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Data, Analytics and Mix Management : Leveraging data effectively to reach Chinese consumers

For many marketers, “targeting China” is still easier said than done.

In the digital era, data-driven marketing has been serving many marketers well by providing effective and targeted solutions that support a wide range of branding programmes and product push initiatives.

However, conducting data-driven marketing programmes in such a huge and booming e-commerce market as China is no simple task.

Marketers, especially those outside China, can find it difficult to obtain quality data for their programmes for a variety of reasons, including lack of access, insufficient budgets and limited resources.

With relatively low brand awareness among Chinese consumers, marketers from Southeast Asian countries in particular can find it frustrating to see their marketing programmes fail to convert consumers’ attention to sales, despite their investment in data-driven marketing.

China’s digital landscape is highly complex and fragmented, with the number of internet users exceeding 730 million. Of these, more than 95% are smartphone users. According to iResearch, the average Chinese internet user visits 40 websites every day, and switches between mobile apps every 100 seconds.

These numbers suggest it is extremely difficult for marketers to reach target audiences in China without a data-driven approach.

While it makes sense to suggest that marketers should use more data to help power their decisions when it comes to China, the key challenge is a fundamental one: how to get hold of reliable data that can enhance audience targeting.

This is also the billion-dollar question for marketers in Southeast Asia who are keen to expand their reach to Chinese outbound travellers. Southeast Asia is one of the most popular travel destinations for outbound travellers from China.

According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, 135 million Chinese travellers ventured abroad in 2016, marking the fifth consecutive year in which China was the world’s leading source of international tourists. Attracted by the region’s cultural familiarity, along with a myriad leisure and dining options, Chinese tourists are now flocking to Southeast Asian countries for their holidays.

As a result of this boost to the local tourism industry, domestic brands and hospitality service providers are particularly keen on reaching Chinese travellers via digital channels.

Finding the right way to initiate their data-driven marketing campaigns in China is therefore the priority for many local marketers in Southeast Asia. Below are a few pointers to consider:

Work with the right partner

  • Select the right partner who can advise you professionally on your approach to data marketing. This partner should have both expertise and experience in running data-driven targeted solutions that are effective for tapping into the Chinese market.
  • The right partner should also possess robust capabilities in data and associated technology, with strong local market expertise and connections to ensure your message will be delivered to the right people, across the right channels.

Start building your first-party database across online and offline

  • Track customers closely from the moment they land on your web pages and start to navigate your site. This data about how consumers interact with your site, gain the information they need and make purchasing decisions provides critical customer insights. This can be complemented by data collected via your physical or offline stores, if your brand has them in China.
  • Study metrics for each of your marketing campaigns run in China, such as the CTR, VTR or lead-generation rate to allow adjustments to future marketing efforts.
  • Monitor user interactions on your Chinese social media channels such as WeChat, Qzone, QQ and Weibo to gain further insights into your target audience’s sentiments towards your brand.

Use video to increase brand awareness in china and boost your conversion rate

  • Maintain the fundamentals of brand-building by adopting video in your marketing mix – be it in the format of video ads or video content.
  • Do not overlook the marketing effectiveness of online videos. In China, digital video is not just about watching movies, short films or music video clips; it is also about delivering messages, targeting audiences and engaging customers. According to eMarketer, three out of every four internet users in China are active viewers of digital videos. And, as a mobile-first market, many of them watch videos on a mobile device while on the go. Thanks to the popularity of mobile videos, China’s mobile video ad spending is expected to reach US$4.6 billion in 2017, taking up 60% of the year’s total video ad spending and this growth trend is expected to continue.
  • Learn from the local professionals – according to a poll conducted by AdMaster in December 2016, video is the second most preferred marketing channel on mobile and the top most preferred channel on desktop/laptop among marketing professionals and agencies in Mainland China.
  • To reduce wastage resulting from pre-roll video ad fatigue, introduce a data-driven approach to your video ad campaigns, allowing you to improve audience targeting.

At iClick Interactive, we have analysed over 650 million active profile users in China, and we can precisely reach them by a variety of targeting parameters including demographic, geographic, browsing behaviour, interest, etc. Through our extensive connections with media, publishers, mobile apps and ad networks in Mainland China, we can precisely reach a brand’s target audience via our proprietary marketing technology platform.

We endeavour to help marketers around the world to identify and reach the right audiences in China and leverage data more effectively, with the objective of delivering the right marketing message to the right group of Chinese consumers at the right time.

To learn more about how we’ve been helping international advertisers and marketers to utilise data-driven marketing in China to build their brands and grow their businesses, feel free to contact us.

The writer is Raymond Teoh, general manager, Southeast Asia at iClick Interactive Asia.