The site helps promote Thai content and therefore should help push local brands to a more prominent position on the venue. YouTube is offering its full suite of ad formats including mastheads, TrueView, display ads (banners) and overlay in-video ads. Advertisers in the country also have the option of setting up a local channel to host all their content.
"This is the year of opportunity and challenge for Thai marketers to enhance reach and engagement with audiences and consumers in multi-screen platforms—anywhere anytime and any screen," said Pathamawan Sathaporn, managing director at Mindshare. “Marketers must think adaptively, and be adaptive to the opportunities and challenges around us."
Samsung is likely to use all the newly available ad formats, said Wichai Pornpratang, the VP information technology and mobile communications at Samsung Electronics. He declined to comment on the value of the deal. (See below for a more detailed Q&A with Pornpratang.)
Nadda Buranasiri, CEO of Thai Air Asia X, is also looking to maximize engagement online and said the launch of YouTube Thailand marks a new era for the company’s digital strategy. “YouTube Thailand is going to be a very important tool for us to share information about our product and to gain a more insightful understanding of today’s young and hip travellers,” Buranasiri said.
Ariya Banomyong, country head Google Thailand, is particularly excited about the potential of in-display (where ads appear alongside YouTube videos) and TrueView, where ads appear as a skippable pre-roll ad inside another YouTube video, because it lets consumers choose to watch and engage with brands and their ads. “We feel TrueView is a really powerful tool for driving genuine engagement with consumers,” Banomyong said, adding that advertisers can track product purchases, brochure downloads and so on with YouTube’s conversion tracking technology (similar to one used with AdWords).
YouTube is also officially opening up its partner programme to Thailand. The business arrangement helps original content creators earn revenue from their videos. Sathaporn further explained that the deal should be a “bridge of communications between a brand and its target audiences and consumers that will engage their love and participation”
A timely move for an exploding video market
Thailand’s internet users spend twice as much time online as they do watching television. According to a 2013 Comscore study, the online video audience in Southeast Asia grew about 8 per cent in the past year; YouTube continues to be the top video property in all markets. Music, movies and entertainment sites get more visitors and time spent than global averages. In Thailand, You Tube receives 7.289 million unique users—well above countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines. And the audience is growing; YouTube says people are watching more than 6 billion hours of its content every month in Thailand.
|SEE ALSO: Understanding Thailand's mobile natives|
Collaborations are underway. Unilever’s Close Up brand created a short film and Samsung tied up with local YouTube star, VRZO. Telco True’s ‘True Giving’ campaign received 15 million views and prompted more than 64,000 shares.
Tom Pickett, VP of content with YouTube, said the company is already seeing scores of Thai musicians, entertainers and video creators contributing to the platform. “As more of Asia comes online and on mobile, we think ad-supported models like YouTube will be critical for these fans, especially in Asian markets where median incomes put subscription services or a la carte models out of reach for most fans,” he said.
Google’s video platform launched its ‘YouTube Space’ in Tokyo back during February 2013 as an investment to help partners within this region succeed. The Space serves as an incubator where creators across Asia can access state-of-the-art technology at no cost. Through other initiatives, such as the YouTube FanFests in Asia (live shows that bring together global and regional YouTubers with their local fans), Pickett is confident about helping creators on the platform gain exposure and strengthen their connections to their fans in new ways. As an opportunity to capture consumer interest, video offers a unique experience that clearly resonates in Asia.
“This partnership with YouTube Thailand perfectly aligns with our ongoing consumer engagement strategies as we publish our own content in order to have meaningful conversations with our passionate community of fans,” said Yukontorn ‘Vickie’ Wisadkosin, managing director at Ford Thailand “Ford is a recognized leader in digital marketing because we have taken the time to understand our customers and how they want to be communicated to.”
Exclusive Q&A: Samsung’s Wichai Pornpratang, VP information technology and mobile communications
How much of your TV ad spend is going towards YouTube?
While we do not disclose advertising budgets at the country level or by brand, our brand strategies have always involved a holistic approach to consumer engagement, reflected in our advertising above the line, below the line and online. Now that YouTube is available in Thailand we’re confident it will complement our campaigns and drive even greater engagement for our brands.
What advertising package are you opting for with YouTube in Thailand?
YouTube in Thailand offers a full suite of advertising options that includes Mastheads and TrueView, which is available on desktop, mobile and tablet. And as an advertiser, we love that we’re only paying for ads that our users watch. We will be utilizing a variety of all the newly available ad formats on YouTube.
Will you be creating branded channels for key brands? Which ones?
Samsung’s official YouTube Channel in Thailand has 23 million views with 529 videos. And 61 of these videos have over 100,000 views. We see YouTube as a key way to engage with today’s Thai consumer—the connected generation—who are always on, and see YouTube as part of their everyday life and lifestyle.
What key trends in video attracted you to YouTube in Thailand?
Thais watch millions of hours of YouTube every day, and over one third of YouTube watch time in Thailand is from a mobile device. Brands who want to be relevant, especially to modern, always-on, always-connected Thai consumers (also called gen-c), need to be on YouTube.
What measurable impact or ROI do you expect from your association?
We expect the launch of YouTube in Thailand will help us drive greater engagement for our brands. Video gives brands new freedom to engage with an audience that wants to like, share and comment on the things that matter to them and their lives. If consumers are engaged with your brand it’s the difference between a customer—people who just buy your product—and a community of people who want to hear what you have to say and want to tell others about it.
What are some examples of the success your brand has experienced in other markets with YouTube?
In Thailand, we’ve been experimenting with YouTube content creators like SpokeDark and TigerCry, to create videos that tell stories and connect with our consumers in new, creative ways. Our ‘Being Opal’ video—a 7-minute short film—is one example of a creative collaboration with YouTube star Madame Mod, one of Thailand’s famous transvestite personalities. It has a sense of humour and style and it helped us showcase the hero features of the Samsung S4 in an unexpected, entertaining way.
Looking For Myself featuring Usher is a global example of a creative collaboration for Samsung that topped the YouTube Ads Leaderboard in June 2013 as the number one ad users chose to watch. The collaboration with Usher tapped into the highly anticipated summer music and movies and resulted in a highly engaged global audience.