Luxury brand sites have become content destinations in the U.S. and Europe, but brand sites have slim chance of visibility in China. Brands are crowded out on Baidu by community sites, e-tailers and Baidu-owned properties – which control more than a third of first-page organic results for brand term searches. As a result, brands seeking visibility in China should look outside of their own pages.
Community sites are key drivers of brand visibility in China, as they account for 20% of first-page organic brand term search results. Community sites are where consumers congregate to show off their latest purchases, learn about brands, and source authentic second-hand products. Brands have the opportunity to insert themselves in an already engaged community, and gauge buzz and sentiment surrounding their brand. For example, a study of community sites shows that posts abut Rolex on Xbiao and iwatch365.com generate the most engagement as they resonate with watch aficionados.
Advertising on these community sites also increases visibility, and brands are treating these as part of any multi-platform campaign. In the past 14 months, 25% of Fashion brands and 35% of Watches & Jewelry brands in L2’s 2016 Luxury China study have run a campaign on one or more of the four major lifestyle community sites Yoka, Marie Claire, Only Lady, and Rayli. Yoka is the most popular with luxury brands, accounting for 40% of fashion ad placements and a quarter of Watches & Jewelry’s.
Examples of how brands advertise on community sites from L2’s 2016 Luxury China study: Chow Tai Fook boosted views for its “Marry Me” video campaign with advertisements in lifestyle community site Lady8844. And watchmaker Rado ran a multimedia campaign page on Yoka (the most popular community site for brand advertising), starring celebrity Tang Wei. Viewers could follow the brand’s WeChat via a QR code. The video campaign linked to Yoka editorial content and the brand site. Community sites like Yoka host nearly 40% of Fashion ad placements and almost a quarter of Watches & Jewelry’s. These ads are a better alternative to general display ads, which are laden with click-fraud and ineffective in reaching luxury consumers.