Economic recovery and organic digital growth are set to power APAC’s total advertising spending to spike by 12.8% in 2021, following 2020’s decline in growth by 3.3%, according to MAGNA Media brands report. This will see total advertising budgets in APAC reach US$203 billion, significantly ahead of 2019’s US$186 billion total.
In 2021, digital advertising revenues will charge ahead, growing by 19% this year to US$127 billion, following a resilient performance in 2020 (12%), to reach 63% of total budgets. Beyond the 2021 rebound, MAGNA expects APAC advertising spending to grow by an average 4.4% annually over 2022 to 2025, to reach US$241 billion in 2025. In 2021, the strongest growth rates will come from China (+16%), the Philippines (+16%), Hong Kong (+15%), and Malaysia (+15%).
Specifically in Hong Kong, in 2021, advertising sales in Hong Kong will increase by 15% to reach HK$27.4bn (US$3.5bn).
Digital advertising spending will increase by 14% to reach 42% of total advertiser budgets.
This follows 2020’s resilient 8.8% growth rate, and is primarily driven by spending on mobile devices, which will increase by 19% to represent 73% of total digital advertising revenues. By format, search advertising (+14%), social media advertising (+24%) and video advertising formats (+15%) are leading growth. Digital will continue to gain share, growing by an average 11% CAGR through 2025, and will represent 57% of total budgets by 2025.
In light of the rising importance of digital marketing, we turned to our 2021 Agency of the Year Hong Kong results to find out who our judges thought were the five best digital marketing agencies in Hong Kong. We've listed our top 5 winners alphabetically. Our list of agencies below won over our independent panel of high-calibre, client-side marketers not only by displaying the work they have done for clients, but also through their desire to nurture talent and create proprietary products for the execution of world-class campaigns.
Digital marketing agency Fimmick has been around for over 12 years. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the agency is known for its customised integrated digital marketing and social media marketing. It also has offerings in programmatic and automated online advertising, creative marketing campaigns, content marketing, video production, mobile-first marketing, customer relationship management, and influencer marketing solutions.
The agency has worked with notable brands such as AIA, Nestle, Shiseido, ASUS, Samsung, Panasonic, Coca-Cola, 3M, DBS, Bossini, and many others over the years. It is currently a 120 talent strong team in Hong Kong with a majority of them being Millennials and Gen Z-ers.
To ensure these talents are nurtured, mentors and job rotation schemes are created. Learning programmes and allowances are also provided by the agency to keep them abreast of industry trends. Fimmick often organises webinars, Weekly Learning Wednesdays and Digital Fridays for its staff to learn through teaching as well.
Last year, it also enabled flexible working hours and remote working for its staff. It also expanded its account servicing, content creative digital partnership and growth and CRM departments.
iClick Interactive Asia
iClick Interactive Asia Group, an independent online marketing and enterprise data solutions provider, has spent the last year pivoting its corporate strategy to transition into an integrated enterprise and Marketing Cloud Platform. In 2020, iClick reached a major milestone in its innovative and strategic product offerings by bringing together a complete iSuite product suite comprised of iAudience, iAccess, iActivate and iNsights to provide full-stack data-driven marketing solutions for marketers worldwide.
The agency believes in a culture of innovation that it says happens at the intersections of diversity. As such its talents work closely together around the world to foster a cultural and technological philosophy that enables all iClickers to reach their full potential, provides opportunities for talent growth.
Recognising the shift in consumer patterns caused by COVID-19 and staying ahead of the rapidly changing China digital landscape, iClick serves the digital transformation needs of enterprises by offering enterprise SaaS solutions to help global brands capitalise on China’s massive cross-border eCommerce opportunities and access the trillion-dollar offline retail market in the post-epidemic era.
Over the past year, Krew has doubled its headcount to 35 full time talents and turned the downtime faced by agencies in 2020 to an opportunity for growth. Some of its clients include AIA, Sun Hong Kai, Towngas, ChinaChem, UPD HK and Wheelock.
Using its analytic tool, KREWatch, the team has banked big on data to optimise its services. Evolving from the 2020 version, KREWatch 2.0 has been upgraded with features such as audience targeting mapping and keyword and hashtags data recommendation. The team advanced its proprietary analytic tool to cope with the rising online penetration and its big data support gave clients the confidence to pursue online marketing initiatives.
It also recently introduced its content hub Lifenews HK! which helps develop content and launch impactful live broadcasts for clients with the help of a professional video production team. Last year the team also made a hire to build its financial news team. To ensure its teams are trained holistically, Krew conducts intensive cross-industrial training sessions all year-round. The team also has ambitions to expand its digital and social services to China and Macau in the near future.
“People first, better results” is not just a slogan for Mediacom Hong Kong. Last year, MediaCom decided to rethink, restructure and reinvent the way the 35-year-old agency brand works to stay ahead and aid its clients. With eCommerce being the future of marketing globally, Mediacom Hong Kong had to evolve its planners from digital generalists to specialists as it aimed to arm its staff up to take the initiative to drive clients’ eCommerce growth. Mediacom also worked towards automation to reduce labour intensiveness in optimisation processes.
Some of the brands the agency works with include AIA, Uber, Timberland, Bank of China. Keeping to its core belief of people first, the agency also launched “The People Hub” last year as a single destination hosting all MediaCom’s people-first resources, themed around career, diversity and wellbeing, along with other initiatives that facilitate knowledge exchange.
It also created EAP which is a free and confidential mental consultation service designed to help MediaComers manage and prevent challenges. Virtual counselling sessions on anxiety, grief, parenting, managing debt or how to better handle stress at work and home are hosted. Through its “Global Leadership Reverse Mentoring Program”, it also breaks down hierarchies to forge better relationships and ensures the transfer of skills and best practices
Last year, Zlashy saw a 100% key client retention rate despite the tough year it faced. The agency currently works with brands such as Fidelity, Nespresso, MTR, Adidas, and Fitness First, Zurich and Vans. Some of its key new wins include FT Life, Pacific Place, and City Plaza. Other clients include Nespresso, MTR, Adidas, and Fitness First, among others.
Despite the tough situation, the agency did not lay off any of its staff, and instead had a 33% increase in hire. From the original five in 2018, the team grew to 24 specialists strong in 2020. It also added new team capabilities such as mobile app development and eCommerce.
To ensure its staff is kept up to date with trends, it has a t-shaped growth and training programme to give team members the flexibility to leave their comfort zone and work outside their domain supported with in-depth training, online courses and resources. It also has regular townhalls to share updates on the company and specialists of relevant disciplines.
The agency believes that starting small paves the way to positive outcomes, whether it’s an initiative or market disruption. It also has faith in everything human and believes that in architecting a human experience through its work processes.