One often hears about businesses running 'at speed'. But businesses running at internet speed out of Asia can operate at a pace that can be on an entirely different level.
Such is the example of the influencer marketing platform Partipost which claims to have the "fastest growing network of influencers across Asia."
Co-founded by Jonathan Eg, Tony Jen and Benyamin Ramli in Singapore in 2016, Partipost launched its mobile app in 2018 and quickly began doubling and tripling its influencer userbase every month, attracting the attention of financial backers like SPH Ventures and Quest Ventures.
From its early operations in Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia, it quickly expanded into six markets, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, and will expand to Thailand and Vietnam in a few months.
As of early 2023, Partipost has over 900,000 registered 'micro influencers', working with over 3,500 global brands and managing over 10,000 campaigns across six markets in Asia.
Overcoming challenges with technology
Partipost co-founder and head of Taiwan, Tony Jen, tells Campaign the platform definitely experienced some growing pains in their operation as they grew so quickly. Jen admits that as a regional team working from Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, executing projects in different markets with different cultures and religious beliefs was challenging.
“While Hong Kong and Taiwan are smaller but more mature markets, Southeast Asia markets have a larger scale, and it is the two-way process of learning from experience that helps us rapidly grow in the region”, he added.
The right technology and partnerships are also critical when developing certain markets. Jen says his team developed a highly adaptable set of technological tools which can be applied despite market limitations, which he credits for their quick launch in Hong Kong last December.
For a recent ‘Fly to Harbour City’ campaign in Hong Kong, influencers at Partipost created over 900 pieces of content that reached over 3 million audiences and generated more than 200,000 organic engagements, with month-over-month growth of Google trend increasing by over 20%, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand.
Just four months later, the firm partnered with Dentsu X in Taiwan to build a community for content creators in Taiwan and share their influencers network.
According to Jen, top media agencies like Dentsu X tend to work more with top KOLs, while Partipost penetrates deeper into the market with micro-influencers and KOCs. To make micro-influencer campaigns work on a larger scale, they need to have technology to make multi-pronged campaigns more efficient.
While authentic brand storytelling of microinfluencer campaign may be the initial attraction, Jen says it's the simplification of cross-platform management that makes scaling feasible, saving 80% to 90% of the time in influencer matching and marketing execution for each campaign.
What's mutually beneficial for both media agencies and influencer platforms like Partipost, besides assembling a larger network of influencers and content creators, is the data they accumulate for conversion and monetisation, Jen says, noting “the database is like a funnel”. Matching authentic brand stories with targeted audiences may be a "people-oriented" practice, he says, but it ultimatley accelerates the accumulation of data.
Data insights into the Taiwanese influencer market
In Taiwan, for instance, the influencer platform has a lot of data it can draw on, from both external and internal metrics.
Data shared by Partipost shows that Instagram is still the most effective social media channel for influencer marketing in Taiwan, with over 10 million monthly active users. Even though YouTube is estimated to reach over 20 million people, about 85% of the island's total population, TikTok is a rising new advertising channel with around 5.3 million users aged 18 years and above.
Jen said, in the past, KOL and KOC marketing mostly worked with content creators aged between 26 to 40. Now moving to TikTok, the platform has witnessed more potential from a younger generation of influencers aged between 16 and 25, who will grow up in a few years.
With this in mind, Partipost in recent years has begun to work closely on campuses in Taiwan, reaching out to younger audience and influencers, while launching their Content Creators Accelerator Programme. The programme selected 15 KOCs or micro-influencers out of 500 and provided them with professional training and education to build a larger and healthier content creators’ network.
In Taiwan, Partipost not only works with local brands but also supports Baidu-owned video platform iQiyi in its efforts to influence and recommend TV series to Taiwan audiences, while also tapping into Red, a UGC community app in the Chinese mainland. Jen clarified that “audiences from Taiwan are not highly involved in the Red community but it is an app that could influence readers and viewers in Taiwan”. Looking into the future, he "does not rule out the possibility of expanding to the mainland market in the future".