Geo-Political Meets Commercial in China

Map of China

We have written for several years about how companies that want to reach the Chinese consumer should adapt to and respect the country’s cultural norms to have a receptive audience. At times we have made note of how a given company has adjusted.

The need to adapt is now greater than ever. That’s because China’s geo-political position in the world is stronger than it has been as its economy has become more of a world powerhouse.

The consequence of China’s new status is that companies that want to do business in China not only must respect the culture, but now they must respect the country’s sovereignty. Example: Referring to Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore as countries on your website will offend the government of China, which considers them to be provinces or special administrative regions of China proper.

Companies such as Marriott International Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd., Delta Air Lines Inc. and apparel maker Inditex SA have made changes to their messaging or are being challenged to make them. The advice from here is to make the geo-political and cultural adjustments voluntarily.  Source: Bloomberg

So Much for Programmatic’ Decline

Programmatic projections

With all the talk about pulling back on programmatic ad spending because of ad fraud and such, a survey of senior marketers from 28 worldwide companies that spend in excess of $50 billion, projects an 11% increase in 2018 compared to 2017. And North America could see an increase above 30%. So there!

Part of this increase can be explained by a deep interest in emerging programmatic formats such as out-of-home and TV. Seventy-seven percent of these high-end marketers expect to appropriate more to these media segments.  Sources:  The Drum

Blockchain May be the Future for Advertising Verification


Blockchain is entering the mainstream in China – and it is not via crytocurrency. This spring as, Alibaba’s only real competitor in China, is planning to use the technology to verify the beef deliveries to its customers. Authentication is important to Chinese consumers because of their concern about food safety.’s process will track each cut of beef from the farm in Australia to the front door of the customer’s home.

Blockchain, the underlying technology for the currency, is really “just an extremely secure and un-editable digital ledger system.” As such, it can be used for authentication in any number of ways – from fine art to food. The advantage in regard to food is that it will allow for speedy tracking of food-related diseases back to their source.  Naturally, we imagine its uses in an advertising space that begs for authentication.  Source: Business Insider

See Yourself in These Data?

Visit Growth by Device

These data are probably confirmed by your own practices. Since 2015 visits to smartphones have gone up 89% while desktop and tablet visits have decreased. Two tangential facts supplement this changing practice. The first is that in spite of the shifting pattern, desktops still corner 61% of the all visits and the second is that while smartphones are getting more and more visits, those visits have shortened by about 10% in the period from 2015 to 2017.

The reality is that smartphones are ubiquitous in our lives, so we go to them more frequently, but the screen size limits the experience when compared to a desktop.  The shortening attention span everyone talks about may be as much a function of screen size as it is generational. For mobile advertisers recognition of shorter attention spans is central to development of creatives.   Source: Marketland

More Positive Economic Indicators from China’s Consumers

Consumer Confidence Jan-18

January saw the Index move slightly downward, but it is still living at its high range for the last 13-months. The average for that period has been 116.1. The trend line for the year has been steadily upward in a way that is consistent with many of the other of China’s economic indices. Consumer confidence equates to consumer spending. A good thing.  Sources:; Nat’l Bureau of Statistics, China

China’s Leading Economic Index Continues to Look Good

Leading Economic Index - Dec-17

Earlier this week we reported on the relatively steady nine month trend in China’s Consumer Price Index. Today we can write essentially the same soothing words about the steadiness of China’s Leading Economic Index. In spite of a slight decline in December, the outlook for the future, based “on a group of eight indicators reflecting different aspects of economic activity,” is on the positive side.   Source: National Bureau of Statistics, China

Best Practices

iab 360

If your company is operating in the programmatic advertising space, fluency with the technology is a requirement and there is one way to assure that new hires are properly trained. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has established what could be a baseline with their online and in-class training called Programmatic 360: Automation Decoded.

The stated goals are to…

  • Develop advanced fluency in programmatic technologies and tools
  • Strategically assess investments in programmatic solutions
  • Immediately apply best practices to day-to-day management of campaigns and inventory

Check the website to find the when and where.

Two Years after the One-Child Policy

Birth Rates in china

The good news for Chinese policy makers is that the end of the one child policy has led to an increase in the number of second-child births.  The bad news is the changing dynamics of the Chinese family are acting as a counterweight. As policy-makers had hoped there has been a 23.4% increase in second child births in 2017 when compared to the first year of the new policy. However, policy-makers did not count on new families to postpone having their first child at an even higher rate, 27.6%. Result: the total number of births in china were down 3.5% in 2017.

The long-term consequence of these data is unclear until we see a multi-year trend. Still, it gives planners something to watch. The change from the one-child policy was because of a population imbalance that was shrinking the size of the workforce while the size of the aged population was increasing. To rectify the problem, China needed more people coming into the workforce, hence the to-child policy.  Source: China Daily

A Win-Win

Mobile - Programmatic

New data supports the idea that advertisers are finding some safety in mobile, private market placements (PMPs) where impressions tend to be premium and more controls on spending can be exercised. The move in that direction is up 37%. And there is evidence that premium eCPMs payoff for the supply-side (+155%) making mobile PMPs a solid move for both sides. Header bidding is also showing significant gains.  Source: MediaPost

China’s Undulating Price Index

Consumer Price Index - Jan-18


Nine months of relatively flat undulations keeps China’s Consumer Price Index off the minds of everyday people. That‘s a good thing for consumerism in that extremes in either direction can make people nervous about spending and we, as marketers, don’t want that to happen.   Source: www.; National Bureau of Statistics of China