The Weibo of 2018 is not the Weibo we used to know. In parts 1 and 2 we talked about the introduction of Weibo Stories, Weibo’s 10 new rules for KOL’s, Weibo’s overhaul of their feeds ads platform and services and the way the CCP’s 19th Plan affected users and brands on Weibo. We also discussed the unique challenges and opportunities each of these changes introduced for brands. So, what else is trending in China on Weibo?
Weibo’s Toutiao style algorithm: a step-up or a turn-off?
Weibo’s content feed has changed from a time-based feed to one based on a ‘content optimisation algorithm’, set to prioritise content with high levels of user engagement. No longer favouring段子手 (creators of humorous, clickbait style entertainment content) or accounts with large follower numbers. The new AI algorithms also automatically follow and unfollow or hide content on users’ behalf by analysing user preferences and behaviours. However, the changes haven’t proven popular with users thus far:
For brands, this means KOL engagement rates and follower advocacy will be much more important going forward than follower numbers. Quality story-telling and call to action content will be key to win-over Weibo’s algorithm, which is set to prioritise ‘high-quality, specialised’ content.
What this means for brands: KOL engagement rates and follower advocacy will be much more important going forward than follower numbers. Quality story-telling and added value content will be essential to win-over Weibo’s algorithm, which is set to prioritise ‘high-quality, specialised’ posts, such as multi-media or expert content. If your brand has noticed a drop in outreach for your content or KOL campaigns, you may need to update your strategy to align with Weibo’s new focus.
Looking forward: what’s coming to Weibo in 2018?
Better content, paid content:
The quick success of live streaming and AMA platforms at monetising user content and engagement continued to draw attention through 2017, which may have been the inspiration for Weibo’s ‘V+’ concept. After a brief period of beta testing paid content for certain celebrities and KOLs in 2017, there has been a lot of hype about the rolling out of Weibo’s paid content and V+ (Premium membership) services in 2018.
Want to know more about how to include pay-to-view content as part of your China strategy? Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming workshops and blogs (or contact us for more information).
Increased integration of KOL content with e-commerce channels:
In competition with WeChat and upcoming social-commerce channels, Weibo is looking to improve its platforms conversion rates, helping content producers and online sellers to drive traffic and increasing conversion rates for Weibo promotional content.
More options for video advertising:
Senior Weibo execs highlighted at least three new styles of video advertising to launch in 2018 as part of their end of year conference.
For consumers and brands, significant changes are coming to Weibo this year, which is good news for those hoping to integrate Weibo into their digital marketing and e-commerce strategy. Whether you want to reach Chinese consumers near you or in mainland China, Weibo can work wonders for your brand.
Not on Weibo yet? Want to know how to get the most out of your brand’s Weibo presence? Talk to a member of our team today, call us on 020 3011 0088 or leave us a message here.
Links to Original Sources: