WeChat Unlocks its Ads Exchange Feature

As the biggest instant messaging app in China, WeChat’s new Ads Exchange feature increases brands’ abilities to reach their target audience.  Brands may cooperate with bloggers for either Ad Display or tailor-made Content Production. Based on its 1.151 billion monthly active users database, WeChat will maximize advertising impact and measure the results quantitatively. Many companies have improved brand images and sales performances through Ads-exchange.

What is “WeChat Ads Exchange”?

Ads Exchange is a new feature launched in private beta in October 2016. It provides a platform for WeChat advertisers to choose their bloggers. In early 2017, it became available to all official account holders.

With this feature, advertisers (广告主) can select suitable bloggers (流量主) for cooperation so that they can reach the blogger’s subscribers, and their target audience, more directly. Bloggers accept invitations from advertisers according to their own image and content style to try to maintain a balance between monetization and content quality.


Cooperation Modes

There are two cooperation modes:

Ad Display (广告推荐) and Tailor-made Content Production (内容定制).

Ad display mode is now open to all advertisers, while tailor-made content is still in the private beta stage and used only by advertisers that receive invitations from WeChat management.

For ad display mode, bloggers post articles with an image ad shown at the end of the article and estimate the amount of ad exposure. If the actual exposure is lower than the estimate, they’re paid on a proportional basis, maximizing budgets for advertisers.

When users click on the ad, they’re directed to external websites like an H5 page or an online store, which is expected to increase conversion rates


↑ The image ad is displayed at the end of the article. When users click on the ad, they will be directed to an external H5 page shown on the right. Example provided by WeChat.

For tailor-made content production, bloggers provide in-depth services for advertisers, like themes and content, so that the advertising is presented in a more imbedded manner. However, as mentioned above, this function is still in private beta and will only open up later.

The Mutual Selection Procedure


The mutual selection procedure can be summarized in four steps:

  1. The advertiser creates an advertising campaign : The advertiser can determine the type of blogger they want, target audience, the number of subscribers that the blogger is expected to have, etc. The system will recommend bloggers that meet the requirements.
  2. The blogger decides whether to accept the offer.
  3. The blogger publishes the article as arranged.
  4. The advertiser tracks the ad performance.

During the advertising campaign, the advertiser can track the real-time ad exposure, number of ad clicks and other related data. After the campaign, the platform offers a final report that shows the scale and demographics of the audience as well as other useful data.


Case Studies


BMW chose the ads exchange to promote its latest BMW X1 model. First, the brand selected a dozen automobile, fashion and lifestyle bloggers. The ads featured the brand slogan “Acting with courage and determination. (敢作敢为)” and attractive financial plans for purchasers. They got over one million views and a hit rate of about 6%.

At the same time, BMW also cooperated with several automobile bloggers who created tailor-made content including comics and monologues that presented selling points and product features in a vivid way. The original content produced by the bloggers connected with a hit rate of about 20% as well as over 8,000 comments and likes.


↑ BMW cooperated with You Che Yi Hou (有车以后, an automobile blog), that produced tailor-made comics and displayed an image ad at the end of the article. When users clicked on the image ad, they were directed to an H5 page where they could make a test drive appointment or check out financing plans.


Airbnb also made good use of the WeChat Ads Exchange feature in order to improve its brand image recognition at the start of 2017.

Airbnb selected several lifestyle and travel bloggers and paid them to produce tailor-made content based on their own style and subscriber preferences. “Take your family for a new year trip with Airbnb” was the core concept. The ads featured annoyances and pressures that people face during the holidays, which strongly resonated with their audience.

Airbnb’s new year advertising campaign reached millions, achieved a hit rate of over 8% and accumulated more than 7,000 comments and likes. Many readers reacted well to the ads and thought it related well to their lives and experiences.


↑ Airbnb selected KnowYourself, a psychology blog, as one of its cooperation partners. They published an article talking about relationships between parents and children while introducing the movie The Guilt Trip, which is about a son who takes his mother for a road trip and how they learn to understand each other better.

They referenced Airbnb’s new year campaign and at the end of the article, an image ad was displayed that directed users to the Airbnb website.

Do you think this feature would be helpful to your business? Are you interested in learning more about new and upcoming WeChat features and how they can be used for marketing? Leave a comment below. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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