How to advertise in China

Entering China’s huge market is the Holy Grail for many foreign companies. Businesses are dreaming of getting involved with China and of reaching those new customers effectively. However in order to turn this opportunity into a success, advertising strategies and accurate choices must be undertaken since mistakes resulting from amisunderstood culture or habits aren’t forgiven in the Chinese fast changing environment. The rewards can be significantly amplified and risk is restrained if marketing campaigns are well conducted. The best way to ensure the advertising is well performed is to consider the help and professional support from a marketing company. Daxue Consulting offers a wide range of services that are systematically tailored on customer’s request and is fully competent to research on very focused target groups across China thanks to the support a large Chinese network.

This year, China is expected to become the second largest ad market in the world, by overtaking Japan.  Advertising in China is a real challenge for marketing, the country’s size, complexity and diversity forces businesses to adapt to many unique characteristics of the Chinese market.

Traditional Advertising domination

Traditional marketing though television, newspapers, radio and advertising boards have see a fast expansion in the last years and are dominating the ad market. The Chinese are very receptive to attractive photos ofbrands and triggers the desire of knowing more about the brand. Impressive images on bill board or newspapers and magazines attract many Chinese customers since 37,6% of the Chinese consumers will then increase their brand awareness though the official company website. The total ad spending is forecasted to reach a total of $71,2 billion and 56% will be spent in Traditional advertising. Currently, Luxury brands are spending large amounts to promote their image with Traditional advertising methods. But this advertising must be accompanied by a strong digital advertising strategy because the Internet is becoming amore and more important in the Chinese culture. Combined with photos, videos are also appreciated a lot by the Chinese and they are a qualitative vector to brands and businesses, as professional videos require expertise and important resources. Engaging in quality video provides confidence in the eye of the Chinese customer.TV advertisement are the dominant advertising medium in China as they create the need for the product but those are very expensive, regulated by the Chinese government and effective on very short-term. So choosing the right distribution amongst the vast array of platform options in digital media, events, and sponsorship is requiring expertise.

Rise of digital advertising

The Internet share on ad spending keeps climbing compared to last year, digital ad spending rose of 30% compared to only 16% in the USA. The shifting from traditional to digital advertising is happening faster in China than in the US since traditional advertising hasn’t existed for a very long time in China and unlike the US it isn’t part of the culture. Recently, the Chinese population seems to be increasingly influenced by digital advertising and e-reputation. Nowadays the new generation seems to be more receptive to online advertising.  There are 618 million Internet users in China, 90% of them use social networks this show how attractive online advertising is to businesses. Getting in interaction with customers on their social networks QQ and Weibo is very effective. Consumer reviews, ratings websites, discussion boards, blogs, and other social media sites all influence significantly purchases. In addition, 193 million Chinese regularly shop online and this number is going to reach 350 million this year advertising directly with e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba with T-mall.

Banners and pop-up ads are a widely used on Chinese websites. But those aren’t always efficient as applications blocking the ad are often used in China. Since 85% of the Chinese population uses Baidu to search on Internet, Baidu offers the largest amount of online ad, with similar advertising programs as Google Adwords and Adsense. But this year, Alibaba is forecasted to surpass Baidu in Mobile Internet Ad Revenues in China. Providing Advertisements though those new means may enable to build large influential communities and improve websites popularity and Chinese awareness.

Mobile Advertising

Amongst all the digital and online advertising, the Mobile Advertising market is up-and-coming at a tremendous pace. Indeed, there are 1.29 billion mobile users in China, this huge segment can be reached instantly with mobile ads. Compared to last year the Internet ad spending grew of 90% in China. It represents $40,6 billions in china compared to $57,5 billion in the US. This year those will account for 20% of global mobile Internet ad expenditure. Mobile advertising should be used to reach the younger generation and will be increasingly important in the future as by 2018, more than one third of Ad expenditures will be attributed to the mobile Internet ad spending with Alibaba or Wechat. This text message application accounts 300 million users and offers businesses to use it to create verified accounts, memberships for VIP offers and promotions. This app is used to give coupons too and even to share brand Images with groups. Other methods will still grow such as the SMS-based ads.

Rethink, Innovate & Anticipate

In order to capture the attention of viewers, the flow of content must be rethought and new ways must be identified. Those advertising may seem like large expenses however if they are used correctly they are source of meaningful revenues. To advertise in the China, Traditional and Digital methods must be coordinated and coherent. Each region must be taken into account since perceptions and habits may vary a lot on the vast country of China that can be considered as a fragmented market. Advertisement must provide innovating technics and new experiences to the people to reach their curiosity and must be delivered instantly. For example the QR code underneath advertisement can enable fast sharing and instant awareness to access to additional information. To all this, following the Chinese trend and large success of mobile smart phones, focusing on the exploding mobile advertising would be a bright move as this year Ad spending on mobile internet-based formats in China skyrocketed of 600.0%.


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