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2016 Trends: Reaching Asia’s mobile first consumers

Mobile across Asia Pacific continues to grow at a rapid rate and shows no sign of slowing. Growth in mobile means growth in internet connectivity and this should propel social network use in the region even higher over the coming years (source: eMarketer December 2015).

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have some of the world’s highest levels of social network penetration according to the eMarketer report, penetration in these countries expected to grow above 75 per cent by 2019.

Here are the key trends we have seen in Asia for 2015 whilst looking forward to next year.

1. Mobile in Asia is here to stay
Mobile is rooted heavily in our everyday lives. It’s the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last before we go to bed at night. Majority of people who log into Facebook, do so through their mobile. Facebook reaches more than 41 million people in Indonesia each day, 38 million of those through mobile. While digital ad spend in Asia-Pacific has the largest share than any region in the world, (32.3 per cent of total media ad spend – source: eMarketer, Sept 2015), it still has a long way to go if it’s going to catch up to the momentum of mobile in this region.

2. Creativity on mobile takes center stage
Self-serve ads rolled out across Instagram this year and Asia is the fastest growing market on the visual storytelling platform. There are now 400 million monthly global actives on Instagram. Instagrammers want to be visually inspired by moments captured creatively and brands that understand the power of eloquent storytelling and creatively led campaigns have the strongest success. Facebook’s Creative Shop and Marketing Science teams continue to work with businesses and agencies in the region to make sure their ads are relevant and effective.

A few great examples of where creative has worked:

Thailand: Dtac
Dtac became one of the first Instagram advertisers in Thailand when the company launched a series of aAds in Thailand in September 2015. As a result, their ads have reached 3.15 Million Thais, with an Ad Recall of 13 points and video views of 777,000.

Visuals from Brands in SEA
instagram indosat

Indonesia: Indosat

Indonesia: TRESemme

Indonesia: TRESemme

Thailand: Dtac

Thailand: Dtac

Japan: Tsuchiya Bag
This Japanese fashion brand, known for its quality leather goods, ran an ad campaign on Instagram to raise awareness among prospective customers. By using imagery that showed the owners’ affections towards the handcrafted bags, Tsuchiya achieved a significant lift in ad recall and increased its brand awareness by 6 points.

3. Multiscreening is the new norm in Asia
Nine out of 10 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam use their mobile phone while watching TV (source: eMarketer, July 2015). This includes looking up information about the program they are watching, chatting to friends, following up on television ads and scrolling their Facebook News Feed. Compared to TV, advertising on Facebook is 200 per cent more efficient in driving brand impact (Millward Brown). We are seeing more and more brands creating ad campaigns that take advantage of this simultaneous use.

4. Building for the next billion
Emerging markets are where the next billion will come online and to ensure they can connect using Facebook we are constantly designing products that work regardless of the mobile network or device. Most recently we have improved people’s News Feed experience on slower connections, allowing them to compose comments on posts whilst offline, downloading photos or stories they’re looking at first rather than the whole News Feed as well as keeping stories up to date when they have access to a strong internet connection. Another challenge has been for us to deliver video in emerging markets like India and Indonesia, where 4G networks don’t exist. We launched Slideshow, a video ad that is created from a series of still images, which can be watched on every device and connection speed. Apart from new Facebook features, our Creative Accelerator program is helping brands in high-growth countries learn the power of storytelling to bring their products to life.

5. Making Asia more open and connected
Despite Asia Pacific’s fast paced growth, there is a lot more that can be done to help people connect. We know connectivity has the power to change lives and communities for the better. A study by Deloitte last year found increased connectivity in developing countries could create another 140 million new jobs, lift 160 million people out of poverty, and reduce child mortality by seven per cent.

Connectivity helps small businesses and entrepreneurs grow. For example, Kalpana Rajesh, founder of online wedding accessories store Pelli Poola Jada has helped create jobs across the country. She started her business in 2013 with only three women making and selling bridal hair accessories. Fast forward to 2015 and the small business owner now employs more than 200 women, working across 36 branches with multiple product lines.

It’s stories like these that inspire us in our mission to make the world more open and connected.

To this end, Asia Pacific is Facebook’s largest and fastest growing region. The number of people accessing Facebook daily is at 300million as of Q3 2015, up 24 per cent from last year, while those accessing Facebook monthly is at 522 million, an 18 per cent growth. Emerging markets like Indonesia and India have contributed to this fast paced growth, spurred by the growth of mobile phones and usage in these countries.

2015 has seen us open two new offices, Taiwan in January, followed by the Thailand office opening in September. Being on the ground in these markets has allowed us to gain a better understanding of local business needs, so we can offer support and guidance to help them grow internationally. 2015 also saw our Singapore team move into their larger office space as growth in Asia Pacific continues to gain momentum.

We continue to invest in education programs to help businesses and agencies better understand how they can use our platform to support their marketing campaigns and business objectives. SMB Boost events were rolled out in Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Thailand this year and our first APAC Agency Ambassador program was recently held in Singapore with top agency representatives flown in from India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Dan Neary

Dan Neary, Vice President at Facebook, leads the global marketing solutions teams across Asia Pacific and is based in Singapore. Dan has over 25 years of executive level experience in both US-based and Asia-based roles. Prior to Facebook, he was the Vice President of Market Development at Skype, managing local marketing channels and partnerships across the regional teams in APAC, EMEA, and the Americas.