Understanding mobile trends is key to effective consumer engagement

Mobile usage is exploding in Southeast Asia. From e-commerce to social platforms, users in the region are embracing everything that mobile has to offer. A recent report from eMarketer found that mobile penetration in APAC has been growing steadily, reaching 66.85% in 2019, and is forecasted to increase to 75.8% in 2023.

For SMEs, this growth will bring about a wave of mobile advertising opportunities, be it building their respective brands or reaching more potential consumers. The customisable and personalised nature of mobile marketing technology, combined with specific and highly visual analysis tools, makes mobile an essential part of any SME’s overall brand marketing strategy. However, to succeed, SMEs will need to know how to adapt to the challenges of this digital economy to grow their business and improve customer experience – and this includes knowing what today’s mobile marketing entails.

Livestreaming as a channel will be the next big thing

The growth in live-sharing of bite-sized videos, especially among younger, mobile-savvy consumers, has been facilitated by apps such as Instagram. Today, Instagram Stories has more than 500 million viewers daily. Brands have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, with the use of Instagram Stories by brands having risen sharply by 21% from 2018.

Livestreaming is a way businesses can expand beyond traditional retail marketing strategies to maintain relevance in consumers’ minds. Vichy, a skincare brand, collaborated with Singapore-based livestreaming platform, BeLive, to provide consumers with a seamless shopping experience during the Holy Chic! GSS Flash Sale. Through a livestream session, consumers were able to purchase Vichy products without leaving the app. Essentially, livestreaming allows brands to personalise content via real-time engagement as it enables peopleto consume and interact with thecontent, and vice versa, at thetime of the brand’s choice. Brandslooking to explore livestreamingfor their ad strategy can start withoptions such as Facebook Live,which offers easy functionalityand the potential to reach a large audience.

Super apps as an avenue to expand reach

There is also a new wave of emerging app economies, with Southeast Asia leading the trend as the fastest-growing internet region. This rise in the app economy has contributed to the flourishing of mobile marketing in the region, where app developers have opened up channels for advertisers to reach a wider audience. In particular, super apps, which aim to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints and provide greater convenience and value via various services, are a part of this growing trend. An example would be Go-Jek in Indonesia, which offers over 20 on-demand services from a single app – transport, payments, food, logistics, entertainment and lifestyle.

As super apps – and the services they offer – begin to make strides, the competition to capture and sustain the attention of users will intensify for brands. Brands will have to innovate to develop new strategies that ensure ads targeted are relevant, timely and effective. With the immense amount of user generated data, it will be virtually impossible for brands to not adopt programmatic solutions if they want to provide non disruptive, personalised ads.

For brands with little or no experience in in-app advertising campaigns, working with suitable partners to implement native advertising, or ads that blend in with the app’s in-feed content, can help in offering value to a targeted audience in a nondisruptive manner. Such seamless and personalised ads can spark interest and make users want to engage further with the brand without compromising on the user experience. For instance, merchants such as hawkers can get on Grab’s ‘Hawker Picks’ to share their offerings with the platform’s consumer base as part of the user’s purchasing experience.

AR and VR – the new ingredients to enhance brand experiences

Today, brands are increasingly leveraging virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to bring their offerings to life and improve user engagement. One such brand is L'Oréal's Giorgio Armani Beauty. The brand recently debuted the first mini-program for WeChat that lets mobile users try on virtual makeup using AR effects through their self-facing camera. WeChat users can then order the actual products from Giorgio Armani Beauty's mini program shopping site after testing them.

For brands aspiring to vastly improve brand experiences for their consumers, using AR and VR could be an option to explore. Depending on the brand’s marketing goals, the format of VR to use will also vary if it is to improve click-through performance, a 360° or 3D photo banner would work best. 360° ads were found to have a 22x click-through rate compared to 2D, and 3D photo ads reduced cost per conversion by 25%. Such immersive marketing allows consumers to access pre-purchase information more conveniently without being in a physical store. This incentivises consumers to experiment with new offerings, which can lead to an increase in conversion to sales.

Consumers’ tastes and preferences are constantly changing, and so will mobile marketing. To fully leverage opportunities in mobile marketing, brands have to be in the know about what engages consumers and what makes them tick. Brands must be aware that user attention comprises of two critical elements: the carrier of the information and the format the information is presented in. As such, brands have to be bold in trying new creative formats to share their brand message. By creating engaging content and harnessing data for effective ad targeting, brands stand to deliver a personalised, curated experience to consumers, thus exploiting the full potential of mobile marketing.

Vivi Wang | Business Development Director, Southeast Asia | Mobvista

Having joined Mobvista in 2015, Vivi has since built a strong team in the region – reporting quintuple business growth at the end of 2016. In advocating for the detection and prevention of ad fraud, she has helped to boost Mobvista’s credibility and enabled the company to sustain tremendous growth. Vivi currently focuses on serving clients from various industries in user acquisition and performance driven marketing.