Staff Writer
Jun 6, 2016

OMD: Five myths about media debunked

In the China media landscape, not everything is what it seems. OMD’s Transcend 2016 report digs beneath the surface of the complex trends to dispell some common misconceptions.

OMD: Five myths about media debunked

In the China media landscape, not everything is what it seems. OMD’s Transcend 2016 report digs beneath the surface of the complex trends to dispell some common misconceptions.

During CES Asia, held May 11-13 in Shanghai, OMD discussed its media outlook report, Transcend 2016, which busts media myths and clears up misconceptions in order to help clients make the best media decisions.

Myth: Advertisers can optimise buys using abundant, readily available data.

Reality: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) have dammed up the flow of data.

BAT are still very cautious about sharing any consumer data with advertisers or agencies. However, things could be changing. BAT have signed an increasing number of strategic partnerships, and 2016 could be the year that China’s Big Data floodgates open—at least a little—enabling more precise and targeted buying.

“Brands need to work with a technology provider to collect their data, and then take this data to BAT to bridge with, say, browsing behaviour," said Ethan Tsai, co-founder of Admaster. "Then, brands still need the technology provider to make sure that third-party data such as that from BAT can be implemented on different levels. It’s a very long and difficult process.”

Myth: Advertisers are hungry for mobile OTV inventory.

Reality: Advertisers prefer PC inventory.

Although mobile OTV reach (77 percent) is outperforming PC OTV reach (54 percent), advertisers still prefer buying PC inventory, squeezing a tight market and inflating prices. This creates a perfect opportunity for brands to invest more on mobile.

Myth: Programmatic in China is mature and optimises every step of digital buying.

Reality: Programmatic buying in China suffers from a lack of transparency and data availability.

2016 is a pivotal year for programmatic in China. For the first time, programmatic digital display ad spending (US$9.29 billion) is expected to make up more than half (51 percent) of total digital display spending. However, problems persist. Programmatic buying in China is hampered by poor transparency and data availability, creating difficulties in building DMPs. The good news is that the industry has moved away from ad-tracking to ad-serving—a step towards pure programmatic. Today, better technology allows advertisers to plan ad-serving to maximise efficiency in the delivery process by collaborating with publishers, including BAT. The ability to target specific cookies through ad-serving takes us a step closer to pure programmatic buying.

Myth: Social strategy should focus on engaging fans rather than mass reach.

Reality: With WeChat opening Moments to the wider advertising market, social media is another platform for mass communication.

Social media is more than community management and engaging existing followers. With 697 million monthly active users on the platform, a WeChat Moments ad can not only reach a wide audience but a targeted one. Using Tencent’s data bank of user behaviour, advertisers can target via typical demographics filters and also target based on platform purchase behaviour and in-app game purchases.

"Brands are always testing different creatives on different platforms. With small scale tests, you can immediately see what is getting the best performance,” said Anne Dumesges, marketing director, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

Myth: Consolidation of ecommerce players mean brands should have a focused strategy.

Reality: Being on Tmall and JD is not enough.

As ecommerce exploded in China, brands in all categories rushed to open flagship stores on Tmall. However, rapidly growing vertical ecommerce sites are now gaining popularity by offering more: customised choices, in-depth content and a sense of community. Homewares site has 576,000 daily visitors, while, a healthy grocery shopping site, has 275,000. More specialised ecommerce sites will pop up to satisfy unique needs overlooked on large platforms.

Download the full OMD media outlook report, Transcend 2016, for a complete snapshot of China's media landscape.


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