In a Positive Vortex

china business confidence

Business sentiment above 51.0 for eight consecutive months says much about the level of confidence the Chinese business community has in its future.  These levels tie closely to the other numbers coming from China, especially consumer confidence, which drives their eternal retail sales growth, which completes the circle in business confidence.  Nice to see a positive cycle.  Source: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Initials on the Warpath


The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a group co-established by the IAB, ANA and 4As, has been working since its inception a year ago to fight ad fraud.  The founders saw the threat for what it was – and remains to this day – an existential threat to modern advertising.  Should a lack of trust become engrained in the core image of programmatic advertising, legitimate brands will walk away.  Not a good outcome.

TAG started by creating a white-list of certified tech vendors to which it is adding a payment ID system that is intended to make fraud less attractive to the cyber criminals who are tempted by the money making machines that unattended, automated systems have become.  Respectable ad tech companies are behind TAG’s effort.  Source: The Drum

China is the Same, but Different

china doors

In the digital ad space contrast between China and the west is that they are the same, but different.  They are the same in that both have three dominant players.  In the west it’s Google, Facebook and You Tube while in China it’s Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.  One similarity on both sides of the divide is a lack of transparency, though by comparison China is shut down almost completely.  China’s big three yield little or no advertising related data.

In spite of the relative lack of ad performance and ad viewability data from China, eMarketer projects a 27% increase in digital ad spending for the country for 2017.  Overt self-promotion: mPoint is the one operator in China that offers access to a premium Chinese audience and full data transparency.  Source: ExchangeWire

Top of Mind Issues

us digital marketer

Participants in the ADI Summit were surveyed to learn what these movers and shakers had on their minds.  They were asked to list their top three issues of concern.  This graph shows a half dozen serious concerns led by ad fraud, transparency, accurate measurement of results and one workflow issue; the need for an integrated data and media buying solution, the latter shows up for the first time in memory. It reflects the growth of programmatic buying and the need for coherent tools for success.  Source: eMarketer

April Shows Positive Growth; March Gets an Upgrade

china leading economic index

China’s Economic Index remains positive for the second consecutive month and brings with it a revised number for March, which was originally reported with a percentage increase of 0.2%.  That has been revised to 0.4% while April came in with another 0.2% growth.  Sources: National Bureau of Statistics, China

Side Note:  You might notice that positive growth on this and other Chinese graphs show the positive number in red.   One of the differences between China and the west is that in China positive is red and negative is green, red being the color traditionally associated with communism.

Is There an Acceptable Rate of Ad Fraud?

acceptable rate of fraud

Who knew there could be an acceptable rate of fraud?  Well, according to about one-third of the digital marketers surveyed last year, fraud of more than 5% in the ads they serve is acceptable.  The rest are OK with 5% or less, which seems reasonable and responsible.  The 32% with low standards need to rethink their positions.  Fraud in the system changes programmatic buying from a vision for the future to a scourge and people don’t spend money on scourges – not for very long.  Source: eMarketer

The Pattern has Settled 

china mobile carriers

The last five months of 2016 saw an average monthly increase of 20.1 million new 3G/4G subscribers compared to the first five months of 2017 where the increase has averaged 5.8 million.  The days of massive subscriber growth, and therefore massive growth in the size of the mobile advertising audience, have ended.  That stands to reason. In a country with 1.4 billion people it is logical that once it crossed the one billion mark in scribers, things would slow.  Sources:  China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom

Can’t Live With’em, Can’t Live Without’em

average campaign uplift

It appears that bricks and mortar stores both live and die because of online advertising.  In a new analysis by Cuebiq it looks like your local mall store benefits significantly from online advertising. In a controlled study, they measured uplift, the increase in in-store traffic directly attributable to online advertising. In each month before, during and after 2016’s holiday season uplift was positive, online advertising sent people to stores.  This good news comes just as more and more physical stores, and the malls they populate, are closing. The unsettling closure rate is a direct result of e-commerce competition.  They can’t live with them, they can’t live without them.  Source: MarketingLand

Consumers are Driving the Chinese Train


Monthly data coming out of China show consumer confidence at its highest level ever and now, new data from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing (CASS) suggest that disposable income has been under-estimated by as much as 20%, which means consumer spending in the Chinese economy is healthy and likely to continue.

Zhao Wen, a labor economics analyst leading the research says, “We’re richer than the data suggests, and the potential for spending is bigger than it looks,” said. “Consumption will continue to be an important driver for economic expansion in the future.”

Proof of China’s successful shift to a consumer economy is a look at China’s largest corporations…they are not the industrial giants; rather they are Alibaba Group Holdings, Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.  Both are consumer powerhouses

Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen China in Shanghai said that growth in consumer spending “shows little sign of abating.”  All of which, we add, is good for those of us who sell stuff.  Source: Bloomberg News

Retail Sales Grow, Again

china monthly retail sales growth

Forever increasing since June 2014, when we started watching, the retail sales growth number is probably the best indicator of consumer intention. Even more than the consumer confidence numbers, these numbers make a statement, Chinese consumers are spending.  Sources:; National Bureau of Statistics of China