The survey, State of the industry: Mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific, which will be revealed during the Mobile MMA Forum 2013 Singapore this afternoon, was conducted in July and August with 336 client-side advertisers and marketing services agencies across 13 markets in Asia-Pacific: India, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The findings showed that mobile isn’t yet a priority for brand owners, with only 4 per cent of respondents saying their clients have formal mobile marketing strategies, while 66 per cent saying “a few” (37 per cent) or “hardly any” (29 per cent) have such strategies.
A majority of respondents (80 per cent) said 10 per cent or less of marketing budgets is being allocated to the mobile platform.
Privacy and security are considered by most respondents (42 per cent) as the biggest barriers to the growth of mobile marketing in the region, followed by the lack of required skills (38 per cent) and insufficient budgets (30 per cent).
In addition, the results also revealed that mobile is often disconnected from other marketing activities. Only 27 per cent of respondents said their mobile activities are closely linked to other marketing activities, while 32 per cent said only slightly connected.
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, called mobile “the platform that enables the whole digital evolution and revolution” via a video discussion at the MMA Forum this morning.
With more brands seeing the critical role of mobile, an increase in budget for mobile marketing is expected to happen next year. More than half of the respondents (51 per cent) in the survey said their clients expect to increase marketing budgets up to 25 per cent, while 34 per cent of them said spending will increase by 26 to 75 per cent over the next 12 months.
However, Leonardo O'Grady, director ASEAN integrated marketing and communications at Coca-Cola Asia Pacific, doesn’t expect to see significant direct investment in mobile. “Mobile is still unfortunately seen as a ‘nice-to-have’ to advertisers, compared to mediums like TV,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific at the MMA Forum. “We will see an increase in budget for mobile, but it will be used to transit initiatives through mobile.”
“We will also see increasing use of mobile in big campaigns, but most marketers still don’t take it as a critical part of the overall marketing strategy to connect consumers with their campaigns,” he said. “There are still a few years to go before we see that happen.”
“The bigger picture is advertising and marketing, which are done by consumers, and mobile helps brands connect the rest of the mediums,” Rohit Dadwal, managing director of Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Marketers need to put mobile in the heart of the campaign.”
In the survey, more than one third of the respondents (39 per cent) considered Japan as the most innovative market for mobile, followed by Singapore (38 per cent), China (37 per cent) and South Korea (36 per cent), But a majority of marketers (53 per cent) find it “somewhat difficult” to transfer mobile marketing strategies between Asia-Pacific countries.
The findings showed that technology and FMCG brands have dominated innovation in the mobile space in the region, with Samsung (30 per cent) leading the way, followed by Coca Cola (16 per cent), Nike (10 per cent) and Unilever (8 per cent).
In terms of industry, 40 per cent of mobile marketers said the most innovative industry on mobile is retail, followed by drink and beverage (31 per cent), financial services (31 per cent), leisure and entertainment (28 per cent), and telecoms (28 per cent).
“It’s important for advertisers to set the right expectation and innovation plan, which will give them more confidence to invest in mobile,” Edward Pank, managing director of Warc Asia Pacific told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
“Cost of technology and data is different in these markets, as well as culture issues,” he said. “Although some of the smaller Asian countries are considered less innovative, there are still many opportunities in these countries, where mobile plays a huge role in people’s lives.”
“The key criteria of innovation is where the idea comes from and if it’s interesting enough for people to share,” O’Grady said. “Also, brands need to make sure their mobile marketing strategy is liquid and linked, and has to be operated on mobile, which is the engine to bring all the ideas together and help make the idea bigger and user experience richer.”
Other topics in the survey included types of mobile marketing and advertising. App development (55 per cent) and mobile display ads including in-app ads (43 per cent) are marketers’ top two choices in 2013 and 2014, but their popularity will drop to 43 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, in 2018.
On the other hand, the current third runner, mobile-based social marketing (41 per cent), is expected to become the most used channel (49 per cent) in 2018.
Location-based marketing will continue to be the No.1 choice of mobile technology for marketers, with 79 per cent planning to use it now and 71 per cent expecting to use it in five years. However, QR codes, which are used by 65 per cent of marketers in 2013/14, will lose importance as 21 per cent of them will drop it in 2018.
Consumer behaviours around mobile are different. The survey found 74 per cent of the respondents consider mobile payments the most significant consumer behaviour made possible by mobile, followed by multiscreening (67 per cent), showrooming (51 per cent), photo-sharing (30 per cent) and watching video (28 per cent).