June 6, 2023

Why does WeChat want to be a “little green book”?

WeChat is making up for the gap in short content, and a graphic publishing and display function similar to “Little Red Book” has been launched. This is also one of the biggest changes in the content release format of WeChat public accounts in recent years.


Legend: WeChat is on the left, and Xiaohongshu is on the right.

The latest graphic message function launched on WeChat looks exactly like a typical little red book note:At the top are up to 9 pictures that can be slid horizontally, with a ratio of 3:2. The title is the first paragraph under the picture, and a text description is attached (and an Emoji expression is added at the beginning of the paragraph). The message interface for this type of content is also raised from the end of the article to the lower left corner of the home page, which is more in line with the content interaction of notes.

WeChat has changed the limitation that the official account can only publish single pictures or articles all the year round, and has a lighter multi-picture carrier, and the word limit has also been expanded from 140 characters to 1,000 characters.

This content presentation method greatly reduces the threshold for users to participate, and the native advantages it brings to Xiaohongshu make the latter one of the most active content communities at present, with nearly 100 million users opening and consuming content every day.

WeChat’s launch of the picture message function is also aimed at the vitality that such short content may bring to the official account.In fact, the rapid growth and high activity of Xiaohongshu have aroused the vigilance of large domestic companies in recent years. Byte has set up a small red book special team to develop Lemon7, an overseas product similar to Xiaohongshu, and its Douyin has added a graphic release method; starting in 2022, Kuaishou will also begin to regard Xiaohongshu as a more direct competitor. Pay more attention to its business and organizational structure.

This is even more so for WeChat. With the overall decline of official accounts, the recommendation and presentation of content needs to be upgraded once.


“Little Green Book” complements WeChat short content

WeChat, which is very cautious about any product adjustments, announced this upgrade through the official public account “WeChat Pai”, which is rare and high-profile.

At present, it seems that this function only has a basic skeleton, which satisfies the display of multiple pictures and long texts, but the basic topic word function has not yet been connected, and the way of content presentation and the position in WeChat products may not be the final form.

But this does not prevent users from calling it the “Little Green Book” and ridiculing the way it presents the contents of the standard Little Red Book.

The most direct change brought about by the upgrade of graphic messages is the enrichment of WeChat short content ecology. In the WeChat public class in 2020, Zhang Xiaolong mentioned that short content is the direction that WeChat has been working hard-“The original idea of ​​the public platform is to replace SMS as a group sending tool based on connecting brands and subscribers, and effectively avoid Spam text messages. The content of group sending is not the key point, it should be all kinds of content, such as text, pictures, videos, etc.”

In 2020, the video account has made up for the shortcomings of video content, and has become the fastest-growing business in WeChat’s huge system. The upgrade of graphic and text messages in 2023 is an exploration of short content.

For a long time, WeChat’s short content ecology has not been prominent, and the official account has also been shaped by user behavior as a channel for publishing articles instead of short content such as text or graphics. What this brings to official accounts is the highest commercial value among all kinds of media. After all, most official accounts can only be published once a day, which has its scarcity, and articles can carry more information.

However, the way of taking notes includes physical objects, the display of “sellers’ show”, and text information as a supplement, becoming a natural platform for commodity planting. Before Xiaohongshu built a commercial system, the creators on the platform had already made money, so they were naturally close to the transaction.

WeChat tried to build product components for planting grass as early as 2018, but they all ended in failure. This time, planting grass was placed in the WeChat public account.

An undeniable fact is that the overall development of official accounts is also gradually declining. The third-party Yizan big data shows that the overall opening rate of WeChat official accounts has dropped from 2.3% in 2018 to 1.1% in 2020.Some media have done research on the official accounts of some technology media, and found that the opening rate of official accounts is generally less than 1%.

Since 2018, the accelerated growth of Douyin and Kuaishou has attracted most of the attention of users, and many creators have turned to short videos and live broadcasts. The content community dominated by Xiaohongshu also diverted the attention of users.


In fact, WeChat is also using different methods to enhance the attractiveness of official account content to users.

Since its birth, WeChat has been a platform dominated by social distribution, and the logic of official accounts is the same. Earlier, WeChat was also trying to help users find good content through more dimensional social recommendations. First, there are likes and reading functions, and then the content section of “Looking at it” is differentiated, and then it prompts how many friends have browsed and favorited the article, and recommends content based on the friend relationship chain; then it disrupts the time sorting and introduces more Multiple algorithms to recommend content.

Changes in graphic and text messages have become the biggest variable in the content of WeChat official accounts.an internetanalystIt is mentioned that WeChat is testing various small functions this year, and all kinds of connections must be tried, and the grayscale test may not be able to get out of the test server. But there is no doubt that users are gradually getting used to obtaining information in the form of Xiaohongshu notes. After all, today’s Xiaohongshu has become a content community that affects hundreds of millions of people’s lifestyles and consumption decisions, and it is also a content platform that many consumer brands have to deploy.

At the moment when the growth dividend has peaked, Internet platform companies are more fiercely competing for traffic. Each is infiltrating the other’s field and looking for new business possibilities, and the form of “notes” with many pictures and texts has not been absorbed by the official account in the past.

A noteworthy phenomenon is that many creators are Xiaohongshu and public account amphibious authors. However, limited by the product form, they had to change the short content into an article before publishing it on the official account. Now, the official account can become a new channel for note release. The diversity of content has been supplemented. For creators, this is a new opportunity to re-build their own content brand, and it is also a challenge for content reshuffle.


WeChat’s road to “planting grass”

As early as 2018, WeChat was exploring the “planting grass” business. From the earliest “My Shopping List” to the “Good Things Circle” in 2019, it was later renamed “WeChat Circle”.

The thinking of the WeChat team has undergone such a transformation: from directly sharing product links and seeing what friends are buying, to finding people with common interests through pictures, texts and interest circles.This is also called by the outside world that WeChat created the “Little Red Book” within the ecosystem.

When the “WeChat Circle” was launched, it appeared as an independent small component, in line with WeChat’s consistent product characteristics of large products and small components. The basic logic is to rely on circles of interest to distribute content, changing from content-first logic to circles of interest. Originally, “WeChat Circles” was the best platform to connect “content, social networking, and products” within the WeChat ecosystem at that time, and fashion public accounts including Rebecca and Ximen Dasao also opened their own circles.

“WeChat circles” are displayed in the form of small interest circles. To obtain or publish content, you need to join the community first. The entrance is deep and the attractiveness of the content is weakened. The operating mechanism of Xiaohongshu relies on the content of a single note to attract traffic, plus search and recommendation for information matching. The two present two completely different logics.

Due to the deep entrance and the failure to build a community atmosphere, it has become a private place for wechat business and marketing content. At the end of 2021, the circle business will be officially closed. WeChat’s first exploration of the content community failed.


You know, “WeChat Circle” has been recommended by Souyisou. When searching for a place name on WeChat, Circle was ranked third.But the result is that WeChat has failed to attract more users after many attempts.

a little red book MCN The person in charge of the organization recalled that WeChat once invited a group of Xiaohongshu experts and institutions to settle in, and pulled the recommendation group. They were mostly just synchronizing the content of Xiaohongshu to the “circle”. But “the volume is very small”, there are dozens of likes, and the more critical problem is that it cannot be realized.

However, the new version of graphic news products grown in the official account system is logically easier to solve the problems of traffic and monetization.The advantage of WeChat is that it has more than 1.3 billion ultra-high monthly activities and frequency of use, and the official account is the first gold mine that content creators dig on WeChat. Since the development of the official account, there has been a mature commercial quotation system, and its commercial value has also been basically verified in the past.

The official account provides a place for traffic, and it also has the possibility of basic subscription, WeChat search, and even social conversion. But as a content platform, in today’s WeChat official account relying on recommended traffic, the open rate has gradually become a metaphysics, and the attention content creators get has gradually become uncertain. The graphic message upgrade has just been launched, and the future product recommendation and presentation methods are still unknown.

In addition, the core of multi-graphic content lies in the supply and interactive atmosphere of the content, which is also the challenge that WeChat official account products will face. In particular, when the user’s newly registered official account cannot get the message function, and the message needs to rely on background review, the interactive effect will be greatly reduced. You should know that in Xiaohongshu, the amount of interaction such as comments is one of the most important indicators to measure the quality of notes.

The reason why Xiaohongshu can attract more and more users, and even break through the original female circle, so that 30% of the platform users are male users, depends on the supply and interactive atmosphere. For WeChat, which is trying to create “Little Red Book” again, the imitation of the form is very simple, but the construction of the community atmosphere and content pool is the most difficult part.

Ewen Eagle

I am the founder of Urbantechstory, a Technology based blog. where you find all kinds of trending technology, gaming news, and much more.

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