Marketing expenses are soaring for WeChat‘s parent company, Tencent, as they have invested heavily within the last few quarters. For WeChat, advertising expenditures are only going to keep increasing so that international presence can be known among other competitive markets, including the United States and Canada.
Tencent’s marketing spending piked from 20% in the third quarter of 2012 to 26% in the third quarter of 2013 (based on a percentage of overall revenue). Further analysis suggested that the primary reason was the significant push for WeChat to enter into global markets outside of China utilizing premium advertising mediums and opportunities. For instance, Tencent spent approximately $200 million to employ Argentinian soccer player, Lionel Messi for WeChat’s TV spot ads.
“Weixin [WeChat] continued to enjoy rapid user growth thanks to its innovative features and compelling user experience, extending its position as the leading smart-phone-only community in China. We stepped up our marketing activities for WeChat in international markets and, as a result, WeChat’s user growth accelerated during the quarter. In August 2013, we introduced new versions of Weixin and WeChat which integrate with services such as online games, stickers and payment, allowing us to broaden our service offering to users and explore new business opportunities.”
Promoting its worldwide marketing efforts, Tencent is now encouraging its existing user base to connect their Google accounts to WeChat so invitations can be sent through Google contacts as well. As a bonus reward, users who get 5 of their Google contacts to join WeChat will instantly win a $25 gift card towards Restaurant.com, an alternative to Seamless and GrubHub.