Today, many businesses have realized the importance of official accounts and are tempted to have one themselves, but without clear knowledge of what they are for. They saw others have it, and they blindly follow suit. This, to put it in a different light, is in itself proof of an official account’s value to a company, or it won’t be able to gain such popularity.



It’s necessary for a company to level up its brand recognition through an official account, for it is an integral part to WeChat, an App with a user base of 1 billion people. That puts almost all Chinese people on board.Unfortunately, when making the attempt at official accounts, most business owners will be perplexed by the stark choice between a subscription account and a service account.


Surely, before making the decision, you’d better learn their differences, compare their pros and cons, and see which one suits your needs better. Then, what are the differences in their functionalities (the most obvious being their monthly allowance for pushes) that shaped their respective positioning?

I. Subscription Account


According to Tencent, the purpose of subscription accounts is to provide a new form of information dissemination for media outlets and individuals so as to build a better model to manage and communicate with their readers.

Thus, subscription accounts are similar to newspapers and magazines, the main aim of which is to convey information to their audience. If that fits your core demand, and you seek to boost the influence and recognition of your brand, subscription accounts are for you.

The biggest advantage of a subscription account is in its ability to push more messages: you can push your content once a day, with a maximum capacity of 8 messages.

Its drawback is that the content will be put in the Subscription Account Folder and stay parallel to messages sent by other content creators. That may lower the chance of a message to be clicked open and thus of a reader to be converted into a customer, since readers need to proactively choose messages to read. Thus, creators must ensure the consistency of their posts’ quality and the frequency of the pushes, so that readers will be drawn to the accounts on a regular basis.


Subscription accounts frequently read by a certain user will be shown at the top of his/her folder. A user can also mark his/her favorite accounts as “starred”. 

II. Service Account


A service account is defined as a brand new service platform to provide businesses and other organizations with greater capability to manage their users and offer services.The definition shows that service accounts are comparable to official websites of companies which help customers get in touch with the company and make product inquiry. Therefore, if you expect an official account to help you serve the customers and maintain the admin system, go with a service account.


As is mentioned above, the biggest difference between the two kinds of official account lies in the number of pushes per month: a service account is only able to push 4 times to its subscribers monthly. Instead of being hidden in the folder, however, the pushes will be directly shown in the user’s main feed. 

The conspicuousness of service accounts gives the messages more exposure and better chances to be opened. But it also makes the account more easily to unfollow, since users only need to swipe left to unfollow if they get fed up with the content. 

In fact, the core value of service accounts is not that it won’t be folded, but that it has more API access. Don’t be baffled by the technical jargon, for you only need to know what functions on service accounts can be achieved through API. 

To begin with, service accounts can send subscribers notifications about services through API: subscribers can be notified that the products they purchased online have been shipped, or that the packages will soon be delivered to them; they can receive messages about their transactions each time they use a credit card or a membership card.That is to say, in reality, you can well exceed the 4-push-per-month limit using this access. 

There is another highly useful API: generating QR Codes with parameters.Say, you want to publicize a certain service account in three distinct promotional events in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and you hope to know clearly where the new subscribers are from,  then this function may come in handy. You can generate three QR Codes which, after being scanned, lead to the same account, but the people who scan them are put in different categories in your system. That way, you can closely follow progress of the events and classify users accordingly.

These QR Codes can be extremely helpful for your operation, now that you can push targeted messages based on the categorizations. If the subscribers are divided into three groups, each member in one of the groups can receive four pushes per month that may be totally different from those received by the other two groups. Using this, you can have targeted user management.

In addition, WeChat Pay is only available on service accounts. Therefore, if you plan to develop online stores, membership systems, or mini-programs that involve payments, service accounts is the only option on the table.

III. Service Account or Subscription Account


In most cases, companies would go directly for subscription accounts. Did they make the wrong choice?The answer: it depends on the companies’ need. If you have a clear mind about your company’s positioning and make serious efforts to develop your account, a service account or a subscription account, or a dual model of them both will bring you substantial profits anyhow. The following examples may help to keep it in perspective.

Subscription account-Luogic  


The subject that registered the account is shown as “LUO Zhenyu, an experienced media practitioner”. Each day, he would push a 60-second voice message to the subscribers. This unconventional form has been proved a tremendous success: all headline messages from the account have 100,000+ views.


In the main interface of Luogic, a “Store” button is set at the bottom to sell its products, and services like Online Service, Order Inquiry and Contact Us are provided in the drop-up menu of User Service. In a sense, Luogic incorporated the functions of a one.
Service account-McDonald’s

McDonald’s mainly operates a service account on WeChat which notifies the subscribers of the latest theme sets, discounts and holiday events.


Whenever someone subscribes to the account, it will send him/her a message that includes information like membership registration, self-service ordering and food delivery. 

The most valuable service the account provides is self-service ordering, with which customers no longer need to wait in line to order their food. This constantly bring subscribers to the account, since even after users unfollow the account, they will have to refollow if they want to enjoy the convenience next time. The discount information that occupies the account will also forge strong connections with its subscribers. 

Subscription account and service account-Red 


Red is a social platform to share posts about cosmetic products. For the users to distinguish its subscription account and service account, it named them “Red APP” and “Red Service Account” respectively.


The two accounts have their distinct functions. The service account is mainly about viral products, discounts and events on its store, while the subscription account posts messages about lifestyles and tips on makeup and garments. 

By running two official accounts, Red has enlarged its userbase. The service account can prompt subscribers to make purchases while the subscription account can turn readers into potential buyers. 

IV. Conclusions


The author of Flow Pool once said that a service account is in effect an independent App, possibly with even higher value; he suggested anyone who considers developing an App to try a service account instead.


Meanwhile, a subscription account is more comparable to a media platform, with greater advantages in vertical content to improve brand image.


The dual model is the best for an international brand that attempts to set foot in China’s market. It can build online influence and attract potential buyers by posting content catered to its audience on a subscription account, while managing its official image and maintaining its customers with a service account.