Chinese New Year is the most important festival in China. Shopping is an integral part of Chinese people’s celebration, and naturally, e-retailers were engaged in fierce battles to compete for attention, and hence preferences, of consumers in the days leading up to Chinese New Year (February 15 in 2018).
JD.com (partly owned by Tencent) and Tmall (B2C platform wholly owned by Alibaba) launched their promotional videos since mid-January. The “battlefield” spanned from main platform Weibo to WeChat, BBS, mobile video pages, video websites and news apps.
In this case, JD.com and Tmall both launched family themed videos on Weibo and WeChat. They also embedded information on Chinese New Year online sales events into these videos to maximize the impact.
Who has a bigger share of voice? More importantly, who has earned more positive sentiment from consumers? Kantar Media CIC did a data analysis based on user-generated contents.
Tmall ‘overbuzzes’ JD.com on Weibo
Both Tmall and JD.com generated significant volumes of buzz on WeChat from their Spring Festival sales campaigns. By cooperating with popular WeChat accounts and taking advantage of unlimited content space as well as rich formats available on WeChat, Tmall and JD.com ensured that WeChat users can be fully informed of their offers during the holiday season.
Tmall vs JD.com on WeChat buzz volume
Their voices were also well heard on news platforms, especially the news channel of Sohu.com and news aggregator app Toutiao. Combined together, the two contributed more than half of total buzz volumes Tmall and JD.com generated in all news platforms. (57.8% for Tmall and 59.4% for JD.com).
However, Weibo is the make-or-break place for the campaign war. JD.com’s share of voice was overwhelmingly defeated by Tmall, which leveraged its partnership with celebrity accounts on Weibo, such as Chinese actress Tian’ai Zhang (张天爱), Chinese actor Honglei Sun (孙红雷), as well as influencer account Hui Yi Zhuan Yong Xiao Ma Jia (回忆专用小马甲). These accounts retweeted or mentioned Tmall videos and managed to help them go viral. Weibo users posted organic comments underneath these clips. Tmall also launched several rounds of retweet lucky draw campaigns to encourage Weibo users to retweet their posts. This tactic also expanded its impression.
By contrast, JD.com just published its video on its official Weibo account and through Weibo accounts of its partner brands, creating much lower volume of buzz.
Tmall vs JD.com on Weibo buzz
Tmall launched a series of family-reunion themed short videos. Many of them told stories of younger generations returning home from big cities for the Spring Festival break and ran into “lifestyle shocks” with their parents. Many of the videos finished with a heart-warming ending, together with the Chinese New Year sales event promotion from Tmall. These impressive videos were retweeted by tens of thousands of times and viewed by more than 23 million times. Weibo users left mostly positive comments under these posts.
JD.com launched one video clip for their Chinese New Year sales campaign, telling three stories of an elderly father, a left-behind child in rural China and a daughter in a Chinese city missing their son/parents/father far away. The slogan was “Don’t let the ones love you wait too long”. However, that’s all video contents from JD.com on Weibo for the Chinese New Year campaign.
In the following days, the focus of JD.com Weibo posts moved to its partnership with other brands, mostly putting its JD.com dog logo as the central visual element for sales campaign posters. It did attract some attention among younger users, but overall their impression was very limited.
In this year’s Chinese New Year sales campaign, Tmall and JD.com both chose “home-coming” and “family reunion” as their themes. However, JD.com only scratched the surface, and then moved onto direct sales promotion, albeit using its JD.com dog logo to soften it a little bit. Tmall, on the contrary, spent much more efforts to create longer and better-scripted videos on this topic, which had moved many users. According to our analysis of Weibo comments around Tmall and JD.com campaigns, Tmall related comments were more family oriented. So apparently people were more emotionally impacted by the Tmall campaign.
Kantar Media CIC Viewpoint
In 2018 Chinese New Year e-commerce promotion campaign competition, Tmall toned down its promotional video clips to keep them away from direct and hard sales pitches. Instead of focusing on the level of discounts available during the holiday season, they emphasized the “homecoming” and “family reunion” atmosphere of these special days. This paid off well, according to our analysis of social media user responses.
In the comments underneath Tmall videos, there were lots of mentions of family, parent, reunion themed words. It is true that Spring Festival is not as special as before in terms of food/gift/shopping options only available during its time, still, Chinese people celebrate it more as a unique season of reuniting with family. This is why Tmall’s videos have triggered so many strong positive feedbacks from consumers.
JD.com also launched its video campaign based on “home-coming” theme. But it didn’t leverage the contents and quickly moved onto poster-based sales promotion campaigns partnered with brands. The buzz volume and sentiments coming out from this tactic were not as high as those of Tmall’s.
During a season as special as Chinese New Year, brands have to dig deeper to understand what this holiday truly means for consumers, and then influence them emotionally. Only through this approach, can brands become more emotionally relevant to consumers.
This article was originally published on kantar.com