Mobile is Deeply Integrated into the Lives of Chinese Consumers

China's Progressive Pioneers

In an enormous worldwide study by Forrester characteristics of Chinese consumers relationship with technology, particularly mobile technology, stood out.  First, fifty percent of China’s respondents reported they preferred buying products via smartphone and that paying bills by smartphone was a favored method.  In addition, as the graph suggests, using the mobile phone as the interlocutor between tech support or brands, is also favored   “As a result, not only are metropolitan Chinese online consumers more advanced in using technology to interact with brands than consumers in other regions, this state of affairs is now the norm.”  Sources: Forrester; WARC

There’s More Mobile in our Ad Future

Porjected Ad Spend - Mobile v TV

This is the year that mobile ad spending overruns TV.  Going forward TV ad spending is projected to decline slightly while mobile is expected to grow dramatically.  The logic behind these projections is that money will follow changing media behavior as people get more of their information – particularly sports and news – from mobile devices.  The presumption is that the total expenditure will increase and radio and print will lose more favor.  Source: eMarketer

September’s Food Inflation Spikes in China

China's Inflation Rate

Inflation in China ticked up for the fourth month in a row in September.  Food inflation was the driver behind a rate that more than doubled from August to September, going from 1.7% to 3.6%.  Food is the sub-sector that effects consumers most because its felt on a daily basis.  Meanwhile, September’s non-food inflation rate rose at a slightly slower rate than in August.  Still, the government had targeted a 3% rate of inflation keeping this move well within expectations.  Source: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Four Keys for Successful Marketing to Chinese Travelers

Chinese Tourist

Chinese travel to the West is an ever growing business.  How to attract this large, affluent vacation migration is a challenge.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Partner with a digital ad company well connected in China, one with access to the biggest Chinese ad networks.
  2. Identify the market segments you are trying to reach – educated, affluent , business people in the case of travelers – and then find them where to live on China’s digital spectrum.  That’s why you need a locally connected partner.
  3. Remember that marketing performance metrics go both ways.  Watching only sales results like ROI is not enough.  Understanding how many prospects dumped out of the cart is as important.  Reducing the number of dropouts is as important as increasing sales.
  4. Chinese travelers have different needs.  First timers will want to visit the iconic locations – Hollywood and its studios, New York City and it Empire State building.  By comparison folks on their second or third trip will want to new experiences – cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans or Boston.


Finding the In-House Agency Balance

Bringin the Agency In-House

A recent survey of 412 client-side marketers by the Association of National Advertisers revealed the forceful move toward in-house agencies by brands.  Adding to the obvious growth over the last five years is that more than a third of the brands not yet in-house are considering it.  Companies such as Intel, Progressive, SoulCycle, Ford, JC Penny, Uber and Verizon have, at least in part, internalized some agency functions.

But as Luis Montero, president of The Community points out, “There’s a lot of push and pull. [Companies] bring creative in-house, then they push it back out to agencies again. It feels like it isn’t strategic as much as it is cost-conscious.”  That’s because each company has got to find its own balance between control and cost.  Some marketing functions are better left to an outsider who brings the brand a fresh perspective or who brings a special skill set that isn’t worth developing in-house.   Most companies are too small to justify an in-house, multifaceted, technologically capable marketing team, which leads to the push and pull. Source: AdAge

Entering Prime Time for China’s Retail Sales

Retail Sales - Sep-18

September moves into the highest three month retail sales environment of the Chinese year.  As expected, September pops up as the leading month of the year in anticipation of Singles Day, November 11th.  It’s the equivalent of Black Friday and Christmas combined. Expect October and November to follow September’s lead.  Though September outpaces the rest of the year, a look back to last September shows a significantly slower sales bump than might be expected.  Data from this month will be watched closely  Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China

Blockchain to the Rescue

Digital Ad Fraud2In the digital ad space it is generally agreed that fraud exists, that fraud is bad and that we have modest measures to combat it –, etc – that are making some headway.  Brian Xie, writing for marketing Tech News, makes the argument for a form of blockchain, he describes as, “a unique consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Valid Traffic (PoVT) that rewards all participants in our open-source, blockchain-powered ecosystem — rewards them both in tokens, and in real, old-fashion cash-savings.”

Xie makes the point that current measures – impressions, click-throughs or conversions – offer no way to determine whether or not a bot is behind the result. And, while blockchain isn’t the 100% cure, it would significantly lower the percentages for the better in the above graph. Source: Marketing Tech News

Choppy Waters

Consumer Confidence August-18

For the eight months prior to June, Consumer Confidence sat comfortably in the 120’s.  While for the three months through August the numbers have bounced up and down between 118.2 and 119.7. That reflects a change, though not a drastic change, in the consumer mind-set.  Note: Above 100 is considered positive territory, meaning that this slight reduction does not suggest a panicked Chinese population.   Sources:; Nat’l Bureau of Statistics, China

China’s Mobile Penetration is Central to eCommerce Growth Going Forward

ecoomerce Growth in China

The latest projections for e-commerce growth in China are impressive by any standard.  It speaks to the incredible penetration that mobile phones have in the Chinese society.  Not only will e-commerce grow substantially as a percentage of all retail, 90% of that growth is projected to come from mobile.  The report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and AliResearch notes, “In addition to offering better prices and wider selections, e-commerce actually stimulates new demand in China by filling many needs that are not being met at brick-and-mortar stores.”  This is particularly true in the high growth third and fourth tier cities. Source:

Five Content Creation Trends to Watch

Content Creation Pix

  1. Decentralized distribution platforms like TRON are emerging that offer independent content creators opportunities to monetize their output without dealing with media gatekeepers.
  2. Augmented and virtual reality technology is scaling up, which means lower prices and lower prices mean that barriers to entry for creatives are reduced. Fields of opportunity: immersive gaming, education, scientific research and live entertainment including; visual and sonic content including motion graphics, 3D, sound effects and music
  3. AI-driven discovery and curation are happening because of the recommendation engines most visible on Netflix, You Tube and Instagram. Data suggest recommendation engines push most of the viewing on those channels. Next step is to optimize them for the creators benefit.
  4. Machine-generated content is quickly being integrated into big time media companies at big time prices. Our BidWinContent product is made for the rest of us by offering great content search and summary that, by the way, aids our blog writing. Just sayin’.
  5. The side hustle of the sharing economy can be a boost to the free lance content creator. The combination of specialized equipment and skill in using it can support the creator, but can also be offered as out-sourced technology to others. Source: Entrepreneur