BEIJING: Brands that deal effectively with Chinese consumers' constant switching between devices can build bridges and enhance user experiences in new ways, a report from a leading agency has argued.

The 2014 China Digital Playbook from Group M Interaction, now available on Warc, predicted that most of China would be carrying a smartphone by the end of 2014 and looking at it over 100 times a day.

But despite these numbers, brands were still failing to allocate their money accordingly – only around 5% of digital budgets went to mobile as they persisted with PC-based ad-buying styles. Further, they should be considering tablets and preparing themselves for the potential uptake of wearables, the report said.

A plethora of devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, TVs and outdoor – with consumers constantly shifting between them, meant campaign tracking and analysis was difficult, but progress was being made as leading platforms such as Tencent better organised their data and encouraged standard log-ins.

In addition, logged-in users of video sites such as Youku could switch from PC to mobile (and back) mid-stream without losing their place in the viewing experience. Consequently, advertisers were better able to measure reach and control frequency across devices.

But rather than expect all the various issues surrounding cross-screen campaigns and tracking to be suddenly resolved, Group M advised "a simple housecleaning item: check out and clean up the digital content you have in place."

Primarily that entailed understanding at first-hand what the consumer journey was like on brand sites across the various devices.

It was all too easy, the report suggested, to spend heavily to attract customers only to then lose them through "carelessly overlooking the cracks that emerge in our many-device world".

The good news, however, was that brands could "position themselves in the interstices, bridging physical-digital, TV-digital, and digital-digital device connections".

Ultimately, said GroupM, brand marketers needed to be as digital-centric and as passionate about the internet as their Chinese consumers.

Data sourced from GroupM Interaction; additional content by Warc staff