In 2020, there were around 926.8 million social media users in China, with social networks reaching approximately 64.4% of China’s entire population.
With such a huge user base, Chinese social media platforms provide brands with some of the best digital advertising channels in China.
As in the west, brands can build organic traffic and brand authority simply by maintaining an active presence on a few top social media sites.
But to really maximize the potential of China social media advertising, brands should make paid ads part of the mix too.
Here are a few of the biggest and best social media platforms in China—all with their own great advertising opportunities.
Top social media platforms in China
Number of users: Over 1.26 billion active users
User demographics: Because WeChat’s user base is so vast you can count on reaching a wide range of age groups and demographics.
WeChat is far and away the most popular social media platform in China. An incredible 78% of people in China between the ages of 16 and 64 have an account.
Part of WeChat’s appeal is the fact that it isn’t just about social content. WeChat functions as Facebook, WhatsApp and PayPal combined. It’s something of a super-app, supporting mobile payments, gaming and video conferencing too.
Brands usually start out with WeChat by creating an Official Account and posting content for their followers. Through this account you can manage (and automate) customer service and even go on to set up your own WeChat Store.
A few key facts about WeChat advertising:
There are granular targeting options—WeChat collects a lot of data on its users. So you can select ad audiences based upon their age, location, level of education, income bracket, occupation, interests and behaviors—and that’s just for starters.
You can advertise through WeChat Moments—The “Moments” section of WeChat is where users see content posted by their WeChat friends. Brands can pay to integrate sponsored content into this feed.
You can create a WeChat Mini Program—WeChat Mini Programs are apps within the WeChat app. The most popular are focused on gaming and ecommerce. Brands can pay to put their ads in front of users as they browse Mini Programs.
Number of users: Around 600 million active users.
User demographics: Almost 80% of users are under the age of 30. There’s a fairly even split of men and women and 44% of users come from first and second tier cities.
Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok. Crucially, it’s the only version of the platform that can be accessed from within China.
This social platform is all about short, shareable video content. Users create their own videos—dancing, lip syncing and taking part in viral challenges. They can also follow other accounts and engage with trending topics.
Brands can link their Douyin account to their accounts on ecommerce platforms—making it easy for users to discover and then buy products they like.
A few key facts about Douyin advertising:
The platform offers great targeting features—You can target users according to their age, location, gender and interests, ensuring a highly engaged audience for your promotional content.
There are a number of ad options to choose from—Open screen ads appear when users open the Douyin app and feed ads appear as native content in the Douyin feed. Brands can also create their own range of stickers, which users can then use to personalize their videos.
Number of users: Around 573 million active users
User demographics: Thirty per cent of users are 20 years old or younger. Only 4% of users are over the age of 50. Fifty seven per cent of users are male.
Weibo is China’s answer to Twitter. It’s a social platform on which users can share text (limited to 2000 characters), images, videos and live stream. It also offers a feature akin to Instagram Stories.
Over 40% of the Chinese population uses Weibo so it’s a great place for brands to reach a wide audience. Through posts, hashtags and savvy Weibo advertising, brands can build awareness and customer engagement.
A few key facts about Weibo advertising:
You can target users precisely—You can target Weibo ads according to age, gender, location, device, hobbies, followers and competitors.
You can run low cost promotions—Creating ads on Weibo doesn’t cost the earth. You can also build your presence on the platform organically, without paying a cent.
There are lots of ad options—You can pay for ads that will attract new followers to your account. You can create a pinned ad at the top of user timelines. You can also pay to have your results appear in the Weibo search function.
Number of users: 100 million active users
User demographics: Predominantly urban, affluent women, aged between 18 and 35.
Xiaohongshu translates as Little Red Book.
It’s a social and ecommerce platform where users can discover and buy luxury fashion and beauty products from foreign brands. They can also share styling and shopping tips with the Xiaohongshu community.
Since it launched in 2013, Xiaohongshu has become one of China’s biggest and most popular social ecommerce platforms. It offers brands the opportunity to market and sell their products from within the app.
A few key facts about Xiaohongshu advertising:
You can reach users organically – Brands start out by setting up a Xiaohongshu brand account. Here they can post shareable content, communicate with users and sell products.
KOLs are super important – Xiaohongshu is built on user-generated content, with influential users making fashion and beauty recommendations. Working with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) is a great way to promote your brand.
There are lots of paid ad opportunities too – You can pay to implement pop-up ads for your brand. These appear when a user opens the Xiaohongshu app. You can also pay to integrate promotional content on the platform’s Explore feed.
How to do social media advertising in China
We’ve seen how useful Chinese social media can be for promoting your brand. But where do you start when you want to launch your first campaign?
Choose the right platforms
Make the best use of your time and money by picking out the social media platforms (and demographics) that align with your brand. This means conducting thorough research—into both platforms and audiences—before you develop your social media presence.
Think about your China market entry strategy
Before you even start to think about a campaign, it’s time to do some more strategy work. Delve into the Chinese market and your target audience. Learn what the customer journey usually looks like and figure out your primary objectives. All of this will help you to understand how your brand’s Chinese social media advertising fits into the bigger picture.
Create your Chinese advertising campaign
Now you can set up an account on your chosen social media channel and create your first Chinese advertising campaign. Keep your audience and platform features in mind, as well as local traditions and Chinese advertising regulations.
Want an easier way to do social media advertising in China? AdChina.io can help!
Getting to grips with Chinese social media advertising is a challenge for international brands. Simply creating a brand account on a Chinese social media platform is a complex task in itself!
There are language and culture barriers to overcome, as well as unfamiliarity with the social media sites you want to target.
That’s why many brands turn to AdChina.io.
We understand Chinese social media platforms and their audiences inside out. So we’re well placed to help international businesses enter the Chinese market and master Chinese digital advertising.
With the assistance of our local China team, you can open accounts on popular Chinese platforms and create successful advertising campaigns for your new Chinese audience.
Ready to get your first Chinese advertising campaign off the ground? Check out an AdChina.io sales demo to see our service for yourself.