Digital marketing in China has come a long way and its future looks bright. Content is a critical aspect, as people expect more from the brands they patronize. While there are a bunch of marketing strategies that businesses can use, there are some that have been proven to be effective in securing shoppers’ attention.
Top Digital Marketing Trends in China
Social e-commerce, or social shopping, is big in China. This is when shoppers integrate social media into their online purchases. Platforms owned by companies like Tencent and Alibaba are thriving. Consumers enjoy the convenience of hassle-free shopping. With an online population of about 751 million, no wonder China is one of the top countries in online retail spending.
With regards to social media apps, WeChat and Weibo are the biggest players in China. Tencent’s app has over 900 million active users daily. It is a powerful platform for content publishing. Meanwhile, Weibo is a microblogging site where over 600 million active users create and share contents. It is similar to Twitter with the use of mentions and hashtags and is suitable for launching campaigns and events.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
These are influencers that businesses hire to raise brand awareness for their products or services. KOLs may be big celebrities, self-media, industry experts or micro-influencers. Their followers, who devour the contents they post on social media, can range from a few thousands to millions.
KOLs promote through advertorials and interactive campaigns. They can also work with brands by creating sponsored content with purchase links for easy purchase of their followers. Another way to engage with their audience is through product reviews. KOLs who are considered experts in their field can induce their followers to buy a product based on trust alone.
Live-Streaming and Real-Time, Personalized Ads
Real-time broadcasting of video content, or live-streaming, has also become a major trend in China. The biggest online shopping platforms have started tapping on this marketing strategy, often engaging KOLs to present products to potential consumers. To boost up promos, companies also post short videos, usually 15 seconds long. This is an informal but effective way of catching their target consumers’ attention.
In terms of ads, businesses have relied on Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) for their banner displays. DCO enables personalized marketing at its best. It is smart and efficient, operating on a per-shopper basis. The technology ensures that only elements relevant to the shopper will be displayed.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Immersion
As Chinese consumers become more selective with their purchases, businesses have begun employing more sophisticated ways to impress them. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) is an interactive and personal tool to engage their attention. It provides dynamic and authentic experiences to consumers through immersion in a virtual world.
In 2016, Alibaba introduced “Buy+,” a VR shopping product that allows shoppers to browse items and try them on through a virtual interface. They can also add products to their carts and pay through a third-party mobile and online payment platform. JD.com has also initiated a VR and AR partnership with over 30 companies in China.
Omnichannel retailing provides shoppers an integrated experience across online and offline channels. It means that all channels – social media, mobile, Web and brick-and-mortar locations – are connected and available to consumers. New retail is a new marketing strategy that delivers a seamless omnichannel experience to users.
In 2017, Tencent collaborated with JD and VIP to usher in “Smart+,” a new retail approach using cloud platform to establish a smart ecosystem for the company’s retail, finance, logistics, marketing, and communication. Its WeChat functions, including official accounts, mini-programs, and WeChat Pay support other retail merchants.
Closing Thoughts on Top Digital Marketing Trends in China
For companies, success in marketing has a lot to do with trying new tools, techniques, and strategies that work for the discerning Chinese consumers. By keeping abreast with the changing trends, they can discover new ways to innovate their businesses and make them profitable.