China’s web analytics market among the major advertisers was truly booming during 2005 when Google acquired Urchin and launched Google Analytics. Before that, most of the major advertisers just knew they had access to an Omniture or Coremetrics username and password appointed by their headquarters and to send standardised periodical reports.
Without solid training or support, they did not understand how these heavyweight web analytics tools were able to help optimise their daily digital marketing practices and realised the shortcomings of free tools like CNZZ and 51LA. They had Google Analytics at the time.
Digital marketers soon become matured during the period from 2005 to 2010. Most of them have shifted their roles as marketing managers in traditional foreign enterprises to e-commerce leads in various kinds of economies. Meanwhile, more and more grassroots entrepreneurs innovate China’s own way to do e-business, with fund support from venture capital. Because of the policy guidelines of state-owned companies, they also rushed into e-business and embraced the trends. In China, we define these ‘major advertisers’ as those economies who spend at least five million RMB as online budget and soon figure out there are three types of companies: traditional MNCs, leading e-commerce startups backed by VC, and huge state-owned enterprises. They all have different needs and views on web analytics.
1. Traditional MNCs
These marketers are web analytics pioneers in China and they know the advantages and disadvantages of each category of tools. In general, traditional MNCs adopt Omniture or Coremetrics appointed by headquarters for reporting; our company, with local support and services for optimisation and Google Analytics as third-party tool. With this combination, MNC marketers are able to balance between relationships with global and campaign optimisation supported by local web analytics vendors to accomplish their KPIs.
2. Leading e-commerce startups with VC support
Similar to other grassroots entrepreneurs, e-commerce does everything by themselves. Indeed, a spreadsheet was enough at the beginning of start-up, but they soon realise they need a much more professional web analytics tool. E-commerce startups may choose either Omniture or our product and the key differentiator is whether the analytic vendor is able to deal with the huge amount of customisation and migration among campaigns, which is definitely not an easy job.
3. Huge state-owned enterprise (SOE)
The reason why SOE advertisers choose web analytics for their online business is the higher authorities tell them to do so or their counterparts are already doing that. “Not for the best, but only the most expensive” is their slogan somehow. They treat web analytics tools as the single module within the entire IT architecture provided by IBM, Microsoft, or Arvato. And those system integrators often choose to incorporate with professional web analytics vendor and serve the client together.
No matter what kind of industry sectors, almost every major advertiser is facing innovative challenges in China’s online market. And they are expected to receive localised support and customised service to solve the problems here. Contrary to the old Chinese saying, “foreign monks pray better” (外来的和尚好念经), local ways work for web analytics.