Q&A: Calvin Chan – CEO of AdMaster on China’s Evolving Online Ad World

As the CEO of China-based ad measurement and analytic data technology platform AdMaster, Calvin Chan has a keen eye on trends in the rapidly expanding Chinese market where global and domestic brands compete for the attention of the countries massive consumer base.

Branding in Asia recently caught up with Chan to talk about what’s happening in China including problems with invalid traffic, the establishment of industry standards in the country, trends he sees in the market and more.


A study over the summer shows that that invalid traffic made up 28.8% of the total advertising traffic in China for H1. The numbers aren’t significantly different than the previous year. Tell us about where do you see them going next year?

We anticipate the overall IVT (invalid traffic) level to be on a slight decline trend, given GIVT (general invalid traffic) has now been widely adopted by leading publishers, e.g. OTV and streaming video and news apps.

Meanwhile, 2019 probably will be the year where publishers in Mainland China start to look into SIVT (sophisticated invalid traffic) more.

This is mainly due to the fact that the leading 3rd party measurement providers, including AdMaster, are going through the Media Rating Council accreditation for their GIVT and SIVT products.

Back in 2017, you said China needed an industry standard and a way to push everyone in the game to follow it. How are things progressing in that direction?

As mentioned above, given the ongoing efforts by China Advertising Association, Mobile Marketing Association China, the MRC & China Media Assessment Committee, as well as leading industry players, we have released a new mobile SDK for ad measurement & verification which covers IVT and Viewability in August 2018.

Brands are starting to evaluate their media spending against the sales conversion online and offline. In some cases where e-commerce’s proportion is not yet substantial, brands are also looking into store visitor brand health uplift.

CAA and MMA China just organized an official launch at the ROI Festival in Shanghai on Oct 17 and we expect advertisers and leading publishers to be testing and getting on board with this new standards in the coming year or two.

What are some of the more interesting marketing trends taking place in China that have caught your eye?

Firstly, definitely more content marketing VS paid advertising. Brands are investing more in social branding, IP marketing, such as Branded Entertainment, Celebrity, Cewebrity and KOL, and others.

Second, in this direct-to-consumer era, brands are certainly looking into measuring business impact, on top of the reach & frequency metrics only.

For instance, given the high e-Commerce penetration, brands are starting to evaluate their media spending against the sales conversion online and offline. In some cases where e-commerce’s proportion is not yet substantial, brands are also looking into store visitor brand health uplift.

Media consumption is more fragmented than ever, plus consumers are increasingly looking for brands who they can connect with, instead of going with the “mainstreet choices

Last but not least, AI-enabled marketing automation is also coming. Automated media planning & buying, dynamic creatives, and even smart Social CRM are key areas where we see AI technology being applied.

The massive market in China spans a wide demographic. What are some of the challenges brands face resonating with consumers and how are they addressing those challenges?

The fundamental difference, the “revolution”, is that brands no longer can rely on a “mass communication” approach. Media consumption is more fragmented than ever, plus consumers are increasingly looking for brands who they can connect with, instead of going with the “mainstreet choices”.

We are seeing some brands who embraced the transformation, and they are leveraging data technologies to help them make better decisions, such as identifying white space for new products by using big data analytics instead of small sample-based consumer research or in-house R&D only.

Brands are also investing in new platforms, such as Douyin (a leading short-video platform) to engage with consumers better.

What advice do you have to brands looking to get the most bang for their buck from their ad spend in China?

First of all, AdMaster believes in “every dollar need to be measured and be accounted for.” Brands need to be able to measure the reach & frequency and all the way through the conversion funnel for their media investment.

That also includes areas beyond paid advertising, such as social media platforms Sina Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book and others, KOL marketing and branded entertainment.

Bobby McGill
Bobby McGill
Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

Get our Newsletter

We don't share your info, only ours.

The Latest

The Trade Desk Partners with Tencent, Baidu, iQIYI, and Youku in China

Ad Tech company The Trade Desk, has inked several partnerships in China that is says will now allow brands to reach and engage millions of consumers in China through integrations with China’s premium media companies, including

Dentsu Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann Stepping Down After Nine Years

Dentsu has announced that Jerry Buhlmann is stepping down after nine years. A stint that started at Aegis Group plc, and then for the last six years at Dentsu Aegis Network.

YouTube Pitches Music Service in Australia with Focus on the Neighborhood Sound

"We listened to Aussies, and heard a resounding call out for more Australian music - from playlist curation to profiling local artists," said Mark Wheeler, head of YouTube Marketing, Australia.

Kareena Kapoor Khan Torments Sleeping Man to Make Point About Healthy Sleep

Honeywell has launched a humorous public awareness campaign starring Bollywood Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan to educate people about the importance of 'Healthy Sleep'.

Wavemaker Hong Kong Adds Three Hires to Client Solutions

Wavemaker Hong Kong has added three new hires to its client solutions team. Diego Cerrone as head of strategy, Adrian Lee as head of digital and Omar Crutchley as performance director. Both Lee and Cerrone will report to Coley and Crutchley will report to Lee.

Nine Judges From Asia Tapped to Judge for One Show 2019

The One Club for Creativity today announced that nine top creatives from Asia have been selected to serve as judges for The One Show 2019. They will join nearly 200 other creatives representing 26 countries who will judge work submitted from around the world. 

72andSunny Gives Singapore a Temperature Check with 72 Voices

First developed in Australia by 72andSunny Sydney, the book combines photography and images created by each of the Voices, produce with the aim of stimulating a conversation or to help others who want to know a little bit more about modern Singapore today.




Interviews

Q&A: Andrew Lok – ‘We Need to be More Diverse to Avoid Being Replaced by Algorithms’

Along with being behind some of Pepsi’s most-watched and shared campaigns worldwide, Lok's impressive body of work led AdAge to last year name him as one of the "Creatives You Need to Know."

Q&A: Dong Jin Son – ‘The Purpose of Advertising is to go Further’

As the Founder & CEO of Seoul-based Krema Worldwide, Dong Jin Son bring nearly two decades to the job having worked with a global client list that includes LG Electronics, Samsung Mobile, Disney Korea, Doosan, Lotte, and others.

Q&A: Yang Yeo – ‘Nothing Great Ever Came out of Being Fearful’

Known for his infectious laughter, Yang Yeo is on a mission to help Hakuhodo Inc. to be more progressive outside Japan.

Q&A: Donald Steel on Crisis Management

onald Steel, one of the world’s leading crisis communications experts. A specialist in reputation and issues and crisis management Stell works with companies in the UK, Europe, Middle East, and the Asia Pacific.

Q&A: Calvin Chan – CEO of AdMaster on China’s Evolving Online Ad World

We are seeing some brands who embraced the transformation, and they are leveraging data technologies to help them make better decisions.

Insight

Is Ad Blocking Tech’s Most Promising Weapon Useless? New Research Says Maybe

While brands and the ad industry may tremble, consumers rejoiced back when Princeton researchers announced the creation of AI-backed perceptual ad-blocking technology.

The Race to Success with Facebook Ads

One of the biggest mistakes most advertisers make is they jump straight into trying to set the fastest lap times though they haven’t completed pre-race checks or set up anything to record their lap times

How Vinamilk’s Use of ‘Hero, Hub, Help’ Content Strategy Drives Record Engagement

By prioritizing its video content strategy, Vinamilk became the first CPG brand in Southeast Asia to reach one million subscribers on YouTube.

Gaming Customer Acquisition for Consumer Banking

The consumer banking industry of Pakistan has spent decades relying on free offers, sweepstakes, and contests as a means of customer acquisition. Disjointed campaigns, with...

The ‘Little Emperor’ – Chinese Millennial Travel Choices Revolve Around Child’s Preference

The “luxury” Little Emperor is a fascinating phenomenon, They now play the key role in steering travel destinations:

Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Pavel Fuksa

Every time I see a group of young people on TV dancing, dressed as, let’s say, rabbits, followed by a group of bearded men and french bulldogs in a quick succession of inconsequent, yet crazy edits, sort of a GIF-generated ad, I feel a strong urge to poke my eyes out.

Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Chong Kin

Empathy is the toughest part for creative to work out in an ad. If the works can touch consumer’s hearts, it does not only make people cry or giggle a lot, it also changes their perception to a brand.

Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Peter Grasse

It's hard to pick favorites and point fingers. Especially when you are in the business of keeping friends. Yet Kierkegaard would condemn me to suicide for not asserting my self and being decisive.

Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Stephanie Widmer

Destination brands and tourism boards are constantly on the lookout for that special campaign that will stand out from the rest, leave an impression in the minds of viewers and most importantly, entice potential travelers.

Dentsu Aegis CEO Jerry Buhlmann Stepping Down After Nine Years

Dentsu has announced that Jerry Buhlmann is stepping down after nine years. A stint that started at Aegis Group plc, and then for the last six years at Dentsu Aegis Network.

Wavemaker Hong Kong Adds Three Hires to Client Solutions

Wavemaker Hong Kong has added three new hires to its client solutions team. Diego Cerrone as head of strategy, Adrian Lee as head of digital and Omar Crutchley as performance director. Both Lee and Cerrone will report to Coley and Crutchley will report to Lee.

Nine Judges From Asia Tapped to Judge for One Show 2019

The One Club for Creativity today announced that nine top creatives from Asia have been selected to serve as judges for The One Show 2019. They will join nearly 200 other creatives representing 26 countries who will judge work submitted from around the world. 

72andSunny Gives Singapore a Temperature Check with 72 Voices

First developed in Australia by 72andSunny Sydney, the book combines photography and images created by each of the Voices, produce with the aim of stimulating a conversation or to help others who want to know a little bit more about modern Singapore today.




YouTube Pitches Music Service in Australia with Focus on the Neighborhood Sound

"We listened to Aussies, and heard a resounding call out for more Australian music - from playlist curation to profiling local artists," said Mark Wheeler, head of YouTube Marketing, Australia.

Kareena Kapoor Khan Torments Sleeping Man to Make Point About Healthy Sleep

Honeywell has launched a humorous public awareness campaign starring Bollywood Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan to educate people about the importance of 'Healthy Sleep'.

New Campaign in India by Whirlpool Starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon

The first spot shows Rajput working out as his female neighbors use binoculars to drool over the sight of him through his window until Sanon intervenes.

Santa as You’ve Never Seen Him Before in Christmas Campaign for Australia

This year we see a Santa like no other in a new Christmas campaign in Australia from discount supermarket chain ALDI that charts the mental recovery of Father Christmas following a meteor-like sleigh crash in Australia’s outback. 

Get the latest news, creative work,
profiles and insights in your inbox

Thank you for subscribing!