Drive awareness globally amongst Chinese speaking audiences across key markets leading up to; and ultimately driving sales conversions during TMall’s Double 11 one day sale.
Alibaba the e-commerce giant has turned ‘Single’s Day’ (a Chinese anti-valentine’s celebration which started in the 1990s) into the world’s largest cybershopping event. It dwarfs other retail spending such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday by up to three times with USD25.3 billion recorded in sales versus USD5.9m.
However, despite efforts to dub Double 11 as a global online shopping festival, Tmall – Alibaba’s e-commerce platform for business-to-consumer (B2C) retail is still a Chinese language website and sales are very much dominated by domestic traffic.
The challenge was then to be able to expand TMall’s footprint globally to target the Chinese community worldwide. This includes markets such as Singapore and Taiwan where the Chinese form high proportion of the population (Singapore 74.3%, Taiwan 95%), to those where Chinese form a very limited proportion of the overall population % (USA 1.2%, Australia 3.1%), requiring the need for precise targeting in order to maximise unique reach, minimize wastage and at the same time to drive efficiency.
We realised that for those long-standing immigrant communities known as ‘biculturals’* more mainstream media can be more relevant, but for those who are new immigrants like students (who will return home eventually) or those newly arrived known as ‘ethnic affirmers’, it is a challenge to find ways through digital media that allow us target this group efficiently and engage with them enough to drive sales.
*Source of definitions: Harvard Business Review October 2013
The campaign targeted the United States, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, running for 3 weeks cumulating with maximum exposure on the day of the sale - 11/11, 2017.
What was central to our strategy for the campaign was first – the ability to identify and define our TA’s key insights and behaviours to drive efficient targeting – second, the ability to target and execute accurately and lastly to drive conversions and perform.
This was done by leveraging off various technology tools and technology partners in order to target this unique ‘global’ audience- bonded as a community with a shared identity, language and culture of being Chinese, but with varying experiences and behaviours that would have been influenced by the cultures and behaviours of their physical location.
As part of the strategy, our audience pre-planning & insight work played a critical role in ensuring success. Utilizing our proprietary DMP and audience planning tool – [m]insights allowed us to understand our unique TA better and identify key online behaviours and interest for our TA in each country. Together with current online browsing behaviours and interest, [m]insights also enabled us to leverage off ‘predicated interest segments’ to be able to target and bid smartly for audiences who were both predicted to be interested in making an online purchase in the next 7 days against TMall’s 9 top selling merchant categories.
Working closely on creatives with the client was also important in ensuring that we had a variety of product categories, creatives and messages that could be use throughout different periods of the campaign to be targeted towards different users based on their interests and actions, as well as in line with the client’s sales category priorities in order to optimize performance.
1) Campaign targeting and set up:
a. Leverage on partners such as Grapeshot and Google’s data segments for campaign targeting. Together with Google’s affinity segments and audience segments identified via [m]insights, we were able to merge the two data sets together to create an audience pool that we were confident of being identified as our global Chinese speaking community. Grapeshot’s contextual and language targeting capabilities acted as a further overlay to ensure that we were also reaching users who were comfortable in navigating Chinese language content.
b. Leveraging Google’s dynamic creative suite – Vogon. This ensured that the combination of the right messaging and product would be delivered to the right audiences for maximum performance.
c. Leveraging native ad formats – With the right audience and the right creative messaging in place, the next step to help further reinforce and amplify the campaign was the use of native recommendations ad formats through plista, which runs on a proprietary technology platform built specifically for native optimization, and tailored towards audience content consumption habits.
2) Campaign Optimization: a real time custom performance dashboard was created internally to track performance across markets and strategies in order for campaign managers to identify and execute sweet spot combinations of onsite behaviours, performing domains, data insights, creative formats, bid pricing, and targeting strategies amongst others to refine and drive conversion performance. Different behaviours were evident across different countries targeted, and was critical to treat each market separately as was reflected in the response to optimization and performance.