China’s online consumers are predominantly young – mostly under 30. Over time, as the population ages, so will the country’s online userbase. In a recent report Julia wrote with the Multimedia Research Group, titled China’s Advertising Sweet Spot: Targeting Young, Upwardly Mobile Consumers with Digital Media, she answered critical questions that marketers have about tapping into one of China’s most attractive consumer segments:
- Where does the greatest opportunity lie in China’s consumer market?
- What are the most effective online channels to effectively reach them?
- How have leading companies and agencies been most successful? Where have they failed?
- How can I measure results, in turn making the case for additional investments?
Julia shows us a few facts as reference:
- At the end of 2011, China had 500+ million internet users, 325 million online video users, 250 million microbloggers, and 244 million social media site users. Chinese internet users are relatively young (mostly under 30) and the most active online video users in particular are both young (19–24) with a middle-class income.
- Television remains the most effective medium to reach Chinese mass-market consumers. However, the explosive growth of online video and social media cannot be ignored by marketers in the Middle Kingdom. Online video targets the most attractive consumer segment – young, upwardly mobile middle-class consumers.
- Branded online video is becoming a useful tool to engage and communicate with the Chinese audience especially when the marketing goal is to establish a unique brand image or proposition to customers.
Julia argues that online video ads often serve as a complement to substitute for TV ads given the unique audience and cost-effective delivery compared to TV ads. Branded video is becoming the most popular way to connect with Chinese consumers emotionally and to differentiate the brand. As for social media, marketers should be aware of different platform characteristics. For Chinese social networking websites, word-of-mouth from real life friends/family members is most influential, while on Chinese microblogs, celebrities or industry experts are very powerful in shaping consumers’ opinions and attitudes. As for online communities, targeted interest/topic groups can serve as the perfect space for marketers to launch niche campaigns targeted at a specific consumer segment. Marketers need to pay attention to the quality of the interaction when evaluating campaign progress. Results must be quantifiable, but high participation numbers can be misleading since spam on Chinese social media, especially on microblogs is commonplace. In addition, related to the quality of interactions, there is a trend in China’s social media space in which topic/thought leaders are few, while the majority of users are silent. Therefore, marketers need to examine the quality of their participants, to determine how influential they really are. If you want to read the full report from Julia, come and find the details here.