Global vs. local: how locality shapes campaign success

BBC’s commercial leaders share lessons from Asia-Pacific

Global vs. local: how locality shapes campaign success

When it comes to measuring campaigns, universally and without exception every client wants the same thing: success. Where clients are investing spend into any kind of advertising, whatever form it may take or whatever platform it may go on, they want a positive outcome. The key to achieving this is knowing and understanding not only what this success will look like for your client but also how you will get there. We believe ultimately this success (and the route to it) looks different in every country across Asia-Pacific.

At BBC StoryWorks and BBC Global News Advertising Sales we work with clients across this diverse area, taking into account a number of variations, from media landscape and popular use of media, to cultural and religious differences. Each of these nuances can have a huge impact on not only what content you create but how you measure this success and how you ultimately then present this to the client in a way that works for them.

After working in media and advertising for over 20 years between us, in APAC, building campaigns for global, regional or national clients we’ve built up a key set of rules for ensuring that these differences don’t hinder your success.

Understand your clients’ view of success

What success looks like for your client can differ hugely from market to market. This needs to be at the top of your consideration list not only when creating the content but when pulling together your results. Between China and Australia, for example, we’ve found the differences in measurement expectations are huge. Australia is one of the most digitally forward nations in the world and this creates a huge need from clients and companies to be particularly granular in the ROI of their campaigns. With a high penetration of social media many companies are concentrating on engagement, likes, clickthroughs and shares. They are accustomed to being able to break down their campaigns to the smallest level and present their ROI very specifically back to their stakeholders. Breaking down all data is extremely high, with engagement measurements across platforms looking into not only how people are engaging with your content but for how long for as well as where they have come from.

Our China clients are a different story altogether. Coming from the largest exporter of goods in the world, our clients are often more concerned with driving brand engagement and perception on a global scale. We see many clients now coming out of China who want to concentrate on changing the overall perception of their brand globally and not necessarily just focus purely on the detailed data results. They are interested in how the campaign has changed the emotional perception of their brand across the globe and this cannot be done by purely presenting engagement or viewing data, you need to concentrate on finding qualitative results to present higher-level emotional outcomes. This can be achieved by looking outside your traditional measurement methods.  Consider using third party research company or emotional engagement tools (for us it’s our BBC StoryWorks’ Science of Engagement facial recognition technology) or look at pulling together your own global focus groups and networks to enable you to gather qualitative data on the campaign.

Another important factor that can differ drastically across markets is which platforms your audience are using within each country. The media mix on which your campaign sits can have a huge effect not only on your ability to measure and present results effectively but also in the way in which you strive to create this measurement for your clients.

If we compare India and Australia, we see a huge difference in the ability to create data sets for measurement purely due to the platforms involved. As a very TV heavy market, India will give you less granular measurement. Take this as an opportunity invest in your company, put together focus groups, build a local network so that you can still give your client the feedback and data that they deserve. Invest in third party research panels and go out of your way to make sure you represent your client and understand the different levels of measurement that can be achieved.

Australia, with its higher digital penetration means content will sit across a mix of social media and digital platforms rather than TV adverts. This can be both a blessing and a curse requiring a detailed breakdown and a more sophisticated presentation of their results. It’s not just about showing them the numbers, you need to be able to paint a picture of your campaign with the data.

Shared success

When considering the measurement and ultimate success of your campaign you must consider how shareable your content is in each country.

India has a the second-biggest mobile market with large numbers of social media users. However, India also has a very low Wi-Fi connectivity rate compared to other developed markets. This means that half of social media users in India are relying on their data on their phone, creating an extremely data-sensitive market scenario. Long, high-resolution video content for sharing on social media in India may not work for mass audiences. Look at creating engaging, static images or low data videos that can be shared easily without burning through data. Note that Instagram has started ‘Instagram lite’ in India to capture more data-sensitive users.

Countries with more developed Wi-fi infrastructure and free data usage like Singapore, Hong Kong or Japan, naturally elicit more free sharing and less worry over data. This encourages more data-rich videos to engage audiences.

Platforms and cultural preferences

Naturally, you must also take into account preferred platforms in each country. In Japan, Facebook lags far behind Twitter in user penetration and growth, while in India, Facebook usage far outpaces Twitter. Don’t forget more localized social media platforms such as Weibo or WeChat in China  and Line in Thailand which can garner huge shares of their respective markets.

A successful campaign also requires being consistently aware of cultural sensibilities in any campaign content.  Imagery around drinking alcohol, showing certain body parts and interactions between men and women will have different levels of familiarity and acceptance depending on religious diversities throughout the region.  Likewise, images of maps and land boundaries can easily spark a nationalist backlash around disputed territories.

Lastly but most certainly not least, one of the most important factors when measuring a campaign is the emotional engagement that it produced from your audience. Be aware that there are differences in how different cultures will emotionally engage with different content and be aware of why this is important. At BBC StoryWorks we are constantly cognizant of different potential responses between regions and we pride ourselves on using our storytelling heritage at the BBC to continually create campaigns that specifically target the audience taking into account all of the above. 

Using your regional knowledge to your advantage, whether in terms of how you measure, the story you tell or how you build your creative is imperative to achieving success and we believe that if you arm yourself with as much knowledge about your client and the region as you can it will put you in a great starting place to running a successful campaign.

John Williams is vice president at BBC Advertising Sales for BBC Global News and Nicola Eliot is director of BBC StoryWorks, APAC 

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