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Topics include: Direct to consumer / E-commerce / Data & privacy / Martech

Chinese inventory goes self-service in iClick Interactive launch, to meet increased demands on supply and transparency

iClick Interactive launches self-serve platform

Chinese media specialist iClick Interactive has launched a new platform that will allow international agencies, marketers and demand-side platforms (DSPs) access to Chinese inventory on a self-serve basis, with the launch providing access to premium inventory sources including WeChat and Qzone.

The iAccess platform will allow its customers to build and optimise campaigns for Chinese audiences themselves from any place in the world. iClick Interactive said the launch satiates a growing understanding of the importance of Chinese consumers, plus it also adds control and transparency to a market that has historically taken a very different approach to programmatic than the rest of the world.

Darren Jacobs, head of agency sales for South East Asia and Europe, said: “In a digital world where transparency is under more scrutiny than ever, we wanted to give partners the opportunity to take control. China in particular has always been under a microscope when it comes to this topic.”

He added: “Global advertisers understand the importance of the market, but have been burned – we expect the launch of iAccess to provide overseas agencies and marketers an easy-to-use and efficient platform via which they can truly and effectively tap the Chinese market, and solidifies our position as a genuine, transparent platform validated by third-party campaign data (supported by our partners including AdMaster and Miaozhen).”

Jacobs said the self-serve option would not impact the way that iClick Interactive sells or services clients because there was still a big job to be done in educating international brands around how to best target Chinese consumers.

The platform launches with targeting and optimisation options based around interests. The service includes inventory from mobile apps, including WeChat, Tencent News, Qzone and Xunlei Kankan, as well as ad exchanges, such as Tencent’s social ad network Guangdiantong and Tencent Ad Exchange.

One of the primary education points for iClick Interactive’s clients is the opportunity presented by Chinese tourists and their spending power. It is also something that Tencent itself is looking to educate marketers on as it takes its international expansion into more territories.

Jacobs, said: “The appetite has always been there, and indeed ever-increasing. We see London and Singapore as global hubs for media planning and buying, which is why we have teams in place here. The issue for these markets has always been how to satisfy that appetite. This is easily understandable as Chinese consumers have continued to be the world’s biggest spenders when they travel outbound since 2012.”

Jacobs cited data from from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, which revealed that Chinese travellers spent US$165bn in the countries they visited in 2014, a 27% increase over the previous year. The report found that to be US$54bn more than that spent by American travelers outside the States (American travellers were the second on the list of foreign travel big spenders), up 6.7% over 2013.

However, China’s economy started to look shaky last year and many growth estimates for the economy and spending power were taken to more conservative levels. Despite this, growth is still expected and Jacobs said the business was bullish about the trajectory of ad spend as a result.

“Given the global economy at the moment, [this shouldn’t change] anytime soon. We are speaking to tourism boards around the globe and they all stress the importance on that traveling segment due to the knock on effect on their local economies. The spending power is frightening when compared to other nationalities,” he said.

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