China Insights

Eight trends of content marketing in China

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Brands 19.06.2015 / 09:36

2015 Content Marketing

Millward Brown pinpoints eight trends for successful content-based marketing in China in its "2015 Content Marketing Report".

Globally, 60% of advertisers plan to increase investment in content marketing to raise brand awareness, recruit new users and enhance consumer engagement, among other purposes, according to a research of Content Marketing Institute.

Successful content marketing campaigns can increase brand equity. BMW China, Mengniu, Lenovo, Sina and Meters/bonwe won grand and golden Jinchen Awards from V Marketing magazine for their outstanding content marketing campaigns. Their combined brand value, according to Millward Brown's BrandZ research, grew by 11% from 2014 to 2015.  Their combined brand activeness index in BrandZ research database also jumped by 39% thanks to these content marketing campaigns.

In this report (see "Editor's Note" to get the full report), Millward Brown identifies eight trends of content marketing in China.

Trend One: Catch eyeballs and, more importantly, touch hearts

Advertisements that can arouse strong emotions can trigger more engagement and are more convincing.

Content Emotional

Chinese FMCG giant Master Kong designed two content based campaigns with intensive emotional appeal on two extremes - one makes you laugh, the other makes you cry.

Master Kong instant noodle's "Shiming Bida" (食命必达) campaign targets young, fashionable but extremely busy core consumers. It created a series of funny viral videos and was played a total of 56 million times. Its campaign mini site accumulated 4.5 million interactions with 16.6 million unique visitors. The campaign's social marketing also won 2.6 billion impressions, more than 10 times that of target. The tag won 22.18 million impressions and more than 50,000 comments.

Master Kong white rock sugar pear drink's "Jiani Jianianwei" (加你加年味) video was directed by well-known Chinese director Lu Chuan, telling a story about a little girl in Liaoning Province trying to send a unique Chinese New Year's gift to her parents working in Shenzhen City who couldn't go home for family reunion. The brand also launched a charity event to go with the campaign to help kids left in hometowns by their parents who were migrant workers in big cities. The video collected 800 million impressions and won 3 million clicks.

Trend 2: Make cleverer use of image ambassadors

Tencent's online game NZ signed singer Zhang Jie (张杰) to be its ambassador. Zhang not only sang the theme song of the game, which was promoted across all Tencent platforms, but also designed his concerts with the game's theme to fully immerse Zhang's fans in the game's set-up.

Trend 3: Leverage the power of social media platforms.

Social media channels have been widely used in this year's entries for the award. Among all the award winning cases, 69% used Sina Weibo or WeChat platforms. Brands have found it's much easier to invite consumers to have fun on social media channels. According to AdMaster, 88.5% of consumers will interact with WeChat Moments feed ads.

Trend 4: HTML5 transforms Moments ads into games

Among all award-winning cases, 20% of them used HTML5 technology.

Durex launched a "Shoot for a miracle" HTML5 game campaign on WeChat during 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup. It attracted 500,000 users. On average, every visit lasted 179 seconds and each user played 3.85 times of the game.

Trend 5: LBS technology creates more scenarios for content marketing

Location-based service (LBS) has empowered marketing people by allowing them to create more precise scenario-based content marketing campaigns. Before Valentine's Day in 2015, Out-of-Home advertising network Focus Media launched a "Show Your Love in Your City", inviting people to send text onto out-of-home screens to speak out their love to their special ones. The campaign, which was held in 150,000 screens across 20 cities, covered 54 million people and its tag garnered more than 18.74 million impressions. The company gave out 1.06 million gifts/coupons to participants of this campaign.

Trend 6: Big Data makes content marketing more precise

As many as 91% of chief marketing officer "very agree" or "totally agree" that "it is inevitable that we'll have to connect all network and data platforms", while 89% of CMOs "very agree" or "totally agree" that "marketing won't work without the support and application of technologies".

CMO Think Of Big Data

Big Data has helped BMW China to launch a precise content marketing campaign on WeChat Moments feed. The company filtered through Tencent's user profile to display their Moments ad towards their targeted audiences. Its ad had 46 million impression, collected 7 million "likes" and comments, and recruited 200,000 new fans for its official WeChat account.  

Trend 7: Create viral topics on big platforms to leverage content power

Big platforms can bring big influence, but it will have even bigger power if a brand can create brand-related viral topics on these platforms. Chinese apparel producer Meters/Bonwe signed a product placement deal with Internet video website iQiyi's original programme "U can U Bibi" (《奇葩说》) which has a similar tone of the brand's slogan "No usual way" (不走寻常路). The company also designed an exhaustively repetitive slogan "fashion, fashion, most fashion" (时尚时尚最时尚) for the anchors to read out throughout the programme to influence its viewers. The brand's Weibo tag had more than 1 billion impressions.

Trend 8: Ultimate goal of content marketing is sales

The ultimate target and performance index for marketing is sales. For all award-winning cases, 47% used sales improvement as the key performance index for the content marketing campaigns.

Marketing campaigns can contribute to sales through online (, Yihaodian, and offline (brands' chain stores/counters) channels.

Marketing campaigns have been increasingly designed to drive traffic to sales platforms. Chinese Internet entertainment company LeTV created an innovative marketing format by combining the "cloud farm" of Mengniu's "premium farm milk" (精选牧场牛奶) through its "cloud concert" of Chinese band Yuquan (羽泉). "Cloud farm" was a concept created by Mengniu to ensure consumers of the milk quality. QR codes were printed onto milk carton boxes so consumers can scan and see the real-time stream video of milk farms through its "cloud farm". LeTV embedded the "cloud farm" concept throughout the process of the concert, which was distributed through LeTV's "cloud video platform" consisted of a website and smart TVs. The campaign connected and transformed online users into offline buyers.

Source: Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's notes

* The report was first released at "2015 Content Marketing Award Ceremony" hosted by V Marketing magazine in Beijing JW Marriott Hotel on May 27, 2015. Millward Brown is the strategic partner of the ceremony.

* To get the full report (in Chinese), reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of branding consultancy, please contact us.

* Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news alerts.


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