Willy Yang: 360 Group’s Art of Digital Marketing Empowered by Screen Integration
In the new consumption age, which is seeing the rise of new technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence and the genesis of various new concepts including “new retail” and “blockchain”, consumer demands are becoming ever more varied and personalised. As a new infotech revolution is sweeping across the globe, the philosophies, business models and marketing strategies of corporations are evolving under the subtle influence of digitalisation and new technologies. A case in point is 360 Advertising, an online marketing platform with a value of about 10 billion yuan. The company has its unique views on the future of digital marketing. Willy Yang, the helmsman of 360 Advertising and Vice President of 360 Group, who is in the forefront of digital marketing in China, shares with us his thoughts on marketing in the artificial intelligence age.
Consolidating Fragmented Scenarios,Overcoming Marketing Hurdles Through AI and Data Technologies
According to market research company Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totalled 62.1 million units in the second quarter of 2018, a 1.4 percent increase from the same period last year. That was the first global PC shipment growth in six years. In Yang’s view, the rebound marks the revival of PC’s value. It is time to re-evaluate the multi-screen digital marketing strategy and, in particular, the commercial value of PCs.
Today, marketing has moved from traditional to digital. In view of the trend, Yang believes greater importance should now be attached to what he describes as a “mobile internet-driven mentality”, instead of merely utilising different mobile internet devices, and this mentality can maximise the ability of scenario marketing to meet people’s needs for content and also help brands disseminate information on their products accurately and precisely. According to Yang, the mobile internet age is characterised by the co-existence of PC and mobile, and real-time changes in terms of people’s habits of using the media, their spending habits and different scenarios will “gradually unlock the hidden value of scenario marketing”.
“Cross-screen connection is now an increasingly common practice. Online activities are often completed with the use of more than one screen and one device. We call that ‘screen integration’. At 360, we have our unique screen integration marketing methodology and solutions. Unlike multi-screen and cross-screen marketing, screen integration marketing gives importance to interactions between people, situations and time. 360 Advertising connects content with consumption scenarios to fulfil users’ needs for touchscreens in different situations. By seeing users through from the moment they get to know a brand to consume its products, we help brands build and deepen relationships with their customers. This way, the brand image and client base are ultimately enhanced,” Yang notes.
Advancement in AI technologies has opened up unlimited possibilities for online marketing. 360 has also caught the AI wave by using AI tools in different areas of marketing. Yang says: “Capturing audiences’ attention is the only way for marketers to succeed in telling a brand’s story and getting messages across. I believe AI will be able to consolidate more information and be more capable of recommending things to users in the future. Analysing data on users’ behaviours will enable companies to ‘get a better understanding of what you want’.”
Hitting Refresh: “Screen Integration” and “Incentive-Based Advertising”
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, once said: “Every person, organisation, and even society reaches a point at which they owe it to themselves to hit refresh - to reenergise, renew, reframe, and rethink their purpose.”
“To hit refresh” is to optimise and acquire a new lease of life. In the face of the ever-changing marketing needs of its clients, 360 Advertising is also hitting refresh now and again. “Our innovative approach to screen integration marketing is an important part of our ‘hitting refresh’ strategy,” Yang explains. “360 has created a “Screens-Integrated + Incentive-Based” model to achieve an all-encompassing shake-up of the online social fabric. Our incentive-based advertising system mainly consists of interactive ads and video ads. It leverages cost-effective, in-depth interactive mechanisms to engage with audiences. With screen integration marketing as the basis and incentive-based advertising as the means, the model is able to capture audiences’ attention and eventually triggers exponential growth of the user base.”
A good example of incentive-based advertising is livestreaming app Huajiao’s Millionaire Winner, a live quiz that uses cash prizes as a direct incentive. The quiz often touches on current issues, and the cash prizes are constantly refreshed to attract eyeballs. Huajiao also encourages users to invite their friends and form teams to join in, thus deepening participants’ involvement and creating a massive user base. This is a win-win formula benefiting both users and advertisers. It creates a situation where values are constantly generated for users, and the socialising aspect of the quiz makes the users remain in the situation and enjoy being there. Eventually, 100 million users have joined in. It is an incredible feat that demonstrates the power of incentive-based advertising.
In an era of information explosion, marketers have a core mission to help their clients create value. Wherever there are users - be they in a “fixed” (i.e. sitting in office) or a “mobile” situation (i.e. on the way to office) - every screen deserves to be reached and every piece of information yearns for attention. With this in mind, 360 uses its own exclusive big data on behaviour chain to accurately outline users’ behaviours. Through screen integration, i.e. multi-screen and cross-screen connection, PC, mobile, Internet of Things and OTT multi-situations are integrated and form an all-round setting. Screen integration marketing in effect serves to empower brands. With its high-quality user base, abundant data, comprehensive product coverage and its ability to consolidate resources and transcend different boundaries, 360 offers the best online platform for screen integration marketing. Little wonder it has won the recognition of a plethora of business partners, including top international brands such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, BMW and Land Rover.
A Greater “Secure Landscape”
In the big data era, we are in awe of the immense power of technology, and yet we also have concerns over our privacy. Conventional safety issues related to computer viruses, trojan horses and information leaks, data frauds, privacy leaks, and online asset security all pose privacy threats to consumers’ online security.
These misgivings have also flown into the commercial world, with advertisers increasingly worrying about information filtering, fake responses, controversies and user traffic. Thankfully, the “Screens + Incentive-Based” model is precisely the antidote to all these issues. 360 Advertising takes it upon itself to conduct in-depth research in AI and the greater “secure landscape”, with a view to providing consumers a more reliable, more reassuring online environment, and establishing a more comprehensive intelligent advertising marketing system.
As Yang reassures: “We don’t just know you well, but we also protect you!”
Credit to: Digital Marketing, Zhang Ting