Google: APAC the new global epicentre of digital media

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The rise of mobile in Asia has seen the region overtake the US in the digital marketing world, according to a new Google report

Asia-Pacific’s ongoing mobile explosion is the driving factor behind it being the new global centre of digital marketing and commerce, according to a new report from Google and Ipsos.

In the report, Google’s examination of mobile consumer behaviour in APAC has found that Asia has four of the top 10 markets regarding smartphone adoption, with Singapore and Korea joint fourth.

Simon Kahn, Google APAC CMO, told Campaign Asia-Pacific: “Consumer behaviour patterns are changing and are influenced by the digital and mobile revolution, and Asia-Pacific is leading the way.”

Moreover, Asian consumers are far more likely than those in the US to make quicker purchasing decisions because of online research. Nine Asian markets showed that at least 85 percent of smartphone owners exhibited this behaviour, compared to just 60 percent in the US.

Kahn said a key reason for this is the heightened expectations of mobile-led Asian consumers.

“Everyone walks around with a smartphone, so they will be able to access data when they want it, where they want it. Consumers now expect they will be well informed. They’re not just searching, they’re deciding.”

According to eMarketer, APAC this year became the world leader in digital ad spend at 34 percent, and is predicted to take the top spot for mobile ad spend globally by 2017.

Importantly for brands and marketers, and likely a strong factor in the large digital ad spend, is that Asian consumers are open to new brands, Google said.

A significant proportion are uncertain of a specific brand they want to buy, allowing marketers a key opportunity to win consumers over during their micro-moments online.

“This research means brands need to be very clear when identifying micro-moments for their consumers,” said Kahn. “Asian consumers are thinking very hard at that decision moment, and they’re looking for all the information to help them make better and more informed choices.”

In a more granular analysis, the report found that Asian consumers are far more inclined than their US counterparts to buy from brands that provide helpful videos or have apps or mobile sites with tailored, localised content.

Finally, the study found that mobile activity boosts both e-commerce and in-store sales in APAC. Large numbers of consumers in the region—91 percent in Thailand, for example—have used a store locator, while a huge 95 percent of Vietnamese consumers continue to use their mobiles while in stores.

“It‘s about getting the right information at the right time,” explained Kahn, who added that the research showed Asian consumers want to be engaged with digitally.

The right type of engagement with the best content could overcome barriers such as adblockers, which have seen significant uptake in the region.

“Adblockers are there to address something in the industry that has been problematic," Kahn said. "If you’re getting ads that are quite frankly annoying, a logical solution would be to do something like adblocking. But if brands can provide better information—whether that’s advertising or other forms of content—to consumers, then they’ll look at that as useful and helpful. The key thing is to think about is creating information that’s engaging and delivering it at the right time.”

For Google, Kahn said, the insights from the report are being integrated into the company’s digital marketing strategy, particularly for their direct-to-consumer products such as Google Play and YouTube Red, currently only in Australia.

“We’re using the data to help us better target the types of advertisements we’re doing around these products. We’re also using it to give us a better sense of the type of content that really resonates. Depending on the moment, there could be different types of content we should be focusing on. ”