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How did Alipay break the social curse?

via:博客园     time:2019/5/9 18:49:36     readed:1236

"Social omnipotence" has always been popular in the Internet circle, and the power of social interaction has indeed been tested by practice.

But there are two sides to it. If we can't socialize, and if we don't have a long time online, will we not be able to live well, or even not? After all, the pattern of social battlefield has been established, and the golden period of social intercourse has long passed.

This question, many entrepreneurs have, and even troubled many large companies. In my article The Social Dream of Entrepreneurs Should Wake Up, I have stated in detail that social networking is not a panacea for successful entrepreneurship. But at that time there was still half a sentence left unsaid, social interaction is not a panacea, then what is it?

Today, let's share an in-depth case to see if the problem can be solved.


Instead of social networking, users are booming?

To talk about social obsession, Alipay used to be the best. The rapid rise of WeChat payment makes Alipay feel the pain of "high frequency low frequency", so Alipay is very similar to WeChat even with its first screen.


But Alipay's social strategy has been very unsuccessful, with little success and no mention of frequent attacks. The most famous thunder is the "circle event" at the end of 2016. The large-scale photo problem caused Alipay to condemn it.

Circle events shocked Ali very much. It is said that after the circle event, Ma Yun, who came to Alipay office area very rarely, suddenly came to the meeting one day. Not long after, Alipay's social strategy was completely halted.

Since 2017, a large number of Social-related products have been shut down and turned around. Although the Friends Tab has been retained, it only exists as a basic tool, just like the top search box, and is no longer a strategic function.


Paradoxically, Alipay once insisted that the increase of users can only rely on social networking. As a result, users have increased sharply after giving up social networking.

Trustdata's data show that the steady rise of Alipay's users is starting from 2017 when it gave up social networking. In 2 years, the size of MAU (monthly live users) has doubled, more than 600 million. In December last year, it even exceeded mobile QQ for the first time, becoming the second largest App in the country, and the largest non social App in the world.

QuestMobile also showed this situation in the analysis report of March 2019. In March, Alipay ranked second in the growth of mobile Internet App users, up 130 million from the same period last year, and the growth rate was 24.3%.

You know, Alipay is not a new product. It is difficult to grow further on the big base.


If we could foresee this result, Alipay, who was obsessed with the theory of social omnipotence, would have made an earlier choice. It's a pity that time can't be turned back.

Three Scenes Theory

So what happened in these two years is worth exploring.

In the 2018Q2 earnings report of Alibaba, it was the first time to disclose a data. Alipay was among the 700 million active users in China at that time.More than 70% use more than three functions

This figure has not attracted much attention in the industry. But in fact, this indicator is a core indicator of Alipay's operation team after 2017. It is called "three scenario users" internally. The reason is that operation data show that the retention rate of single users can exceed 95% if Alipay uses more than 3 functions.

This data enables Alipay to realize that high frequency can retain people, multidimensional will also do so, and the latter may be more suitable for themselves.

In order to increase the "three scene user", on the one hand, Alipay began to expand the function library.

In April 17, it removed social functions such as home page information flow, expanded the default function of home page from 7 to 11, and arranged to launch functional modules such as "Preferential Payment" and "Life Service" in the second half of the home page, which made the whole home page more like a single one.Functional toolbox is just needed.


On the other hand, Alipay is trying to make the main functions interlace and form a functional network. For example, a new user's experience path may be as follows:

Pay for the coupons, pay the coupons, pay for the tickets, get the red envelopes, use the flowers, pay the water and electricity coal red envelopes, pay the water and electricity coal, get the Alipay membership points...

The design of functional network makes the different functions produce the relationship of carrying each other. In order to prompt users to contact more functions as soon as possible.

High Frequency and Multidimensional Confrontation Super Scene

The effect of "functional network" has been tested step by step. A typical example is the bicycle-sharing battle.

Sharing bicycles is a super scene with tens of millions of daily pen, and the volume is not under the net. Alipay and WeChat are all determined to win.

The real contest between the two in the field of sharing bicycles began in early 2017. At first, WeChat took the lead. WeChat swept the traffic volume by about 10 times that of Alipay. Moreover, Tencent completed its stake in the company in 2016 and occupied the capital.

But unexpectedly, a year later, it was Alipay's investment in the second half of 2017. Ali Partner Zeng Ming revealed during a class at Lakeside University in May 2018 that the volume of Hello orders was the sum of Mobai and ofo at that time. Later, the media confirmed that the total order of sharing bicycles per day was 40 million, and that of Hello was about 20 million.

As Hello encountered access barriers in Beijing and Shanghai, many people in the Fifth Ring Road industry could not even believe the data at one time.

It wasn't until Mobai sustained a huge loss (according to the company's earnings report, Mobai lost 4.55 billion yuan in April-December 2018) and was sold to the upcoming American League by Tencent, which cancelled its independent brand and changed its name to American League bicycle, that outsiders realized that the battle of sharing bicycles had indeed turned around.

Hello's counterattack is not related to its entry into Alipay's functional network. Among the network nodes, Sesame Credit has the most obvious contribution to sharing bicycles. Hello started the nationwide credit deposit exemption in early 2018 before Mobai. Shortly after the collapse of Cookie and Xiaolan, users were extremely insecure about the deposit. Hello harvested the market quickly and completed the overturn in three months.

A harrow investor said that in addition to the deposit, members are also a key step. "Alipay members bought the weekly and monthly cards of the Harbin bicycle as a member's welfare at the price close to the market price, which has secured a steady number of users and gradually reduced their dependence on the deposit. "

In the contest of sharing bicycles, "high frequency and low frequency" does not work, but "multi-dimensional" is better.

This gives Alipay a bit of a waking up and finds that it has chosen the wrong direction. Social networking is not the only way to retain users.

Great Ecology

Alipay tried to weave a functional network internally, while Ali tried to create a larger strategic network for Alipay.

In fact, in the past two years, Alipay has benefited from Ali Group's strategic network when it has won many important scenes and customers.

When Ali acquired Gaoxin retail, the industry once said with a smile, because RT-Mart did not access Alipay for a long time, Ma Yun simply bought the entire RT-Mart. Although this is not the main reason for Ali's acquisition of Gaoxin Retail, objectively, after the acquisition was completed, Alipay was able to successfully access RT-Mart.

There are more than one such case. In cooperation with WeChat in 2016, Starbucks conducted Alipay's “exclusive” for half a year. In 2017, Starbucks founder Schultz visited Hangzhou, and Xiaoyao had a face-to-face meeting with him.

Xiaoyao painted a large picture of cooperation: Tmall sells derivatives (such as cat claw cups), Alipay is a member system, and when it is hungry, it can be taken out, and box horses can help them enter the community scene from the office scene. This big picture made Starbucks change their minds, and soon after, Starbucks connected to Alipay.

Ali's in-depth layout in new retail, transportation, medical and other fields has created a peripheral strategic network and moat for Alipay. Alipay found that To B's play has similarities with To C, and the retention rate of “3 Scene Users” is extremely high; “3 Scene Merchants” (cooperating with more than 3 business groups of Ali + Ant), retention rate is also It will be extremely high.

In a dialogue with the media last year, Xiaoyao said, "Our style of play is a big ecological play, or internally, it is the style of the group army. Any one of Ali's fronts can find very strong competition in the market. Opponents, but the key is that it is important that all of us add up, what kind of chemical reaction can be created, and how to build a system advantage."

Alipay's backfeed

Ali's strategic network, Alipay is the beneficiary, but also an essential part.

According to Ali insiders, since last year, Alipay has been the largest app in the Ali system, so the entire user of Ali has a heavy burden of growth, mainly on Alipay. "In the past, Taobao gave Alipay a guide. Now Become Alipay to bring new users to Taobao."

The aforementioned QuestMobile report shows that mobile phone Taobao has exceeded 100 million users in the Alipay applet.

More importantly, Ali is not a simple payment tool for Ali. Because Taobao focuses on online business, Ali online business needs to have an equal position, in order to form a twin star with Taobao, mutual help, which will greatly expand the connotation and extension of the Ali digital economy.

According to statistics, more than 50% of the traffic that is currently associated with offline live tickets, flying pigs, word of mouth, etc. is derived from Alipay. Beginning in 2017, the external advertising of the Taobao ticket began to no longer promote the Taobao ticket app, but vigorously promoted Alipay, and the operating expenses were also heavily distributed to Alipay.

This year's overall strategic direction of Ali is to strengthen the integration of Ali and Ant Groups to strengthen the group's military style and form a multi-dimensional network.

Because Ali's management believes that internal coordination is easier to become Ali's advantage. Tencent's investment strategy is a small number of shares, the horse racing mechanism, so the coordination difficulty will be greater, such as Jingdong and the fight can not be synergistic, Jingdong self-built payment, and WeChat payment is also difficult to coordinate.

Social traffic VS tool traffic

There is a saying about social traffic and tool traffic: social traffic Kill time, tool traffic Save time, the former operates a "boring" economy, while the latter is "useful".

This can also explain why Alipay and socialism were so “involuntary” that social theory can get a higher frequency of use and duration of use for Alipay; but the user’s expectation for Alipay is Save time, not Kill time.

After breaking through the "social barrier", Jing Xiandong once said in an internal sharing, "Alipay does not have to pursue user time, users can spend time on social, games, and video. For Alipay, as long as the user is solving the problem." At the crucial moment, it is enough to think of us, even the shorter the stay time, the better, because it means that the problem-solving efficiency is high enough."

For more non-social apps, this theory should also apply. Do you want to choose Kill time or Save time today? If it is the latter, what is the problem you choose to solve for the user?

If you don't think about it, you simply hope that you can rely on social circles and transform it. It is likely to be counterproductive.

Because social traffic has a longer conversion path and lower conversion rate than tool traffic. For example, Alipay has about 800 million users in China, about 600 million in Yu'ebao, 75% in conversion rate, 1 billion users in WeChat, 100 million in wealth management, and 10% conversion rate.

Even if it is as strong as WeChat, it is also subject to conversion efficiency, let alone others.

The honey of 汝, the cream of the other. Alipay’s “anti-social path” may be an inspiration for more non-social apps.

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