WeChat Channels: a comprehensive guide

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:

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
  • photos

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.

WeChat Channels video feed | post from a personal account
Channels video feed
WeChat video Channels feed | post from an official account
Channels feed

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.

Share function
the shared card after sharing from WeChat Channels
Channels-related Post 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
  • Geo-location
  • 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’

How to access Channels feature and how does it look like

‘Go to Channel’ CTA in the landing page after clicking on the Channels-related Post shared card

wechat video channels feed | entry point: 'Go to Channel' CTA
‘Go to Channel’ CTA to access the feed

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:

wechat short video account | creation process | How to apply to start posting on Channels
Click on the camera icon

wechat short video account | creation process | click on the camera icon
Start the creation process
wechat short video account | creation process | fill in your information
Fill in your info

Information to fill in during the registration as your Channels profile:

  • Name
  • Brief description
  • Gender
  • Location

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

Your WeChat personal Account is linked to one, and only one, Channels profile/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.

  1. Go to Channels account dashboard
  2. Start the linking process
  3. Link to your existing WeChat Official Account

Companies like Tesla and Louis Vitton have created Channels accounts

2. Updates and timeline on WeChat Channel

DateUpdatesSource / more details
March 2020Louis Vuitton is the first luxury brand to launch on WeChat Channels.screenshot
January 2020The 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

Updated on 2020-03-26

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