WeChat Introduces WeChat Labs and New Moments Ad Format

Last week, WeChat released version 6.5.8 on iOS, bringing tons of new functions and improvements. It also updated some features related to Moments Ads and WeChat Wallet.

1. WeChat Labs 微信实验室

WeChat Labs is the highlighted feature of this update.

According to its introduction, users can “find features still under testing in the WeChat Labs.” However, “lab experiments are available temporarily to the public, but may be withdrawn at any time.”

By introducing WeChat Labs, WeChat can test user reactions to soon-to-be-released features, collect useful feedback and make improvements before the official release. For users, they can choose to enable or disable these features depending on their needs.

The first two testing features it has introduced are Top Stories and Search.

To try them, users can go to “Settings” – “WeChat Labs” – “Top Stories/Search”, and then click “Enable.” After enabling them, users can find them in the “Discover” tab.


↑ Activating the latest functions in WeChat Labs

A. WeChat Top Stories 看一看

“Top Stories”, allows users to find content that’s tailored to their interests or popular with their WeChat contacts. This means that they’ll receive more personalized content based on their preferences, their friends’ preferences or WeChat’s big data.

In its interface, some articles are attached with a yellow label displayed below the title, such as “已关注 (From your subscribed official accounts)”, “热点资讯 (Top articles)”, “好友都在读 (Your WeChat contacts are reading this)” and “互联网精英在读 (Internet elites are reading this)”.


This feature is seen as a response to Toutiao (今日头条), a news and information app that recommends personalized information to individual users based on artificial intelligence and algorithms.

B. WeChat Search 搜一搜

“Search” allows users to quickly search for information across WeChat and the Internet. Searchers can even choose to search specified content only on Moments pages, in articles or from official accounts.


Users can even search for related mini programs, stickers, music or novels. It’s noteworthy that some articles from external websites can also be seen in the search results, because other users have reposted them on Moments pages.


↑ Using “Search”. Keywords indicated in brackets: Stickers (Eddie Peng, well-known Taiwanese-Canadian actor), Music (Jay Chou, famous Taiwanese singer), Novel (Keigo Higashino, Japanese writer) and Current Events (the Cannes Film Festival).

This new feature is considered Tencent’s answer to Baidu.com (百度), the largest search engine in China.

2. Moments Card Ads 朋友圈卡片广告

Moments Ads have a new format: advertisements will be presented as a card, instead of the previous “Text + Image or video + Link” format.


↑ The old format (left) vs. the new format (right) of WeChat Moment Ads


The new card format has several advantages:

03 Mercedes-Benz

↑ Mercedes-Benz advertises their new models: The enlarged size enhances the visual effect of the video.

04 Cartier

↑ Cartier advertises their “520” campaign with their Amulette de Cartier series: The larger size also provides more room for creativity. In the video, the jewellery moves in a labyrinth with the shape of “520.”

* In Chinese, “520” is a homophone for “I love you,” so many brands launch campaigns that target lovers and couples on May 20th.

05 L'Oréal

↑ L’Oréal launched a campaign for the Cannes Film Festival. When users click the card ad, they’re directed to an H5 page where they’re encouraged to purchase a gift set for their friends.

3. WeChat Wallet

There are also several minor changes to the WeChat Wallet. First, in the “Me” tab, the “Wallet” option is now displayed separately above others, which makes it much easier to find.


In the WeChat Wallet interface, the “Limited time promotion (限时推广)” section is also displayed separately. Previously, it was combined in the “Powered by third-party operator (第三方服务)” series with a line of text displayed below.

In the past, the service providers featured in WeChat Wallet were all Tencent shareholders. These partnerships brought them traffic and streamlined payments. Since the end of 2016, WeChat has been relaxing their restrictions in regard to partnerships. Non-shareholders now have a chance to be featured in WeChat Wallet in the “Limited time promotion” section.

Starbucks was the first brand to benefit. Earlier this year, WeChat and Starbucks co-organized the O2O “Say it with Starbucks (用星说)” campaign.

Users were allowed to buy gift cards directly on WeChat and send them to friends via messages. Then recently, Mobike, a station-less bike-sharing system, also partnered with WeChat. Mobike’s WeChat Wallet entrance is linked to its mini program page, where users can easily find available bikes.


↑ The new position (left) vs. the old position (right) of the “Limited time promotion” section.

Finally, on the “Money” page, several functions have been combined. Users can pay vendors, receive money from friends, split bills and check for red packets nearby on the same page, which is much more convenient.


Would you use new features in WeChat Labs before their official release? Could your brand benefit from recent changes in Moments Ads and WeChat Wallet?

Leave a comment below. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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