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China Marketing Insights Monthly Newsletter [Apr 2020]


Welcome to our April Newsletter.

Thank you for still sticking around and reading our newsletter past few months. The recovery in China is slow but positive, there has been a quick uptick in reservation across travel & hospitality. More outdoor recreational facilities are opening cautiously. While business sentiments have not returned to the buoyant level before the onset of a pandemic, many are positive about the situation with China. International hospitality brands have started to open their doors, more overseas business has also started to promote within China.

In this issue, we bring you more updates from China – increasing domestic travel; ideas on how to grow your audience in a crisis; LV’s foray into live streaming on XHS; updates on China censor requirement.

We look at key insights report about the marketing value of beauty apps; new media available for programmatic buy. Finally, in our App of the month, we take a closer look at Zhihu, China’s largest knowledge-sharing platform.  


Mia C. Chen

CEO & Co-Founder of OctoPlus Media

China’s domestic tourism picks up during festival

During the Qingming Festival Holiday in 2020, the total number of domestic tourists in China reached 43,254 million, and the main group is the 90s. Ctrip ’s domestic ticket sales increased by 114% from the previous month. Mafengwo report also showed that the keywords search popularity of “Surrounding self-driving Tours” in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou increased by 85.7%, 51.2% and 132.8% respectively, and the Home-stay orders increased by 50%. The tourism industry and accommodation industry has been picked up during the festival.

Tourism industryy vs. Accommodation industry
Tourism industry vs. Accommodation industry

As the market recovers, Accor and Alibaba deepen their strategic partnership which launched an all-encompassing campaign to celebrate the french hotel group’s ALL lifestyle loyalty program through the Fliggy platforms to encourage new members of ALL to discover more experiences.  They believe that this is the best time to gain a deep insight into the needs and behaviour of Chinese consumers and enhance the user experience. “

The recovery of tourism consumption has shown that China’s tourism industry has great growth potential and broad development space. “Must go-to travel after the epidemic” is the voice of many people sincerely, the tourism and accommodation industry will become a faster recovery industry after the pandemic. The recovery is accelerating, and it is expected that there will be a new peak of travel during the “Labour Day”. We recommended that make strategic marketing plans for the market and enter the market in advance to maximize brand exposure.

Insight Report - Marketing Value of China Beauty APP Users

In the vertical market segment of female users, beauty camera apps are integrated into the daily lives of more users. Because it captures the commonality of women who love beauty, love post, and indulge in this, as well as the help of O2O, big data, and cloud computing for “her economy”.

As of December 2019, the MAU of beauty camera apps has reached nearly 300 million, the MPR of apps was 20.3%, and the overall user scale continued to expand. According to the research report, female users of Wuta-cam(a popular beauty camera app in China) accounted for 88.8%, most of them were unmarried and relatively young. From the perspective of basic user portraits, mainly young unmarried women, the vertical user group can enable much-targeted advertising and marketing to reach the target population accurately, and effectively improve the overall product marketing effect.

Source: 2020年中国美颜拍摄类APP用户营销价值洞察报告
Camera Apps in China

As the entertainment methods of Chinese users become more diversified, the usage scene of beauty camera APP, which focuses on the intelligent beauty camera function, are becoming more and more abundant. From Chinese mainstream beauty camera apps such as Beauty, Faceu, and Wuta-cam, in addition, to meet user beautification photos of demand, these apps are key development social function, pay attention to social platform sharing, use as big data to increase fans number and link to the user and commercial product, It will provide more breakthrough for marketing.


Louis Vuitton held its first live stream on Xiaohongshu

xiaohongshu live
LV's First Live Stream on Xiaohongshu

As the global epidemic gradually deteriorated, the luxury goods industry, which focuses on offline sales, was hit hard, and many brands chose to temporarily close their stores. Innovation in post-coronavirus China, Louis Vuitton is the first luxury brand to create original interactive content using live streaming. It attached over 15k viewers in just 1 hour and 10 minutes. The entire live streaming continued to remain in the top 3 of the live streaming hour list and occupied the first place many times. The popularity of live streaming exceeded 6 million, the interaction rate reached 33%. It attracted more than 20k fans for official enterprise account. However, live streaming also got some bad reviews from netizens. The results were unsatisfactory, and many elements such as lighting, background, and anchor wear did not match the brand image.

But there is no doubt that LV has made a breakthrough by taking advantage of live streaming and selling online on Chinese social media platforms in the way that young people like best. Recent popular live streaming also include Celebrity shopping anchor Weiya sold the rockets worth 40 million RMB on Taobao live streaming platform, it was sold out in a second; CCTV host “Witty Talker” Zhu Guangquan and “Celebrity shopping brother ” Li Jiaqi is connected across the live streaming, they help Hubei with goods worth 40.14 million yuan; On second-hand platform Xianyu, an anchor named TangXiao sold a plane worth 400M RMB on Xianyu live streaming. It shows that live streaming has penetrated all walks of life, it is changing the future of social content.

LV's Live

There is no doubt that LV has made a breakthrough, at the same time, LV is also the first luxury brand to launch the WeChat Video Account. There is no problem for LV to choose live streaming to sell the goods, the problem is not the live streaming, but the quality, planning and environment of live streaming. It needs to give users a professional feeling and choose the right anchors and an excellent environment for a luxury brand if want to achieve a good effect.


Guide to advertisement censorship law in China

Overseas companies operating in China, as well as advertising agencies, are aware of the importance of the forbidden Chinese keywords. Many companies fall into the trap of illegal advertising due to negligence of the inspection of advertising ideas or ignorance of Chinese laws, which may result in legal punishment or compensation, which may damage the brand image.

A Japan brand J company has directly translated the words “most advanced technology” and “top technology” of its official company materials and published it as a product advertisement on the company’s Chinese official website. As a result, it was determined to be illegal by the China national institutions (SAIC) and fined 200k RMB.

L’Oreal (China) Co., Ltd. was found to have violated the advertising law and fined 200k RMB for releasing false expressions words with the use effect of fictitious products regardless of age and skin condition. 

According to advertisement censorship law in China, all offline and online advertisement (Baidu SEO, Wechat Ads, Weibo Feed Ads, DSP, etc.) are subject to review. Information released by KOL in the name of individuals is not included. For the latest advertisement censorship law in China, please click here.

Image resource Chinese: news report
Image resource Chinese: news report

Maimai and Douyu Available programmatically via selected DSP

Maimai (脉脉), China’s biggest rival to global professional networking giant Linkedin; Douyu(斗鱼), popular e-sport related live streaming platform in China. These two platforms announced that connect with DSP and will access programmed purchase officially.  

Douyu, one of popular e-sport related live streaming platform in China, with 250 million registered users and 162 million average MAU. The Douyu’s users have high acceptance, payment habits and high stickiness, etc. 60.2% are between the age of 18 and 27 years old, it shows the younger characteristics. Among them, single male users are dominant, over 77.5% of users are males. Users’ consumption habits are stable and influenced by advertisements.

Maimai, “China’s LinkedIn”, it is the first China-based career and social-networking platform. Currently, it has 80 million high-value real-name users. With the real social profile, Maimai has accumulated an exclusive social database. It achieves the accurate target through four big data dimension which is targeting regional, gender, career and industry. It makes advertising more efficient, but some customers are scared away by the price: from 20 RMB/CPC. So DSP can perfectly reduce the cost of launching on Maimai platform, which is convenient for enterprises to better formulate advertising strategies.

Zhihu, China’s largest knowledge-sharing platform, it’s a powerful content marketing tools suitable for various industries.

Zhihu (Zhihu.com) is a knowledge-sharing website widely used by young people in China and it is also one of the Internet platforms with a large and excellent user community and high-quality content. As a giant of Chinese Q&A websites, Zhihu currently has 220 million users, 160 million answers, 40 million DAU, 33 billion monthly views and 70 minutes of daily visits per user. According to the user structure of Zhihu, the majority of user are 19-35 years old, more than 45% of the users are distributed in 1st tier and new 1st tier cities, and the number of users in 2nd tier and 3rd tier cities” participating in the discussion, sharing and interaction is increasing.

Zhihu is one of the high-quality UGC platforms for the Chinese Internet, which gathers the topics of various professional fields. Zhihu topic groups are usually well educated and have a good or professional knowledge background, which is very suitable for long-term advertising to educate users.

In addition to PC-side ads, there are four main types of advertisements in Zhihu APP, they are open-screen ads, feed ads, answer page ads, and search ads. The conversion rate and quotation based on advertisements vary from industry to industry, so we suggested combining content orientation and interest orientation to accurately target people, and use a variety of advertising forms in combination to achieve the maximum effect of advertising.

zhihu ads

In addition, Zhihu content marketing includes soft article implantation, topic planning, search optimization, and organization account content operation (similar to WeChat public account operation, the brand side releases articles / answers to popular questions / interacts with fan users), etc. It mainly conduct in-depth content marketing communication in the form of Q&A, articles, and real-time content publishing.

Case study of E-commerce industry

Recently, Zhihu launched an E-commerce linkage and live streaming function. In September 2019, Zhihu started the internal test for “Zhuhu Goods Recommended” function. Eligible users can add links to product pages of E-commerce platforms such as T-Mall and JD in Q&A and articles.

“Zhihu Goods Recommend” also established an official account and asked various questions to users. For example, there was a prize question about dressing at home during the epidemic of the COVID-19, users can answer the question and add links to articles and recommend brands or products.

Currently, “Zhihu Goods Recommend” function can link to the product pages of the four platforms of JD, Taobao, Zhihu Mall, and Pinduoduo, It mainly focuses on books, 3C, intelligent living products and other categories, and takes the direction of high-quality product section.

zhihu ads

Case study of Personal care industry - PANTENE shampoo content marketing

PANTENE and Zhihu cooperated to launch a series of content marketing for PANTENE GINZA’s products, the content is about the functions of its hair care product. And promote through various activities like the soft article, Special Event, APP display ads, and feed ads, etc. The final effect effectively strengthens the brand exposure and successfully increases product sales.

zhihu ads-opening ads & native ads

A Joint Collaborative Initiative By OctoPlus Media & China Trading Desk

OctoPlus Media Global Limited

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