The Best Advertising Channels to Engage Customers for Chinese New Year

China’s most important gift-giving holiday, Chinese New Year, is coming up on February 8, and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Every time I get asked what the animal of the year is, I always think back to our CEO’s story: how he used to be so proud of being born in the Year of the Dragon, but in fact, he was born in the Year of the Rabbit.

Last year, we wrote about tips on promoting Chinese New Year in the Travel, Retail, and Automotive & Real Estate Industry. This year, we will be looking at the top channels to amplify your online marketing campaigns. Regardless of industry, it is always important for campaigns to stay true to the audience and occasion in order to achieve the desired short-term and long-term results for your campaign.

Burberry's CNY Campaign on WeChat

A growing number of retailers and hoteliers feature special products and promotions to commemorate the vitally important shopping and travel period. In preparation for China’s most important holiday, we’ve rounded up some of the key things that all brands can do to appeal to Chinese customers as they welcome the Year of the Monkey.

Search Engine Marketing

People never stop searching for their needs online! If your brand has a Chinese New Year event or promotion, don’t forget to reflect it in your search engine marketing. If you are targeting China, be sure to utilize China’s biggest search engine, Baidu. If you are targeting the Chinese demographic in North America, Google would be the search engine to utilize.


estee lauder year of monkey power compact


Reflect your CNY event/promotion in ads, and drive people to a landing page that corresponds with this promotion for a cohesive experience.

To get started on Baidu, download our Baidu Advertising Guide.



You’ve produced great video content about your brand for CNY, and would like to attract some eyeballs. However, hosting it on YouTube alone isn’t going to reach the Chinese demographic located in China.

Pepsi CNY video campaign


If the goal of the campaign is to reach the Chinese demographic in China, it is recommended to host the video on Youku to bypass the Great Firewall. It always helps to add budget to support amplifying the video content for greater reach.


Paid and Owned Social Media

Social media platforms are great for hosting CNY promotions and events as there are numerous possible ways for brands to interact with potential customers.

Weibo is a great channel for amplifying brand messaging, particularly with contests and sweepstakes.

WeChat is an exceptional channel for nurturing relationships and create brand reinforcement. The most ingenious Chinese social marketing campaign lately came from WeChat itself.

Red Envelopes on WeChat

One major Chinese New Year tradition is for elders to give away red envelopes, or hongbao, as gifts to the younger generation. Brands can build on this and take it online to engage with customers. The platform offered a digitized take on tradition, creating a gambling-like game where users sent money to a group of friends, with sums randomly allocated among them. The feature was a hit at family gatherings, in offices and online, with 20 million envelopes reportedly changed hands.

This year, other brands have jumped on this idea and are offering their own take on red envelopes.

Weibo Red Envelope


To amplify brand messaging on social media channels beyond organic reach, a number of paid advertising channels are also available. Please see our Weibo and WeChat advertising guides for detailed information.

If you’d like to run a Chinese New Year campaign for your brand, contact us to get started now.

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