CI Weekly’s “2017 Best Internet Advertising Companies” announced, Hylink retains No.1 position


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Santa Monica, CA

Following CI Weekly’s announcement, Hylink reflects on the state of digital marketing.


Going beyond the traditional definition of “digital marketing”

In 2017, digital marketing in China experienced tremendous growth, with new industry experts arising with varying conceptions on how to be truly successful in the field. While some digital marketers are content-focused, others are data-driven. Some believe that creative is king, while some marketers believe tech trumps all.


Chinese advertising agencies turned their attention to improving user experience across channels, elevating livestream content, and staying on top of developments in big data and AI. Additionally, new social platforms emerged and we-media platforms built their own IP. Today, the meaning of “digital marketing” has expanded to include the entire marketing spectrum, and marketers must adopt a holistic view in order to thrive in such a crowded market.


Rise of high-quality content speaks to a strengthened brand-consumer connection

With increasing access to product options and reviews, there is a growing demand for quality social media engagement to ensure more positive consumer experiences.


Content and marketing are co-dependent: effective marketing requires high-quality content to support brand messaging, and such content is only effective when supported by strategic dissemination and commercialization efforts. We have observed such convergence through content-customization for brand promotions, which has proven successful in executing diversified and enriched campaigns.


Content should also have the capacity to attract key opinion leaders and industry advocates to build an exceptional brand community, and further, be able to adapt brands into lifestyle routines. As a result, many companies are realizing the importance of clearly communicating the brand’s missions and core values, in an effort to effectively demonstrate their purpose and consumer affinity, as  opposed to only focusing on product functions.


Higher consumption rates encourages brand rejuvenation

As younger generations (post-1980s) continue to serve as the most powerful consumer group in China, general consumer needs are shifting. On one hand, there is a growing desire for culture and entertainment products; on the other hand, there are many consumers showcasing a significant interest in experiential and spiritual needs. All these consumption trends are pressing brands to upgrade their products and reevaluate their marketing strategies.


Young consumers, in particular, value high-quality, customizable, and curated products which represent their lifestyle and interests. As a result, companies are tasked with finding innovative ways in which they can appeal to these new consumer expectations.


New media marketing

Production of short video clips and streaming videos have surged within the China market. Even the  BAT Internet giants have followed suit: Baidu collaborated with Mtime to build a holistic PGC (Professionally Generated Content) ecosystem; Alibaba launched the “Hao Kan Video” video platform and created  a PUGC (Professional User Generated Content) platform with $150 million in funding; and Tencent launched “Plan Gain 2.0” and invested in we-media, launching the “Penguins” we-media platform.


The most active player in video streaming,, witnessed an incredibly busy 2017. The video-streamer acquired Flipagram in February, formed a strategic partnership with Mango TV in March, announced its new Volcano platform in May, took its DouYin app global in August, and last, but certainly not least, acquired in November (the largest acquisition in short-form video to date).


New media is considered “new” due to the constantly evolving communication channels available. With the onset of these emerging platforms, brands are now able to reach users by leveraging the voice of influencers and opinion leaders on social media. Notably, media channels are no longer a one-way process, but a two-way platform in which the consumer’s experience is made public. This notion, in addition to the ability to disseminate information more efficiently than ever, ensures that busy users with short attention spans are still reached in a meaningful way.  


4A companies are now presented with unique challenges ahead, particularly as more consulting firms turn their attention toward the advertising industry, and as brands establish full-service marketing and advertising teams in-house. Further, we have yet to understand the full impact of AI, which will unarguably be adopted by many industry-leading brands.  

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