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Market-to-market: How video consumption varies in APAC

It’s no secret that digital video is big business in Asia Pacific. According to eMarketer, the region accounted for some 1.1 billion digital video viewers in 2017. And there are no signs of online video consumption slowing down: Zenith has projected that in 2018, smartphone penetration in the region will rise to between 80 per cent–90 per cent, which means that even more people will be interacting with a handheld device.

Even though the numbers for digital views in Asia Pacific are huge that doesn’t necessarily mean that the audience has shifted online entirely. The way people across the region consume video is unique and it’s crucial for brands to think carefully about their approach in each of these markets.

Which screen reigns supreme?
When it comes to where those throughout Asia Pacific are casting their eyes, it’s important to note that even though online is booming, regular old TV is still king in certain emerging markets. According to a study conducted by Consumer Barometer, over 80 per cent of Singaporeans watch regular TV on a TV set, and that number is above 95 per cent in Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Comparatively, digital video views peak at 79 per cent in Vietnam and bottom out at 36 per cent in Indonesia.

However, the preference for television is changing rapidly. In Singapore, for example, smartphone ownership has exceeded television ownership. Coupled with the fact that people across the region are slowly beginning to use their trusty television sets to stream online content, a shift from television to mobile over the next few years seems likely.

What’s more, video consumption is no longer relegated to one’s daily commute or at the checkout aisle at Cold Storage. It is very much a phenomenon that’s happening all day – every day.

In APAC, capture attention quickly

It is for these same reasons marketers are making a big deal about digital video views in APAC. The kicker here is that attention must be captured quickly. According to internal Facebook analysis, “people scroll through [Facebook] mobile News Feed 41 per cent faster than desktop News Feed.” What that means for autoplaying video, specifically, is that people are only viewing them for an average of approximately 17 seconds. As for video ads? That number goes down to an average of around 6 seconds.

But don’t think that six seconds is too short of a time to make an impact – in fact, an independent Fors-Marsh study found that mobile viewers can recall mobile news feed content after watching for just a quarter of a second. This ad recall information is actually great news, especially for pre-roll ads – 94 per cent of which are skipped on mobile, especially by millennials – because even if they only see a snippet of the content before skipping, they are likely to remember it.

What’s a brand to do?

Focus on reaching Consumers throughout the day
Since most people across Asia Pacific are on their phones during the day, it’s possible to connect with them more often. As Vittorio Bonori, Global Brand President of Zenith Global, put it, “By reaching consumers at the right occasions with tailored messages, brands can guide them through the consumer journey more effectively.”

One company who effectively leveraged this strategy was Sunsilk Philippines, a haircare company who created video content designed to target its audience on mobile platforms during the morning, afternoon and evening, showcasing how to use their products for maximum results at those times of the day.

Consider the effect of multiscreening
While the number of people in Asia Pacific who look at a device while watching TV are lower than the global average, a significant portion of people are multiscreening, and the trend is likely to grow as broadband Internet and WiFi networks become widespread in emerging markets. As the trend grows across APAC, brands can leverage this split-screen focus by placing ads on both television and online.

A successful example of this is how Maybelline leveraged a campaign with Asia’s Next Top Model. In addition to having its products featured on the reality series, the personal care brand created a supplemental digital video series for Facebook and Youtube and resulted in millions of unique views they otherwise would not have received.

Remember that not all platforms are equal in APAC
Just as there are multiple languages and cultures across Asia Pacific, certain countries prefer certain platforms – Youtube is king in Indonesia, for example, while WeChat is the top social media site in China. Be in the know about where your audience is spending their time online and optimise your campaign for that platform.

Nick Erskine-Shaw

Nick Erskine-Shaw is the Co-Founder and VP Strategic Growth for 90 Seconds.
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