After reflecting on 2013, it would be fair to say that it was a year that marked an evolution in the way Digital Jungle approached digital marketing in our Chinese focused campaigns. Specifically, three areas that saw the biggest shift were the areas of Mobile, Content Marketing and Big Data. This observation is not dissimilar to commentary being made from Western based Agencies but as with most things in China the context in which this is happening is quite unique and the local Chinese platform providers offer sometimes vastly different functionalities to that of their Western cousins.
For those people looking at China, the 'Year of the Horse' (2014) should continue with a number of key themes. Below, we have highlighted 10 areas that Chinese digital marketing practitioners may encounter.
1. Content marketing is still king
In the past few years, more brands have got behind the content marketing push (at least in principle). In fact, according to Social Media Today, 78% of CMO’s believe custom content is the future of marketing. At Digital Jungle we believe 2014 will see many Brands increasing the role of content marketing in their brand straties. Gone of the days of focusing on quality as most content is high quality, 2014 will require highly targeted, strategic content in muliple forms - branded and unbranded.
2. Clever social media marketing
In 2013, we saw Sina Weibo take a usage dip and Tencent's WeChat rise to massive levels. Overall, there has been a general level of disinchanment with Social Media as marketers (and their Brands) grapple with ROI, investment models and finding the appropriate positioning for social media with the brand mix. 2014 will see a more strategic uses of social media in digital marketing programs. At Digital Jungle we predict a continued flattening of usage patterns in Sina Weibo as users and Brands look to use and leverage broader ranges of distribution (like BBS/Forums/Review Sites) and digital tribes wander to new places to gather and engage.
3. Real time marketing is not just a hype
We have had real-time bidding in search for years and now we are seeing marketing technology firms provide Agency's with social listening, engagement tools that are impacting practice and making social modeling a real science with marketing efforts. 2014 will enter a new social modeling tool that can show (in real-time) social connections and model what the impact of engaging with one online group vs another. These tools provide the ways to prove where efforts should be spent to gain the best effect.
4. Internet Access via Desktops is Limited and Mobile is Key
Facebook, Twitter and even Google have become mobile ad networks. In China, 70% of Chinese are using a mobile to access the Internet. This will continue to grow and the access will get faster and thus more interactive.
5. eCommerce will surge, surge ... surge
Double 11 Promotion Day (November 11, 2013), saw the Chinese e-commerce sites; Taobao (like a Chinese eBay) and Tmall (like Amazon) sell a massive a grand total of $5.7 billion (RMB 35.02 billion) spent in the course of 24 hours. We predict this to grow further in 2014.
6. More Content Curation
This is set to become another important trend in 2014 and will provide potential customers with greater engagement with your business. Marketers can increase the relevancy of their marketing since users can arrange the posted content according to what suits them. (List.ly and Quora are example websites that help users arrange and aggregate data.)
7. Less words, more visual
The massive growth of infographics, Instagram and Vine reinforce the fact that we’re reading less and watching more. Visual media will dominate the market in 2014. Digital Jungle predicts infographics will become less used and videographics will emurge as a popular alternitive.
8. Content marketing will be more targeted
91% of adults have their mobile phones within arms reach 24/7. So it’s no wonder delivering content/multimedia directly to the user’s mobile based on their location (via GPS/LBS technology) will grow. It’s relevant, fast, timely and convienient.
9. Challenger brands will conquer
Challenger brands have the flexibility to be more responsive and adaptive to new technologies. Look out for challenger brands making some noise in the 2014 digital landscape.
10. Marketers will use visual upload sites (like Slideshare)
Although Slideshare is blocked in China, we see a number of simular sites offering presentations/visual media to be uploaded. These sites offer a platform for content marketers to share and distribute content stories. The popularity of Slideshare in the West is testiment for such an outcome and we believe this will become another avenue for Chinese brands. Note: Digital Jungle was named in the top 1% of content being viewed in 2013 on Slideshare.