Carlo Ople of Dentsu JaymeSyfu shares three factors defining the digital agenda, with corresponding action points for brands and agencies.
On the back of strong year-on-year economic growth, the Philippines is now being called the rising star of Asia by economists and analysts all over the globe. The boom is also something that we're seeing in the digital and technology industry in the country. Budgets are now starting to flow for digital campaigns and product development.
The rapid change can catch marketers off-balance so we need to have solid footing by knowing the ever changing local digital landscape. Here are three key trends that continue to define the digital agenda and DNA of the Philippines and corresponding action points for clients and agencies.
1. Mobile-first country
Millions of Filipinos go online for the first time in their lives not on laptops or desktops but on mobile devices. Local companies who import and rebrand low cost China-made smartphones continue to make a killing in sales. Estimates show that the top three local smartphone companies are selling at least half a million units every month.
Several marketers and agencies have started to capitalise on this trend by shifting to mobile-optimised and -oriented content. While there are still a lot of 'traditional' branded viral videos being produced, there's more focus now on making sure that the content can stop the scrolling and swiping thumbs of Filipinos on smartphones
2. Finally: Fragmentation of social
The Philippines has been known to be a "Facebook country" with over 96 percent of Internet users registered on the social network. For the last few years most of the budgets would always go to Facebook and Google (YouTube).
However things have started to change. Filipinos are becoming more sophisticated with their use and needs for social media. Last year was a banner year for three platforms: Twitter, Twitch, and Snapchat.
Twitter ushered in the multi-screen era for the Philippines. One TV variety show called Eat Bulaga had a world record breaking feat of hitting 41 million tweets in 24 hours for one of its segments, called "Aldub". The trend is now habit as millions of Filipinos tweet across the day as they watch their favourite TV programs.
Twitch and Snapchat are the fast-rising stars of social in the country. According to Global Web Index roughly 18 to 20 percent of Filipino Internet users use either platform.
The Silicon Valley giants have taken notice of the growth. Facebook and Google have local offices on the Philippines. Twitter, while based in Singapore, has a lot of direct clients locally. Snapchat has yet to set up an office in Asia. The order of the day for clients and agencies is collaboration with these companies, and not just buying advertising from them.
3. (Slow) rise of creators
Ever since the rise of social, Filipinos have been mostly sharers, likers and commenters. However in the last two years we saw the slow but steady rise of a generation of independent Filipino creators. There's a shift of influence from traditional bloggers to YouTube creators and vloggers.
Creative output will no longer be the sole domain of agencies. In the next few months we will see more Creators co-create stories with brands because it comes out cheaper and faster.
How do we respond as marketers? We can start by diving into the local creator scene and knowing who these people are and finding out why they are racking of hundreds of thousands of video views daily.
These are just three out of the many major changes that we've started to see in the local landscape. The scary part is that market adoption of new tools and platforms is starting to be just as fast. The challenge for marketers, client and agencies alike, is to take more calculated risks by embracing the ever-changing nature of digital. If ever there was a good time to be a rebel in our industry, this is it.
Carlo Ople is chief digital officer with Dentsu JaymeSyfu