Advertising in China: Best Practices to Maximize your Results

woman working home

The Chinese market is very different, everyone knows that. But, a lot of companies consider Chinese consumers as Western customers and treat them the same way. In fact, like the market, Chinese consumers are very different from other consumers. Many foreign companies who move into the Chinese market fail because they don’t understand how advertising in China differs from their own domestic market. You have to do some research and understand Chinese consumers to earn their attention.

Chinese people are always changing

First of all, it’s important to know that the Chinese consumer is always changing and the Chinese market trends are always changing too. Today, They are more and more connected by the Internet, and Chinese people are more informed than ever. The rise of travel and social media have changed drastically Chinese consumers and opened their mind to other countries. If you want to advertise in China you should understand these changes and try to follow them. Chinese consumers change quickly. It will affect your product so you have to be vigilant.

Starbucks in China frequently launch new products responding to Chinese new trends and times of the year. As the above picture shows, the moon rabbit cup was launched during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Chinese new trends are always changing

Do not make the mistake to think that Chinese consumers always prefer foreign products because of their quality. In the past few years, it was the case. International brands have dominated the market. It was due to the lack of trust between Chinese consumers and domestic producers as a consequence of different scandals.

But recently, we observed a rise in the consumption of domestic products. It’s strongly present in the smartphone industry. Huawei, Oppo, and Viva have become strong competitors of Apple and Samsung because these brands focused on advertising themselves as more affordable and better quality than the international brands.

Studies suggest that today, Chinese consumers think domestic products are equal to foreign products. The domestic product becomes more attractive. You have to be wary of it.

It is just an example to show you a new trend in China. But there are many others and the whole of Chinese society is always changing. There is no sure thing about market trends. What is important is keeping pace with the Chinese market trends.

China Cross-border eCommerce

Selling directly on Chinese cross-border platforms can not only save you time and energy for Chinese bureaucracy, but also it is a good way for your brand awareness. Therefore, being present on the platforms is a good advertising strategy for your brand entry.

In 2019, the overall development of the cross-border e-commerce industry is improving. The scale of cross-border e-commerce continues to expand. Chinese cross-border e-commerce is expected to reach 12.7 trillion yuan in 2020. It is really a giant market.

Competition in the industry continues to be fierce. Competitors such as Pinduoduo have entered cross-border e-commerce and Alibaba acquired koalas, releasing huge market demand. In this context, word of mouth and user trust have become key factors in cross-border e-commerce platform competition.

With the rising income and the improvement of living standards, users of imported products increasingly tend to pursue higher-quality merchandise. Increased user requirements and stricter market supervision have prompted major e-commerce platforms to adopt various authentic guarantee measures, technology empowers the supply chain, strengthens the entire process control from procurement to supply, and actively maintains and builds brand reputation.

The sinking market in China needs different advertising strategies from big cities

If there is something very new, it’s the rise of the rural consumer. Today, most of the consumers are from big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. But, growth is also present in smaller cities. Internet networks improve and social media platforms begin to integrate fully with e-commerce pay apps, rural consumers will become an important demographic.

Advertising in rural cities could not be the same as in big cities. Rural consumers have different tastes in fashion and values, which will mean that advertising that works in Shanghai will not work in rural communities.

Advertising in China will need to be very versatile to answer all the different socio-economic backgrounds.

Virtual reality: a new advertising tool

Virtual reality is a new tool to advertise in China. Samsung has successfully moved into this market, but everyone thinks that virtual reality is very expensive. It’s not true. Virtual reality advertising is less expensive than an ad campaign. And it’s more attractive and modern.

In China, all consumers have a smartphone so it’s easy to use virtual reality. With that, you can bring your consumers to new landscapes and make their dream. It’s a very attractive tool to use for tourism agencies and real estate companies.

Uniqlo VR dressing room

Tools to do advertising in China

In China, you have to think about Digital advertising before traditional advertising solutions.

  • Use Search Engine advertising

To do advertising in China, you have to focus on Baidu SEO because, as it is the Chinese leading search engine, with more than 70 percent of the total market share.

Advertising on Baidu is just like advertising on Google. The theory is the same, but in practice, there are some differences between Google SEO and Baidu SEO. Keywords are important for an efficient Baidu SEO strategy.

Baidu SEO

Maximize Exposure with Chinese news apps

Have you heard about Toutiao, Tencent, Wangyi, etc? You should have. Those apps are among the main sources for the Chinese to get news.

These “new” mobile applications are Super “hot” in China recently and can be a great choice to target specific communities.

Toutiao Advertising Example.
  • Do video advertising on social media

A way very simple and which can bring you a lot of views is video advertising. Now, in China, short video is very popular. Tiktok, Kuaishou, and Xigua are three leading short video-sharing platforms in China.

Creating video advertising content on those platforms can help you to boost your brand awareness. It’s a great way to engage consumers because they often respond better to a video than a very basic picture ad campaign. You could focus your advertising on these most famous platforms.

In addition, videos are also great because they are easily shareable. Chinese people like to share videos with their friends and communities.

Tiktok KOL advertising

Wechat & Weibo Advertising

Social advertising is powerful to reach specific people with specific interests. Weibo advertising is very useful for mass advertising because it is an open social platform just like Twitter.

However, WeChat is the plan to develop community advertising, because Wechat is more like a community. Only the invited can see the content. The advantage of Wechat advertising is its giant user database and community marketing.

WeChat and Weibo are different, and they both have advantages. Which one is better for your brand? That depends on what your object is.

  • Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) boost your brand awareness & credibility

In China, KOLs have a great impact on Chinese consumers’ consummation comportment. Most consumers follow a lot of different popular people on social media, they trust them, and they want to buy the same things as their favorite KOL.

There are different tariffs on KOL advertising in China. There are a lot of choices for your KOL campaign. It is not really the most famous is the most efficient, because you have to choose the one that fits your budget and your brand image.

In addition, pay attention to the data published by those KOLs, as the data can be fake.

KOL live streams on Chinese social media

If you want to apply KOL marketing in China, but don’t know much about the sector. Then it’s way better that you contact specialists in Chinese digital marketing to help you boost your brand in China, in order to avoid the loss of time and money.

Need a results-oriented advertising agency?

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We are a specialist in Chinese digital marketing, based in Shanghai, the heart of China’s modern economy. We can propose the best way to advertise your brand, product, or company in China.

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