Products and Services
Our product development approach is centered on building simple and useful tools to enable our users to access Weibo to create, distribute and discover content and interact with others on our platform in real time. We employ a “mobile first” philosophy and have designed our platform around the capabilities of mobile devices. We introduced the first generation of Weibo mobile app in the first quarter of 2010. Our platform is compatible with all major mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows and Blackberry, and is accessible through mobile apps, mobile websites, personal computer apps and personal computer websites. Our users range from ordinary people to celebrities, businesses, government agencies and other organizations.
We offer the following products to enable our users to express themselves on our platform:
Weibo enables users to express and share their ideas, opinions and stories in the form of text and attach multimedia, including photos, music, short videos and blogs. The text in a feed is limited to 140 Chinese characters. Since Chinese characters are much more information-dense than letters of the alphabet, more meaning can be conveyed in 140 Chinese characters than in the same number of letters. Feeds on Weibo, therefore, tend to be content-rich, descriptive and vivid, while still fitting onto the screen of a mobile device.
Each user has a Page that displays the user’s profile, feeds and album. Basic information about a user, including username, introduction, education, location, liked feeds, accounts followed, fans accounts and Weibo account number, is available on the user’s Page. Users with verified authentic identity information will have an orange “V” mark on their profile picture. Users can personalize their Pages by selecting and changing their cover photo and profile picture at any time.
Businesses and other organizations with verified identities can apply for enterprise accounts, which entitle them to enterprise services through the download of Page apps on our platform. Page apps enable organizations to customize their Weibo Pages and to perform marketing events, promotion activities, ad campaigns and payment processing on Weibo. For example, an e-commerce merchant can install Page apps to facilitate purchase activities through Weibo or offer “red envelop,” lucky money, drawings to build a fan base.
We offer the following mechanisms to promote social interaction between users on our platform:
Users can establish relationships with other users by electing to follow them. Feeds that are posted or reposted by a user will automatically appear in the information feed of the user’s follower. Relationships may be asymmetrical. The user being followed does not need to approve the follower’s decision to follow them, although a user can choose to limit access to certain feeds or to blacklist a certain follower.
We offer the following products to help users discover content on our platform:
The information feed resides on the user’s home page. Each user’s information feed displays a regularly updating flow of feeds posted by that user and by other users he or she has decided to follow. Since Weibo allows users to follow other users without establishing a reciprocal relationship, users are able to personalize whom to follow based on their interests. In other words, users can as easily follow celebrities and strangers as they follow friends and acquaintances. The default setting for the information feed is the timeline, where the most recent feed is shown at the top. To improve user experience, promoted content, hot feeds and missed feeds are added to a user’s information feed based on a user’s social network as well as the level of engagement of feeds from accounts followed. Users can also customize their information feed by classifying followed accounts into different groups, e.g. friends, co-workers, e-commerce, fashion, media and photography, and view feeds from each group separately.
Our search function allows users to search our platform for feeds, users, apps and pictures by keyword and hashtag.
We work with companies with large online content libraries of videos, songs, mobile applications, books and points of interest (such as restaurants, hotels and movie theaters) and create Weibo Pages for their objects, known as Object Pages. Users can visit these Object Pages to find rich content on these objects and interact with other users of similar interest. For example, users can stream songs, watch movie trailers, read book excerpts and download apps from the respective Object Pages. With Weibo location-based services, users can locate popular points of interest, find information about them, such as show times for movie theaters and menus for restaurants, access coupons, post comments, and see reviews shared by other users. Some Object Pages also offer the sale of movie tickets and books and app downloads.
Trends are lists of hot topics on Weibo. A user can start a topic discussion by adding hashtags (#) around a word or phrase in a feed. The key word or phrase then becomes searchable with a single click. Users may view feeds under each trending topic and participate in the discussion.
Our users can also explore the hottest trending topics being discussed on Weibo by visiting the discovery channel, where popular feeds are aggregated by category, such as humor, astrology, comics, food, technology, auto, sports, reading, recruiting, charity, news, travel, movie, songs, purchase, video, lottery and T-mall flash sales. The discovery channel also offers an online game center and app download center, as well as content discovery using location-based services functions.
Users can choose to be notified of Weibo account activities through SMS or push notification on their device.
We offer third-party online games, including role playing games, card games, strategy games and real life simulation games. Most Weibo games are offered for free and certain games allow users to purchase virtual currency, known as Weibo Credit, to redeem virtual items. Weibo receives part of the revenues from such purchases through arrangements with the game developers.
Weibo VIP membership offers our users certain services and functions that are not available to regular users. With these additional functions, VIP members can follow more users, have more ways to personalize their Pages, can send voice feeds, enjoy more cloud storage, receive additional options to manage information flow and followers, receive SMS notification of Weibo account activity and have access to premium games. VIP membership is available through monthly or annual subscriptions.
We have developed a suite of mobile apps to further enrich the service offerings of Weibo. For example, Weibo Headlines aggregates news and information from Weibo and other online sources based on an article’s popularity and enables users to comment, like and share to their fans on Weibo. Another example is Weibo Weather (Tianqitong), a leading weather app in China that features weather condition, particle matter index (PMI) and other information, such as scenic photos from cities that the users selected to follow.
We seek to provide advertising and marketing solutions to enable our customers to promote their brands and conduct effective marketing activities. We provide our customers with analytical tools to enable them to track and improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns on our platform. Our advertising and marketing customers include key accounts, Alibaba/e-commerce merchants, SMEs and individuals that seek a full spectrum of online advertising and marketing services ranging from brand awareness to interest generation, sales conversion and loyalty marketing.
Social Display Ads
Social display ads appear on a user’s home page and other pages. When users click on the social ad, they may be redirected to the advertiser’s Weibo Page for further engagement.
Our promoted marketing offerings include the following:
Promoted feeds appear in the user’s information feed alongside organic feeds. We encourage our customers to produce feeds that have relevant information value similar to that of the users’ organic feeds. Customers may use our SIG recommendation engine to better target their audience and improve the relevancy of the ad to the users. As with other feeds, users can Repost, Comment on and Like promoted feeds, amplifying the visibility and reach of the original promoted feed and generating earned media to our customers. We offer promoted feeds tailored to different customer segments such as:
FST is a customizable and self-service marketing solution offered mostly to SMEs under a bidding system. Customers are able to target users based on gender, age, geographic location, interests and device type. They can also target users by their social interaction on our platform. For example, they may target all of the followers of a given user. SMEs can place FST ads either through our authorized distributors, who have expertise in social media marketing, or directly by themselves using our self-service advertising system;
Fans Headline is a promoted service that guarantees a certain feed from the customer will appear at the top of the information feeds of the customer’s followers;
Weibo Select is a highly customizable version of promoted feeds offered to large brand advertisers, or key account customers. We work directly with the customer or the customer’s ad agency to define the parameters of the targeted marketing. For example, in addition to targeting users based on demographics and social relationships, customers can target users who have engaged with feeds using a specific keyword during a specified time period; and
Weibo Express is a promoted service offered to key accounts for them to reach and engage with a broad range of Weibo users.
Promoted accounts appear either in a column next to the information feed on PC or directly in the information feed on both PC and mobile devices. Promoted accounts are labeled but otherwise appear in the same format as other accounts that we recommend to our users. Promoted accounts provide customers a way to grow their followers, with whom they can then drive engagement using their Weibo Pages.
Promoted trends, which are labeled as “promoted,” appear at the top of the list of trending topics. When a user clicks on a promoted trend, he will be redirected to the sponsor’s landing page.
We provide our advertising and marketing customers with analytical tools to enable them to track and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns on our platform.
We seek to provide our platform partners with tools and APIs that they can use to share their content to our platform, distribute Weibo content across their properties and enhance their websites and applications with Weibo content, and to build social apps on Weibo or integrate their products with Weibo. Our platform partners include traditional and online media outlets as well as developers of games and other applications. Products offered for our platform partners include:
The following products allow our platform partners to link their websites and mobile apps to our platform, enabling their users to share content to Weibo:
Single Sign-on Registration
Users can register for access to our platform partners’ websites and apps with their Weibo accounts instead of creating new accounts online. This feature eliminates the need for users to register and create a new log-in identity for each website or app they visit, making it easier to explore new websites and apps requiring log-in.
Social plugins are a set of embedded widgets, such as Share, Like, Comment and Follow, that allow users to access the functionality of Weibo from third-party websites and mobile apps. By installing Weibo social plugins on their websites or mobile apps, our partners enable their users to share content to Weibo, which may direct traffic of interested Weibo users back to their properties.
Multimedia cards allow our mobile app partners to enable their users to share multimedia content, such as photos, songs and short videos, in a feed to Weibo. Content shared on multimedia cards is tagged and can be discovered by users who search for the tagged keywords.
Our open application programming interfaces allow third-party developers to build apps to serve individual and organization users.
App Application Programming Interfaces
We provide our platform partners a set of application programming interfaces that they can use to develop apps for our platform. Currently, the most popular category of these apps is Weibo games.
Page App Application Programming Interfaces
Our Page app application programming interfaces allow platform partners to develop apps that improve the features and functionalities of Weibo Pages. For example, an e-commerce merchant can install a Page app that enables users to view and purchase its goods on Weibo. Page apps created by platform partners are becoming increasingly popular. We allow app developers to charge for the Page apps, but we currently do not have revenue share on these apps
Enterprise Application Programming Interfaces
We offer enterprise services to businesses and other organizations through enterprise application programming interfaces. For example, our enhanced messaging application programming interfaces facilitate more convenient interaction between users and their followers. Using the application programming interfaces, third-party developers enable organizations to send private bulk messages, also known as DY, to followers who have opted in to such subscriptions. For example, many followers of the China Earthquake Networks Center have subscribed for earthquake news alerts. With the DY subscription function, the Center is able to send timely earthquake news through Weibo’s messenger to all of its subscribers at once. We also provide data application programming interfaces to third-party developers for them to provide data analytics services to brands and businesses.
Weibo Credit allows our users to purchase in-game virtual items and other types of fee-based services on Weibo and for our platform partners to receive payment in an easy-to-use, secure and trusted environment.
Weibo wallet enables individuals and businesses to hand out “red envelops” to build a bigger and more active fan base.