Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WeChat Adds New Feature

WeChat has launched a new mini-program that act as “apps-within-apps.”  Users don’t need to download them to use them, which saves time and space on phones.  Users pay through WeChat for products featured in these small mini-programs.  These programs keep people within the WeChat platform since they don’t have to transfer to a different app to conduct a transaction. 

This expanding the WeChat ecosystem, which already allows booking hotels and buying movie tickets.  An interesting development and one I think may influence the way we buy online.

Our China agency ran a successful campaign in WeChat last year selling Centrum vitamins using WeChat.  It allowed people to buy Centrum for their family members as a holiday gift and share their purchase with others.  Their friends and networks could see that they had just bought a healthy gift for their parents. 

As we see in-social purchases expand and increase, like with WeChat, I wonder if we will see a new consumption behavior develop – viral referrals.  In the social space, we are connected to people through a variety of relationships that makes our network webs increasingly complex.  Making a purchase in a social platform and sharing the purchase activity on our profiles will start to act as a signal to others in our network. 

Other blog posts have noted the trends around online ads being skipped and the use of banners declining.  As these methods of digital advertising continue to be avoided by consumers, I imagine we will see the socially-amplified purchase behavior serve as an ad vehicle --  driving awareness for the product or services, as well as providing credibility for the purchase.  Data can be used to track purchase influencers and special offers can be designed to entice influencers and targeted to specific influencers in unique product areas.  If it gets rid of pop-ups once and for all, I’m all for it!

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