Marketing and advertising in China can often be a difficult situation since most social media platforms are very different from other countries. Many foreign companies who move into the Chinese market fail to understand how advertising in China differs from their own domestic market.
Advertising in China starts and ends with understanding how the Chinese consumer differs from other consumers. Since most people know that Chinese consumers are different, they often do some research but not enough.
Advertising in China can be boiled down to a few key things, but before we explore them, it is important to understand how the Chinese consumer is changing.
Traditional ideas about the Chinese consumer tend to not work anymore. Since the rise of travel and social media, Chinese consumers have changed drastically. When looking to advertise in China you should understand how the rapid changes in Chinese consumers will affect your product.
Chinese consumer trends-
The rise of Domestic Producers–
In the past few years, most markets have been dominated by international brands. This is due to the lack trust between Chinese consumers and domestic producers, as a consequence of several scandals.
However, this year, homegrown brands in the smartphone industry have been making their mark. Brands like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have seen a drastic increase in orders. This is because they focused on advertising themselves as more affordable and better value than foreign brands like Apple and Samsung.
This is not just in the smartphone market. Studies suggest that Chinese consumers see homegrown brands as just as good as foreign brands.
This is something to be wary off when you are moving into the Chinese market. As domestic markets become more powerful, you need to evaluate your advertising strategy. It would be foolish to continue to rely on the idea that ‘foreign is better’.
Advertising in China can often become very simplistic because foreign companies assume that there is no real competition from their domestic counter parts. Do not make this mistake.
Cross-border e-commerce will continue to rise-
Cross border e-commerce will continue to increase rapidly this year, and next year. When advertising in China, you should push this.
E-commerce is fast becoming the online way that most Chinese consumers buy anything. When you start advertising in China, you should be aware of how people are buying your product. For instance, there is no point creating large picture campaigns if your product is only ever bought online. A better strategy would be using an interactive H5 campaign.
As disposable incomes increase and demand for better quality products increases, cross-border e-commerce will continue to grow.
The rise of the rural consumer-
A big change in advertising in China will be the increase in consumers who are not in top-tier cities, or even in cities at all. As internet networks improve and social media platforms begin to integrate fully with e-commerce pay apps, rural consumers will become an important demographic.
Advertising to the rural Chinese consumer will involve very different strategies than those in cities. Different tastes in fashion and values will mean that advertising that works in Shanghai will not work in rural communities.
A great investment for new companies who want to advertise in China, or even those who are currently advertising in China, will be figuring out how to advertise your product successfully to this market.
According to JP Morgan, tier one cities like Beijing, Guandong and Shanghai will only count for 10.6 million of the 159.9 million new internet users. This suggests that advertising in China will need to be versatile, and has the ability to transcends socio-economic backgrounds.
The rise of virtual reality–
Anyone who has been paying attention to the tech world in the past few years will have seen the rise of virtual reality. Samsung has successfully moved into this market, but most people think that you need a lot of money to successfully use VR.
VR can be the most effective way of advertising in China because since everyone already has smartphones, the technology is already there, you just need to harness it. Companies can produce cardboard VR holders that will transport your target demographic and take them somewhere completely different.
VR is great for travel and real estate companies, as it is an effective way for you to demonstrate your product without having to spend a large portion of your advertising budget on expensive ad campaigns. Plus it’s much cooler.
The re-birth of luxury goods-
The Chinese luxury market is still booming. Chinese consumers still value shopping holidays and many consumers aspire to purchase luxury goods and strongly desire to be seen as part of the elite class that can afford these types of goods.
Luxury products do not just include fashion and beauty. The luxury real estate market is becoming one of the fastest growing markets in China. Since many wealthy Chinese consumers educate their children in different countries, many want a home in the area in order to visit.
Equally, the luxury travel market is also expanding rapidly. While adventure holidays are still the most popular form of holiday, Chinese consumers continue to want beach holidays and luxury city breaks.
Luxury good advertising in China should focus on how your product fits into a certain kind lifestyle. Luxury marketers must also focus strongly on expressing their brand’s history and position in the market as while Chinese consumers are aware of the larger brands, many luxury brands have still not become household names in China.
Travel within China will grow-
In recent years the Chinese government has attempted to tap into the never-ending desire for travel. Many Chinese consumers have begun to travel within their own borders in order to save money and connect with their own Culture.
The National Development and Reform Commission announced that the country aimed to invest around $290 billion into the domestic travel industry by 2020.
For those who are selling an international travel product, this may seem like a draw back, but it demonstrates how important travel has become to the Chinese consumer.
Techniques for advertising in China-
In China, search engine advertising is actually a really useful technique. Unlike in countries like American and United Kingdom, Chinese consumers do not automatically skip past the ads that are paid for. This is because it is very hard to tell what has been paid for and what hasn’t been. Both SEO and SEM can be very effective.
When it comes to search engine marketing the bulk of your resources should be focused on Baidu as it still maintains the largest market share in terms of search. Advertising on Baidu is just like advertising on Google, you’ll need to bid for competitive keywords and pay on a PPC basis. SEO can be a bit trickier as Baidu’s algorithm and fraud detection techniques haven’t quite caught up to Google, so many of the loopholes and unsavory techniques are still permitted, allowing some marketers to shoot up the rankings at speeds unheard of in the West.
2. In Feed Video Advertising-
In-feed video ads are a special type of video ad that allows you to integrate content on users feeds according to preference and behavioural tags. Basically, they allow you to directly target your audience based on information that the app has uncovered.
Video advertising on social media is a great way to engage customers. Chinese consumers will often respond better to a video than a very basic picture ad campaign. This is due to the constant bombarding of different companies trying to sell their product.
Videos are also great because they are easily shareable. Many people like send content to their friends on social media apps, thus having a great video will mean that consumers will organically share your content.
Related read: “How to create a WeChat official account“
KOL’s in China are still a great way to advertise. Most consumers follow hundreds of different popular people on social media, therefore tapping into this rich market could be very beneficial for you.
While it may seem like a very expensive endeavour, due to the sheer number of KOL’s in China it is not hard to find one that fits your advertising budget.
Since most apps allow people to send KOL’s money during live stream video, it is a great way to get your product out there, as well as drive people towards your website. KOLs usually have highly engaged fan bases that are extremely trusting of their suggestions.
How can we help you?
Dragon Social understands that when starting to advertise in China, many companies make several mistakes because they simply don’t have the resources to do enough research into the Chinese market.
Many companies choose to hire a digital marketing agency, as they understand that they have more experience and knowledge. This not only saves the money, but it saves their domestic advertising and marketing teams time. When you outsource you are making the smart move.
If you would like to find out more about what we offer and what our company can provide you with then visit our packages page to see what we can offer you!