Weibo Boosts User Numbers With Chinese New Year Cash Giveaway
Weibo has partnered with Alipay to launch a Chinese New Year lucky gift campaign in a bid to recruit users back to the site, and offer greater exposure for brands.
Chinese microblogging site Weibo has launched a cash giveaway campaign for Chinese New Year, designed to drive up user numbers and give brands on the platform more visibility.
Weibo has generated more than 4 billion views and 55 million discussions in less than three days thanks to the “2015 Let Hongbao Fly” promotion, according to China Internet Watch. It was launched on February 2 in partnership with online payment company Alipay and allows users to donate or receive money via virtual lucky red envelopes.
“The red envelope activity might not be the most elegant or creative commercial initiative, but it’s one of the best uses of the platform’s functions, and is direct, fast, and effective,” says Linda Yu, lead strategist at Red Ant China.
“For brands that want to raise awareness, it is especially useful.”
With thousands of companies and individuals participating in the event, finding a way to stand out is important, says Yu.
“Good brands are offering attractive prizes, thoughtful execution, celebrity Weibo interaction and endorsement, and resources integration,” she says.
Yu cites LOTTE Duty Free, which is giving out Prada bags and iPhone 5S in addition to money. Other brands are participating in an integrated online and offline option, where users can win a red envelope by scanning codes at train stations, airports, and shopping malls.
For some time, Weibo has been grappling with declining “netizens” or Chinese Internet users, many of whom have moved to Tencent’s WeChat – a messaging application popular for its private and personalized features.
This latest attempt to increase visitors to the site mirrors a WeChat campaign last year, which gave its users the option to send money to friends over the Chinese New Year period.
“It makes perfect sense that they are doing it,” says Chris Baker, managing director at Totem Media. “This is Alipay and Weibo’s attempt to counteract what WeChat has done in the past. Last year during Chinese New Year, WeChat did an incredible job of getting users to integrate bank cards, personal details, and get more users on the site using e-commerce functions.”
Based around the Chinese New Year practice of giving money to friends and family via a lucky red envelope, known in China as a hongbao, the campaign also asks users to set up an Alipay account to either win cash or give money on the Weibo feed.
A critical feature allows netizens to donate to the hongbaos of their favorite celebrities, after which their name appears alongside that of their idol.
The hongbao of Wang Junkai from Chinese boy band TF Boys attracted donations from more than 6,500 fans within 10 hours of the campaign launch, while China Internet Watch has reported that 5,490,000 virtual red envelopes were given away in the first eight hours.
“Brands have a lot invested in Weibo,” says Baker. “So any opportunity to get users back to Weibo is good for them.”
More than 1 billion yuan (US$ 160 million) is expected to be exchanged through the initiative over the Chinese New Year holiday.
Article by Sophie Loras from ClickZ .