China Ad Secrets - Entering or scaling up in the China market
Find out why the China market has performed well in 2020 and will continue into the future — In this episode, you’ll:
- Learn why China is ideal for running targeted ads and how you can sell the smart way 💸
- Discover how you can test the waters in China at low cost 💹
- Learn the truth about some of China’s biggest advertising and sales myths 🐉
- See the worst mistakes new entrants make, and discover what successful market entrants do instead 🥇
Learn some of the strategies we’ve helped Western brands implement to get traction and sell into the China market.
Meet the speakers
Growth Marketer, AdChina.io
CEO & Cofounder, AdChina.io
Head of Growth, AdChina.io
- 0:00 Intro
- 8:27 ‘It’s hard to advertise in China’
- 12:00 Success is possible
- 13:00 What does China’s position look like now and into the future?
- 14:00 China Mythbusting
- You cannot DIY
- Advertising in China is an insurmountable challenge
- It’s expensive to advertise in China
- The money is only in the big cities
- You need a warehouse
- You need to build a new website in Chinese
- Translation is all you need
- WeChat and Baidu are the biggest and best channels
- 23:00 The 3 biggest mistakes new China entrants make
- 25:10 3 things that separate successful brands
- 26:25 AdChina.io client case study
- 27:50 What the winners do differently
- 31:20 Why some organisations struggle in China
- 32:45 How organisations avoid the struggles
- 33:20 Why AdChina.io
- 35:30 AdChina.io client case study
- 38:45 Strategy + Support + Advertising
- 43:25 Alignment
- 46:00 Clients feedback
- 46:40 A quick look at AdChina.io
- 50:00 Q&A with Henrik and Jie
Listen to audio version
[Jie] So first go all you need to analyze which industries you are targeting at. And also, make sure that your customer journey that you designed for the leads is in place so that once you generate the leads, there is someone that can take care of them, but they don’t, you know, vanish.
After that is, I, again, I think, Brad has already mentioned that we believe in a multi-channel strategy, at least for the start and then go into our platform and see which channel is more suitable for your industry. And then start from there. In general from our experience, you know, to start with, if you’re a B2B, company, you can maybe start with the Baidu as well as, you know, some other channels, including, WeChat or, Toutiao, and then the start to generate the leads.
That’s the starting, barrier is very, very low. I think it’s in the worst case, you know, some of our customers are doing that already, to treat those campaigns as their market survey and see the response and also see the questions that they’re getting and also to see the, acquisition costs, whether they are acceptable or not per lead.
And just start it’s, and then, adjust your strategy along the way.
[Jie] Yeah, it’s very simple. Get onto our platform and then you can play with any keyword that you want to check.
[Henrik] So basically I think, one of them, the only tools that I’m aware of that that allows this, especially considering an English, interface is AdChina.io. just needs to get verified for a Baidu account. And then afterwards you can do all the keyword research you, you want in, in terms of cost per click estimate that traffic, monthly page views, both for like PC mobile and also like the, you know, what’s the competition around the keyword and things like that.
[Jie] That’s very, I think it’s a similar question. I mean, as long as you’re, I mean, in a way in this case, still customer journey, although there are students, is, you know, through it, doesn’t have to be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be super smooth. But as long as you have someone that, or the process can take care of, the inquiries, then that just go for it.
[Henrik] And I think there are one thing I want to add as well is maybe more so than around the business services, is the social media side of the marketing for universities.
We’re working with several universities around the world. and what we see there is definitely the paid, the paid ads work very well. But it’s also very well supported, by using, you know, content, social media, content marketing, different articles, videos, for example, showing the campus, things like that, putting that out on
Also having your WeChat official accounts, set up with articles around there where, you know, answering all the normal questions such as, you know, what’s life like on campus. you know, how do you live? How do you travel there? And of course these days, a little bit around how maybe how safe it is with, with COVID, but so, so.
You know, we know from, from experience that Chinese students are very, very valuable for international, universities. So for that, I would, yeah, I would recommend sites sign up on, on AdChina.io and, and also reach out to us and we’d be happy to help.
[Jie] I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s this similar, I would say a similar model to Google. so basically it is, the question is the other way around actually, how much do you really have in the budget in order to run the, initial campaign and afterwards you will just, you know, optimize and, compare it to, to, life value alive life cycle value, and then, go for it.
The, in general, I think Baidu is on the lower side when it comes to entry barrier, to start, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s not much we’re talking about, you know, basically. So like in total to get started, we’ll be around –
[Henrik] Yeah, $1250 US dollars. That’s including both the cost to get set up. And also the, the initial top-up, towards the account, which is, though that depends a little bit, which country you are in, in some places like Singapore and the UK, it is a bit higher from, from Baidu side. But all of that info is also available in AdChina.io in the, in the marketplace, once you sign up for a free account.
[Jie] The beauty of and AdChina.io is that, it is significantly lower down the entry barrier. As you mentioned, I think, again, we are talking about hundreds of US dollars to start with.
For, basically any company, and also that’s why we created AdChina.io because we have seen that, too many opportunities are missed just because of the high barrier or previously. And the high-risk and also too many.
I’m going to say ambitious companies have been held back holding their ambitions back because of this.
But now that, you know, we have AdChina.io in place, I think anyone, with, some business idea of going to Chinese market can go there and, And start advertising and check out the market already test on the market again, test out.
[Henrik] And just in terms of the timeline, it’s, you know, it varies a lot based on the channels.
But in general, if you think two to six weeks, then you’re, you’re pretty covered. So again, I think, I think people really took to heart what Brad said about asking about their specific industry.
[Jie] Yeah. traditionally, I mean, we had the, you know, for, top, industries, it’s been, you know, tourism, which is very low or nothing, basically right now, is retail, different products selling to Chinese market. It’s been a software on the games, software industry in general. And it’s the education.
But then I recently we have found that the overseas, from Chinese perspective, overseas, real estate that have been a very strong industry, not only in our kind of, in our business, but also we have heard a lot of, I would say, wonderful stories. I mean, one of our recent customer was saying that one of their projects that they, have been selling in London, for example, as much as 70% of the buyers are from, from China.
So it’s a, it’s really a very, strong, industry right now from the practice of our customers. We can see that, To them. It is more important. I mean, of course, depending on which, what kind of accompany we’re talking about. If we’re talking about a specific development project, which is located somewhere, then of course, it is quite important to, let’s say, attract them with, with the location.
Basically. This is, is the location that we are. We’re talking about, and then many of them are using the local attractions or when it comes to, you know, different things like Medicare, like, you know, the, the scene basically, like the quality of the, of the, of the project and so on. and also of course, the, local benefits in that, in that country or in that region.
And then if your agency, for example, and that you’re representing, places all over the world, and then it is more or less in different places, not necessarily all over the world, but then it is necessary for them to attract a certain group of, high net value, in a way investors, because they buy those properties, not necessarily for themselves to live in.
But as I investment, objects, and then for them, it is more important for them to, to attract the, the, the, the group of people with the capability and the interest of buying property or investing in properties overseas, and then maintain them in the community and the key we’re showing them, the, opportunities and the projects that, that re that, that they are representing afterwards.
So it’s, it’s a bit different between these two scenarios.
it’s the same as a it’s same as internationally. We use Google AdWords, you know, and just really look through the different, keywords really go in and search deep.
And, you know, you can use, add China IO to, to do that. so basically when you go into to, to, to the platform, you can search for a word and you you’ll, like a keyword and you get, then the statistics that I mentioned, you get a success for that word, but you also get like a suggested list of.
Relevant and related keywords. So it makes it quite, quite easy to find very niche and, and, strong keywords, you know, for your clients. and, you know, one addition there is also that if you, if you want, you know, support in finding the, the nice keywords, that is something that we can help with, as well in, in, in a consultancy way.
where we help get you set up with the, the keywords in the beginning, and then you can optimize, you know, by yourself from there. next question. Can I buy my competitors’ brands terms in China? for, for Baidu? So the short answer is yes. and. Just like in the West, if you’re used to buying your competitors, key terms internationally, you know, why people do it?
It’s because it works in China.
[Jie] Again, I think, I think the biggest your decision would be, you know, setting up a store and, you know, make the, logistic, costs low enough and also, the delivery time, low enough.
But those are the bigger decisions from our, experience. It is better that you start with, running some ads. and then, test out the, the market fit and also market interest of your product in the, in the market. And if you, I mean, usually you do because there’s a, quite a quite big market.
if you, find out, that there is a lot of interest. Yeah. increase there then, you know, just, you know, start selling. and then, if unusually again, it’s, there are a lot of, areas that you can improve, including for example, point of sale. in China, it’s very common that people go to, the, the marketplaces to, to, to buy the product instead of, the kind of, individual, brand websites.
So, you might want to, along the way, consider to set up a flagship store on TMall, on JD, on other, kind of, e-commerce platforms. And then, at the same time, you might, depending on the nature of your product that you might consider to either do normal trade, to have a, you know, a, a stock in China, imported in China.
Or you can try to use this across the board or cross border e-commerce, which is much lighter when it comes to initial, investment. And then, of course, depending on the category of your product, you might want to consider, what, how you’re going to deal with the, customer support, also return and repair these kinds of, things afterwards.
But once the volume comes up, don’t try to solve those problems. In the beginning, we have seen so many, you know, examples of from our photo mistake that they, to make a big decision and try to make everything that is super ready and super ready to, you know, set up the store and just wait for the customer to come in.
But we have already passed that age. Right. We have already passed that era. It’s up. So much easier to test out the market before you make a major investments on the other aspect, find your customer first, and then. Fix the rest.
[Henrik] And one, the only thing I wanted to add to this is also because not all the channels in China will allow you to use your international sales point and drive the traffic there.
But depending on, you know, depending on what you’re selling, as long as it’s like Brad mentioned that it’s legal and approved, things like that, Baidu is one of the channels that. That, we tend to use in, in these cases, which means that just like you use Google AdWords to drive traffic to your, you know, to, to your e-commerce store or to your website, we can do the same very often, with Baidu, meaning that, like I said, you can start making it very, very simple.
The start. you know, take, you know, some great keywords and start driving, some light traffic through the website and then optimize there, you know, like figure out what’s what’s working and then take the next steps.
[Jie] And I remember the cost of doing that is cheaper than the air ticket to go to China, no brainer.
And then you go out and buy a market research report from random consultant. Hmm. No it’s really worth doing.
[Henrik] It does depend a little bit on, on the which marketing channel or advertising channel you’re using. You know, you can lead it to a WeChat mini program. You can lead it to your own page. You can lead in some cases to an international page, you can lead it to an, a TMall or Taobao store, you know, or yeah, and some other places.
But one thing that’s quite unique in China is a lot of the channels offer, landing pages that are hosted on their channels. so for example, if you see an advertising on LinkedIn and then you click on the ad and then you have an immediate landing page pop up, an eight-five landing page that’s generated and hosted on the, we chats on, servers.
So it’s lightning fast, you know, and it could be product information. You can get. You can capture leads, stuff like that. That’s just a little background on, on the channel, on the question in, in, in case and on the metrics, it’s, you know, you can get the standard metrics there. the visits, the bounce rates time on time, time on site or time on, on page.
And you can also get of course, like form completion, things like that. So you can know how well the page works.
[Jie] In general, actually, we are very proud of the, the targeting, tools that we’re providing on AdChina.io of course, I mean, in general, I mean, Chinese media channels know better or more about their users than the Western ones.
But of course not everyone is, giving us the possibility of using all the knowledge that they know about their users, but, yeah, it is in general better. And, you will be amazed if you really start to run some campaigns. You can know a lot of, very deep down, specific interest, behavior.
I mean, normal, the say demographic, targeting tools are all there. And also marital status where the kids are not, you know, a lot, it depends depending on the channels. So a lot of, tools that you can play with
[Jie] This is a tricky question.
Let me put it this way. I mean, we have a, when we were developed while we are still, in developing AdChina.io we really, really prioritized the most working channels in China or the, from our point of view, the best performing channels in China. Because I mean, with the background information, you can see the landscape or ecosystem.
Of Chinese media channels is very different to the West in a, in a Western world. You just, you know, basically come live within Google and Facebook ecosystem for, forever. But then in China you have to be very, alert to what’s going on in the market because, as. As soon as you think that you have covered everything on someone else suddenly come up on the, on the road, start to rule the world.
It’s, it’s very interesting, but, again, I think we, I would, what we can stand behind very strongly is, the channels that we have been, we have connected with.
[Henrik] One thing too is there are So many channels, there’s so many places in China. So this is really the, you know, the cream of the bunch, really the absolute best ones, you know, that, that are trustworthy, you know, that has the right, features and targeting and the, you know, the right audiences, So, yeah, in general, that’s others.
I don’t really recommend avoiding any channel that we have included in AdChina.io
[Jie] Yeah. You know, the one that – the largest app store in China, which is Yingyonbao. It’s a Tencent app store.
[Henrik] But only if it’s an Android app, right?
[Jie] Yes, it has to be Android app. And if you don’t have an Android the version of your app that is gone at least in the long run.
It’s going to be a problem because it is a big thing in China. So a hard felt void. and I mean, I mean, on top of that, depending on the nature of the app, all the channels are, you know, very friendly to user acquisition, of download acquisition.
So, yeah, again, it’s, it’s even easier to do tasks, to compare it to the other industries.
[Henrik] So actually, you know, the Android app store there is, you can actually advertise on the app store, through AdChina.io. and if it’s, if you don’t have the Android version, if you have the iOS version, then, generally we strongly recommend. WeChat and Tencent, as long as you can get approved, because we have some very, very, strong and, powerful targeting, directly, that can send traffic directly to the iOS toApple’s iOS app store.
We also have integration with AppsFlyer. So it’s possible for you to get the full, closed loop tracking so you can see, you know, how much are people, like how much are people spending in the app? things like that – as long as you have an Appsflyer account.
[0:00] [Brad] Welcome everyone to today’s special online event, Chinese Ad Secrets, how to easily unlock your profits in China. So in today’s session, we’ll share with you the fundamental principles and the big picture items that we believe are utterly essential to succeeding with advertising and selling into the China market.
So if you’re completely new to the China market or you’re already selling, but you’d like to scale up your existing efforts, then today’s session will be really quite valuable to you. Now you probably already know this and you’ve definitely heard me say it before if you’ve come along to any of our previous webinars, but it’s true.
There’s not much point attending webinars and not taking any action, accumulating knowledge and information and not putting that into action. It just doesn’t do a whole lot for you. So please take notes. However you prefer to record those from today’s session so that you can prioritize and have your action steps clearly noted and ready for you to work through.
And that’s very important because we will cover a lot today. Now my promise to you by the end of this session is that you’ll see what a right market China is and see that it’s possible to claim a slice of that market. And we know that because we help brands from all around the globe to exactly that every day.
So you’ll see how you can start advertising in China, how you can do it affordably on a budget to test the market and get real feedback from real customers before you commit too heavily. And testing the waters is crucial because you’ll get information that helps you to keep your costs down later on.
And when it comes to budgets, right? That’s. Entirely relative. So a brand that has high authority and is a household name has status. They can afford to test at a higher scale and a larger ad budget and to collect more detailed data and a small business can dip their toe in at a smaller cost just to see and collect valuable learnings as well.
So I do want to encourage everyone to stay until the end of the presentation today. We’ve got a 30 minute Q and a lined up for you at the end. And we want you to ask as specific and challenging questions as you can. We often run a little over time over our usual 60 minute Mark, because people love to ask hyper specific questions about their own market and.
So, if you want to truly pick our brains about the finer details. Well, we love to answer those questions. So we work with a lot of different industries. Sometimes we need to follow up by email. But I’d say at least 90% of the time, we can give some advice or point you in the right direction. So if you want to ask whether there’s a market for a particular good or service, or if it’s perceived to be available in abundance or sought after, you know, whether there’s a particular Chinese advertising channel, that is a really good fit for a company in a certain vertical, you can do that.
And we’ll give you some actionable recommendations. And like I said, we don’t have all the answers and sometimes we need to go and pull up some data and get back to you the same time we’re in the thick of it every day. It’s quite likely due to the diversity of our existing customers. That there’s a good chance that we’ll have some answers for you.
And that’ll save you a lot of time, right? I’m sure we’re all overloaded with the amount of content out there right now. There’s articles just on absolutely everything. And it can be hard to distinguish between the quality information and the wide open sea of unfortunately useless crap that isn’t really giving a lot of specifics and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
[4:00] We’ll also be inviting you to take the next step when it comes to either ramping up or getting started in the China market. And I’ll have a special offer for you around that at the end. So we’re all about education and demonstrating our quality through content. And that’s precisely why we do these webinars.
So just to confirm how today’s session will work or present for the next 45 to 60 minutes, and then we’ll have our extended Q and a session. So please feel free to ask any questions that you have right now. Some people have already asked this questions via email. You can ask anything at any time by putting your questions in the chat.
So typically we do get a lot of questions and what we do is we scroll up and we work out through our way through them. So get in early and you’ll get your questions answered. If anything comes up during the session, or if you have any burning questions, be sure to ask. That’s why we’re doing the extended 30 minutes.
Now, before we start, I want to briefly cover who we are, Brad and I put together a lot of our educational content around the tech, the tools and the innovations when it comes to advertising in China, I love to learn new things, and I’m really glad to say that’s a core part of my job. So I’ll probably be presenting the education session today.
And later on, you will be joined by Henrik. A serial entrepreneur and China marketing expert and Jay, our CEO, and co-founder with extensive experience building international teams and businesses across Europe and Asia. They’re both based out of Norway, Henrik, and Jay will take over for the Q and A at the end.
So just to say it again, if you want to get specific, if you want to ask about your industry, your organization, your niche, please do so. I also wanted to explain just a little bit about AdChina.io. So we help organizations, brands, and businesses to get set up and advertise and sell into China. We are for first and foremost, a tool.
So if you are working with an agency partner who handles your marketing, that’s cool. We can work with you through them. If they want to do that. So we’re not here to replace agencies or anything like that. We’re here to give you all of the data and the reports in a transparent and reliable way and to launch and run the ads yourself.
If that’s something you want to do. And with what’s happened this year. We have a lot of companies that were already talking to us who thought about, and kind of considered China as an option. They kicked the idea around a little bit, but they hadn’t pulled the trigger and they were happy in their traditional markets until this major downturn.
And now they’ve decided to enter China and to get more serious about it. Because it’s a market with positive signals in both the short and the longer term. And that’s been a good move given how the rest of the world has fed for the last eight or nine months, but they didn’t do it thinking just about the short-term either.
There’s a lot of good long-term reasons to think about China and we’ll touch on a few of those shortly. So let’s get started. So the aim is to go from a place where you’re not selling in China or you’re, we’re not seeing the sales numbers. You’d like to see, to thriving, to selling loads and enjoying the success that comes with that.
Now, one quote that I’m particularly fond of is “the quality of your life is based on the quality of questions you ask yourself”. And that’s by Dr. John DeMartini. I think the same applies to some extent in your success in business as well. So I thought some quality questions that relate to today’s session.
[7:50] How hard is it to start selling into China? How can I get in front of an ideally suited audience? How much will it cost to do that? What are the resources and experience to I need. What are the biggest obstacles? What are the winners do differently and what separates those from who those who don’t do so well, what can I learn from them to make sure I get it right and avoid wasting money?
Well, there’s good news. We’ll cover all of those questions in today’s session. And to start let’s tackle that very first one. Why can’t anything worth doing. Getting into China is going to come with its unique set of challenges. And when you find yourself faced with too many challenges, Break them down and it becomes a lot easier prioritize.
And it’s funny. Sometimes people say that they have a long list of priorities or several priorities or they’re feeling overwhelmed, but the reality is they actually haven’t prioritized because the definition of priority is the one thing that takes precedence over everything else. Right. You can only ever have one priority.
So you can have say. A list that I need to get through A, B, C and so on perfectly valid, but you only ever need to think and worry and be concerned about what is number one right now. So of course new entrance will be faced with some extra hurdles. You need a point of sale, whether that’s an online store, your own Chinese website or landing page, or a way chat mini program, you need some way.
To accept payments and depending on what you have already and the marketing angle you want to take, one of those solutions probably makes a bit more sense than the others, or it makes more sense at an early stage. So on the logistics side of things, of course, you need to find a way to get your products to your buyers.
And we have a number of partners we can recommend who operate in this space and work with our existing customers. On the setup side of things, you don’t need a Chinese entity or anything like that. We are in living in the world of cross-border e-commerce and that’s been the norm for a while, and it’s very achievable, but you do need to get set up on advertising channels.
You do need to navigate a little bureaucracy in the initial stages. And again, it’s all a process. You provide the documents, they look at it, it’s ticked off. And we’ve worked with many companies to submit this documentation to channels and to get accounts set up. Like I said, it’s a fairly simple case of follow the procedure.
You end up with your cake at the end. So if you’re unsure about the market for your products, well, the simple answer is to test and to see. It used to be the case that you needed a hundred thousand us to even consider China. And the stakes were very high when that was the norm. But now it’s just a very tiny fraction of that.
And I’ll mention this a lot when I dive into the details, but there’s one takeaway from this presentation that is a above everything else. And that is that if you test and you get market feedback of that is the key to succeeding. And as you can probably say in your home or traditional markets, things are fairly flat across the board in most cases right now, or even starting to contract.
And it could be that China offers a bit of a safe Haven to weather this storm. And it’s not a storm with an easy or quick solution. It looks like things will be. Fairly tough for the foreseeable future. So companies are coming to us because, well, they just can’t afford to sit around and wait for the world to fix itself.
[11:50]They’ve got sales to make, they’ve got bills to pay and they want to not just stay in business, but truly thrive. So a lot of companies that talk about wanting to enter China, they kick the idea around, but as I said, they don’t end up. Necessarily pulling the trigger on it. And so they stay stuck in their home markets below the clouds in this image here, which might be fine until they need to diversify and look elsewhere for revenue.
And we had a few brands and organizations that we’ve been speaking to for a while, and they didn’t really get serious until March, April, may when they saw what was happening everywhere else in the world. And yet China had already recovered. And so they diversified and they’re now reaping the rewards of taking action and rising above the clouds here.
And I’d encourage you to ask yourself what difference could entering China make for you and your organization in a time of uncertainty that might be wise. And it might benefit a lot to look outside. What’s worked in the past and to find what could be a smart market for growth going forward. And to really drive that point home.
I wanted to show you the latest world economic outlook growth projections from October. And they show that advanced economies are projected to shrink by 6% this year and grow by less than 4% next year. So not even close to properly recovering because that’s a growth on top of a contraction. And yet China, despite being hit very hard initially by this virus.
In January, February is set to maintain positive growth at nearly 2% this year and see upwards of 8% growth next year. And in fact, it’s the only country that looks like it will come out of 2020 in the positive. And I think this report on screen is from June and the numbers haven’t really changed in the October report, which is the numbers that I just read out.
And it’s pretty congruent. So if China’s remaining in the positive throughout this whole period, uh, if that’s not a Testament to the strength of their economy, then I don’t know what is. Now there are things that can help or hinder you when it comes to the China market and like anything, there are no silver bullets and that’s a very important lesson in itself.
So I wanted to smash these myths one by one. And the first is that you need an ad agency and you can’t do it yourself. And that used to be the case or, or less. Uh, but we didn’t like it that way. And that’s why we created AdChina.io platform. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that later, but essentially you can launch and run ads across the top channels in China.
From an intuitive, easy to use platform. That’s all in English. Now the DIY aspect is an interesting part of this myth. On the one hand, you do need to adapt to a new market. You do need to be culturally sensitive and aware of things that oftentimes Westerners don’t really know about. And of course you need to adjust your ad copy and your text to of course, be in Chinese.
If you have the resources internally to do that. Great. You can DIY, if not, then of course you’ll need some amount of support to ensure that your translations are accurate. And on the next one is the insurmountable challenge. I think we’ve kind of smashed that already a few slides back, but again, if you break it down, you’ll probably find it to be less of a hurdle than you think it’s a procedure and you just work your way through it.
Uh, expensive to advertise. As I mentioned, it used to be a hundred grand or more just to start and to run some tests. Now it’s only a few thousand dollars, sometimes less than a thousand dollars and more than 90% of that is your ad deposit. It’s what you’re going to be spending on the ads. They just want you to, uh, join with.
[16:00]Some funds so that they know that you’re serious. Basically they want you just to be committed and you don’t have to spend that all at once or all on one campaign. And that’s actually one of the really big game changes in China in recent histories. Another Mo uh, another myth is that you are, we went to target tier one and tier two cities, and the market is watching.
This will immediately realize that that depends entirely on what you’re selling. Tier three and four are growing and buying actually at higher rates than the tier one and two cities right now. And it does look like there’s plenty of upward mobility happening. So if you’re selling, you know, high-end luxury.
Yeah. Stick to tier one and tier two, if you’re selling something that’s really practical or useful to those who may have a bit less purchasing power, but it’s a quality product. My recommendation would actually be to test too. And I did one year. This would be a recurring theme, run a few ads target.
Buyers from tier two cities summit, tier three, and let people who are using their dollar, determine which market that you focus on. Get real feedback from the market. The results may well surprise you, and they may not even confirm what you already thought too, but it’s better to have data and information to back it up rather than making a guess at what you think.
Might be the case. The third myth is that you need a warehouse in almost all cases. Actually, you don’t need a warehouse if you’re starting and testing, because you’re not operating at a scale that would make a warehouse necessary. You can get one. If it’s in budget and you want to get started on a comparatively higher budget, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But it’s definitely a myth to say that it’s necessary. You don’t need a warehouse to sell into China. And likewise, you don’t need to build an entirely new website from the ground up in Chinese. All you need is a page that’ll load in China that isn’t blocked and that isn’t terribly slow. And in some cases you need a stamp of approval from the government before channels will let you advertise on their platform.
And all that is is the channels protecting themselves because they don’t want to get in trouble for advertising anything that’s prohibited. So the government take a look at your site and what you sell as long as it’s not cryptocurrency, illegal drugs, VPN software, and a few other prohibited items, then you good to go.
And if you’re not sure whether your website loads in China, you can send us a link. We can test that for you and let you know what you do need. Of course, is. A website or a landing page in the Chinese language. If you’re sending Chinese people to a site in English, typically you’re not going to have great success.
So what you can do is create a landing page and just get that translated. Alternatively, you can use a way chat mini program developed and sell straight from we-chat, or you can sell on an existing e-commerce web store in China, Timor. And several other ones, JD, depending on what you’re selling. So I think I’ve partly covered it, but it’s not true.
That translation is the only thing you need because you want to connect right. The content and the vibe of the website or landing page needs to match Chinese expectations. There are some subtle differences that are quite significant conversion factors and the. Messaging of your ads and your landing page needs to be culturally adapted for the China market.
So to succeed what you need is true localization. There’s not really any other way to put it. And our China market experts can help you get all your strategic ducks in a row there if you don’t have the resources to do that in house. So that way that your message will connect better with your audience.
[20:10]And lead to better conversions. Now, the last myth here is that particular channels are the best or the most effective. Really? It all comes down to a few different factors, comes down to what you’re selling your audience and the medium you choose to advertise with. So it wouldn’t make sense to try and sell a product for over 50 year olds on a platform that is.
Mostly used by people under 35. It wouldn’t make sense to advertise on Baidu SEM. If your plan is to run video ads, because you can’t do video ads for SEM, it be like trying to run video ads on Google. So you choose something more suitable in this case, YouTube or Instagram, in China, that’d Xigua video or Douyin.
Anywhere that accepts video ads for a start. So for that point about, you know, what’s the best channel for particular industry. This breakdown is one way to look at it. Originally, this image was just the first four, they’re representing the different mediums. And I added B2B just to give it another dimension.
There’s a million niches and verticals, so I don’t want to make it overly complex. But this is one good way to really break it down. Toutiao is great for content marketing. If you’ve got educational, inspiring, motivating, entertaining, written content articles, social media is great. Obviously not just in the West, but right around the globe and just like right around the globe.
There’s. Slightly higher resistance on these platforms because people are there to communicate with their friends, but that said they can be a great place to start to test, to build an audience, to build followers. And even to scale, if you can stop people in their tracks and capture that curiosity search ads, just like a Google search is a bit of a newer medium.
And we’re very excited about it working with a few early adopters at the moment on that. And. We’ve just released by the SEM product in our platform. So when it comes to video, as I mentioned as Douyin which is Tik-Tok there’s Tencent Video. And a host of new up-and-comers in that space as well on the beta based side of things, your best bet would be LinkedIn and potentially search the SEM because people go on LinkedIn for business and work-related activity.
It’s not like trying to advertise, uh, work tools on social media where you’re going to encounter a lot of resistance because people aren’t typically on social media with the frame of mind of thinking about work.
So, what are the biggest mistakes that new entrants make when it comes to starting in China? Well, the first is wetting themselves to a particular method or a particular strategy. I’m going to set up a warehouse in this location with this supplier and run ads targeted either too narrowly or too specifically.
The second is that they don’t assess channels and stores for the best fit. Like we’ve just covered. Your channel choice has to match the creative type of ads that you want to run. Whether that’s the articles, videos, images, search ads, your audience has to use the channel as well in enough numbers for it to be worthwhile.
[23:50]And the demographic has to be suitable and it has to fit your products. And that one’s a little subjective, right? Technically you can add advertise anything on any platform, as long as it’s legal, but culturally certain things would be a bit odd or not convert so well on particular platforms, just because it doesn’t quite fit.
Like I mentioned, with the advertising, work-related things on say WeChat, as opposed to LinkedIn, which would be more suitable. And the third mistake. Can be agencies. Now agencies has have their place. Don’t get me, but if you’re running test campaigns, you want to keep costs as low as possible. So there are agencies that will take a huge amount of the cut.
And if you’re doing test campaigns, you only have a low budget anyway. So you have to be a little bit smart about how you, uh, agree and work with agencies and. They’re giving you support. So there’s value in that for sure. Just has to match what you want and what you’re looking for. If you want to run ads, DIY, then our platform is the solution for that.
So we’ve covered what some brands get wrong in China, but what do they get? Right. Well, they go after S after real feedback with test campaigns, uh, and appropriate budget for the size of the company and the size of their experiment into China. They don’t try to guess whether they’ll be successful or not.
If it isn’t obvious either way, they try to find out based on where the real people are interested. That means clicking on their links. And especially with the real people are buying, converting, purchasing. They have a flexible approach to their strategy. They understand that it is a extremely dynamic market.
We have, there’s just no ability to go in with a rigid plan and stick to that. There has to be room to buy.
Yeah. The thing is that they know that mobile advertising is the dominant way to attract interested buyers and turn them into customers. Whether it’s through live streams with. Key opinion leaders or small scaled campaigns. Everyone online in China is connected to the internet with their phone. Uh, computers are less prevalent than in the West.
So I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about one of our clients, a food supplement company based out of Norway. Now they actually came to us to sell on JD in 2017, but. They sadly weren’t achieving the results that they’d hoped for. And they’re a 100% natural health-related product. Now we help them to run promo campaigns and increase their visibility to launch and run display ads across different channels to manage their social media accounts and different channels as well, and really build up their organic following.
And our team also help this brand collaborate with some KOL key opinion leaders. As I mentioned, if you’re not familiar with the term, that’s like influences. So our team helps this brand collaborate with those influences on these different channels. And so what difference did it make? Well let’s compare the singles day sales in 2019 versus 2018.
There was a massive increase in sales, almost doubled the customers and a massive increase in repeat customers too. And so that’s the combination of ads, but also organic social media, actually. So building a tribe of loyal fans who love the product and maintaining a rapport with them and connecting with them.
So it’ll be very interesting to see their numbers as time goes by.
[27:50]So when you get the fundamentals in place, you don’t have to chain yourself to one particular channel. But you do need to find one to get started with, and we can help advise around that you do need to know who you’re speaking to and get your messaging straight. So in marketing and I suspect in many areas, there’s often this tendency to look for silver bullets.
This is one thing that will drive the results or the change. And in reality, it just doesn’t work like that. Most things marketed and sold as silver bullets are. Really just gimmicks that, uh, sprung on unsuspecting people. It happens to people who want to cut corners and get all their results without, you know, really putting in the effort.
And the paradox here is that if you accept that there’s a process and you work through it, then nine times out of 10, you re reap the rewards. So I would say here, embrace the test and iterate approach. So just to clarify what I mean by that you create a stack of ads, different copy, different creatives, different vibe, and you run them all at lower budgets and see how they perform.
And you can do it anywhere from three to 30 different ads. The point is to know whether you can get some real traction with your ads. And to do that, you need to check, uh, different angles and it doesn’t have to all be done at once. You can test two or three different ads each month and take a bit of a slower approach.
It all comes down to the resources you have and what makes sense, but rarely to the organizations that don’t succeed in China fail because they just can’t craft an ad that gets clicks and gets traction. Nine times out of 10, they failed long before that. And it just takes time. What it does also takes time is to dial in a winner.
I really great ad that performs super well, but the market is very large. And if you target the right people in the right ways, there’s basically no market that could be considered. Overcrowded from our perspective. And Jay talks about this a lot. I was at the shops on the weekend and it really struck me how many companies sell something as basic as bottled water.
And I’m based in Perth, one of the most w V most isolated city in the world. And yet we have pump. We have Fiji water Aussie, natural spring water, San Pellegrino. Mt. Franklin, uh, Fran Tel EVN. Yeah, Ru uh, no frills brand from the store that I was at balance. Cool Ridge. There’s even more, if you get into flavored water and sports strengths, and just by virtue of the fact that they’re all still present on the shelves and selling while it must be profitable for them to do so.
Right. So, you know, that’s an extreme example, but I think it’s fair to say that what might seem a little overcrowded. It illustrates a really good point and we don’t perceive many industries are overcrowded in China because like with the bottled water, you only need to capture a very small slice, a small segment of buyers in China or anywhere in the world.
And you can have a very profitable business. So I’ve just said most brands don’t fail because their ads are no good. And that begs the question. Well, Why do they fail? Because they make these big decisions too early, likely logistics like marketing strategy, and they don’t allow for any flexibility on your information that they can use to adapt.
Say, if you had a set plan in early 2020, that didn’t include live streaming, you would have had left a lot of money on the table by failing to adapt to the new trends. Especially once it was shown how powerful those live streams can be. Now, likewise, there’s also a failure to adapt to the market. It’s certainly possible to take the ads that you run in the West and just translate those and launch them in China.
[32:00]But. You know, given the cultural differences, it’s likely that there’s a better angle that you can take, or you can tweak it to make it just connect so much better and stronger with people in China. And so this rigid thinking is what holds many companies back, and I believe stops them from realizing the success that they could likely otherwise achieve.
Now, the third thing is just not seeking help at a level that makes sense for an organization. Uh, true localization and developing a brand is done with insight it’s highly strategic and a Western brand. Doesn’t figure out how to connect with Chinese buyers by accident. So on the flip side, a bit of flexibility goes a very long way when it comes to ads and launching into a new market and working with us in the capacity that you need means that you.
Kind of get your strategic ducks in a row and avoid a lot of the common pitfalls. And that way you, you get tests, you get data breakdowns, you learn to stop targeting people in certain demographics that aren’t converting as well, any go after those who are, and you can see clearly who that is. And each time you iterate, you get better and better results.
And I just want to show you how easy it is to create and launch an ad on the. Add China IO platform. Hopefully it’s not too blurry. There it is a small screen, but it shows you through, it shows you the process. And it’s very quick and easy. Once you’ve planned out who you’re targeting to go in and to set up and launch an ad and doing that on the native channels is actually very clunky.
Google translate is quite bad when it comes to the Eastern languages. Unfortunately, so.
There’s also that you need to validate your login every time you log in the layout is quite different and it’s not very intuitive to those who are familiar with Facebook and Google, whereas we’ve made it quite clean and unclouded, and a similar as we could really, to advertising on Facebook or Google, it’s actually easier in some ways, because it is so much less cluttered.
Now some of the advantages of this tool is that you can choose which channels you advertise on. You can get your account set up and you can start doing it without even speaking to us. If that’s what you want, or you can get in touch with us and we can help and work with you. I would definitely recommend that approach due to the China market knowledge of the team.
But again, it really just depends on your budget and your resources. So either way you get real feedback. And people either like your ad and they click through it or they don’t, and there’s a lesson in there either way, your ad was a success. So you can scale it up. It wasn’t try something different. Then they see your product and they are the like it and they buy it or they don’t.
And again, there’s a lesson in there. Was there a gap between your ad and the product on the page? Is there a wrong audience? Maybe the ad, um, maybe the product costs too much. Maybe the slight site loads too slowly. Once you find out whatever you suspect, the problem is, try it again, test it, iterate over and over.
Until you dial in a winner. So I wanted to share another story about a client who came to us earlier this year, they’re in the legal field and they wanted to expand and start their growth into China. They had no plan or path for how to do it. They had no previous experience in China, but they had a hunch that China might prove to be a valuable market for them.
[35:50]And they decided to join at China when they saw. The depth of our knowledge of the Shanghai team, as well as the detail of reports that we offer in the platform. So it perfectly facilitated the test and iterate approach, and that was what they were after. So we work with them in a number of different ways.
And this firm was actually one of the earlier adopters of the Baidu SEM platform that we’ve just released. Anyway, we created their SEM strategy. We did a competitive keyword analysis, optimized their keywords, localized their website and landing page by adding Chinese translations across each section of their site.
So it presents them, both English and Chinese. Now another option would be to use a language plugin just depends on the underlying architecture of the website. We developed audience segments for them because there’s, you know, different services the firm offers and they’re of course not all applicable to everybody.
So we wanted to set up their ads so that particular services would be targeted to the right people. And the team set those up with both search and display ads. And so what were the results? In week one, the campaigns drove around 4,000 clicks for an extremely low cost per lead. Well, but cost per click.
Well below the average there on the display ads. And in week two, the budget was increased two and a half times and predictably that achieved two and a half times more clicks and tweaking. The ad was able to actually lower the cost per click. Of the display ad even further again now on the search side of things, the click-through rate, not the total number, but the rate increased 58% in that second week.
So it’s just like what I was mentioning with the, um, the test and iterate approach and collect learnings. When you turn off, what’s not working and you ramp up what is working well, you get better results, right? And each time you create new tests, then each time you can further sharpened things. So taking all these learnings, I wanted to show the method to winning from a very sort of zoomed out bird’s eye view.
And we’ll break this down in a moment, but one step of winning with ads in China and unlocking a greater volume of sales is to have a clear strategy. But one that you can adapt to as needed, you need some level of support so that you can localize your message. And if you aren’t localized, you can stick out and not in a good way, right.
It comes across unprofessional and low quality. I mean, think of the last time that you bought anything from someone that you felt was low quality. So support is important. So, what does it all boil down to? Well, fundamentally I think it’s these three things. You need the strategy because you need the fundamentals in place.
You don’t want to wedge yourself to any particular logistics, supply, expensive contracts, prematurely. And at the same time, you hopefully don’t want to be attached to anything in life without progressing in a natural, healthy way. And you need the support. Because if you messages off well, well your efforts kind of fall apart, right?
Because they consider your project, your product on its merits. And if the subtle communication indicates that it’s low quality, well, it’s kind of hard to change that perception. It’s an uphill battle that your best to avoid altogether, and you need something to attract your Chinese buyers. And that’s where the ads, the messaging and the marketing comes in.
Running those tests and getting real feedback from real people. And when you kind of marry all these elements together well, that’s when you have the key, right? You have the winning combination that will unlock your ability to sell more effectively and more efficiently. And I just want to reiterate, if you’ve got any questions we can get very specific around your product or your niche, your market.
[40:10] Any of the particular Chinese channels, if you’ve got questions, pop those into the chat for our extended Q and A at the end. Now, just to break that a venn diagram down a little bit into the specific steps. First, you have the strategy you research, what’s working for others in the industry. Maybe you learn a thing or two about what’s not working as well, but.
You get clear on who you’re targeting their profile, their demographic brands don’t create buyer personas because you know, they’re fun to make and they look pretty, they do it because it works and it really gives them clarity on who they’re speaking to. And then you need to figure out well, okay, how am I going to sell?
Is it from a Chinese website? Is it from a landing page? Is it through JD or TMall or another online marketplace in China? Am I selling an app that I want to get listed on Chinese app stores? Is it through the WeChat mini program from there? If you’re new to China, then you’d want to put a market and tree plan together.
If you. Engage on our subscription services. We can put this together with you. And from there, you set up your ad accounts on the channels, and you can do that within the AdChina.io platform, which is why I said earlier, it’s possible to run your ads and do everything actually, without ever speaking to us.
Now, from there, you determine the content plan and you map out how you want the ads to work. Do you want to test a stack upfront and. Do it that way, or do you maybe want to go a little more slowly, but get started sooner because you know, if you want to do 30 or 50 ads, it takes time to put those together.
If you want to do two or three a week, then you can get started much faster. Then you ensure that your translations are accurate and those ads and the copy that are attached to them all on point. You also want to make sure that whatever point of sale that you choose is properly localized and tailored to suit the China market.
So Alipay WeChat Pay. Those are good ones to use. Now from there, get ready to start advertising and you need to launch and monitor those ads, view reports, dive into the data and find the learnings to take forward with you into the next campaign. Now, the only tool that lets you do that across all the top channels is AdChina.io
And the best part is it’s all in English and it’s just like using Facebook or Google. And then you. Keep making progressively more accurate campaigns until you find an audience or multiple audiences that are well matched. Now, when the slide here says to scale horizontally than vertically, it’s just like I was explaining with those Facebook ads, you pump out a bunch, you find out what people respond to and focus on doing more like that.
That’s the horizontal part. Vertical is when you assign the ads that work a greater budget and you scale them up. So really it all comes down to alignment and it’s been quite a while since I last did it, but I really enjoy archery and it occurred to me that it makes for a great metaphor to hit the target.
You need everything in alignment. Your eye needs to be lined up with your sights, which needs to be lined up with your target. And the string also needs to be lined up. To the exact same point on your face. When you pull back everything about archery comes back to alignment, same thing with shooting a gun.
[43:55]Your eye needs to be lined up with the front sight. Switch needs to be lined up with the back back sights, which needs to line up with the target. So if everything’s aligned the arrow, the bullet and your advertising will follow that trajectory. If you start doing things out of order, then things get out of alignment.
You. And not firing off target. So I put this together, this slide that illustrates in an oversimplified way, the alignment needed from start to finish. And the reasons I say it is a bit over simplified is for example, you know, translation is recurring, right? You don’t get your translation for every ad you’ll ever launch done at once.
But every time you iterate and test new ads, of course you’ll have new texts that you need translated. For, from my perspective AdChina.io is the key because we allow you to really marry up those three components and do it in a tailored way that matches your needs and the stage that your organization is at.
So by virtue of working with us, you get the research, audience insights and access to advertise on the top channels. And you’ve got your choice of subscription packages based on what your needs are. You’ve got access to the China market experts who can help you with localization, uh, adapting your message to fit the Chinese culture translation, and to work on the campaigns with you.
And you’ve got the tool that lets you create and run ads to see the reports and get the learnings to inform future campaigns. So two bits of feedback that I wanted to share with you. The first one is from a client in the professional services industry, and they said the Baidu Sam provided our business with a great starting point for advertising in China, our team understand search and the AdChina.io team made campaigns easy to execute our impression numbers and click-through rates exceeded our expectations.
So that was a really cool. A bit of feedback that we got from one of our recent campaigns and another one from a real estate client said, we were really excited about the potential opportunities that China provided for promoting our property portfolio, running Baidu search campaigns through AdChina.io gave us great results and also a low risk approach to advertising for the first time in China.
And we have a lot of stories like that. Those were our. Most recent ones and it’s really, it’s why we do what we do at the end of the day to make advertising easy and accessible to organizations outside China. Now, before we jump into the Q and A, what is the AdChina.io platform? It’s the heart and soul of our tool, essentially.
It is entirely free to join and has information on the top ad channels in China, it’s got info videos and we’ll be adding more, very soon. It’s got data, the types of campaigns that you can run on each channel cost to get started and more, but it doesn’t just offer information about ads in China. So not only does the tool help you pick and choose and weigh up your best options on the channels.
It lets you sign up and get authorized on particular channels to start running ads, and you can adjust your targeting criteria and your budget to get real time, reach and impressions. And those will adjust as you adjust your targeting criteria. And you can say that on the right side of the screen there with the red circle around it.
So each time you. Adjust your targeting criteria, the numbers there update accordingly. So you can dial in a really nice focused audience or you can keep it broad and test works. So really it helps you learn about advertising and choose the best channels. And I was you to run ads on those channels and all importantly, it gives you the data in the reports that will help you make.
[48:00] That next campaign even better. So you get audience insights you can use to adjust your targeting next time when you can lower your cost per click. And cost per thousand impressions just by responding to what the data tells you. So to briefly show what some of those breakdowns look like is the audience age, and there’s the breakdown on the ages.
So in this case here, we can see the 41 to 50 is a small segment. Maybe that segment gets cut. Well, maybe we run totally different ads that can convert better for people in that age group. All depends on the product and the suitability of the fit. Same thing goes for gender breakdown. No, just because something is made for men, just because of the product is for men doesn’t mean that women won’t be buying it for men.
So, you’ve always got to consider the one who’s making the purchasing decision rather than. Necessarily all the time who your product is targeted towards and of course, breakdowns by location. So you can see exactly what demographics are working for you. And of course the ones that aren’t, and that way you can scale up the criteria that is driving the bulk of your results.
Right. And you can cut the ones that aren’t working so well, and that’ll lower your CPC and CPM and in doing so, it boosts your ROI. Now we also do, as I mentioned, translation, localization and other support services for those who want that as well. So we’re kind of a foreign one day or when you work with us and that’s part of our value proposition.
So that’s the core fundamentals, the defining principles of what I’ve learned about succeeding in China and how I think AdChina.io helps you with all that said, I love to introduce Henrik and Jay for the Q and A.