Did you know there are more Facebook users in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region than in North America and Europe combined? Led by India and Indonesia, this vast region has come to represent an important part of the revenues of Facebook and other social networks. Looking specifically at ad spend, many of the region’s major markets including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are set to see digital ad expenditures increase by double digits in 2018. Across the region, digital advertising spending as a share of total media ad spending hit 48.8% in 2018, and is forecast to rise to 53.5% in 2020.
Adding China to the mix, where Facebook is blocked, the APAC region counted 1.664 billion active social media users in September 2017, up 17% from the same Kepsio survey in 2016.
The APAC region cannot be ignored, but how should you approach your social media advertising there? Can you simply use the same strategies you do in North America or Europe? We’d argue that you can’t and, from our experience, here are three major things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t have one APAC strategy
The APAC region is vast and culturally diverse, so unlike North America, and to some extent Europe, you can’t employ a single advertising strategy for the whole region. From Australia, to China, Thailand, India and South Korea there are not only huge cultural differences, but the platforms of choice for social media users are similarly disparate. While Facebook dominates in India and Australia, in China it’s all about WeChat, with 902 million daily users and 38 billion messages sent on the platform every day! Elsewhere, Twitter has been hugely successful in Japan, while Facebook and Instagram are a distant fifth and sixth most popular platforms in South Korea behind leaders Kakao Talk and YouTube.
While it’s probably not what you want to hear, a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work in APAC. Breaking the greater region down by sub-regions like South-East Asia and Oceania, for example, could be useful.
Paragone and Socialyse team members enjoy a rooftop
bubbly in Singapore
2. Not everyone is mobile-first
While social media use across APAC is mostly mobile-first, not everyone is. Take for example India, where smartphone penetration is currently at just 36%. While social media usage and brand engagement is high, many users can’t be reached via mobile. Take this into account in your social media advertising, and ensure you optimize your ads for the devices users in each country are most likely to be using.
3. E-commerce is booming
Throughout many APAC countries, e-commerce has until now lagged behind. In Singapore, for example, e-commerce sales over the last few years pales in comparison to those of western markets, despite high internet connectivity and mobile penetration. According to BusinessInsider, this has traditionally been due to continuing retail dominance and the prevalence of cash over electronic payment methods, amongst other factors.
It looks as though the tide is changing, however, with recent Accenture analysis suggesting APAC e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 300 percent to US$2.6 trillion by 2020. Millennials are key to this growth, and since they represent more than 45 percent of the region’s population, the trend looks set to continue.
Speaking of e-commerce, have you read our ‘Ultimate Guide to Summer Sales Success’ yet? This new eBook runs you through everything you need to know to ensure you get the most out of your retail or e-commerce sales period, using Facebook and Instagram advertising! Learn all about different ad formats and optimizations, and take your social ads to the next level!
Paragone in APAC
Since Paragone was founded in 2009, we’ve enjoyed watching the social media advertising industry grow in APAC and have had the opportunity to work with some of the region’s leading brands.
We’ve led a number of in-person trainings with our clients in the region, and have enjoyed building strong relationships with the APAC teams of our global clients like Socialyse and Social.Lab.
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