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Southeast Asians are heaviest users of FB globally: AOL report

Southeast Asians are the heaviest users of Facebook – 69 per cent watch or read something on the site every day, compared to 51 per cent globally. Even in the US the figure reached just 60 per cent, a report by AOL found.

Smartphone owners in southeast Asia love to use their devices to watch video, more than any other way of viewing. About 72 per cent of consumers in the region watch online video on their smartphones on a daily basis, compared to 60 per cent who watch on a computer or 28 per cent who watch on a connected TV with the same regularity.

More than half (55 per cent) of the region’s consumers said they expected to be watching even more online video in the next six months, compared to a world average of just 36 per cent.

In most other parts of the world, whilst it’s close, computers (laptops and desktops) still account for a high proportion of daily online video users; in the US, for example, 70 per cent of those viewing online video content daily will use their computer, against 67 per cent who will use their smartphone. The only exception globally is Japan, where more people view video on smartphones, matching the consumption levels in southeast Asia.

Videos, videos and more videos
In the UK, just 52 per cent of daily viewers of online video watch on their smartphone.
The most common reason for viewing on a smartphone, given by 68 per cent of respondents in southeast Asia, was the ability to watch videos anywhere. That even extends to work: whilst 94 per cent said they watch at home, 37 per cent also watch at work, higher than in USA (32 per cent) or UK (16 per cent).

Southeast Asian consumers are far less likely to watch video on their tablets – just 28 per cent on a daily basis – perhaps because they do not have connectivity beyond their home wifi. This is in-line with the global average, although in the US 37 per cent of consumers will watch online video on their tablet on a daily basis.

The region’s online video viewers are more social in their consumption of online video as almost half (49 per cent) discover online video through their social news feed, compared to a global average of 36 per cent. About two in three viewers (65 per cent) discover video web series content (such as Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee) through social, compared to 52 per cent of views globally. They are much more likely to post on social media feed if they find a video they like – 60 per cent said they do this, compared to just 35 per cent globally.

Southeast Asians expect to watch more video on social media feeds this year. Around 54 per cent said this was likely, compared to 50 per cent in the US and just 28 per cent in the UK. They are more likely to create live content, such as Facebook Live and Periscope as well – 40 per cent create it at least once a week, against a global average of 31 per cent and just 10 per cent in Australia

Not only are southeast Asian viewers leading the charge in mobile video, they’re also experimenting with new, emerging immersive formats, the report found. Around 35 per cent watch live video content daily (including Facebook Live, Periscope and TV live streams), compared to 20 per cent globally. About 56 per cent engage with virtual reality at least once a month, compared to 37 per cent globally. 66 per cent people in the region engage with 360 video once a month, compared with 38 per cent globally. Around 62 per cent engage with augmented reality, compared with 36 per cent globally.

Mobile video spends to rise
The AOL study also asked advertisers and publishers about the opportunities they saw for the mobile video space. Overall, three quarters of publishers in the region expect to see an increase in demand for video advertising in 2017, with a quarter of buyers expecting to increase their spend on mobile video by more than 50 per cent this year.

Retargeting TV ads onto mobile devices is one area of particular interest for advertisers in the region – 21 per cent saw it as the biggest opportunity for mobile video; a further 17 per cent believed it was short form video (under one minute).

To cater for the growing demand advertisers are creating lighter ads that load faster on mobile devices, although 43 per cent of agencies admit that high load times are causing them to spend less on mobile video advertising. Overall, though, it was the quality of the creative, cited by almost a third (30 per cent) of buyers and publishers, that was seen as the biggest obstacle to the growth of mobile video.

Anita Caras, Head of International Research and Consumer Insights, says the research highlights the differences in the local market. “In many ways we have sidestepped the big screen to small screen migration here in Asia. Many online video consumers in this region have moved straight to their smartphones, for the convenience and constant access. That’s vital in an area where so much video consumption is linked to social media notifications and shares. And it’s a huge opportunity for advertisers, who can use intelligent targeting to present powerful video creative at vital stages in a consumer’s engagement with a brand.”

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.
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