Growing Digital Marketing in China


Digital marketing has become one of the main ways in which companies can brand themselves to the consumer market. However, a study of the digital marketing throughout the globe has found that in China, digital marketing is not accepted by marketers as much as in other parts of the world.

This seems a bit counter-intuitive as China was found to have the biggest percentage of Internet users in 2014. And the majority of these Internet users are using their mobile device to do so. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) found at the end of June in 2014, Internet users was at 632 million. And of these users, 527 million were doing this via a mobile device.

It is important to note that Chinese Internet users are using their mobile device for just about anything they would normally use a PC for. When looking at the journey of purchasing any product or service, Chinese consumers are spending the most time online via a smart phone than compared to other countries, as seen below:

So this brings to question just why the China market is not standing behind digital marketing one hundred percent? The survey that was conducted by Adobe System Inc, out of California, USA surveyed 800 marketing personnel from the Asia-Pacific region over a period of 6 months.

The survey found that only 87% of China marketers have faith in the competitive advantage that digital marketing creates.

This includes those marketing campaigns that are put onto websites, via mobile devices and social media. When compared to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, who had 92% of marketing professionals standing behind digital marketing, China is not embracing this approach as fully.

In addition, the survey found that only 33% of those who were included in the survey felt that mobile devices were behind the drive of digital marketing. This finding comes after the discovery of just how many Chinese consumers were using their mobile devices for Internet access.

Consumers do care about the methods in which they are being marketed by for the latest products and services, as can be seen below:

digital marketing china 1

Chart courtesy of China Internet Watch

This chart shows that China consumers do value getting marketing through popular social media platforms like Hatcheck, as well as mobile advertising.

The reason for the poor belief in digital marketing in China has often been related to the fact that when it comes to hiring employees with digital marketing, China falls behind other countries. On average, the Asia-Pacific has only 15% of companies who hire employees for the sole purpose of digital marketing. Australia has 26% of its companies hiring for this particular field. While, China only has 9% of companies hiring for digital marketing.

There are some companies that are performing with digital marketing better than others. According to Adobe President for the Asia-Pacific region, Paul Robson:

Companies who provide travel and leisure, banking, hospitality, and online retailing are embracing digital marketing enthusiastically.

For China to be on the cutting edge of digital marketing, there are several aspects which must be met by companies:

  1. Companies need to hire professionals in the field of digital marketing for their expertise in this field
  2. Chinese companies must utilize the mobile and social media platforms to start reaching more consumers
  3. These marketing campaigns must be designed with the platforms in mind to ensure success with the marketing of products or services

Only when companies in China start to see how successful digital marketing can be will companies start to see the real potential with this marketing method.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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