeChat is an obvious place to focus your marketing efforts, You can count on nearly every mobile device in the country having this app installed and actively used. WeChat offers a few attractive options for marketing:

WeChat Official Accounts: WeChat allows companies and celebrities to create official accounts to generate content for promotional purposes. Businesses can even implement CRM (Customer Relationship Management) functionality to their WeChat official accounts and proceed one-to-one personalized interaction between brands and users. These all will take your customers closer to you.

WeChat Advertising: WeChat allows brands to purchase banner ads, Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) ads, and ads that appear in Moments feeds. Because of its popularity with users on a daily basis, Moments ads are the most expensive but also potentially the most effective on the platform.

WeChat Mini Apps: WeChat Mini Apps are small applets that can be launched and run directly inside WeChat. You can launch a WeChat Mini App to capture additional market share and drive users to your app. Creating a WeChat Mini App does not take as much time or effort as you may think, and we are happy to assist our clients with this.

In practice, WeChat Mini Apps have proven to be popular with users, but retention rates are rather low. This means they may run the app once or twice, but not come back to it again, probably  because it is not as visible and convenient as a standalone app icon on your mobile desktop.

Therefore, the strategy we recommend is to create a simple, stripped-down version of your app as a MiniApp, and use it as another channel to drive users to download your android app. Once users run the app, they should be presented with links (or QR code) and appeals to download the full version.

Weibo (微博)

Weibo is a microblogging platform launched in 2009 that has more than 650 million monthly active users. Unlike WeChat, its posts are open to the world, instead of those who you specifically designate as friends. CPP ad campaigns can be run here, with similar targeting options as Google AdWords and other similar sites. You may also choose to create a blog for your brand as well, to organically grow your brand awareness online.

Zhihu (知乎)

Zhihu is China’s largest question-and-answer site, similar to Quora: Users ask questions for other users to post answers. The nature of the site means topics are discussed more in-depth than most other sites, and this allows for powerful targeted ad campaigns. Zhihu daily delivers a feed of news, articles, and answers based on a user’s preference, three times a day. Users spend an average of 21 minutes per day reading this content, which is 7x the number of average minutes spent on China’s news sites. Qualified companies can also apply for an official  “Organization Account” (机构号).

Zhihu has a few different elements to its platform where you can tailor your marketing messages:

Q&A: The simplest way of marketing your app on the heart of this site is to actively monitor questions pertaining to your company and app’s primary function, goal, and/or topic – such as makeup application for a beauty app, or photography tips for a photo app – and participate by answering those questions in a genuine and meaningful way, without sounding overly promotional. Usually it’s best to include a simple disclaimer of the company/app you represent, along with a link to that app. This is a low-key plug that is generally welcomed because it is also useful and honest to share your bias. 

You can also initiate a question to encourage discussion and increase searches of the topic. For example, if you have a bluetooth remote control app for home devices, you may ask, “Which TVs work best with Bluetooth remote apps?” This will encourage responses and increase potential relevant places for your ad campaigns to appear.

Zhihu Bookstore (知乎书店): An online magazine called Zhihu Weekly (知乎周刊) is generated each week from the best answers under each category. Eligible brands can contribute content and sponsor the publication.

Product reviews: Users can post reviews of your app, and you can encourage others to post reviews on your app as well. Just like the reviews on your Chinese app store page, this also serves as a good feedback mechanism for improving your app. Chinese are strongly influenced by the opinions shared through these online forums.

Zhihu Column (知乎专栏): The place for in-depth articles on particular topics, which tend to be more niche and “professional” than articles on other media – making this channel particularly suited for a well-educated and expert audience.

Zhihu Live (知乎Live): In an online chatroom, users can give a presentation about a specific topic via streaming video, voice or written messages, and have real-time interactions with the audience. Brands can also co-sponsor these sessions.

TikTok (DouYin 抖音)

Douyin is the Chinese name of TikTok – the latest social sharing app that originated in China and has since taken the world by storm.  Most popular among the younger set (mostly 13-24 year old females), it is a platform for sharing short, quirky user-generated videos which spread virally as users challenge each other to make their own fun versions of videos based on a meme, topic, song, image, or idea. 

The Douyin audience is highly engaged, and hashtags play an important role in organization. If you can seed the app with fun videos or memes based around your brand, and attach an appropriate hashtag, you stand the chance of users not only consuming your content but also making it their own and spreading it to others, dramatically increasing mindshare. This is a more organic way of marketing, but if your channel becomes popular enough, your message can ride its own wave across the platform with minimal input from you.

TouTiao (头条)

Toutiao is an AI driven news feed app, which learns readers’ preferences and pulls content from all around the web to meet their interests. More impressive is its 100% bot-written articles that ensure there is always fresh news to cover any topic that its algorithm decides may be of interest to its users. Toutiao enjoys high read and retention rates and provides the ability for laser-focused targeting for ad campaigns, although it is one of the more expensive PPC (Pay Per Click) options.

Is the Chinese Social Media Landscape Still A Mystery To You?

Unless you live the Mainland culture and are fluent in Mandarin, it can be difficult to understand these platforms and even generate ads and other content that take full advantage of the capabilities of each. Luckily, we include user acquisition services as part of our English-language, full-service solution for publishing and monetizing your app in China. 

Contact us today or have an inside look at our dashboard to find out what our international team at AppInChina can do to increase your success in the world’s largest app market.

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