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The leapfrog – why SE Asia is the king of the video clip

Sometimes it helps being behind the eight ball. Most parts of Southeast Asia have been slow on broadband take-up, simply because the fixed line infrastructure wasn’t as pervasive as in Europe, Australia or the Americas. That’s why, in Indonesia, for example, 27 per cent of internet traffic was mobile last year, compared to just five per cent in the US (according to Cisco’s Virtual Network index).

Across Asia Pacific, including Australia, Cisco sees mobile rising to 26 per cent of all internet traffic by 2021, with the US expecting just 9 per cent of mobile IP traffic by then.

This region’s love of mobiles is demonstrated further in the latest global State of the Video Industry Report from AOL. It shows how almost three quarters of online consumers in Southeast Asia watch video on their smartphones daily, compared to a global average of just 57 per cent. Even in Australia, which boasts some of the fastest mobile internet speeds in the world, only 40 per cent of people watch video on their smartphone each day.

Not only are we leading the world in our appetite for mobile video, we show no sign of relenting. Fifty-five per cent of consumers in the region say they expect to watch more online video in the next six months – way more than Australia (25 per cent) or the global average (36 per cent).

Short is beautiful
As you might expect, with a predilection for watching online videos on small screens, our appetite is greater for short form video. Forty-seven per cent of us watch clips of a minute or less each day, compared to just 28 per cent who will watch a 20-minute video daily. As the diagram shows, not only does the proportion of viewers reduce with length of video, so does the differential with the global average. We’re far more likely to watch a one minute video daily, but only a bit more likely to watch a 20-minute video. Twenty minutes on a smartphone screen might seem like a recipe for eyestrain and a visit to the optician, but a lot of us still do it.

Opportunity abounds
Lots of people watching lots of video on smartphones sounds like a dream come true for advertisers. We know the brand enhancing impact of video – that’s why TV has been so popular for so long. And for decades retail marketers have been looking for ways to get to consumers when they are out of the house, closer to a point of purchase. Reaching consumers with video out of Wi-Fi or fixed connections hasn’t been readily available to these marketers, until now. Mobile video gives the power to build a brand and reach a consumer close to a retail outlet.

But it gets better. The AOL research shows most consumers, particularly in this region, don’t mind seeing video ads, so long as they are well targeted. As the table below shows, we’re more likely to accept video advertising so long as it’s relevant, entertaining and, potentially, interactive.

Wow! A compelling form of advertising, that consumers want, delivered to a device that is central to their lives and used whilst out and about, probably with some spare cash in their pocket. Let’s not underplay this – there has never been an opportunity like this in the history of marketing.

And southeast Asia is ahead of the rest of the planet, because we turned to mobiles faster than most. Sometimes it’s good to leapfrog ahead of the pack. If you’re a marketer, you need to ask yourself: are you taking advantage of this windfall?

Alex Khan

Alex Khan is the Managing Director APAC at Smaato.