How to reach China outbound tourism with WeChat advertising

WeChat expands into Europe

China’s most popular social media platform, WeChat is set to expand into Europe with the launch of a new service targeting European advertisers who want to advertise their products in front of wealthy Chinese citizens both at home and abroad. If you are an European brand, don’t miss the up-to-date news on WeChat advertising.

WeChat owned by Tencent Holdings is aggressively expanding its presence outside China, having already opened an office in San Francisco to target U.S. advertising dollars, and in Milan to target European advertisers, also in the process to open an office in the UK. With 889 million users , WeChat has more users than either SnapChat or WhatsApp, but is largely unknown outside its home market.

However, far from attempting to take on established advertising platforms like Google and Facebook in their own backyard, WeChat advertising are offering access to wealthy Chinese buyers both inside China and those traveling abroad on business and pleasure. As a result Tencent are courting high-value European fashion brands to kickstart advertising on the platform.

Tencent European director Andrea Ghizzoni recently told the FT, “Almost 95 per cent of global [luxury] brands are on WeChat now — in the UK, there is Burberry and Mulberry, in Italy, Valentino, Zegna, Prada.”

Reach China outbound tourism with WeChat advertising

The major draw for advertisers here is the access it will provide to wealthy Chinese citizens who are traveling abroad on business and pleasure. WeChat is providing access to a market that is difficult for Western companies to target using traditional advertising methods and platforms.

Historically, Chinese visitors only travelled abroad on business, but a recent relaxation of travel restrictions means that international travel is becoming more popular with wealthy Chinese tourists looking to experience culture abroad. Photographs of well-know places and landmarks are now seen as a status symbol in China.

The opportunity for European brands here is huge, Merrill Lynch estimates that 109 million Chinese people took overseas trips in 2014 and spent $164 billion. Europe is seen as a major draw for these affluent Chinese visitors, with its rich history, famous landmarks and exceptional shopping experiences. The many destination cities in Europe also provide wealthy Chinese tourists with a greater choice of brands and products than are available at home.

The problem faced by marketers is that Chinese shoppers typically make most of their purchase decisions before they travel, making it difficult for brands to target consumers on the ground. With WeChat being the first place Chinese travelers go when researching places to visit and products to purchase, it makes sense for Western advertisers to market their products on the platform.

WeChat offers a number of advertising channels, but the one most appealing to Western brands is WeChat moments. Moments is WeChat’s equivalent of Facebook’s news feed and is monetised with display and video advertisements.

Moments ad formats will be familiar to all Western marketers, combining an image, headline and subtext. WeChat Moments ads can also be targeted by location, gender, age, interest, network and device. So marketers will be able to build targeted campaigns based on customer profiles in the same way they do on popular Western platforms such as Facebook.

With China outbound tourism expected to rise to 174 million by 2019, and spending estimated to reach $264 billion, this is a market most European brands cannot afford to miss. Contact us to learn more how we can help you to set up your WeChat official account and run targeted campaigns on WeChat.