In fact, telcos in APAC direct more than 90 percent of their marketing spend to traditional channels like TV because it’s "what they’re used to," Jane Schachtel, global head of technology and mobile strategy at Facebook, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile they spend only 4.5 percent on mobile marketing.
“The very industry responsible for the largest shift in consumer behaviour in recent history should adapt their business to that shift,” Schachtel said.
Facebook has ramped up its efforts to help telco operators in Southeast Asia better engage with mobile consumers. The social platform wants to help APAC telcos own the entire customer journey on mobile.
The main problem facing telcos is not brand awareness, but differentiation in what is often a very “tight market”, said Schachtel.
“To many consumers, their telco has become no more than a SIM card,” she added. “The challenge is to extend the customer relationship beyond just the SIM.”
Instagram now included
In September, Facebook made its advertising platform available in the Asia Pacific region, and since then more brands in the region have signed up to execute campaigns.
For example, Schachtel pointed to a recent effort the company conducted with Dtac in Thailand via Instagram. The branding campaign was centred on bringing “connectivity to life".
The use of Instagram is a new inclusion to many telcos’ existing activity with Facebook, which has begun to gain momentum in the last year.
For example in Indonesia, Indosat used Facebook to promote its ‘Super Internet’ service.
In less than six weeks, the brand recorded a 19-point lift in ad recall among 25- to 40-year-olds, according to Nielsen’s Brand Effect.
“We gained 26,000 new subscribers thanks to our Facebook activity,” said Prashant Gokarn, chief strategy and planning officer, Indosat. “And unlike other ad platforms, we were able to accurately measure the return on investment.”
Beyond campaigns to the journey
As one of the most popular mobile apps in use in the region, Facebook and Instagram are already mainstay channels in any media plan.
But the company has expanded its pitch to telcos, moving beyond running campaigns on its platform to enabling a more sustained engagement point with consumers.
“We’re offering a way to own and manage their entire customer journey on Facebook,” said Schachtel. “From brand awareness, product launches, subscriber acquisition, upselling, to support and retention.”
She added that telcos in many Southeast Asia countries, including Thailand, aren’t aware of who is on their network.
“With the identity platform that Facebook is, and additional insights on what operator network or what device a user is on, marketers can precisely target the right audience,” said Schachtel.
Combined with the telco’s own data, a robust and dynamic picture of users emerges that can be leveraged to execute initiatives such as identifying when a user is in the market for a new phone or open to additional products.
In addition, telcos can use support apps that open up avenues to re-engage with users post-purchase and become channels for in-app conversions.
“For example, with churn prevention, we can be a telco’s strategic partner in identifying users and delivering programmes that that will build brand loyalty, Schachtel added.
“The customers’ journey is ongoing, evolving, over time, on mobile,” she said. “Telcos can reach them about any of these messages, any time where they are spending their time.”
Asked how many telcos in the region the company is working with, Schachtel said that it works with “most of the major players” in every market to varying extents.
“It’s a matter of understanding and adapting to a mobile-first environment, and many telcos are open about having this conversation,” she added.