In WeChat Team releases a new dedicated space which looks like a video feed for content creators, brands, businesses and individuals to reach a (new) audience beyond their circles of WeChat friends/followers: WeChat Channels / 视频号.
When designing a WeChat strategy, this new touchpoint can be seen as the convergence of opportunities:
- the significant growth of the short video APP industry segment
- the increasing popularity of this medium
- the dominant base of WeChat’s monthly active users (1.15 Billion WeChat User & 300 Million WeChat Daily Active Mini Program early 2020)
1. Introduction to WeChat Channels
What is WeChat Channels / 视频号?
This is a new feature within the WeChat ecosystem that allows users and official account to create short-form contents and distribute them through a media feed:
- sub-one-minute videos
Synonyms that can be found online and offline
- WeChat Video Account
- WeChat Video Channels
It looks like a video feed/timeline where the content creators can share posts with short videos and pictures under their personal account or their official account.
How does it work?
A similar type of feed as the popular short-video Chinese APP called: Douyin (Tik Tok as it’s known internationally) or Kuaishou. The users can scroll through the feed infinitely to discover what their friends & their favourite brands have posted as well as content from the other users / WeChat video accounts / public accounts.
User can like, comment, share a post and follow the publisher.
When a post from the Channels is sent to friends, the shared card in the thread looks very similar to a Mini-Program shared card.
When clicking on the Channels-related Post shared card, the user is taken to a separate landing page where there is a ‘Go to Channel’ CTA to access back the timeline.
This feed is ruled by an algorithm which displays content not only from your WeChat contact or the WeChat Official / WeChat Video Account you follow but also from the rest of WeChat. From Channels, WeChat users are able to explore and follow other users / WeChat Official Accounts.
So this is considered as a new trajectory for WeChat, which has been a rather closed ecosystem by principle from the beginning.
Here are some algorithm factors to determine the content display distribution, which are mainly social signals:
- Number of likes = Popularity
- Your WeChat friends/contacts’ engagements and activities
- Followed accounts
The WeChat video Channels algorithm is being iteratively improved with time in order to order to match better with users’ interests.
How to access the section ‘WeChat Channel’?
There 2 mains entry points to drive traffic.
This feature is accessible from the ‘Discover’ section in the main menu.
The ‘Channels’ item is just below below ‘Moments’ item.
‘Discover’ > ‘Channels’
‘Go to Channel’ CTA in the landing page after clicking on the Channels-related Post shared card
How to post on Channels
Pre-requisite: register to be able to post on WeChat Channels
How to register to WeChat Channels to start posting on the Channels timeline
From a WeChat personal account, you can apply to post by clicking on the camera icon on the top right top of the screen:
Information to fill in during the registration as your Channels profile:
- Brief description
Once your WeChat video profile/account is created, you are able to start posting.
Functions accessible from WeChat Channels Dashboard:
- List of WeChat Channels Account you follow
- List of interactions with your WeChat Channels Account
However as the feature is in still in beta testing, this ability to register to post is not open to everyone at the moment:
- February 2020: publishing privileges have only been extended to KOLs.
- March 2020: in the testing phase with some brands such as Louis Vuitton
How to post
For now, there are 2 options to post on WeChat Video feed:
- upload a short-form video
- take a new video
How to verify a WeChat Channels profile/account
Also, WeChat Channels allows a newly created WeChat Channels profile/account to be verified by linking it with an existing Official Account.
- Go to Channels account dashboard
- Start the linking process
- Link to your existing WeChat Official Account
Companies like Tesla and Louis Vitton have created Channels accounts
2. Updates and timeline on WeChat Channel
|Date||Updates||Source / more details|
|March 2020||Louis Vuitton is the first luxury brand to launch on WeChat Channels.||screenshot|
|January 2020||The feature rolls out progressively. As the feature is still in beta testing, only certain users are able to view and/or enjoy this function at the moment|
|December 2020||[Feature in internal testing]||Technode|
If you think of some improvements or missing information…
Let’s build up the knowledge around WeChat Channels collectively