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 Channel / 微信 channels / 微信 视频号.

When designing a WeChat strategy, this new touchpoint can be seen as the convergence of opportunities:

1. Introduction to WeChat Channel

What is WeChat Channels / 微信 Channels / 微信视频号?

This is a new feature within the WeChat ecosystem that allows users, influencers and brands to create and post short-form contents and distribute them through a media feed:

  • sub-one-minute videos
  • photos (up to 9 pictures in succession)

In complementary, further information can be added to the post:

  • several hashtags to define topics – feature to improve discoverability within this channels section
  • a WeChat Official Account article link – bridge to a Wechat OA
  • a location

Synonyms that can be found online and offline

  • WeChat Video Account
  • WeChat Video Channels
  • 微信 Channels

How does it look like?

It looks like a video feed/timeline where the content creators and short video influencers can share posts with 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
[June 2020] Filtering tabs and location-based filtering have been added in the top navigation bar:

  • ‘Follow’ tab
  • ‘Friends’ tab (default tab) = feed with filtered content showing the most liked videos by WeChat friends
  • ‘Trendy’ tab = feed with content from other account that the user don’t follow
  • Location ping icon = to access a listing of content published by a nearby user

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, influencers and public accounts.

User can like, comment, share a post and follow the publisher.

Sharing options:

  • Share to a contact
  • Share to a WeChat group
  • Share on WeChat Moments

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 content and follow users that are not in their contact and WeChat Official Accounts that they are not following.

So this is considered as a new trajectory to increase discovery on WeChat, which has been a rather closed ecosystem by principle (in terms of privacy settings and discoverability) from the beginning. For example, the other WeChat user feed called Moments is only visible to the user’s social circle.

Be able to reach the audience outside of the user’s social circle can also increase engagement.

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.

Search function

At the top of the video feed, there is a search bar. This tool provides users with the capability to discover content outside of your followers as well as WeChat’s friends and contact.

Users are able to search videos by hashtags.

The search function retrieves 2 types of results:

  • Post
  • WeChat video Account

Sharing mechanism

After a post from the Channels is shared with a friend or in a WeChat group, 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

After a post from the Channels is shared on WeChat Moments, the shared link in the feed looks alike a WeChat Article link.

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.

2. 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

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

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 followers
  • Number of views
  • List of interactions (comments / likes / notifications) with your WeChat Channels Account

WeChat is rolling out the feature progressively, so this ability to register to post is not open to everyone at the moment:

  • March 2020: in the testing phase with some brands such as Louis Vuitton
  • February 2020: publishing privileges have only been extended to KOLs.
  • January 2020: feature in beta testing
If you still don't see the camera icon...

You can request the activation through the WeChat Customer Service chat of their Official Account (ID: WeChat).

How to post

For now, there are 2 options to post on WeChat Video feed:

  • upload a short-form video
  • take a new video

Reading further

3. How to access the section ‘WeChat Channel’?

There 2 mains entry points to drive traffic.

From the ‘Discover’ section

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

From the sharing mechanism

‘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

4. How to get a WeChat Channels profile/account verified

WeChat Channels allows a newly created WeChat Channels profile/account to be verified by linking it with an existing verified Official Account.

There are 2 types of verification level:

  • Personal verification
  • Corporate verification

Companies like Tesla and Louis Vitton have created Channels accounts

Corporate verification

  1. Go to Channels account dashboard
  2. Access the settings menu by clicking on the ‘3 dots’ icon
  3. Start the linking process by clicking on the ‘Verify’ icon
  4. Choose ‘Corporate verification’
  5. A QR code is generated (expiration time: 1 hour)
  6. A verified Official Account Admin (not an Official Account operator) must scan the QR code
  7. Done !

5. Updates and timeline on WeChat Channel

DateUpdatesSource / more details
July 2020[Feature in internal testing]
– WeChat Channel content appears on WeChat Moments helping to spread the content.

– Videos published on WeChat Channel have Original Content protection.
All the videos re-shared will include a source link to protect the author.
June 2020[Data about the user base or engagement] 200 millions Daily Active User
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 2020-08-22

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