How to succeed with your Double 12 campaign for China’s Cyber Monday

For Western businesses who are seeking to take their products and services successfully to the Chinese market, Double 12 – on the 12th of December  – is a key event to target. Broadly equivalent to Cyber Monday in the West, Double Twelve grew out of China’s hugely successful Singles’ Day Double 11 – on the 11th of November and its significance is growing on the Chinese marketing calendar. Although Western businesses will have demands on their marketing time at home with the run-up to Christmas, this Chinese festival is an important one for overseas e-commerce sales, with Chinese customers responsive to discounts and ready to engage with quality Western brands.

What to know about Double 12

The shopping festival was launched by Alibaba as a means of promoting Taobao, its online marketplace which features midsize and smaller retailers. With a focus on quality retail offers, the event was originally an attempt to overcome negative perceptions around counterfeit product sales. While it is yet to reach the epic proportions of Singles’ Day, it is growing fast, with strong customer recognition, over a million sellers and more than 110,000 million participating customers. Double 12 is also noteworthy for offering excellent integration of on and offline sales channels, with promotions placed on flyers, outdoor advertising and in-store receipts, as well as on digital channels. The delivery of the event is powered by Alibaba, meaning that consumers can rapidly pay on their mobile phones and enjoy heavy discounts. In fact, some Double 12 consumers are already planning their days around the event, seeking to maximise a full occasion of discounted dining out, shopping and leisure experiences.

How Western retailers can benefit

There are three key things for Western brands to note.

Firstly, Double 12 focuses on smaller and independent vendors, offering an excellent opportunity for those Western e-commerce businesses that may have struggled to be heard amongst the big-brand event of Singles’ Day.

Secondly, Double 12 campaign could combine with Double 11 campaign to strengthen your marketing strategy in China.

Thirdly, Double Twelve now covers merchants across four continents, including Western markets, with 100,000 overseas merchants using Alipay to offer exclusive online discounts for the occasion.

Planning your campaign

The best results for your Double 12 campaign will come from an integrated digital campaign, where multiple channels are used to maximise the reach of your content and messaging. Remember that Chinese consumers are sophisticated digital users and likely to buy via their smartphones. Your website must be mobile-optimised as a given, ideally with a localised Chinese website and Double 12 campaign optimised landing pages which integrate with Chinese payment platforms for a seamless experience.

Access to knowledge and expertise

As we discussed when considering your plan for Singles’ Day, China’s market is notoriously complex, thanks to a raft of factors that include cultural differences, regionalism and local dialects and varied buyer personas. From the lucky number 8, through to ideas of ‘face’ and its link with brand values, Chinese customers are different and your campaign needs to be crafted around this knowledge to succeed.

Baidu PPC

Baidu is your digital portal to China in a country where consumers spend nearly 2 hours a day browsing the internet across more than 550 million smartphones! Once your Chinese landing pages are ready, set up your Baidu PPC account (with support to speed up this notoriously drawn-out process as required from your Chinese marketing agency), plan and schedule your Chinese language adverts, run a result-driven Baidu PPC campaign and use Baidu Tongji (Baidu Analytics) to assess the results and tweak your campaign as necessary to optimise results.

Chinese social media

Choose your platforms carefully – WeChat is the obvious one for audience mass and tools, and Weibo is your Twitter equivalent, however, your brand may be better placed for smaller and more niche alternatives. Regardless of the social media platform, you will need to create excellent content that offers meaning, value, excitement and a rich brand experience. Personalisation is also important. Chinese shoppers are used to private or small group-based conversations which are less public in nature than Twitter and Facebook in the West. This means making sure your audience can find your content on a single platform and then share it across their chat apps via organic sharing. Get this right and you’ll also spend less money on paid media.

From photos and videos through to quizzes, blogs, influencer posts and calls to action, be prepared to work quickly and actively on your chosen Chinese social media platforms, building up a following and a buzz now to be ready for Double 12. Again, your Chinese marketing agency can help you to hit the ground running by assisting with the creation and cross-platform dissemination of the right Chinese language content that will resonate with your target audience.


Move quickly and there should still be time to arrange a sponsorship or promotional partnership with a Chinese Key Opinion Leader (KOL) – most brands will have organised theirs by the end of October. However, a Chinese marketing agency can help to speed up this process by using contacts and knowledge to rapidly identify the right potential KOLs and then facilitate the campaign booking.

Targeted online advertising

Get your targeted online advertising right and you can ensure that your audience sees your brand and promotions on China’s top websites, with rich media ads that engage and excite shoppers. Market Me China offers an integrated and cutting-edge online advertising management platform to expertly target your demographic, place ads seamlessly on the right digital media and then track and manage your campaign intelligently, easily and with the use of analytics to allow timely refinement where required. Our cookie-based audience targeting solutions help you to build brand awareness and enhance conversions, ensuring that your budget is put to work as effectively as possible.

Other things to factor in:


Get active now on Tieba, Zhidao and Zhihu, where consumers share their opinions and reviews on the brands and product offers that they value. This also improves your brand reputation, so monitor discussion content carefully and be active in dealing with any negative comments. Remember that Chinese consumers are meticulous in their research and ready to listen to the experiences of others.


Peer to peer or word-of-mouth marketing is even more important in China than in the West, primarily because of the tightly regulated mass media. This means that you must seek to offer a superb customer experience to get great recommendations on QQ, Sina Weibo, WeChat and offline. Be ready to learn more about social conversion and apply these dynamics to your campaign.

Find out more

Our team of Chinese marketing professionals work with Western e-commerce businesses across all industries. We help Western brands to rapidly and successfully access the Chinese market, leveraging rich expertise and knowledge of this complex yet sophisticated market to offer measurable results. Whether you are new to marketing in China or seeking to apply more advanced strategies to further extend your brand and sales amongst your target Chinese market, we provide the skills, tools and knowledge that you need to achieve your goals. Contact us to find out more and to plan a successful Double 12 campaign.