Tencent advertising for universities: your webinar questions answered

We recently had the privilege of hosting Silvia Zeng, Tencent’s Senior Business Development Manager for New Markets, for a highly informative hour-long webinar on Tencent advertising for universities looking to recruit Chinese international students. If you weren’t able to make the webinar, you can download the recording here.

Many of our webinar participants had some great questions for Zeng, and we’ve compiled her answers into this easy-to-reference blog post.

What are some of the best practices in terms of effective targeting on Tencent advertising?

One of the most important things brands need to do is to leverage the data they have already collected, such as mobile numbers or email addresses that have been collected via landing pages or at roadshows. “This kind of raw data is very valuable, and we can upload it to our platforms to first find these users, and then use lookalike or relationship expansion to find a potential audience that is similar to these users,” says Zeng.

Location-based services (LBS) have also proved to be highly effective. If, for example, you are holding seminars or roadshows in Beijing or Shanghai, you can target your relevant audience not just in terms of their demographics, but also their proximity to the location in which your event is being held.

These, says Zeng, are two of the best ways Tencent advertising for universities can reach a highly engaged and relevant audience.

Are LBS available outside of mainland China?

At the moment, LBS are only available in mainland China, meaning you can’t use them to target a potential audience living a certain city in Australia, for example. That being said, for universities looking to recruit Chinese international students, the vast majority of their target audience is going to be in China, and LBS is a highly potent tool for reaching these prospective students.

What are your recommendations in terms of building a high-conversion landing page?

Zeng says there are four key ways to optimise your landing pages:

1. Ensure the entire landing page fits on one screen: Or, at the very most, two. Having the user click through multiple screens to complete the landing page can result in a lot of churn.

2. Put the user benefit very clearly at the top: A benefit or incentive statement ensures the user knows exactly why it’s worth parting with their data.

3. Make sure there’s only a few fields for the user to fill out: Three is ideal, but there should be no more than five. Having too many fields to fill out puts up a barrier to completing the form, which again can result in high levels of churn.

4. Avoid multiple clicks: If there are too many clicks for the user to complete the landing page, this can again seem like too much effort for the user, making it more likely they won’t complete it.

In a nutshell, it’s about making the entire process as simple as possible and removing any potential obstacles to finishing the form.

Sinorbis COO, Dandan Cheng, would also add that it’s important to run at least two campaigns that differ on copy or design, in order to test what would resonate most with your target audience. For example, would they be more receptive to images of students and campus life, or images that reflect the destination and lifestyle? Would they respond to a benefit statement that relates to the university’s ranking or to student outcomes?

Can you tell us more about if and how other Tencent apps can be used to reach audiences outside of China?

While Tencent can’t release penetration data in terms of how many users outside China use Tencent apps such as Tencent News or Tencent Video, Zeng can reveal that these apps are popular among Chinese travellers and residents overseas as well. Most people tend to stick with the apps they’re familiar with, a trend we’ve certainly seen with WeChat (which is by far Tencent’s most widely used product overseas). In the same way, Chinese users who regularly use Tencent apps at home will also tend to use them when they’re overseas, in order to stay connected with what is going on in China.

Because of WeChat’s popularity, if you’re looking to target overseas uses, WeChat would be your first port of call. You could then consider Tencent’s ad network, though some testing might be required to see if other Tencent apps would be worth targeting outside of China.

If we want to set up a separate account for enquiries, what is the best way to do so?

Because setting up WeChat Official Accounts comes with so much red tape, it can be tempting to get members of your marketing team to set up Individual Accounts in order to start answering enquiries as soon as possible. Zeng, however, would not recommend doing it this way, as Official Accounts operate differently to Individual Accounts. Unlike Individual Accounts, Official Accounts can deliver updates to followers, and they are much more authoritative, and therefore much more trustworthy. So in order to cast your institution in the best possible light to prospective students, you are much better off setting up an Official Account.

Be sure to start with setting up your university’s WeChat Official Account first, and then if you want to set up a second account to fulfil a customer service function, you can do so via a second Official Account.

Do WeChat Official Account banner ads have a minimum spend or any other restrictions?

The minimum spend for WeChat Official Account banner ads is actually very low – around RMB 50 (AUD 10) a day.

As this is so low, this shouldn’t factor much into budget considerations – what is more important is what you actually want to achieve. For example, are you trying to spread brand awareness? Or are you trying to generate leads? These things require very differently designed campaigns, as well as different budget levels.

It’s also important to consider how long you want to run a campaign. Short campaigns that only last 3–4 days, for example, won’t generate enough meaningful data to allow you to gain insights and optimise future campaigns. That’s why at Sinorbis, we recommend running campaigns for at least 2–4 weeks, so you can optimise your performance based on the performance of the previous or first half of the campaign.

If you have any other questions about WeChat – whether it’s about what documentation you need to set up your Official Account, or how to send direct messages to your followers – our comprehensive (and free) WeChat Marketing 101 guide has the answers. Download it now.

Or feel free to ask us directly! We’d love to hear from you.

WeChat Marketing 101 guide

WeChat marketing 101

If you are looking to market and sell to Chinese consumers online, there’s simply no way around WeChat. For international businesses, WeChat offers many effective ways to reach and engage Chinese consumers and turn them into loyal customers. Sinorbis has put together this free WeChat guide to help you market your business successfully on China’s super app.

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