China has the world’s largest social media market with more than 300 million people regularly using blogs, social networks, microblogging sites and online forums. That’s more than the combined populations of the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, Greece and Italy. The appetite for social is huge as China’s netizens spend more than 40% of their online time on social networks.
One of the biggest players in Chinese social media is Youku, a video-centric website like YouTube, and one of the most popular social activities right now in China is watching videos. During March 2014 there were 89 million visits to Youku with users spending an average of 8 minutes and 39 seconds on the site.
Although superficially similar to YouTube (which is blocked in China), usage patterns are different. Rather than look at short videos of pop stars or of animals and humans doing silly things, Chinese citizens prefer longer forms of professionally produced content.
Such is its vast user base that foreign companies and multinationals are looking to Youku to find new consumers and profits. Not only is the audience bigger than other global markets, but Chinese social media users are more active than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
Among the foreign companies taking advantage of Youku’s potential is KLM. In 2012 the Dutch airline launched a social media campaign targeted at the Chinese market. The aim was to boost brand awareness, promote European destinations and increase the number of followers on KLM sites and its various Chinese social networks, including Youku.
The interactive campaign was built around the jet-setting travels of Miffy, the small female rabbit featured in a series of popular books in China. Miffy flew all over the world on KLM and kept a diary of her journey which also featured information about KLM routes and services.
Videos of Miffy’s travels to such exciting European destinations as Paris, Rome, London and Amsterdam were posted on Youku and other sites and watched by an audience of more than 4 million people. The net result was that the airline picked up more than 88,000 followers in China. The campaign was also seen as a potential springboard into other parts of Asia, a strong foundation for future marketing activities in the region.
Luxury Brands on Youku
China has one of the most powerful luxury markets in the world, a large audience of affluent consumers willing to spend top dollar on jewellery, designer clothes, perfumes and cars. Since the end of the last decade, Youku has acted as a magnet for global luxury brands.
One of the first luxury companies to seize on the opportunities was Louis Vuitton, by launching a series of video adverts in 2009. They were so well received that the company followed them up by launching a branded channel a year later. Other luxury brands that have been cultivating their social presence on Youku include Burberry, Dior, Gucci and Omega.
Their video campaigns have encompassed traditional ads as well as exclusive official channels. Some have partnered with Youku for major live event webcasts. For example, Burberry teamed up with Youku to stream a live webcast of its Milan Fashion Show.
According to Frank Ming Wei, Senior Vic President at Youku, the video hosting service offers luxury brands access to hitherto difficult to reach territories: “…our nationwide reach is helping these brands make inroads into second- and third-tier cities where they had previously not had strong footholds.”
Examples of Luxury Branded Channels on Youku
Burberry – promotional films of collections and exclusive videos. Youku is one of the platforms used by Burberry to launch seasonal campaigns. A popular hit that helped to attract a sizeable audience was a 2012 promotional video that coincided with the label’s Autumn/Winter collection. It featured a British actress alongside a musician who composed and performed an exclusive song.
Cartier – adverts and short themed films organised into several categories – Jewellery Collection, Watch Series, Brand Style and Brand Microfilm.
Louis Vuitton – glossy, well-produced short videos that are organised into different sections including Louis Vuitton Travel, The Story of Louis Vuitton and Louis Vuitton Art
Connecting with Consumers
China’s netizens are more open to having social interactions with brands than consumers in other countries. Unlike other parts of the word, the Chinese have a high level of trust in the internet and online sources of information play a big part in consumer decisions. With easily more than 30 million visitors a day, videos on Youku offer a direct route to engage the hearts, minds and wallets of Chinese consumers.
From MavSocial | Social Media Marketing Software for Business