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Asia-Pacific Markets Show the Way to a Mobile-First Programmatic Future

Blis recently opened fully staffed offices in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur as part of our continuing outreach to support clients in Southeast Asia. Over the course of the next few months we’ll be announcing further local operations in more key territories across the Southern and Southeast Asian continent.

We’re committing more resources and localised support for our clients throughout the region because if you want to know what’s coming next in the mobile space, go to APAC.

The region has been operating way ahead of the curve in the online and mobile space over the last two years, and according to Zenith Group’s latest ad spend report, it will continue to lead global advertising growth this year with internet advertising overtaking TV for the first time.

Mobile first

APAC holds the key to future international growth as more consumers adopt mobile devices and brands improve the user experience. Whether it’s fully managed media or self-serve programmatic features that agencies or brands want to harness from Blis, we’re there on the ground ready to facilitate.

Every market in Asia functions quite uniquely and independently. For example, in what’s referred to as ‘fast-track’ Asian markets like China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, ad expenditure rose by 9.2% in 2016, according to Zenith, as many countries increased their adoption of digital technology and continued to innovate themselves as mobile-first user bases.

One of the fastest growing areas for brands in APAC is in-app advertising, and there is clear evidence that if marketers can get their mobile ad strategy right, in which location data is key, then sales will follow.

Rapid market growth

More than 75 million people in Indonesia will use smartphones in 2017, according the eMarketer, and this figure is projected to rise to 92 million by 2019. Moreover, mobile ad spend is predicted to grow by 80 percent this year and will form over 38 percent of total digital ad spending by the end of 2017, rising to more than 52 percent next year. Much of this mobile ad growth is at the expense of TV and print advertising, according the eMarketer report, while OOH spend, which location data complements, is on a steady predicted growth curve for the next five years.

Furthermore, global management consultancy Bain recently surveyed more than 2,400 consumers in six major South-east Asian countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. It concluded that that over 300 million people in the region have a smartphone, which is helping to boost connectivity and drive the digital economy. These findings have exciting implications for businesses, governments, and society, but they are also testament to the speed with which digital (and mobile) connectivity is changing the lives of people in the region.

“South-east Asia has become a proving ground for digitally native companies as well as traditional companies looking to tap into the digital market,” said Mr Sebastien Lamy, an expert in Bain’s Digital Practice and co-author of the report.

Programmatic progress

APAC has several factors that prove a strong programmatic growth potential, but it must also overcome some challenges, such as a fragmented ad tech landscape, issues with data access, and tendencies towards hard-to-scale RTB transactions. In a region that is extremely diverse within individual countries, APAC’s programmatic understanding and implementation ranges from being in its infancy to, in some cases, advanced maturity.

Marketers must still consider that it is important to continue to educate the region and in particular – the clients on how to maximize the benefits of programmatic advertising. In addition to sales teams, the Indonesian and Malaysian offices include Account Management, Ad Operations and Creative teams, underscoring Blis’ commitment to clients in the region for both managed media and self-serve business. Singapore and Sydney will remain as regional hubs providing marketing and educational support and resources, however each territory will have a dedicated team available 24/7 to assist agencies.

West looking east

Mobile is driving programmatic advertising growth worldwide. According to MAGNA, Asia Pacific (APAC) represented the 22% of the global programmatic ad spend in 2016, ranked as the second largest programmatic region after US. APAC comprises some of the most highly developed global programmatic markets like China, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

What we are seeing is a potential turning point in the history of advertising and media. As the technology infrastructure gets fully ramped up in the region and different mobile marketing strategies evolve to help marketers better understand the users, APAC is set to become the centre of digital evolution and the so-called “developed markets” are now looking east for inspiration.

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