1. 101: what is a WeChat Official Account (OA)? What are the different types?
What is WeChat Official Account?
WeChat Official Account (OA) – also called Public Account – is a China-based marketing platform that acts as a complete brand hub to:
- Gather followers
- Send them targeted content marketing and service notifications
- Redirect them to a website/e-commerce
WeChat Official Account back-end login URL:
Where are WeChat Official Accounts in WeChat?
They can be found in the “Chat” section of WeChat.
However, depending on the type of WeChat Official (Service or Subscription), they appear differently in this “Chat” section:
- WeChat Subscription Accounts appear in the “Subscriptions” (blue-colored) folder
- WeChat Service Account appears in the thread chat listing
Two types of WeChat Public Accounts: Subscription vs. Service Account
In short: unless they have a media arm, the vast majority of brands will use a Service account.
Learn more about WeChat Official Account type here: + WeChat Subscription vs. Service Account
All in one place – essential reports to learn the basics
Further readings on public accounts
- WeChat Official Account: a simple guide | June 2017 [Walkthechat]
- WeChat Official Account details [Michaelsoft]
2. Set-up / registration process
WeChat Public Account sign-up URL:
- Steps to Register a WeChat Official Account Under an Overseas Business Entity | August 2018 [Chinaskinny]
- Learn more about how to set up an Official Account here: + Opening a Wechat Official Account: application process, requirements, fees and rules
The WeChat backend is now in English since November 2017: If you are located overseas or are using your computer in English, the WeChat backend (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/) will automatically display in English.
3. Features and capabilities of the WeChat Public Account Platform
The capabilities of the Official Account vary depending on the account type, primarily for
- The number of messages you can broadcast per month
- The capability to integrate the OA with third party APIs
Learn more about WeChat Official Account platform features here: + WeChat Subscription vs. Service Account
Live broadcast service
Linked to an Official Account – the live streaming session is accessible via service notification message sent by the Tencent Live Stream Mini Program (腾讯直播).
- WeChat Official Account live streaming – How to create one and case studies | June 2019 [Walkthechat]
4. Mesure sucess to assess a WeChat Strategy
5. Updates and timeline
|Date||Updates||Source / more details|
|July 2017||[Testing phase] ad positions: more freedom to choose the specific spots where the ads are displayed||Technode|
|November 2017||Tencent made the subscription feed of WeChat look more like a news feed, which is more familiar to the reading habit of Chinese people.|
Currently, subscribers to WeChat Official Accounts need to click manually on the accounts to see recent updates. This limitation hinders the real-time interaction between brands and
|February 2018||Tencent has reduced the number of Official Accounts a business can open to 5 (from 50 previously). In a statement made Saturday, the company downsized the numbers of Official Accounts each entity could register. Individuals can register up to two accounts, down from five, while organization users recorded a more drastic change from 50 to only five Official accounts.||Technode|
|February 2018||“Edit” feature for content posted on WeChat Official Account. This feature only allows each post to be edited once for up to five character changes. As explained by Tencent, this limitation encourages brands to be more serious in creating quality content for their followers.||Technode|
|March 2018||Be able to open a OA from oversea (HK, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea)||Source|
|June 2018||Service account homepage now shows direct links to menu items, emphasizing the fact that WeChat service accounts should provide a more user-led experience||Jing Daily|
|November 2018||Tencent has reduced the number of Official Accounts a business can open to 2 (from 5 previously)||Source|
|March 2019||Integrate live streaming feature into WeChat Official Account through the Tencent Live Streaming Mini Program (see screenshot)|
It provides the following functionalities:
– Official Accounts is able to share the live stream with their followers
– generate QR codes and flyers
– let fans book a seat for upcoming streams
– send reminders, add filters to the video
– set forbidden words
– provide a playback of the video when the stream is over
6. Traffic to a Public Account – Entry points
The entry points to drive traffic to an Official Account:
- O2O entry points (from scanning QR codes)
- from a link (OA card shared on a chat)
- from global search (based on submitted keywords searched)
- from ID-based search (as if you searched a person with his/her ID WeChat)
- from Mini Program
Learn more about the entry points here: + Traffic entry points to a WeChat Official Account
7. WeChat Official Account vs. Mini program: do they compete? How do they complement each other?
From a conversion perspective
- Official Accounts are designed more for customer support and to broadcast information to a company’s followers and userbase. H
oweverMini Programs are designed more to be more functional and engaging.