Is APAC ready for Social Advertising? Singtel buys Amobee….Mass consolidation in APAC

In the old world we had two fragmented online areas of spend for advertisers; enter Google’s dominance in search and then Yahoo’s dominance in display advertising. That was then around 15 years ago and has the world changed?

Google is still the powerhouse in search and its taken the world of advertising by storm; from a platforms perspective ( DoubleClick) to the  managed service and publisher specific ( Admeld) to the media perspective ( AdX).

This was at the cost of Yahoo’s demise but now there seems to be a greater disruptive shift in the marketplace. 


Facebook became a game changer; where it passed the contribution of content on to its users; then brought in social engagement through its targeted advertising and collection of friends. 

Anyone will tell you the most persuasion in life comes from those around you; your friends are the ones that influence and encourage you to try out new ideas/products and concepts because they have tried it and it has now been tested. The human tendency is to go with what you know or what your friend/family knows. Word of mouth is a power tool when it comes to advertising and what other way to do it but share a platform to allow those very users to persuade others.

Digital display marketplace is now not only display advertising but its segmented into various sub-sections like rich media advertising, social advertising, mobile advertising etc.  Couple this with users being fragmented across different devices from handsets, laptops, mobiles and tablet and its not hard to see that the ecosystem is a chaos map for advertisers.

Then content was king… engagement is King. Therefore whoever has content is not necessarily going to survive this disruption.

Can any advertiser choose to ignore its audience? especially those audiences that are already engaged?

Let me give you a great case study from the UK……

Marks and Spencers a huge retailer in the UK was for all intents and purposes a leader in its vertical. It derived huge profits and British shoppers as well as visitors flocked to Marks for their products due to quality and style.

Marks decided it was not necessary to spend money on advertising and cut its budget whilst at the same time smaller new retailers emerged; enter New Look. Marks decided not to listen to its audience who were seeking quality but also cheaper pricing for clothing that was more trendy. Marks buyers were stuck in the 1980s and they decided to not listen to their shoppers but stick to the same styles and products they had been doing years ago.

Marks lost market share and lost respect from its shoppers and the younger generation preferred to shop at New Look and TopShop. Marks never managed to change that perception around and instead has spent more of its budget on expanding their food lines.

The moral of the story is if you are ahead of the game – defend your position to the end. No brand or advertiser can afford to disregard the marketplace, the shoppers or the disruptive technologies that are coming soon.

So why is it that still in APAC we don’t see much social advertising? Is it because the players are not in market; well that is not true as we’ve seen many companies have set up offices here including Buddy Media which is not a player in social advertising until recently; through its acquisition of Brighter Option which makes perfect sense and becomes a major force in social CRM management and advertising. 

APAC is going through mass changes all at one time compared to the US or Europe where evolution has taken time to get to the next stage; here in Asia we’re just seeing Invite Media come to market in Australia, Singtel purchasing Amobee so its easy to see that APAC is consumed with a large ecosystem shift all at once and its left many advertisers and publishers confused on how to amalgamate their digital strategy with so much disruption in the market.

Facebook have a office in Singapore which has leveraged growth in the understanding of social advertising and coupled with social advertising now on the arise; we are seeing media planners start to get to the level of frustration they once had with choosing who to partner with for inventory – now the who becomes the what?

What strategy should I take; 20% media spend on social, 30% on display, 40% on mobile and the rest on search? We’ve evolved from the who partners to choose to now the what types of media to choose?

Whilst our trading desks are helping us to combine audiences under one UI and frequency cap; we now have a situation where sub-sets of audiences are growing? 

Singtel’s purchase of Amobee is interesting and certainly the right tactic for a large telco to look beyond its own telco yield which is rapidly diminishing. Think SMS revenues dying as a result of power apps such as whatsapp…..which allows you with a data connection or wifi to send short messages with pictures or voice notes to anyone who also has whatsapp on their phone. As mobile costs shift from 3G connection to wifi and voice becomes VOIP….where is the revenue stream for tomorrow?

With Singtel having equity stake in 5/6 other telcos in region- its not difficult to see where their strategy lies and its survival. This is just the start of consolidation in APAC; expect more especially with the largest growth and audience coming from APAC……

Social audiences in this region are amassing with Orkut in India losing out to Facebook and with India now being the second largest country with facebook users its not hard to see that Indonesia will flip over fully to Facebook. Why is Indonesia so meaninful to Facebook? Indonesia is approx 250M people which is 2/3 of the size of the US….and one of the fastest rising stars in region.

Looks like Social Advertising is the  way for all of these companies to ensure they keep listening, reaching and engaging with their users…….. that will power the use of verified ad dollars and facilitate the growth of data driven ad buying……usher in the world of audience buying…….








About adsolver

Ad-exchange expert with Rightmedia and Yahoo. Strategist on the evolution and ecology of the international display digital platform. Specialties: Evanglising Glocal digital marketing with outstanding experiences in Ad Exchanges, Behavioural Targeting, eCommerce, Multivariate Testing and data mashing. Have worked previously in the following industries: Internet ebusiness solutions multivariate testing Oil and Gas experience and Renewable Energy White-labelling Travel websites Telecommunications Advertising Exchanges
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