On January 1, 2017, WeChat Mini Program was officially launched, with an introductory article called “Hello, I’m Mini Program” going viral. WeChat has been a maverick in the history of internet, and Mini Program is indeed a part of the WeChat ecosystem that people cannot ignore.



The Mini program team led by ZHANG Xiaolong, founder of WeChat, has notched success since its release. Official statistics shows that in less than 3 years, Mini Programs have covered over 200 niche markets and created a market value of above 500 billion yuan. There are currently 2.36 million Mini Programs that have served users 100 billion-plus times. Usage by foreign users went up by 200% on a daily basis and annual transactions surged sixfold.



W-axis Technology can provide all-round and multi-dimensional assistance to business owners in the current scramble for traffic entrances. Its services involve preliminary market research, technological breakthrough assistance during execution and data monitoring in later stages, so that business owners can do marketing in an integrated manner to see fission of traffic.

I. What are Mini Programs?

Mini Programs, or applets, provide businesses with a new window to access customers. Developers can quickly create a Mini Program that delivers excellent user experience, and it can be easily opened and disseminated in WeChat.


According to aldzs.com, the market size for advertising on WeChat Mini Programs will reach 150 billion yuan in 2022. Mini Program, as a rising traffic carrier of mobile internet, is a soon-to-be growth point in China’s mobile advertising.



II. How to use Mini Programs?


By clicking Mini Programs in the Discover page, you can find the applets you used before. They can also be accessed by pulling down the main interface of Chats.To search for new ones, you can do by swiping down the Chats interface, or go to Mini Programs in the Discover page. By inputting the name on the search bar, the applets you are looking for will be displayed.



III. Categories of Mini Programs


Tencent collected 8,041 viable questionnaires and had in-depth interviews with 27 users in a Mini Program Users’ Survey published in 2019. It put the most frequently used Mini Programs into 8 categories: games, lifestyle service, blog & news, e-commerce, useful tools, tourism, entertainment, and others.



Mini Games: Tiao Yi Tiao


On December 28, 2017, WeChat launched Mini Games and specially recommended Tiao Yi Tiao. Statistics shows that it has accumulated 310 million players by January of 2018, the largest player base ever obtained by a single game.



Lifestyle service: Yonghui Superstores


For the offline retailing industry, shortening queues and digitalizing service have long been headaches for businesses. If a company wants to establish an independent app for itself, not only does it need to spend a lot of money and overcome many hurdles, but it also faces the problems of promotion and data recording in the system. Thus, Yonghui Superstore chose to develop a Mini Program which rewarded it with twice the membership growth rate than before and a 60% retention rate.



Blogs & news: Weibo


Weibo rolled out its Mini Program on August 14, 2018. The posts shared from Weibo to WeChat would then be displayed in the form of a Mini Program. WeChat users can also check Weibo feed in the applet.The cooperation between Weibo with 500 million-plus users and WeChat with 1 billion-plus users can build a stable link to channel more potential users to Weibo.



E-commerce: Mogu Street


Mogu Female Garment was initially launched in June of 2017. In July, an array of functions like social media discounts (beta), live streaming and group buying were added to the applet. Twice the number of Mogu users were converted to buyers on the Mini Program than on its independent App.


Useful tools: Mobike


Mobike, a bike sharing company, attracted 50 million users to its Mini Program. Users receive bonus money by scanning QR Codes to unlock bikes with WeChat, locking up the bikes after arrival, and sharing the links to Group chats or Moments for others to win the money. When other WeChat users click the links to get the bonus money, they will also be led to the Mini Program.



Tourism: Ctrip


Within two years, the number of Ctrip Mini Program users went up from scratch to 250 million, its peak Daily Active Users reaching 10 million. In last years’ WeChat open course PRO, Ctrip was among the first batch of “Mini Programs of the Year”


Though only 29% of its Mini Program users are also on its independent App, the Mini Program brought Ctrip more young users and users in third and fourth-tier cities. The repurchase rate on the applet is 2.5 times that of H5 pages. Its overall user experience, and profits of retention and repurchase are also better than H5.



IV. Main ways users access Mini Programs


In addition to its lower development cost and shorter cycle compared to Apps, Mini Programs are endowed with strong capabilities to capture traffic thanks to its 60-plus entrances. W-axis Technology is in a good position to acquire the most recent updates. For example, we have been informed that the limit of Mini Programs’ code packages size was raised from 8M to 12M last month, but the documents on WeChat official website haven’t included this information by the time the article is published. By effectively taking advantage of these entrances with technologies, W-axis Technology can give the natural growth of Mini Programs a leg-up.


Sharing in chats


Individual chats and group chats are of great help to Mini Programs. When the functions of Mini Programs fit certain social contexts, users will take the initiative to share, and thus the Mini Programs are easily accessed by more users.For instance, Xiao Nian Gao+, a video editing Mini Program, is enjoying a steady growth of its userbase at 10 million users per month.



Sharing from Apps


Sharing from Apps is an important scenario. Links from Dianping, an App on food and leisure, when shared to WeChat, will become Mini Program entrance. When going out, its target users may not have its App on their phones, so they can open the Mini Program instead which takes no time to download, and their need at the time is quickly solved.



Taskbar & Search


In the latest WeChat 7.03 version, the Mini Program taskbar has been changed into a full-screen interface. By long-pressing one of the recently used Mini Programs, users can add the icon to My Mini Programs or remove it by dragging it to the bottom.


What’s more, by swiping down on the screen, the users can see a search bar at the top. For example, many users search for Chelaile Mini Program to check real-time bus information.





Barcode, QR Code and Mini-Program Code are important ways to connect online and offline since scanning it with WeChat is the first reaction when users see a code. In addition, traffic can be guided to Mini Program by using the code in offline scenarios.Express 100 experienced considerable growth when its Mini Program Code was promoted offline.



Mini Programs Nearby


The Mini Programs Nearby function was launched in May of 2017, which helps merchants to quickly showcase their Mini Programs to users around with a low threshold.When a user opens Discover-Mini Programs-Mini Programs Nearby at a certain place, they will obtain them instantly. This gives nearby merchants significant exposures.



V. Conclusions


Admit it or not, the internet traffic is coming to a bottleneck and the cost of traffic is going higher. When the growth of traffic dividends is facing stagnation, BAT are contending for the high ground of Mini Programs.


Indeed, Mini Programs are underpinned by huge traffic. Behind it are social networks like WeChat, with 1.151 billion monthly active users, and QQ, with 653.4 million monthly active users, as well as leading platforms in certain industries, such as v.qq.com, with over 500 million monthly active users, and QQ Browser, QQ Music, news.qq.com, etc. Mini Program ads guide traffic in both directions, thereby serving as a bridge to connect online users and offline scenarios.



In addition to considerable underpinning traffic, Tencent is ramping up the integration of Mini Programs with Moments Ads. In May of 2019, WeChat increased the Ad Load of Moments Ads to include a third ad. In July, Mini Programs are permitted to be directly put on Moments. On the other hand, WeChat is making many attempts on ad forms. For instance, WeChat has chained ads at the bottom of official account posts with those in Mini Programs, so that the traffic sources can gain more profits; WeChat has also released Interactive Card Ads, which encourage users to click and jump to Mini Programs or Apps.



It has been three years since the launching of Mini Programs. Along with further unleashing of their potential, W-axis Technology will provide more full-fledge and authoritative Mini Program Development services by choosing template or tailored development plans based on the needs of business owners to equip them with better capabilities to capture traffic in Mini Programs.