The top 7 Digital Channels for Marketing in China
A massive digitally connected population with untapped potential is a marketer’s dream. China being the second-largest economy with more than 90% of its population on the internet presents exciting business opportunities for both B2B and B2C businesses. However, despite the ideal circumstances, most outside businesses fail to capitalize on the Chinese market and replicate the same success they experience everywhere else.
The most popular digital marketing channels in Mainland China
Marketing in China is very different. Many tools that are a big norm in business transactions worldwide are either ignored or are rarely used in China. One such example is email. Chinese professionals seldom use email for communications. They instead prefer WeChat, a popular tool that’s covered later in this article.
So, let’s take a look at the 7 most important channels you’ll need for running successful marketing campaigns in China.
The first listing, Baidu, is the Chinese equivalent of Google. It is the most popular search engine in China and is the preference of more than 88% of Chinese netizens. If you are looking for business opportunities in China, then Baidu is the place to be.
On a foundational level, both Google and Baidu work similarly. You’ll have the option to rank your website organically on Baidu through SEO practices or go towards the paid route.
One thing to note is that the average user will see more PPC ads (around 8-10) on Baidu when compared with Google. The Chinese population is also more likely to click on PPC ads because they believe they are more credible.
2 – ZhiHu
ZhiHu is a free platform where industry experts share their opinions, preferences, and knowledge. If you look for a western equivalent of ZhiHu, the closest example would be Quora. The general user demographic on ZhiHu are elite industry professionals and decision-makers between the ages of 25 – 40. Posting content on ZhiHu is completely free, but you’ll have to ensure that it’s effectively written for best results.
3 – LinkedIn
Finally, a recognizable name. LinkedIn is among the most effective platform for marketers looking to connect directly with decision-makers and potential leads. However, you must remember that the Chinese version works as a separate entity from the international version and require an intricate process for digital marketing. Despite this, the channel is effective and can deliver results.
4 – HuoDongXing
HuoDongXing is among the biggest event marketing platforms that allow you to access multiple customer segments through SMS, WeChat, and other channels. It allows you to market your seminars, webinars, corporate events, product launch, and multiple other events to a wider population at reasonable rates.
5 – WeChat
This is perhaps the most important tool for marketing in China. If you enter the Chinese market, WeChat is among the primary requirements for any campaign. Without it, success is next to impossible. It was already stated at the start that Chinese professionals prefer WeChat over email. However, its importance is not limited to that. From personal correspondence to multimillion-dollar business deals and live streaming events, everything happens on WeChat.
6 – KOL’s
KOL is the Chinese counterpart of Instagram where you can use different influencers to market your business among their followers. Influencer marketing is quite effective in the west but it is nowhere close to China. Chinese influencers have a lot of sway over their followers and you can leverage that for effective digital campaigns.
7 – Tencent ads
Tencent-ads is quite similar to Baidu when it comes to advertising, but focuses on apps and programs it hosts on the platform. For businesses with a wide array of applications across different industries, Tencent can be an effective mass-marketing tool that can generate quality leads. However, it is often deemed as the last tool you need in the B2B sphere and is generally recommended if you are doing everything else already.
As opposed to the rest of the world, marketing in China requires you to use different tools and techniques because of the strict digital regulations and a different outlook to digital marketing among the people.
The 7 aforementioned tools are among the most popular choices for B2B marketers in China. The final decision depends on your product, budget, and expectations from the campaign. China has a lot of potential for western businesses and you can surely get good by proceeding with a plan.
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