The release of the second annual Adobe Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard reports that Asia Pacific marketers are gaining in digital confidence – is this the case for Greater China where the digital dynamics are unique?
In fact, not only are Chinese marketers convince that digital is a path to competitive advantage, 97% of Chinese marketers, compared to 81% last year, said they were putting their faith in the business benefits of digital marketing. Respondents from China are telling us that they’re ready to bring digital marketing to the next level, learning more about how to apply measurement and analytics to build stronger business cases to encourage more investment.
Much like the rest of APAC, where social optimization and content strategy are main priorities in digital marketing, China has taken it a step further with 90% of respondents stating that social networking and gaming is driving digital adoption, which was the top response for this question in all of APAC. The success and popularity of strong players such as Sino Weibo and Tencent WeChat demonstrate the potential for social networking to help marketers engage customers in China. In addition, China’s marketers will be placing particular emphasis on mobile relationship marketing (60% versus 25% of regional average), a response which is consistent with the high levels of mobile adoption among China’s customer base.
Even though 77% of Chinese marketers spend less than 24% of their total marketing budget on digital marketing, which is about the same as the regional average of 71%, Chinese marketers are more positive about their chances of boosting investment in the future. 40% of Chinese respondents are planning to increase their budget to align with or even exceed the global average in 2014. It will be interesting to see if this confidence brings the desired results.
On the other hand, China lags behind the regional average regarding measurement and analysis. Up to 27% of respondents are not measuring the results of digital campaigns and initiatives at all. Of those measuring their results, 57% of respondents confirmed they are using marketing analytics and reporting technologies. Although it increased from 33% in 2012, this is still far behind the regional average of 80%.
Unlike confident China, HK marketers showed lower confidence in their digital capabilities compared with the other APAC countries. This could be a reality check after embarking on more complex and sophisticated programs in the last twelve months. However, they are still optimistic and interested in digital marketing with 84% of respondents believe Digital Marketing can open up new channels of engagement & commerce (double last year result and much higher than regional average of 60%).
In China, social networking and gaming drove digital adoption. The case is very different in Hong Kong, where half of marketers admit that competitor use of digital marketing technologies were one of the key drives for them to adopt digital marketing. Hong Kong marketers definitely see the benefits of social networks with marketers shifting their budgets to focus on social media community development (47%) and social media advertising (38%), but their innate competitive nature to get ahead of the competition is essentially what drives their decision to adopt digital marketing.
In addition, while budget limitation seems a significant challenge across APAC (51% on average), 38% of Hong Kong marketers did not recognise it as the biggest obstacle, yet half of them (50%) agreed they are facing challenges in limited training opportunities for staff to gain skills & limited digital agency capability.
Next Steps for Greater China marketers
Budget and talent are keys to APAC digital marketing development. Most Chinese marketers are considering shifting more resources to digital marketing next year, especially focusing on social networking and gaming. Observing the better developed digital markets in APAC, we’ve learned that 19% of Australian marketers and nearly 7% of Singaporean marketers are now utilizing data for crucial business differentiation, compared to 4% and 2% respectively last year. The results imply that big data and analytic insights are indeed the crucial. Becoming more adept at handling and leveraging insights gained from big data, will be a critical step for taking Greater China the next step forward.
Interested to find out more about digital marketing in Greater China? Check out the links below: