Wechat Mini Program was brought to the public on Jan. 9th, 2017. Now it’s been one year past so it is high time we recap the development pace of this product and see how it’s doing, and more importantly, analyze what marketers can do with this product.

Some milestones:

2017.01.09: Tencent launched Wechat Mini Program officially

2017.03.28: Wechat Mini Program access through Wechat Official Account was enabled

2017.04.17: Some famous brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s etc. launched their self-developed mini programs

2017.05.10: “Mini Program Nearby” feature was released

2017.05.12: “Wechat Mini Program Data Assistant” was released

2017.06.01: Integration with Wechat Pay was enabled

2017.07.05: Mini programs were able to link to each other

2017.08.17: “Mini Program Nearby” was enabled to filter by industry category

2017.09.07: Follow Wechat Official Account after paying in mini programs feature was enabled

2017.09.09: Access through Wechat homepage drop down menu to Mini Program enabled

2017.09.27: Mini Program was able to display on Wechat Official Account advertisements

2017.11.17: Store Mini Program was released

2017.12.28:”Games” mini program was released

2018.01.04: Opening mini program through Moment post was enabled

Status quo of Wechat mini program

Allen Zhang, the CEO of Wechat, has claimed in public that Wechat Mini Program bears the most hope among all Wechat products. 2017 is a fast developing year for mini program. Wechat team has enriched mini program with 100+ features and 50+ access entrance to get traffic. Some key figures to show the status quo of Wechat Mini Program (released by Wechat) :

  • 170 million users are using mini program every day
  • 580,000 mini programs
  • 1 million+ mini program developers, including business and individual developers

As we can see, Wechat Mini Program is borne with Wechat team’s expectation and is developing fast. But back to the basics, is it a good platform to do marketing? We think it is, but itself alone is not a good choice.

About “use it and drop it”

Wechat’s team has repeatedly pointed out that their vision for Wechat Mini Program is “what you see is what you get”, and their expectation for mini program is “use it and drop it”. Unlike Apps that requires download, registration, verification and the like, mini program can provide service to any user instantly without any barriers. In this way, mini program provides maximum convenience for customers.

However, this ”I see, I use, I leave” attribute is a blessing but also a curse for marketers. Because users easily come and go and customer retention becomes an issue, especially when developing a mini program is considered an investment and conversion tracking is the core of all marketing nowadays.

About user experience

Comparing to popularly used H5, mini programs are more stable, reliable and interactive. Promotions often contain certain monetary attributes and when a coupon or discount (learn more on Wechat coupon system), or payment meets constantly crushed webpages it can cause severe user experience problem which leads to loss of customers. Besides, mini program doesn’t allow notification push up to avoid spamming so that to enhance overall user experience.

But still, this is not good news for marketers because they lost the chance to keep customers updated with new promotions or product releases.

My opinion towards mini program is that it is a promising platform for marketing. Statista forecasts there will be 7.3 million apps in 2018. The CPA for some vertical Apps user obtaining exceeds 500 RMB. Comparing with those, 580,000 mini programs seems like a better battleground. Nonetheless, marketers need to keep in mind of the specialties of this platform and execute with a carefully carved plan for it.