Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK) recently launched a paid ranking function for location-based applets in its WeChat mobile messaging app. Applications are now being taken to join limited closed beta testing.
A spokesperson for Tencent said that the function is still in the internal testing phase and has been set up within the applets platform, not as a part of WeChat's social advertising platform "Guangdiantong" (GDT).
When users use WeChat applets, applets that appear in the "nearby applets" list with the word "ad" attached are applets that have used the ad bidding function to secure an ad placement.
The WeChat location-based applet paid ranking feature is a part of the WeChat applet ecosystem. The feature provides targeted recommendations and optimization services based on a user's real-time location, time of entry, and user profile. The feature also supports targeting of users based on age, gender, OS, and time of ad delivery.
Editor's Note: The applets function in WeChat is located in the Discover channel of the app. Upon opening the applets function, the user will see a list of all the applets they have previously used (with "used" defined as any applet the user has searched and clicked open at least once). To the top left of this list is an option to view Nearby Applets, which, when clicked, displays a list of applets from businesses that have an offline outlet in the vicinity of the user, arranged in order of distance (meters) from the outlet to the user. WeChat's new location-based applet advertising system allows paying applet developers to have their applet appear in one of the top slots in this list, regardless of whether the applet actually has an offline store in the user's vicinity. The advertiser can designate geographies in which they wish to have their ad display, and all such ads are marked with the word "Guanggao" ("Advertisement"). Checking the platform today, Marbridge found that only the third position currently displays a paid ranking, which is consistent with what various Chinese news media have also reported, although Tencent has not made any official announcement about the number or placement of such paid rankings. For more information on this topic, please see WeChat Launches Support for Location-based Applets, MD 5/10/17 issue.