Don’t ignore your mobile security!

Recently, hundreds of iPhone apps were infected in the first major attack on App Store as well as Google Play store. If you still do not notice this, you should start to be aware of your mobile security.

People nowadays download lots of mobile applications such as transportation apps, payment apps and mobile games for convenience and entertainment. They are usually unaware of what kind of data (personal data included) are being shared with those developers as long as the apps are good to use. However, have you ever aware that a hacker can steal your credit card information while you are doing the payment? Some simple habits can be adopted to help you get out of the security attack. For example, keep an eye on what kind of data that the downloaded applications will be used and keep updating your mobile device’s operating system and applications to stay away from the hackers’ traps.

Users are not the only party to be responsible for securing their mobile devices, developers also play an important role to protect them. Developers should understand what and why data should be collected and stated it clearly to customers as to enhance their confidence on using their app. Some extra work such as using https portal instead of http for secure communication over a computer network can also help data security.

We may sometimes focus on how the applications entertain their customers and how the applications earn money only, yet, security cannot be neglected. Not only will the customers suffer from losing their personal data, business will be hurt by damaging the brand image and losing customers’ trust.

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People love visual content!

Have you noticed that there are something new appearing in your Instagram and Facebook? Sponsored Ads (paid ads) are currently available in Instagram while gif images are supported by Facebook. These new features in social media platforms are suggesting visual interaction is becoming increasingly significant to social media users. Start developing visual-driven content now.

Here are a few interesting facts on why visual content is important to your content strategy:

  1. People process visual 600,000 times faster than text-based content.
  2. According to the Spring 2015 study from Microsoft, the average customer’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013.
  3. According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, we can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10th of a second.
  4. Larger images and video content increased conversion by 46%.

People’s attention span is diminishing. Initial impression is being more valuable. If the customers’ attention span is about 8 seconds, the sense of a visual scene will be interpreted in less than one second by human brain and we, as marketers could have more than 7 seconds to engage with them, and push them further down to the buying cycle. In order to make use of the short 7-second, some data visualization tools such as infographics, memes (a means of expressing humor through graphics) may help. The eye-catching and humorous visual content creates impressive moment to your audience.

It is time to move forward and share visual simulating content with your customers!

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Watch out for 3 key digital tendencies in Asia

A recent digital conference drawn a number of predictions expect to take off in Asia.

1. Social media will take over the other forms of communication with brands. The Instant messaging app WeChat is a good example of connection between brand and consumers. Brands can reach the consumers to have conversations and even make payment. There is no doubt WeChat is a good platform to connect brands with the Chinese market. Some additional services and values can be made in WeChat as well. Let’s get through the business opportunities created by WeChat in our coming blog posts!

2. The importance of the mobile-readiness. It has been long-forecasted and should not be ignored. Consumers reach brands through mobile anywhere at any time with their mobile devices. Mobile is also a tool for business to act as a bridge to bring your consumers from offline to online and vice versa. Many businesses are already taking advantage of these mobile opportunities. It is not difficult to see people getting discount by scanning QR code coupons or following social media accounts established by brands. However, what else we can further do for our consumers from offline to online? Read our upcoming O2O (offline-to-online) series.

3. The emergence of HTML5 is a notable trend. It’s time to make good friend with it as most mobile platforms no longer support Adobe Flash, in favor of HTML5. Given the majority of web visitors are shifting to use mobile devices, HTML5 is expected to be the de facto technology for delivering interactive web experience. HTML5 can also bring new opportunities for online marketing e.g. geolocation, offline storage. Sounds interesting? Learn more about HTML5 by following us here.

We will share more tips on adopting WeChat Marketing, O2O lead generation and introducing our good friend HTML5 on the blog! We love what we do.

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How to deal with the talent gap for digital marketing adaption?

There is no doubt that digital marketing is booming and engaging customers via digital/online channels is on the top priority list of many marketers. However, Adobe has shared an infographic that revealed an alarming sign that the talent gap is stopping marketers from harnessing the power of digital marketing in full.

To deal with the talent gap, outsourcing to external agencies would be a possible solution. The next question would be: What kind of marketing efforts could be outsourced? More importantly, how to work closely with a marketing agency such that it would deliver positive results?

There are four main phases for digital marketing framework:
I. Set goals, target, KPIs
II. Design customer engagement / interaction
III. Execute Programs
IV. Measure, govern, improve via feedback

As a digital starter, start off the process by selecting the right partner – it should be large enough to have the capability and qualified talents to handle your job but small enough to provide flexibility and care. If you like the team in the pitch, ensure they are the ones who will deliver – not handling to another team.

You will need to have close cooperation with the selected agencies to walk you through for all the above phases. Treat your agency as “an extension to your team” so that you can be open and direct with your needs and limitations. Digital campaigns usually engage customers at multiple touch-points and at different stages of purchase cycle. Therefore, it’s important to involve relevant stakeholders – marketing, sales, IT and the agency contact point – in campaign formulation & communication.

Many marketers share the view that the most difficult part is “trust building”. We tend to think this is a two-way process. Marketers can set goals with the agency so that there is a sense of “shared responsibility”. Agency needs to be open with their charging scheme and stay on their commitment. Transparency is always key to building trust. In digital marketing, data is usually very transparent so it is already a good start.

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Mobile-Friendly Email Marketing in China

A new report conducted by Custora found that email had brought more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined since 2009 and the number kept growing in the following four years. Email marketing is the opportunity that marketers cannot miss. Think one step further: a mobile-friendly email will help you read more customers more effectively as there are more people managing their email by mobile phones than ever.

Do we see the same trend in China? Is there a necessity to design mobile-friendly email in China market? The answer is a definite “yes”. A report released by CNNIC in 2014 revealed that the percentage of mobile internet user base has overtaken PC internet user base. With this high growth in mobile internet, we can see more people will access their e-mail with their mobile devices.

Meanwhile, mainland developer NetEase (Hangzhou) Network released an Email app “Mail Master” in 2014 and a much refined version a few weeks ago. This app supports a wide range of email services provider, such as 163 Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, QQ, and more. Users can manage email account easily and quickly, just like native Gmail app. It is obvious that there is good opportunity on mobile email for a well-known internet company to enter this market and keep on investing on the app.

Mobile-friendly email marketing is descriptively designed for mobile users, users can see the content clearly without scrolling up and down is hardly the case. With mobile-friendly email reaching your customers, they are more willing to continue to receive your email as it looks better on their mobile devices. With relevant content (time / location), it also encourages users to forward your e-mail, causing a viral effect. Know more about how to make a mobile-friendly email marketing from this article. (7 Tips to Make Your Email Marketing More Mobile-Friendly

Besides being mobile-friendly, move one step further and deliver mobile responsive email to gain an edge. You can create a mobile responsive email by applying responsive images and layout.

If you are interested in email marketing and want to explore more, you can see our other blog article on email marketing. ( )

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This blog article is contributed by Tanya Wong, our Marketing Intern.

Utilize Social Data or Ignore It

No one will doubt the power of social media, but not every marketers knows how to make a social media campaign successful and effective by making good use of social data efficiently. A recent research also indicated that there are 39% marketers believe that social data is not yet useful to their business.

The main reason may be the posts and comments in social media are highly qualitative data which require professional expertise and resources to analyze. Although some sentiment analysis1 tools could help, limitations still exist. Most analysis algorithms use simple terms (i.e. keywords) to assign sentiments of a product or service, the context, cultural and linguistic factors will be eliminated in analysis. Even sentiment analysis using algorithmic approach does not yield promising insights.

Seemingly, we can’t find the key to unlock the social data to actionable information. We come up with one simple equation may help — Brand mention + location + time + people. For example, travel plans and certain airlines are frequently mentioned in social media by universities’ students during summer holiday. The airline therefore could make sales opportunities at campus right before the summer holiday starts. They could also base on the popularity of destination mentioned to adjust the supply of different routes and offer different packages. The real time customers’ opinions and reactions on social media help you understand how people respond to your brand and marketing initiatives.

It may be hard to deal with the social data as we can see the current sentiment analysis is not yet ready (at least for Chinese/Cantonese). Do try on other approaches to discover insights, but do not ignore the valuable social data. We are looking forward to hearing your success in utilizing social data.

1 Sentiment analysis (also known as opinion mining) refers to the use of natural language processing, text analysis and computational linguistics to identify and extract subjective information in source materials.

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Think twice when we deploy algorithm-based marketing

While we are excited to follow the emerging big data trend for providing smarter, more relevant and personalized content to our customers, we must be careful to decide when, where and what are we showing them. From a recent HBR article, we all can learn a lesson from Facebook’s bad example: their “Year in Review” app showed a father his dead daughter’s photo last year and being bombard by public on their “thoughtless” design.

What happened to this tech giant suggested that our marketing algorithms may still not be sensitive enough to context. To let our digitized engagement activities to be more “humane”, a wider variety of information that matters (affects how the target audiences perceive the content) will be needed. In the case of Facebook “Year in Review” app, the algorithm might need to include semantic analysis so that the system may know to avoid posting a sad memory of a person. We would like to pay special attention to occasions that might easily trigger people’s negative emotional responses, as reminding people of their unhappy experience not only adds no value to the business, but also ruin the relationship between the brand and customers. To start with, you may proactively check if customer would like to update their personal profile on your database annually (e.g. if one of them get divorced, you will not want your system to send them wedding anniversary promotions).

Besides educating our systems to be more “considerate” on selecting content, we shall also need controlling the level of smart interaction to prevent creeping someone out. Privacy is always customers’ concern. It is important to make our customer trust us when they know what we know about them and be well informed on how we are going to use these data. We might be collecting data from various channels while planning to make good use of these efforts in the marketing strategies, but we shall also beware of “surprising” our customers with an unexpected personalized experience.

Here are a few useful tactics suggested by the article that can help:

  • Field experimentation and observational research:
    Testing the impact of different factors and generate more flexible algorithm
  • Introduce unpredictability:
    Avoiding customers being habituated to regular marketing activities by adding excitements / surprises
  • Identify key customers decision and experience points and encourage human interaction:
    Combining the power of technology and flexibility of human to discover new needs or handle exceptional situations

Are you collecting data now for your next smart campaign? It can be very interesting to embrace algorithms in our marketing strategies and it worth for a cautious planning to start. Make sure you consider your customer’s point of view.

Top 2 SEO tactics: Keywords AND Content


A recent survey to marketing professionals has evaluated both effectiveness and difficulty on different Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics. It indicated that relevant content creation and keyword/phrase research would be the top 2 most effective measures for SEO implementation.

Given the evolution of search algorithm, there is no surprise that these 2 tactics ranked the highest in this survey. The quality of content of a website is getting more important when search engines support semantic search, focusing more on users’ intent and contextual meaning of terms.

Meanwhile, we can see that in terms of execution difficulties, “relevant content creation” ranked as the second highest in the list, following “relevant link building”. We believe such difficulties are caused by companies implement their SEO plan through outsourcing. (according to the survey, 81% of the respondents outsource some or all of their SEO work). Outside SEO experts, who lack domain knowledge, may not be able to provide lots of assistance for content creation if they cannot work closely with their clients.

Instead of just inputting meta keywords in the HTML codes (which is an outdated practice now) and repeating keywords in content, marketers need to tackle the challenge of content creation by drafting content that attracts target audiences’ attention. The keyword/phase research reports can mainly act as a good source of reference for marketing team.

Take a French restaurant in a 5-star hotel as an example, we find target customers are more interested in cuisine, classy dining environment and signature dishes after researching. We shall then highlight those content on our web copy, e.g. describe the dining environment in more details, add more visuals of the restaurant’s interior design / cuisine.

Marketing teams can also arrange more discussions with the SEO agencies on content strategies. By exchanging the knowledge of both parties, the content created will bring more values to target customers and hence, better ranking in search engines results page.

The tactics we choose are important, but to push things forward, we need to execute them in a right way with careful planning, efficient communication and concerted effort from different parties.
Talk to your SEO agencies and discuss how the content could be improved for better search results. We hope by starting this conversation, you can maximize your return on SEO investment.

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What Matters for Website Localization

The ITU statistics shows that, by the end of 2014, the number of Internet users globally have reached almost 3 billion. 45% of worldwide internet users were located in Asia Pacific, followed by 23% of users in Europe, 12% of internet users in North America, while the online users in Latin America accounted for 10% as well as Middle East and Africa. The experts further estimate that there will be 3.2 billion people using the Internet by the end of 2015, of which 2 billion are from developing countries*.

Such a widespread usage of Internet provides a great opportunity for companies to reach large amount of potential customers. To capture the opportunities, companies usually establish website localization strategies for their target markets.

According to the article, customer experience and brand recognition are the biggest drivers for website localization. In order to meet the drivers of need, adopting localized content (e.g. local promotions / sales contact info) with a localized SEO strategy is essential. Providing more relevant content to the local targeted customers enhances the quality of engagement when they navigate the sites or perform searches on local search engines. Using keywords that match local users’ search behavior is an example of site localization tactic.

How will you then manage the content of a multilingual site with different regional content coming from different regional marketing teams, each with their own publishing timeline? Given this complexity, we believe the best way to manage this is a content management system (CMS) that is capable of support multiple sites deployment but flexible enough to cater to local SEO and cultural requirements. The goal for selecting a professional CMS is to facilitate your team on streamlining website maintenance. It should enable a single point of management with well-designed approval workflows, so that your team can handle content maintenance efficiently.

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Mobile Audience Targeting is a Strategic Direction for Digital Marketers

Marketers had voiced out their concerns on the veracity of the data used for mobile audience. Yet, marketers still invested more on mobile audience targeting: In 2014, 75% of the digital media and marketing professionals who had been surveyed by eXelate have targeted ads to specific audience segments on smartphones, and 73.1% of them did so on tablets. Why? We believe marketers could not afford to miss the m-commerce opportunities.

In China, m-commerce is maturing due to the rapid growth of affordable mobile infrastructure and hence user base. Cinema in China have worked with mobile carrier to target customers who are in close proximity to their premise, promoting the latest movie hits. Movie tickets can be purchased through a mobile app.

We think the mobile company can further enhance their promotions based on consumer behavior. For example, cinemas may target consumers who have previously viewed a movie trailer (re-targeting) or a movie review.

Marketers need to pay attention to privacy concerns when conducting target marketing. Obtaining consumer consent before accessing geo-information based on GPS, cellular or Wi-Fi network is essential. After all, building consumer trust is always a priority for successful branding and m-commerce efforts.

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