The astronomical growth of the Chinese economy has caused an enormous development in the Hong Kong advertising industry. Over the past ten years, the ad market size has increased from HK$20.2 billion in 2011 to HK$29.1 billion in 2019. By the end of next year, this figure is expected to grow to HK$30.5 billion.
The graph below shows the growth of advertising in Hong Kong over the past ten years.
The primary reasons behind the increased popularity of advertising in Hong Kong are a favourable business environment and a large number of companies that have set up on the island. Since competition is stiff, businesses need to invest in various forms of adverts to increase brand awareness and draw customers to their products and services.
Legislation and Regulations Governing Advertising in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is renowned for valuing freedom of expression. Besides the controls imposed on radio and TV adverts, there no other legal restrictions to advertising in Hong Kong. The specific instances of particular regulations of advertising content are highlighted below.
The Association of Accredited Advertisers runs a self-regulatory structure and ensures that all advertisers in Hong Kong comply with the Code of Practice. These laws go together with the aforementioned special enactments that apply to particular products and instances.
All audiences targeted by ads in Hong Kong are ‘data subjects’ as defined by the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO). In this case, ‘personal data. Refers to all pieces of information that uniquely identify a living individual. Examples of such include official documents like passports and identity cards. Nowadays, the scope of personal data includes biometric recordings as well as photos of the data subject.
The PDPO states that the advertisers must collect personal data after getting consent from the subject. In addition, the data subject must also be aware of where their information is going to be used, and the people or institutions that will have access to the data. If the advertiser intends to use the data for a purpose other than the ones specified during collection, they must get consent again from the subject.
The Communications Authority is the body that oversees and regulates broadcast advertising in Hong Kong. It enforces the rules outlined in the Broadcasting Ordinance. One of the standout clauses in these rules states that the internet is not a TV program service, meaning that you do not need a broadcasting license to do online advertising in Hong Kong.
The Security and Futures Commission (SFC) controls the advertising of investment opportunities. These include ads that promote company shares, securities and futures, and so on.
However, the promotion of investment of opportunities by authorised institutions like banks is under the control of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). In this regard, HKMA works to ensure that all financial institutions are registered and licensed by the SFC, giving them the authority to advertise investment opportunities.
Each ordinance outlines the penalties for breaching the regulations on advertising in Hong Kong. The regulatory authorities have the power to apply various sanctions, such as de-licensing the institutions and advertisers who fail to comply with the set regulations. For example, if the SFC finds an advertiser that promotes investment opportunities contrary to the rules, they will confiscate the license immediately.
Industry Codes for Advertising in Hong Kong
The following are the codes that govern advertising in various industries in Hong Kong.
- The Communications Authority controls TV advertising as outline by the Broadcasting Ordinance. The agency as the powers to issue, withhold and withdraw a broadcasting service license. Also, the body sets the advertising standards to which all licensees must comply.
- Since the internet is not considered as a TV programmer, it is exempt from regulation by the government.
- The Television Advertising Code requires advertisers to ensure that their ads are compliant. An ad refers to any material in a TV program that is designed to promote a brand, products or services.
- Advertising material should be explicitly identifiable as an ad. It should be different from regular program content, and more importantly, it should not disparage competing companies.
- The Television Advertising Code requires ads to be clean, honest, legal, and truthful. They must also comply with local laws. The claims made in the advertisement messages should be easy to substantiate.
Best Advertising Agencies in Hong Kong
As mentioned earlier, many companies have invested in advertising in Hong Kong, meaning that the market is fiercely competitive. It is imperative to work with an agency if you want your promotional message to reach your target audience.
The following are the best advertising agencies in Hong Kong.
DSIGN Branding is an advertising agency based in Hong Kong that helps clients in creating ads that resonate with consumer objectives. The company creates attractive adverts that appeal to both clines and consumers, mostly due to the passion of its team.
- Services Offered
- Content creation
- Brand consulting and strategy
- Advertising and brand design
- Digital marketing
- Web and mobile app development
Room 1128, Lee Graden One, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
+852 3959 8710
First Page is an agency that idea for companies that practice internet marketing in Hong Kong. The company has so far served many clients and featured on reputable platforms such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and The Huffington Post.
- Google ads and search display
- Google Shopping ads
- Reputation management
- Search engine optimisation
- Content creation
Room 3503-07, 35/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
+852 2356 3200
Entertaining Asia is primarily an event and hospitality company that operates in Hong Kong. However, it also engages in activities related to online advertising in Hong Kong.
- Event management
- Media and marketing services
- Photography and video services
5th Floor, Tack Building, 50 Gilman Street, Central Hong Kong
+852 2815 7919
Absolute Creative is a leading marketing agency that helps businesses achieve their goals by creating stunning ads that inspires action from customers. The company has 18 years of experience in the industry and always prioritises quality over quantity.
- Advert design
- Branding and management
- Marketing planning
- Integrated and scalable content management
- Copywriting and proofreading
Unit 1812 Metro Centre II, 21 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong
+852 2367 5715
CMRS is an agency that works to enable brand communication excellent in the digital marketing space in Hong Kong, Macau, and Southern China. The company’s team has an abundance of experience and dedicated talent in the industry, having served multiple clients over the years.
- Advertising and creative strategy
- Social media marketing
- Insights and consultancy
- Content marketing
18 MG Tower, 133 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong
+852 2815 3880
Stepworks is an international advertising and branding agency based in Hong Kong. The company assists its clients to gain an edge over their competitors by creating quality branding and marketing solutions.
- Branding and graphics design
- Content creation
19/F, LKF 29, 29 Wyndham Street Central, Hong Kong
+852 3678 8700
Landor is a Hon Kong-based creative agency that launched in 1996. For more than two decades, the company has served several prominent institutions and help build brands and adverts that stand for something. The multiple awards in their collection are proof of the excellence of their services.
- Product branding
- Graphics design
38/F PCCW Tower, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
+852 2851 8173
Reaction is a leading branding and design agency based in Hong Kong. The company uses a strategic approach to build client’s businesses while adhering to values such as curiosity, disruption and passion.
- Advertising and branding
- Digital marketing
- Graphics design
14/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong
+852 2840 1931
Impact Communications is a full-service advertising agency that has its offices in Hong Kong. The company has proved its competence by serving clients from various industries and delivering positive results.
- Advertising and branding
- Design and video production
- Social media management
- Marketing strategy
Room 26, 4/F, Gemmy Industrial Building, 12 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
+852 2887 2871
Clicks Marketing Solutions is a Hong Kong-based advertising and marketing agency. The company aims to leverage their expertise in marketing and design to enable its clients to exceed their growth targets.
- Graphics design
- Digital marketing
Unit 3, 6/F. Lemmi Centre. 50 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 2387 6877
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Advertising Agency in Hong Kong
With plenty of options to choose from, it can be quite challenging to find the ideal advertising agency to hire. Every agency in the market has its claims about its specialities and services, which makes it difficult to tell them apart.
Here are the factors that you need to consider when choosing an agency to handle your advertising in Hong Kong.
Although it is possible to keep in touch with your agency through video conferencing, phone calls and email, nothing is more effective than meeting them in person. Besides face-to-face meetings, hiring a local agency means that you spend lesser amounts on commuting. Moreover, a local agency has a better understanding of the local market, which means that they can create a campaign that is optimised to get positive results.
It is essential to choose an agency that enjoys working with your marketing team and vice versa. If either of the two does not enjoy the presence of the other, there is no way that your advertising in Hong Kong will succeed.
Before settling on a particular choice, make sure that you evaluate the social media channels of your prospective agencies. You should also talk to them to get a feel of their personality and see whether they are compatible with your team. The objective of this process is to find an agency that will fit in with your marketing team.
The number of clients served by an agency is a crucial consideration factor during the hiring phase. It shows if an agency is experienced or new to the industry. Taking a look at the portfolio also enables you to know if the agency has experience with businesses similar to yours, which can be a huge factor in increasing the success of your advertising campaign.
As seen above, the majority of agencies in Hong Kong offer many other services besides advertising. That said, not all companies provide the same services. Make sure that you pay close attention to what each agency has to offer to your advertising in Hong Kong. Ask for detailed explanations on how they implement their strategies. The right agency should explain clearly how their tactics will help you achieve your business goals.
If you are looking for an agency to help with digital marketing in Hong Kong, it is advisable to for the options that have the Google partners badge on their websites. This is because Google usually trains agencies and confirms that they are competent before certifying them. The badge is a symbol that shows a company will follow Google’s best practices and provide expert service. Moreover, companies that have this certification are proficient at advertising on Google AdWords and the Google Display Network. Lastly, Google partners are the first to know about new releases from the search engine, meaning that working with them will give you an edge over your competitors.
Importance of Investing in Advertising in Hong Kong
Adverts have multiple benefits, both to the business owner and the customer. Here are the advantages of investing in advertising in Hong Kong.
Introduces New Products to the Market
Adverts play a significant role in the introduction of new products to the market. If well created, an advertising campaign can convince consumers to purchase the new product.
Expansion of the Market
When you advertise a product or a service, you reach out to audiences that are not already familiar with your brand. This means that in addition to retaining your existing audience, you expand your potential market. Increased brand awareness increases the chances of making more sales and growing your business.
Advertising facilitates the mass production of products and increases the volume of sales. When you spend on advertising in Hong Kong, you increase the number of purchases. This, in turn, means that the business generates more profit.
Gain a Competitive Edge
By promoting your products aggressively, you gain an edge over your competitors. This is because advertising increases consumer awareness, which makes them more likely to purchase a product.
Educates the Consumer
Besides pictures and videos, adverts usually feature detailed descriptions of the products being promoted. These bits of information are useful in educating the consumer about the uses of the products and the value it adds to their lives.
One of the benefits of advertising in Hong Kong is that it enables businesses to reach their target audiences directly. This eliminates the need for intermediary marketers, who usually eat into a business’s profits and make products more expensive to the buyer.
Better Quality Products
Advertising often prompts business owners to create high-quality products since the objective is to entice customers into buying. This is particularly beneficial to the consumer who gets value for their money.
Step by Step Guide for Successful Advertising in Hong Kong
Given that most businesses are investing heavily in advertising campaigns and internet marketing in Hong Kong, you need to be creative and strategic to ensure your message reaches the target audience. Using a generic approach increases the chances that you will end up wasting money and resources on an ineffective campaign.
The following are the steps that you need to follow to create effective ads for your advertising in Hong Kong.
The first step of an advertising campaign is identifying the target audience and its needs. This involves thorough research, during which you also need to do extensive competition analysis. Knowing your intended audience is useful in determining whether the product you plan to launch will be a hit or a miss. It also enables you to see the strategies employed by your competitors.
Selecting the Advertising Media
The advertising media you choose for spreading your promotional messages depends on the preferences of your target audience. For instance, if most of your prospective customers are using the internet, it makes sense to invest in digital marketing in Hong Kong. If they like visiting live events, you should consider using exhibition ads.
There are two reasons for conducting a cost-benefit analysis before launching an advertising campaign. First, you need to determine whether the campaign will be beneficial to your business. If deemed worthwhile, the campaign will move on to the next step. The second reason for the analysis is to determine if the potential benefits of advertising exceed the cost of running the adverts. Keep in mind that advertising in Hong Kong is a significant investment that needs to be viable.
Choosing the Mode of Advertisement
Once you are through with cost-benefit analysis, you need to decide how you will convey your message to the target audience. If you are using print media, you opt for either a booklet or cards. For businesses invested in online advertising in Hong Kong, you will have to choose between photos and text.
Creating the Ad
After completing all of the steps mentioned above, all you need to do is create the advert itself. Once more, the preference of your audience determines the design of your ad. It is worth noting that successful ads are usually the ones that are relevant, valuable and informative to the consumer.
Common Mistakes Made in Advertising in Hong Kong and How to Avoid Them
Advertising mistakes are a norm, from small businesses to established enterprises. While some errors are a consequence of bad luck and indecisiveness, most of them are down to lack of research and poor preparation.
The problem with mistakes is that they make your entire campaign ineffective, meaning that your investment goes to waste. Here are the top five mistakes to make your advertising in Hong Kong successful.
Lack of a Marketing Plan
Lacking a plan is perhaps the most significant mistake you can make as an advertiser. If you do not have an understanding of your business model, people interested in your products will have nothing to respond to. That said, having a plan in mind is not enough – you need to have in written form.
You should take time to learn your business, paying key attention to your goals and the potential roadblocks in your path to success. Setting objectives and benchmarks is essential in formulating a marketing plan and also brings in new investment opportunities.
Overemphasis on Your Brand
Most entrepreneurs put in a lot of effort and resources towards growing their businesses and get proud when they succeed. While nothing is wrong with it, you cannot convey pride in your advertising messages.
Your audience does not care about the amount of effort and money you used to make a product. Instead, you should focus on how the product solves a particular challenge, how it saves money, and so on. The message should always be about the consumer.
The table below shows the most annoying actions by brands on various social media.
|Action||Percentage of annoyed users|
|Posting too many promotions||57.5%|
|Using jargon and slang||38.4%|
|Lack of personality||34.7%|
|Failing to respond to messages||24.7%|
Source: Sprout Social
Another mistake made by companies that do advertising in Hong Kong is failing to prepare for an influx of new customers. When you create an excellent product and promote it with an impressive advert, you should expect an increase in the number of customers you receive. Some businesses fail to prepare for such occurrences, leaving them with an overwhelmed website, delayed processing of orders, insufficient products, and an incompetent support team.
You should not fall victim to a successful advertising campaign. It is advisable to start with a soft launch to prepare you for the rapid increase in the number of clients. Try all possible scenarios before launching the full campaign. This way, you will avoid negative reviews from newly acquired customers.
Failing to Identify Your Target Audience
Using a blanket approach when creating your ads is setting up for failure. You cannot publish a message without research and expect it to appeal to everyone who sees it. Instead, you will end up wasting a substantial amount of money and their resources.
Similar to digital marketing in Hong Kong, you need to target a specific population with your ads. This means that you need to analyse demographics and get feedback from your intended audience before every campaign starts. You should know the age, gender, level of income and other preferences of the people who are likely to buy your products.
Ignoring the Competitive Landscape
It is almost impossible to create a unique business unless you are innovating a new product. In most cases, it is highly likely that you will be up against other companies offering the same products as yours. If you are unaware of the advertising methods employed by your competitors, you risk losing ground and potential customers to them.
You need to know the types of ads that your rivals are using, as well as the messages they are conveying. By doing this, you will notice the avenues that they are not exploring and use them to increase the success of your campaigns. However, copying the strategies employed by your rivals is likely to backfire, as users will not see anything unique in your promotions.
Challenges Facing Online Advertising in Hong Kong
As companies abandon traditional methods in favour of online advertising, new challenges are coming up fast. If your company practices internet marketing in Hong Kong, here are the problems that you need to conquer to reap benefits from your efforts.
The digital landscape keeps on growing, as depicted by the increasing number of websites. Choosing the right platform for advertising your products requires extensive research that can take days or even weeks to complete. Every time you decide to launch a campaign on a new platform, you need to develop a unique strategy for it.
The following graph the gradual increase in the number of websites over the past three decades.
Additionally, the internet is no longer the sole platform used for digital advertising in Hong Kong. People are increasingly using advanced gadgets such as digital assistants, smartwatches, and VR headsets, and so on. These present new opportunities for advertising, making the space even more competitive.
Ad blockers are one of the most significant changes facing online advertising in Hong Kong and worldwide. As the name suggests, the software prevents adverts from appearing on the screen, meaning that your audience never gets to see your message.
The table below shows the top reasons why people download ad blockers.
|Limit interruptions online||47%|
|Increase control over browsing experience||22%|
|Eliminate irrelevant ads||18%|
Source: Visual Objects
The solution to this problem is by using native advertising. Since native ads resemble regular on-site content, they often go unnoticed by adblocking software. Moreover, native ads are unlikely to appear as intrusive as regular ads.
In the past, social media platforms were an excellent resource for reaching consumers without paying anything. This is no longer the case. Platforms such as Facebook have reduced the organic reach of posts, requiring brands to invest in paid ads to get their message to consumers.
As advertising on social networks gets more expensive, businesses will have to employ smarter strategies to ensure that the extra money does not go to waste. This means more targeting to ensure that ads reach people likely to show interest in your brand.
The following table shows the significant decline in the organic reach of Facebook pages in the past few years.
Source: Growth Rocks
The increasing cost of ads is the primary reason behind the constant increase in annual digital ad spend. As a result, small businesses must allocate more money for online advertising in Hong Kong if they want to compete with established companies.
However, spending more money does not always guarantee a better advertising campaign. You must ensure that your ads reach the right audience at the right time.
The graph below shows the average cost-per-click for Facebook ads over the past year.
The hectic nature of the modern world means that people have little time to watch or read advertisements. Brands are in fierce competition to grab the attention of what seems to be an elusive audience.
Audience segmentation is a smart way of capturing the attention of consumers, as it focuses on the unique needs of different people. Even better, most advertising platforms have inbuilt targeting features that allow you to focus on people who are interested in what you are selling.
The Future of Advertising in Hong Kong
Similar to other marketing strategies, the future of advertising in Hong Kong lies in technology that encourages high engagement levels with precision targeting. You should expect increased adoption of videos with storytelling, augmented reality and virtual reality with personalised targeting that keep customers engaged and provide a high ROI.
Besides, there will be an increased dependence on machine learning technology to understand consumer behaviour better. With a deeper understanding of target audiences, advertisers will have the ability to create more effective ads and reduce the wastage of time and resources. So far, social networks have already started using this technology to improve the success rates for businesses that use their ad platforms.
If you are planning on advertising in Hong Kong, you need to invest in research since it is the most critical aspect of an ad campaign. Make sure that you understand the preferences of your target audience as well as the tactics used by your rivals. When you have such information, you have a higher chance of running a successful campaign.
Lastly, it is essential to ensure that you comply with the set regulations. You do not want a situation where you create an excellent campaign, but it gets pulled down because it goes against the law.
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