Tag Archives: google

Transparency and Ad Quality: Brand Safety Matters to Consumers

Following a spate of misplaced ad scandals and fake news controversies, brand safety is commonly acknowledged as one of the most pressing challenges currently facing marketers looking to reach digital audiences.

But the impact on, and reaction of, consumers to issues around brand safety is less well documented.

Brand responsibility

According to latest research from Reuters, Tomorrow’s News 2018, a high proportion of consumers believe brands are responsible for where their ads are running.

62% of consumers believe “brands have full control over where their advertising appears”.

The majority of consumers (77%) also say that advertising next to ‘unsavoury or objectionable’ stories can damage their perception of a brand. Worryingly, 75% have seen brands advertising alongside unsavoury or objectionable stories or videos. And while 81% feel that Facebook and Google should be ‘held accountable’ for the content they carry on their platforms, they are unaware of their role in brand safety. Reuters respondents believe the buck stops with advertisers.

Impartiality, trust & integrity

Ad agencies and tech companies alike, are being forced to pay more attention to good governance, and collaborations with trusted partners to avoid these types of challenges.

With this in mind, the value of impartiality, honesty and integrity also featured strongly in the Reuters analysis. A huge majority of global respondents said they were more likely to turn to professional publishers, such as online news brands, over social media for trusted content, with 86% more likely to turn to online news brands for “trusted content in a trusted environment”.

Consumers underestimated

The uncomfortable truth in our digital age is that it’s not always clear where online ads are running. And yet, consumers – perhaps unsurprisingly – have little idea of the problems of programmatic, vulnerable supply chains or, most importantly, the huge role that Google and Facebook play in the process.

Investment in brand-safe environments and trusted partnerships is supported by numerous studies recently, from Group M to IAS – and they all show the link between brand safety and performance. Now we can add that this is something consumers are also clamouring for.

Reuters Tomorrows News 2018

You can also read and download the full report here.

A Duopoly of Convenience: Facebook & Google Tap New Growth in APAC

by Tom Simpson

Latest data reveals that in Q1 2018, Facebook and Google ad revenue grew by 40% year-on-year across Asia Pacific (ex. China), while ‘The Rest’ – every publisher and ad tech business outside the duopoly – saw a fall in revenue of 20% over the same period.

Total APAC (ex. China) Digital Ad Revenue (USD billions) (1)

Looking at the top-line, digital advertising is experiencing strong growth across APAC, with ad spend up $0.85 billion year-on-year in 2018. But it’s clear that while many publishers and ad tech businesses are still growing, in reality that additional $0.85 billion revenue is comprised of $1.63 billion more for Google and Facebook, and $0.78 billion less for everyone else.

As a result, Facebook and Google revenue hit 65% of APAC total digital revenue, up from 51% in Q1 2017. This means twice as much budget goes to the duopoly as every other digital publisher and ad tech platform in the region put together.

APAC (ex. China) Q1 2018 Digital Ad Revenue Share (%)

Google and Facebook also grew in terms of revenue share across all media, taking 20 cents in every 1 dollar spent in the region. This is up from 15% – or 15 cents in the dollar – last year, and represents an increase in budget flowing from traditional media, including TV and OOH.

The duopoly in perspective

From a global perspective, Facebook and Google have been strengthening their hold over digital advertising budgets for several years. Asia Pacific has actually seen a slower shift in spend than the US or Europe, where Google and Facebook already account for 80% of digital ad revenue.

While there is a huge amount for ad tech to be positive about in 2018, and plenty of genuine tech innovation on the supply side outside the duopoly – mobile, blockchain, digital retail, apps, influencers, and permission-based marketing, are all areas seeing new thinking and growth – the publishing and ad tech industries are in a challenging space right now. Concerns over ad quality and complex value chains, in addition to the impact of Facebook and Google, have left VC money looking for safer havens. With marketing clouds, telcos and consultancies worldwide positioning for unified marketing technology stacks – the acquisition rumours at Cannes in 2018 were even more outrageous than those around the downfall of Sir Martin Sorrell – mad-tech consolidation started several years back, and looks set to accelerate in the years ahead.

But it’s not only the supply side facing increased headwinds. The brave-new-era marketing stacks are already busy hunting brand agency business direct from the major holding groups, using their newly enhanced strategic and tech positioning to situate themselves both upstream closer to the CEOs ear, and downstream on the battlefield of media execution across newly rationalised, open, and addressable programmatic auctions. Whether it’s okay for the auditors to also do the work, is another question of course.

Even Google and Facebook cannot be sitting easy in the face of the increased scrutiny and margin pressure promised by these changes, alongside recent brand safety issues, an emerging 3rd advertising player in Amazon, and a resurgent Twitter. Growing antitrust concerns in the US and EU spurred by a public revolt against the increasing power of the silicon valley tech titans, fears over over-reach into our everyday lives and loss of jobs have also made headlines in 2018. Google and Facebook are yet to crack China, but each is making moves with greater and lesser degrees of success to grow influence in this hugely important global market.

The age of convenience

Human beings have long sought means to make our lives easier. From earliest times with the invention of the stone hand axe, to the swarms of gig economy apps which today get people to clean your apartments, drive you around, do your shopping or deliver you just about anything you can think of, at the touch of a smartphone screen, convenience has been the driving force behind much human-made ingenuity. Most of us in the modern world now expect gratification to be on-demand.

New ways of offering services to customers have significantly changed how organisations and companies operate and compete in all markets. So it is no surprise that the age of convenience has come to our industry. What Uber did for transportation, Netflix for TV, and AirBnB for accommodation, Google and Facebook have done for marketing. And they are justifiably reaping the rewards.

In the on-demand era, there is only one guarantee: money flows to those who offer – or at least appear to offer – the comfort of convenience. This is the inconvenient truth.

Notes

As per last year, numbers are based on Facebook and Google publicly filed earnings information and best industry advertising revenue estimates via the IAB, Zenith and Emarketer among others – but someone out there may have a better view, so corrections welcome. The major assumption in this data is to exclude Chinese advertising spend from Google and Facebook earnings information and APAC industry spend estimates. This is to avoid distorting the data by including 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.

Key References

Facebook Reports First Quarter 2018 Results: https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/2018/Q1/Q1-2018-Press-Release.pdf

Facebook Q1 2018 Earnings Presentation
https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/2018/Q1/Q1-2018-Earnings-Presentation-(1).pdf

Alphabet Announces First Quarter 2018 Results
https://abc.xyz/investor/pdf/2018Q1_alphabet_earnings_release.pdf

Myanmar Digital Trends 2018

Myanmar is going through a digital transformation. AdsMy, a local marketing tech platform, have produced a trends deck covering digital marketing and consumer behaviour for Myanmar in 2018. Programmatic, mobile, video, native and digital advertising are all highlighted as growth areas.

Myanmar is extremely hot with VC investment right now, built on the amazing speed of consumer growth in mobile and app usage.

Digital Transparency: Peeling the Programmatic Onion

A new survey from the ANA looking at how marketers are conducting their programmatic media buying, revealed that 85% of marketers are currently conducting programmatic initiatives, either in-house or with an agency. However, more than a third of respondents (35%) have reduced the role of their external agencies over the past year as a result of the expansion of their in-house programmatic media buying capabilities. This is a notable increase from a 2016 study that found only 14% of marketers in-housing programmatic.

Other key findings to emerge from the study included:

  • 78% of marketers are “concerned, or very concerned about brand safety and programmatic.”
  • Only 40% of marketers are comfortable with “the level of transparency about their programmatic media investments” with “hidden costs” a particular concern.
  • “Better audience targeting”, “building audience reach”, and “real-time optimization” were the top three cited benefits among marketers that opted to in-house.

It seems overall, transparency in programmatic is on the rise and non-disclosed models are in decline. But what is true transparency in programmatic?

The Programmatic Onion – Layers of Programmatic Transparency

the programmatic onion

Previously in programmatic, all the above layers of cost would be bundled into a CPM, CPA or CPC – for example, an advertiser would book a campaign with an agency or trading desk at $4 CPM with a minimum spend of $50k per month and all of the operating costs are covered.

Now, slowly, the costs are being unbundled from top to bottom of the programmatic supply chain as we peel back the layers of the programmatic onion. During this unbundling process, some of the people, contracts and relationships are shifting from 3rd parties and into advertisers themselves.

Not every marketer needs or wants to peel the onion. Outcomes based marketing is well suited to many, and certainly simplifies a complex ecosystem. But for many marketers, it seems there is an emerging need for transparency at every step of the supply chain, and a perception that this transparency can be better facilitated through direct relationships with publishers and tech.

Peeling the programmatic onion is a crucial exercise in transparency for our industry, an opportunity for agencies, tech vendors and publishers to build trust, and a key part of building spend in digital channels outside the Duopoly.

8 Mobile Trends for 2018

With Mobile quickly becoming the go to channel for brands, there is a quiet revolution happening in the world of marketing.  Mobile is growing up, and getting serious as it moves front and centre. Here are our top Mobile advertising trends in APAC for the year ahead.

1. Rise of the apps

App use is growing 22% year on year, driven by increased smartphone adoption. Consumers already spend more than 50% of their total digital media time in app. This promises to grow again in 2018.

2. Gaming is the new TV

With 27% of time on mobile devices spent gaming, mobile games are slowly replacing TV as the backdrop to everyday life. One of the biggest opportunities for brands in 2018 is leveraging mobile gaming as a high reach, context neutral environment, just like TV or UGC / Social Media.

3. Mobile video keeps on rolling

Mobile video advertising spend has grown by 63% in over 2017. And with 4 times as many consumers preferring video over static advertising, brands will continue to top up in 2018.

4. Mobile native creativity

As consumers spend a majority of their media time on mobile, expect mobile native interactive and vertical video formats and functionality to move front and centre. Marketers will make more use of mobile capabilities to engage consumers in 2018.

5. Consumer choice and permission based advertising

With the rise of subscription media like Netflix, and increased adoption of ad blockers, consumers have more choice over their exposure to ads. Rewarded ads on mobile get 68% approval ratings from consumers, compared to only 20% who approve of pre-roll.

6. Mobile only consumers

With 65% of consumers in emerging markets already mobile only, and those in developed economies very much mobile first, the next generation may never experience the internet the way we do. Avid voice searchers, and heavy app users who avoid the desktop, they will see the world in a whole new way.

7. Mobile brand safety tracking and viewability grows up

Mobile devices are personal, so it’s even more crucial that advertising is delivered in a way that works for both advertisers and customers. Brand safety and viewability measurement will drive increased scrutiny of media investment, and a cleaner advertising experience for consumers.

8. Programmatic growth

Advertising spend is shifting fast to programmatic, and even faster from desktop to mobile. With mobile video set to account for 28% of ALL ad spend by 2019 it’s time to get on the mobile programmatic train.

How Google and Facebook are Eating the APAC Ad Industry

By Tom Simpson

Please check out our latest overview of the Facebook and Google advertising duopoly updated with 2018 data.

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.

APAC Content Marketing Predictions for 2017

2016 was the year where content marketing went from a discussion point to a business imperative in Asia. But what’s next? What are the trends we expect to see in 2017?

We asked the board members and guests of the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA) for insights. And here they are.

Connecting the dots

In 2017 I think we will see more and more content marketers connecting more of the dots in the ecosystem – from data and analytics through to rich storytelling to commerce. It’s absolutely critical for content creators to be able to do this in a market where production margins are being eroded, competition and audience expectations are increasing and attention spans are shortening.

Josh Black

CEO – GroupM Content Asia Pacific

The changing face of influencers

With reduced organic reach, influencers have become an important part of the marketing mix. There’s a trend within influencer marketing to move away from employing A-list celebrities with huge reach but little relevance, to brands starting to realise that their budgets are spent more effectively recruiting micro-influencers who have a genuine relevance to the brand, rather than using one A-list influencer. These influencers allow brands to get in front of a relevant audience that’s likely to be more engaged and the influencer comes across as more authentic.

Simply put, a micro-influencer is someone with between 10,000 to 150,000 followers on Instagram, whereas a mid to top-tier influencer has over 150,000. Although a user’s amount of followers varies for each account, we’re beginning to realise that this particular group of individuals has the ability to change the way brands work with influencers forever.

Influencer marketing will continue to mature, as brands struggle to reach people organically, along with the rise of adblockers, meaning brands will need to use influencers as part of their distribution strategy.

Shamila Gopalan

Founder and Managing Director, Blink Asia

Woe, woe and wooooooooooh…

In Cassandra mode, I have two predictions. The first is that we’re all screwed…we’ll be replaced by robots. Recently, a friend at a global agency that, out of respect for its privacy, I’ll refer to only as Ogilvy, which also happens to be its name (I know; what are the chances?) made a series of increasingly complex arrangements for a lunch meeting with a potential supplier. Only afterwards did he learn that the arrangements on the supplier’s end had been made 100% by bot.

My other Cassandra conjecture is a huge rise in the implementation of content curation. With increasingly shrinking budgets, I fear that ‘curating’ existing content from the internet rather than commissioning original stuff will prove only too attractive to the bean counters in procurement.

In Pollyanna mode, however, I’m predicting (with fingers and all other extremities firmly crossed) that 2017 is the year we finally get affordable, accessible VR. The potential to engage consumers like never before and improve the marketing of even the smaller brands through experiential content is truly exciting.

Henry Adams

Founding Partner, Contented

Sorting business from the inside out

Focused on my specific area, I want to highlight two critical aspects that must happen in Asia for brands to not just embrace content marketing, but to flourish by committing long-term to it.

The first is getting businesses organised and transformed from the inside out. The whole business must get behind content marketing, and while the marketing team enables it, everyone needs to get on board and it starts at the top. Content marketing needs to become the beating heart of every business, which means the existing siloes of organisations (siloes of separation and internal competition) must come down, and collectively, everyone become aligned and focused 100% to serve the customer. It’s truly transformational stuff.

The second is employee advocacy. This is going to be a hot trend of 2017, but too many businesses (and those selling employee advocacy solutions) are only looking at employees as mouthpieces for brands. This is definitely not what employee advocacy is about.

Employees must be advocates for themselves first, the brand second. And not only are employees advocates, but content creators in their own right. This is how we move from content shock to content value, because it is created by the people who know your business and know your customer.

Both trends are big mind shifts for businesses, but the ones who get it, understand it and unleash the pure power of their employees; will see truly magnificent results. It’s time to unleash the humans of business – the reason your customers do business with you.

Andrea Edwards

CEO and Founder, The Digital Conversationalist

Quality content only game in town

Hmmm, *strokes chin*, I predict the VR/360 consumer hype bubble will burst as the realisation dawns that wearing a digital blindfold no matter what it’s screening is not a comfortable experience. Strictly niche and professional uses will be the end result of the VR/360 hype.

Quality content will be the only game in town worth playing in. Enlightened clients are already rewarding those willing to resist the race to the bottom that is competing on price.

New terminologies will start to take hold. I’ve been thinking a lot about how storytelling as part of a feed is now a thing, what do we call that? The old broadcast and print terminologies will slowly be replaced.

Simon Kearney

CEO and Co-Founder, Click2View

2017 will be the year of delegation

We’ve seen how powerful great creators can be in some of the stand out executions of 2016, but we’ve also seen how innovation can be stifled by hierarchies and committees. In 2017 we’ll see senior management embracing core messages and style guides as their primary control mechanisms, whilst genuine innovation will be delegated to the practitioners that deliver it best – inspired imaginations, informed insights and a flair for originality that transcends everyday thinking.

Nick Fawbert

Founder, Mutiny Asia

Time of content eco-systems

2017 will finally be the year clients buy in to the notion of the content ecosystem. The understanding that all of their platforms and customer touchpoints, both online and offline, need to be connected with one voice. The content ecosystem ensures that customers get a consistent message and experience wherever they touch the brand.”

Simon Cholmeley
CEO, Novus Asia

Personalisation

2017 will be the year of personalised or adaptive content.  With programmatic becoming the increasing norm, we’ll see content ideas re-purposed into multiple iterations; allowing for greater personalisation with data and tech driving the relevant distribution.  However, tech won’t rule the industry.  We’ll still need humans to develop unique insights, a sound strategy, great content creation, solid execution and analysts to interpret results.

Mike Jackson

Managing Director, MEC Wavemaker 

Partnerships and M&As

This is the time for strategic partnerships and M&As across industries, verticals and platforms. This is the time to redefine the role of content and the role of access. Our role as content marketing leaders will be to provide the methodology, process and management of the role of content across these new constellations.

The Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition marked the dawn of this new era, not just a new trend for M&As but a clear recognition by tech companies that they need to invest in content, content platforms and distribution channels. The interesting shift in focus here comes from what’s clearly a recognition by companies that the future formula is to own both the access to the audience, the content and the conversation.

BandLab partnering with Rolling Stones and AT&T acquiring Time Warner are perfect examples of this, where they are securing the ownership of a bigger ecosystem. With social and amplification channels increasingly becoming paid only and the organic aspect dying away, the importance of building your house on your own property and not on rented land is increasingly clear and I believe these M&As and strategy partnerships are part of responses to this shift.

The race is now on to ensure company-owned property controls the access, the content and the conversations across the ecosystem. I think we will see the AliBabas and Ciscos of this world acquiring the Walt Disney’s and NYT’s of this world!

Hedvig Lyche

Global Strategy Director, King Content

Last but not least, it’s all about the data

Content Marketing has been a growing area of focus in recent years. In 2017, we expect to see data being utilised to far greater effect – both in measuring the performance of content as brands strive to understand exactly what is capturing the attention of their consumers, and in measuring the effective amplification of content. This is vital if you want people to actually read/watch what you’re producing. Knowing which channels are the right ones to reach your audience is just as important as knowing what interests them!

Adrian Watkins

Managing Director and Co-Founder, PerformanceAsia

What prediction resonated with you? What was missed? What contradiction did you pick up?

Happy Holidays and here’s to an amazing 2017 for content marketing in Asia.

The Google Consumer Barometer: Free APAC Market Research

The Google Consumer Barometer is a fantastic new tool to help you understand how people use the internet – both mobile and online – across the Asia.

It’s a rich consumer research resource available for free, based on studies done by Google and partners globally over the recent past.

Curated insights are available for Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and many other APAC markets.

Definitely worth digging into next time you need to know the percentage of smartphone users in The Philippines, or the online population of Malaysia.

29_full_size_google-barometer-10

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

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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.