Facebook vs. WeChat
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Facebook vs. WeChat: Know this before Advertising in 2024

Facebook vs. WeChat is a great central question and starting point for successful social media marketing in China and Western countries. In comparison, we will answer questions about who to reach, how much it costs, and how effective it is.

Some may argue that Facebook has been around for almost a decade longer than WeChat, is available worldwide, and has triple the audience. Nonetheless, the versatile Chinese platform WeChat holds its own against its Western counterpart and is by no means inferior. In fact, WeChat opens the door to the “Middle Kingdom” and millions of ready-to-buy Chinese consumers.

Let the China specialists at WeChat Advertising guide you through the main similarities and differences, usage patterns, and advertising opportunities when it comes to Facebook vs. WeChat. We provide solutions for global B2B service-oriented businesses, in particular in the travel, education, and Software as a Service (SaaS) sectors.

These insights will equip your international brand to make informed decisions about the platforms and advertising methods to use so you can lift the potential of the Chinese market.

The Basics

As you may know, Facebook, now owned by Meta Platforms, was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and four other Harvard students. As of Q2/2024, Facebook has just over 3 billion monthly active users and is banned in seven countries, including China. The largest number of Facebook users, one-third, is between 25 and 34 years old.

On the other hand, WeChat or Weixin, was developed by Allen Zhang and released in 2011. It is owned by Tencent and has become China’s “super app for everything”. As of Q2/2024, WeChat boasts more than 1.3 billion monthly active users. The app’s largest user demographic is 24 years and below (one-third), and 25 to 30 years old (25%).


Now that we have established the Facebook vs. WeChat basics, let us take a look at design, cultural context, content & e-commerce, and payment services.


Facebook was initially designed for desktop and is now also compatible with mobile devices. In contrast, WeChat was built with a mobile-first approach from the start. Both apps are now compatible with iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android, Windows, MacOS, and multiple web browsers.

Therefore, WeChat has a slight advantage in terms of mobile design. Keep this in mind when designing ads and marketing campaigns.

Cultural Context

While Facebook is mostly used for socializing and networking in Western countries, WeChat is an integral part of daily life in China. It is used for messaging, payments, shopping, news, events, and much more.

Content & E-Commerce

On Facebook, users typically engage with posts (text, photos, videos, ads) within their newsfeeds. They predominantly use the like and comment function as well as the messaging service. 

Since Facebook focuses on social interactions, the platform is more suitable for brand building and customer engagement in terms of e-commerce.

In the WeChat ecosystem, users engage with user-generated content and ads through official accounts, mini-programs, in-app shopping, moments, videos, and much more. In general, WeChat is more dynamic and versatile. 

As such, in terms of e-commerce, WeChat offers a larger variety of advertising opportunities compared to Facebook which are more engaging and drive conversions.

Payment Services

It may not surprise you to read that WeChat Pay, launched in 2013, is well thought out and part of the daily lives of 1.2 million monthly active users. As of Q2/2024, WeChat Pay is available in 49 countries/regions.

On the other hand, you may not have heard of Meta Pay yet, which was launched in 2019. Meta Pay is less versatile: it only allows for payments through the Meta companies Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. There is no official data on the number of monthly active users of this payment service. However, Meta Pay is available in more than 160 countries and in 55 currencies.

WeChat Advertising - Facebook vs. WeChat

Now, let’s look at advertising options on both Facebook vs. WeChat.

Facebook vs. WeChat: Advertising

Now, let’s move on to the aspect that may be most relevant for brands. Advertising on Facebook and WeChat. Both apps have ample ad formats to reach the goals your brand set out in its marketing strategy.

In terms of costs, these depend on the type of ad, duration, and reach you aim at. Overall, entry price points to run ads are lower for Facebook ads, starting from 1 USD.

Ad Formats on Facebook

Advertising campaigns on Facebook are suitable to reach specific demographics, engage users, and raise brand awareness, and drive conversion (website visits, app downloads, etc.).

  • Image Ad
  • Video Ad
  • Carousel Ad (up to 10 images)
  • Instant Experience Ad
  • Collection Ad

Branded posts on Facebook are seamlessly tied into the feed and often appear organic. They have a wider reach and are considered more targeted compared to WeChat.

There are 35 categories that are banned/restricted from advertising on Facebook, including tobacco, weapons and adult products/services.

The Call to Action (CTA) typically directs users to an external website

Ad Formats on WeChat

On the other hand, ads within WeChat are clearly recognizable as such. And they are more geared towards friends circles rather than broad user circles.

In the WeChat app, there are five main opportunities to run ads with lump sum costs and CPM/CPC models:

  • Moment Ad
  • Official Account Ad
  • Video Account Ad
  • Mini-Program Ad
  • Search Ad

There are 26 categories restricted/banned from advertising on WeChat. For example, ads for adult services/products, gambling, drugs, tobacco and weapons are banned. On the other hand, ads for sectors like real estate, financial, and medical services are strongly monitored, and it’s difficult to obtain verification. 

Besides, advertising regulations on WeChat are much stricter compared to Facebook. For example, superlatives (best, greatest, etc.) may not be used, and images must be realistic.

Finally, WeChat ads typically point to a landing page in the WeChat ecosystem: a WeChat Official Account, a WeChat Mini-Program, or similar.

Take a look at this article for a detailed breakdown of WeChat advertising options, and how to set up your WeChat ad campaigns in the dashboard back office.

Running WeChat Ads: Practical Tips

Based on years of on-the-ground experience, we can share these practical tips with you when planning your Chinese social media marketing strategy and setting up WeChat ads.

  1. Audience & Demographic: Be clear on who you want to reach and where
  2. Tailored Content: Localize your messages and visuals to resonate with Chinese consumers
  3. Mobile First: Use large images and few words so that ads are easy to grasp on a small screen
  4. Showstopper Images/Videos: In the colorful online world of social media, your brand can stand out with an appealing large image that disrupts the scrolling behavior of users and grabs their attention.
  5. Call to Action: Include a clear “To Do” for your audience, e.g. download the app

To learn more, take a look at these frequently asked questions about WeChat advertising. Our team of China experts helps to boost your brand’s presence and performance in the world’s largest consumer market.

Facebook vs. WeChat: The Takeaway

Both platforms offer valuable opportunities for international brands seeking to connect with their audience across the globe and tap into new markets and customer demographics.

In summary, these are the main differences:

Blocked countriesChina, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Russia, Turkmenistan, UgandaIndia
CharacteristicFocus on social interactionsMany functionalities, integrated into the daily lives of Chinese
Monthly active users3 billion people around the world, most users in India, the US, and Indonesia1.3 billion people around the world, 80% in China
Main user demographic25 – 34 yearsUp to 24 years
AudienceWestern audience, 50 million overseas ChineseFocus on Chinese in China and around the world
AdvertisementImageVideoCarouseInstant ExperienceCollectionMomentOfficial AccountVideo AccountMini-ProgramSearch
Banned/restricted categories for advertisement35 categories26 categories
CTATypically to external websitesTypically to landing pages in WeChat ecosystem

Lift the potential of the Chinese market and Chinese consumers around the world to take your international business to the next level. 

You don’t know how to get started with Facebook vs. WeChat ads and campaigns? You want to save time, energy, and money? The China specialists at WeChat advertising are here to lend you a helping hand. Redeem your FREE consultation here.

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