No two markets in Asia Pacific are the same, but what the
majority of the 14 markets in this region have in common is high
year on year TV inflation.
While the end result is the same, this inflation is driven by
different forces: monopolies or duopolies using their market power
(Malaysia), government intervention (commercial minutage has been
cut in Thailand) and rapidly growing economies with a limited
broadcasting market (Vietnam).
While some marketers and agencies still shy away from digital, the
fact that they are getting less and less for their investment in
traditional media is forcing the issue across the region.
At the same time, increasing internet penetration and highly
active social media users now represent a viable and effective
alternative for many.
These are markets with extremely young population profiles,
consumers who have grown up with digital and are completely
immersed in the communication opportunities it offers.
However, advertisers who want to take advantage need to be aware
of four key factors:
Firstly you need to acknowledge the vastly different digital
life-stages of each market. South Korea and Japan may be two of the
world's most connected markets but, Indonesia, while still growing
quickly, has a way to catch up at just 12% internet
In these markets with lower penetration, and in rural areas of
developed markets, internet cafés are the primary access point for
Secondly, the way consumers engage with social media varies across
APAC. China, Japan and South Korea lead the way with the most
active creators of social content in the region. More than 50% of
China's 400m internet users blog.
By contrast markets such as Australia and New Zealand are much
more passive with lots of viewing and sharing but fewer consumers
who actually create content. Understanding such dynamics will be
critical to engaging users when executing campaigns.
Thirdly, in many markets the future will be mobile led. The
thousands of islands that make up the Philippines and Indonesia
make fixed infrastructure a challenge. Mobile phones don't face
such issues and are the primary device for social access.
Finally, the dominant social media platform varies by market.
Facebook may be huge from Australia to Indonesia but it's blocked
in China and indigenous solutions, such as Mixi in Japan, own many
For you as advertisers, however, the process of testing or
increasing investment in social media doesn't vary by market. The
critical step is to set the right metrics and make sure you have
the measurement in place.
Number of Facebook fans isn't going to make stakeholders feel more
comfortable with moving money out of TV. A common evaluation metric
that lets you compare channels - such as awareness or sales - is
One business that has been brilliant at taking advantage of social
media is Chinese food producer COFCO. It created a campaign around
the company's Total Production Chain to reassure consumers at a
time of great concern about food safety.
Working with MSN, the company challenged consumers to manage the
five key stages of bringing a product to market: planting, caring,
harvesting, processing and logistics. Each player had to recruit
four friends to help them with their task and the viral nature of
the challenge attracted 24.5m unique users, boosting food safety
COFCO shows what's possible within Asia's social media landscape.
Used effectively it can provide either a standalone alternative to
TV or an impressive accompaniment that reduces your requirement for
increasingly costly TV.
Advertisers, want to know how to generate ROI from your
social media strategy? Watch
our webcast on The Impact and Influence of Social Media, part of
The Insider programme, here.