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How Google and Facebook are Eating the APAC Ad Industry

By Tom Simpson

A quick check of their books reveals that in the first quarter of 2017, 92 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising across Asia Pacific (ex. China) went to Facebook and Google.

APAC Ad Revenue - Digital in Asia.com

That’s an incredible statistic. The good news is that digital marketing in the region is clearly experiencing strong growth, with revenues up by $1.23 billion year-on-year in 2017. The bad news? Of that $1.23 billion in growth, virtually all of it – $1.13 billion in total – goes to Google and Facebook, with only $100 million to share across the remainder of APAC publishers.

apac ad revenue growth yoy

Facebook and Google combined revenue this quarter hit 51% of all APAC revenue, meaning more budget goes to to Google and Facebook than every other digital publisher in the region put together.

Share of APAC Ad Revenue

Google and Facebook also forge ahead in terms of revenue against all media in the region, taking 15 cents in every 1 dollar spent. This is up from 12% – or 12 cents in the dollar – last year, and represents the increase in budget flowing from traditional media, including TV.

share of apac all media ad revenue q1 2017

None of the above is new news, with commentators globally highlighting the hold this duopoly already exerts over the advertising industry.

But in a week where Fairfax journalists in Australia strike in protest at cutbacks, and against a wider backdrop of losses and job cuts at traditional media outlets across Asia Pacific, it is especially concerning.

Where next? Publishing in general, and the ad tech industry specifically, is a challenging area, with multiple undifferentiated players, sometimes murky value chains, and VC money looking for safer havens. Many analysts predict massive consolidation in the years ahead. In fact with telcos and consultancies worldwide already positioning for unified marketing technology stacks, most would say the consolidation has already started.

Beyond that, The TradeDesk continues it’s roll with an IPO and recent big win on P&G; AppNexus and other major players forge a data alliance to bring much needed people based marketing data to open programmatic; and Integral Ad Science plus other key players have launched in the region, aiming to bring much needed transparency to what can be a difficult to navigate ecosystem. Even Google and Facebook cannot be sitting easy in the face of recent brand safety issues, fake news and Amazon putting increased focus on a server-to-server header bidding product that promises to put power back in the hands of publishers. P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has made a call for transparency and open measurement across walled gardens in recent speeches, and this also seems to be making an immediate – and deserved – impact.

Finally, a note from history. In the early 1900s, the United States had around 2,000 firms producing one or more cars. By 1920 the number of firms had decreased to about 100 and by 1929 to 44. In 1976 the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association in the US had only 11 members.

In many ways digital advertising, and the industry that surrounds it, is it’s own worst enemy. All dollars eventually become digital dollars, so it is the only show in town. But a show obsessed with the next shiny thing, full of incomprehensible – and often meaningless – metrics, and more importantly, critically lacking in real transparency. Programmatic has only accelerated these tendencies.

Google and Facebook have done a huge amount to bring new money into digital advertising by simplifying advertising for brand marketers. And they have reaped the rewards.

However, they are now part of a systemic change representing an existential threat to an entire industry – media, advertising, agencies, publishing, journalism are all caught up in this – across the region and globally. Change rarely comes without casualties. The struggle for monetisation continues.

A huge debt to Jason Kint (this chart in particular) and Brian Nowak at Morgan Stanley for the inspiration for this article, and the work they have done creating similar graphs for Global and US ad revenues. Corrections welcome. Numbers are based on Facebook and Google publicly filed earnings information and best industry advertising revenue estimates – but someone out there may have a better view. The major assumption in this data is to exclude Chinese advertising spend both from Google and Facebook earnings information and APAC industry spend estimates to avoid distorting the data in a market where Facebook and Google have small (although not insignificant) advertising businesses. All the data is available on a public Google sheet (yes, sorry, it’s Google!) here.

Notes and References.

1. Google 2017 1st Quarter Earnings Report: a. Estimated based on reported total APAC revenues x 90% (percentage of Google revenues represented by advertising) b. Excludes Google revenue in China estimated based on APAC revenue data sources.

2. Facebook 2017 1st Quarter Earnings Report: a. Estimated based on reported total APAC revenue by User Geography b. Excludes Facebook revenue in China estimated based on APAC revenue data sources.

3. APAC digital revenue data compiled from: IAB, eMarketer, GroupM, ZenithOptimedia, McKinsey & Company

4. APAC all media revenue data compiled from: IAB, eMarketer, GroupM, ZenithOptimedia, McKinsey & Company.

4 Social Media Developments to Watch

A lot has changed in the world of social media, but we think these four points deserve a special mention:

The NYTimes Joins Snapchat Discover
In seeing the most respected investigative publisher join Snapchat’s ad-supported channel, publishers the world over are on a hiring spree to replicate The NYT’s move to Snapchat Discover. Snapchat launched Discover two years ago as a tab for long-form content and journalism beyond social media. In a world where Facebook’s Instant Articles feature is largely viewed as a boon to the industry, Snapchat’s Discover tab offers publishers the option of revenue sharing.

Facebook Upends Snapchat’s IPO
Within the month of announcing its plan for an IPO, Snapchat saw a hit in its user engagement numbers as Facebook rolled out a copy of its stories feature. Investor confidence was also shaken by the emergence of allegations that its numbers are off. We don’t expect the pain to last as the same revelations on Facebook’s numbers did little to dissuade investors and advertisers.

Combating Misleading and/or Fake News
It’s always been around and in some cases, it has been profitable, by either flagrantly making up a story or using click bait in the headlines, fake news is nothing new. But since losing the election, liberal media has entered a sand storm decrying fake news as one of the tools that swayed the outcome. The tech industry, largely instilled with liberal values, has chosen sides with Facebook and Google tackling the issue head on. Facebook will be revising its social media trending feature and aim to provide users the sources of publisher’s news. Google, on the other hand, has banished over 200 publishers from its AdSense network for the crime of creating and publishing fake news. Snapchat also stepped up by penalizing content creators that promise content in the headline but redirect to unrelated sites.

Reviving Twitter’s Use Experience
We’ve already talked about why no one is buying Twitter anytime soon, despite all the presidential attention it’s getting. The social media company is doing its best to roll out relevant changes in its usability. The latest of which is a switch from “Moments” tab to an Explore tab instead. Featuring trending topics and live video, the tab will be curated by Twitter’s editors. In a world of rebates focused digital media planning, this may not be enough for Twitter to get back on the horse. Bringing back Jack Dorsey gave the company credibility, but robbing him of executive power has not been. It remains to be seen how digital planners view the change.

Sourav Ganguly is the chief media officer at Centric DXB. He leads teams across digital media buying & planning, performance marketing, eCommerce conversions and search optimization. He can be reached on sourav.ganguly@centric.ae

More Facebook measurement errors – when will brands lose patience?

Facebook has admitted to misleading advertisers on key metrics for the third time in as many months.

On this occasion it’s a discrepancy between the number of likes and shares Facebook shows for web links, and also issues with the number of likes and reaction emojis that page owners see for their live videos.

In the first case in September it was revealed that the social network had been inflating a key video viewing metric for years.

In the second case, there were multiple errors:

  • A bug in Page Insights with the weekly and monthly summaries miscalculating the total numbers without taking into consideration the repeat visitors. This brought a reduced reach of 33% for the 7-day summary and 55% for the 28-day summary. According to Facebook, this didn’t affect the paid reach.
  • A small miscalculation to the length of the videos, with a difference of one to two seconds in the final result, due to occasional problems of syncing the audio and the video to each device.
  • There was an over-reporting of 7-8% on the time spent on Instant Articles since last August. Facebook reported that this issue is now fixed.
  • The “Referrals” metrics on Facebook Analytics for Apps was also miscalculated, as it didn’t simply track the links to the app or the site, but also the clicks to the posts via the app or the site, which also included the clicks to view photos and videos.

Facebook should be given credit for being upfront about its mistakes and rectifying its errors. But the more measurement errors and corrections it discloses, the more difficult it becomes to trust Facebook’s measurements.

It’s a dilemma that some brands and agencies have been wrestling with for a while, and it’s one that may not subside until Facebook allows independent firms to directly measure these previously faulty stats, rather than relying on Facebook for the raw, corrected data.

If Facebook ends the walled garden then many of these problems go away.

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. 

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.

Harnessing the Power of Video Marketing in the Online Environment

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

Today, video is an exceptionally important marketing tool for most businesses. Video is so powerful largely because it can tell a story in a complete visual way. Over the past decade, online video has exploded into importance – quickly becoming a popular way for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs. Video is also an important element in content marketing: statistics show that it drives traffic and that using videos on landing pages drives conversions, engaging viewers and fostering sharing and circulation. And naturally, video has become an indispensable part of social media and search engine optimisation strategies.

Video marketing begins with channels. As we know, YouTube is the video channel giant for both business and personal use. Google, the owner of YouTube, is now introducing ‘buy now’ buttons on for mobile searches, where customers seeking specific items from participating retailers will be able to instantly make purchases, opening up an important new path for potential customers and creating remarkable opportunities for marketers.

At the same time, most people are unaware of just how big Facebook has become as an emerging video sharing platform. According to Statista, the share of online population of Youtube has been going down the slope slowly since Q3 2014; and yet a trend spanning three straight quarters. Recently, lesser brands have been posting YouTube videos on Facebook; given the facts that Google owns YouTube and that Google and Facebook are competitors. Brands have ‘gone native’ and now post Facebook videos directly to Facebook. Other video platforms like Vimeo are also shifting traffic away from YouTube.

Because of this, in terms of interaction figures, Facebook has virtually wiped out YouTube, as native Facebook videos perform exponentially better than videos from all other platforms. Facebook videos are also shared more than YouTube links, as they can be shared directly. Bear in mind that those who create video content for YouTube will not optimise their success if they are not posting on other platforms as well, particularly short video and photo platforms like Vine and Instagram, which are now eating into Facebook’s market share, proving just how quickly the market is evolving.

Facebook has become a market leader due to their ability to capture a lot of data and their aggressive advertising and marketing strategies. This is very good news for marketers. However, the entire social media environment is highly dynamic and is changing every minute. Competition among different platforms is driving rapid innovation, with customer-friendly features coming out every day. To take advantage of this environment and capitalise on the benefits, marketers need to understand and stay on top of this situation.

Creating great video content starts with the mission – does the video need to generate awareness or generate a response? The beauty of video is how it can create a virtual experience and give an audience the feeling of ‘being there’. Video is highly flexible – it can demonstrate product features, like operation manuals, or for B2B video can provide a sales talk or an interview.

Being informative is not enough however – there also needs to be emotional appeal. Some videos are like TV commercials; others are more like MTV, micro-movies or even movie trailers. These are more emotionally appealing, making people laugh or cry – frightening them or generating comments. Generally though, B2B companies avoid humour in marketing.

In terms of content, video marketers need to be aware of time limitations: even though YouTube supports long-form video, these videos needs to be punchy and eye-catching to attract attention and get the message across. Keep in mind that different channels may require different versions of the same video.

The good news is that thanks to the amazing diversity of available technologies, the cost of video production continues to fall, making viral videos easier to produce and promote. Still, regardless of how well your video is produced, it may not yield the desired results if it does not include a call to action. Before you begin, think about what you want people to do when they finish viewing your video. To achieve a lasting and memorable impact, ensure you include both a visual and audible call to action.

Always bear in mind of the lifecycle of digital platforms in general and the fact that ‘the next great thing’ is always waiting in the wings.

Good luck!


Article by 

Daniel Wu, General Manager, Epicentro

PICO Logo

Epicentro 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.

The 70/20/10 Rule for Marketing Innovation

Too often people see innovation as a flash of lightning, striking at random. And too many businesses are afraid to try new things, creating a huge barrier to success.

Clearly inspiration is core to innovation, and new things are scary. But, as strange as it might sound, you can actually plan to be innovative – and protect your marketing investment – with a very simple strategy.

It’s called the 70/20/10 Rule, and it will help you map out all the things you could do with your marketing, into a structured approach that will help drive your business forward.

So how does it work? First, take your Digital marketing budget and divide it into three buckets: one with 70% of the money and two others with 20% and 10%, respectively.

70%: NOW

Your largest investment should be in established marketing programs. Focus on refining activity you have run for several years with a record of success. Right now this is likely to include Google Search, Desktop Display, and Facebook activity – although it depends where you are in your Digital marketing journey. It’s crucial to maintain a strong base to protect your success.

20%: NEW

The next 20% of your budget should go on emerging areas that are starting to gain traction. This is about generating safe learning opportunities. Mobile and Programmatic are hot right now for most marketers, but it should also be about trying new suppliers for activity you are already doing well at. Not every test will work out, but the ones that do will set up your future plans and keep you ahead of the competition.

10%: NEXT

You can think of this final 10% as your marketing insurance. Set the stage for the future by investing in areas you have never tested before. Start small and scale fast. Remember these 10% tests will one day be your 70%. And without investing here you will very quickly fall behind your competition.

Even gigantic global brands such as Coca Cola follow this approach. Wendy Clark, SVP, Marketing for Coca-Cola, gave the below presentation at a McKinsey CMO event recently. She explained how, to be successful today, companies need to employ a test and learn approach. At Coke, 70% of spend funds current proven programs, 20% goes to new and promising trends, and 10% to test completely new ideas.

What’s important in all this is that innovation can have a process. With the 70/20/10 approach it’s easy to protect your success NOW, while finding the NEW and NEXT things you need to stay ahead.

 

A Quick Guide to Social Media in China

China’s social media landscape has proven a fast moving target. Ogilvy have just released the latest in their guides to the market highlighting the (mostly) differences but sometimes surprising similarities to global platforms.

The big story is the continued rise of WeChat, with the Tencent owned platform taking on the role of multiple Western platforms in China. Video sharing makes a first appearance, inspired by Vine. The major players are Sina owned Meipai and Tencent’s 微视 plus WeChat’s “Sight” functionality.

One of the few western platforms not blocked in China remains LinkedIn. In a market where networking is done face-to-face there are questions as to cultural fit, but with a China office this is clearly a long term bet. There are definite opportunities for brands.

China Social Media Landscape [2015]

Social Media In China

Previous versions of the infographic can be found here.

Market Overview: The Rise of Asia’s Mobile Messaging Apps

The emergence of mobile messaging apps has been one of the big tech – in fact any news category – stories of recent years. Both globally and in Asia.

Disrupting everyone from Telcos wedded to SMS revenue, to established social networks such as Facebook, to the Chinese government, apps have been a big hit with consumers. Continue reading Market Overview: The Rise of Asia’s Mobile Messaging Apps

Facebook announces new mobile targeting to help advertisers reach rural consumers

Consumers in Asia are coming online at a staggering rate, with the majority accessing the Internet via mobile networks. The flip side of this rapid change is that network speeds can vary and infrastructure is constantly changing. Continue reading Facebook announces new mobile targeting to help advertisers reach rural consumers