2019 Spring Festival In China: Bigger Than Ever

Yup, in China, when you think about numbers, think BIG!!

This 2019, during the Spring Festival celebration, once again we say record breaking numbers.

CCTV reported 1.17 billion viewers and 30.07% viewership rate for this years Spring festival Gala program

Over 4 billion yuan of red packet was given out by Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Bytedance

Baidu, being the official sponsor this year, sponsored 1.9 billion yuan, and saw their DAU rise from 160M to 300M on the eve of the Spring Festival. Baidu did not spare any money in driving the success of their campaign, engaging celebrities to help promote their massive red packet giveaway. With recent bad press about their poor search engine results, Baidu has a lot of work to do to improve the overall brand perception. 

Baidu Spring Festival Ads

Douyin (Bytedance), was a new sponsor of the Spring Festival and was the official social networking app for the gala. Douyin gave away 500M red packets and saw their DAU hit a new high of 250M, with 24.7 billion video views during the gala. 

Douyin Spring Festival Ad

WeChat, while not a main sponsor of the gala, also saw a 7.12% increase in digital Red Packet transactions reaching 823 million users sending greetings to families and friends.

The question then is why are all these tech giants all willing to spend so much resources on sponsoring the Spring Festival?

China is a vast country with many satellite TV stations, countless online channels and apps. Media landscape in China, has probably got to the most fragmented in the world. Therefore, it is increasingly difficult for any brand to reach the whole of China all at once. The Spring Festival offers an opportunity to do just that. For once in a year, every person in China will be celebrating CNY and will be tuned in to the high profile, huge budget production of the Spring Festival Gala. Hence, this program offers advertisers a unique opportunity to reach a captive audience across the nation all at once. There really isn’t any other program at this scale. The closest you might get would be the Olympic Games or World Cup, but those happen only once in every 4 years and reach only the mid to high level audiences. 

As a brand with limited resources, a Spring Festival Gala sponsorship is most definitely out of reach, but you should still either plan to offer a good deal to customers during this festive season or partner with one of the large tech giants and leverage their huge spending budget. 

See how some Douyin has allowed brands to work with them for much smaller budgets than sponsoring the Spring Festival Gala, and these brands could still reap the benefits of the huge buzz around the spring festival. 

Douyin Co-Branded Ads Examples
Douyin Co-Branded Ads Examples

Remember Spring Festival or CNY is a huge deal in China, and it would serve your brand well if you plan early for it (typically 2-3 months out). It is also the time where most Chinese would travel, either domestically or internationally. So, if you provide a service or sell a product related to travel, it would also be a huge opportunity for your brand.

About Edwin Ting

I help brands drive ROI through branding and digital marketing. With 10+ years of China marketing experience across agency, media and ecommerce brand, I have helped various brands drive business in China.

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