Local Brands Playing More of a Role In China

Top 10 Relevant

The key finding from the 2018 China Brand Relevance IndexTM by Prophet is that two years ago 64% of the top 50 most relevant brands to Chinese consumers were multinational.  This year that number is down to 40%.  The 24% drop in relevance reflects consumer recognition of the growing sophistication of local brands in both production quality and messaging.

IKEA, BMW and Nike were the biggest losers dropping out of the Top 10 to positions close to the list’s bottom.  Notably, almost all the top 10 brands are tech companies.

Leon Zhang, co-author of the report said, “We are glad to see more home-grown brands making striking progress in being pervasively innovative while remaining ruthlessly pragmatic. However, global brands still play a leading role in ‘distinctive inspiration’ and ‘customer obsession’.”  Source: Marketing-Interactive

Both Sides of Cross Channel Tracking

Campaign Management Priorities

No matter how it’s approached, marketers’ primary concern is to identify and reach the audience segment most relevant to their message. Hence, tracking customers across channels is the new bright shining object in digital advertising.  It is the first time in advertising history where such a tactic has been practically possible, therefore it opens new frontiers.

Tracking a consumer through various media moments sounds like a kind of advertising nirvana, yet one can imagine a negative reaction to persistent messaging by an advertiser from whom the consumer has either already purchased or has already decided against a purchase.  Some of that exists now, but full blown digital tracking could take it to near ‘1984’ levels.  Source: eMarketer

Mobile Advertising‘s Audience Continues to Expand in China

Carrier Data August 2018

The train never stops as China’s major carriers continue to replace older mobile phones with modern advertising compatible phones.  August saw almost ten million new subscribers, which is just below the running 12-month average.   All of this activity is consistent with usage patterns that have been reported here and elsewhere, which say that Chinese consumers are on their mobile phones more than on their PCs.  Sources: China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom

Purpose Driven AI

AI in Advertising

There are six reasons artificial intelligence is applied in the advertising space based on responses from a worldwide survey of ad agencies, advertisers and tech vendors.  They are closely bunched unless you combine the top two, audience targeting and audience segmentation, which are different sides of the same coin.  Neither can be done efficiently without the other.  But together audience manipulation is by far the leading use for which AI is integrated into advertising.

A strong number two would be the combination of campaign planning and ad spend optimization.  They too have a symbiotic relationship.   Source: eMarketer

China’s Intellectual Long Game

China Penetration of Intellect

Lest we get stuck in the old thinking that China may be catching the US economically, but it is still a relative slow learner intellectually, these data tell a different tale.  Measured by the output of scientific papers China now rivals the US.  They did it by growing their output four fold since 2000.  That defines the present.

Looking at the future, we see that China is now home to 11% of the world’s top 100 universities while they are sending loads of students to the best schools in the US.  Of foreign born students in the US, China is number one with 32.5% of the total followed by India, which sends 17.3%.  Source: Bloomberg

Busting Out of China

Marie Dalgar

Chinese women are makeup hounds.  Cosmetics are one of the top selling consumer products in the country and web enablers that help women create facial artistry are some of the most important apps.

Along comes Marie Dalgar, a cosmetics company founded by Cui Xiaohong whose mission is to “help Chinese ladies find their own unique beauty.”  Cui views makeup as art and that idea has found lots of fans.  The company’s mascara product sold within 15 seconds of its online launch.

Though the brand’s focus is enhancing Chinese beauty, it has no border limitations as evidenced by its international success at French cosmetics chain SEPHORA.  Marie Dalgar stands as another example of China’s next stage, one where it moves from being the piece workers of the world to one where locally developed businesses go global.  Source: Wersm.com

Programmatic Reality Check


“Chasing cheap ad impressions means a decision has been made to forego environment for a cost.” That’s a fact of digital advertising life, a fact with which one must reckon.   There are billions of impressions available meaning that virtually any targeted audience can be reached.  If you are not concerned about sketchy adjacencies, they can be gotten on the cheap.  But if you’re concerned about brand safety, you’ll have to tighten your belt, use the technology available to keep your message safe and pay the price.  Source: PerformanceIN

Big Transition for Alibaba

Ma the conductor

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, has announced his retirement from the company on its 20th anniversary next September.  That’s as if Bill Gates would have left Microsoft in 1995 – twenty years after its founding and many years before it would be overtaken by others.  To add perspective, Windows 95 – the beginning of Microsoft’s second generation – had just been released in 1995.

It seems odd that a mega-company visionary like Jack Ma would leave the company so early. Based on his reasoning, it is his second wind as an educator/philanthropist that’s on his mind.  Good luck to him and to Alibaba, which enters its second generation without its conductor.  Source: Bidwin analysis

4 Keys to the Future of Mobile Video Ad Spending

Key to the future

According to Forrester Research analysis, video ad spending will continue to grow because four evolving factors:

  1. McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” continues to resonate in the modern world as the biggest players, Google and Facebook, begin to recognize that mobile is a different medium than desktop. Research says that attention span among mobile users is about eight seconds.  Result: Both companies are encouraging advertisers to limit the length of their mobile video ads to six seconds to better fit user preferences.
  2. Facebook and Instragram have initiatives dedicated to drive more revenue from video advertising by better integrating the ads into content.
  3. The medium itself is changing as bigger mobile screens are becoming more common making all video more appealing.  In addition to which providers are using hot spots and unlimited data plans to lower the cost of use.
  4. The promise of emerging technologies – 360-degree video, augmented reality, and virtual reality – will affect, in a positive way, the mobile user experience.

Sources: Destination CRM; Forrester

Signals from China’s Service Sector

Service Sector Sept-18

The last two months have seen incremental drops in the service sector Index. September’s confidence is the lowest level since November 2017.  While the number remains above the positive threshold of 50, the trend is moving in the wrong direction.  Given the trade issues, every move down is looked at as maybe more significant than it is.  Another negative move next month will signal a trend.  Source: Markit Economics