The opportunity to reach new markets through digital channels is nowhere more evident than in China. Digital platforms are the most dynamic advertising medium in the region, and offer international companies huge opportunities, if mastered in the right way.
According to a May 2012 study from US market research firm, Wireless Intelligence, China boasts more than 1bn mobile users, and the largest smartphone audience in the world, with 200 million users. And according to the China Internet Network Information Center, some 69 per cent of this region’s 513m-strong internet population accesses the web via mobile.
China’s netizens have become an influential community of content consumers.
What these figures reinforce is that no global company looking to reach the Chinese market can afford to ignore China’s social media and mobile platforms. These platforms provide the fabric for online interaction. But to reach Chinese consumers effectively, international businesses must learn to navigate the country’s unique digital landscape. Marketing activity based solely around Twitter and Facebook will not reach China’s vast number of netizens.
China’s mobile users are some of the most advanced consumers when it comes to their social media activities. Mobile is at the heart of much of this activity, which is focused around established, local platforms such as Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter) and service portals such as QQ.com.
It is important, however, not to look at platforms in isolation. The most effective mobile marketing campaigns take an integrated approach. Indeed, this has proved successful for many brands seeking to gain a strong presence and awareness in China. P&G is one of many international companies using social media and mobile to connect with Chinese consumers.
Mobile platforms played a big part in how P&G’s Olympics Family campaign was delivered in China. The campaign featured China’s athletes in London communicating with family members on Weibo via mobile devices.
P&G worked closely with Tencent during London 2012. We provided online Olympics coverage to more than 400m people in China during the Games. Users in China used Tencent Weibo to post comments and messages and watched daily broadcasts online about the international event via Tencent’s Olympics ‘Tea House’ IPTV channel. P&G sponsored the daily IPTV Olympics broadcasts from London, which focused on reuniting China’s athletes with their families in studios based in the capital.
As mobile users consume content, their interaction can be tracked to analyse campaigns to make continuous enhancements over time. This tracking activity can demonstrate the return any integrated mobile marketing strategy is having.
Integrating mobile marketing can yield results for brands looking to benefit from the potential revenue rewards of a stronger presence and greater market share in China. As a key part of wider marketing campaigns, incorporating mobile can also influence an organisation’s future direction when it comes to branding and positioning in the Chinese market, particularly as it is an area that looks set to grow.
Jeff Han is general manager, marketing, at Tencent Online Media Group