Chinese Users Despair Over WeChat’s New Targeted Ads


In the west we often find advertising on the internet, social media, and mobile apps, to be annoying and intrusive. Particularly when the ads target us specifically. When you browse Facebook and see an advert for a product you were recently searching for, you begin to wonder whether your privacy is being violated.

In China citizens also have a negative relationship with their targeted ads, but unlike us it’s not because they fear for their privacy or find them annoying. The Chinese are ticked off because they feel targeted ads mock their financial status.

This perception came to light just this week when tech company Tencent began to incorporate targeted ads in to their WeChat messaging app. Instead of a backlash about how annoying the banners were, users took to the internet to moan about only being offered low value products.

One user despaired because no matter how many times they refreshed the app, they were never shown an advert for a BMW. They felt this devalued their status in society and they had a pretty depressive outlook on the situation.

After building up its user base this is the first time WeChat has attempted to make a direct profit. No ads have appeared on the app since it launched in 2011, but with nearly 500 million worldwide users, there’s no time like the present to cash in. Like Facebook they have an unprecedented amount of data from their users, which can be used to create a successful advertising model. But as many users have revealed, the accuracy might just be too accurate.

WeChat App

Just three ads were shown in rotation on Sunday, one for BMW, one for a phone company, and another for Coca-Cola. Those shown only the Cola or Vivo ads were dismayed that they were not deemed wealthy enough to bother targeting with BMW ads.

While a lot of the messages seemed to be a case of self-deprecating humor, social status in the East is a lot more of an issue than those in the west may have thought. Many users would see it as an honor to be advertised a BMW.

Sources: Source 1

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