Most asked questions about WeChat Official Accounts (WeChat OA) – Part 1
- What is WeChat Official Account?
WeChat Official Account is the content subscription channels that are offered to brands/organizations/media/individuals to provide carefully curated content (multiple formats supported including text, audio, video, and other digital interactions) to WeChat users.
Official Account was first introduced to public back in July 2012. It allows followers easily connect with brands, celebrities, businesses and various services. Right now there’re over 10 million Official Accounts on WeChat. The ecosystem itself is the most dynamic content aggregation platform in the Chinese Internet world.
- How many different types of Official Accounts and what’re their differences?
WeChat has a pretty comprehensive Q&A self-service platform but all in Chinese. https://kf.qq.com/faq/120911VrYVrA130805byM32u.html
Quick answer is, WeChat OA has 3 types –
- Subscription Account
- Service Account
- Enterprise Account. (Basically, Enterprise Account will not be discussed much because it is primarily for Enterprise Employee Management internally and could be a best HR/CRM/ERP tool. However, if you’re currently an enterprise owner and would like to try Enterprise Account, westOeast are more than happy to set you up.)
Regarding Subscription Account and Service Account, here’s how to differentiate:
- Subscription account is info-based like Bloggers and News portal site. Subscribers get one push message from the OA a day.
- Service account, like how it’s named, is service-based. Users follow to have certain interactions (services like banking, yellow page, e-commerce) via the OA. The maximum number of push messages per month is 4.
If you’re interested in the knowing the differences further, feel free to check out the full table. (Translated from http://file.service.qq.com/user-files/uploads/201612/cc31a8aa962694ea6a2b2ee08bdc4632.jpg)
|WeChat Official Accounts Comparison|
|Account Types||Subscription Account||Service Account||Enterprise Account|
|Intended Audiences||Individuals, Organizations||Not for Individuals||Enterprises, Gov. and other organizations|
|Permissions||Not verified||Verified||Not verified||Verified||Not verified||Verified|
|Message in chat list||v||v||v||v|
|Message folded in subscription list||v||v|
|1 push msg per day||v||v|
|4 push msgs per month||v||v|
|Unlimited push msg.||v||v|
|Protected messages (no forwarding)||v||v|
|Msg. receive/reply API||v||v||v||v||v||v|
|9 Advanced APIs (e.g. location, OAuth2.0)||Conditional||v||Conditional|
|WeChat Payment (store)||Conditional||v||v|
- Can overseas business have WeChat OA? If so, what’re the options?
This question can actually be reframed as “What’s the difference between “international official account” vs. “local WeChat official account”, a.k.a., WeChat account and Weixin Account?” (Note: Weixin is the Chinese pinyin name of WeChat)
The single biggest difference is the subscription limitation. According to Tencent (WeChat’s holding company), WeChat accounts within the territory of China cannot follow overseas official accounts currently, but overseas WeChat accounts can follow official accounts within the territory of China.
In short, if you’re an overseas business entity without a Chinese business license or a Chinese bank account, you could consider the international version, however, you may lose a big part of the potential audience. WeChat was first launched in 2010. If your business is only targeting WeChat users who are already outside China before 2010, the international account will work perfectly fine.
|International OA (WeChat)||Local OA (Weixin)|
|WeChat users registered outside of China (foreign phone #)||Can follow||Can follow|
|WeChat accounts registered in China||CANNOT follow||Can follow|
|Apply from||http://apply.WeChat.com/||Chat with westOeast|
- Why do I need to get a verified OA and how can my OA be verified?
WeChat verification intends to guarantee truth and security of official account information on the WeChat Official Account Admin Platform.
Please refer to the translated table in Question 2, where you can see plenty of perks of being verified. Other than getting advanced APIs, verified Official Account is the prerequisite if you want to host advertisement via your OA or market your OA via WeChat ads.
Note: If you applied the international WeChat account, only service account can be verified.
The WeChat Team has very strict rules regulating businesses to pass through the verification process. Also, the verification is a reoccurring procedure – WeChat wants to make sure the OAs go through the audit every year and renew their verification.
In regards to the verification checklist, different conditions are required in different regions. Even different account types, different industries will have different requirements. Feel free to drop us a line and let westOeast team prepare you the detailed checklist.
- How do I manage my WeChat OA?
WeChat has the OA service portal at https://mp.Weixin.qq.com/. You’ll have the logins once the registration is done. It gives you the access to set up the account, manage the users, curate posts and launch ad campaigns like Facebook Business Manager, in Chinese.
By the way, if your WeChat OA is the international account, here’s the admin platform portal in English. https://admin.WeChat.com/
Noticed the differences in the URL? Weixin vs. WeChat.
In our Part 2 blog, there will be more discussions around how to customize your OA and how can you monetize your WeChat OA content.
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