Are WeChat Mini Programs the New Traffic Source?

Jing Zhou

In the past half year, WeChat mini programs gradually faded away from the center of public attention into insignificance. However, recently the WeChat mini program team released a series of updates of mini programs on a regular basis:

On May 8, WeChat mini programs launched group-related features.

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On May 10, scanning for nearby mini program was launched.

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On May 12, the mini program data assistant was released.

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On May 19, the forwarding button could be deployed and further enriched basic functions.

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On May 27, the limit on the generated amount of mini program QR codes was removed. Data analysis (including the addition of new ‘user portraits’ and template information updates) was optimized.

On June 1, mini programs allowed opening via links in public account posts.

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On June 3, ‘promotion’ feature was added, which supports customary keywords. 

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Half a year to date, WeChat mini programs have been under questioning. Its customer acquisition is inferior to public accounts and user experience is not as good as ‘real’ native apps. Furthermore, it only has a small spot within the WeChat ecosystem. It can neither create value for WeChat traffic, nor be converted to profit. Is there a means to an end of this mini program development? This time round, WeChat seems to be answering it head on.

Social contacts, content, and commerce are among the three core functions of WeChat. Messages, public accounts and the payment/transaction ‘plugin’ have been the carriers for the three core functions.

The significance of public accounts to WeChat, is no less than the worldwide web is to Baidu. What is most important for public accounts boils down to two factors: spreading brand influence through fandom and monetization.

How to Embrace the Power of WeChat Mini Programs? 

Enable public accounts with richer functions, thereby gaining new competitive edges.

Through intensive development, WeChat mini programs can enable more functions for public accounts. Aside from media content, they can be utilised for functions such as local eCommerce, specific tools, immersive media, etc. These features can give far greater advantages and free space to WeChat public accounts in the resilient fight for online traffic.

Explore new traffic sources for public accounts.

“Search”, “Top Stories” and “Nearby Mini Programs” become traffic sources. So even if your public account only has a small number of followers, it can still be found by more users through location-based algorithms.

Make public accounts more profitable by more means.

Content eCommerce is made possible through public account combined with a mini program store. Even if the public account operators do not have their own store, they can also allow access to other stores’ WeChat mini program, like some well-known brands. This approach is far more reliable then to start their own WeChat stores. Furthermore, the potential of mini programs lies in generating an unlimited number of mini program QR codes, more powerful user portraits and more volatile data analysis.

WeChat Mini Program Monetisation in 3 Ways:

Content eCommerce: With QR codes embedded in public account posts, users scan to immediately enter the purchase and payment interface, and buy the product from the brand that the public account operates or promotes. The mini program QR codes are nearly infinite, and it is perfectly possible to give any public account 1 specific QR code. Data analysis of the WeChat mini program is rapidly improving, and it is possible to evaluate its effect over time. So as a brand owner you can cooperate with multiple public accounts. Each public account has 1 mini program QR code which acts as an ID for the specific account. The incoming traffic and conversion can all be perceived in a panoramic view. All these combined; KPI tracking for advertisements cannot be simpler.

Managing Local Promotions: Similarly, the WeChat mini program QR code can be applied to offline channels as well. A QR code for the sales team, or even a QR code for a specific salesman. Traffic acquisition and conversion become clear at a glance.

Group Operating: WeChat groups have always been a weak point for WeChat. 9 out of 10 groups are meant to be faded out and they really struggle to stay active (if you use WeChat then you will know). But mini programs create a new space for activating groups, as it can grab information from these groups. The WeChat community is sure to be at play with these new innovations in what is already a successful platform. Different groups, different marketing effects and different ways for sales conversion, all of which can be assessed.

It can be expected that content, local promotion and groups will be improved with the WeChat mini program data analysis system. On the basis of content and community, WeChat eCommerce is extremely likely to flourish.

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