WeChat maker Tencent to bolster its mobile advertising offering in the US

WeChat app maker Tencent has plans to unveil a new advertising platform for US brands and advertisers as the company turns to attract brands outside of China. WeChat currently has 963 million monthly users. Other brands owned by Tencent include the QQ, Qzone and Tencent Video and News apps. Chinese consumers are estimated to be spending 55% of their mobile hours across these properties.

According to eMarketer estimates, the WeChat app alone has a penetration rate of 79.1% of smartphone users in the country, making it a prime opportunity for marketers to reach a huge user base.

Tencent has been careful to morph its once-messaging app into more of an allrounder. WeChat includes online payment features and ordering functionalities from food to rides.

As a result, the company has been able to collect a large amount of user data from and that will be its selling point to advertisers. This gives the company a clear advantage in addressing multiple marketer concerns when it comes to cross-device audience reach.

To attract US brands, Tencent will be offering an advertising service with a dedicated sales team in California. The team will be answering any concerns advertisers may have in reaching audiences in China. Ads are then placed on WeChat Moments – the feed-style publishing corner of the app.

The company also suggested that the new advertising capabilities could enable US advertisers to reach Chinese tourists visiting the country. Indeed, Chinese tourists spent around $35 billion in the US last year.

However, the company understands that advertising load requires careful placement in order to ensure a smooth and non-disruptive user experience. Therefore, it is limiting the number of adverts users are seeing to just one a day.

Mall operator Simon Property Group and fashion label Rebecca Minkoff were among two US brands testing the new Tencent ad platform. Kristen Esposito VP of Tourism at Simon Property Group, says:

“Tencent and WeChat’s new travel targeting and advertising solutions provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to directly connect with Chinese travelers, both in China and when they visit the U.S. China is projected to be the largest overseas inbound travel market to the U.S. by 2021, so the potential for growth is truly extraordinary.”