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Mobile: The Goliath of China Advertising Campaigns

July 09, 2015

by Katie Stadius, Senior Account Manager, MBuy

China made headlines in September for creating a “cellphone lane” on city sidewalks in Chongqing. Touted as the safety solution to ‘distracted walking injuries,’ in actuality the creation of separate sidewalk lanes for cell phone users is simply more proof of a global addiction to mobile devices.  It is no secret that people are heavily reliant on their mobile devices, in fact, the average cell phone owner picks up that mobile device more than 1,500 times a week.  And a shocking 84 percent of cell phone users report that they couldn’t go a single day without their mobile device in their hand.

 This trend of complete and utter reliance on modern technology shows no sign of slowing – and certainly not in China. By the end of 2014, China had more than 550 million cell phone owners, with that number expected to climb to more than 700 million by 2018. In March of 2015 there were nearly 1.3 billion cellphone subscriptions in China alone.  While overall internet penetration is low compared to the United States (46 percent compared to 75 percent), in the urban metropolis cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, internet penetration is well over 70 percent. Additionally, 86 percent of internet usage is on mobile devices.  The prevalence of mobile device usage should lead marketing and advertising teams to create mobile-heavy media plans in China, the strategy that MBuy takes with clients who are looking to advertise in the land of cell phone sidewalk lanes. 

To target the Chinese audience, MBuy invests heavily in programmatic mobile versus traditional display or video advertising.  Current programmatic campaign allocation skews mobile (48 percent) versus display and mobile video (26 percent each). The goal is to place creative messaging where Chinese audiences are accessing the inventory most frequently.  Knowing that mobile application adoption is extremely high (over 90 percent of the country uses the messaging app WeChat), MBuy specifically targets mobile applications to drive strong click through rates and low bounce rates.  Website traffic is heavily influenced by mobile- current MBuy mobile campaigns are driving an 8x lower cost per site visit and a 7% lower bounce rate than display campaigns.  For clients in the travel and tourism space, placing buys within mobile sites and applications is a cornerstone of any campaign, since travel booking apps were the highest growing category of app downloads in 2014.  

By prioritizing mobile campaigns, MBuy was able to decrease one client’s banner ad bounce rate by 14 percent flight-over-flight and increase the click through rate by 75 percent.  Using MBuy’s process of Plan, Buy, Optimize, mobile performance increased throughout the flight, ending the campaign with stronger click through and bounce rates than at the start.
For more information about MBuy’s experience in advertising in China, please reach out to