Experts reveal their Chinese New Year trends and tips for marketers

Tips for success around Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai! For many in the East, it’s time to pack away the laptop and spend a few days with the family, travelling home, eating delicious foods and giving red envelopes.

For many brands Chinese New Year is a key time of year to gain preference for the important purchases, such as travel and food, but also to find new opportunities as people celebrate with one another.

The Drum asked three China and Asia Pacific marketing experts what opportunities the holiday presents and how brands can stand out from the crowd.

Darren Jacobs, head of agency sales for Southeast Asia and Europe at iClick Interactive

Red packet mini games has been popular in China in recent years and it presents perfect opportunities for brand marketers to run Chinese audience-targeting branding campaigns during the CNY period.

An interesting showcase is that, during CNY’s Eve and the 8th day of the CNY 2018, Tencent QQ will be partnering with major international luxury brands to present branded electronic red packets in limited quantities to QQ users, who would be able to give out electronic red packets to their family and friends in branded red packets of their choice, including that from Ferrari, Burberry, YSL Beauté and Kenzo.

Due to the lack of logistics support during the CNY holiday period in China, apparel/fashion/high-end consumer brands generally would not boost their performance marketing effort in China during the period, and this actually provides industries that are less holiday-season-oriented – such as education, property, leisure, etc. – with a good opportunity to get premium Chinese inventory at lower costs.

Humphrey Ho, US managing director of Hylink Digital

2018 will easily see over 700 million people travel home for the Chinese New Year holiday – it will break all records. However, from our perspective, there will also be some records broken with respect to international travel, where Chinese families will be spending the holiday abroad. It’s the thought of being immersed in Chinese New Year that matters, and whom you spend it with – not where you spend it.

So, from the travel brand lens, we’re going to see an increase in bookings for international destinations, especially “long-haul” destinations, as people have the time to travel further during the holiday.

Additionally, we anticipate that “red packet” giving on WeChat is going to break both transactional quantities and transactional dollar amounts, since WeChat is soon to break the billion-user threshold. We’re also going to see a record number of people live-streaming their vacation. Companies’ customer service, and consumers' gripes, will all be aired online. So, we feel brands will step up to the plate in this respect, which also helps maintain brand integrity.

Alban Villani, general manager of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Criteo

It’s so important that it bears repeating that Chinese New Year is a significant holiday across Southeast Asia. Naturally, these celebrations present a huge seasonal shopping opportunity for brands and retailers.

When we look at Criteo’s data from CNY in 2017, we found an increase in sales across all retail sub-verticals during that time period, specifically in fashion, health and beauty, food and grocery, electronics and home and living. This can inform marketing and sales strategies in so many ways. For instance, retailers with multiple product lines could optimize their ROI by increasing bids, at least 3-4 weeks before CNY, on the sub-verticals which are showing higher sales spikes. In the lead up to CNY, brands and retailers should feature fashion and food products more prominently on their websites.

Criteo’s data also revealed some interesting insights around timing. Most consumers start their CNY shopping spree 2-3 weeks before the actual festival. It would be a missed opportunity if advertisers did not ramp up their campaigns at least 3-4 weeks before CNY to cash in on the economy of attention.

We also saw that a significant proportion of purchases were made on mobile applications instead of websites. So if retailers channeled their budgets to the right platforms at the right time, shoppers can be better connected to the things that they need and love.

Data is the new oil, as they say, and is certainly the currency of the ad-based business model that powers the web. In this digital always-on environment, consumers will expect exceptional user experience across platforms and devices. By tapping into a commerce marketing ecosystem of shared anonymized data that combines online and offline data sets, brands and retailers can gain new shopper insights that drive sales and conversions. Only then can commerce providers deliver an integrated and seamless purchase journey, both online and in stores.

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