The Oban Blog

Digital World – Global Digital Marketing News: Thursday 19 November 2015

In this week’s Digital World, purchasing trends from Singles’ Day are revealed while Chinese retailers look forward to their next big event, the Spring Festival Golden Week. Also this week: an update has brought JavaScript and CSS parsing to Yandex’s search crawlers; Naver has made changes to its website submission process; and Google has lowered app prices in 17 Google Play markets.

Alibaba announces focus on rural consumers and products for Spring Festival

With Singles’ Day out of the way, marketers with an eye on China will be looking forward to the nation’s next big event – namely Chinese New Year, (also known as Spring Festival) and its lengthy Golden Week. Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang has pushed discussion of the event to the head of the agenda (as reported by, revealing plans for Taobao’s Nianhuojie (the spring festival product holiday that has run for several years) to “better serve the countryside”.

Zhang refers to both better serving deals to China’s 45% rural population (600 million people) as well as bringing traditional Spring Festival products (nianhuo) to urban consumers. Food and drink deals are expected to be a focus, though previous deals have included clothing, gadgets and plane tickets.


Top stores on Tmall for Double 11 2015 announced

The facts and figures about Singles’ Day keep trickling in, including a run-down published by China Internet Watch featuring lists of the top performing stores on Alibaba’s for various product categories, as well as the top 10 stores in general (as in the following):

  1. Huawei [CN, Electronics]
  2. UNIQLO [JP, Clothing]
  3. Xiaomi [CN, Electronics]
  4. Meizu [CN, Electronics]
  5. Sitrust [CN, Home Furnishings]
  6. Suning [CN, Appliances]
  7. Jzez [CN, Home Furnishings]
  8. Nike [US, Sports]
  9. Haier [CN, Appliances]
  10. JackJones [DK, Men’s Clothing]

The mix of countries and product types in the top 10 list are interesting: while cut-price, homegrown smartphone deals have pushed foreign manufacturers out of contention, Chinese consumers are highly interested in foreign fashion. Unisex Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO, US sportswear brand Nike, and Danish menswear brand Jack & Jones made the top 10. Foreign brands were also present in the small appliances, automobile and beauty supplies categories.


Yandex bot now fluent in JavaScript and CSS

As part of Yandex’s ongoing commitment to improving its search engine results, it has recently announced that its crawler can now read JavaScript and CSS (as translated by Anna Oshkalo). Visibility on these aspects of page design will help ensure that Yandex is better able to interpret website interfaces, which could lead to ranking falls for sites that offer poor user experience despite good content.

Yandex has recommended that webmasters review any exclusions for JavaScript and CSS files in Robots.txt in order to benefit from the changes.


Naver discontinues website submissions outside of Naver Webmaster Tool

Unusual among modern search engines for its use of a website submission process in order to guarantee indexation, Naver has announced procedural changes. Whereas webmasters have previously used Naver’s submission portal (, the service will now be operated via the Naver Webmaster Tool (, effective from December 2015 (Source: Korea Online Marketing.

The announcement also stresses that Naver uses meta and open-graph tags to populate titles and snippets within its results – much like most other search engines, options for defining these are not provided in the site-submission interface.

Google lowers minimum app prices in Play Store in 17 countries

In order to make apps more affordable through legitimate channels, Google has announced that the minimum price of apps will be reduced in 17 countries on the Android-based Google Play Store.

The price review was trialed in India earlier this year, and we be cheapest there (just 10 Rupees, about 15 cents US). Prices will come down in several regions, including Africa (South Africa), Europe (Hungary, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine), the Middle East (Saudi Arabia), Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) and South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam).

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Image credits

Karaoke and Fun photo by Flickr user Bridget Coila

Huawei photo by Flickr user Karlis Dambrans

Cyrillic Qwertyuiop photo by Jody McIntrye

Naver Blocks photo by Flickr user Joongi Kim