Racheal Lee
Dec 11, 2013

Brands have a golden opportunity to fill Asia's content gap

ASIA-PACIFIC – Consumers are craving more content, creating an opportunity for brands and publishers to fulfill their hunger, according to the Wave 7 social-media study conducted by UM.

Brands have a golden opportunity to fill Asia's content gap

According to the annual social-media research, video consumption is the most popular online activity for 84 per cent of Asians. Yet only 33 per cent stated that they create videos to post online.

Prashant Kumar, president of IPG Mediabrands, World Markets Asia, noted that Wave 7 identified that consumers will connect with brands that meet five basic needs.

The survey cited relationship (58 per cent), diversion (51 per cent), recognition (53 per cent), progression (39 per cent) and learning (49 per cent) as the five key needs that underpin all consumer interactions. 

“By answering these needs, and by combining technology, social platforms and media in a more cohesive way, brands can put themselves in an extremely powerful position,” he said.

The survey noted that some 82 per cent of Asians said visiting brand websites fulfilled their need for “learning” and keeping themselves up to date. They visit brand websites for several primary reasons, including learning more about the brand (80 per cent), to get advance news about products (82 per cent) and to get free content (76 per cent).

The content gap

Reading blogs is another core content-consumption activity among APAC users (81 percent). However, only 58 per cent actively post to blogs. 

China is leading the trend, with some 85 per cent of internet users actively reading blogs and 64 per cent actively writing them. Indonesians are the second most voracious blog consumers at  83 per cent, but only 38 per cent actively write blogs. In Singapore 62 per cent read blogs but only 28 per cent write them.

Wave 7 states that microblogging sites are showing some of the highest growth globally (52 per cent), with China leading the way with 86 per cent of internet users active on Sina Weibo to stay in touch with friends (51 per cent) and to express themselves (50 per cent). 

Next in the ranking, Indonesians (69 per cent), who view this platform as a leisure activity (52 per cent) and use it to express and share emotions (49 per cent). The adoption of microblogging in Singapore is slow, at only 40 per cent.

Filipinos ranked microblogging highest for its ability to foster human relationships (65 per cent). An equal percentage of Malaysians and the Filipinos (58 per cent) said microblogging fulfills the need for recognition and self-promotion. They also view social media as a means of distraction and passing time (54 per cent). 

Thais topped the ranks in APAC for using social networks for advancing their careers (45 per cent), while learning was a critical motivation for social networking in the Philippines.

The usage of professional social networks has shown the fastest growth in the past year, growing from 9 per cent  last year to 52 per cent this year. In Singapore, use of such networks has grown from 35 per cent last year to 51 per cent this year.

Emerging markets in the Southeast Asia region, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, are increasingly seeing social media as essential to improving social status, with 30 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively, agreeing it helps build career and financial opportunities. 

South Koreans, meanwhile, were the least keen (25 per cent) in the APAC region to use social networking for career advancement opportunities. 

The research also detailed how Singapore, Southeast Asia and the wider APAC region have seen increasing mobility and device ownership, particularly smartphones, laptops, tablets, mini tablets and internet-connected TVs.

The laptop still gets cited as the most versatile device globally (80 per cent) and across APAC (83 per cent), except for Korea, where mobile infrastructure makes smartphones the most dominant device owned (84 per cent) over laptops (65 per cent). 

Singaporeans lead in laptop and tablet ownership, at 90 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively. China and Hong Kong, however, topped the charts for the smartphone category with 90 per cent ownership. Singapore's smartphone ownership is at 88 per cent, significantly higher than Southeast Asia and the global user base, both at 73 per cent.

Worthy of consumption

The survey underscores what Trendwatching.com has branded ‘infolust’,  the strong desire for never-before-seen pieces of content. Trendwatching calls ‘infolust’ a basic human need, symbolising the need for power and empowerment as well as being in the know.

Nick Pan, digital planning director at VML Qais, noted that brands need to make consumers’ life more enjoyable and easier to really connect with them. 

“Brands need to ask themselves how they can make a positive impact into the lives of their customers and non customers alike in a sustainable way,” he said. “Brand building has always been a long-term strategy, and meaningful digital platforms are something brands should seriously consider.”

However, the conservative Asian culture has also caused the lesser-than-expected content submission, especially for video and photos. Kimberley Olsen, business development director of Vocanic Singapore, noted that Asians might not feel as comfortable as other populations with producing videos of themselves.

“Videos also require more effort to produce than a simple click and submit as that of a camera phone,” she said. “Other ways to reward fans for watching branded videos could come in the form of exclusive social vouchers and offers that are shared at the end of each video to further encourage purchase decisions.


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