Advertising on WeChat: cost, ad formats, targeting, rules & regulations

About to advertise your products ou your services on WeChat? Let’s guide you through WeChat advertising cost, ad display formats, targeting criteria, regulations and tactics to take into account in your media buying strategy. Advertisers and marketers can buy advertisement spots on WeChat Moments, WeChat Official Account and WeChat Mini Program.

ad format options on WeChat

1. 101: How does paid advertising work on WeChat? WeChat Advertising Cost? Requirements? Formats? Regulations?

What is WeChat Advertising?

WeChat advertising is the Tencent program enabling brands and businesses to promote messages on defined touch points of the WeChat ecosystem in order to capture the attention of Chinese consumers.

WeChat ads enables companies to achieve their objectives:

  • download an APP
  • attract new followers
  • drive offline traffic and sales

Types of display offerings

WeChat offers 3 main placements of advertising:

WeChat Moment Ad

WeChat Moment Sponsored Ad

Sponsored post on WeChat Moments = “templated cards” on WeChat users’ Moments feed otherwise reserved for posts by friends

Learn more about promoting a product or a service on WeChat social timeline here: + Advertising on WeChat Moments: cost, ad formats, targeting and rules

WeChat banner on WeChat Official Account

WeChat Banner Ad = Banner ad on content featured in the middle or at the bottom of Official Account articles

Learn more about advertising on WeChat Article: + WeChat Banner ads on WeChat Official Account: cost, ad formats, targeting and rules

Mini Programs Ad

WeChat banner on WeChat Mini Program

Mini Program advertising = Appear within Mini Program Interface

Learn more about advertising within WeChat Mini App here: + Advertising on WeChat Mini Program: cost, ad formats, targeting, rules & regulations

Besides WeChat Ads, another way to promote a brand or a service is through WeChat influencer which involves mutual collaboration with influencers/bloggers to push conversion

Further readings

Ad displays on WeChat Moments

There are 3 formats available:

  1. Media (image/video) + Ad’s description + Link(s)
  2. Media (card image/video) + Ad’s description
  3. Special format

Sponsored Ads on WeChat Moments are composed of:

  • Brand’s WeChat Official Account name along with a profile picture
  • Media:
    • Image(s): up to 6 pics
    • Video: 6-15 seconds short video
    • Cover image
  • Ad’s description: text of up to 40 characters
  • Link(s) to
    • a WeChat H5
    • a WeChat Article
    • a WeChat Public Account
    • a Mini Program for further action
WeChat Moment Ad format with link to WeChat Mini Program
Link to Mini Program
WeChat Moment Ad format with link to h5
Link to a WeChat H5

Different Ad banner versions can be found in 3 promotion channels. The layout varies from one channel to another:

  • Standard banner version Ads in WeChat article – they are displayed in 3 locations:
    • at the bottom of WeChat article
    • at the middle of WeChat article
    • Pre-roll of a video within WeChat article
  • Mini Program banner version Ads
    • at the bottom of a Mini Program page
    • as a pop-up within the mini-program
    • Interstitial/Incentive ads covering the entire screen and are shown to users during transitions within the Mini Program (for example when opening it, or after losing or completing a level in a mini-game)
  • KOL banner version Ads – this format will be detailed separately

How much does it cost to advertise on WeChat?

Here are more details on WeChat Advertising Cost for each channel.

WeChat Moment Advertising Cost

As of 2018, the WeChat Moments Ads use the CPM (= cost per thousand impressions) pricing model through two schemes:

  • Real-time Bidding scheme
    • Company targeted profile: looking for flexible advertising times
    • Minimum investment per wave: $160 / ¥1,000
  • Scheduled scheme
    • Company targeted profile: companies with a pre-defined media buying calendar
    • WeChat advertising cost depends on the advertisement’s launching area, which is categorized into three groups: core cities, large/key cities, and other cities.
    • Minimum investment per day: ¥50,000

Beijing / Shanghai

1st Tier cities: Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan

2nd Tier cities: Suzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xi'an, Shenyang, Changsha, Qingdao, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Jinan, Harbin, Fuzhou

3rd Tier cities in mainland China

CPM = cost per thousand impressions

City sizeCPM of Picture Display AdsCPM of Video Ads
Core cities150RMB/21.8$180RMB/26.19$
Large cities100RMB/14.55$120RMB/17.46$
Other cities50RMB/7.28$60RMB/8.73$

3 budget levels depending on the displayed content:

Pricing levelPictures? How many? Video? How long?
50,000RMB/7,275$Yes / only 1No
100,000RMB/14,551$Yes / 1, 3 or 4Yes / 300” or 6” for external link
500,000RMB/72,755$Yes / 1, 3, 4 or 6Yes / 300” or 6” for external link

In case you are targeting Chinese located overseas: Ads can be geo-targeted to audiences in over 40 countries

Minimum budget:

Country & RegionMinimum CPM entry cost
Hong-Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Australia50,000RMB/7,275$
France, Germany, England, Italy, Canada, New-Zealand10,000RMB/1,455$

with CPM = cost per thousand impressions

CPM of Picture Display AdsCPM of Video Ads

(Source: Daxue Consulting)

Learn more about WeChat Moments advertising cost here: + Advertising on WeChat Moments: cost, ad formats, targeting and rules

WeChat Banner Advertising (Standard version) Cost

Minimum CPM entry price = ¥50,000/$7,275 (for both local companies (including WFOEs that are registered in mainland China) and foreign companies)

with 2 types of pricing model

  • CPM = cost per thousand impressions based on a Scheduled scheme
  • CPC = cost par click based on a Real-time Bidding scheme

CPM varies among the 3 tiers of cities (city size)

25 RMB/3.64 $ per thousand

20 RMB / 2.91 $ per thousand

15 RMB / 2.18 $ per thousand

CPC – from from 0.5RMB/0.07$ per click

(Source: Daxue Consulting)

2. Moment Ads targeting options

  • Location: supports province, city or district (based on the location of user during the previous month) Gender & age: gender and age from 5 to 60 years old
  • Mobile phone: targeting by OS (iOS, Android) or type of network used
    Marital status: single, married, newly married or raising a kid
  • Education level: PhD, master, bachelor, high school, primary school
  • Interests: 18 categories and 122 sub-categories. 18 core categories are education, travel, finance, cars, real estate, furniture, fashion, F&B, personal services, professional services, cosmetics, home electronics, sports, health, child education, bags, watches, shoes, jewellery, politics and law, luxury goods, drinks, Internet, entertainment
  • WeChat behaviour: 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

Lookalike audience targeting | March 2019 [Splio] – lookalike targeting uses a known “high quality” population – typically existing customers – as a basis for advertisement targeting. Instead of fixed arbitrary criteria such as gender, location, age, education etc. An algorithm analyses this seed population and builds a target audience of similar people by finding common criteria between their profiles.

lookalike audience targeting principles
Lookalike audience targeting principles
WeChat versus Facebook lookalike targeting criteria
WeChat versus Facebook lookalike targeting criteria | Source: Splio

3. Regulations to comply

The rules and requirements apply to each specific industry can be found on WeChat official website.

4. Tips, tactics and best practices to promote brands efficiently

5. Case studies

Hermes Campaign: More granular targeting of WeChat Moments Ad leveraging data

Used ads retargeting on WeChat
Used ads retargeting on WeChat | Source: BCG

6. Updates and timeline on WeChat media buying capabilities

DateUpdatesSource / more details
May 2020WeChat launch a Ads Combo feature.

The “combination ad set” allows business to apply one key visual asset (photo or video) to both Moments feed ads and Mini Program ads at the same time. This new format maximizes ads exposure through multi-formats and channels for high returns with relatively fewer investments.
May 2019Show 3 WeChat Moments Ads per day (instead of two) for Chinese users in Tier 1 cities (only)
– more visibility for brands and more revenue for Tencent
Twitter – Matthew Brennan

April 2019After a testing phase started in November 2018 –
Tagging function for Ads on WeChat Moments is now automatically available for all paid Ads on Moments. When tagged, your friends get notified.
March 2019WeChat improve the advertising targeting options (similar to Facebook’s feature): Lookalike audience targetingSplio
November 2018WeChat moments Ads can now directly open Mini Programs

November 20181 – [Testing phase] Tagging function for Ads on WeChat Moments:
(in testing phase with some brands including Ferrari and KFC) be able to tag friends on WeChat moment Ads, which allows a higher and more qualified engagement with the Ad. 
– According to Tencent, Ferrari’s moment Ad, the first to benefit from the tagging, received 50% of its traffic from the tagging alone. 
2 – Display number of how many of your contacts “might” have seen the Ad.
1 – tag friends
2 – impression count of contacts
May 2018New Ad format with Image + Headline + Description
– When clicking on the Ad, the user is taken to Mini Program (e-store)
April 2018Allowing users to purchase products or visit online stores by clicking on Ads in their Moments feedsJobTubeDaily
March 20181 – WeChat Mini Program Ads
– banner Ad slot at the top or bottom of each Mini Program which links to the Mini Program being advertised
2 – WeChat finally decided to show 2 WeChat Moments Ads per day (instead of 1)
– The Moments Ads will also be more visible so that brands can reach more customers.
3 – New WeChat Moments Ads formats
February 2018New Ad format (1) as an entry point to a Mini Program.
– When clicking on the Ad – users are taken to a given Mini Program (2).
screenshot 1
screenshot 2
February 2018New Ad format with Headline + full visual
– When clickign on the Ad, the user is taken to Mini Program
December 2017New Ad format with 2 CTAs
– Depending on if the user clicks on Ad image / CTA 1 / CTA 2, users will directly be taken to different contents (to an external page with images, contents and videos)
November 2017 To push on more possibilities on Mini Program, Tencent recently upgraded their Ads structure – Mini App can now also be included into the paid media zone at the bottom of WeChat Push in the display format of a static image.screenshot
September 2017Bid on Ad space on the “Mini Programs Nearby” list 
> Bidding scheme

July 2017[Testing phase] Ad positions: more freedom to choose the specific spots where the Ads are displayed 
– Give more possibility to marketers on the Ad position in the OA to integrate it better to content
May 2017New Ad format
– Instead of simple picture/video Ads, the content is now combined into a clickable card. It can lead users directly to a H5 page.
– Users can now @ the brand to comment on the Ads. Brands can @ back the users to reply to the comments. It’s great to increase user engagement and get feedback from the user.

October 2016WeChat launches mutual selection/two-way-pick banner advertising, aiming to triple advertising revenue by 2018WalktheChat
2015WeChat launches WeChat Moments Advertising

7. All in one place – essential reports to learn the basics

Updated on 2020-07-13

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