We have posted before about many features that are incorporated into WeChat app. One of the latest is a mini-program function. It’s an excellent way of making sure its users won’t ever leave the app. It was not very welcomed right after it was introduced last year, but now many brands create their own mini-websites and mini-stores to make sure they don’t miss out on the trend. The mini-programs indeed make a user experience quite pleasant. As they work within WeChat app and have to be light-weighted, designers need to make sure they are very simple and therefore easy to use.
One of many possibilities the mini-programs create is playing games. Of course with no need of downloading them. At the end of 2017, WeChat released 17 mini-games announcing at the same time to expect more in the future. However, one of them got an almost immediate and overwhelming attention.
‘Jump Jump’ (跳一跳) reached 170 mln daily active users (data by Jan 2018). After they introduced group games, the number of users playing the game at the same time hit 28 million!
There are two core strengths of the mini-game. First, it is very simple and requires no special skills. Just like that basketball game you play within Facebook Messenger, Jump Jump is a perfect time-killer and it’s pretty addictive. People even post the clips from the game or videos of their cats playing the game.
Second, it relies on WeChat’s billion users. Players can share their scores and compare with their friends’ scores after each round. It works a bit like a domino effect when one person starts playing, everyone else follows.
Naturally, as the game gained so many users, the next step was to commercialize it. Hence, just before Chinese New Year, Tencent introduced in-game ads. First companies to grasp the opportunity was McDonald’s and Nike.
The ads are not complicated, just as the game itself. Some of the boxes are just being re-designed with a logo on top. When players jump onto the brand’s box, they get extra points. At the same time, a sound of brand’s choosing is played and the box can also change, displaying brand’s slogan etc. If the player stays on the box for a few seconds, an additional action can be triggered as well.
The process of creating the in-game ad takes at least 15 days, according to the information we got from Tencent Social Ads. The steps are:
Now, I’m sure you’d like to know how much WeChat charges for such an opportunity then. If you follow Chinese news, you might have heard some people even laugh at Nike for paying for the ad. According to the information we got, the prices go:
Jump Jump in-game ads are definitely pricey. And what is the benefit of investing in them? There’s no Call-To-Action, truth be told, there’s no action at all. The main purpose is increasing brand visibility. For McDonald’s and Nike’s case, both of the companies got a lot of media attention right after the ads were released. The story was not only covered by most of the media in China but also overseas.
Also, as the campaigns were launched for the Chinese New Year, the exposition was increased. Many WeChat users bored with family meetings wandered around the Internet and played Jump Jump as well. So the game’s active users reached its peak during this time.
I personally think though, all the hype around the ads arose mainly because those were the first two companies to launch this kind of campaigns. Unless the future ads get really creative, they probably won’t get as much attention. And one more thing to note, WeChat team is very peaky with the brands that can get involved in their Jump Jump ads.