Research conducted by
Kantar’s CIC Intelligence
Since 2008, Kantar’s CIC Intelligence – social listening research services in China – have produced an annual report exploring the dynamics and trends of social media in China to deliver valuable insights for marketers.
In this 11th year of the China Social Media Landscape Report, we have interviewed thought-leaders across the industry and incorporated insights derived from CIC Intelligence research through social listening, online surveys and focus groups.
This year’s report focuses on the following key areas that characterise the current social media landscape in China. They are:
The domination of Omni-media in China: the increasing functionality of social media platforms in China and what it means for brands.
Mind the generational gap: what are the social media platform preferences for Gen X, Y & Z?
Influencers: how they use multiple owned channels to reach different audiences.
Social GRP: new standards in measurement of social content.
We hope that this report will shed light on the complexities – and opportunities – of the social media landscape in China, helping marketers to develop more impactful social media marketing strategies.
The Domination of Omni-media in China
The increasing functionality of social media platforms in China and what it means for brands
Omni-media, Made in China
In China, it appears that a growing number of internet platforms are shifting from single-function to become more complex multi-functional platforms. We have defined this phenomenon as ‘Omni-media’.
Omni-media refers to:
- A complex and matured media platform that consists of various functions, including search, networking, communication, entertaining, gaming, purchasing and the ability to share content within or outside the platform (with user volume > 500 million).
- In China, WeChat, QQ, Alipay, and Taobao are the most representative Omni-media platforms.
Note: By the end of 2018, WeChat was the largest Omni-media, which has 1,098 million, QQ has 807 million users, Alipay obtains 1,000 million users and Taobao has 636 million users.
Data source come from: ‘Tencent’s 2018 full-year financial results’ by Tencent Group, ‘Alibaba’s financial report in December 2018’ by Alibaba Group, ‘The report of Alipay announced the number of users on January 9th ‘by Alibaba Group
Note: More information on core and derivative social media platforms can be found in “China Social Media Landscape 2018”.
In addition to Omni-media, core social media and derivative social media still play important roles in China's social media landscape.
A multi-functional one-stop platform that allows users to switch between functions within the platform to perform a variety of application scenarios.
Core Social Media：
Relationship-centric platforms that enable users to establish and maintain social relationship through their interpersonal relationships.
Derivative Social Media:
Content-oriented platforms, where users are more inclined to use a one-way communication to obtain information of their interest from original content generators.
When compared to overseas markets, brands in China tend to use more social media platforms.
Below are examples of the owned social media assets within six example categories:
Note: The above charts are made based on Kantar’s CIC Intelligence analysis of leading brands’ owned media channels across various social media platforms domestically and overseas.
For many brands in China, owned media marketing is also complex.
An Omni-channel approach requires the development of significantly more content to support e-Commerce, recruitment, CRM etc.
Here is an example of the food category’s WeChat marketing content:
Data source come from: Examples of marketing endeavors via WeChat/WeChat accounts from companies in the food industry.
In China, the relative homogeneity of marketing content by brands has often led to competition for the same resources and ideas.
Here is one example where a majority of brands are mimicking the ‘hot topic’ on the social platform, Weibo.