Oct 5, 2016

Intelligent use of data enables 3-D consumer understanding

Mining the data behind 1.3 billion Chinese people is a task for an internet giant whose broad ecosystem offers a goldmine for marketers looking to reach people in the most relevant way.

Steven Chang
Steven Chang

For those outside China, the market’s level of technological adoption and sheer scale can be difficult to comprehend. Speaking in Japan for the first time at ad:tech Tokyo, Tencent corporate vice-president Steven Chang gave Japanese marketers an insight into the implications of the country’s mobile ecosystem.

Mobile is the driving force behind Tencent’s impressive statistics. According to data from Q2, 2016, Tencent’s online media platform traffic and advertising revenue continued to grow, with most of its traffic and about 80 percent of revenue being generated on mobile platforms. WeChat’s combined monthly active user accounts (MAU) reached 806 million, while QQ’s MAUs totalled 899 million. In terms of mobile video views, Tencent has the No.1 video platform.

Chang was quick to point out that Tencent goes far beyond messaging, though. He explained his company’s aim as being to build a “Tencent ecosystem”, with major implications for marketers trying to reach consumers in the most effective way possible.

Speaking to Campaign after the ad:tech event, Chang said: “We are building an ecosystem that connects our users with more digital content and broader types of offline-to-online services, from finance to city services, ecommerce, health and so on, to make users’ life more convenient.”

Chang pointed out that an increasingly wide variety of services gives more access to user data than has ever been possible before. By combining data from social platforms including WeChat, QQ and Qzone, and digital content and payment platforms, Tencent is able to create a rounded picture of the individual and offer far more sophisticated ad serving than would otherwise be possible, Chang explained.

“We are able to do better targetting to make sure advertising content is relevant to a user,” he said.
Clients in China showed a desire to invest more in performance ads, he said — “different systems to serve different needs”.

AI has a role to play. Chang said it’s important not just to consider people’s current interests, but their future interests too. Data processing enables that prediction, meaning it’s possible to create a “3D profile” of the individual’s online habits.

Tencent used this technology for Coca-Cola during the Olympics for a campaign around ‘Golden Moments’—a big data-empowered personlised celebration of the highlights in people’s lives. Over 10 days, more than 100 million users checked their Coca-Cola-branded ‘chronicles’, and 33 percent shared them on social media.

Tencent also used QQMusic to engage 10 million viewers for BMW’s launch of its X1 model. BMW wanted to attract young, individualistic drivers. Central to the initiative was a live concert, which Tencent was able to extend far beyond the physical event, and most importantly, to a relevant audience using personal data. More than 23,000 signed up for test drives.

Where successful marketing used to be all about the “big idea”, in today’s world, it’s all about “big data”, Chang said. “It’s more scientific. If you act on technology, it results in a totally different treatment for marketing.”

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