What Is The 48 Hours Window?
The 48 hours window at its premises was the opportunity for brands to send unlimited messages to their followers on their WeChat Official Accounts chat, during the first 48 hours after users follow for the first time.
The first hours following the Official Account’s subscription are critical because it is still fresh in the user’s mind. Thus, this is the perfect chance for brands to connect with their users since they are more willing to share information.
Considering this, the 48 hours window was launched to maximize data collection, build users’ profile, interests and understand their behavior.
The New Policy
In order to improve user experience and reduce unnecessary user disturbance, the WeChat team is pushing out a new policy regarding Official Account’s 48 hours window which will be effective starting June 1, 2021.
What is the update about?
Initially, with the 48 hours window, Official Accounts could send as many messages as they wanted, without any break, or waiting for any answer from the user, during the first 48 hours after users follow the Official Account.
Despite being a powerful marketing tool for companies, many users complained about receiving overwhelming and countless Official Account messages. They argued about this disturbing experience on the App they use daily.
With this new update, WeChat aims to provide users with a better experience by putting a new policy for the 48 hours window. Companies will no longer be able to send as many messages as before.
Instead, Official Accounts can send messages according to the following rules:
If the user does not answer, the OA is authorized to send a maximum of 3 automatic messages within 1 minute. If after this users don't perform any "active" actions, the OA cannot send out any more messages.
If the user does something that is counted as an "active option" , the OA can then send out messages as a response to users without any limitations. This only applies to the first 48 hours after having followed the OA..
"Active actions" could be, for example, menu click, QR code scanning, sending messages to the chat, successful payment, etc... This update is not really a "time" limitation, but consists of a limitation of the quantity of messages during the 48 hours.
Please note that these two rules only apply during the first 48 hours after the users followed the official account. So the 48 hours window is not deleted but is evolving. After this period, Official Accounts can only send 4 pushes per month to their followers.
Who is concerned by this policy?
To avoid unfair competition between businesses, WeChat applies this policy on both newly-created and existing official accounts. Any official accounts created after June 1st 2021 are automatically subject to this new policy while for those created before this date, the policy will be applied in batches.
How It Will Affect Businesses and Users
Overall, this is a new opportunity for brands to decide on a more focused approach for their users’ journeys. A more informative and unique set of welcoming messages will need to be adopted.
Even if some businesses fear a decrease in user engagement’s rate due to this new policy, it may not be the case. Indeed, Brands will still be able to directly engage with their followers and vice versa. On the other hand, users who do not read Official Accounts’ chat will not be spammed anymore.
To conclude, this evolution of the 48 hours window is a good solution offered by WeChat not only to enhance users' experience, but also can be seen for Brands as a way to segment audiences better and determine between the active ones and the silent ones.
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