How To Borrow Mobile Moments To Engage Chinese Consumers

When it comes to engaging Chinese mobile consumers, top digital-native apps like WeChat attract more attention than brand-owned ones. Smart marketers are starting to borrow mobile moments rather than create their own. So how can you pursue a similar strategy? My most recent brief, The Power Of Borrowed Mobile Moments, provides marketers with the guidance needed to successfully borrow mobile moments.

Forrester defines a mobile moment as a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what they want in their immediate context. Mobile moments are the key to winning the mobile battle, as they create an opportunity to transform consumers’ perception of a brand. For B2C marketers in China, the opportunity is great — the country is the world's largest smartphone market — but so is the challenge: Chinese consumers have extremely high expectations when it comes to mobile services.

Our research indicates that, of the different types of mobile moments, borrowed moments are the most essential to winning over Chinese consumers. There are a few reasons for this:

  • WeChat and a few mega-apps dominate consumers’ mobile moments. Metro Chinese consumers already spend more than half of their mobile Internet time on WeChat. A few other popular apps, such as Didi Dache and MeituPic, have attracted hundreds of millions of users and enjoy high daily usage.
  • “Owned” mobile moments are less likely to work in China. The country’s relatively slow mobile Internet speeds have shaped consumers’ preference for data-light apps and resistance to downloading and using individual brand apps.
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Introducing The China Version Of Forrester's New Mobile Mind Shift Index

Mobile expectations are high in the world’s largest smartphone market. However, marketers lag behind consumer mobile adoption in China and need to do a better job understanding trends in mobile behavior in order to develop effective mobile strategies. My most recent report, The New Mobile Mind Shift Index: China, introduces Forrester’s new Mobile Mind Shift Index (MMSI) to China.

MMSI is a tool to enable marketing leaders to determine how urgently they should provide mobile services and which features to include. It measures how far an individual has shifted in their approach to mobile across three components:

  • The Mobile Intensity Score determines if it is appropriate to connect with customers. This score, on a scale from zero to 100, indicates how intensely people use interactive mobile devices.
  • The Mobile Expectation Score determines the urgency to create mobile applications. This score, also on a scale from zero to 100, indicates what people expect from companies on their mobile devices.
  • Three Mobile Behavior Scores determine which types of features people are ready for. We calculate three behavioral scores, each on its own scale of zero to 100. The Communicate Score indicates participation in mobile communications behaviors like reading email and texting. The Consume Score measures behaviors like reading news and watching video. The Transact Score tracks behaviors like online buying and service.
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Select The Right Agency To Help Overcome Your Top Digital Challenges

Marketing leaders in China are looking at the largest and fast-growing digital market in the world and face more challenges in digital marketing than ever. As a result, they need more and more help from their digital agency partners. My new report, Overcome Top Digital Challenges In 2015: Choosing The Right Digital Agency In China helps them to do so.

In China, digital disruption is affecting nearly all industries, including telecommunications (WeChat); transportation and travel (Didi Dache, Kuaidi Dache); and banking and financial services (WeChat Payment, Alipay Wallet). In this digital era, marketers in China face opportunities and challenges in digital marketing:

  • Opportunities: fast-growing digital marketing budgets and more digital marketing duties. More than three-quarters of the marketers responding to Forrester’s Q1 2015 China Digital Marketing Online Survey indicated that they will increase their digital marketing budget in 2015. Also, they are increasingly expanding their digital marketing duties into newer areas such as social and mobile marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and eCommerce.
  • Challenges: meeting increased pressure to deliver business outcomes. Marketing leaders are bearing more responsibility for business outcomes. As a result, they face the challenge of measuring the results of digital marketing efforts and achieving positive ROI. Marketers are increasingly concerned with the effectiveness of their digital marketing spending and are striving for better strategies, tactics, and targeting.
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Announcing The First Forrester Wave Evaluation Of Digital Agencies In China

After many months of hard work — setting criteria, selecting the eight most significant digital agencies in the market, conducting in-depth briefings and customer references, and countless hours of analysis and evaluation — I am pleased to announce that The Forrester Wave™: China Digital Agencies In China — Strategy And Execution, Q1 2015 is now live.

Why is this report so important to marketing leaders in China right now? To reach China’s 670 million online consumers (a number that continues to grow rapidly) and engage with them, marketers in China need more digital marketing support from their agencies. As such, digital agencies play a more important role than ever, as they:

  • Manage a rapidly growing digital marketing budget. As online ad spending in China has almost doubled over the past two years, leading agencies in China are seeing an increasing shift of ad budgets from traditional media to digital — so these agencies must support more complex digital marketing plans and campaigns.
  • Expand to a broader spectrum of digital services. With the rapidly evolving digital landscape in China, digital agencies are constantly adding new digital services — including social marketing, mobile marketing, customer experience strategy, CRM, and eCommerce — that go far beyond web development and online advertising campaigns.
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Join Forrester's 2015 China Digital Marketing Online Survey

Forrester’s 2015 online survey for digital marketing executives in China is now open. If you’re a marketing leader who is involved in digital marketing in China, please take this opportunity to provide your perspective.

Why is your input important? Through this survey, we will:

  • Understand your key challenges in digital marketing. Marketing leaders in China have larger digital marketing budgets — but they also bear more responsibility and face a more complicated digital marketing environment.
  • Outline your pain points in working with digital agencies. Marketing leaders in China have more digital agency options than ever before, but their expectations of digital agencies have changed along with their shifted responsibilities.

We will use the results to help marketing leaders in China:

  • Understand key trends to prioritize your digital marketing efforts. This data will help you benchmark your key focus for digital marketing in 2015.
  • Select the right digital agency to meet your most important needs. We will soon publish our first Forrester Wave™ evaluation of digital agencies in China, which will help marketers assess and select digital agency services. This data will help you customize the Wave to select the right digital agency to help you overcome your top digital challenges.
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Use WeChat Now, But Use It Wisely

Over the past two years, WeChat has been a very important part of my research. And it should be on your radar as well. I’ve been particularly focused on gauging its innovations and exploring potential monetization possibilities. Most importantly, I’ve been evaluating how marketers can leverage WeChat from the time when it wasn’t ready to be a scalable marketing tool through to today, when all marketers need to understand how to use WeChat wisely.

With a whopping 468 million monthly active users, WeChat has been the focus of marketers for a while; as of July 2014, WeChat had 5.8 million public accounts. However, marketing leaders face challenges in using WeChat for marketing:

  • WeChat is a private social platform. The tactics that work on open social platforms like Weibo do not necessarily work on private social platforms like WeChat. Many marketers still wrongly attempt to use WeChat as a platform for news announcements.
  • WeChat provides limited ad formats and APIs. Although we do see Tencent considering the possibilities of introducing display ads in Moments (WeChat’s timeline) and laying the groundwork for search advertising by partnering with the local search engine Sogou, so far the only available advertising opportunity for marketers is purchasing display ads in public account articles. Many marketers also complain about the limited APIs that WeChat provides to them.
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Huawei Experiments With Mobile Ads On A Taxi-Hailing App: A Great Start With Room For Improvement

Taxi-hailing apps are gaining momentum globally, and China is a very important battlefield for both international players like Uber and local players like Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. While the battle for market share and consumer loyalty is ongoing, monetization has also appeared on the agenda of these taxi-hailing apps. Pioneer marketers have started to experiment with mobile advertising on Didi, and Huawei is one of them.

On December 17, 2014, Huawei sponsored Didi’s lucky money in its first attempt to place mobile ads on Didi for its newest smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6 Plus. Huawei has embedded the product name, ad copy, and images in Didi lucky money and aims to reach the more than 100 million Didi users and their friends on WeChat. Huawei has created four opportunities for ad exposure:

1. Banner ad on the menu page of the Didi app

2. Full-page ad when the user clicks into the banner ad

3. Sponsorship of Didi lucky money shared in WeChat

4. Full-page ad embedded in Didi lucky money

This ad campaign has certainly created buzz and attracted attention. However, Huawei could improve its implementation by:

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Social Marketing Boosts The World’s No. 3 Smartphone Giant, Xiaomi

China’s Xiaomi became the world's third-largest smartphone maker by market share for the first time in the third quarter of this year; it trails only Samsung and Apple and has surpassed its Chinese competitor Lenovo. As a somewhat new brand founded in 2010, Xiaomi’s achievement is impressive. Among the many factors contributing to Xiaomi's rising success, social marketing is, without doubt, a prominent one.

Xiaomi’s recipe for success contains three social ingredients:

  • Adopt various social platforms and tactics to engage with fans. Xiaomi has successfully integrated social into its marketing RaDaR and turned 11 million social media followers into super-loyal “Mi Fans.” It uses Weibo to attract new users (reach); its branded online community to provide detailed product and service information (depth) and to generate brand loyalty (relationship); and WeChat for customer service (relationship).
  • Extend the social frenzy offline. Xiaomi is a digital disruptor, but its social marketing success isn’t limited to the online world. Xiaomi values the power of its fans on social media and extends it offline. It named its annual new product launch event after its fans – the Mi Fan Festival. Xiaomi also holds gatherings for its fans in more than 100 cities in China and organizes events, such as the MiBand Run, to enhance the relationship between its fans and the brand.
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Points And Coupons Are Key To Winning The Loyalty Battle Between Taxi-Hailing Apps

Back in June, I published a blog post on the ongoing loyalty battle between taxi-hailing apps in China. Since launching their loyalty campaigns, Didi Dache and Kuaidi DaChe have expanded to more and more cities and are fiercely competing with each other with dueling rounds of promotions. Five months later, we have a winner — at least for now.

On November 5, Kuaidi announced that it had captured 60% of the taxi-hailing app market in China, overtaking former market leader Didi. Kuaidi hasn’t just won market share — it’s won the customer loyalty battle, which is more important. According to EnfoDesk, active Kuaidi users open the app 15.82 times on average, while active Didi users only do so 12.55 times.

How did Kuaidi manage to flip the game in just five months? Simply put, Kuaidi’s customer loyalty program works better. My previous post outlined the different approaches that Didi and Kuaidi took to engender customer loyalty: Kuaidi adopted a loyalty rewards program and provided points and coupons to loyal customers, whereas Didi leveraged the power of social to replicate the success of its Lucky Money campaign.

So why did Kuaidi’s points and coupons beat Didi’s lucky money in the race for customer loyalty?

  • Predictable rewards beat random rewards. Kuaidi users earn a certain number of points for each completed ride and can use these points to purchase coupons — so loyal Kuaidi users get rewards that are predictable and can be accumulated. In contrast, the amount of money that Didi users get from each lucky money reward package is completely random.
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Forrester’s First Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast

As social media adoption continues to grow in Asia Pacific (AP), so too does marketers’ spending on social advertising. Forrester’s just-published Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast, 2014 To 2019 report projects that social media ad spending will continue its rapid growth over the next five years. In this period, marketing leaders in Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea will increase their investment in advertising on social media (excluding mobile messaging apps) at a 21.6% compound annual growth rate, reaching $5.8 billion by 2019. The rapid pace of growth is mainly due to:

  • Low market maturity coupled with a large and active social media population. Collective social ad spending in these five AP markets end up being less than half of that in the US in 2014. The maturity of the AP social ad market is low considering the large numbers of people in the region who use social media, and as this market matures it will grow faster than in the US.
  • Increasing social media consumption will continue to boost ad spending. The percentage of the online population using social media in the five AP markets will increase by double digits from 2014 to 2019. Forrester projects that further Internet adoption will bring even more consumption of social media.
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