The mobile landscape in China is growing at an unprecedented speed. In 2011, only 23 per cent of new mobile phones shipped to the Chinese market were smartphones; the rest were simple ‘feature’ phones. Mobile marketing campaigns were also simple then.
By 2014, these percentages have flipped, with smartphones accounting for more than 73 per cent of new mobile phones, according to iResearch.
Around 11 per cent of digital media budgets are now spent on mobile marketing. Almost three
quarters of marketers polled expected to make a large increase in their mobile spending in the coming 12 months.
In terms of their current approach, 20 per cent claimed that mobile has been a key priority for
some time and that the channel is well integrated into overall marketing plans, while 35 per cent claimed to have a strategic vision with experience in testing different mobile tactics. The
remaining 45 per cent of marketers say they don’t yet have a long term strategic vision but have
started with a test-and-learn approach.
These results contrast with a similar WFA global survey amongst 23 marketing companies. In China the top use of mobile in the last year has been QR codes on packs, print and out of home (84 per cent of Chinese respondents)—indicating a more promotional, cross-channel approach. This is consistent with Chinese brands’ focus on rapid return-on-investment. The global community has focused more on mobile display (88 per cent of global respondents).
Global respondents were also are more likely to invest in mobile video (used by 83 per cent in
the last year) and social-media mobile advertising (79 per cent ) than their Chinese counterparts
who put more emphasis on mobile social content or engagement (68 per cent).
The biggest mobile challenge faced by both Chinese and global groups was the difficulty of measuring the impact of mobile and comparing it with other channels, which was mentioned by 67 per cent in China and 50 per cent globally.
The biggest change China marketers said they would like to make in relation to their agency support the next 12 months was to increase use of local mobile marketing specialists (75 per cent). In particular, marketers are looking to the industry to simplify measurement and to improve transparency.
This survey report was co-authored by Unilever’s David Porter and PHD's Nishtha Mehta.