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Why influencer marketing is booming in Asia

Why influencer marketing is booming in Asia

Shining the spotlight on influencer marketing in Asia

Thanks to the internet that affords real-time global connectivity and the genesis of both macro- and micro-influencers with follower bases spanning from hundreds to millions, 2018 marked the beginning of the golden age of influencer marketing. This newest digital marketing trend has become a crucial role in every brand’s marketing strategy.

To better conceptualize the power of influencer marketing, let us recall the same landscape from 10 years ago. In the past decade, approximately 80% of the marketing budget was assigned to advertising on mass media (traditional marketing) such as televisions or newspapers. A statistical report by MAAT (Media Agency Association of Thailand), however, reveals that only 57% of the budget was assigned to traditional marketing in the year 2019. Meanwhile, the budget for social media advertisement increased to 15% or US$ 18.7 billion, an increase of 25% from last year (2018). It is expected that brands' budget for influencer marketing in Thailand will also increase in the coming years.


Why companies in Asia are turning to influencer marketing as the new go-to strategy for market communication


In the past, consumers trusted the information provided by their favorite celebrities. Today, however, this trust has shifted towards strangers of similar backgrounds with an online presence such as micro-influencers whose authentic content garners hundreds or even thousands of followers on their social media platform. Sharing real experiences of different products and services, micro-influencers have become a more reliable source of information to followers than celebrities or, perhaps, even the followers their very own judgments.


Influencer marketing is not only gaining momentum in Thailand but the same wave has been gaining strength worldwide, especially in regions with high internet and social media usage. According to a report "Global Digital 2019" by We Are Social and Hootsuite, the three countries in the Southeast Asian region with the highest social media penetration of 99% are Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan; with Thailand and Indonesia amounting to 86% and 71%, respectively. Meanwhile, global social media penetration was reported to be at 58%.


Data on social media usage based on age groups reveals that Gen Z's and the Millennials have a high tendency to trust information from independent sources first and foremost, followed by information from friends and family members, over brands. These two generations access various contents through smartphone devices and are highly skilled at distinguishing between advertising and authentic content. Being highly selective in the type of content they are willing to be exposed to, Gen Z's and Millennials opted to use ad blockers to exclude advertisements. The very same target group, however, are tolerant of sponsored content tied-in to their favorite influencer's storytelling.


Hence, even though micro-influencers have relatively small follower bases, collaborating with these creative and unique content creators to connect with Gen Z's and the Millennials will not disappoint.


An insight into the ASEAN digital landscape: Influencer marketing is booming in Thailand and Indonesia


Data from the report "Influencer Marketing - 2018 Round-Up" released by Affable revealed that Indonesia holds the highest number of influencers in Southeast Asia followed by Thailand and India, providing marketers with the ideal landscape for influencer marketing.

In the forefront of all social media platforms, the spotlight remains on Instagram. The application's ability to drive engagement surpasses even that of Facebook by 23%, making Instagram one of the most popular social platforms for marketers to invest. Data from Klear reveals that the platform saw an increase in sponsored posts by 123% from 2017 to 2018. This growth was reflected throughout Asia which recorded a growth of 189%. On a global scale, the same development is predicted to result in Instagram influencers garnering a total value of US$ 5 - 10 billion.


With its high social media penetration, Asia provides a reservoir of creative possibilities for micro-influencers to showcase their content online while also providing new opportunities for brands to connect with its target audience, the Gen Z’s and the Millennials, who prefer receiving information from more relevant sources such as micro-influencers, friends or families whom they trust over brands.


Three things to never overlook when strategizing marketing campaigns in Asia


From the aforementioned statistics, it is safe to conclude that most Asian people use their smartphone devices to access and receive news via social media. Therefore, each content must be adapted to best fit with the digital devices most commonly used by the target audience, while also ensuring that the contents are relevant. This can be achieved with insight into consumer behavior and their pain points. Marketers should also have a deep understanding of the trend and cultural nuances of the target group to select the most relevant content for each social platform.


Meanwhile, the role of an influencer is to interact with their followers by being proactive in responding to comments and providing detailed information on the product. This helps make influencers more approachable and creates a deeper connection between them and their followers.


It can be seen that the increasing number of internet access is a clear indication that Asian countries are moving towards a fully digital era. Hence, marketers should incorporate influencer marketing along with content marketing as a new strategy for market penetration strategies, especially when dealing with Gen Z's and Millennials that use social media as a primary source of information before making purchase decisions.


With the borderless connectivity afforded by the internet and the various social media platforms available today, influencer marketing is continuously growing in Southeast Asia and has become a key player in every business development. Fully aware of this new wave in marketing, Tellscore, equipped with data-driven technology and its team of dedicated experts, has expanded its business to Jakarta, Indonesia as of the beginning of 2019 to provide its clients with innovative and relevant marketing solutions.


In the long run, Tellscore plans to expand its market to other countries in Southeast Asia under the goal of becoming the leader in digital marketing both in the national and international arenas.