It’s Hard to Keep Facebook Down, Even for China

The closest thing to water in the digital universe is Facebook.  One can try to wall it off, but it will seep into everything, even places that have been waterproofed.  Hence, the news from The Street and from Pivotal Research that Facebook, which has been banned from China since 2009, yielded $5-$7 billon in advertising revenue from the country during 2018, is proof of the theory.  China is the fifth largest contributor to Facebook’s ad revenue behind the US, Russia, Turkey and Canada.

Facebook’s work around is its link to Meet Social, a Chinese company that is estimated to have placed tens of thousands of daily ads on Facebook.  There’s the leak.  And there’s the key any China successful strategy – it’s best to connect with a local company as many big Western companies doing business in China have.  Source:

AI-Infused Marketing

We often detach elements of the marketing process to our disadvantage.  Here’s an example of AI integration through the whole marketing process.

Regardless of the product or service being offered, you should start with an AI software search of the web for competitive products/services.  Gather data about competitive features and benefits and pricing.  With that information you can fit your product/service into a  marketing mix and determine who your customer is likely to be.

Now you’re ready to employ AI content creation tools to align your messages to reach the defined audience through your website, social media and advertising.  AI informed messaging fine tunes the communication and will yield a better result both for brand building and advertsing results.

Chinese Manufacturer’s Bail Out in January

The precipitous -3.8% drop compared to November’s number is the largest decline we have seen since we’ve been watching and the lowest this Index has fallen since February of 2016.  Obviously, the trade wars have taken hold and are now affecting the judgment of purchasers in the manufacturing sector.  Index numbers below 50 are on the negative side for futures.  Notably, the January number for the Services sector, as reported last week, remianed at a healthy 53.3. Source: Markit Economics

Typical Newbie Content Marketing Mistakes

Basic to all good communication is knowing your intended audience.  That’s where it all starts. Yet, too much of what we produce is driven by what we want potential customers to hear rather than customer needs.  Once created, we often make our content difficult to access where customers are.

But the greatest sin may be to create content without a solid, data-oriented strategy and performance metrics for measuring results.  This leads to content that’s disconnected from business strategies, content that’s doomed to fail in its communication and doomed to waste money as well.

Another mistake is to flood the zone with content rather than delivering a more focused, deliberate message.  Randy Frisch: Co-Founder, CMO, and President of Uberflip observes, “Many organizations believed if they simply created content, people would come. You know like Kevin Costner in ‘Field of Dreams’”.  All of which goes back to the first point: know your audience and then target them with your message.  Source: MarTech Advisor

Advertising in China was up 5.2% in 2018

Ad spend in China increased in 2018 by 5.2%, up to $92.7 billion.  Like in the US, the digital and out-of-home gains are coming at the expense of declining traditional TV advertising.  Much of the Internet spending is driven by e-commerce, as would be expected.

Patrick Xu, CEO of GroupM China and WPP China comments that “Improving the quality and personalization of brand marketing is also increasingly important and will be a strong driver of growth in the advertising ecosystem.” Source: Shine

Content Marketing’s Internal Conflict

There’s a conflict between the needs of search optimization and the needs of other content marketing.  One of the principles of search engine optimization comes from Google’s algorithm, which favors long articles.  The rule of thumb is that 1,200 word articles tend to land on the first page of results more than shorter articles.

Therefore, building content for the best search result is in conflict with the content needed for most other written content marketing: blogs, social media and influencer content.  They need short heat, short attention span stuff, to be most effective.  Source: Bidwin analysis

China’s Economy is Down, but Not Out

The pattern through 2018 is now clear.  The Chinese GDP has declined 5.9% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.  Still it is an economy that is growing at a healthy rate in spite of the effects brought on by the trade turbulence. Sources: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Adding Sophistication to Content Marketing

It’s time for content marketing to add a level of sophistication that the initial stages have lacked. Just doing a blog or social media is a good start, but only a start.  The next level requires a plan, a content marketing strategy that aligns with your businesses goals, one that applies audience data to the content’s creation.  Both of these strategies lead to better targeting and better results.

To broaden your audience you’ll need to create content both horizontally and vertically.   Creating a blog that’s then used on social media is the horizontal approach, the one most used     A more dynamic content marketing scheme can be created by adding a vertical dimension to the written: video content, podcast content, influencer content and interactive content add the needed verticality.  Working both the horizontal and vertical planes generates modern marketing dynamism.

Then there’s the need to optimize for the growing voice search category.  Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri are becoming a real factor.  Projections forecast that half of all searches will be entered vocally by next year.  The key to optimizing for voice is the “featured snippet,” a short blurb that summarizes the searched content.  It’s tough, it’s like writing a good headline.   Source: Forbes

2019 Predictions for Mobile Advertising

  1. More often people at home have their heads down gazing into their phones as opposed to other activities i.e. watching TV. And the more marketers translate that into their buying patterns, the more they will be shifting budgets from e-mail, out-of-home advertising and direct mail to mobile.
  2. Many marketers have gotten buried and distracted by the sheer volume of available data.  2019 will see automation applied to the data, which will release marketers to apply themselves to clearer marketing messages.
  3. The trend that has seen technology brought in-house will abate.  The emphasis for 2019 will be on developing internal know-how.
  4. Fraud will continue to be an issue.  As we develop technologies and approaches to limit fraud, we are always working on last month’s problem. Fraudsters will find a new way to take advantage of the evolving system.  There will be a never-ending struggle between good and evil in the digital wars.
  5. Retargeting existing audiences will continue its expansion given that new audiences are harder to find.  Known, reachable audiences are an easier mark.


Changing Chinese Consumer Confidence

China’s Capital University has analyzed the country’s changing consumer confidence by breaking down elements of the overall number to better understand the effect the country’s consumer debt issue and its slower economy, due to trade concerns, are having.  The effect is significant with declines in three central areas of consumer interest.  It’s the kind of pull back that like a boulder rolling down hill, gains speed until something stops it.  Right now, the only thing that could act as a break is an end to the trade war with the US.  Chinese indebtedness will remain as an accelerator well into the future. 

Wang Tongsan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government affiliated think tank said,  “Overall, the downward  pressure on the economy is going to be the bigger

[in 2019]


Though the economy is expected to decline, projections are that growth will continue at a 6% – 6.5% rate for 2019 – still, a great number by Western standards. Source: South China Morning Post