1. Multi-screen viewing
TVB is still Hong Kong’s dominant TV station with no real broadcast competition at all. However, consumers' viewing behavior has been shifting from the long trusted TV to mobile and desktop screens. Video, be it news, drama, reality shows or local topical/pop culture, is easily and mainly consumed online. Many Hongkongers became addicted to Korean or Chinese drama and variety shows over the past couple years through now widely available apps for viewing TV online, such as Youku, iQIYi and LeTV. Facebook, as the top social media platform in Hong Kong, also played a significant role in delivering hot, topical videos. It is a recent phenomenon that all of us (consumers) view and share videos on tablets or mobiles while discussing and commenting on social media platforms. Therefore, one measurement approach brands should consider for the future is multi-screen effectiveness. (GroupM recently launched ‘Multi’, a duo screen measurement tool just for that purpose).
2. Content strategy
While more marketers have started to question the effectiveness of online paid advertising, they’re also starting to explore and are more willing to invest in owned media properties. Their ability to pull in viewers and convert them into loyal customers is clearly maturing. More brands are shifting to this strategy and are learning that a mobile friendly site is a must as a gateway to bring potential customers in. On top of good design, marketers in Hong Kong are also recognizing that a SEO-friendly site is crucial to work hand in hand with paid search advertising. A trend that has come up recently is that instead of running isolated tactical campaigns on Facebook pages, such as games, lucky draws, or other one-off attempts to engage, there is a ramping up of longer-term content strategies, designed not only to attract but to maintain fan relationships.
3. Programmatic buying
The rise of programmatic automation for display ads has definitely been a big area of change in the region. Marketers see the technology as a new tool and expect to reach audiences with more precision and better efficiency. However, only a minority of marketers or agencies in Hong Kong truly know how to make the best use of data and trading desks to actually achieve the gains that programmatic buying offers. I’ve also observed more of the city’s marketers moving to audience buys instead of mass reach buys; re-targeting is a key tactic that has grown as well. There is still a great deal of education needed to reach a clear understanding of how programmatic fits into an overall marketing plan as well as how to best leverage data and translate it into an effective marketing strategy. But again, that is not unique to Hong Kong, it just that other markets might be a bit further along in the journey.
As Hong Kong’s marketers recognize these trends, and embrace them, the pace of change here will certainly accelerate. All of Asia, indeed the world, has essentially the same hardware to work with we just need agencies and publishers equip themselves and work close together in order to bring more value brands and help them boost their standing in rankings like the Top 1000.