The Philippines is undergoing a digital shift as brands become more innovative in exploring digital and mobile advertising channels.
More and more companies are now looking at digital and mobile more progressively, but one thing remains constant: the need to close the gap from awareness and engagement to actual purchase.
This is best addressed perhaps through mobile. With smartphone penetration increasing year-on-year, the smartphone has become not just a handy entertainment or communication device, but an extension of a customer’s consumer journey.
Mobile as the first screen
With online banking transactions now more accessible, cashless transactions increasingly integrated to POS (point of sale) systems, and an overall culture of “app dependency” made more popular, there is little wonder mobile is deemed as the primary screen. As such, it is becoming crucial for advertisers to connect their mobile campaigns with actual sales.
Even campaign executions are now approached from a differentiated perspective between desktop and mobile. Digital no longer encompasses both. Desktop is now deemed as an active-intent channel, while mobile is the more personable and disruptive one. So how do you keep up with maintaining presence on both?
With the more progressive brands seeing the importance of maintaining presence in both, programmatic buying is now a hot topic for advertisers. Programmatic not only ensures massive awareness but also optimizes campaigns to be more relevant in terms of targeting key moments for a consumer, which ultimately increases a campaign performance. In the Philippines, telcos, FMCG brands, and big e-commerce retail brands are quick to adopt programmatic.
However, as more brands explore digital, the 'noise' a consumer faces also increases. Other than just creative executions, ads are now evolving to offer more concrete carrots to consumers for them to engage with.
Rewards through ads
Telco-based freebies are such an example. Advertising agencies are increasingly exploring integrating free SMS, or free data allocation in their advertising efforts to build engagement with consumers. In a predominantly prepaid market such as the Philippines, this is a great strategy to reward engagement and develop loyalty. Other rewards can also be explored, especially those that can be directly controlled by brands—product discounts or even coupons for samples can be given through SMS or display ads. In a world where ads are everywhere, it’s one way of standing out.
The rewards execution has been done by detergent brands locally, and some have even partnered with local pawnshops as an extension of their redemption centers. A leading coffee brand has also followed this route, but with the use of scratch cards included in their coffee packs.
Rewarding customers for ad engagement is also helpful in upselling products, especially if the rewards are seen as premium and are pushed in a channel where consumers in the Philippines spend most of their time in: social media.
In fact, social media is evolving on all fronts, and for good reason. As platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter develop to cater to their users, consumers are also becoming more discerning and demanding of the platforms they use, and advertisers must \ adapt rapidly to stay ahead in a hypercompetitive market.
Gone are the days when Facebook business pages would simply react via a comment made on their page by a fan. Now, brands can be more proactive in engaging with fans through the hashtags they use. Brands can now automatically reply to users with a specific hashtag and messaging can simply be a generic message or personalized. To further add to the personalized experience and to grow consumer relationships, brands replying via direct messages can also express appreciation for feedback by offering relevant discount codes on selected items.
How SMBs use digital
As big brands become more creative in exploring social media, other businesses, particularly SMBs (small to medium businesses), still treat social media as the digital sphere.
Limited by marketing budgets and manpower, SMBs struggle to fully realize digital’s potential for their businesses. Hence, their reliance on social media alone to push their products and services online.
What SMBs fail to realize though, is that while social media is constantly evolving, they too have to adapt to these changes, or be left behind.
Social media content transformation
It used to be fine for a brand page to just post a captivating image and attractive copy three times a day. But because of Facebook’s changing algorithm and overall direction to shift brand page visibility through ad units, even the best content plans will fail if not boosted with some advertising money. Not to mention the evolution of content.
Static images are no longer enough. Social media content’s new darling is the animated GIF, a series of still images animated together to mimic a video clip. But a full-on video is still the preferred execution for truly engaging content in social media. Length remains a big factor as consumers, led by the infamous millennials who crave snackable content or videos that don’t generally need a longer attention span.
As all these transformations happen in the digital landscape of the Philippines, it is important to test out what’s new, gain insights from it, and repeat the process to know what works and doesn’t for a brand. Digital and mobile advertising is constantly changing, and as advertisers, we must change with it.
Jean Lander Agor is associate director, marketing and creative, with AdSpark, a mobile-first digital marketing company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom. The company has partnered with Amobee to provide advertising managed services to Filipino brands across web, social, mobile and video channels.