According to a 2019 study by McKinsey & Company, Chinese consumers spend as much as 44 percent of their time on social media apps – 33 percent of which is attributed to those of a more social nature including WeChat and Weibo. As the amount of time users spend on these platforms continues to grow, so does the potential of these channels to inspire purchase behaviours. Half of the participants in this survey noted that they had become aware of a product on a social platform, and 25 percent said they made purchases through a such channels. This figure represents a marked increase of 3.6 times compared to two years ago.
Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for brands to reach and convert audiences with content on social media channels. However, the attention spans of these consumers are growing shorter and the window of success for brands to successfully attract and retain their interest is shrinking. This is compounded by the fact that brands are overloading audiences with content.
According to DLG (Digital Luxury Group) and JINGdigital’s latest WeChat Luxury Index 2020 report, over 67.52% of luxury brands on WeChat are pushing content to their followers four times a week – the maximum allowed for a Service Account. This is a stark difference from to 2018, where only 17% of luxury brands did so. The sheer volume of content consumers are bombarded with these days it that much harder for brands to stand out and make an impression.
Based on data collected from the months of January to December 2019, the study reveals that luxury brands tend to favour Thursday and Friday evenings for content pushes to their audience – despite there being no conclusive evidence that these time frames have an impact on content performance.
“This is interesting because we saw the same trend emerge in our previous report from 2018, indicating that there really hasn’t been any change when it comes to the content posting habits of brands,” says Pablo Mauron, Partner & Managing Director China at DLG. He elaborates that there is a huge missed opportunity here for brands, as cloistering their content pushes around the same time creates unnecessary jostling for consumer attention. Instead, he recommends looking into less saturated timeslots for pushing content on WeChat, such as weekday mornings or Saturday evenings.
However, relying on the process of elimination can only get you so far, cautions Mauron. “The only way to determine the best time to push content to your audience is through A/B Testing,” he says. “Through that, brands will be able to identify when their readers are most receptive to content, and decide on the most appropriate timeslot for their WeChat pushes.”
Another interesting observation made in the report was that brands lose half of their readers after 8.87 screen lengths, indicating that WeChat articles should not be designed beyond this length in order to sustain the attention of users.
Based on the findings, it also appears that the attention spans of readers tend to fizzle out at approximately the third screen, suggesting that brands should focus their efforts on improving the content experience upfront so as to compel users to continue along the article. The study also details that strong visuals and rich media – including videos and animations – can be considered for this purpose as articles with such elements tend to exhibit a better conversion rate.
“Brands tend to overestimate the potential of a piece of content in capturing the attention and interest of its WeChat followers,” opines Mauron. “As readers get more sophisticated, it is no longer just about creating content for the sake of creating content and meeting quantitative publication objectives,” he adds.
The report also touches on the area of audience segmentation, noting that a growing number of luxury brands are choosing leverage this function. Last year, over 45.71% of brands chose to segment their communities and personalise the content sent to them.
“We are seeing an acceleration in the sophistication of how brands are choosing to engage with their customers online,” says Kun Hsu, Partner at JINGdigital. “Besides social proof and virality, brands are also seeing value in creating personalised content to increase relevancy and customer loyalty.” By angling content in a way that appeals to them, brands are able to better capture their attention, he adds.
This, however, is not to say that brands have to create entirely separate pieces of content for different audience segments, Mauron explains. Instead, the key is in optimising existing content available so as not to drive up production costs. “Simply by changing the featured image in the content teaser and crafting different titles to appeal to the differing interests and sensibilities of your different audience segments will alreadymake a significant impact,” he shares.
The report further elaborates on the best practices for brands looking to adopt this approach. Beyond segmenting audiences, brands should also consider optimising content and carrying out A/B Testing. “At the end of the day, WeChat is more than a social media and a specific approach to identifying and delivering the right talking points is required to maximise the returns on content investment. It is about quality, not quantity,” concludes Mauron.
The WeChat Luxury Index 2020 also touches on data and insights related to engagement and follower acquisition, all of which can be found in the complete and updated report available for download below.
Previously released in the third and fourth quarters of last year, the WeChat Luxury Index Part 1: Engagement and WeChat Luxury Index Part 2: Acquisition can also be downloaded separately, each featuring quarterly data.
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