This blog is to introduce the latest trends and strategies of digital marketing in China, aimed to help the Foreign brands who wish to have a deeper connection with the Chinese market.
Background of Digital marketing in China
In 2016, China released its 13th five year plan, which emphasizes the development of information technology, innovation, new media, and internet plus.
In 2018, China had more than 800 million internet users (reported by CNNIC) which has increased by 100 million users comparing to 2016. 98% of these 800 million people connect to the internet via mobile devices, enabling China to become the first country of “mobile nation”. With the improving connectivity of the Internet, Chinese consumers are seemingly unable to separate themselves from their mobile phones, brands who what to do marketing in China must focus on digital marketing strategies such as live streaming, KOL marketing, Short video, and personalized content, etc.
1. Installed 44 applications per person on average
According to the 2018 analysis from Google, the global average smart phone user has 26 apps on average, while Chinese consumers download 44 mobile apps.
These important figures imply the increasing distraction of Chinese consumers. Some apps perform better than the others, forcing brands to rebuild their marketing strategies in China. WeChat is the leader of “integrated apps” in China, with monthly active users around 1 billion amounts and with 45 billion messages being sent every day (WeChat reports 2018).
The number of WeChat Official Accounts (Business Accounts) is about 3.5 million and the number is increasing each year.
2. 70% purchases via social media
Thanks to smart phones, people are spending more time on social media and blogs like Sina Weibo, WeChat. It is estimated that 70% of Chinese millennial will buy products or services directly through social media platform. Therefore, the importance of the KOL (celebrity) market in China has grown surprisingly.
The KOLs could be divided mainly into 3 types: Text blog, Celebrity, and influencer. KOLs provide premium contents for specific online audience (potential customers) and deeply impact consumers online. They help brands to increase their awareness by social network and live. We can see that the number of KOL advertisement on Weibo and WeChat is decreasing while brands invest more on KOL. Of course, brands are promised to hire more people and the price of these KOL will therefore increase.
3. Content creativity and returning to the essence
Chinese consumers experienced wide varieties of consumer sectors and consumption after the 70th anniversary of China’s founding. Gradually, Chinese people are changing their consumption behaviours to pursue the products which meet their new demands: simplified, comfortable, healthy, natural and special. Therefore, the reshaping of the consumption structure, and the pursuit of true consumer satisfaction impacts the whole commerce.
Chinese consumption value is turning from “me in the eyes of others” to “real me”. From the attitude of career to consumption, these changes remind brands to establish a position of emotional resonance with consumers. The creative content must have the ability to be converted to valuable information which could adapt consumer’s lifestyle and value.
4. Fully Empowered AI
With the increasing maturity of artificial intelligence technology. Al has not only entered the lives of consumers, but also entered all industries in China. Al is also a familiar word for digital marketing, nearly 70 percent of advertisers have adopted to AI digital marketing in varying degrees in China.
AI will be like water and air in the future, which penetrates the whole circle in marketing. In the new era of AI, brands will pursuit the creation a joyful atmosphere and experience for users rather than only focusing on the conversion rate, purchase rate, return rate.
5. Integration of Virtual and Reality
The Virtual world is the Internet virtual world, but also real world. Consumers no longer consume simply through online or offline channels, but choose more convenient shopping ways according to their needs. The creation of online and offline atmosphere and brand-cultural experience has become the key to driving consumption.
Therefore, digital marketing needs “co-prosperity”, with powerful explosive force in the online promotion and diffusion force combined with the offline experience and scenes. With offline channels, brands could spread a constant value. With the online channels, brands could use it for contents. (Click here to know about RATP WeChat Solution)
Therefore, the integration of digital marketing in China will be accelerated this year, the marketing campaigns that integrate virtual scene and reality, such as flash store, offline terminal experience, content materialised and other innovative activities will increase.
Before ensure the marketing strategies, brands need to follow these trends and innovate on this basis. With special circumstance, China owns instant messaging app WeChat, Search engine Baidu, e-Commerce platforms Alibaba and JD, these huge platforms are most important Chinese E-commerce sectors and enable brands to reach a large number of channels and consumers to create their unique content and value.