COVID19 has had a huge impact on the digital consumption habits of people in Myanmar.
Consumers have broadened their adoption of new technology to support their requirements from increasing digital entertainment including mobile games and online video, to online shopping and food delivery.
A recent report from Myanmar advertising platform Humology took a deep-dive into the detail:
There are now 35 million total online consumers in Myanmar, with only 22 million on Facebook
56% of consumers now go online multiple times every day – an increase of 75% since COVID19
80% of consumers have added a new app on their smartphone since COVID19
71% of consumers now watch online video every day – an increase from 42% since COVID19
69% have increased video streaming on online video platforms such as OTT and CTV
65% are playing more games on their smartphones and tablets – interestingly 52% of the mobile gaming audience are female
72% play mobile games every day with a 37% increase in consumers playing multiple times per day
Social platforms are trusted by only 46% of consumers whereas local websites are trusted by 75% of consumers
Evolving consumer behaviour will result in changes in how marketers choose to execute in Myanmar, with more of a focus on online video, mobile gaming and ecommerce.
CTV is a fast growing digital media channel and, not surprisingly, a high growth environment for fraud. At its peak, a single fraud scheme accounted for more than 28% of total global programmatic CTV traffic. Incredible. We caught up with Ryan Murray, Director, Asia Pacific, White Ops to get the latest update on OTT, CTV and Ad Fraud.
What’s the history of CTV and ad fraud? Is there anything specific to Asia Pacific?
Connected TV (CTV) has had quite the rise in popularity over the past few years. Households replaced their traditional cable TVs for TVs capable of supporting streaming services all by connecting to the internet. Given this rise, advertisers have started folding CTV advertising into their plans as a new way to reach their audience. And as we know, fraud follows the money. As advertisers pour more budget into the CTV landscape, fraudsters are finding new ways to game the system to take a piece of the pie. Ad fraud on CTVs is lucrative for a fraudster given the high CPMs.
This year we uncovered the largest CTV ad fraud operation to date called ICEBUCKET. The ICEBUCKET operation relied on a part of programmatic advertising where the supply chain is less transparent, sellers are not reported in sellers.json files, and buyers and sellers typically don’t have a direct relationship. The operation counterfeited over 300 different publishers, stealing advertising spend by tricking advertisers into thinking there were real people on the other side of the screen, when in reality, these were bots pretending to be real people watching TV. The operation hid its sophisticated bots within the limited signal and transparency of server side ad insertion (SSAI) backed video ad impressions.
At its peak, ICEBUCKET accounted for more than 28% of the programmatic CTV traffic we see, which demonstrates the capacity of fraudsters to make a dramatic impact on this new market. SSAI spoofing at this magnitude is highly sophisticated and without proper bot mitigation, it can be very difficult to spot.
Are CTV cyberattacks as easy to detect as they are to commit?
Ad fraud as a whole is a significant concern for the industry, stealing billions of dollars every year. While we are collectively getting better at fighting this battle, particularly in programmatic, the battle is far from over.
As the marketing industry expands into new technologies and tactics, fraudsters expand and adapt their tactics in kind, presenting a number of new threats to marketing campaigns. A new trend we’ve monitored this year suggests fraudsters are suppressing less sophisticated ad verification technology in order to remain undetected. As a result brands, platforms and consumers continue to be abused and lose revenue, experience infected value chains, damaged reputation and tedious remediation discussions.
The lack of consistent standards and the surge in ad spending, driven by the rise of streaming content services and a proliferation of new connected devices, is leaving CTV as an especially ripe target for fraud. Today’s bots are increasingly more sophisticated and delivering a host of malicious activities in CTV. Equally as damaging are fraudsters’ ability to perform fakery toward the entire digital marketing system to siphon legitimate opportunities and revenue. Even the most secure platform is susceptible to buyers purchasing spoofed inventory.
Are certain types of CTV or OTT apps more likely to get targeted by fraudsters?
Similar to other device types, something that looks more premium will be a target of spoofing. So if we think about some of the most popular ad-supported streaming services, that’s where fraudsters see the most money. Those premium placements are desirable and thus, the most costly to advertisers.
We also see spoofing in the form of physical CTV devices. There are a lot of different CTV devices out in the market and they fluctuate. A CTV provider can rebrand to a new name or implement a software update; it’s hard for the average advertiser to keep up with all the movement in the space.
The CTV ecosystem is a complex world that includes a large number of stakeholders – what tactics can marketers and advertisers put in place to protect themselves?
The CTV ecosystem is a complex and fragmented one which makes it ripe for intrusion from fraudsters. Advertisers and marketers need to work together with the rest of the industry to protect CTV to make it cost-prohibitive to monetize their schemes. To do this, standards need to be adopted to make it easier for valid impressions to be identified.
If organizations fight fraud in a silo, depleting their own time and resources, adversaries simply move on to employing the same tactics at a different target — nothing lost, much still left to gain for them. If the industry can rapidly apply knowledge gained from a particular attack for everyone’s benefit, then that tactic will not work when adversaries move on to the next target.
Binge-watching of online video is on the rise amongst Singaporeans, who spend on average two hours, 35 minutes watching videos in each sitting according to the State of Online Video 2019 report.
In addition to time spent, Singaporeans are also consuming more online video services. The report revealed that a majority 64 per cent of Singaporeans subscribe to at least one streaming service, and nearly three in four Singaporeans (72 per cent) now use dedicated streaming devices such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV.
Globally, people who watch online video spend an average of six hours, 48 minutes per week watching various types of content. Average viewing time is has grown 59 percent since 2016.
Figure 1: How many total hours of video content do you watch online each week (by year)?
Viewers in the US watch the most online video each week at an average of eight hours, 33 minutes, followed closely by viewers in India. Singapore sees the third highest volume of online video viewing.
Figure 2: How many total hours of video content do you watch online each week (by country)?
Latency, or delays in streaming, remains a critical point of frustration for viewers. The report found that more than half of Singaporeans are more likely to watch live sports online if the stream was not delayed from the broadcast. This is because traditional streams are generally delayed by 30 seconds or more from the broadcast feed, and with the rise in social media usage, every second of delay can potentially ruin the game when online viewers learn about big plays from social media before seeing the action online.
We’ve all seen the huge rise of interest in programmatic over the past few years – what lies ahead for this technology?
It has taken a number of years for media buying to adopt automated ways of transacting in the region. This is mainly due to this being a more conservative part of the world, where change is not always welcomed, and which still relies on more traditional marketing methods. What lies ahead is a deeper adoption of automation, which will not be limited to standard display or video advertising, but will also include other media too, such as outdoor ads.
As money has always been invested in TV, the shift to digital and then from digital to basic IO has been a lot slower here than it has been in Europe, for example. What’s next for FreeWheel is to use the experience we’ve gained in other parts of the world to help the smoother adoption of automation in this market.
What are your thoughts on the growth of digital advertising in APAC?
Obviously, when it comes to digital growth, the most significant development has been in mobile, which has a massive market share. In certain parts of the region, consumers have on average two to three mobile phones per person. And as APAC is made up of a number of developing mass markets with large populations, it will only continue to grow. Broadcasters are also changing their strategies and moving inventory to digital from traditional TV.
How does the video advertising market in APAC differ to other regions?
The APAC region is very different from the rest of the world, as it contains a number of global markets – each of which has its own complexities and compliances for marketing. Each market has different, local factors that need to be considered. We also have to consider local language requirements, as some might only run campaigns in the local language, whereas others might prefer a mix with English.
Will we see TV and video continuing on their path of convergence?
Yes, I believe this convergence will continue. Traditionally, we spoke to agencies and digital buyers to try and get digital video inventory. Now media buyers are transacting across TV and video. Our aim is to get broadcasters to think about how they trade and bring the two forms of media together, and we want to see this happen on a large scale in the APAC region. Customers who have had success with digital need to start seeing their linear offering in the same way that they view their OTT offering.
Digital in Asia asked Jason Fairchild, Co-Founder of OpenX, one of the largest global sell-side platforms, to tell us about the state of programmatic advertising in Japan.
Digital in Asia: How is the Japanese market approaching programmatic advertising? Is Japan ahead, behind, or just different compared to other global programmatic markets?
Jason Fairchild: Programmatic is taking off in Japan, however, the market is still in its nascent stages, and spend is lower than other markets, such as the US and China. Despite this, more marketers than ever are using the technology to boost reach, relevance and impact, and a recent study from PwC predicts that the increasing demand for programmatic technology is set to push Japan’s media market to US$170 billion by 2020.
It’s not surprising that programmatic is growing as the technology streamlines the buying and selling of online ad space, allowing publishers to efficiently monetize their online content and brands to execute audience-based buying at scale – that is, putting the right message in front of the right user at the right time at massive scale. With investment in online ads expected to increase by more than US$3 billion, marketers will benefit from leveraging this technology to make their advertising more efficient.
DIA: How is OpenX addressing the issue of quality in digital advertising?
JF: As programmatic grows in Japan, it’s important to ensure the advertising ecosystem remains a clean and safe place in which to do business. In 2018 alone, OpenX is investing US$25 million in different quality-assurance measures, and we’re making sure we comply with industry recognised quality standards and have received independent certification for our efforts.
It’s important to note, however, that there are steps that everybody can take to take to stamp out bad practices and tackle fraud. Technology companies, marketers, publishers and every other part of the supply chain all play a role in solving for the quality issues across the industry.
With the recent emergence of new industry standards and initiatives, marketers are now at a point where they can make informed decisions about their technology partners, based on the partners’ commitment to quality.
One example is the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which has nearly stamped out the threat of domain spoofing, also known as misrepresented domains, and dramatically increased clarity in the supply chain by public record of who is authorized to sell a publisher’s inventory. Another is third-party certification with Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a cross-industry accountability program to create transparency in the business relationships and transactions in digital advertising. Technology companies who meet the stringent standards for certification outlined by TAG earn a seal of approval, and because these demonstrate good practice among vendors, these standards can help buyers and sellers make better decisions on technology partnerships. But it’s important to note that these quality controls are not automatic – they require proactive choice by buyers.
DIA: Mobile now accounts for half of all digital ad spend in Japan. What does this mean for advertisers?
JF: More Japanese consumers own smartphones than ever before, so it’s not surprising to see users spend more time on mobile devices, which in turn drives a marked shift in content consumption towards mobile. Advertisers and publishers have picked up on this trend and now understand that mobile has become the place where consumers spend a majority of their time, and they must adjust their digital strategies accordingly.
To effectively take advantage of this growing channel, advertisers will need to incorporate a range of mobile-specific ad formats and move aggressively away from the desktop-first mentality that most of them have been using. This includes building creative that considers the smaller screen sizes and leveraging rich location data to add more context to their campaigns. On the other hand, publishers must also think about screen size and the user experience to ensure that users aren’t bombarded with too many ads or ones that impede a users’ ability to see or read the content they want.
DIA: Speaking about mobile, what is the future of in-app advertising in Japan and globally?
JF: Quite simply, in-app advertising is the future of mobile advertising. Japanese adults spend three hours and three minutes every day consuming digital media, and in 2017, mobile accounted for more than half of all time spent on digital, so the opportunity is huge.
Studies reveal that the most lucrative in-app ad opportunity is a new innovation called opt-in video, where the consumer is given something of value in exchange for engaging with a video ad. This type of video advertising has proven to be the most consumer-friendly ad format in mobile, and in fact, consumers like it three times more than a non-skippable pre-roll. Completion, viewability and engagement rates are significantly better with opt-in video than other types of mobile video, and the consumer-friendly nature of the ad format makes it a great option for publishers and app developers trying to monetize their content as well.
DIA: What are OpenX’s plans for the wider Asia Pacific region?
JF: Both our Japan and APAC business are continuing to grow. In fact, early this year we announced record new revenue growth in Japan of 52% year-on-year and have signed more than 40 new clients in 2018 alone. The growth derives from us being the largest independent advertising exchange in the country (second only to Google) at a time when programmatic is gaining traction in Japan.
As a result, last quarter we announced that we will be opening our Singapore hub, and plan to move into Australia by the end of Q1 2019. To complement our expansion, we’re committed to growing our team in the Asia Pacific region. We appointed Satoru Yauchi as the director of partner services in the region, who has already played a key leadership role on the team since joining late 2017 and will continue to support us in delivering on our ambitious plans for growth across the region.
From consumer engagement and privacy to technological advances, content strategies and monetisation, data in its various forms is everywhere and companies are challenged with harnessing and analysing it smartly for greater returns.
Here are some of the top trends driving media companies:
Mobile and Social – What Consumers Want
Audiences today expect video to be on mobile. According to Ooyala’s Q4 2017 video index, mobile’s share of video plays in Asia-Pacific surpassed 60% and the medium had the most share of plays amongst other devices in the region.
Social media video continues to grow, driving media companies to lean more on social to promote and enhance their content, and grow their audiences. Content, strategic partnerships, innovation and branding are key to their growth in the future.
The focus on more granular applications of asset metadata has also led companies to AI capabilities. Modern data-driven media platforms connect and streamline content supply chains to help media companies search their content archives for video, audio or text files with facial recognition, language translation, visual text identification, and more.
Immersion with AR and VR
With mobile devices getting more ubiquitous and advancements in 5G connectivity, we’re looking towards a future of more immersive video content, thanks to continuous progress developing virtual reality (VR), 360-degree video, and augmented reality (AR) technology.
A study confirmed that VR increases viewer engagement with journalism, particularly with larger-scale experiences. And VR360 ads were found to perform better than traditional ads, with advanced platforms supporting VR360 playback for VOD and live.
Interest for AR is rising within the wider industry. Consider The New York Times’ integration of AR into its stories, including features published during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Data at the centre
As media companies strive to be innovative in monetising content and diversifying revenue streams, it is data that will increase their chances for success and lead them into the next era of media.
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.
Using customer relationship management (CRM) or data management platform (DMP) data to accurately target audiences across web, mobile browser and apps, Criteo Audience Match provides marketers with a new way to re-engage their customer base with paid display campaigns. Criteo has built a foundation of deterministic IDs within Criteo Shopper Graph, enabling beta customers to see a match rate of more than 60 percent of their existing client lists with online profiles.
Criteo Kinetic Design with Video automatically optimises every visual aspect of an ad to inspire and engage a shopper. Kinetic Design already allows for more than 17 trillion variations from one base design in display ads. This has been now expanded to incorporate video, creating personalized video ads that feature relevant products based on Criteo’s complete understanding of the shopper. These video ads are created automatically, on-the-fly, and appear across web and mobile.
“Collaboration in an open ecosystem levels the playing field and paves the way for commerce companies to shape their future. This is especially crucial for eCommerce companies in Asia-Pacific where the market is expected to grow to more than US$3 trillion by 2021,” said Huang Hanming, “We have developed Criteo Commerce Marketing Ecosystem to unleash the value of collaboration and the power of data to all who participate.”
As consumer video consumption continues to grow, Criteo’s clients can now use video to relevantly re-engage shoppers without production time, resources, or costs. Video is delivered in a non-intrusive manner to provide a seamless browsing experience – in app, in feed or on a website. Criteo’s video capability also allows marketers to take advantage of video ads on a cost-per-click basis.
“Understanding consumer purchasing behavior is challenging for retailers given that shoppers are on more platforms than ever before, with collected data being difficult to integrate and analyse, at scale,” said Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Criteo. “To help retailers and brands overcome this challenge, Criteo Audience Match and Criteo Kinetic Design with Video, as part of a robust suite of commerce marketing technologies, will support the full shopper journey, enabling brands to create relevant and engaging experiences for customers online and offline.”
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.
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.