China Digital Marketing Trends 2020 : Spending Up 14% on Average


On Dec 2 at the Global Digital Marketing Summit(GDMS), the China Digital Marketing Trends 2020 report was released by AdMaster in conjunction with Miaozhen Systems and GDMS. Based on surveys of 221 advertisers across 20 industries (including food&beverage, auto, beauty, 3C ,babyfood/babyproducts).

The report provides projections and an outlook for digital marketing trends and focal points in China for 2020, aiming to help brand advertisers and other industry members accurately evaluate marketing trends and achieve higher ROI in the coming year.

As a barometer of the China digital marketing industry, this series of reports has been ongoing for the last four years. These highly valuable references have become must-have marketing handbooks for advertisers, media, agencies, and more.

Data from the Research Academy of the Bank of China shows that China’s GDP grew about 6.1% in 2019, slower than previous years. With an increasing number of risks and challenges ahead, the economy in 2020 faces the pressure of a downturn.

As a result, the digital marketing industry also faces challenges to its growth rate after many years of rapid growth. Miaozhen Systems’ data indicates that as of Oct 31, 2019, online ad traffic dropped 11.5% compared to the same period last year—the first time it’s seen a downward trend.

However, applications of AI and 5G technology are driving a new wave of growth in the internet of things (IoT), producing dividends that are rejuvenating digital marketing, creating new opportunities and room for development, and helping the industry transition toward intelligent marketing.

China Digital Marketing Trends 2020

Highlights At a Glance

▶ Advertiser digital marketing spending to grow 14% on average; digital marketing spend growth to slow.

75% of advertisers to increase mobile spending, while only 9% will increase PC spending. Social media becomes main form of advertising for mobile and PC.

▶ Social marketing spending to grow 15% on average; KOL marketing to remain a focus; short-form video/livestreaming to gain popularity.

Ad viewability is the primary factor in traffic quality; 56% of advertisers to combat invalid traffic with ad measurement and filtration services.

▶ Digital marketing steadily becomes more intelligent; marketing AI to become the digital marketing technology that advertisers follow the most.

▶ ......

And more…

Only a portion of the key points are shown here.

For the full report,

please fill in the request form via below link.

Average growth at 14%,

China digital marketing spending growth to slow in 2020

The report shows that advertisers will increase their digital marketing spending by 14% on average compared to 17% in 2017, 18% in 2018, and 20% in 2019. This is the first time the speed of digital marketing spending growth will slow.

In 2020, only 18% of advertisers will increase their digital marketing spending by 30% or more, 11 percentage points down from last year. Nearly 30% of advertisers will neither increase nor decrease their spending from last year. Nearly 60% of advertisers will increase their spending by less than 10% (including those who made no change and those who decreased spending), a quarter up from last year.

75% of advertisers to increase mobile spending;

Only 9% to increase PC spending;

Social media to be the primary form of advertising on mobile and PC

Among all devices, mobile remains advertisers’ primary choice for digital advertising; 75% of them will increase mobile marketing spending. New TV’s content and marketing ecosystem are maturing with the increase in its number of connected users. 21% of advertisers will increase New TV spending. In comparison, only 9% of advertisers will increase PC spending. Additionally, as 5G and its accompanying technologies steadily mature, intelligent devices such as IoT, VR, and AR will also become indispensable parts of advertisers’ digital marketing campaigns.

Note: “New TV” refers to new large-screen family TVs with bidirectional, intelligent, interactive features, including smart TVs (OTTs), bidirectional cable TVs (DTV, IPTV), etc.

On mobile, advertisers are more willing to advertise on social media and video platforms compared to 2019. Short videos are particularly favored as a format among other video platforms. 68% of advertisers see them as a focus of their campaigns.

Notably, on PC, social media has surpassed search engines to become the most valued advertising channel by advertisers.

Average increase in social marketing spending more than average increase for digital marketing spending,

KOL marketing still a focus, popularity of short-form video/livestreaming to increase

Social marketing is increasingly becoming a focal point for advertisers’ digital marketing campaigns. The report shows that social marketing and private traffic pools are the forms of digital marketing advertisers will follow the most in 2020. Video ads and social media e-commerce will be the second-most followed.

Regarding social marketing, 71% of advertisers will increase their spending in this area in 2020; spending will grow on average by 15%.

Compared to the 21% average growth in 2018 and 2019, social marketing spending growth is slowing alongside digital marketing spending. However, social marketing is on average increasing more than digital marketing.

Among various social marketing channels, KOL marketing remains the primary format for advertisers in 2020. Community management and private domain traffic have become dark horse formats, becoming the spending focus of over half of advertisers. In addition, advertisers are focusing significantly more (53%) on short-form videos and livestreaming, while focusing less on WeChat Official Account management compared to last year.

Regarding content marketing, 53% of advertisers view self-produced videos/micro films as a focus. Additionally, as many major sports events are happening in 2020, advertisers are significantly more interested in sports events than last year.

Ad viewability is the primary factor in traffic quality,

56% of advertisers to combat invalid traffic (IVT) with ad measurement and filtration services

Traffic is an important resource in digital marketing, representing user attention from countless devices. Issues such as poor ad viewability, bot traffic, brands inflating traffic, and sub-par traffic masquerading as good traffic limit traffic quality and create invalid traffic that directly impacts marketing outcomes, even causing severe damage to the advertiser. Miaozhen Systems estimates that IVT caused 26 billion RMB in damages to the China brand advertising market in 2018.

The report shows that 42% of advertisers consider ad viewability to be the most important factor in traffic quality. Bot-inflated traffic was the runner-up, followed by brand safety and passing off poor traffic as good. When asked which methods they took to minimize damages caused by IVT, 56% of advertisers said they used ad measurement and IVT filtration services. Advertisers also used other methods in their digital marketing campaigns, such as establishing payment requirements, creating traffic evaluation standards based on the state of the industry, and using SDK measurement.

Digital marketing grows more intelligent,

Marketing AI becomes the most followed digital marketing technology by advertisers

The economy’s growth is widely predicted to slow in 2020 and the digital marketing industry will face many challenges. However, steadily maturing cutting-edge technologies such as AI and 5G will bring a new dose of energy to digital marketing, creating new opportunities and wider room for development for the industry and helping it become more intelligent.

The report shows that marketing AI will become the most popular digital marketing technology among advertisers in 2020. Advertisers will also be paying close attention to marketing technologies such as the Marketing data platform (i.e. collecting, processing, and storing data in a unified way to create big data), marketing automation, and data collection technology.

Only a portion of the key points are shown here.

For the full report,

please fill in the request form via below link.