Banner ads in China are still a fairly effective channel to advertise and, on average, Chinese are more receptive to this type of advertising compared to internet users in western countries. Ad blocking software and plugins have been, so far, more common in the West than in China where banner advertising is a rapidly growing business.
Also, the type of banners ads that are considered to be more effective in China tend to be flashier and more animated, something that Western users typically find most annoying.
According to March 2016 polling by iResearch China, the ad’s relevancy is the most important factor in user’s decision to click it (36.5% indicated that as the main factor), followed by the quality of the copy (34%).
32.5% of respondents indicated that promotional info, such as discounts, coupons or attractive pricing prompted their clicks. Finally, great visuals and sound effects is what attracts 31.4% of people.
Much less visitors were clicking an ad based on frequency – only 15.3% clicked an ad because they have seen it multiple times. However, that is still a fairly high number that makes retargeting (remarketing) a highly effective strategy for serving banner ads in China.
Different types of banner ads in China and their effectiveness
Banners on ecommerce sites
According to various data, banner ads on Chinese ecommerce sites are, by far, the most effective. According to iResearch, nearly 8 in 10 users paid attention to those ads and over 60% of users routinely click them. Since such advertising is often highly relevant to users who are searching for specific products, those results are not surprising.
Banners on portals and search engines
Over 70% would notice ads on portals and search engines and over half would click them which makes it the next best channel for placing banners ads in China after ecommerce sites. Such high numbers are explained by the fact that there is a higher degree of intent and interest on the part people who are searching for a specific term or visit specialized websites.
Banners on video sites
Although about 70% of visitors to video sites like Youku or PPTV notice the ads, they are the most disliked types of banners ads in China. Another research from Tencent Penguin Intelligence found that the majority of internet users aged between 16 to 20 did not watch video ads, and 11.6% even said they were “intolerable.” These types of ads are mostly disliked on mobile. With the typical length of a pre-roll ad on Youku being about 1 minute, those finding are hardly surprising.
Banners on social media sites
In general, banner advertising on social media sites such as Weibo is often considered ineffective. Another research by Kantar, discovered that a dismal 13% of visitors on those sites liked such ads while while 24.2% said they were put off by them with 42.1% simply ignoring them. In our experience, post boosts work much better in social media due to their higher relevancy to users’ interests.
Mobile banner ads
Mobile ads is the fastest growing sector which offers the most potential. New mobile ads networks are improving efficiency, although the industry is still in the experimentation stage. Many networks are still looking for the best ways to monetize and the prices may vary widely. One of the biggest problems with mobile ads is the fact that they often get clicks by accident. This, in part, is caused by limited “real estate” of the small mobile phone screens. On the other hand, larger smartphones and “phablets” offer more potential.
Ads on gaming sites
The biggest problem with these type of banner ads in China is the relevancy – it is hard to figure out precisely who would be interested in checking out the latest fast food restaurant offer while playing a game. Even though the marketing reach with gaming ads can be quite large, CTR is often low. Most effective banner ads on gaming sites and mobile games often feature new games and related apps installs rather than unrelated or broad subjects.