What have been the major changes in Asia’s online advertising industry?
Referring to social media and related devices, Andy Radovic, managing director of interaction at Outrider in Japan, says there has been a shift from paid to earned media or media that is gained through promotional efforts and editorial.
Sean de Cuirteis, director of digital for MEC Interaction in North Asia, agrees that the type of digital advertising has changed and adds that clients have realised they need to start spending in the digital channel.
John Kerr, regional digital director at Edelman Digital in Asia-Pacific, says despite all the hype at the end of 2008 and rather than jump in with both feet, clients have become more educated. "Reach must now be coupled with experience and engagement. Advertisements must tell stories as part of an integrated online program fashioned to get consumers to actually care."
According Mark Cripps, regional director for Asia at MRM Worldwide, the industry is finally coming of age. “There has been a notable change in the amount of budgets switching to the digital space.” He also notes a marked shift in the nature of briefs from a request for short-term tactical campaigns to a more strategic perspective looking at the role of digital across the whole consumer decision-making process in the long term.
With regards to the effect of the recession, Radovic adds that despite climbing since early 2010, digital rates are mostly still below pre-crisis averages.
How has your approach to online advertising changed?
Amanda King, president and managing partner at Tribal DDB Asia-Pacific, says trends in social media and video have been the key drivers behind their strategies over the last year. She adds that local insight is key and questions like ‘What are they doing? What turns them on?’ is ever more important.
Again referring to the importance of engagement, Kerr says they are focusing on how to craft conversational online marketing. “It's one thing to drive consumers to a Facebook page - ensuring that the page is interesting, vibrant and has conversational content and discussion is now becoming an increasingly important part of the sales process.
Which brands in Asia generated the most buzz online?
Citing MRM Worldwide research, Cripps says the most buzz i.e. volumes of conversation, was created by brands operating in categories dominated by the youth market including sportswear, fast food, fashion and consumer electronics. He mentions Nike, adidas, McDonald’s, KFC, Coke, Levis, Gap, Apple and Google amongst others.
Kerr on the other hand, says the results of Edelman’s digital brand index indicated that Microsoft, Google and local telcos reign in terms of social media conversations around technology brands.
Speaking about creating the right kind of buzz, de Cuirteis goes on to say that The Langham Place campaign in Hong Kong generated a lot of buzz for the wrong reasons. According to him, campaigns that generated the right kind of buzz and stood out include the Dell Storm campaign in Singapore and the Sony blogger engagement campaign in Hong Kong.
Have you seen more local brands online?
King says yes and mentions that government has really picked up too. “If you are not in the space you would seriously have to question your relevance in the market.”
Cripps agrees and says the situation is improving with the significantly increased presence from the likes of China Mobile, Samsung, Sony, LG, Lenovo, Canon, Toyota, Cathay Pacific, AirAsia, HSBC and Honda amongst others.
Yong Hwee, director of interactive marketing at patroids, says he has definitely seen more local brands online. “With the lower cost of entry in Facebook and Foursquare, local brands are beginning to leverage on them.”
Agreeing with the rest, de Cuirties hints that while local brands are moving online, they are not spending as much as they perhaps could or should.
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