My “making friends” experiment on Momo and Wechat

My “making friends” experiment on Momo and Wechat

January 30th, 2013 // 12:14 am @ // No Comments

Before you judge me based on title, let me explain myself 🙂 Momo is one of the hottest social LBS apps during 2012 in China, with a user base of more than 20 million and 2 million daily active users. However, I am NOT amongst those 20 million Chinese folks. BUT as a digital enthusiast, I wanted to understand what the buzz is all about. So I set out a grand journey to answer the following two questions that’s been lingering in my mind:

  1. How is Momo different and unique amongst the other mobile social platforms in China?
  2. For me as a regular consumer, how has it using it changed my life?

Campaign Planning

As I ponder upon these great questions of our time, I realized that merely using the app and providing an opinion is NOT enough. Instead I have to truly immerse myself in app thru actual experimentation. With that goal set in mind, I started planning my Momo “campaign”.

Now at the start of every campaign, I’d need to be crystal clear on two things:

  1. What’s the overall objective of the campaign?
  2. How am I going to evaluate the results?

On determining the objectives, I took the liberty of surveying some of my friends on the “objectives” that they have while using Momo. The insight that came back was that 75% of the respondents say they use the app to “make short-term friends”. (Sample size < 5, male skewed) Being consumer focused, I cannot turn a blind eye to the truth behind their usage. So I decided my personal experiment would also have a makeshift objective of “making short-term friends”. And being a devote performance marketer, I’d measure the performance of the app on reaching this objective.

Setting Measurement KPI’s

But how exactly was I going to evaluate the results? First I would definitely need to benchmark it with a similar app. And second, I’d need to set clear KPI’s on what data needed to be gathered and analyzed. From a benchmark perspective, WeChat is an obvious choice due to relative similar feature sets as well as user base. Now KPI’s on the other hand, would tie closely to how the campaign would be executed. From an execution flow perspective, first messages would be sent to various folks, and the most crucial next step is to get them to actually respond. Then thru my wily charms I have to engage them in friendly conversation, and lastly I’d pop the “invitation”. At the end I’d certainly be looking at metrics from multiple dimensions such as response, engagement, and conversion rate. Let me summarize everything with the below side:

Campaign Execution

With the hard part’s out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff. For the experiment, I’d send messages to 50 people around me with the same “Creative” and “Copy”. The creative being a nice shot of my abs 5 years ago while in my prime. See below:


Sorry, just kidding… that picture came from the internet. Now for the “Copy”… that’s a hard one as I need to elicit the most responses from strangers. But after searching for “陌陌约炮秘籍” on Baidu, I came across numerous credible sources to guide me on this glorious quest. The conclusion for the best copy was the following: “头像是你么?好像在哪里见过你。” (Is the picture really you? I thought I’ve seen you somewhere.) Here are some of the more hilarious encounters that I had with Momo:



Campaign Results Comparison

Hope you got some good laughs out of those. Now back to the task at hand. After experimenting on Momo, I fired up Wechat and did the exact same thing, with the same number of people contacted as well as the same “Creative” and “Copy”. So let’s look at the results below:

From this analysis we can see that that the overall response rate is slightly lower in Wechat. My initial thought on that is most people use their WeChat ID’s to talk to close friends and colleagues, and some may be reluctant to use it as a tool to make “friends”. The engagement rate however is pretty much the same between the two platforms; I was actually quite surprised by the high engagement rate of these total strangers. But that’s probably because I’m already outside of their primary target audience demographics. Lastly on conversion, both platforms scored poorly with only one acceptance in Momo of my “invitation”.

Post-Campaign Analysis

So to answer what I’ve been wondering from the start. How is Momo different than other mobile social platforms? Well, from a performance perspective, I’d say that Momo is slightly better than WeChat in “making short-term friends”. BUT of course to produce a more convincing and conclusive answer, we’d have to increase the sample size as well as conduct some A/B test on the “Creative” and “Copy”. After all, the platforms are quiet similar in feature set as well as target audience. But how people use it as well as what they use it for will greatly determine their experiences on the platform.

On to answering the second question, how has Momo changed my life? Well, on the short-term, that’s a 4 hours down the drain today talking to absolute strangers. And more it importantly it scored me a night sleeping on the sofa largely due to the below analysis:


On the more serious side, I think that social LBS platforms like Momo are great in breaking down the barrier of meeting new folks around you. This is especially useful in 1st tier cities like BJ/SH/GZ, where there are lots of out of towners and lonely people looking for new friends and company. From a cultural perspective, my generation of the post 80’s are still quiet eerie about meeting people from digital channels. BUT the posts 90’s are an entirely new breed, for them the line between real-life and digital seems to blur greatly. So as we move into a more digital and mobile focused era, I’m sure many new tools like Momo will surface out on the market. It is important for us marketers to understand the cultural and human aspect of their success, and utilize those insights to better shape our own campaigns.

Category : Blog &Digital Marketing &Featured

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