10 WeChat Official Account Rules You Need to Know
1. Not allowed to recall articles
A huge digital ecosystem that WeChat is, it is strict in monitoring their social platform to keep the app in check. The phrase ‘no time for regrets’ is best used here. You’ve got to be really sure about what you are about to publish because once the article goes live, there is no way you are allowed to recall it.
Although deletion of an article is allowed, as a subscription account, you will have to wait for the following day to push out your amended article. If you are a service account, your waiting time is extended to a week instead!
2. Limited to 5 Chinese character changes
While your articles cannot be recalled, you are able to edit the article. Before you heave a sigh of relief, you might want to note that you’re only restricted to five character changes. Including punctuations.
In the English language, a change of up to five words sounds passably doable. On the contrary, in the Chinese language, ‘five characters’ is a lot! For instance, you’ve just mentioned swimming (游泳) in your article. Yet after you posted the article you realise you got the wrong activity and it was meant to be running (跑步) instead. In English, that will only be a one-word change, but in Mandarin, that will be a two-character change. Imagine the horror if you had multiple mentions of “swimming (游泳)” in the article…… You can forget about any other punctuation changes you need to make.
On top of that, Chinese characters can be confusing at times. The characters can look similar to each other but mean nothing similar (e.g.: 哀 (ĀI) v.s. 衰 (SHUĀI)), otherwise they could share the same tonality although meaning completely different (e.g.: 心 (XĪN) v.s. 欣 (XĪN)). Either way, it is often that we can put out the wrong words if there is a slip of the pen.
3. WeChat Official Account name change limited to once per year
Rethinking your WeChat Official Account name? No problem — just be aware that you can only change your account’s name once per year. When we say ‘change’, it is not something that can be done in a snap of the fingers!
There are two scenarios here. If your account has been verified, your only chance to apply for a new Official Account name is when you submit materials to Tencent for your annual review. On the other hand, if your account has not been verified, you can only submit your new Official Account name during the account verification process. Either way, it is a tedious process of change.
4. Overseas WeChat Official Account advertising incapability
Majority of the businesses outside of China hold on to Overseas Official Account. The capability of the account only allows you to post content to users outside of China. At the same time, you are unable to run any sort of advertisement on such an account. As a brand, that makes your marketing efforts limited.
The good news, WeChat has now opened up a great alternative called the Universal Overseas Account which allows businesses to push content to anyone on the WeChat sphere! Advertising is also allowed on these accounts.
5. WeChat Official Account followers unable to see who they are
As an account owner, you will be able to keep track of the follower count at the back end. However, there is one catch — you will not be able to unveil who this pool of followers are.
Thankfully there is an alternate way out to understanding your target audience. WeChat allows brands with Universal Accounts to do precise targeting when advertising on the platform. Targeting efforts can be customised to a tee, superseding this initial barrier.
6. Inserting external links into your Official Account articles
Unlike blogposts which enables external links to be within the article itself at any location, this hyperlink rule works differently in WeChat articles. The only location to place any external links is on the bottom of your article post.
Luckily, there is a way around it! If you fulfill these criteria that Tencent has set, you are able to insert links within your article:
1) Your Official Account must be a Service Account
2) Your article has to obtain the “Original” or “原创” tag, verified by Tencent
3) Your Official Account needs to have a verified WeChat Pay account
7. Repost of another WeChat Official Account’s article has to be whitelisted by the article owner
“Share” and “Repost” another relevant article you see on another Official Account? Be sure to be pre-approved by the original article owner. Only an approval from the Official Account can then allow you to share the entire article. Otherwise only the first 140 words of the article will be visible in your push notification.
8. Your Official Account name cannot contain special symbols/ spaces
When you are registering for your Official Account name for the first time, remember to exclude all that fanciful symbols. Nope, no spaces as well.
WeChat is rather strict on the naming convention of the Official Accounts and will not hesitate to stop the application process from moving forward to get the naming right.
9. Audio plugin on WeChat Official Account article
Freezing in the cold winter weather, but still wish to read the latest articles of your favorite Official Accounts? Fret not!
WeChat’s audio plugin capability allows the article to be read via audio through your earphones. In that way your hands can still be comfortably tucked into your jacket pockets whist accessing the article. All you need a recorded article in MP4 format and the recording will be able to be plugged in within the article on the backend.
10. The number of Moments Ads a user can see per day
Moments are what WeChat users use to share and view live posts by their friends and family. It is commonly known as the social feed of WeChat, similar to the idea of Facebook and Instagram.
Due to the high usage of Moments, Tencent released the capability of pushing advertisements for business Official Accounts to reach WeChat users in 2016. Initially, a WeChat user is only able to see one Moments Ad within their Moments feed, and that ad will stay in the feed for the next 24 hours. This is how Tencent regulates the inventory of the ads, ensuring its effectiveness for advertisers.
Recently in 2018, the algorithm was changed when Tencent saw a growing demand of Moments Ads from advertisers. Now, a user will be able to see two Moments Ads instead of one per user / day. As an advertiser, it’s great news as you are able to reach out to more WeChat users!