Private traffic has been around for a long time. More than a dozen years ago, some online stores on Taobao invited their buyers to join QQ Group chats for easier management and higher customer stickiness. Then, social networks like Renren drew the attention of e-commerce vendors, being the most prominent example. It didn’t have the money to buy traffic at first, so the company signed up 100,000 accounts which registered as female and followed tens of millions of people; next, they started to write posts and upload pictures that talked about makeup tips and places to buy cheap cosmetic products, so as to promote the website.Then WeChat came up and set the trend.


Private traffic is everywhere: those WeChat business people who often post pictures of themselves in a Maserati; numerous Pinduoduo links shared to WeChat that invite friends to join group purchases; and VIP fans Group chats of influencers, etc.



1.What are private traffic and KOC?


Private traffic was the most heated argot in the internet business last year. What is it anyway?To put it simply, private traffic, such as personal WeChat accounts and WeChat Work accounts, is the opposite of public traffic. It is embodied in many carriers and forms; official accounts, Group chats, and personal accounts are the most valuable ones to companies in this business.



KOC is another buzzword that recently emerged from private traffic. The major aspects of the term are as follows:


Private traffic is less open than that of public. In private traffic spaces like personal accounts, Moments and groups chats, KOCs can take full control of how their traffic is distributed, so as to heighten customer stickiness and foster more purchases.


The relationship between KOLs and users are more of one between celebrities and fans. The influencers’ communications to the followers are in a single direction.In contrast, KOCs can express their real thoughts on certain products as actual consumers, so the communications are made on an equal footing. KOCs are more like friends of users who can stand in users’ shoes and gain their trust.


Obscure jargons seldom appear in contents posted by KOCs. They project their images as real customers and endorse brands or products with personalized, down-to-earth and highly trust-worthy contents, instead of hard-sell ads.


2.Why did private traffic suddenly gain popularity?


Now that private traffic is no new concept, why did it receive such attention in 2019?There is an obvious answer: the dividend brought by traffic has reached its ceiling and buying traffic became too much of a cost. The merchants who used to pay huge amounts of money to buy ad slots on Baidu search result pages would now rather lower the cost of drawing consumers by shifting to a community-based operation approach.



The slowed growth of platforms is another reason. It’s not likely that Weibo will bring traffic dividends like it did in 2015 when platform traffic flourished; Tik-Tok is in good momentum these years, but its explosive period is coming to an end; even the jaw-dropping RMB 264.8 billion turnover of the 2019 Tmall shopping festival cannot conceal the fact that the competition for traffic has become white-hot.



For higher profits, platforms have taken a host of restrictive measures on traffic, elevating the cost for merchants to obtain traffic and making it an urgent matter for them to move the traffic into their private sphere.Another reason lies in the greater freedom of operation brought by private traffic, its biggest advantage. In addition to reduced cost, merchants can directly reach their customers and have information exchanges. The repeated communication with users can markedly boost conversion rate, repurchasing rate, as well as fission to a certain degree.


3. How to fully leverage private traffic?


You would be wrong from the beginning if you consider private traffic as large-scale fleecing. The point is not to add as many WeChat contacts as possible, but to precisely take aim at your target customers and ramp up conversion.There are three major phases of conversion through private traffic once you’ve identified the target of your brand or products.


After users are pulled in the private traffic, brand owners need to build connections with customers so that they can attend off-line events or do purchase.Perfect Diary is familiar to many people. By January of 2019, the brand had attracted 119.3 million followers on Taobao in less than three years, easily overtaking L’Oréal, the big foreign brand, which had 116.3 million followers. Perfect Diary also topped the chart of domestic makeup brands with an appraised value of over $1 billion .



With respect to user acquisition, Perfect Diary draws users with both online and offline approaches.Online, they guide users to follow their official account with Red Pocket Cards, while leading them to add the marketers’ personal accounts, after which they will be invited to join Group chats and scan Mini Program Code.


Offline, they channel the traffic with activities in physical stores. Customers in their stores are attracted by discounts and led to add the aforementioned WeChat personal account.The smart combination of Red Pocket Card and offline discounts synergizes the online and offline channels, and helps the brand to fully cover its target customers. The lovely animated image of the personal account can easily win the heart of female between 18-26, and alleviate users’ repulsion to the products.



Frequent interaction between users is the most direct method to retain them. It is known that there are more than a hundred personal accounts all with a single image and profile. That is to say, there is a huge team operating the accounts instead of a couple of employees.


Through Moments, the personal account projects its image as an attractive girl who takes good care of herself and knows a lot about makeup. In addition to the quality cosmetic products, she also posts pictures of herself at popular tourist attractions, expresses daily thoughts, and discusses cuisines. She’s just like a close friend of yours who’s always around. The makeup reviews and tutorials she posts let customers get a sense that she is a trustworthy and professional cosmetic specialist.


What’s more, plenty of makeup tips are shared to the Group chats set up by the personal account, which are urgently needed by makeup newbies. The variety of activities like releases of new products, makeup livestreaming and lottery activities continuously bring the users’ attention to the Group chats.



In this phase, product mechanism and operation are fully utilized to see fission from patrons. Since fission requires high loyalty from the customers, brands need to stand in the users’ shoes and share quality products or offer generous discounts to boost loyalty.


Perfect Diary would offer special discounts for fans in Group chats and Moments. The personal account would undertake seckilling discount activities. For example, users can get another item with 1 yuan or with a 50%-off. It would also have individual chats with users and foster repurchases by providing large discounts.


4.Private traffic & WeChat Mini Programs


The ultimate target for private traffic is to stimulate users to do purchases instead of merely promoting the brands. If you want to take advantage of the social nature of WeChat and content sharing of official accounts, while enjoying functions like online stores, targeted operation and data analysis, there is only one option: WeChat Mini Programs, which provide instant, convenient shopping services with low development costs.



XiBei, a restaurant with noodles as its signature, publicizes its brand image with an official account and 3000 store managers’ personal accounts. Marketing activities are also held to win customers’ trust and lead them to buy things in their Mini Program store. Statistics show that the turnover of the online store exceeded RMB 100 million in 2019.


WeChat Mini Program achieved a seamless conversion between online and offline. The multi-dimensional operation offers merchants more freedom and helps them break out of the restrictions of platforms. Thus, it is a favorable choice to enhance user stickiness and maintain relations with customers.