APAC Market Complexities

by Edouard Leneveu on Tuesday 1 May 2018

In March 2018, Forward3D hosted two consecutive private roundtables in San Francisco where we discussed the complexities of markets in the APAC region and also how best to localise online strategies to assure hyper-local relevancy. The events were peer to peer discussions focused on navigating the waters of local search engines and social platforms. Sharing their expertise on biddable media, social and content, Forward3D and its local clients explored ways of delivering optimal performance marketing strategies in international markets. 

Over the same period, Hannes Ben, Forward3D’s Chief International Officer, alongside Alvin Shimoju, Renae Lee, Michael Heaven and myself had the opportunity to speak at a Digital Marketing Strategy Conference held by HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International NorCal Chapter). The HSMAI is committed to growing business for hospitality industry's players. The association provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue. HSMAI offers organizational and individual membership, with more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 36 chapters in the Americas Region. We took this opportunity to discuss strategies for producing optimal multilingual content for digital channels across international markets. The session analysed some of the complexities when entering markets such as China, Russia, Japan and Korea and how using the right local agency will be fundamental in succeeding and sustaining performance in these highly complex digital landscapes.  

The following are the key takeaways from the events. 


Digital Marketing Landscape in APAC

While Google is the prominent search engine in the UK and US, APAC territories have their own search engines and social channels which take a stronghold within the market. Baidu have a market share of 78% in China, Yandex 57% in Russia, Yahoo!Japan leads with 44% in Japan, Naver 75% in South Korea, Yahoo 51% in Taiwan and conversely Google hold a 63% share in Hong Kong. Social channels also differ vastly from region to region, WeChat is hugely popular in China operating in 38% of the market, Line takes hold of Japan with 44%, Vkontakte operates 45% of the market in Russia and Band controls Korea with 30%. 


Understanding the need to localise search strategy

For businesses looking to make the jump into new markets, they must first understand how local search engines and social platforms work and some of the structural constraints they possess and factor them against their current PPC or content strategy. For example, Naver’s SERP is organised fundamentally different to Google, whereby the different sections of paid and organic rotate randomly according to Naver’s inherent algorithm. This causes a need for brands to diversify their investment from a pure biddable media strategy to a more complex interactions across all other organic sections that are eligible for marketers.

In addition, companies looking to run paid search campaigns in China need to be aware of the varying ad formats available on Baidu and how best to use these to convey the right message. In total there are 10 distinct Shantou format variations. 

A crucial note for foreign advertisers planning to advertise on Baidu and Naver is that they are unable to do so in-house if they do not have a local business licence. In that particular case, the preferred approach would be to collaborate with a certified and accredited agency partner.


Social in APAC

Building a strong social presence in APAC is extremely important as buyers look for credibility when exposed to a new brand. This may mean advertisers to place increasing importance on reviews and trust building.


Key Factors to Success in APAC

It is important for brands to understand the market they are wishing to enter, this means understanding the intricacies of their local search engines and social media ads, coupled with how their advertisements formats differ depending on the brands message and audience. 
Some brands which attended the events were: Cloudflare, Jumo, Worldpay, Brocade, Zynga, Zendesk, etc.

If you wish to learn more about how Forward3D could help you take your international digital marketing strategy to the next level, please contact us today (02034763725 / edouard.leneveu@forward3d.com)