In-app advertising (or simply called “appvertising”) has been gaining traction in China. Recently I detected a PR-ish news of how Adow, a mobile advertising agency in China helped Friso (premium baby nutrition brand from Royal FrieslandCampina), successfully accomplish one In-app advertisng campaign. I was propelled to contact Adow to scoop out more details, and as usual here comes my little story.

Is appvertising that magically effective?

Begin with Adow’s background:

Adow is a local Chinese company setup in August 2010, specialized in mobile advertising. This startup claimed it already secured USD 20 million series B fundraising from various Venture Capitals, and has served clients like KFC, Samsung, Clarins.

Friso’s in-app advertising campaign:

According to this PR-ish news, Adwo imbedded Friso’s advertsing music and video into 170 most popular Chinese Apps related to baby care. So every time a mum activated such app, then the branded melody of Friso would start to play; mum would also be allured to click on the Frisco adverting link. It is said this campaign was very effective, resulted in satisfactory click rate and conversion rate…bla bla…

I called Adow and talked to its account director Mr. Huang. He was wonderfully helpful and sent me some PPT slides to present this successful case. Then I began to read carefully each slide, and everything went so well until I got stuck in one data graph in the last page. Now please follow me and picture such data graph in your mind:

On the Y axis:

Two curves, one for display times, and the other is for click rates

On the X axis:

8 categories of Apps corresponding to above two curves, and they are in order like this: women entertainment, baby & maternity, others, women’s life style, women’s fashion, financial news, baby education, maternity care (well, someone meticulous enough might now detect something illogical here, if so, hold on that thought and keep reading my story)

Here comes my conversation with Mr.Huang to discuss about this graph:

Me: “Mr. Huang, I am confused about your definitions of three kinds of Apps & maternity,  baby education, and maternity care. Don’t you think baby & maternity is a much broader concept which covers both baby education and maternity care?”

Huang: “Let me clarify your confusions here. Here “baby & maternity” means baby related entertainment, i.e. bed stories, lullaby, nursery rhymes etc; “baby education” is regarding how to feed or raise your child, and “maternity care” is simply about how to maintain healthy during the pregnancy”

Me:”Great, mystery solved, but why did you put such puzzled categorizations in the first place? Anyhow, let us move on, in the slide you said ads put into“baby & maternity”, which now you defined as “baby related entertainment” Apps tend to have much higher click rate, but I found such result is also commensurate with higher display times. Don’t you think there is a positive correlation between display times and click rate? How do you explain this?”

Huang: “Um…our marketing & sales got these optimized data from the research department…so I am not sure now”

Me:”Well, what is your sample size in your 8 categories of Apps? Besides, can you tell me the exact time period during which you collected these data?”

Huang: “Um…not sure again, and I will ask my research department”

Above recorded the whole process how I bombed this man with all my questions.


In the commercial world, every shrewd business man knows credulity is a nature you have to obliterate. Therefore, even facing perfect arguments and fabulous statistics, you still need to deflate all the boastful statements and give a second thought on everything you will put money into. Interestingly in my situation here, the data graph even triggered so much bewilderment in the very beginning.  

I cannot help myself but wonder how effective this appvertising campaign really was. Perhaps very effective, though I am really not that certain, after all I hate to make my hasty judgment. What do you think?




By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager