This article is for Marketers that want to learn more about the digital marketing in China. You will find the top 10 trends in digital marketing that you should know about.
Content is important
Nowadays, content is the most important factor when optimizing your marketing strategy .
Chinese customers are not patient and are really selective, if they don’t like it, they will just pass on it.
If you have attractive, well designed content, you will not only attract your customers but you will encourage them to buy and even make them become loyal to your brand (this is harder as Chinese customers are not really typically loyal, if they find something better they will often change).
You can optimize your content with a lot of interesting tools: interactive experiences, storytelling and even using some celebrities to gain in brand awareness.
Chinese people are really digital people, they like to interact with technology. Another important point is storytelling, building a story around a brand.
Here is an example of marketing campaigns on Wechat for the Chinese New Year in 2016. For example the brand Pizza Hut let you enjoy a discount on its beverage if you can take a screenshot picture of the drink before red envelope closed.
Video is the future
The number of Chinese video users are constantly increasing year after year, this number is also due to the booming of smartphone users and the booming of the digital era.
According to ChineinternetWatch, in 2012, 49, 4% of Chinese users were watching videos on their smartphone, now this figure is at 76.7%.
Video is becoming more and more efficient, especially due to the efficiency of large scale video platforms such as Youku. It is not only about watching movies, short films or music video clips.. You can deliver a message, target a customer, engage your customer and make them buy.
Video is an all in one tool; utilizing visuals, text and audio, that is the reason why it is a really efficient tool.
One brand has succeeded in doing this is Tiffany’s, they are always working on the image of a strong woman in everyday life. In Tiffany’s video, we can see the story of Ms liu Wen drawing her life and career in New York City. This video is actually mainly focused on the storytelling of this woman life, who most women can identify themselves with.
Here is an interesting video about the Chinese online video market: The Chinese stream
WeChat, King of Mobile
Wechat is one of the must have APPS if you want to succeed with your marketing campaign because it has the strongest position on mobiles. Wechat is on the way to become the most powerful app in the world.
However it is not an easy social media to enter, Wechat is not based on exposure or influence but more on one to one, personalized and dedicated communications with users.
Wechat is perfectly understanding the huge success and booming of mobile and is taking advantage of it by offering brands the opportunity to combine social aspects and commercial ones. The app tends to be what we can call a “social e-commerce platform” enhancing social media and e-commerce activities in conjunction with one another.
The app has perfectly understood the benefits of embracing mobile technology in China.
To give you an example, JD.Com has launched a mobile Wechat shop, if you want to buy some products on Wechat, you can directly access JD.com’s interface by clicking on the special tab.
M-Commerce in China
M-Commerce is clearly booming, because the Chinese are spending a lot of their time on their mobile devices. The place to reach your customer is on their mobile, it is more convenient and they are more willing to receive advertisements.
M-Commerce is just beginning to know a bright future in China. Especially Wechat which is on the way to becoming the future M-commerce platform in China with brands able to launch micro stores within the application itself.
To give you an example Taobao backed by Alibaba dominates up to 75% of the e-commerce market in China and has created the strategic tool called “Xiaopu”.
What is Xiaopu? It’s actually offering a wide range of easy features for vendors with storefront access with a QR code, this is allowing them to easily dispatch products on the Xiaopu interface.
Here are really interesting figures about the booming of retail-M commerce sales in China.
You have probably heard many times about o2o, it is the new trend that you need to optimize if you want to succeed withyour marketing campaign. The Connection between online and offline seems to be closer than ever. Consumers are discovering products online, making a selection of the products that you like the most, they can then experience it offline by going directly to the showroom or to the stores, the whole process can still be linked digitally with interactive WeChat accounts and websites.
The brand Tag Reuter has led a really successful campaign in o2o by inviting visitors to see their exhibition, the idea is let them scan a QR code TAG Heuer’s page and use it as guide for their exhibition. The goal is to find ‘treasure’ with keys and some of them were flash drive keys giving the opportunity for users to know more exclusive information about the brand.
Because of the huge number of marketing campaigns, you have to focus on your customers’ sensibilities, experience and you have to understand your customer’s needs and create a real, meaningful experience. However, the point here is to be creative, you have to engage your customer not only by sending them advertising messages but also by encouraging their self-expression and individual participation.
More and more brands are turning their consumers into designers or brand representatives.
For example, Ferrari asked participants to compose a poem representing well the brand. At the end of the competition, three of the best poems will be selected and their creators awarded of Ferrari watches.
Multiple screen integration
Ipad, smartphone, computer, TV…etc. Consumers are using multiple devices. The idea for a brand is to optimize in China on all these devices in order to generate more traffic and to engage the consumer. How? The point is not just to be present on all devices but to link your advertising campaigns among those devices.
Most of the time, TV shows are really efficient for this kind of marketing campaign and especially the famous “The Voice of China” which has succeeded in taking advantage of content marketed on a range of devices. First, people watch the TV show, second they will comment on official social media pages for ‘The Voice of China’, at the same time they can vote for their favorite singer through the mobile application and they can see more exclusives videos online on their Ipad.
The most interesting point is to push the user to use all the devices and to engage them in your advertising. It is one of the more challenging aspects to consider for brands.
New mobile Ads
Mobile advertising is clearly booming these years, according to Chinainternetwatch, the mobile ads platform market in 2012 was 1, 26 billion yuans and in 2016 it expected to reach 10, 54 billion yuan!
The digital era is obviously the era of mobile but also creativity. If you don’t fresh creativity or ideas you will not be able to compete with others, especially Chinese companies whom are become more innovative. Coca Cola has developed a really interesting campaign. Here, each bottle of coke has a QR code and when someone scans it they can enjoy watching an exclusive video clip from Coca Cola.
An article here about rapid jump in China to mobile advertising; click here.
We cannot really call social media a trend now, it is a must have. Most brands are present on social media, what is actually the trend now is to know how to link the advertising campaigns effectively to the social aspect.
There is one really good example of a brand which has succeeded in optimizing social media tools in relation to their advertising campaigns in a different way.
The brand is called Under Armour, it is featured in the video below with Gisele Buncher.
After each time, she hit the punching ball, some words appeared behind “She’s too old”, and “She’s nothing special at all”, critically thoughts that actually drive her to keep hitting the punching ball and going to the end. Why is it a social media campaign? It is showing the difficult social life for women and her constant fight in life.
Focus on Local
The last point but certainly not the least important, is to focus on local marketing strategies. You may have probably heard this millions of times, but focusing on local doesn’t mean that you will need to completely change your products, tastes and preferences to local ones. The idea is actually to understand customer’s needs and adapt your product whilst not forgetting one’s core product strategy.
For example have you ever tried those colorful burgers at KFC, a pink spicy hamburger? This is roasted cheese spicy chicken with a pink bread. The brighter colours proved to be a strong novelty in China and effectively generate sales for KFC, they kept a distinct brand whilst responding to consumer demand.
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