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How Have Brands Used Channels Since Its Launch Two Years Ago?

January 5th, 2022 | Kejie Yi

Did you watch the livestream of Westlife on WeChat Channels back on December 17, 2021? Well, over 20 million people watched the livestream, garnering over 130 million likes in total. Such a phenomenon is hardly seen and it has become another signature event on WeChat Channels after millions of users watched the Gemini meteor shower in 2020. 

Following Westlife, a Chinese boy group Mayday (五月天), held a live concert on Channels on the last day of 2021. Up until midnight on January 1, 2022, over 13.7 million people watched the livestream. WeChat Channels was also creative with its promotional efforts. It offered an incentive with the condition that if the number of viewers reaches two million, viewers can have the chance to get an exclusive Red Packet cover from Mayday. If the views reaches  five million, there will be another round of chances for users to get the prize. 

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Mayday’s live concert on Channels encourages viewers to share the livestream.

From the launch of Channels in January 2020, what has it provided for brands over the past two years? 


Channels Has Been WeChat’s Focus Since It Was Born

Since Channels was introduced to the public, WeChat kept updating the feature with every new version release. Here are a few significant updates of Channels:

In December 2020, livestreamers can use livestreaming filters, host lucky draws, and connect with other livestreamers. WeChat also enriched the interaction between live streamers and viewers by allowing users to reward live streamers with “WeBeans”. WeChat has also made livestreams more accessible by redirecting users to the livestream when they click the “enter livestream” on Channel videos. 

Moving on to 2021, users can watch or start a livestream on PC (great news for many users, but not for their productivity at work). Users can also sign up to receive notifications when accounts they are following start livestreaming. 

In May 2021, Channels finalized its commercial function by adding a product tab on videos. Users can watch videos/livestreams while placing orders. Later in October, Tencent connected WeCom and Channels so that brands can maximize the conversion opportunities of their video content. For example, sales associates can share brand Channels video with their clients. 


What are the Top 3 Most-Favored Content On Channels?

According to Shideng Data (视灯研究院), in the first six months of 2021, the DAU of Channels broke 300 million. Now, the DAU of Channels has reached 450 million, and on average, people spend 35 minutes on it every day.

What are the Top 3 Types of Content? 

a) Emotion-based Content

According to New Rank’s data, emotion KOL @笑笑悟 has been ranking top for months. Most of her videos deliver positive messages to viewers. They are about her insights into different relationships, including couples and friends while calling people to be thankful for life. 

The average likes of these videos often reached 50k, and about every three to four videos, there is a viral one with more than 100k likes. 

Along with @笑笑悟, many emotional content accounts gained widespread popularity on Channels, including @段嘉许nice, @林哥情感语录, and @韩韩情感分享. Emotion-based content has been trendy for quite a long time and it is still a popular type of content across different platforms. 

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Emotion KOL @笑笑悟 on Channels.

b) Professionally-generated Content (PGC)

News and basic services also catch much attention among Channels accounts. Accounts such as @大象新闻, @四川观察, and @长江日报 have a high frequency of posting brief news, and sometimes they hold livestream for live coverage of news pieces.

Channels has become an official announcement platform for brands and organizations. 

c) Entertainment

A representative example of entertainment content on Channels is @微乐家乡麻将. It focuses solely on the Chinese game Mahjong, covering playing rules of different districts in China, many of which received over 100k likes. 

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Channels account @微乐家乡麻将 is very popular among WeChat users.


Three Trends of Channels Livestream

a) Complements WeChat Official Account Performance

When WeChat launched Channels, it invited many popular Official Accounts to utilize the new feature. Content creators often came with solid fan bases, a deep understanding of their followers’ preferences, and the WeChat content ecosystem. Compared with ordinary WeChat Channels users, these accounts have more advantages initially. 

On March 12, 2021, the emotion-based content creator of an Official Account 夜听刘筱held a livestream on Channels. The show lasted for eight hours, covering a broad product category including general merchandise, beauty products, kitchen and bath appliances, and food. The total GMV broke 10 million RMB and the number of likes exceeded 20 million. 

During the past 618 shopping festival, another Official Account 十点读书, another emotional-based account, had a livestream for 76 hours. Though a very long session, 1.61 million WeChat users watched it and more than 1.5 million people liked it. 

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Two successful examples of Official Accounts marching to Channels.

b) Channels’ livestream favors educational content 

Here are two reasons why educational content is popular on Channels’ livestream: 

First, WeChat is a private traffic pool, which means users’ families, friends or colleagues can see what they post, therefore users are more cautious when it comes to sharing content on Moments. Educational content is great to share amongst family and friends. 

Second, WeChat promotes this type of content. In September 2021, WeChat invited many industry professors and experts to share their insights and knowledge at an event called “八点一刻” (A Quarter Past Eight) on Channels. That content is an inspiration for many content creators on the platform. 

c) Fashion and entertainment content are evergreen content 

Like many other livestream platforms, singing, dancing, and fashion-related videos are also popular among users. 

Currently, Channels is still constantly developing. Though so far, no top-tier livestreamer has joined, which means rising content creators still have great opportunities to stand out on the platform. On the other hand, WeChat has long been the core  communication app in China for a very long time. Users might need a while to form a habit of watching livestreams, sending livestreamers rewards, or placing orders while watching livestream. As the biggest social media platform that connects the largest user base in China, WeChat Channels would only continue to grow. 

Content creators and brands should utilize this feature more by embedding their personal/brand stories into Channels’ videos and livestream to guide public traffic to their private traffic pool, such as WeCom or WeChat groups. After all, private traffic that helps build brand trust leads to the best conversion and retention rate. 

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