Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jun 30, 2016

Video: WPP's Bessie Lee on downside of rushing to "hardcore advertising"

We spoke with WPP China CEO Bessie Lee at Cannes. Here she discusses how WeChat focused on improving user stickiness via good UX before getting harried about commercial monetisation.

Here are Lee's key points from an exclusive interview last week in Cannes:

  • The app boom is over. Most smartphone users have on average five to ten apps they use every day. It is exhausting and time-consuming, but marketers are still creating more apps. Realising the mobile lifestyle of today's Chinese consumers is not about providing them with a string of individual apps for their every need and bloating their phones with more software.
  • Tencent said no to hardcore advertising in WeChat's first four years of operations, even if more than 80 percent of its users spend more than an hour a day on it. Working on its overall UX design increased the opportunity costs for users to switch to another app. A question to always ask is how do you monetise without compromising user experience?
  • It was frustrating for agencies early on as their clients wanted to buy ads on WeChat,, but this made Tencent's monetisation model unique compared to Facebook and Google. The company wanted a different brand-consumer relationship on the WeChat platform based on information and utility—thus good UX. The downside of rushing into monetisation may very well be UF (user frustration) when they get bombarded by excessive ads.

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