Mobile Marketing in China: What You Need to Know

One of the first things that people learn in marketing is the importance of demographics – different types of people tend to respond differently to various types of products, advertisements, and messages. A mother in her mid-thirties, for example, would likely be more receptive to marketing that focuses on the topic of family than a single, male in his early twenties.

In today’s high-tech world, it is also increasingly crucial to understand the technological preferences (and not just personal interests) of your target demographic. It’s not enough to know just that a mother in her thirties will typically be interested in a certain type of messaging – you need to research the mediums that she uses so that she will be exposed to your marketing efforts, in the first place. This principle is important to know, for Western companies, especially when dealing with markets so distinctively different, such as China.

Before we examine mobile-marketing tactics in China, we will first summarize why it is so important to understand the Chinese market. Here are just a few points:

  • China now has more than 1 billion mobile subscribers – more than three times the United States.
  • China has more than 400 million mobile Internet users.
  • 60% of residents access the Internet solely through their wireless device.
  • Around 220 million people shop regularly online in China.
  • China has become the second-largest e-commerce market worldwide with 145 million online shoppers, spending $4 Billion in 2012.
  • In the first half of 2012, 37.5 million online shoppers in China purchased products via their smartphones (a 59.7% increase year-over-year).
  • Only 19% of consumers in China go to the official brand or manufacturer websites. Most of them buy through online retailers that are similar to Amazon.
  • 18% of the downloads from Apple’s App Store in Q2 2012 were from people in China.

However, it is important not only to know why you need to invest in mobile marketing in China but also how to use the channel efficiently. Chinese consumers are very different than American ones. One interesting example is how the Chinese use their mobile phone; Mobile Chinese users do more web browsing and text-messaging and much less e-mailing than their American counterparts:

Here are some other interesting facts, stressing how different Chinese mobile usage patterns are:

  • 61% of Chinese mobile users are willing to receive mobile ads (compared to 31% in
    the US).
  • 53% of Chinese users have used a mobile coupon (compared to 22% in the US).
  • Unlike the West, there’s very little market in China for cost-per-thousand (CPM) impression campaigns.

While mobile websites & coupons are almost completely ignored by the U.S. market –the Chinese are a lot more receptive to these options. So, it is important to tailor your mobile-marketing campaigns accordingly.

For app developers and mobile publishers who are looking to enter the Chinese market by advertising or monetizing their apps, these are a few golden rules to keep in mind:

  • Chinese users have a much-lower preference for paid apps.
  • The Chinese market acquires apps using almost exclusively the local app stores, belonging to operators and manufacturers;  not from  Google Play or the App Store.
  • Game apps tend to drive the highest download rates for Consumer brand advertisers – in contrast, ads within games for other mobile games do not do as well.
  • As such, big brands do value mobile-game traffic – especially when offered by leading developers.

So, if you are looking to market your mobile application in China, it is important both to emphasize a free (ad-supported) version and ensure that you have high visibility in all Chinese app stores rather than only on Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

It does takes time to research any demographic, but the results will be far greater when your marketing and advertising campaigns contain the specific messaging that resonates with your target audience, reaching them on channels they use the most. Having a local partner is an enormous advantage, and having a local marketing firm which is experienced in bridging cultural gaps between East and West could definitely help you avoid the learning curve, that is usually a natural part of penetrating into foreign markets and getting ahead of the competition.

MassiveImpact’s offices are placed globally, with staff members speaking over 20 different languags and coming from multiple cultural backgrounds, with a special expertise in Far East business culture. This type of diversity allows us to help Western companies advertise globally, removing barriers and easing advertisers’ path into new markets.

Whether you are launching a new product in the US, China, Italy, France or Brazil- MI is your mobile advertising partner and we would be happy to assist you to reach your goals, close by and afar.

To learn more about what the West can learn from Asia, when it comes to Mobile Marketing, check out MassiveImpact’s recent interview with Fox News.

Sources: How China is Pushing Forward the Mobile Internet in 2012, Smartphone Sales Way Up in China, Now Account for 73.2% of All Mobiles Sold, How the Very Uncool ‘CoolPad’ is Outselling Apple’s iPhone in China, Mobile Commerce in China Hits $1.8 Billion in Sales This Quarter, and 3 E-Commerce Trends to Watch in China in 2013.

Other Sources: Canalys, UC Web, Technode, Tech Rice, mInfo, Mobile Commerce Daily, Venture Beat, and Seeking Alpha.


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