Get to know… the China team

Meet… Jerry Li, Trader, China

Our bi-lingual China team at MiQ has a passion for programmatic but who are the people working hard for our clients? We’ve placed the spotlight on our great team members, Jerry Li, Simin Zheng, Jia-Long Ye and Sihan Ding.

Let’s meet… Jerry. 

…… 

I am a Chinese Trader, based in MiQ’s London office. In my role, I help our UK based agencies and clients expand their business in China. I manage and optimise campaigns in China using our purpose-built Chinese programmatic tech stack and enjoy making one of the largest markets in the world accessible from anywhere in the world. 

My background

My story starts in Prague, Czechia where I was born and raised in a family of Chinese origin. I attended an international school, having the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, yet despite living in Prague throughout my youth I never actually learned Czech. Instead I spoke my mother tongue – Chinese – with English as my second language.

My family, early academic experience and background gives me a unique perspective that I bring to my role every day – well, it certainly helps me reach prospective international students in China for the higher education institutions I work with today. In all seriousness, I do think my background provides a strong foundation for the work I do and my role at MiQ, although getting here wasn’t straightforward…

Life at MiQ began after the completion of my Master’s program at Lancaster University. I studied International Relations and Politics, but soon after took an interest in digital advertising and media. 

I was invited to an MiQ assessment day and, literally the next day, flew to London. At first, I was applying for a role in our UK team but then I caught wind there was a China team based in the UK. I thought that was odd (‘a China team, located in the UK, why?’) but I was inquisitive to find out more. I chatted with the China team based in the UK following my assessment and was instantly hooked. It felt too good to be true, I had an opportunity to use my language and background, combined with my interest in the industry. After a few more interviews I was offered a position in the China team.

That was it, I was set, or so I thought. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my friends and family in Prague, and travelled to London… But unfortunately then the pandemic hit. It brought immediate uncertainty. I was back home in a heartbeat. I’d always wanted to move and work in London, and now everything was at risk and it seemed on hold. A few months passed, but I soon joined MiQ, onboarding and training remotely from home. Eventually getting the opportunity to move to the UK at the end of 2020.

My role at MiQ

Today, I am responsible for ad operations and managing/optimising campaigns in China, for our global agencies and clients based in the UK. At first I was mostly focused on ad operations responsibilities: trafficking Chinese creatives into our DSPs, re-sizing creatives, copywriting native text, translations, and making it as easy as possible for our global clients to transcend their international copy and creative, ready for China. 

Creative is hugely important in China, perhaps an underestimated component of executing programmatic successfully in China. There are, for instance, more daily native programmatic bid requests than any other ad format in China, different to the dominance of display banners in most international programmatic markets. China is also a mobile 1st market, over 75% of internet time being spent on mobile, so creative needs to be designed with this in mind. 

Then there’s the fragmentation and lack of standardisation in creative specifications in China. Not getting it right is the difference between being compliant and buying across Weibo, iQiyi, Baidu, Youku etc. or not. I help our clients to navigate these complexities. It’s satisfying because I know I can make a tangible difference to our clients campaigns – ensuring they have addressability to Chinese consumers across the best inventory in the market.

Moving forward

As I write this, I am in the process of transitioning to a trader position within the China team. I currently train new members in our ad operations team, while increasingly spending more time managing and optimising campaigns for our clients executing programmatic in China. Most of my time is spent building data-driven audiences in our Chinese DMPs, setting up targeting line items in our Chinese DSPs and liaising with our clients to deliver successful campaigns. 

The most exciting part of my role is optimising campaigns to over-deliver on client KPIs, and bringing China to life through our programmatic strategies and insight. I routinely shift and manage investment allocation between optimisation nodes – provinces, audiences, creative sizes, channels etc. using a blend of manual and algorithmic decisioning. I have a lot of buttons at my fingertips and tools at my disposal to ensure I manage our clients Chinese campaign investment in the right way.

Moreover, our ability to derive insight from our campaigns to make a meaningful difference in growing our clients business in China is really inspiring. I build and maintain relationships with clients, sharing weekly reports and analysis to drive results, but also to help our clients learn from a unique and fascinating China ecosystem. 

Like many newer MiQ’ers, I have grown accustomed to the work/lifestyle dynamic the pandemic has brought about – I have known no different in my professional career. I enjoy the optionality and comfort of working from home, but in equal measure having the opportunity to meet my colleagues and clients in person more recently has been immensely rewarding. 

China is an unprecedented opportunity for our clients, and transcending that opportunity to addressability through our approach in China is one I take huge pride and pleasure in.  I hope my next 18-months are just as exciting as my first, but this time with a little less video conferencing…

星星之火, 可以燎原 – Small sparks can start the largest fires!

Find how Jerry can help your brand reach Chinese audiences here.