A recent study by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, in partnership with GrabAds, conducted with more than 100 senior marketers in Southeast Asia, found that in-app advertising was on the rise. Around 58% of respondents from B2B and B2C industries said they have advertised on apps, or are intending to do so in 2022.
The study also found that the majority of marketers who have never advertised on superapps were fast realising the potential of superapp advertising, with 61% having plans to advertise on superapps in the near future. Additionally, 80% of those who are already advertising on apps expect advertising on superapps to increase over the next 12 months in Southeast Asia.
While China has often been regarded as the birthplace of the superapp, here in the Southeast Asia, the superapp advertising scene has rapidly matured, enabling marketers to have added confidence to spend on the platform.
When considering advertising on superapps, consumer behavioural insights, first-party transaction-based data, and consumer engagement, were the three most important reasons for respondents.
During a C-suite exchange panel session hosted by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, in collaboration with Grab, Priyali Kamath, SVP of skin and personal care – Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa at P&G, said that at the end of the day, superapps provided convenience, and in today’s world, the brands that provide convenience to the customer will come out on top.
“We used to look at the Chinese market enviously many years ago wishing we had an integrated ecosystem where advertising dollars on eCommerce could be neatly connected to sales,” Kamath said.
“Now in Southeast Asia, we have, of course, come a long way. Convenience for the consumer, and our ability to get better at serving up what makes the most sense for them, is really what the superapps enable.”
Sam Way, head of O2O, Coca-Cola ASEAN and South Pacific, added that when exploring a new platform, one key question to keep in mind is how the brand can connect with the consumer better than it has done before – and measure it. He said that for Coca-Cola, three crucial areas when reaching consumers are – “connectivity, click-ability and convenience”.
Superapps had been on Coca-Cola’s radar for some years now, but it’s becoming a greater priority than ever before.
“We think of the superapps as being able to be with our consumers every step of their journey and there are so many different ways we can reach them [on the superapp],” he said.
“We can connect with them while they’re eating, paying, moving. So we really jumped into that space, and it has been a new area that has become a priority for us.”
“While in the offline world we talked about being within the arm’s reach of desire, that now became the within-a-click of desire. Fast track that, one can argue that in a major city in Southeast Asia, you can order a cold Coke and get it delivered under 30 minutes. That’s pretty mind blowing,” he said.
For many marketers, superapps enabled them the ability to link creativity to commerce and build the illusive bridge between the two that the industry has so long been struggling with. Ken Mandel, regional managing director of GrabAds and head of brand insights at Grab, explained that with consumers interacting with the data on a daily basis, Grab is always able to provide fresh new data points which drive relevancy.
“With superapp advertising, marketers were able to say their creative ads drove sales. At the end of the day, it is not about an alphabet soup of CPMs or CPCs, but really the ability to sell and to equate advertising to direct sales. That has been key for us, and that’s what we are able to do,” he shared. Mandel added that this ability to link creativity to commerce is not just a one way street, but rather one that impacts the wider community.
“Our mission statement is really to enable and empower people to be able to earn. And, so when you advertise on a platform like GrabAds, at the end of the day you are also really empowering that delivery driver or that merchant and a part of that earning goes to them. That’s where financial inclusion, social inclusion, marketing services, all comes together,” he added.
Adding to the point on fresh data allowing for contextual marketing, Lynette Poh, senior director of marketing communications at Singtel said that with data restrictions, powerful contextual marketing rather than pervasive targeting is a benefit that superapps definitely provide.
Poh added that while platforms such as Grab can be as powerful as outdoor advertising due to its tremendous reach, it is also an opportunity to engage consumers in their zero-moments of truth, and at a time when they are more receptive to your message.
Connecting with the consumer through the right media
Meanwhile, the study also showed that 65% of respondents will be increasing their digital advertising spend in 2022 , with close to half allocating up to 30% of their digital spend to in-app advertising.
Regardless of how a brand wants to classify its spend on a platform, Goh Theng Kiat, chief customer officer of Prudential Assurance Singapore, said what is vital is to know where the consumer goes and which platform they are. Reach the consumer on these platforms and ecosystems they are present in.
“Media buying and categorisation isn’t really key when thinking of budget allocation, but ensuring you are in the right ecosystem; hence, at the end of the day speaking to them in the right platform is important,” Goh said.
And while digital is no doubt taking over much of marketers’ concerns and conversations, Kamath added that offline media still has a huge role to play in many societies across the region.
“There are many parts of the region where consumers’ access to digital still isn’t at the same level. Television continues to impact, and during the pandemic in some markets, the ratings went up so even offline has a role to play,” she said.
“At the end of the day, it’s integration – that’s where the magic is.”