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Social Media Advertising in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

It’s an exciting time to be a digital advertiser. Ad automation software is paving the way for large-scale social media and mobile campaigns, making global scope an achievable goal for online gaming and ecommerce marketing managers looking to increase customer acquisition. As advertisers begin to assess the pros and cons of marketing internationally, having on-the-ground resources is critical. To provide insight into the high-growth Asia Pacific region, we checked in with Julia Zhou, Nanigans Account Director for APAC.

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1. What do US-based advertisers need to know about social media marketing in Asia?

Simply put, Asia is an enormous place and it’s incredibly diverse. We’re dealing with dozens of different languages, currencies, timezones, product preferences, religions, ethnicities, and cultures here.

One example is holidays and seasonal planning — in the US, marketers know that Black Friday is going to be hands-down their biggest sale day. And that is true across the entire US, so you only have to design your creatives and ad copy once. But in Asia, the equivalent to Black Friday would be Singles Day in China, Hari Raya in Indonesia, and Diwali in India. So if you’re a regional eCommerce advertiser, you’ve got to plan for multiple sale campaigns with different time frames, and you need creative in multiple languages that speaks to a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.

2. Why should advertisers factor Asia into their global campaign strategies?

Asia is a growth market. The economies of these countries are also growing at much faster rates than their North American or European counterparts. China’s economy is growing at 7%, India’s at 6%.

We only have a 35% online penetration rate, compared to 52% globally. Only one-fifth of India’s 1.3 billion people are online, but that number is growing by 14% every year. People in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. are coming online at an unprecedented rate.

That translates into hundreds of millions of people who are — for the very first time — connecting to the Internet, creating a Facebook account, installing their first mobile gaming apps, making their first eCommerce purchase. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle class.

If you’re a global brand coming to Asia, one thing to note is how much cheaper it is to advertise here. Facebook CPMs in Asia are less than a fifth of what they are in North America, Europe, or Australia.

3. What digital marketing trends have you been seeing in Asia, particularly in eCommerce?

The first one is definitely mobile. We are seeing huge eCommerce companies with highly successful web businesses actually deciding to shut down their websites to focus all their efforts solely on their mobile app. For many people in Asia, it’s not only “mobile first” but often “mobile only.” Many people cannot afford laptops or desktops, but everyone has a mobile phone.

Another trend is cross-border business. Customers in Asia have long had an affinity for Western brands — Apple is practically a religion in China — but we’re also seeing them develop strong preferences for regional brands. We have one eCommerce client who specialises in bringing Korean K-pop fashion to South East Asia, and another that sells Japanese beauty products into Singapore and Indonesia.

At some point in the life cycle of a digital company, products will reach saturation with a given audience and require expansion to new markets. Nanigans software automates large-scale advertising campaigns, taking the manual approach out of creative testing and optimization.

Interested in scaling your mobile campaigns? Take a look at our newest eBook, Level Up: The Game Developer’s Guide to Global Advertising.

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