Just yesterday, Tencent announced the launched of their latest shining tool called “WeChat Index”. Naturally, we’ve picked up on this news and decided to dig a little deeper. At this point in our mind there really two important questions to be answered.
First, what is it? And second, does it help WeChat marketers or WeChat advertisers?
So, What is WeChat Index?
“With the launch of the index, it may help individuals, companies, and governments to understand the real time social issues, incidents, and public topics that internet users pay most attention to,” – WeChat
To put it in a simplistic way, WeChat Index is sort of like Google trends or Baidu Index expect one key difference. Both Google trends and Baidu Index relies heavily on their user’s search term data. The more a term gets to search the hotter it is on a trend curve. Simple enough, right?
WeChat, on the other hand, is not a search engine, and no one on WeChat is really making any searches. Sure, they may search for WeChat official account articles or news but we can all probably agree the number of searches is minimum.
Then how do WeChat collect the massive amount of data that is required for this kind of Index?
The secret lies in the hundreds of millions of contents published on official WeChat accounts. Essentially WeChat data mines all the contents that are available on WeChat and couple it with all the social sharing likes, and mentions to generate this new tool call “WeChat Index”.
If you’re interested in the mathematics of how the index is calculated we’ll leave a special section below. But for those of us more interested in the marketing impact let’s see how we can actually use this “WeChat Index”.
How to check WeChat Index?
Open up your WeChat and go to the universal search bar. That’s the bar at the very top. In the search bar type in the keywords, you’re interested in, and then hit enter. And that’s it, WeChat will have generated the results you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, since the tool has just been released the data only shows the trends from Jan 1, 2017, till today. However, this is being updated on daily basis.
Is WeChat Index Good for Marketers?
The short answer is absolutely YES. But in case you’re not convinced, let’s examine a few uses for this new WeChat Index.
Craft your Content Strategy with What’s Hot
Since WeChat Index tell you what is hot and popular right now. Any business, media or PR agency can now utilize this powerful tool to plan their content marketing strategies by combining their services or products with what is popular at this point.
Here is a good example: Sometimes a go there was a popular Chinese TV drama show that featured Li Sun, a famous Chinese actress. And If you ever lived in China for a while you would know how popular these TV drama shows are to the Chinese.
Anyway, during one of episode Li Sun (the actress) used a baby heartbeat monitor to care for her newborn in the show and for whatever reason, this simple act caused a massive frenzy for this particular baby heartbeat monitor.
Literally in just a one day, this particular baby heartbeat monitor had jumped to the top sales across various of e-commerce giants. Before WeChat Index to find out about this you would need to spend hours on watching TV, but now you can simply check WeChat Index to see what’s trending that is also relevant to your business, and take the opportunities to position yourself as well.
Find out new business opportunities.
Imagine the following.
You want to start a new business, or maybe you want to expand into a new area, a new market. What do you do? Any sophisticated business man/woman would first do some digging and research. In the west, you could perform a quick market research using Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends to give yourself a rough idea about the size and feasibility of the market.
Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in China, since you simply cannot access Google in China. Leaving you to either having to spend hours upon hours of your own time or pay a large sum of money to the research firm. Neither options are particularly attractive compared to a quick search on Google Trends.
Now with WeChat Index, this possible even in China the gated country. Here is a quick example…
Above is a quick search for the term “Ice Wine” on WeChat Index in the past 90 days. Now, if you’re an Ice Wine business owner in China or a thinking of exporting your Ice Wine to China having this insight and data would help you understand and plan your marketing strategy ahead of time.
Find the True Impact of a WeChat Official Account
Part of the challenge of hiring a WeChat influencers or paying for WeChat banner advertising is that you don’t really the true impact of their official account. I mean how much influence do they really have?
Now with WeChat Index, you can do a quick search of the names of those influencers or media and WeChat Index can you give a pretty good idea as to how their channel actually performs. And on top of that, you can even do a quick comparison between two influencers or media to see who’s more popular.
Above images demonstrate the WeChat Index of two online influencers in fashion & beauty industry in China. On the left “gogoboi” and on the right, you have “小P老师”). And by comparing them side by side of their metrics we as a business owner can make a wiser decision as to where and maybe even when to allocate our budget.
Monitoring Your Ads
Let’s say you are reading your Q1 ad campaign report. You go through all the numbers that are provided by your ad agency or marketing department. Now you can even go one step future to validate the performance of your ads. You can do a quick check on WeChat Index on your phone as another reference.
Keeping an Eye on Your Competitors
WeChat Index can allow you to keep an eye on your competitors’ movement. For example:
Above is an image of KFC(Left) vs. McDonald(Right). We can see that KFC, as well as McDonald during the last few weeks, had huge spikes of WeChat activities. While we cannot know exactly what these spikes refer to, but we can make a few educated guesses.
First, we can conclude that it is highly unlikely that these spikes are due to a gain in popularity out of a sudden. And the content publishers is not likely going to write articles about KFC and McDonald as entertainment.
So, really these spikes are most likely due to either a promotion by both company, and if that’s the case clearly KFC seems to win. Or a roaming on food health in the news and both coming are being tied into it.
How WeChat Index Calculated?
If you’re like me and love to figure out the nitty gritty of everything we come across here is the math of WeChat Index.
According to gsdata.cn (清博指数), as of today, WeChat Index version (WCI V12.0) is taking “reads” and “likes” into their Index calculation. Which is intended to motivate content publishers to pay more attention to the “quality” of their content.
- R equals total reads of (n) posts in a certain period
- Z equals total likes of (n) posts in a certain period
- d equals “the certain period” (7 days for a week, 30 days for a month, 365 for a year)
- n equals the total posts published in a certain period
- Rmax and Zmax are the posts with highest reads and likes
Although WeChat Index is still under testing phase, we are pretty convinced that it will be a solid arsenal to add to your advertising and marketing tools. By leveraging WeChat’s 898 million active users’ data you can more accurately target your ads and marketing campaigns. But as with any tech tools, things can change fast so let’s see where Tencent takes this one.