WeChat is Rumored to Make Subscription Feed More News-Style

    WeChat is reportedly restructuring the subscription feed in news-style, which is a change that is set to facilitate brands' content marketing efforts.
    Photo: focal point / Shutterstock
    Yiling PanAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    WeChat, China’s top marketing platform for many luxury brands, is reportedly reforming the format of the subscription account to make it look more like a news feed, according to domestic media. A news-style feed, which better fits with Chinese users’ reading habits, is poised to benefit brands using the app by enhancing the open rate of content and thus, increasing the effectiveness of communication.

    According to an article by Chinese media Sina Finance on October 19, the above change is said to be on the way by Tencent, the app's owner. Subscribers to WeChat's subscription accounts, which is the second of the two types of public accounts—the other is the service account—will receive real-time updates of posts in a news-style, making the system more interactive and user-friendly. Currently, WeChat groups subscription feed under the same tab on the app’s homepage. Subscribers need to manually click on the accounts they follow to read the most recent posts.

    Jing Daily has reached out to Tencent for comment about the reported new feature and will update if we hear back.

    A sample of new subscription feed. Photo: Sina Finance
    A sample of new subscription feed. Photo: Sina Finance

    In recent years, brands and marketers have looked to WeChat as an effective one-to-one communication tool they can utilize to engage with followers, manage customer relationships (CRM) and sell products. The closed ecosystem that WeChat presents, however, has made it harder for brands' information to go viral as easily as it does on open platforms such as Weibo.

    In addition, many marketers view the value offered by subscription accounts as far too basic. The current system, which allows an account to publish one message per day, offers no push notifications. Furthermore, subscribers are then passive receivers of the post, making it difficult for brands to encourage readers to keep checking back.

    Several recent moves by WeChat show that the app is catching on to make information flow more actively and flexibly. The same article said the “Search” and “Top Stories” features, added to the app in May this year, were evidence that WeChat has gradually loosened its control on the flow of information.

    According to the data intelligence company L2, the above two features have increased the post readership on brands’ official accounts. Its latest consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand report shows that the percentage of WeChat posts gaining less than 5,000 pageviews dropped to 66.6 percent in 2017 from 81.6 percent in 2016.

    If the suggested changes that can boost consumers' content consumption were to happen on WeChat, the app has huge potential to become a potent content marketing tool for brands. The ability to digest brands’ posts in a similar style as reading news also makes it more likely for followers to share content to friends and on the moments.

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