Brands and marketers in Southeast Asia today are no strangers to digital technologies and how they have expanded the ways in which people find, consume, and share content. For brands, this creates the need to be omnipresent – to be everywhere their consumers are.
However, the challenge is not only being visible where their customers are, but also ensuring their messages are integrated seamlessly into how customers are consuming their content. To achieve this, brands need to have their fingers on the pulse on all touch points, including emerging channels and platforms.
Understanding current content consumption trends can go a long way in helping brands to conceptualise their digital advertising strategies moving forward. These trends, explored in depth at the Mobvista Edge Seminar Singapore in August, are poised to change the online experience.
Video continues to dominate
Another interesting observation is the rise in popularity of social video apps. Since Snapchat pioneered the vertical video format, tech platforms are starting to realise the expedience and appeal for consumers in delivering their messages on mobile via vertical videos. The popularity of the format has resulted in an increase in new video-based functionalities launched by major platforms – such as Instagram’s IGTV and Facebook stories.
Videos are great mediums that enable users to capture and share their experiences instantly with their communities. According to a report (pdf) from Nielsen, 75% of young adults in emerging markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam watch digital videos on a weekly basis, and video sharing is touted as the region’s most consistent social networking activity. As a result, video apps such as TikTok, Musical.ly and Kwai have enjoyed massive success in the region.
It is worth noting that these short video format apps were developed in China – a result of the spill over of apps, given the saturated Chinese market. The massive potential user base in the region makes Southeast Asia a natural test market for Chinese companies who are looking to expand abroad. The exponential growth of these apps definitely warrants the attention from brands and their consideration in including these non-mainstream apps in their digital advertising strategy.
The m-commerce opportunity
Smartphones are the primary device consumers in the region use to access, consume and share content. With more internet users in Southeast Asia than the US, the region is ripe for an explosive mobile revolution – with roughly 90% of Southeast Asia’s internet users being connected via their smartphones.
Other than content consumption and sharing, a convenience brought by mobile devices not lost on Southeast Asian consumers is online shopping. In comparison to our global counterparts, Southeast Asian online shoppers take the top spot when it comes to spending on shopping apps, in comparison to other methods of shopping online. More than half of online transactions were made in-app, overshadowing 18 per cent of transactions made on mobile web and 28 per cent on desktop.
However, figures show that there is still some way to go in converting mobile users to mobile shoppers. For example, in Singapore, only 5.5% of retail purchases are transacted online, suggesting a massive untapped potential for m-commerce in the region. Savvier brands and marketers however, are starting to take note. Opportunely, digital has a strong influence in impacting consumers’ purchasing decisions; when making a purchase, 73 per cent of consumers in Singapore will have done their research online prior. Together with relevant, timely presence on apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Instagram, brands can leverage the influence that they have on consumers online, in order to increase the chance of a successful purchase.
How branded content can go a long way
The increase of digital influence on a consumer’s purchasing decision has created opportunities for brands to create their own content. The receptiveness of consumers to branded content has also been positive – with Asian consumers reported to have a higher brand engagement compared to consumers from other regions. Brands have realised this and have taken steps to involve themselves in content creation, such as Zalora’s Thread by Zalora platform.
By creating a lifestyle platform that syndicates and hosts own content around everything lifestyle and fashion, Zalora is able to create useful content that is interesting to their readers and in turn, build a community of like-minded individuals.
Consumers now relish the control over the type of content that they consumer – they want information that is of value to them and their lives. According to a Havas study, loyalty engagement rates are six times higher in Asia as compared to Western counterparts, painting a promising landscape for brands to draft their own content that incorporates valuable insights that can be gleaned from data provided by the audience themselves.
When done right, brands have the ability to create communities of fans who will in turn be advocates of the brand, and the values it stands for. A sure way of communicating brand values and personality is through content on owned channels, and this should be reason enough for brands to place more emphasis on their content strategy.
Content has been king for many years, however brands now need to navigate a rather complex landscape in order to to succeed in today’s fast-paced digital-led world and sky-high customer expectations. Having a keen understanding of how customers are consuming content provides a solid foundation for brands to conceptualise marketing strategies that will be more relevant and meaningful to their customers.