Turning 5-Second Content Into Million Dollar Returns


by Joseph Tsang

WeChat is every marketer’s go to platform in China right now, but creating shareable content to tap its 500 million users is the key.

With more than 500 million monthly active users (MAU), Tencent’s WeChat has become a vital element for most Chinese between the ages of 18 and 35.

WeChat is definitely the most important and powerful social media platform for marketers wanting to communicate with consumers in China today. Every time WeChat is opened, one can expect to come across anywhere between five to 10 branded content pieces.

This content is often in the format of HTML5. HTML5 is not the only way to create material on WeChat but it is certainly one of the most effective and popular formats for creating good visuals and user experiences, making content easy to share, easy to build, easy to understand in a device-friendly context.

As a result, advertisers and agencies have put a lot of effort into joining this HTML5 feast.

I recently stumbled on this WeChat post: “Your H5 will die in 5 seconds…” which paints a dire future for HTML5 on the outset, but reading on, makes the valid point that powerful copywriting is still crucial in communication.

It also reiterates HTML5’s promising conversion rates in China, (on average 25 percent) and a share rate at an average 12.61 percent.

Although many pieces of HTML5 content flows to us everyday, I bet if I was to ask how many of them each person remembers, the answer would be quite limited.

So what does stand out? And how can marketers turn the five-second browsing time into a campaign worth millions? Here are content-creating tips from three recent successful initiatives in China:

1. Create an Emotional Hook

Humans are emotional creatures, and if a campaign can reach their heart, it will rock! A recent Andy Lau movie, Lost and Love, a story about a dad looking for his lost child, made use of H5 for consumer communication, the movie developed a WeChat promotional initiative.

How it worked:

– Starting with an eye-catching question, it asked consumers when they last took a photo with their dad.

– It then encouraged consumers to key in the birth year of themselves and their dad.

– Which in turn, brought up an image of the Chinese zodiac signs of both the son / daughter and that of their dad.

– It ends by saying, “you can’t choose your dad, but you can choose to take him to the movies.”



Conclusion: Very simple interaction, bang on the heartstrings, direct call-to-action for buying a ticket.

2. Be Responsive to Hot Trends

Leveraging hot trends and hot topics can make H5 communication more effective.

Recently, a Japanese condom company successfully rode off the buzz around the “Avengers 2″ film.

Riding off the trend, it created an H5-page using humor as a way to bring up the product features


Conclusion: Nice design and creative execution, rode well on a popular trend.

3. Gamifying Life Experiences

Relevance is always a keyword for communicating with the consumers.

Alipay, a popular e-payment channel in China, created a game-like experience to calculate how much consumers were spending on the platform over the last 10 years.

Consumers of course were very interested to see their total spends, but at the same time, they were also curious to see how much their friends were spending. And although users were looking at their results through the Alipay platform, they were then content-sharing it over WeChat.

The result? People being able to see the spending results of their friends in a social space that in turn drove a lot of social buzz and market noise around Alibaba’s e-payment service – which all started from gamification.


Conclusion: Consumer relevant, simple interaction, shareable.

From these three examples, we can see that any nice idea can become a viral sensation when the content format is media-neutral.