MARKETING

Digital Marketing 101: Getting Started in China

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As marketers and tech entrepreneurs start looking to Beijing, the Silicon Valley of the East, for the next great app or idea, Digital Jungle thought it would be a good time to introduce some of the major players in China’s tech scene and provide an overview of how digital marketing is conducted in China. The first thing marketers must remember when conducting digital marketing in China is that most tools and platforms you use in your home country are inaccessible in China, or will be ineffective in reaching Chinese consumers.

Baidu Search Engine

So, what tools are available in China? There are many similar tools to what marketers use in their home country but few things are exactly the same.  For example, Google accounts for about 3% of search engine market but Baidu, which is a similar service, accounts for almost 70%. If a marketer is interested in running PPC, SEO, or SEM campaigns, they will have to setup an account with Baidu and navigate the Chinese language site. Baidu is the major search provider and it has an estimated value of $29.75 billion. baidu-logo-building Baidu also provides tools to Google’s “Webmaster Tools” which enable you to track and analyze your campaign or site’s performance.

SinaWeibo Social Platform

SinaWeibo should not be a new entity to anyone who has been interested in China’s social media landscape, but for those of you who may be new to the scene, it’s time to learn about SinaWeibo.  Weibo started out has a clone of Twitter but to call it a clone nowadays is a complete mischaracterization. The platform has out grown Twitter in size, functionality, and product offering. Today, Weibo is a unique platform that allows users to upload videos, pictures, and text and to broadcast their content to followers across the web.

SinaWeibo

The platform offers a space for users to donate to charities, listen to music, and engage in conversations.  SinaWeibo has over 600 million registered users and an estimated 60 million active daily users. The platform is one of the strongest social platforms in China and it provides a lot of opportunities for marketers looking to engage in social media marketing.  It is a useful medium for pushing brand messages to a wide audience in ATL-esque manner.

WeChat Mobile Platform

Over 2013, we saw the explosive growth of Wechat, which is owned and operated by Tencent. Wechat is similar to Whatsapp but it has a very social element to it. This platform allows for individuals and companies to “Drift Bottles” or messages out into the “Sea” and anyone can find these messages. Other features include: Voice Chat, Text Chat, Group Chat, Shake (which allows you to connect to other users that are also shaking their phones), and a QR code scanner.

WeChat Mobile

The great thing about this app is it is free to use and with the Moments feature you can create a company profile that will show updates on followers phones.WeChat also requires a real mobile number to configure, meaning that it is much harder to create “fake” accounts. We expect to see a lot more buy-in over the next year and we believe this platform will be a strong mobile player in the next 5 years.WeChat allows users and brands to send messages directly to followers and friends and thus can be more effective for stoking user engagement in a BTL manner.

Conclusion

Although digital marketing is different in China, the core concepts and practices are similar. The difficultly lies mainly in navigating a different market space, and doing so in another language.  When you consider starting a digital marketing campaign in China, be sure to draft, revise and finalize a plan before spending any money.  While China continues to experience rapid growth, simply throwing money at agencies or local agents will not deliver desirable or sustainable results.  If you are interested in knowing more about the major internet platforms or digital marketing in China, feel free to contact us and we will do everything we can to help.



Although a native of Australia, Dr. Mathew McDougall has been involved in the Chinese Internet and media industries for nearly nine years. Dr. McDougall is currently the CEO and founder of Digital Jungle, a leading Chinese social media marketing Agency.

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