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Social media ad spending in China is on pace for a record year, with some forecasts predicting advertisers in the country will invest RMB20 billion ($3.21 billion) in the format in 2016 alone. But according to a new study of the habits of social media users in China, many are not inclined to share branded content on social platforms, raising questions about the effectiveness of marketing efforts in that realm.
On one hand, China’s social network users demonstrate a strong inclination toward sharing the content they encounter there. In a Q3 2016 survey of social network users in China by Tencent Penguin Intelligence, more than 75% of respondents said they had shared content or information on social during the period studied.
But not much of that content likely came from brands. In the same Tencent survey, less than 2% of respondents said they shared discounts or promotions from brands or retailers.
This is not the first time social network users in China have expressed a lukewarm view on brand activity on social platforms. In December 2015, a Kantar study investigating attitudes toward social media ads found that two-thirds of social media users either “only sometimes paid attention” or “rarely paid attention” to those ads. Overcoming this challenge will be a key concern for advertisers as they consider future social media marketing campaigns in China.
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