The parties have signed an memorandum of understanding to collaboratively develop data solutions through the analysis of consumer behaviour across Tencent platforms to identify "enhanced advertising opportunities within the Tencent ecosystem".
“As we move towards an era of digitalisation, the usage of big data still remains an area that requires improving," said SY Lau, president of the Online Media Group and senior executive vice president with Tencent. "The industry as a whole needs to step up and mature.”
Tencent is ready to work with industry partners to create better standards in big data creation, Lau added. The word from Lau is significant as brands have been concerned about the lack of data to measure marketing efforts on WeChat, since the opening of application programming interfaces (APIs) to verified corporate accounts has been minimal.
The agreement is representative of a new breed of partnerships built on co-creation and innovation rather than just buying of ad inventory, according to Bertilla Teo, CEO of SMG Greater China. It will gives the media agency a critical advantage over others, she said. Of course, it will also put Tencent in a closer position with marketers.
This combines SMG's strategic planning expertise and Tencent’s technological strength to jointly develop "unique experience ideas" for SMG China clients, the biggest of which to benefit from include Procter & Gamble, AB Inbev, Samsung, Mars and Wrigley.
SMG clients will be given priority (or "preferred opportunities" in corporate-speak) to test out new product features that Tencent rolls out, such as on its WeChat and WeiShi platforms.
"In a market like China, where 90 per cent of internet users access the web on the go, there’s no doubt that mobile marketing plays a critical role in the overall marketing equation," said Teo. "Data, analytics, mobile and social have become the cornerstones of our digital foundation."
Outside of China, Starcom last year signed a similar deal with Twitter, in which its clients will indirectly benefit from advertising perks as well as access to data and new products. Also, Publicis Worldwide recently partnered with Google, which will provide the agency with data showing the digital habits of affluent consumers.
Campaign Asia-Pacific was unable to obtain comment from rival media agencies in China at press time.