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As an educational marketer, reaching the right audience is crucial, especially if you need to attract international students and parents. One platform that has proven incredibly powerful for this purpose is WeChat. As China’s most popular social media app, WeChat boasts over a billion monthly active users, offering unparalleled access to Chinese-speaking audiences worldwide. WeChat’s popularity is quickly spreading across the globe with 10 million users in India, and 4 million in the United States.

For educational marketers, WeChat is an essential tool for engagement and communication. Its unique ecosystem integrates messaging, social networking, mobile payment, and a wide range of other services, making it a one-stop solution for personal and professional communication. This versatility allows educational institutions to connect with potential students and their families personally.

The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate the complexities of WeChat ads. We will explore key strategies and best practices to ensure that your marketing campaigns on WeChat are effective and efficient. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, drive student enrollments, or foster stronger community engagement, this guide provides the insights and tools needed to succeed.

Are you curious about how to leverage social media for your educational marketing? Explore how our tailored digital marketing services can help you form an effective strategy here.

Understanding WeChat and Its User Base

WeChat, developed by Tencent, is a multifaceted platform integrating social media, mobile payments, e-commerce, and much more. To effectively leverage WeChat for advertising, especially within the education sector, it is crucial to understand the platform’s features and user base. WeChat offers a wide array of features making it a unique and powerful tool for marketers.

At its core, WeChat is a messaging app, but it also incorporates social networking through a feature called Moments, where users share updates, photos, and videos with their network. It also offers a service called WeChat Pay. This mobile payment feature allows users to make purchases, transfer money, and pay for services directly within the app, making it a central hub for daily transactions.

Businesses and organizations choose from two packages offered under the Official Accounts Platform: Subscription Accounts and Service Accounts. Both can publish content, interact with followers, and offer customer service but offer value in different ways.

  • Subscription Accounts are designed for frequent content updates and are ideal for media and content-driven organizations. Subscription Accounts appear in a dedicated folder within the user’s contacts list, and users receive notifications about new posts. The latest post is the only visible post on the main screen. This account works well for educational institutions that plan to share regular updates, news, and articles. Additionally, Subscription Accounts are searchable on Sogou, the second-largest search engine in China, which enhances discoverability and reach for content-driven updates​
  • Service Accounts are more powerful and versatile, offering advanced features such as customer service, payment options, and location-based services. Service Accounts appear directly in the user’s chat list, providing higher visibility and better engagement opportunities. They are ideal for institutions that require more interaction with their audience, such as handling inquiries, providing application services, and managing event registrations. However, unlike Subscription Accounts, Service Accounts are not searchable on Sogou​.

A feature available under both official sites is WeChat’s Mini Programs. Mini Programs, or Mini Apps, operate directly within the WeChat app. They don’t require installation or downloading; users can simply search for them on WeChat to access their features immediately.

Mini Programs are applications that can be used for everything from e-commerce to gaming to education. This enterprise communication and collaboration tool integrates seamlessly with the main WeChat app, facilitating operations and marketing efforts. How can your school leverage this versatile and highly engaging platform?

service account

Source: WeChat

The table above copares the differences between these three WeChat account features. Is your priority providing services, sharing content, or user experience? Let your answer determine which account type to leverage.

Educational content, such as articles, videos, and updates about your school can be easily shared through WeChat’s various channels, including Moments and Official Account posts.

WeChat’s social networking features enable institutions to create a sense of community among current and prospective students, alumni, and parents. This engagement can enhance the institution’s reputation and appeal.

What are the targeting options for WeChat? With its advanced targeting options, WeChat allows educational marketers to reach specific demographics based on age, location, interests, and more. This precision targeting ensures marketing efforts are directed toward the most relevant audience.

number of wechat users in China

Source: eMarketer

WeChat experienced rapid growth that is expected to continue in the coming years. Though many schools use WeChat primarily to reach Chinese-speaking audiences, growth continues in other parts of the world, notably in India, Malaysia, Russia, The United States, and here in Canada.

Quick Fact: WeChat is particularly well-suited for attracting Chinese-speaking students and parents with about 88% of the Chinese population using the platform daily.

Ready to boost your student recruitment efforts in China?

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Types of Wechat Ads

WeChat offers a variety of ad formats that educational institutions can leverage to reach their target audience effectively. Understanding these different types of WeChat ads and their unique benefits is essential for creating impactful advertising campaigns.

WeChat Moments Ads

WeChat Moments Ads are similar to Facebook’s news feed ads, appearing seamlessly within a user’s Moments feed. These are highly visual, often featuring images or videos, allowing engaging content that blends naturally with the user’s social media experience.

Moments Ads can showcase campus life, student testimonials, and event highlights, capturing the attention of potential students and their parents organically.

WeChat Official Account Ads

Official Account Ads appear within the articles published by WeChat Official Accounts. These ads can be strategically placed to target readers who are already engaged with content related to education.

By advertising on WeChat through Official Accounts, educational institutions can reach an audience more likely to be interested in academic programs and services. This format is particularly effective for promoting detailed content, such as program guides, research highlights, and admission information.

WeChat Mini Program Ads

WeChat Mini Program Ads are integrated into WeChat’s Mini Programs (discussed earlier). These ads can appear as banners or interstitials within Mini Programs that users regularly interact with.

Mini Program Ads offer a unique opportunity to engage users with interactive content, such as virtual campus tours, online application portals, and educational games. This format can provide a more immersive experience, making capturing and maintaining user interest easier.

WeChat Banner Ads

WeChat Banner Ads are displayed at the bottom of chat windows within the WeChat app. These ads are more subtle and less intrusive, providing a constant presence without disrupting the user experience.

Educational institutions can use Banner Ads to promote brand awareness, drive website traffic, or highlight key messages, such as open house dates or scholarship opportunities. This format is effective for maintaining visibility and reinforcing brand recognition over time.

Setting up a WeChat Official Account

Are you wondering how do I set up WeChat ads? Creating a WeChat Official Account is the first step for educational institutions to establish a presence on the platform and engage with their target audience. Steps include registering for an account, verifying that account, and setting up your account details. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up an Official Account and optimize it for maximum impact.

Step-By-Step Guide to Creating an Official Account

  1. Register for an Account:
  • Visit the WeChat Official Accounts Platform ( and select “Register Now.”

Weixin official accounts platform

  • Choose the account type (Subscription or Service) based on your institution’s needs.
  • Fill in the required information, including email address and password.
  1. Verify Your Account:
  • After registration, you will need to verify your account. This process involves providing official documents to confirm your institution’s identity, such as a business license and other relevant certifications.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to upload the necessary documents and complete the verification process. Verification typically takes a few days.
  1. Set Up Account Details:
  • Once your account is verified, log in to the WeChat Official Accounts Platform.
  • Complete your profile by adding details such as your institution’s name, logo, description, and contact information.
  • Customize your account settings, including message auto-replies, menu options, and linking to your website or other social media accounts.

Here’s a visual representation of the process:

Wechat official account platform

Source: HEM

Crafting Effective WeChat Ad Campaigns

Creating impactful WeChat ad campaigns requires a strategic approach to ensure that your ads resonate with your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Here are the key steps to crafting effective WeChat ad campaigns for educational institutions.

Defining Your Target Audience

The first step in any successful ad campaign is to define your target audience. For educational institutions, this might include prospective students, parents, alumni, or specific demographic groups such as international students.

Consider factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors. Understanding your audience will help you tailor your ad content and targeting options to maximize engagement and conversions.

Setting Clear Campaign Objectives

Define what you want to achieve with your WeChat ad campaign. Common objectives for educational institutions include brand awareness, lead generation, website traffic, and event promotion. Having clear objectives will guide your ad strategy and help you measure the success of your campaigns.

Designing Visually Appealing and Culturally Relevant Ad Creatives

WeChat users are accustomed to high-quality visuals, so you must create visually appealing and culturally relevant ads. Use professional, high-resolution images and videos that showcase your campus, facilities, and student life.

Ensure that your ad content respects and reflects the cultural nuances of your target audience. For example, consider language preferences and cultural symbols. Maintain consistency with your institution’s branding, including logos, colors, and fonts, to build recognition and trust.

Writing Compelling Ad Copy That Resonates With the Audience

Effective ad copy is crucial for capturing attention and driving action. How can you craft a copy that converts? Firstly, communicate your message clearly and succinctly. Avoid jargon and keep the language simple and easy to understand.

Appeal to your audience’s emotions by highlighting the benefits and experiences of attending your institution. Use testimonials, success stories, and value propositions. Include a compelling CTA that encourages users to take the desired action, such as “Apply Now,” “Learn More,” or “Register Today.”

Budgeting and Bidding Strategies

Effective budgeting and bidding strategies are essential to maximize return on investment (ROI) on WeChat ad campaigns. By understanding WeChat’s pricing models and selecting the right approach for your institution, you can ensure that your advertising budget is utilized efficiently.


Source: HEM

To begin with, it’s crucial to understand WeChat’s ad pricing models. WeChat ads are typically priced using one of three models: Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Cost Per Click (CPC), and Cost Per Action (CPA).

Each model has its advantages and is suitable for different campaign objectives. CPM is ideal for increasing brand awareness, as you pay for every thousand impressions, ensuring that many users see your ad.

CPC is more performance-oriented, you pay only when someone clicks on your ad, making it suitable for driving website traffic or generating leads. CPA is based on specific user actions, such as filling out a form or registering for an event, making it the best choice for conversion-focused campaigns.

Choosing the right bidding strategy is crucial for optimizing your ad spend and achieving your campaign goals. For CPM campaigns, consider using a bid that balances cost and reach. If your goal is to maximize visibility, a higher bid may be necessary to outcompete other advertisers.

For CPC campaigns, monitor the average cost-per-click for your target audience and set your bids accordingly. You can start with a moderate bid and adjust based on the performance data you gather. For CPA campaigns, it’s important to understand the value of the desired action and set your bid in line with the expected return. For instance, if a student registration is worth a significant amount to your institution, you may be willing to bid higher for these conversions.

Optimizing ad spend is an ongoing process. Regularly review your campaign performance data to identify trends and areas for improvement. WeChat’s analytics tools provide valuable insights into impressions, clicks, click-through rates (CTR), and conversions.

Use this data to refine your targeting, ad creatives, and bidding strategies. A/B testing different ad variations can help determine the most effective elements, allowing you to allocate more budget to high-performing ads.

Best Practices for WeChat Advertising

To successfully leverage WeChat advertising follow best practices that align with the platform’s unique characteristics and user expectations. Adhering to WeChat’s advertising policies and guidelines, building trust with your audience, engaging users through interactive content, staying updated with the latest trends, and avoiding common pitfalls are key strategies for effective WeChat advertising.

WeChat has strict rules to ensure that ads are appropriate, respectful, and non-intrusive. Familiarize yourself with these policies to avoid any violations that could lead to your ads being rejected or your account being penalized. Ensure your ad content, including the visuals, text, and overall messaging is compliant. Maintaining transparency and following the rules will help build credibility and avoid unnecessary setbacks.

Users are more likely to engage with ads from brands they trust. To build this trust, be transparent about who you are as an educational institution and what you offer. Use your WeChat Official Account to share authentic stories, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes content that humanizes your school. Respond promptly to inquiries and comments to show you value and respect your audience. You can enhance user engagement and loyalty by fostering a sense of trust and authenticity.


Example: Cambrian College uses WeChat’s chat function to interact directly with prospects, fostering authenticity, garnering trust, and building a community.

WeChat offers interactive features such as Mini Programs, H5 pages, and WeChat Moments. Utilize these tools to create immersive and engaging ad experiences. For instance, you can develop interactive Mini Programs that offer virtual campus tours, quizzes, or games related to your educational programs. Interactive content captures attention while encouraging users to engage with your brand more.

WeChat continuously evolves, introducing new features and tools that enhance your advertising efforts. Keep an eye on updates and be willing to experiment with new ad formats and strategies. By staying ahead of the curve, you can leverage the latest innovations to optimize your campaigns and stay competitive in the market.

One common mistake is neglecting to localize your content for the Chinese-speaking audience. Ensure your ad copy, visuals, and messaging are culturally relevant and resonate with your target audience. Another pitfall is focusing too much on hard selling rather than providing value. WeChat users appreciate content that is informative, entertaining, and valuable. Strike a balance between promoting your institution and offering useful content that addresses the needs and interests of your audience.

As an educational institution looking to broaden its reach, WeChat should be on your radar. By using the guidance we’ve provided here, you’re well on your way to reaching new heights on several crucial metrics from your school’s brand awareness to converting prospects.

Ready to boost your student recruitment efforts in China?

Discover how our specialized services can help you connect with and enroll more students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are the targeting options for WeChat?

Answer: With its advanced targeting options, WeChat allows educational marketers to reach specific demographics based on age, location, interests, and more.

Question: How do I set up WeChat ads?

Answer: Creating a WeChat Official Account is the first step for educational institutions to establish a presence on the platform and engage with their target audience. Steps include registering for an account, verifying that account, and setting up your account details.