KOL or Influencer on WeChat: an epic guide

WeChat is not a search based ecosystem, having a WeChat Mini Program or WeChat Official Account will not help you to sell. So let’s deep dive into a technique to sell: WeChat KOL.

WeChat KOL is one of the key promotion methods to leverage the WeChat fan base of a Key Opinion Leader.

The marketing budget on WeChat is spent on 2 mainly advertising techniques:

One of the common objectives for this WeChat KOL advertising: deliver ROI (Return-On-Investment) on a WeChat campaign by generating sales.

1. Introduction to KOL on WeChat

WeChat KOL is also called WeChat influencer.

KOL stands for Key Opinion Leader.

What is a WeChat KOL?

KOL is a person with a large network of followers on whom he/she can have an influence, in their purchasing decision for example.

WeChat being the primary customer engagement hub in China, there are a lot a WeChat-based influencers gathering large communities of readers and followers behind them.

From their WeChat content, they lead shoppers to a product detail page and the ability to buy within WeChat ecosystem.

They can create several form of content that is distributed to their audience via WeChat touchpoints:

Of course WeChat KOL can also be present on other touchpoints and social media networks.


Why Influencers are so Important to WeChat Marketing | December 2018 [Azoya]

2. WeChat KOL advertising

KOL marketing strategy should be considered as part of a more global conversion-driven effort which includes WeChat Paid Advertising as well.

Influencer marketing process

  1. Find the right influence
  2. Arrange the paid campaign (cooperation model, negotiation, contract as well as brief, campaign ideas, communication)
  3. Prepare the paid campaign (content creation, design, planning as well as defining success criteria with key performance indicators)
  4. Launch campaign
  5. Measure the performance with key performance indicators
  6. Encourage influencer to continue giving exposure after the campaign

The campaign process last between 2-4 months.

Pre-campaign time

Before doing a paid campaign, a seeding / gifting campaign can have some benefits:

  • get free exposure ✅
  • test collaboration with the influence before engaging further ✅
  • mesurable results on the short term ✅

And some disadvantages:

❌ Limited ROI
❌ Run the operation at scale and over a long periode of time to see ROI

Post-campaign time

After the campaign, nurturing the KOL relationship can result further exposure with other articles.

Platform considerations when designing influencer marketing strategy

WeChat is more relevant for certain products typology & audience targets.

  • Product typology / Product price: 1 RMB – 15,000 RMB
  • Buyer persona: 15-60 year old
  • WeChat Sales commission: 0% (only pay the payment processing fee)

Business cases

Market products

When breaking into the Chinese market, WeChat influence is a relevant way to market your products, even if you are only testing the traction via China cross-border commerce.

Brand awareness

KOL campaign can speed up your online follower growth. Hire KOLs and influencers who have pre-existing fan bases and can raise brand awareness. KOLs often charge on a per-post and their fees can vary. Make sure that the KOLs you hire has a fan base that is in line with your target customer base.

Generate leads

Drive traffic to your online shop so that they enter your sales funnels.

Promotion period

China Influencer Promotion Periods Every Marketer Must Know | November 2016 [Parklu]

Integration with WeChat KOL campaign

Link from the influence campaign to a WeChat Shop

The KOL can put a clickable product card in their WeChat Article that leads shoppers to a product detail page and the ability to buy within WeChat Mini Program

Direct link from the influencer post to the product detail page is not possible with WeChat H5 (blocked by WeChat).

How to find the WeChat KOL – due-diligence process

Go to a influence database:

  • newrank.cn
  • WeChat Search with highly related, short, common, targeted keywords

Few features about this platform

  • influences are ranked based on certain criteria.
  • influencers are sorted by industry.
  • some influencers data are available: view numbers, comments and

When an influencer is identified, as you engage further with him/her, you can ask to provide you with more data (from his/her dashboard of the WeChat Official Account) in order to avoid paying for fake traffic:

Parameter to consider in the due-diligence process to source the relevant KOL for a campaign

KOL quotation10k – 80k RMB
< 10,000 RMB – likely low quality
> 80,000 RMB – likely over priced
Article view5k – 80k views
< 8,000 – likely low quality
> 80,000 – expensive
Open rate1%-10%
High user engagement
% article likes 0.1%
High user engagement
Top comment’s like amountaround 0.05%-0.3%
Reasonable amount for organic article
CommentContent should be diverse
Avoid KOLs who don’t activate the comment feature
Comment rate0.01%-0.1%
Pick KOLs with high engagement rate
Conversion dataAsk for it, how did other brands do?
Traffic sourceMake sure the source is diverse, and enough is coming from Official Account followers
Hour viewNatural curve without sharp peaks
HeatmapAre users reading to the end?
Past advertisersAny similar brands advertised with this KOL?
Aim at repeated collaborations
Original contentOnly work with KOLs who write original content for ads
Source of viewsDiverse source of article views
SeedingWith good KOLs, always ask for seeding

Source: LinkedIn – WalktheChat

WeChat KOL advertising cost

WeChat is the most expensive Chinese social network for influencer campaigns in terms of Cost Per Impression (Parklu KOL calculator – October 2019 data)

In general, KOL are getting more and more expensive to work with. There are are different collaboration models:

  • fixed fees
  • sales commissions
  • combinaison of both

According to the follower base and the cooperation model, the fees are different. Quotation for KOL campaign varies also depending on the number of platforms and the type of content the influencer is scoped for.

Further readings on how much do WeChat KOLs charge

3. Case Studies

For example, Becky Li, a KOL on WeChat, posts sponsored content to her feed on her official WeChat account. These posts link to WeChat Mini Programs that direct shoppers to the product’s purchase page.

Mr.Bags about influencer KOL marketing in China | January 2017 [JingDaily]

Why Does Mini Debut a Limited-edition Car via a Social Account? | July 2017 [UnileverDigitalCenter]

If you think of some improvements or missing information…

Let’s build up the knowledge around WeChat bots collectively

Updated on 2020-07-22

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