The online marketing scene in China is super-vibrant and your company must constantly stay up to date in the game. This means that you need to be quick to adapt to what the market demands and channel your marketing efforts in the right direction.
We cannot stress enough how different the Chinese market is. The marketing techniques that are successful in the western market are not automatically successful in China. Often, China pioneers using new marketing strategies that later also become popular in western countries. At other times, what works in China is totally foreign to the rest of the world and it remains only effective within a Chinese audience.
Bottom line, nothing can be taken for granted when launching a marketing campaign in China. You must do your homework and zero in on the needs and likes of your specific audience.
Online Marketing Trends in China in 2021
In the following, we have listed the top digital marketing trends of 2021 in China that you can use as a reference to decide where you want to focus your energies.
Live-Streaming That Focuses on High-Quality Content
Live-streaming campaigns will continue to attract users even in 2021, but the focus is switching from simple sales-pitches to more entertaining and educational content. 2021 has just begun and, as usual, here at QPSoftware, we are ready to give you some hints on the top digital marketing trends in China.
Currently, live-streaming campaigns need to create excitement and that can be achieved by inviting famous hosts to represent your brand or trusted KOL (Key Opinion Leader). In 2021, live-streaming will focus less on selling products and more on entertaining the audience. The goal is to increase the number of likes, shares, comments, and new users.
Incentives given during the live-streaming session are still effective and a great way to attract viewers. However, the content now needs to be more creative and educational, instead of simply commercial.
WeChat Groups Integrated with Smart Chatbots
WeChat groups are a proven way to attract private traffic. Their integration with a smart chatbot, even though it doesn’t substitute a human admin, will make the tool more cost-effective and useful for companies.
The chatbot can be set to answer common questions, promote coming events, conduct surveys, collect information about the audience, recommend a product based on specific keywords, and a lot more.
Douyin, also known as TikTok outside China, has taken a good portion of the social media scene. Known as the place where you can go for a good laugh, Douyin, is now undergoing a major change in its content.
What we are now observing is that users enjoy using the platform in a more educational way, with how-to tips, and advice and storytelling content. That makes Douyin a good platform where online marketers can promote products or educate their audience about them.
WeChat Mini Programs
WeChat Mini Programs have become a critical asset for online marketers. In just a few years, an incredible amount of companies have launched WeChat Mini Programs, including giants like Alipay, Baidu, and Toutiao. In 2021, companies must dedicate resources to implement or improve their WeChat Mini Programs, considering that users now expect every respectable company to have one.
A New Target — Lower-Tier Cities
Pinduoduo, an E-commerce platform where users can participate in group buying deals, has become popular thanks to 66% of its users coming from low-tier cities. This phenomenon has been a wake-up call for major companies like JD.com, who suddenly realized the potential of these cities usually overlooked by marketing campaigns.
Even though consumers from these areas have lower spending power, they represent 128 million internet users compared to the 74 million in first and second-tier cities. The potential for generating revenue from lower-tier cities is huge. Therefore, 2021 will see more effort dedicated to reaching users and consumers in these areas.
Influencers Are Not Influencing as Much as Before
Influencers are still valuable in the marketing scene, but what we are noticing lately is that people tend to trust them less than before. Micro-influencers are instead gaining popularity. The reason behind this new trend is that people feel a need for credibility and sometimes they cannot find it in influencers who are paid to promote products.
People now tend to rely more on feedback from real users. Therefore, they are resorting to platforms where users can share their experiences. For instance, WeChat has launched Good Product Circle. Using this feature, users can share products from Mini Programs with their friends, and recommend products based on their personal experience or check what their friends have bought.
Even the short video and live-streaming platform, Kuaishou, has introduced a channel called Small Store. On it, users can share products from major online shops like JD.com, Taobao, and Tmall with their friends. Once the user clicks on the shared products, they will be redirected to the E-commerce website where they can buy it directly.
These platforms and similar ones where friends connect, provide the trust behind the product that many users do not find with influencers.
A New Approach to KOLs
This trend is closely related to the point just discussed above. KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are still relevant in online marketing, but the approach is changing significantly.
Companies now tend to sign contracts with KOLs which entitle the company as the sole partner of the KOL.
Therefore, the influencers will work with only one brand promoting it through their content, social media channels, and E-commerce stores. On the other hand, the company provides the KOL with all the support and training needed to become more efficient in personal branding.
Online marketing in China continues to be full of new ideas and is overflowing with tremendous potential for growth. The new trends we see in this market are both exciting and challenging at the same time. This is especially true for online marketers who are not familiar with this unique part of the world. For them, producing successful campaigns in China may be especially problematic. Having a tight grip on the local culture and consumer behavior is critical to being successful in China.
If you need assistance in planning your marketing strategy in China, call us today. We have over 10 years of experience in the Chinese market and we can assist you in paving the way for your success in China.