China digital ad spend beats global average

In 2011, the mainland’s digital ad spend exceeded that of print; a year later, the amount exceeded every other region as well as the global average digital ad spend – taking up more than 30% of the country’s advertising market.

Soon, it is expected to surpass TV spending, which, as of 2012, was only 3% higher, according to iClick’s latest research.

But these figures are of little surprise considering the current internet penetration is wavering at 40% in a nation of more than one billion people: the ad spend in the car industry, for example, grew by 18.5% month-on-month in February 2012, while the dairy product segment rose by 11.9% month-on-month in June 2012.

“The advent of the internet, a brand new medium, has completely transformed the landscape of the advertising industry. This has resulted in a multitude of both opportunities and also challenges for all businesses,” said Sammy Hsieh, CEO and co-founder of iClick.

“Today, the internet is an integral part of our everyday lives; the fact that we spend more time online compared to any other forms of traditional media, signals our entry into the third phase of development.”

Despite the popularity of digital, marketers still have a tight grip on their pockets.

With a limited budget and fierce competition, they are now refocusing their strategy from branding to campaigns that deliver quantifiable results, which explains the currently popularity of search and display ads. These two formats make up more than 80% of total digital ad market share in the country.

Mobile and online video – which iClick foresees to be the TV equivalent of the future – are also platforms to look out for: smartphone penetration is expected to grow to 102.7% in 2013 while the number of online video users is expected to see a rise to 92.3%, cited iClick.