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Technology Featured APAC

E-commerce enabler Awake Asia merges with ADA for market expansion

Singapore – Awake Asia, a regional e-commerce enabler, has announced that it will be now merging with data and AI company ADA, which will help both of the companies empower their services across 10 markets in Asia Pacific, particularly in the e-commerce sector.

Awake Asia’s integration under the ADA brand is effective 1 June this year, where they will serve the markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The merger entails the combination of Awake Asia’s deep e-commerce expertise with ADA’s media, creative, and analytics solutions to drive online sales for brands. This is best applied through digital marketing deeply linked to e-commerce revenue generation; consumer data and analytics leveraged to uplift e-commerce sales; and reaching vast audiences in super-apps and marketplaces.

For Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer of ADA, the merger brings together an integrated approach for brands to reach and convert digital consumers, which is best supported by the fact that more brands are forced to adapt to capture the ‘great migration’ of consumers from offline to online, and business owners still in the dark on how to navigate the challenges to maximize return on investment.

“At ADA, our belief is that e-commerce should not be a siloed execution but needs to be deeply integrated into the brand’s analytics, media, creative, and marketing technology investments – only then can we achieve superior performance,” he said.

Leading the new division is Simon Paterson who joins ADA as chief of e-commerce enablement and the former CEO of Awake Asia. 

Commenting on his new appointment, he said “Over the past 5 years, Awake Asia has built a formidable e-commerce enablement business in Southeast Asia. We are excited to embark on this new phase of growth with integrated analytics, media, and creative to boost e-commerce operations for all brands in the region.”

The merger opens a new market for ADA in Vietnam with over 150 e-commerce specialists currently serving more than 120 brands, driving e-commerce growth for clients such as P&G, Unilever, BMW, and Wyeth; and e-commerce partners including Shopee, Tokopedia, and Lazada among others.

ADA has recently been expanding its data and AI-oriented services across Asia Pacific, such as launching its martech service, an end-to-end e-commerce service, and its partnership with Insider for data-led enterprise marketing endeavors, as well its recent US$60m funding from Softbank.

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA’s US$60m funding from SoftBank to help enhance company’s data, AI offering

Singapore – Data and artificial intelligence (AI) company ADA has announced that it has received a new strategic investment from Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank, amounting to US$60m in funding.

ADA aims that with this investment, they can continue on the development of AI models, with primary focus on precision targeting for the marketing industry; invest in content analytics and automation of content creation; and also create data platforms to deliver consumer insights, predict consumer mindset, and help business decisioning.

The strategic investment will entitle SoftBank to a 23.07% shareholding of ADA, establishing ADA’s valuation at US$260m.

“The post-COVID-19 norm is a ‘digital-first’ economy, which ADA has been successfully building towards. We are very excited to welcome SoftBank Corp. as a valuable partner in our next phase of growth. The capital and business alliance with SoftBank Corp. will further propel ADA’s analytics, data, and AI digital marketing solutions for the benefit of our customers across the region,” according to Srinivas Gattamneni, CEO at ADA.

Meanwhile, Daichi Nozaki, vice president and head of the enterprise business unit’s global business division at SoftBank believes that their investment in ADA will help reshape the digital marketing and data landscape in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This move is part of our ‘Beyond Carrier’ growth strategy as we seek to expand beyond the traditional telecommunications business; and by combining our diversified solutions and technologies with ADA’s expertise in the area of analytics, data, and AI digital marketing, we expect we can both generate significant synergies,” Nozaki said.

ADA has recently been expanding its data and AI-oriented services across Asia Pacific, such as launching its martech service, an end-to-end e-commerce service, and its partnership with Insider for data-led enterprise marketing endeavors.

“We welcome the investments by SoftBank Corp., which brings tremendous growth opportunities for ADA. It also marks a significant milestone, especially with Southeast Asia’s digital market poised to potentially become one of the world’s top five digital economies. The investment from SoftBank Corp. is recognition of ADA as the vehicle to capture the ensuing growth,” Mohd Khairil Abdullah, chairman at ADA, concluded.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s top 5 stories for April: A data and AI company takes number 1 spot

This month’s top stories are all about game-changing old practices and breaking stereotypes in the industry. A new agency has just launched a new proprietary tech that aims to bring more science to the practice of media planning, while a popular short-video platform moves beyond its popularized brand of entertainment to launch a pilot educational series. 

Meanwhile, the world of gaming makes another comeback. Two companies have recently partnered to offer brands an inventory of a new type of advertising in the gaming world. An AI and data company has also offered a new solution to a marketplace that is of surging demand today – e-commerce; while this month also saw the appointment and elevation of one veteran in the area of loyalty marketing in APAC.

Rankings were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 March to 15 April. Take a look. 

Top 5: Global platforms Anzu and Eskimi partner to offer in-game advertising to brands 

More brands will be able to better engage with gamers around the world and get their hands on a relatively new type of brand placement in games – in-game advertising – as two platforms have partnered to offer the said type of inventory to advertisers in Africa, Asia, and CIS, as well as Europe, and MENA.

Anzu.io is a global in-game advertising platform, while Eskimi is a full-stack programmatic and data platform. What Anzu offers are real-life advertisements that fit natively into games, and Yaniv Rozencweig, the director of business operations at Anzu, said that it is looking for a demand-side platform (DSP) like Eskimi that has a strong and agile tech team that is able to “make adjustments” in order to tap into its supply. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to both Rozencweig and Monika Poškutė, the head of marketing at Eskimi, where both said that the partnership ultimately aims to solve the long-standing problem of intrusive ads. 

“Our mindset is very similar [and] basically the same, we believe that ads should not be intrusive, and they should not be a big distraction in your life. You’re supposed to have your activities online for the game that you’re playing on your mobile phone, and it is the game that you’re enjoying, it’s entertainment, [so] suddenly receiving like a pop-up [ad] is a distraction, it’s intrusive,” said Poškutė. 

They also said that the tie-up will be offering foremost the education to clients and brands on how to work around this unique type of advertising and how to best harness it to better connect to gamers which had already reached about 3 billion around the world. 

“You can find various user segments in this big gamer audience in a non-intrusive way, and we believe that by educating our clients about this new opportunity, we are able to offer new channels, [and] new engagement rates, and I could even say probably more loyal user segments,” added Poškutė. 

Top 4: JOLT Digital brings science to media planning through J-CAL 

Singapore-based digital agency JOLT Digital has recently unveiled its new tech for media planning J-CAL, or which stands for J-Calculator, which aims to turn the practice of media planning on its head by bringing more science to advertisers’ processes through econometric modeling. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to the agency’s founder Sebastien Lepez, where he said that throughout his own experience in media planning, he found that most executives allocate media budget based on gut feel.

Lepez, a marketing veteran with over 13 years of experience in both the agency and client sides, shared that media planners usually use media metrics or the rate of likes, impressions, and views, and while, effective in its own way, still doesn’t integrate sales in the process. 

“We allocate the optimal media budget to the channels we have selected. Our tool is able to tell us exactly how many percent should be invested into each of the channels,” he said. 

In the development of J-CAL, five years’ worth of data across Southeast Asia was used to build econometric curves or what the agency calls response curves for each of the channels that are present on digital. 

“J-CAL has taken nine months to develop and I think we have created a technology that is very unique and very robust. A lot of data, efforts, and thinking has gone into it. We truly believe that it is going to game-change media planning,” Lepez stated.

He further said, “Our industry is in need for a change and it’s been requested by clients for many years. After years [of] working at agencies and clients, I had time to observe the gaps and now I am able with JOLT and with J-CAL to fill these gaps.”

Top 3: TikTok Singapore launches first-ever educational series

While TikTok is most popularly known as an entertainment platform, TikTok in Singapore aims to showcase that such is definitely the case and that the platform is far more reaching than just exciting dances and singing. With this, it launched last 31 March to 6 April its first educational series which has its pilot theme on careers on tech. 

The first-ever #JobTok educational live stream series is a lineup of shows that aims to equip the youth aspiring for tech careers with knowledge of the jobs and skillsets of the future in the industry to help them to make more informed career decisions in life.

“We recognize the need to dispel the uncertainty among today’s job seekers and equip them with the relevant skills to be future-ready, so with that idea in mind, we decided to launch the first-ever ‘JobTok’ educational live series to equip all the users in the platform with the knowledge and the skill set of the future to allow them to make more informed career decisions,” said Doreen Tan, user & content operations manager at TikTok Singapore, in an interview with MARKETECH APAC

The platform has roped in women leaders in tech, tech executives from the government, and even its own engineers to shed light on some of the most burning questions of tech enthusiasts. Segments presented were ‘Adulting Advice from Young GovTechies’, ‘The Faces Behind TikTok live’, and ‘Women Leadership in Tech’. 

‘Ultimately, what we are trying to do here is providing an insider look into the tech industry and to just spark greater interest among Singaporeans to enter this fast-growing industry,” added Tan.  

Top 2: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts names new senior director for marketing and loyalty in APAC

Just recently, hospitality giant Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has consolidated and rebranded its Southeast Asia Pacific Rim (SEAPR) unit to now represent the whole Asia Pacific, and with this, it has elevated its former director for marketing and loyalty in SEAPR Lynn Poh to now take the lead as the senior director for the hotel’s rewards program, Wyndham Rewards, in APAC.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Poh to know more about what her first order of business will be as she takes on the role.

“My first order of business is integrating the marketing and loyalty teams in Asia Pacific, and plus, developing a strategic marketing plan for both digital and loyalty that will support the needs of our hotels across the region,” said Poh. 

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is one of the biggest hospitality chains in the world with brands across upscale, midscale, and value segments. The APAC leg currently comprises over 1,500 hotels, and within the running quarter of the year alone, the region has announced new additions to its portfolio with a new property in India state Gujarat, and inaugural entries in Nepal and Cambodia.

With tight travel restrictions in the region still in place, how does Lynn plan to keep the rewards program on its feet when such depends on recurring bookings? She said it’s about leveraging digital channels and employing social media strategies that will keep the brand on consumers’ radar. 

“We have seen positive news of travel bubbles coming out of certain destinations, so while we’re still very focused on integrated campaigns, we are also taking a sub-regional approach that’s tailored to market needs,” she shared. 

“So I agree that bookings have not reached historic levels, but throughout the pandemic, Wyndham had been really present in social media and digital channels, and we’ve been driving this message of dreaming to travel again, reconnecting with family and friends, so really driving that top-of-mind awareness through our social media platforms,” she added. 

Top 1: ADA launches new end-to-end e-commerce solution in APAC

Nabbing the top spot for this month of April is ADA, a company that uses deep data and AI capabilities to provide brands in Asia actionable marketing insights and brand and communication strategies. ADA garnered the highest readership for the month for its new e-commerce solution, which is an end-to-end offering for brands.

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Anurag Gupta, chief operating officer and chief of agency at ADA, said that what the company found was that while e-commerce is a booming industry in Southeast Asia, companies’ current solutions for online brands are very siloed. 

“There are companies who are driving traffic to the e-commerce platforms or marketplace, then there are companies helping brands optimize the customer journey, then there are companies helping them do fulfillment, but nobody’s linking everything together,” Gupta said. 

Hence, its launch of the new solution. The service is aimed at clients seeking comprehensive solutions to drive traffic, manage customer experience, optimize conversions throughout the funnel, and create engaging content on digital marketplaces as well as owned e-commerce sites.

Gupta said that even amid the increase in adoption of e-commerce, it is still seen as vanity and supplemental channel, where about 90% of sales are still dependent on offline purchases. With the new solution, ADA also aims to help companies understand that with the right direction and strategies, it can be a major channel for a brand. 

Gupta cites one of the pitfalls for brands on the customer journey, taking into example cosmetics brands, where most of the time, customers will come searching on the internet to look for different types, for example, of lipsticks. If brands don’t take the difference of keywords in search seriously, a seemingly small detail would be a big problem on online presence, he said. 

“[E-commerce] is a major part of the digital ecosystem. We see that companies are going to accelerate their e-commerce investments, it is going to be a much bigger channel in their portfolio, and hence, we want to prepare companies how to manage this,” stated Gupta. 

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Regional Head of Marketing Stephanie Caunter departs ADA

Malaysia – Stephanie Caunter, the regional head of marketing of ADA, the data and AI-driven marketing firm in Asia, will be exiting the company, and will relinquish her duties beginning the month of April. 

Caunter has been with ADA for a little over two years since March of 2019 and was in charge of all of its nine markets covering Southeast Asia and South Asia, such as Singapore, Philippines, and Malaysia, as well as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the latter mentioned region. 

Caunter shared to MARKETECH APAC that she is leaving the company to take on a new challenge in a different industry and with a different focus in role. She said her experience with ADA can be described in three words: thrilling, family, and growth. 

“I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be part of ADA’s leadership team and start the marketing function from scratch; two years on [and] we’ve built our brand into one that’s known for its data and digital marketing capabilities, and is constantly fielding an influx of potential new customers,” said Caunter.  

ADA designs and executes integrated digital, analytics, and marketing solutions. Caunter headed the company’s brand building and lead generation and supported its prospecting efforts across all of the nine markets in the region. She developed its brand and marketing strategy from scratch, with the objective of bringing recognition to the brand among key buyers and influential stakeholders.

“It will be a bittersweet farewell as I have nothing but the fondest memories for my colleagues and awesome team members,” added Caunter.

Caunter did not share the details of her new role but said that the new work will see her focusing more on customer marketing. 

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA, Insider to drive data-led growth marketing initiatives for enterprises

Singapore – Data and artificial intelligence (AI) company ADA and growth management platform Insider have announced a new partnership to aid enterprises in achieving a greater return on multichannel personalization and marketing campaigns through AI and data analytics.

The partnership entails unifying ADA’s newly formed MarTech-as-a-Service offering and Insider’s AI-powered Growth Management Platform (GMP) which will empower enterprises to scale up and predict customer behavior in real time. Marketers can also seamlessly personalize and streamline campaigns to acquire, activate, and retain customers.

“We’re really excited to be working with Insider. We believe this partnership will help our clients realise more value by allowing us to offer an end-to-end solution that covers the full marketing and sales funnel. We have big goals to continue to expand our business in Asia; so, ADA and Insider’s strong MarTech proposition will help us achieve our ambitious targets,” said Chris Wiseman, head of marketing technology at ADA.

For Patrick Steinbrenner, managing director for APAC at Insider, he believes that with the right recommendation algorithms powered by AI, enterprises can deliver precise individualized cross-channel recommendations and uncover full revenue potential. 

“ADA’s digital and data maturity models’ expertise combined with Insider’s platform capabilities will take marketing to the next level. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with the team at ADA to bring more value to our end customers,” Steinbrenner stated.

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA launches new end-to-end e-commerce solution in APAC

Singapore – Data and AI company ADA has announced a new business line in APAC that combines data-driven marketing strategies with end-to-end e-commerce solutions. 

The service is aimed at clients seeking comprehensive solutions to drive traffic, manage customer experience, optimize conversions throughout the funnel, and create engaging content on digital marketplaces as well as owned e-commerce sites.

“E-commerce is a strategic priority for ADA and our clients as businesses emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re excited to be expanding our footprint by bringing our unique heritage in data-driven marketing to empower the next generation of e-commerce champions,” said Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer at ADA.

Anurag Gupta, chief operating officer and chief of agency at ADA explained that through XACT, ADA’s proprietary data management platform, and with the help also from first-party customer data, a global luxury skincare brand has adapted itself from an offline selling platform to e-commerce.

“The resulting campaigns far exceeded targets, with 490% growth achieved in e-commerce monthly sales versus pre-pandemic, 275% growth versus promotional months and 24.5% return on ad spend,” Gupta added.

ADA had noted a report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. showing that the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia continues to surge as COVID-19 accelerated online purchases, with gross merchandise value expected to jump to US$172B by 2025.

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Technology Featured APAC

Artificial intelligence company ADA launches new martech service across APAC

Singapore – Data and artificial intelligence company ADA has announced the launch of its new martech-as-a-service offering across Asia-Pacific to help clients optimize end-to-end sales and marketing efforts.

Through the new service, users can analyze a client’s business operations across the sales and marketing funnel by consulting and matching with ADA’s existing expertise to grow and scale. The new service can also help clients choose the right Martech solutions that match the business maturity level and to optimize current stacks.

“ADA has continuously evolved to create new ways for businesses to adopt data-driven marketing. We are excited to offer these new MarTech services that complete the circle for our clients by allowing them to look at their full sales and marketing funnel with an always-on approach,” said Srinivas Gattamneni, CEO of ADA.

Furthermore, ADA’s new solution can act as an extended arm of the client to enable, train, and scale in-house talent to ensure continuity of strategy and execution. Clients will benefit from this new addition to the current suite of products and services, as ADA continues to use existing data analytics skill sets to drive impactful business outcomes.

The new martech solution responds to the greater need of businesses for updated marketing measures. According to Gartner, some 80% of organizations feel they are sitting on an outdated MarTech roadmap, and 67% think their existing technology is not useful. Meanwhile, a study by Harvard Business Review found that 80% of marketers want better tools to measure return on investment.

“ADA’s MarTech services exist to support businesses in unlocking the full potential of their MarTech investments and to drive growth across all their sales and marketing channels. We believe business growth is not driven by one solution, but many tactics and approaches. We want to be there to collaborate with our clients through the entire journey and to grow together,” said Chris Wiseman, head of marketing technology at ADA.