Staff Writer
Dec 20, 2018

Alimama goes all-in on OTT

The company reveals new strategy for brand marketers exploring the medium.

Alimama goes all-in on OTT

Lin Wenwei, product GM of Alimama Brand Business Center at Alibaba Group, has charted the course for the tech and commerce giant’s plans for the future.

According to Nielsen research, there are nearly 200 million digital devices like smart TVs and smart boxes in China. Their strategy moving forward puts this trend front and centre. “Television is undergoing a digital revolution,” said Lin, “our view is that the penetration rate of the entire smart TV market across Chinese households in 2018 has exceeded 40 percent, and foresee that the penetration rate will exceed 90 percent by 2020.”

What this spells for brands is two-fold. For one, content has found a new home under Alimama’s umbrella. 
 
Lin explained, “The content of your ad can be packaged for each family a brand is targeting. Brands can even be a title sponsor for OTT theatre and related shows, if a brand finds traditional TV variety show sponsorships too expensive.” For those looking to invest in OTT, this might come as a welcome change to the traditional TV ad model, as interconnectivity is now a cornerstone of the platform’s capabilities, “Our products also open up corresponding interactivity that can help consumers enjoy their smart TV experience by simply shaking their phones or scanning QR codes on screen.”
 
Digging into digital TV ads
 
The second notable buildout is in digitising TV ads for OTT, where content integration and more consumer-centric ads are knocking traditional TV ad models even further back in time, “Ads on smart TVs are deeply linked to the content and so will inevitably be seen,” said Lin, “Comparatively, traditional TV ad reach can only cover a limited number of households at a time. From the perspective of a traditional TV media planner, there is also no way to plan for smaller target audiences or understand the effectiveness of the advertising.”
 
According to Lin, the focus is now not only consumer-centric, but ‘family-centric’, “Everyone may have heard of our 'Uni ID' system before, and on the basis of this, Alimama also put forward the industry's first ‘Household ID’, as the definition of the consumer has expanded to a family-based one. At present, we worked together with 16 OTT partners to create more than 75 million Household IDs. What does this mean for marketing? Relying on the Household ID, we can identify the family's stage of life, spending capacity, media interest and other characteristics. All of these family portraits will be as clear as that of the individual consumer's.”
 
A household name
 
Sifting through the mountains of marketing jargon that have come to light in just the last year, Household ID actually has a backbone. With Alimama’s strength in numbers (600 million users and counting) and ever-expanding list of products and services, it should be on any successful brand’s radar. The Uni ID system that Lin referenced as inspiration is part of Alibaba’s Uni Marketing suite, a major component of this backbone. Launched in November 2016, the suite serves as the company’s own data-driven marketing network and has proved to be a useful tool for brands.
 
Alibaba, as marketing guru and business partner, the company has, without a doubt, made great strides to diversify its business to the benefit of its marketing prowess, and now boasts a more holistic ecosystem for brands to utilise and consumers to explore.
 
Lin speaking at GDMS 2018
 

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