How were businesses marketing themselves in China in 2014?

The modern digital marketer has a huge wealth of tools at their disposal in order to reach their target market and build brand awareness. China’s vast digital population, including huge numbers of internet users and remarkable rates of mobile adoption, provide marketers with plenty of avenues of approach when it comes to putting their message out there.

Your own approach to marketing in China will need to cover several avenues, including a Chinese website and Baidu SEO. There are also many platforms to consider when social media marketing in China, with many companies having success utilising Weibo marketing and WeChat marketing. But what you should be using, and how you should split your time between them, will likely depend on a number of factors. When entering a new market, one of the best ways to get inspiration for your own marketing is to look at what others are already doing, and what is working.

How were companies marketing to China in 2014?

Chinese SEM and content marketing most popular tactics in 2014

Search Engine Marketing (SEM), also known as PPC and content marketing are ways of ensuring that your target market finds you online, and has a reason to interact with your brand. Chinese SEM helps to capture traffic searching for relevant keywords using paid advertising, rather than organically capturing traffic using Baidu SEO. Content marketing is about generating interesting content, including articles, images, videos, polls, and news stories in order to provide an opportunity for your target market to get involved with your brand.

A poll conducted at the beginning of 2014 found that SEM and content marketing jointly held the top spot as the digital marketing avenue always used by companies, with 47% of marketers claiming they were consistently part of their strategy. In terms of overall usage, Chinese SEM narrowly took the top spot, with an additional 27% of marketers frequently using SEM compared to 23% content marketing. In 2015 search engine ads still hold the biggest market share of advertising revenue, with 36.6% of the market (source: China Internet Watch).

Social media marketing in China the most widely adopted marketing strategy

While other forms of digital marketing may have been more frequently used, in terms of adoption social media marketing was the most widely used tactic. While the number of digital marketers constantly using social media marketing in China was just under two thirds that of Chinese SEM, when combined with the 43% of marketers who frequently used social media we can see just how popular the platform is becoming amongst Chinese marketers. In fact, it was considered the most effective platform for cross-channel marketing. A few months before, another survey found that 81.5% of marketers in China considered microblogs, such as Weibo and WeChat, the most important channels when social media marketing in China.

Mobile marketing becoming popular

At the beginning of 2014 the same number of Chinese marketers were constantly using mobile advertising as were social media marketing. However after that only half as many marketers claimed to frequently use mobile advertising as did social media marketing. It is expected that these figures will rapidly increase in the future, with one research company forecasting that by 2017 the combined revenue from mobile services, including marketing, will hit $3.1 trillion. Despite this growth, evidence suggests that many marketers are still wary of mobile marketing, with the average advertiser spending only 3% of their budget on mobile in 2014 (source: Jing Daily).

(Image source: Image created by Stuart Miles |