Marketing Strategy Example: Alipay’s Trending Year-End Summary

Alipay, a third-party payment system, was established by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, in China back in 2004. By operating with over 65 financial institutions, including Visa and MasterCard, to provide payment services for more than 460,000 businesses in China, it offers services, such as bank transfers and deposits, options to purchase from restaurants, insurances, pre-sale event tickets, and ways to pay for medical and utility bills, traffic citations, airfares, and even tuition, to its users.

By obtaining more than a half share of China’s payment market, Alipay has overtaken PayPal as the world’s largest payment platform since 2013 with over four hundred million registered users as of 2015. On the third of January this year, Alipay just released the 2017 year end summary to its users, which the report breaks down an individual’s spending throughout the year into different categories, such as online and offline shopping, utility expenses, gains from investments, amount paid for credit cards’ debt, and amount transferred to others…etc. Such release has since taken the social media in China by storm and flooded people’s news feed on social networks with countless posts and shares of their friends’ year-end summaries.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Alipay has been releasing year-end reports since 2012. While such a feature isn’t a groundbreaking idea, it is still able to create hypes on social media and has rapidly become a trendy topic among people’s conversations. Such successful marketing strategy campaign has inspired other brands’ owners and marketers into thinking how to attract more audience to participate in their marketing events in order to not only entice new and prospective consumers but also maintain a high engagement rate from existing clients thus effectively increasing its brand’s publicity.

As a pioneer marketing company in Asia focusing on micro influencers(or micro key opinion leader) marketing strategies supported by a strong team specializing in social media marketing, Viral Access would like to share some insights regarding to how to create a marketing strategy campaign that would mimic the effects of Alipay’s year-end summary, resulting the campaign to become an instant hit on social media.

Alipay's Marketing Strategy Campaign With An Aim At Catching One’s Attention

The very first step before initiating any marketing strategy campaigns is to spread the word out. Also, determining the form of an event and the event content are crucial no matter it’s targeting for online or offline audiences. Whether the proposed content is captivating and would appeal to the audience or not is critical in keeping up participants’ engagements in a campaign.

Marketers can arouse the curiosity of their target customers through the use of content curation from copy-writing, images, and draw from specific events or objects. Take Alipay’s trending year-end summary marketing strategy as an example, it collects fragments and transactions from its users’ money spending history and reorganizes such data into the form of HTML5, a Hypertext Markup Language of which three codes are used for structuring and presenting content on a web-page, and then delivers the generated reports to its users through their Alipay accounts.

Since HTML5 is free and is cross-platform, which allows every user easy access to one’s summary via tablets, smartphones, PCs, notebooks, and even smart TVs as long as the browsers used to support the format. Moreover, users of Alipay could further post and share links of their summaries to their friends through instant messengers and across social channels without any compatibility issues.

As a side note, one thing worth mentioning is that Viral Access’ social media marketing team focuses on running its clients’ campaigns through network publishing, which the promotions are based on internet communications to maximize the awareness of clients’ brands and products.

How To Make Others Engage In You Marketing Strategy Campaign

People always keep certain degrees of fantasies and concerns towards new or unknown things. When deciding to participate in a new or unfamiliar campaign, whether other people are engaging in the event remains vital to the decision. Such a mental state is called herd mentality or mob psychology, which describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain acts or behaviors.

One may have wondered who are considered as peers, and to put it in the simplest term, the answers are categorized into three groups — friends, celebrities or online personalities, and to whom one looks up or wants to be. Such psychological characteristic has inspired the formation of influencer marketing, a form of marketing strategy which advertisers collaborate with individuals a.k.a. influencers who have influences over their followers to run marketing campaigns.

Instead of working with big-name celebrities, our company only focuses on micro influencers, who have smaller fan bases compared to the former, in hopes to persuade followers of these micro influencers with their established trustworthiness and authenticity in order to increase audiences’ engagement rate and publicize the awareness of clients’ brands and products.

Photo by Brandon Erlinger-Ford on Unsplash

Another factor that plays a huge role in deciding whether to engage in a campaign lies in the bandwagon effect, which is a psychological phenomenon whereby people only do something mainly because others are doing it. Over time, such phenomenon has been adopted by marketers as one of the psychological tactics to influence consumer behavior with an implication drawn on consumers’ assumption that since so many other people are doing it, it must be good.

In this case, when the amount of people participating in a marketing campaign has reached a certain scale, most likely a great portion of these participants are driven by such effect, believing that “The campaign must be great because others are going, hence I must also go.” Since the mentality of keeping up with the Joneses is common and unavoidable among the crowd, marketers should definitely exercise their marketing strategies around such notion to further stimulate the engagement rate and increase brands or products’ recognition.

For instance, users of Alipay could immediately tell from the screenshots of their as well as their friends’ year-end summaries that under which categories did one spend more than others and the total amount one has spent over the year, resulting in the bandwagon effect kicks in thus motivates users, who haven’t shared their own year-end summaries, to post theirs on social media platforms in order to “compare and compete” with others.

How To Make People Share After Participating In A Marketing Campaign

With the rise of easy access to mobile web, people nowadays tend to share their daily lives on social networks more than ever. Not only do people keep records of their lives through sharing on social media platforms, but they also take it as a way to release their emotions and to portray certain self-images that are deemed perfect or positive to their friends’ eyes.

What are the reasons motivating people to share?

A study reveals that sharing is driven by five motivations, including bringing valuable and entertaining content to others, defining oneself to others, growing and nourishing relationships, creating a sense of self-fulfillment, and getting the word out about causes or brands. Among these motivators, all of which tie back to the psychological aspect of sharing — to offer personal benefits.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

For instance, the act of informing friends and family regarding a marketing campaign or a product is to share something of which is perceived as valuable, hence may benefit others. Such good deeds not only allow one to be more involved with others’ lives but also help to define the informant as being generous and helpful, which further nourish relationships with others (potential beneficiaries).

Lastly, the fundamental reason for one to share certain content, aside from it being beneficial, is simply because one likes it, and sharing has become a way to express such affection or support of certain causes. With the hypes of Alipay’s year-end summary, its users voluntarily share their own reports with others on social networks primarily due to their fondness of this feature.

While some users share with the intentions of competing and boasting their spending powers, some do so to introduce a new product and/or feature offered by Alipay that would appear to be beneficial to others and further raise the awareness of the brand.

The majority of people nowadays cannot live without consuming anything on a daily basis, no matter it’s for foods, goods, or services, which is the reason Alipay’s digital release of its users’ year-end summaries are able to immediately draw attention from the mass and rapidly become a viral topic among people’s conversations on social networks.

Read also: The Rise of Mobile Commerce.

Since audiences find the campaign content highly relatable, they’re more likely to be engaged hence would help in increasing Alipay’s publicity by sharing such content constantly across different social media platforms. Alipay will be able to unlock a door full of potential customers and business opportunities once the trust is established between the service and its users.


Viral Access is an AI and data-driven social communication company — we help you tell your story through social media. We pair your brand with relevant micro and nano influencers that help you increase awareness, engagement and conversion. We have the systems and team in place to support large scale communications throughout Asia.

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We’re an AI and data-driven digital marketing company who helps you tell your story through social media.