Social Ads

Advertising on Wechat, Weibo and Toutiao

16 May 2018

Developing a digital presence in China by engaging with followers and maintaining your audience’s attention is a long-term strategy that requires patience. To complement this approach, brands should explore the idea of investing in social media ads. Here, we will introduce the three leading social media platforms to consider advertising on.


The recent trend in digital marketing in China is moving away from organic content in favour of paid ads. The major platforms have been gradually reducing organic marketing opportunities in a bid to monetize advertising on their sites.

On Weibo this is controlled through the Wei-task system. On its messaging platform WeChat, Tencent is pushing its paid ‘Moments’ ads to brands to replace organic content. Accordingly, both services have expanded and diversified the paid ad options they offer.

Wechat Ads

The advertising potential of WeChat has exploded in the past year. With an enormous user base, which recently topped one billion for the first time, changes in its ad policy have meant WeChat has evolved into a leading advertising platform for brands in China.

The first of these changes mean that active users can now receive two ad posts a day on their ‘Moments’ feed, up from one previously. The second is the introduction of a bidding system which was added to the existing guaranteed delivery option.

Guaranteed Delivery requires a minimum budget of 50,000RMB per campaign and costs from 50 to 180RMB per 1,000 impressions. Prices vary depending on the format of ads and the geographic targeting. The delivery period must be reserved in advance to guarantee maximum exposure

Bidding Delivery requires a lower minimum budget of 1,000RMB per day with prices ranging from 30 to 300RMB. Prices vary depending on geographic targeting and bids received from competitors.

Weibo Ads

Weibo is another of China’s social media leaders offering advertising opportunities through two types of promotion; account and post promotion. The average bidding price for 1,000 impressions starts at 10RMB for basic targeting options (with the same number of impressions through advanced targeting rates starting at 25RMB).

Weibo is a great advertising medium for brands looking to generate a lot of views, but due to the mountain of ad content on the site it can be difficult to improve click rates.

Toutiao Ads

Ads on Toutiao are managed through a credit system, with an initial investment of 10,000RMB required to set up an account (including 1,200RMB of technical support fees).

    • Cost Per Click (CPC) – 0.2-0.8RMB/click
    • Cost Per Mille (CPM) – 4-10 RMB/thousand people
    • Cost Per Action (CPA) – 50RMB/action (someone who enters the ad page and completes a pre-determined action—such as signing up for a newsletter)

Whilst the platform offers an effective way to drive individual views, only 20% of the service’s users live in first tier cities making it more difficult to convert viewers into customers.


Each of the three platforms has its advantages and its limits, so with a 10,000RMB budget here is what you can expect from each service:

WeChat Ads:

  • Number of impressions: 100,000 – 350,000
  • Number of click: 20,000 – 85,000

Weibo Ads:

  • Number of impressions: 200,000 – 1,000,000
  • Number of click: 1,000 – 10,000

WeChat Ads:

  • Number of impressions: 880,000 – 2,200,000
  • Number of click: 26,000 – 132,000

These numbers are for reference purposes only.

Choosing the right platform and getting to grips with the bidding process is just a first step. A creative, original and attractive content is still key for a successful campaign.