2015 in Review: Top 5 Digital in Asia Content

2015 was another exciting year for digital and programmatic in Asia, South East Asia especially.

There is a definite sense that individual markets are outgrowing Singapore as a regional hub – evidenced by rapidly increasing spends at individual market level, and a resurgence in agencies, both local and global, doing outstanding digital work in local markets.

In celebration of the year past, here are the top 5 Digital in Asia articles for 2015.

  1. Asian Brands Must Be More Innovative Than Those in the West

In our most popular piece of content, we talked to Joanna Kalenska, Managing Director at Razorfish Hong Kong, about Asian consumers, brands’ challenges and opportunities.

2. APAC Social and Mobile Usage Surge in 2015

The ever comprehensive We Are Social Annual Report highlighted robust growth for social, digital and mobile in the region over 2015.

3. A Quick Guide to Social Media in China

Ogilvy released the latest in their guides to Social Media in China highlighting the (mostly) differences but sometimes surprising similarities to global platforms.

4. Digital Savvy but Shy: How Vietnam’s Generation Z is Making Brands Work Harder

A report from market research company Epinion and OMD looking at Generation Z in Vietnam. Numbering 14 million, and with an average monthly disposable income of 112 USD – significant in this emerging market – these consumers are incredibly valuable for brands.

5. 2015 in Preview: Top 10 APAC Digital Trends 2015

2015 promised to be an exciting year for Digital Marketing and Media in Asia. These were the ten trends that, in DIA’s view, would change online advertising over the last year. How many did we get right?! Don’t worry, we’ll be right back very soon with another 10 trends for 2016.

 

 

 

 

Digital in South East Asia Q4 2015 Report

We Are Social Singapore have just released their latest report, with all the numbers you need to understand the state of the digital landscape in Southeast Asia in Q4 2015.

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With total internet users up 12% since March it’s been a busy few months regionally. Much of this growth is attributable to increasing smartphone access, which is also impacting the shape of the social media landscape. Facebook remains the most popular social platform in all countries around the region, but only just with LINE registering almost as many monthly active users as Facebook in Thailand, and Viber hugely popular in the Philippines.

Digital, Social & Mobile in Southeast Asia in 2015

Covers the whole of South East Asia including Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines.

How to do Compelling Social Video Content

Touching video content from Unilever. 6 million children die before they reach the age of 5 due to infections like Diarrhea and Pneumonia. 44% of these deaths occur in the first 28 days of birth.

This experiment taught Sangrahi how the simple habit of handwashing with soap, during this span, can be life-saving for her baby.

Lifebuoy launched the Help a Child Reach 5 campaign in 2012, to raise awareness of the importance of good handwashing habits, with the aim of reducing child deaths due to preventable infections.

Great content with a heart. How could we not feature it?

State of Global Mobile Advertising 2015

Latest report from Opera Mediaworks covering Mobile advertising in 2015. Interesting to see Australia leads the world when it comes to use of video advertising on mobile.

Opera Mediaworks State of Mobile Advertising Q3 2015

A few other highlights:

  • Games is no. 1 for revenue. Games publishers accounted for 23.7% of revenue on the mobile ad platform, making it the top revenue-generator, beating out traditional leaders Social Networking and Music, Video & Media. Games also has a high revenue-to-impression ratio (nearly 3X), which indicates its monetization potential.
  • News & Information creeps up the rankings. News & Information took the no. 2 slot for revenue generation (18.3%) and for impression volume (17%), which is a boost from the 10% it captured in Q2.
  • Social share slips, but still on top for traffic. Social Networking apps and sites continue to be served the most impressions (18.7%), albeit a dip from the high volume it had in previous quarters (around 31%).

Selling Beer in Vietnam, a Digital Challenge

Over the last five years Vietnam has seen its beer sales climb at more the double the rate of its GDP, making it South-East Asia’s largest consumer of beer.

In fact, in 2012 a staggering 3 billion litres of beer were consumed in Vietnam meaning there should be huge opportunities for local and international bands to market and sell here.

However, it’s not as straightforward as it should be.

Firstly the infrastructure of Vietnam’s cities, towns and villages which can be described as politely referred to as ‘disorganised’ makes it very difficult for brands to establish where or why there beer is selling well.

This is made even more complicated as many vendors will buy stock from one shop then move around so even consumers will not know where they bought the product from.

This can prove a huge hindrance for brands who want to monitor sales, establish demand for a new product or establish consumer sentiment.

Another challenge is the competition from liquor and wine brands who are looking to get a slice of Vietnam’s youthful and rapidly increasing middle class.

A recent report showed Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam has one of the fastest growing multi-millionaire populations in the world, and the thirst to match it.

Beverage companies with high-end products such as Diageo (whose brands include Schmirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and part own Moet-Hennessy) have been working hard over the last few years to establish a foothold in Vietnam.

While it looks unlikely spirits will ever usurp beer, their appeal is growing (though they are not really present at the street-side eating venues many Vietnamese like to eat and drink at). 

Another problem beer brands in Vietnam face is their struggles to connect with an increasingly digitalised audience.

A spokesperson from market research and insights company, Epinion said: “In order for brands to run effective social media campaigns they need to have a good understanding of who their audience actually is. Without this information you run the risk of analysing the effectiveness of digital campaigns based on falsified and biased data which is a huge waste of time and money.

“In a project we worked with Vietnam’s leading brewery Sabeco we helped them establish who of their more than 100,000 Facebook fans were ‘true’ and who just liked the page for the sake of it, then established the effectiveness of their digital campaigns. 

“As a result of our study, Sabeco gained valuable insight on how they could gain greater engagement with their ‘true fans’ and leverage further impact from future digital campaigns, reducing time and money spent on ineffective digital marketing campaigns.

“Sabeco, along with other beer brands, has to embrace digital media as this is where their consumer is, but they must also know how to connect with them online.”

For more information on beer brands in Vietnam click here. 

Seamless Omni-Channel Starts with a Holistic View

Marketing Matters is a monthly column covering how marketers today can use Digital to drive innovation and results

When you strip away the complexity of the outer shell, omni-channel marketing is essentially thinking holistically about the customer: their experiences, your interactions with them and the messaging you want to transmit to them. In our new mobile-centric world, there are an unlimited number of ways to do this.

As marketers, we are always searching for windows into the world of the customer – ways to connect with them and collect useful, contextually-relevant data. Today’s mobile technology is like a giant pane of glass, which lifts the curtain on the customer, enabling us to see their inner workings like never before and connect with them on entirely new levels.

This is a recent phenomenon though; in the past, mobile marketing was rudimentary and derivative – in general, websites were designed for desktops only and mobile sites were scaled-down or simplified versions of these. Designed to be simple extensions of the full ‘big screen’ sites, mobile websites were often more of an afterthought than something marketers devoted a lot of time to.

Giving mobile campaigns top priority 

Today the situation is very different. Beginning in around 2013, forward-thinking marketers began taking a ‘mobile first’ attitude. With the incredible power and in-built functionality of today’s smartphones, businesses can interact with their customers in a myriad of different ways – through different touch points and new interfaces created between online and offline content thanks to augmented reality apps and the powerful cameras and processors of the next generation smartphones.

An illustration of just how far things have come is IKEA’s market-leading catalogue app, which harnesses the power of smartphones and uses augmented reality features to allow potential buyers to preview what IKEA furniture looks like in their actual homes. The experience begins when the app asks users to gather rich media content like videos and 360 degree views of a room on their phone cameras. Users then ‘drop’ selected furniture items on top of the images, previewing what they would look like in the room. Another nifty O2O feature of the app – the ‘virtual shopping list’ – is designed to be used both before and during shopping trips to physical stores. Searching for a product in the app or adding it to a shopping list will show its location within the store. A barcode scanning feature then allows customers to scan a price tag in-store and pull up additional information about the product or add it to a wish list.

But the true strength of IKEA’s omni-channel strategy extends above and beyond their mobile strategy and this excellent app. Indeed, it is their holistic view and understanding of their customer base which allows the app to succeed. They have a strong social media strategy, offering followers across numerous channels useful and appropriate household tips and tricks. Their Instagram account showcases before and after shots of home improvement projects, and their iconic physical stores underpin everything with their vibrant, magnetic presence.

Bringing it all together

IKEA gets it. Most of us have now realised that mobile marketing – indeed all online marketing – requires constant care and attention. Unlike a brand’s bricks and mortar shops, which have an enduring material presence, online campaigns don’t really ‘exist’ in the physical world, so you need to consistently work at them, refine them and retool them to make sure they’re doing what you want them to do.

Maybe this is one reason why Zalora, the Asia-based online fashion platform, chose to open a pop-up store in Hong Kong earlier this year. This store provided a seamless omni-channel customer experience in an unusual way: by acting as an offline ‘fitting room’ for the brand. The space looked just like a regular clothing store – customers could see, feel and try on the clothes – but when it came to making a purchase, they needed to go online, either by scanning a QR code and downloading the Zalora app or by placing an order online via an in-store computer. This temporary ‘clicks and mortar’ store helped boost brand awareness, generate new customers, increase sales and underline the reliability of the brand.

By understanding the customer journey and integrating social media channels, physical stores and online capabilities, your brand can also create synergy and provides a seamless, consistent and relevant brand experience – the essence of omni-channel.


Article by:

Daniel Wu, General Manager, Epicentro

PICO LogoEpicentro specialises in digital content development and is a member of the Pico Group

Awarded ‘Events Standard of Excellence’ and ‘Marketing Standard of Excellence’ in 2015 WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development by the Web Marketing Association

Daniel has been with Pico for over 15 years and is a seasoned event marketing industry professional. Foreseeing the ample opportunities presented by the world’s rapidly-changing technological landscape, Daniel began planning for a new business unit specialising in digital content solutions in 2010. Commencing full operations in 2014, Epicentro has spearheaded the development of unconventional technologies, helping our clients reach and stay on top of the market. Under Daniel’s leadership, Epicentro has established a strong client list spanning the commercial and government sectors: AIA, Airport Authority Hong Kong, Amway, Dragages, the government’s Environmental Protection Department and Home Affairs Department, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Jardine, Suntory and Watsons.

Chinese consumers want innovation, but suspicious of big business

Chinese consumers say concerns about personal privacy, the environment and their security will stop them from purchasing new products, according to a new study from Edelman.

Raised in a high growth, fast changing society, a vast majority (94%) of Chinese consumers now view innovation itself as an essential component of society’s progress. And more than 4 in 5 (85%) believe it’s the responsibility of business to drive this innovation.

However, there is discomfort at the role of business in innovation. The majority of respondents believe innovation comes at a personal and societal cost with privacy (58%) and environmental impact (52%) the major concerns.

“It seems innovation in and of itself is not enough to be liked, trusted or bought,” said Carol Potter, executive vice chairman, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa. “We find consumers simultaneously positive about the benefits of innovation at the same time as anxious, uncomfortable and skeptical about the companies that bring it.”

The full report is worth reading to find out more about Chinese consumers conflicted attitudes to business.

Innovation and the Earned Brand in China [Edelman]

Profiling the Anonymous Customer: Fully Understanding the Consumer Journey

Stephen McNulty, Managing Director Asia-Pacific and Japan at Progress, discusses the importance of gaining a comprehensive view of each customer’s journey and following a targeted approach based on the insights.

There are many challenges facing today’s marketers: pressure for growth, ever-growing marketplace competition and ‘always-on’ expectations from both customers and employers. According to a Forrester estimate, 57 percent of businesses across Asia Pacific are experiencing rising customer demands in this digital age. The mounting pressure to prove and improve marketing return on investment (ROI) adds yet another significant burden.  Meanwhile, rules of business continue to shift underfoot and change the playing field in which marketers operate. Thanks to modern technology giving us instant access to many sources of information, the way consumers are engaging with brands has changed. Customer decision-making changes according to the engagement channel and customers are better informed than ever before. Often they make buying decisions long before the first contact with a sales representative or stepping into a store. As such, there is a need for marketing and sales teams to adjust to these new customer behaviours.

Successful marketing in this new environment begins with objectives based on accurate insight into the customer journey. According to Forrester, in Asia Pacific, “businesses increasingly recognize that success will hinge on their ability to close the gap between available data and actionable insight”1. These insights will enable marketers to build customer personas, improve engagement tactics, leverage metrics, create targeted messaging, adjust the marketing mix and craft plans to drive future growth. However, exploding volumes of data and siloed systems can often stand in the way. Multiple marketing channels are proving a double-edged sword: on the one hand they give marketers greater reach, yet on the other they make it much harder to track and measure potential customers.

Working with only a fragmented customer view weakens digital marketing efforts. To gain a single customer view – as quickly as possible – marketers need tools that compile data from all marketing, sales and customer information channels and systems, including data from real-time known and unknown customer interactions. Organisations need a way to integrate data siloes to gain a comprehensive view of each individual’s customer journey, and discern trends that can be affected by marketing programs and campaigns.

Managing data assets

Developing a marketing plan which truly complements the new digital consumer-driven buying journey, combined with more traditional offline activities isn’t a simple task.

On-and-offline engagement data sets – click through rates (CTRs), data from CRMs, and social analytics – are too-often siloed and stored in different systems and formats. Data derived from emerging technologies such as smart sensors, connected devices and social channels only adds to the pile-up.

Manually completing the time-intensive task of unifying siloed data, often across multiple spread sheets, risks static data becoming obsolete.

Marketing automation tools offer a far more efficient solution for pinpointing and engaging with the customer, leveraging available demographic data. Some even provide suggested execution tactics and a 360 degree view into the customer journey. Authenticated contacts – those that have provided their details when downloading whitepapers or attending events – are essential for marketing automation tools to run effectively. However, in most organisations authenticated contacts represent just 2-3% of all recorded interactions. Leaving masses of data ‘loose’ in the cloud means potential customers remain anonymous, and this limits the ability of marketing programs to drive those contacts towards meaningful conversions.

Real-time information

To compile and analyse data from customer touch points across multiple channels – CRM, direct marketing or social media engagement, from initial contact to long term customer, marketers should make the most of the latest technologies. For example, some tools provide a central repository of individual customer interactions, and integratewith third-party sources todraw data from key systems. They can collate anonymous user profile information, assigning each a persona based upon tracked behaviour.

These same leading technologies also leverage machine learning to relate how groups of customers and prospects interact through different channels. They provide conversion recommendation ranking, tracking and personalization of mobile apps for efficient real-time marketing as well as more tracking control for site administrators, amongst other benefits.

A targeted approach

An effective marketer will always keep on top of the latest technology. If this seems a low priority to others, they must take note that in today’s digital world the relationship between salesperson and customer is increasingly detached, and the constant flow of new data means the customer journey is ever-evolving. The right technology plays a vital role in arming marketers with essential insight, as well as offering cost and time-savings in the longer-term. Marketers can only map and react to the shifting customer journey appropriately, and prove the direct relationship between marketing investment and results, if they broaden their reach whilst improving the effective targeting of both anonymous and known individuals.

Retail S-Commerce: Moving to Mobile and Beyond

Marketing Matters is a monthly column covering how marketers today can use Digital to drive innovation and results

Social commerce, or S-commerce, is one of the newer kids on the E-commerce block. Of course, it is also a very broad subject.  Some would also include Taobao and travel websites like Tripadvisor and Airbnb in the S-commerce sphere. For today’s discussion, we will only focus on S-commerce activities triggered by social media. Blending e-commerce tech with social media and other contributor-driven platforms, this part of the industry has been growing steadily and quickly, with the world’s top 500 retailers netting over three billion USD from S-commerce in 2014, up 26% from 2013.

With the continued global rise of social media, S-commerce – in terms of both direct sales and referrals to merchants’ and retailers’ websites – is here to stay. Take e-commerce social media referrals – these alone increased almost 200% between Q1 in 2014 and Q1 in 2015. This is generally great news for retailers, but the industry still has much growing and maturing to do, particularly when it comes to diversifying platforms and embracing mobile.

Right now, S-commerce has a lot of eggs in one basket: Facebook is by far the most dominant platform, with 50% of total referrals and over 60% of total revenue. Twitter and Instagram do not have anywhere near the clout of Facebook, though they are emerging as niche players – Twitter is proving popular with sports and event marketers, especially with location-based promotions; while Instagram is proving attractive to high-end companies seeking to strengthen their brand. Newer players like Snapchat are entering the S-commerce market, but their ability to sustain sales remains to be proven.

In view of this trend, many social media platforms are investing in enhancing their features to capture the attention of end consumers and create business opportunities for retailers.

In case you missed it, Google announced it will be adding a ‘buy’ button to product search results made on mobile devices. This button will let consumers make instant purchases from the brand, but on Google’s mobile search results pages. With these buttons coming soon to YouTube and Facebook, these instant purchases will ‘reduce friction’ by delivering a more seamless and faster experience, helping consumers overcome their mobile reluctance.

Pinterest, the social photo sharing service that has become a worldwide phenomenon, is now a major force in S-commerce despite its small user base. Currently responsible for 16% of global S-commerce revenue, the site is proactively innovating and driving the industry forward. Its new ‘buyable pins’ feature, which is still running its pilot test in the U.S., is allowing users to buy products pinned on e-commerce sites without leaving Pinterest. Now, any time a user pins products from a brand’s website, these products can be purchased by anyone else directly through Pinterest. This is of great benefit to all sides, as this ‘social proof’ style marketing involves very little advertising budget and fosters high consumer trust.

If we look at the market in Taiwan, we find that a lot of platforms doing retail business have acted fast to ‘dress themselves up’ like Pinterest. Sooner rather than later, they will also be following suit in adding features equivalent to ‘buyable pins’.

All this is good news for businesses that are looking to expand their mobile wallet share. Google credits ‘shopping micro-moments’ – time spent searching for or reading about products on their mobiles – with driving almost one trillion USD in sales in the US in 2014, and this figure is set to explode globally.

In the future, S-commerce will play an ever-larger role in these moments. It’s already happening: ‘conversational searches’ are growing, whereby consumers talk to Google and ask for help with new products. Google literally answers them back with smart shopping ads that have product rankings and reviews included; deep links on retailers’ apps right in their shopping ads, driving traffic direct to retailers’ mobile apps instead of their websites; and private sales and ‘daily deal’ sites like Moda Operandi and Groupon allow customers to preorder directly from designers and create buzz around daily sales events.

At the end of the day, S-commerce is about people socialising and helping each other buy things in the most convenient way possible. It allows people to leverage the advantages of digital platforms and transform them into a personalised shopping experience. Retailers that keep these customer motivations in mind will be well-placed to link multiple channels and technologies together to create an omni-channel O2O experience that will satisfy and delight their customers.


Article by:

Daniel Wu, General Manager, Epicentro

PICO LogoEpicentro specialises in digital content development and is a member of the Pico Group

Awarded ‘Events Standard of Excellence’ and ‘Marketing Standard of Excellence’ in 2015 WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development by the Web Marketing Association

Daniel has been with Pico for over 15 years and is a seasoned event marketing industry professional. Foreseeing the ample opportunities presented by the world’s rapidly-changing technological landscape, Daniel began planning for a new business unit specialising in digital content solutions in 2010. Commencing full operations in 2014, Epicentro has spearheaded the development of unconventional technologies, helping our clients reach and stay on top of the market. Under Daniel’s leadership, Epicentro has established a strong client list spanning the commercial and government sectors: AIA, Airport Authority Hong Kong, Amway, Dragages, the government’s Environmental Protection Department and Home Affairs Department, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Jardine, Suntory and Watsons.

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