Online and social advertising: the stubborn and opposite direction of Tencent

11 Jun 2018
Advertising is one of the useful elements to qualify the User Experience, just two words that identify the primary need of all the most important global technological players. This need is so strong as to induce some of these to redefine the user experience of its customers with more or less rapid reversals (1).

The wide offer (Online gaming, Online payments, cloud computing systems, social media, etc.) of Tencent, the fourth internet company in the world, which has differently and immediately approached its user targets, is no exception to the rule. . According to the latest report from the Penguin Intelligence and China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a third of WeChat users spend more than 4 hours a day on the platform. Such a wide audience could be a natural premise for the massive use of banner and video advertising. Although WeChat grows fast, on advertising the Chinese giant has always been attentive to the impact of the ads on its users, coming to choices completely in contrast with the market.

When, in 2016, it was given the opportunity to plan advertising campaigns on the first Chinese social network, only local operators could access this management tool and the most invasive formats required a minimum investment defined by Tencent. More precisely, we talk about moments ads, the format most requested by luxury brands, which promotes their offer in the space dedicated to users. In this way, a sponsored post can be accompanied by photographs of the last holiday in Rome or the best score achieved in the new Tencent mini-game. In Tencent's official communications, the annual growth of its advertising business for the first quarter was 55% for ads in general and 69% for social media, for a total of 1.2 billion dollars. As a result of this surge, in March 2018 Tencent had to increase the space reserved for direct advertising on the channel from one to two content sponsored per user per day.

The contradiction with the market trend is clear: at a time when all the giants of the web are working to reduce the weight of advertising on consumers, Tencent is making decisions diametrically opposed. The explanation is simpler than one might think: if basically social networks in the West are and remain only an advanced means of communication, on WeChat it is normal to sell and buy, with an average of one million transactions managed per minute. The mix between personal and commercial space is therefore considered normal and pleasing to its users.