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Home > Archives 2014 >
The State of Chinese Social Media in 2015: What You Need to Know Six Takeaways about WeChat, Weibo and Up-and-Coming Platforms
Thursday, 04 June 2015 00:00

The State of Chinese Social Media in 2015: What You Need to Know

-Six Takeaways about WeChat, Weibo and Up-and-Coming Platforms



The Chinese social media landscape is one of the most unique, fragmented and dynamic in the world. In the 10 years that Kantar Media CIC has been listening to Chinese social media, the rate of change has only gotten faster. We've just taken the pulse of China's 2015 social landscape, as we have every year since 2008; here are six changes and developments that brands, agencies and tech players should understand.


WeChat continues to dominate, while its role and influence evolves


For anyone doing anything with China or with Chinese consumers, the impact and dominance of mobile app WeChat is obvious. It is everywhere and seemingly does everything. With WhatsApp-type messaging, an addictive Facebook-like news feed called Moments, a PayPal-like wallet, mutual fund products, taxi ordering, restaurant reservations and many other built-in applications, WeChat is more than just another social platform, it is an indispensable social media Swiss army knife that melts the lines between online and offline. It's an operating system for getting things done in life.

WeChat users' Moments content, similar to Facebook newsfeeds where consumers share content with each other, cannot currently be tracked by brands. However, WeChat public accounts managed by brands, celebrities, key opinion leaders and media, can be tracked, and they are playing an increasingly important role as a new form of owned, earned and paid media and as a place to wield influence. Just as brands, celebrities, key opinion leaders and media can have a Twitter or Facebook account, they can have a WeChat account to push out content that serves as the magazine articles for the new generation. Brands can track the owned media performance of their own and competitors' accounts. And they can track the earned and paid media performance of KOL, celebrity and media accounts to make more informed media buying and content strategy decisions.


Weibo is still relevant, since it takes the pulse of what's viral


With our authoritative WeChat Panel covering millions of KOL and Media accounts database across over 50 categories, Kantar Media CIC offers the industry leading WeChat intelligence solution. Our social intelligence experts have developed a proprietary model to systematically assess KOL & Media accounts performance via a KOL and Media Influence Power Index, which takes into account ‘Activity’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Reach Performance’ and ‘ROI Reference’, to enable clients to make data driven decisions for the evaluation and selection of WeChat account engagements.


Interest communities have gone mobile


Before WeChat, before other social platforms like Weibo, Kaixin, RenRen and blogs, there were basic online forums, known in China as BBS (bulletin board systems). These vertical interest communities have now gone mobile in the form of vertical interest apps. Some, like Autohome and Liba, are simply mobile versions of the PC versions of BBS, while others like Red (for luxury travelers), Dayima (for women) and Lamabang (for moms) are native mobile apps with communities, some of which can host millions of active conversations. We see this as a significant evolution, signaling a decentralization of the landscape away from WeChat. The key categories include auto, parenting, fashion, health and others. From our pilot work with clients, we have seen that these apps serve as great sources of targeted consumer intelligence as well as targeted media.


New forms of expression emerge


With parents, grandparents, teachers and/or bosses all on WeChat (like Facebook in the West), the "kids" need to find unique spaces and their own ways of communicating. Two examples are Nice (a photo app similar to Instagram) and Meipai (a video app with parallels to Vine). Though brands like Ray Ban and Bulgari have begun to put campaigns there, neither app has gained dominance, as there are multiple competing apps in their categories. We expect the fragmentation of the landscape through such categories of apps to continue, which means brands will need to remain vigilant to find the right place to engage their audience in the right way.


E-commerce reviews explode


With the massive growth of e-commerce in China has come an explosion of product reviews -- like those found on Amazon in the West, but often more detailed. As a rich source of user generated content, CIC currently tracks reviews across nine e-commerce sites in China and has found that 70% of all the buzz for some brands come from e-commerce reviews, with 30% coming from BBS, Weibo and other sources. Tracking this rich content is a "must" for brands as a source of consumer intelligence as well as an influential media.


Retailer-generated content is a 'fourth media'


E-commerce sellers, especially those with small- or medium-sized stores on Taobao or WeChat, aggressively market products in categories like beauty, fashion and electronics. Some of these stores are official distributors, but many are not. The stores engage with consumers, promote on social media, and post content on their own sites. There is no guarantee that what they post is "on message" or even accurate. The stores may be small, but they make an impact accounting for upwards of 40-50% of the buzz for some fashion brands. The buzz is not just spam, but genuinely informative and useful content that educates and influences consumers' perceptions with advice and suggestions on how to use the products. Brands are on top of paid, owned and earned, but for this "fourth media," which is beyond their control and influence, the must be vigilant in systematically tracking such content to determine if and to what extent it is making an impact on brand perception and/or sales.




As founder/CEO of Kantar Media CIC, Sam Flemming has been listening to Chinese social media since 2004.


For more information, please contact:

Renay Cheng

Senior BD & Marketing Manager

Kantar Media CIC

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



About Kantar Media CIC

Kantar Media CIC is China's leading social business intelligence provider, enabling enterprise to fully leverage the power of social media and Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) intelligence across the organization. Since 2004, Kantar Media CIC has pioneered social business technology, research and consulting. We first coined the term IWOM and were the first to raise the concept of “social business” in China. As the industry thought leader, we have always been at the forefront of China’s internet and social business revolution. In order to help companies effectively leverage this social business intelligence, Kantar Media CIC provides customized researchconsulting servicessyndicated reports and industry trend watches ,rich in actionable insight .

Kantar Media CIC utilizes its own patent pending technology to capture millions of online conversations and “makes sense of the buzz” by analyzing them to draw out insight that leads to more effective action. Kantar Media CIC gathers and mines over 500 million naturally occurring consumer comments every month, from a range of uniquely Chinese social media platforms including blogs, BBS, microblogs and social networking sites. We then apply our unique methodology to provide a comprehensive picture of the social media landscape and its implications for business. To date, Kantar Media CIC has archived almost 12 billion mentions of brands and products, from over 2 billion consumer comments. Kantar Media CIC’s data coverage has now expanded to include e-commerce, search and other timely, insight rich digital sources. Through recently acquired Fisheye Analytics, Kantar Media CIC’s reach now extends to 67 languages around the world.

In early 2012, as China’s leading social business intelligence provider, Kantar Media CIC was acquired by WPP’s  Kantar Media, the media research and insight division of Kantar, as a move to strengthen its position and with aim to expand its social offering across Asia Pacific. Kantar Media has over 5,000 employees around the world, is currently working with 22,000 companies, tracking 3 million brands across 50 countries. As the consumer insight arm of WPP, Kantar Media provides strategic advice and competitive intelligence to the world’s leading brands, publishers, agencies and industry bodies, helping them navigate and succeed in a rapidly evolving media industry.

Contact us: +86 21 6404 9191*8761 /  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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