Tag Archives: tech

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.

6 Interesting Start Up Ideas at Innovfest Singapore

1. V-Key managing trust and identity with virtual hardware on your phone

V-Key is a global leader in software based digital security. V-Key is the inventor of V-OS, the world’s first virtual secure element that uses advanced cryptographic and cybersecurity protections to comply with standards previously reserved only for expensive hardware solutions. How does it work? They create a virtual hardware smart chip within an app, meaning identity is held in the same way as on a cashcard smart chip – and with the same level of security. Interesting ultimately for anyone concerned with real world identity, which is why they already work with governments worldwide. Prepare for your passport to change in the near future. Trust simplified.

2. Handshakes automating corporate due diligence

Handshakes applies natural language processing and machine learning technology in an innovative way to analyse corporate data and publicly available unstructured data. The platform can then fuse this data with a companies existing unstructured databases to provide strategic intelligence about who to trust and who to do business with. Exciting stuff and sure to disrupt back offices globally – corporate due diligence is suddenly a trivial task.

3. Xjera Labs video analytics for crowd control

Xjera Labs focuses on revolutionary smart video content analytics (VCA) by implementing deep learning based VCA for various commercial applications. Kind of like Minority Report.

xjera_labs_crowd_scenario_sh_deployment

4. IOT Factory simplify the Internet of Things for normal entrepreneurs

IOT Factory have built a unique Software Platform to make any sensor, any device, using any network (M2M, LoRa, SigFox, BLE and many more) speak a desired language, through dashboards, reports, smart alerts, and easy integration capabilities. Essentially they’ve automated the back end of the Internet of Things so non-technical innovators can start to build on it. Thank you.

5. SettleMint, a blockchain for democracy

SettleMint is a fintech player working with distributed ledger technology. One of their projects, called SettleMint Ballot Box, uses immutable blockchain technology to record votes. In doing so, the company aims to address any doubts regarding the outcome of voting processes and elections. Use cases for the blockchain are crucial for pushing this forward.

6. Playpass bringing versatile Apple Pay / Paywave type technology to events

PlayPass are all about events and technology. They provide RFID solutions to allow better event management – in short every attendee gets an RFID wristband. From the moment the gates open real-time reporting tracks and displays the number of visitors on-site, which brands and activations are of interest to that visitor and what they consume and purchase.

Singapore Intensifies Focus on Data and AI Tech

SGInnovate this week presented ARISE, an Artificial Intelligence-themed event at innovfest unbound 2017 as part of a long term investment in AI and data driven technology. The anchor event of the Smart Nation Innovations Week, innovfest unbound is Asia’s largest innovation festival with more than 8,000 attendees.

ARISE is planned to provide a platform for researchers, academia and industry leaders to explore emerging AI trends and give insight into how it will affect the way we live and work in years to come.

Among the leading figures from the tech sphere at ARISE was Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop (first proposed by Elon Musk), who revealed an inside story of the smart people and smart machines powering the next generation of transport tech.

Macro trends such as machine learning, robotics in the workplace and in the domestic sphere, emerging technologies, and the march towards artificial sentience were also covered.

Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate, said: “Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically impact many areas, such as Healthcare, Transportation and Education. In fact, without even realising it, we have all embraced some form of AI in our daily lives – such as virtual assistants in our phones – and the next few years will bring exciting advances in many ways.”

“We passionately believe that Singapore has the right resources to be an important hub for research, so the challenge for us here is to ensure we are leaders in the development and use of AI capabilities to improve the lives of people here and around the world. We think ARISE is an extremely timely event, and we look forward to the constructive discussion around the challenges and the opportunities, that AI will bring.”

Today, Singapore is already a fast-growing influence within the realm of AI with the country ranked second globally by field weighted citation impact for AI R&D.

On a global scale, the AI market is growing rapidly. It is estimated that revenue for the cognitive systems and AI market will increase from an around US$8 billion (S$11.1 billion) in 2016 to over US$47 billion (S$65 billion) by 2020.

To further boost Singapore’s AI capabilities, the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore recently announced AI.SG, a national programme in AI driven by a government-wide partnership with SGInnovate as one of the partners.

NRF will invest up to S$150 million over five years in AI.SG, which will catalyse and synergise Singapore’s AI capabilities to power our future economy with practical solutions to real-world challenges.

“As a private company wholly-owned by the Singapore Government, SGInnovate has one purpose – to help aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore imagine, start, and scale technology-intensive products with the potential to be globally relevant.  We are working with entrepreneurs and investors in industries such as healthcare, energy and transportation, all of which are seeing a flurry of artificial intelligence (AI) startups.  The launch of AI.SG helps give a solid foundation which a wide range of activities in academia, research, corporates, entrepreneurs and investors can build upon,” added Mr Leonard.

MediaMath Launches Brand-safe Curated Publisher Market

MediaMath has announced the launch of a curated publisher marketplace product to deliver premium, high quality media. With the brand safety questions around social media and UGC environments right now, this is a timely move.

The Curated Market will employ a stringent set of brand safety standards and protocols:

  • Focus on large scale, high quality publishers based on ComScore
  • Privileged access to high priority inventory in the publisher ad server
  • Transparent, validated URLs only
  • Exclusion of most user generated content, specifically in environments or on publishers that do not support content monitoring, verification and blocking
  • Integrations with leading third party verification platforms including Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Peer39 to provide brand safety filters
  • Proprietary Suspicious Traffic Filter inside MediaMath’s platform
  • Exclusion of sites or content promoting illegal activity, hateful or distasteful rhetoric
  • Ability to opt out of all user generated content – often the source of brand safety issues – paying only for secure, brand-safe inventory across all channels including display, social and video.

To help ensure MediaMath stands by the brand safety promise, MediaMath clients using the Curated Market will not pay for media if it does not meet the agreed upon criteria at the publisher level. Specifically, if advertisers find their ads are run on previously determined unsafe inventory they will be credited with a refund for those impressions by MediaMath.

Joe Zawadzki, Chairman and CEO of MediaMath, said: “Digital advertising has long promised the ability to change how marketers interact with their customers, but the ubiquity of channels and content means marketers need to be more selective. The Curated Market offering provides transparency and hygiene in execution and reporting, audience addressability at scale and accountability for actors in the digital ecosystem, across all channels. It will change the way marketers think about buying ads.”

Overall, this is a smart move from a DSP that has let competitors – The Trade Desk and DBM to name two – get a jump on it in recent years. A commitment to brand safety is increasingly what brands are looking for in 2017, and MediaMath is to be applauded in taking a proactive approach.

New platform offers real time performance buying for Digital OOH

New digital advertising firm Rodeo have created Malaysia’s first interactive in car advertising platform, which provides advertisers with a captive audience on a programmatic buying platform.

Clients already signed up to the service include Lenovo, Li TV, Sling Apps, Zepto, Rainfilms, and eBizu.

The innovative concept works by installing 10.1inch HD tablets on the back of car seat head rests, which entertain passengers and creates a dynamic platform that allows interaction with brands, offers and promotions designed to catch the passenger’s eye.

According to Rodeo CEO, Valens Subramaniam, the majority of passengers spend 10 minutes or more travelling per car journey. Advertising slots are sold in blocks of 16 (max) and run on a loop. Each advertisement is shown for 15 seconds, ensuring that ads have high frequency to maximise the exposure.

A major challenge for today’s advertisers is maintaining attention long enough for potential customers to buy into the benefits of products and services offered. Rodeo’s digital out-of-home (DOOH) media applications solve this problem by placing advertising platforms in vehicles, thereby maximising customers’ engagement with the content.

The interactive platform allows passengers to provide their contact details and ask for more information on a particular product or service. Leads are funnelled through to advertisers in real-time. Clients can also track customer data in order to enhance understanding of target audiences, and cutting-edge technology such as facial-recognition will be able to assist advertisers in providing personalised content.

Rodeo’s DOOH system also presents vital public service announcements and real-time information such as police reports on crimes or missing persons, which can help resolve these issues quicker by increasing the reach of information being spread.

Mr Valens – former CEO of iCab Malaysia – spoke of the benefits it can bring to advertisers and drivers. “In recent years, advertisers have faced a considerable challenge of keeping the attention of potential customers as they promote their products and services. Our innovative media application helps to solve that problem by offering a captive audience for each advertiser, every time.

“Our full-time drivers complete, on average, 140 rides per week, which translate to over 550 unique passengers per month, per driver. This is an excellent opportunity for advertisers to maximise their reach and generate real-time leads.”

He added, “Our drivers are also offered incentives to boost their income by generating additional income for themselves, as well as meeting their KPIs, and so this is a perfect opportunity for everyone involved to take advantage of the benefits offered by the in-transit media industry. It is truly an exciting time for the Rodeo team, and it is my goal to expand to other Malaysian states and South East Asian countries over the next two years.”

The DOOH media industry could be worth over $US60 million to Malaysian economy by 2019.

Myanmar 33 million mobile users, smartphone usage 80%

The online population of Myanmar is growing at a rapid pace, with Telenor claiming 13.7m subscribers in a recent release. 52% of customers are active data users.

This matches MPT’s 14 million subscribers, and dwarfs Ooredoo’s reported 5 million subscribers.

Myanmar now has at least 33 million active mobile subscriptions in a country with an official population of 53 million. Smartphone usage rate is reported at 80%.

Viber estimates that it has 18 million active users in the country – meaning that almost 1 in 2 of all active cell phones in the country have Viber installed on them.

Myanmar Digital Future – Telenor [Infographic]

hks_telenor_myanmar_infographic_fa_20161219

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.

WPP Stream Top 100 Tech Conferences 2016

Handy Google spreadsheet listing out the Top 100 tech conferences recommended by WPP for 2016.

Not many Asia focused events, only World Cities Summit 2016 and Code Conference Asia covered.

We think ATS Singapore deserves a mention for those wanting to find out more about programmatic, and Tech in Asia run a comprehensive calendar of start up and tech events across APAC on their site which is worth checking out.