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Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s influencer marketing scene on upward 25% CAGR trajectory by 2025

Mumbai, India – With India slowly opening to the the influencer marketing scene to allow brands to connect directly to consumers, the sector is expected to be valued at ₹2200 crores by 2025, or a 25% CAGR trajectory increase from 2021’s ₹900 crores, according to the latest report provided by INCA, the influencer and content marketing solution arm of GroupM, shows.

Part of the reason influencer marketing is thriving in the country is due to the higher preference of brands of utilizing influencers for the campaigns. According to the insights, 75% of influencer marketing campaigns feature influencers such as social media stars, while 25% only for conservative celebrity personalities.

“Social media has given normal people an opportunity to build their own brand, create communities via content. Standard influencers have more authenticity and are more relatable than traditional celebrities.Specialist and niche influencers command a high degree of authority on the topic and bring in more credibility in comparison to mass celebrities,” the company said in a press statement.

In terms of categories being most active in the sector, personal care campaigns garnered the highest percentage of particular brands tapping heavily on the type of marketing, with 25% of respondents saying. These are followed by food and beverage (20%), fashion and jewelry (15%), and mobile and electronics (10%). In sum, these industries contribute to 70% of the volume of influencer marketing in India.

“In the last two decades, digital advertising growth has accelerated and has become ubiquitous. It’s been gaining share in the marketing pie by transforming its presence at the back of advertising technology platforms such as search, commerce, social, and programmatic. Marketing technology platforms such as analytics, CRM, and CMS have also contributed to this growth journey by enabling brands to understand consumer behavior and their journey on and off the internet,” INCA said in a press statement.

The evident growth of the influencer marketing scene in India is best seen with the report’s data stating that 84% of brand marketers are leaning towards launching one influencer campaign this year, and around 81% of brands who have already launched influencer campaigns are satisfied with the ROI it brought to them.

In addition, around 75% of marketers say that influencer campaigns had a positive impact on the consideration and purchase stage of the sales funnel, and 89% of marketers said the ROI from influencer marketing was better or comparable to other channels.

For Prasanth Kumar, CEO at GroupM South Asia, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of influencer marketing by brands, as they are making it an integral part of the brand marketing strategy and is now an important part of the company’s media mix recommendation to brands.

“The key factor that has got brands interested is the bond of trust and authenticity that influencers share with their audiences, thus helping brands associate with an influencer to leverage the same. This report is our effort to help marketers understand various aspects of influencer marketing in the country. Consumer behavior is changing at a fast pace, and we want to empower marketers with the knowledge that can help them,” Kumar stated.

Meanwhile, Ashwin Padmanabhan, president for partnerships and trading at GroupM India, commented that the objective of their report was not only to quantify the industry but also attempted to define and standardize the various formats and industry terms. 

“Influencer marketing industry is at a point of inflection and can take off, subject to the industry initiating to measure, quantify and make investments in influencer marketing accountable. We hope this report will catalyze the industry and ensure the power of influencers is harnessed effectively,” Padmanabhan added.

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Technology Featured APAC

GroupM expands Arshan Saha’s role to APAC CEO for Xaxis & Specialty Businesses

Singapore – As part of the company’s stride to achieve full potential of digital media transformation, WPP’s media investment group GroupM has expanded the role of Arshan Saha, CEO for APAC at programmatic Xaxis, to the new role of APAC CEO for Xaxis & Specialty Businesses.

In his newest role, he will be handling as well the regional businesses of GroupM’s data-driven specialty businesses including programmatic offering Xaxis, influencer marketing service INCA, addressable TV offering Finecast, addressable out-of-home (OOH) offering Sightline, and data and technology consultancy practice Acceleration.

The consolidation of leadership for all data-driven specialty businesses for APAC will ensure GroupM’s continued future ready innovation and growth. Saha brings his experience in growing and scaling Xaxis across the region to further strengthen GroupM’s data and technology suite of products.

Furthermore, GroupM believes that the expanded role lines well with the current state of digital media, which at the moment is fast-evolving and adoption is accelerating, resulting in continued fragmentation across channels and audiences. They add that innovation is key to leveraging this opportunity, and this has taken the form of specialty businesses across various addressable channels.

“My journey at Xaxis has provided me with the perfect platform to succeed in this role. I am excited to embark on this new challenge, leading a high-growth portfolio of specialty businesses for GroupM in channels that are of high demand from our clients. This consolidation will empower our clients to make media work harder for them, while allowing them to easily access GroupM’s digital expertise as a single unit,” Saha said, regarding the expanded role.

Meanwhile, Ashutosh Srivastava, APAC CEO at GroupM, commented, “As part of GroupM’s overall global strategy for growth, we have been investing in launching and growing several data-driven specialty businesses in the region. Apart from Xaxis, we have fast-growing businesses in INCA and Finecast, and are on the verge of launching addressable OOH and Data & Tech consulting.” 

He added, “Arshan has shown great product and commercial acumen in growing Xaxis, and we are confident of his success in scaling our performance and digital product offerings across Asia-Pacific.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

GroupM’s tie-up with PH’s Tier One to make advertising more inclusive in esports

Manila, Philippines – Tier One Entertainment, Philippine-headquartered esports talent agency for SEA, has landed a major partnership with media investment company GroupM with an aim to make advertising more inclusive in the esports industry, specifically to open up esports and gaming content to more mainstream brands. 

GroupM owns some of the top agencies internationally, such as Mindshare, Mediacom, and Essence, and holds global FMCG brand accounts like P&G, Unilever, Nestle, and Colgate-Palmolive, and Pepsico. Through this partnership, both GroupM and Tier One look to lead the way in extending advertising opportunities to more brands, and not just those that are esports-dedicated. 

Despite its rise as a phenomenon, esports and gaming largely remain an endemic sponsor-dominated industry, especially in Southeast Asia. Tier One hopes that with GroupM’s considerable network and resources, they can work to change this and bring more eyes to the industry and their talents.

Tier One is the first and only esports and gaming company GroupM has partnered with in the Philippines, and with this, the company will be onboarded into GroupM’s content platform INCA which streamlines the selling and buying of Tier One’s commercial inventory.

When Tier One launched in the country, one of its core goals is to bridge the gap between gaming and mainstream. The company said that GroupM is the perfect partner to enable them to pursue that goal more actively than ever. 

“It’s been a long-term goal of Tier One Entertainment to partner with GroupM. We are glad to have reached a point wherein our backend team can experience working with the best and brightest in the advertising industry. We look forward to a productive and meaningful working relationship as we bring esports and gaming to the forefront of mainstream advertising,” said Joanne Llavore, CCO of Tier One Entertainment

Meanwhile, Laurent Goirand, head of digital at GroupM, commented, “Seeing the growing interest for e-sports in the Philippines, it is naturally becoming a new venue for our clients to reach out to new customers. With our partnership with Tier One, we are able to have access to premium content and a team of experts, which will be highly beneficial to our overall proposition. We are already starting to offer this new content to all our clients through INCA, our Content Performance solution.”

Tier One shared that the partnership comes at an opportune time, as it looks to expand to more countries in 2021 and in the future. GroupM is believed to be instrumental in mirroring the model of success that Tier One pioneered in the Philippines to other countries across the region, with the partnership expected to allow Tier One to scale up at an unprecedented rate.

Tier One’s CEO Tryke Gutierrez said, “While we have made great strides towards bringing gaming and esports to more mainstream audiences, the fact that a company like GroupM chose us as a partner is a real game-changer. This shows that the advertising industry is finally confident and believes in the power of esports in Southeast Asia.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Aravind Menon takes helm of Xaxis, INCA MY as MD

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Both the Malaysian arm of GroupM’s outcome media specialist Xaxis and its influencer marketing solution INCA are now under the same managing director, Aravind Menon, where he will lead Xaxis‘ and INCA Malaysia’s strategy and operations.

Menon will be responsible as well in spearheading future digital development as well as client transformational initiatives and mentoring new talent. In addition, he will leverage his experience at GroupM to further advance Xaxis’ innovative programmatic solutions, including digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising and proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology.

He has previously held the position of head of supply and product development in GroupM’s Trading Team, where he led the group’s digital investment strategy across key partners and created high value supply and trading strategies for clients. He also became the secretary of the Malaysian Digital Association, a council representing Malaysian corporations including digital publishers, platforms, advertising agencies, creative agencies, and digital service providers, back in 2020.

Reflecting on his appointment, Aravind said, “I am excited to grow Xaxis and INCA’s business in Malaysia. The agencies have been producing some of the most exciting programmatic and influencer marketing solutions for years now and there is clearly phenomenal room for growth in the Malaysian market. I look forward to building and scaling the agencies to even greater heights and delivering exception value for our clients.”

He will be reporting into both Arshan Saha, CEO at Xaxis Asia-Pacific, as well as Chanchal Chakrabarty, CEO at GroupM Malaysia.

Saha commented that Menon has a track record of fostering, collaborating, and championing their integrated approach in transforming digital media into business outcomes, which is a timely opportunity for the companies he will be directing, as the industry has seen unprecedented change since last year.

“His deep expertise combined with our cutting-edge AI in programmatic and creativity will bring incredible value to our operations in Malaysia. I am thrilled to welcome him into his new role in leading Xaxis and INCA for Malaysia,” Saha stated.

Meanwhile, Chakrabarty commented, “Xaxis represents the silver bullet in AI and programmatic, and the Malaysian market is ripe with opportunity to target audiences digitally. I have great confidence that Aravind’s leadership will further elevate our team towards our global goal of making advertising work better for people. His experience in developing and delivering innovative and scalable media partnerships will help us spearhead the advertising revolution and contribute to the overall growth and success of GroupM Malaysia.”

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Technology Featured ANZ

GroupM’s influencer marketing network INCA now afoot in New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand – The New Zealand arm of media investment company GroupM has announced that it is now launching INCA, GroupM’s influencer marketing platform, in the country as part of INCA’s ongoing expansion in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

INCA works as a brand-safe influencer marketing network that gives advertisers access to a data-driven brand engagement tool that connects them with trustworthy and relevant influencers at scale.

Through the expansion, New Zealand advertisers can now leverage INCA’s artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled technology to partner with a vast network of relevant and authentic creators to plan, execute, and measure content-driven campaigns that bring their brand stories to life and deliver results. 

Furthermore, the launch solidifies the company’s efforts to uphold brand safety in the industry as more brands are allocating budgets to influencer marketing to drive brand engagement across social platforms. 

“New Zealand is such an exceptional market for creators. We feel very privileged to be able to connect our brands with the best creators through this new platform. Our people, technology, and partnerships put us in a unique position to sit across the intersection of creativity, media, data, and commerce and we’re excited to bring this value to our brands and strengthen the influencer eco-system in New Zealand,” said Nick Henderson, head of product and solutions at GroupM New Zealand.

INCA also deploys other features in the platform, including INCAtech, which provides unique creator and audience insights, workflow tools, content amplification, and detailed campaign reporting dashboards; and Genuity Score, which enables brands to check the proportion of real versus fake audience on a creators profile, which drives authenticity and effectiveness.

“Advertisers are faced with the challenge of connecting more deeply with consumers in social media platforms. INCA allows us to access thousands of authentic and relevant content creators in a highly cost effective way. This technology has simply changed the game in terms of how we can now plan, implement and measure our influencer content campaigns for clients,” said Chris Riley, chief executive officer at GroupM New Zealand.

INCA in New Zealand will be available to clients from all GroupM agencies which include media agency Mindshare, marketing and advertising company MediaCom, media company Wavemaker, and others.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top 5 stories this December: brave marketing stunt from SG-based dog food brand clinches top spot

MARKETECH APAC started five months ago with a vision to provide an ecosystem for all marketing and marketing tech brands in the Asia Pacific region to share their stories of innovation and growth. Since then, we have been monitoring the most viewed stories on the site each month, to recognize those that have delighted and hooked our readers the most, and we can’t believe that we are now down to our last list for the year. 

Last month, stories on Christmas ads have already started to peep in, and this month, it’s about brands doubling down on creativity and insightful ideas. To prove its established value proposition, one brand from Singapore went out of its way to grab its consumers’ attention through a never-before-heard ‘experiment’. Another one, an ASEAN-focused firm, emerged to be on readers’ radar this month for establishing a free program that aims to strengthen brands’ grasp on consumer and marketing insight. 

Of course, marketing leaders never fail to grace the top stories as they bring a face to the inspiring brands and companies we come to love. One is a new appointment from Asia parenting content platform, while another is an in-depth look at an existing creative leader, sharing his marketing journey and great working philosophy in the world of branding. 

Meanwhile, just like last month, one of the stories that entered the list tell of a marketing agency’s expansion within APAC, giving brands more ways to wow their audiences. All this, right here on the list. 

Based on Google Analytics from November 16 to December 15, here are the top 5 for the month. 

Top 5: A Malaysian integrated creative agency sets eyes on grooming 100 SMEs to the next multinational brands

At the start of the month, we have premiered MARKETECH Expert Up Close, our closer lens to the creatives and brains behind brands – and for our pilot episode, we had the founder of Malaysia integrated creative agency DreamsKingdoms, Yens.YenKai Chong

Yens and DreamsKingdoms isn’t your typical creative associate. More than being partners to businesses, they meet them eye to eye – they don’t play, instead, they’re hung up and serious in helping SMEs to grow into the next multinational brands. 

Yens and his creative agency are on a mission, that is, to use the power of branding to spur businesses’ growth, rerouting their SME mindset to become an MNC mindset in the process. 

In the episode, Yens said, “I feel that it’s a responsibility for professional industry practitioners or leaders to share or direct a way to change the perceptions of businessmen’s mindset, that trading without a brand is hard to survive especially when crises hit.”

He added, “It’s not saying that you have a brand and your business can thrive through [a crisis], but if you have a brand, you [will] have a culture and that culture will pull you through difficulties and give you strength [on] why you exist.”

Top 4: Influencer marketing INCA expands to HongKong

In November, GroupM’s international-wide influencer marketing company INCA announced that it has expanded to Hong Kong. Through this, aside from the company’s flagship influencer marketing solutions, brands in Hong Kong are now able to get their hands on INCATech, a platform that allows them to check unique creator and audience insights, workflow tools, as well as content amplification, and detailed campaign reporting dashboards. 

Top 3: Asia parenting content platform theAsianparent appoints new country manager for Indonesia

There’s no wonder that new appointments for brands always come out as one of the top stories, as such brim with a dose of inspiration at the onset – not just for those similarly aspiring individuals but for patrons of the brands themselves –  wherein new leader means fresh direction.

In November, Asia parenting content platform theAsianparent, which offers an ecosystem for mothers to be guided through the parenting journey, has announced a new country manager for its Indonesia platform. 

Rotsen Quispe is the former head of marketing for two leading hospitality brands: the Southeast Asia and Middle East markets of India-origin hotel chain OYO and the international markets of Indonesia-grown airline and hotel booking platform Traveloka. 

In an exclusive conversation with Rotsen, he shared, “From my previous experience in [the] largest startups in the region, I experienced challenges on how to scale a business in a short period of time. I hope my experience across different markets and my approach [in integrating] tools with the rest of marketing channels will actually help me contribute higher ROI for our partners and brands who rely on theAsianparent to drive growth.” 

Top 2: Free consumer data, training package for 10,000 businesses in Malaysia 

Do not believe what you just read? Well, it’s true – ASEAN-focused consumer data & analytics company Dattel Asia joins businesses that have rolled out assistance programs for co-businesses in this pandemic. 

We’ve seen one that offered free SEO services, Dattel Asia on the other hand, with its expertise in consumer analytics, has offered 10,000 businesses a RM 5K or US$1,223-worth package.This includes access to tools that provide actionable insights on the latest consumer behavior as well as exclusive training on how to grow one’s business with data. 

Called UPLIFT Malaysia, Dattel said the program will benefit most those that are in consumer-facing business such as retail, fashion, and F&B as well as fitness, beauty, and health, or snacks.

Through CEO Ashran Dato’ Ghazi’s personal dealings with entrepreneurs, and learning of their struggles in coping with the effects of the pandemic, the UPLIFT program was then birthed. 

Ashran shared to MARKETECH APAC, “Everyone advises businesses [and] SMEs that they gotta pivot, they gotta change, and they gotta move in order to cope with the whole COVID situation, but a lot of people are also wondering, ‘how do I actually do that?’ what business do I need to do and so forth.” 

He further shared, “So when we reflected in terms of what we’ve been doing, in terms of data itself, we sat with the partners, [and we thought], I think we can do something, I think we can kind of give some sense of direction to other businesses, and [we said] ‘let’s do this’, and let’s get other like-minded people to actually come on board with us on this journey.”

Ashran also revealed that adaptation of the UPLIFT program to other markets in Asian is in the works, something that’s definitely worth watching out for. 

Top 1: Top story for the month – a dog food brand’s three-course meal – for humans.

Did you ever wonder if you could actually eat your furry friend’s food? Well, one dog food brand in Singapore imagined it, and yes, even brought it to fruition. 

Our top story for the month – Furry’s Kitchen – markets dog food that is human-grade, one without preservatives and additives where ingredients are said to be sourced from the same suppliers of restaurants in Singapore. Of course, the brand knows it won’t connect to its consumers through mere lip service, which is why it put its products to the ultimate taste and quality test. 

In partnership with Ogilvy, Furry’s Kitchen borrowed the culinary prowess of celebrity chef Justin Quek to prepare a three-course degustation, and be served to some of the most popular food bloggers in Singapore. As expected, the guests loved the meals, not knowing it was dog food.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Furry’s Kitchen’s CEO Stephen Chua shared, “We have briefed Ogilvy to come up with a way to prove that dog food can be of high quality…the great team in Ogilvy contacted Chef Justin Quek, one of the renowned [chefs] in Singapore and also worldwide, and he loved the idea, and he put up the ultimate test using a three-course degustation.” 

Wow, with a risky feat, Furry’s Kitchen surely brought home the message there – who knows what other exciting marketing stunts the brand has in store for us.

Watch the MARKETECH APAC Reports for December on our YouTube channel, where we bring you exclusive appearances from the newsmakers themselves.

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

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Marketing Featured East Asia

GroupM pushes INCA into HK market expansion

Hong Kong – Media investment company GroupM is continuing its expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, this time launching INCA, an influencer marketing company, to the Hong Kong market.

With this regional expansion, INCA will then allow brand-influencer partnerships to leverage content-driven campaigns. Furthermore, as more brands are reallocating their influencer marketing budget to social media brand engagement, INCA upholds brand safety across using AI technology leverages.

As a study from data company Nielsen shows that economic and social uncertainties have affected brand advertising by means of audience impact, brands have since then ventured out into strategies that are efficient and will have return of investment in no time. Hence, INCA in Hong Kong aims to provide influencer marketing to the local brands by allowing them to collaborate with genuine influencers in spreading the brand, benefiting Hong Kong-based brands from the leveraging strategies from INCA.

“We are committed to helping brands in Hong Kong create the best possible outcomes through our data-driven and brand-safe approach to influencer marketing. Our AI-powered solutions and thorough influencer and content approval processes ensure their investments in influencer marketing inspire their customers, protect their brands, and achieve results that are directly tied to business results,” said Michael Woo (right of banner picture), associate director for Product & Operations at INCA Hong Kong.

INCA is also allowing brands to check the authenticity of their influential marketing strategies through INCATech, a platform that allows brands to check unique creator and audience insights, workflow tools, content amplification, and detailed campaign reporting dashboards which includes Genuity Score.

Screengrab of INCATech Platform
A screen grab featuring the dashboard of INCA’S INCATech platform that monitors partner influencers (Photo Courtesy of INCA)

“Advertisers are faced with the challenge of finding authentic and relevant content creators while ensuring cost-efficiency in their marketing campaigns. Our technology will help equip advertisers, not only in Hong Kong but globally, with data-driven tools that will connect them to genuine influencers and leading publishers in order to achieve their marketing objectives,” said Andy Chung (left of banner picture), head of programmatic at GroupM

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top Five Stories For October

For this month of October, two of our top stories emanate from the gaming industry: a recently launched eSports platform by an all-Filipino team of developers and a recently announced team expansion in APAC of a streaming service for gamers. 

Marketing strategies were also in this month’s spotlight. With influencers continuing to share space with big-time brand endorsers in consumers’ attention, a forecast on influencer marketing trends is one of the stories that led readership. While another one – a marketing agency’s intricate review of Malaysian cinema brands’ engagement on Facebook also hooked readers the most. 

Marketing leaders also continue to inspire. The #MARKETECHMondays episode of ShopBack Philippines’ Country Head Prashant Kala, which was filled with meaningful advice on leadership and success also made it to the list.

Based on Google Analytics from September 16 to October 15, here are the top stories for the month.

Top 5: ShopBack Philippines’ Prashant Kala on #MARKETECHMondays

Every Monday, we take out an inspiring marketing leader and talk to them about the journey they’ve had prior to their current position. This month, our episode with ShopBack Philippines’ Prashan Kala got your interest the most. 

Kala is currently the country head of the said discounts and rewards platform, beginning in 2018, and before that, he was the vice president for sales of restaurant aggregator Zomato for three years in the Philippines. In the #MARKETECHMondays episode, he recollected his leadership experience and shared some very insightful advice on team management.

“You should not be a captain, you should be a coach. Don’t direct. A captain will tell what to do, but a coach will tell how to do it, and even if something goes wrong, a coach will fix it.”

Top 4: Influencer marketing trends in 2020 and beyond by INCA

In an article by influencer marketing solutions INCA, its APAC Client Development Executive Madeleine Mak shared the top ten trends that brands and marketers alike must be on the lookout for in 2020 and beyond. 

One particular trend that was forecasted is the showcase of audio-based content among influencers. It’s normal to see micro- and nano-influencers now serving the most appealing visuals, and making their way to engaging videos; but INCA says audio content, especially podcasts, might just be the next big thing. 

Further, Mak said, the potential popularity of such format comes from audio’s ability to hold listeners’ attention for extended periods, thus, allowing native ads to be easily integrated.

In an additional comment, Mak dove deeper into what might be in store for marketers: “We are seeing brands and audio platforms partnering with relevant influencers to voice audio ads and create branded podcasts. For instance, Spotify signed exclusive podcast deals with leading social media influencers like Addison Rae and Joe Rogan. The media giant also introduced the Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) format that provides data on impressions, ad reach, and anonymized listener demographics to marketers. With data, brands can create targeted audio content that resonates with the growing number of young podcast audiences.”

Top 3: The three biggest Malaysian cinema brands on the Facebook engagement race

In a recent marketing insight endeavor, Malaysian digital marketing agency Webqlo found a convergence between two entities: Facebook and cinema brands.

With the help of its social media analytics platform Adqlo, the agency unearthed how the three biggest big-screen firms in Malaysia – Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), TGV Cinemas, and MBO Cinemas – fare in Facebook engagement stats.

With people still carrying fears of visiting cinemas amid the virus, we reached out to Webqlo’s Head of Digital Cherrie Koay to tell us what can these firms do to their social media strategies to encourage footfall.

She spoke of 3 C’s: Community, Cleanliness, and Creativity.

“Community refers to the people who follow your brand, and also your customers. Get to know these people, talk to them, try to build a meaningful relationship with them rather than trying to sell them products, or push them promotions,” she said.

With cleanliness on the other hand, “Cleanliness is the most priority. We need to show people the efforts, and the measures to keep each other safe.”

Cherrie emphasizes that creativity, being the most “fun” part, is brands’ window to try new things and stretch their creative muscles.

“So go out there, try other things that work nowadays. Most of us are online, and with a lot of people now working from home, and staying indoors, social media has been the number one source for updates, news, and entertainment. So that’s actually a lot of things [you] can try and explore. So try to see the latest things that are trending, what your audience likes, and what they [don’t].”

Top 2: eSports platform Kalaro by Filipino-led The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Almost making it as the topmost read story is the launch of eSports platform Kalaro, which had its roll-out in October in the Philippines, by an all Filipino team from software development firm The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Kalaro, which means playmate in the country’s language, is an end-to-end platform that runs tournament management, one-on-one challenges, and team competitions as well as coaching, piloting, and buy-ins.

Such a well-placed time for the company’s launch with eSports becoming all the rage, but with other gaming platforms in the market, what does make Kalaro different from the others?

CEO Basilio “Jun” Lasco sheds light, “The main problem of this industry is that the applications or software, or technology available are usually quite old, and they’re not integrated, and they are mainly designed for the Western market. So that is where Kalaro will come in.”

“Kalaro is designed specifically for the Asian market. At the heart of it is a tournament management platform, wherein a team or even individuals can organize a friendly match or a nationwide tournament.”

Top 1: Amazon’s streaming service Twitch further expands APAC team

And for our top story comes news from Amazon’s streaming service Twitch. Between the period of August to October, Twitch has announced a number of key appointments, roping in industry veterans to lead its team in APAC. In August, it just named a new marketing chief, and then just very recently – two valuable leads: Sunil Yadav as Agency Development Lead, and Mandar Kambli as Programmatic Enablement Lead, both of which previously an international head at Dentsu. 

With Yadav and Kambli in the middle of settling in their roles, we wanted to know what are some of their priorities as they head on to manage twitch’s agency partnership and programmatic arrangement. 

Yadav shared that first and foremost, he wants to let brands and agencies know more about Twitch’s platform.

“Twitch has recently started building teams in the APAC region. Twitch is quite different from any other streaming or video service, delivering highly engaged connections with consumers for brands,” he said.

“Not many agencies and brands are familiar with all its possibilities at the moment. In this role, I will focus a lot more on driving education about it, as well as work towards building joint initiatives with all our key Agency partners.” 

For Twitch’s programmatic activity on other hand, Mandar said that amid the huge potential and increasing demand of programmatic in APAC, his objective is to ensure that Twitch integrates well with clients to deliver best in class results and build long term partnerships.

“Twitch is interactive, live, engaging and that’s what makes it so unique. Traditionally programmatic has been looked at as a performance channel, but that needs to be challenged. It’s the most efficient, data-driven way of buying media across the consumer funnel, including branding and awareness.”

“At Twitch we not only provide an immersive experience for brands to engage with users but also focus heavily on user experience. This elevates the brand value to a completely new level as users are a lot more receptive and engaged.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

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Technology Featured APAC

INCA to adopt “Sophia the Robot” to its network of influencers

Singapore – GroupM’s influencer marketing solutions INCA has struck a partnership with Hanson Robotics, creator of Sophia, an advanced human-like robot, to make her available as an influencer partner to brands in the APAC region.

Sophia’s collaboration with INCA was officially announced in a virtual presser Aug. 26, where CEO David Hanson introduced Sophia, alongside granting a peek to Hanson Robotic’s Hong Kong-based laboratory.

This will be Sophia’s first ambassadorship work with an agency. Having launched in 2016, the robot has already worked with international brands such as Etihad Airlines and Audi among others.

INCA APAC lead Atique Kazi believes that as an advocate for scientific education and sustainable development, Sophia’s persona will be a natural fit for many brands looking to create compelling engagement around such topics.

“She has the capability to generate facial expression, mirror people’s posture, and discern emotions from the tone of voice, all of which help people to identify and form a connection with her,” said Kazi.

Meanwhile, Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson commented, “Sophia is our pride, and we trust that her wealth of experience as a global influencer will pave the way for INCA to reach many more milestones in the future.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top 10 Influencer Marketing trends to look out for

From the rise of the micro- and nano-influencers to the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in ensuring brand safety and delivering data-driven insights, new influencer marketing trends continue to emerge this year.

While exploring the ins and outs of influencer marketing space, we have observed the top 10 trends that will be huge this 2020. These trends are anticipated to guide brands in strategizing for campaigns that are sure to generate ROI.

1. Expect more influencers across content, experiential, and social media marketing strategies.

Since audiences see influencers as more authentic and credible, 89% of marketers think ROI is comparable or better with influencer marketing.

Brands will turn to confluence marketing strategies to amplify campaigns and social commerce by boosting or repurposing influencer-made content for example.

Brands are also expected to expand influencer marketing budgets and we can expect more exclusive invite-only influencer events.

2. No longer will micro- and nano-influencers be underestimated.

With a more dedicated niche following, micro- and nano-influencers are more engaging than celebrity and top influencers. More brands will plan campaigns with a mix of nano-, micro- and macro-influencers.

Brands can reap the benefits of both worlds. While one targets a specific niche audience, the other has a wider reach and potential to spark large conversations.

3. Brands will seek deeper, long-term influencer partnerships.

No longer do brands think a single influencer post or story is an effective conversion strategy. More are opting for long-term influencer partnerships through custom product lines or ambassador programs.

This helps brands achieve business outcomes, build authentic audience loyalty, and identify the marketing strategies that work best for them.

4. Industry will be streamlined by tighter regulations and pressures on influencers to comply.

Past controversies and issues on fake followers have motivated brands and audiences to demand more influencer transparency. To ensure compliance, social channels are stepping up such as, Instagram putting up a ‘Paid Partnership With’ feature.

Following these new regulatory measures will enhance an influencer’s perceived authenticity and strengthen campaign performance.

5. More airtime for audio-based content.

Audio content, especially podcasts, has risen in popularity. Audio influencers hold listeners’ attention for extended periods, allowing native ad formats to be easily integrated.

In 2020, it is estimated that podcasts alone will account for $863 million in ad revenue. While the market for audio influencers is still blossoming in APAC, advertisers and brands should anticipate, appreciate, and plan for audio in future marketing strategies.

6. A growing fascination with CGI-Influencers.

Virtual computer-generated Instagram (CGI) influencers are shaking up the industry. Uniquely, CGI- influencers give brands full creative control over campaigns.

Appealing to techy Gen-Z audiences, CGI influencers like digital AI-avatar Lil Miquela are shown to have engagement rates almost 3x higher than real human influencers. Evidently, users are fascinated by this blend of fantasy and reality.

7. eSports influencers uniting fans and brands.

With ½ of fans being millennials, ages between 25-39, and more than 1/3 are women, eSports influencers have an especially wide and engaged following.

It is not surprising then that the number of influencer campaigns with eSports athletes has tripled in the past five years, with non-endemic brands increasingly getting in on the action.

With the eSports industry predicted to exceed 1.62 billion in revenue in 2021, advertisers and brands should consider eSports influencers in their marketing strategies if they want a piece of this winning streak.

8. Brands are recruiting employees and customers to build advocacy.

Audiences believe employees have a deep understanding of a brand’s culture. This makes their endorsements seem more reliable and authentic.

Brands like H&M, L’Oreal, Reebok, Starbucks, and MasterCard have launched advocacy programs motivating employees to become influencers. Social Media Today reports that these employee advocacy programs result in an average 26% increased revenue YOY.

For this same reason, customers are also being recruited as brand ambassadors. For advertisers and brands looking to amplify both retail and social commerce efforts, leveraging existing employees and consumers effectively capitalizes on the power of word-of-mouth to raise brand awareness.

9. AI is helping brands ensure brand safety.

Advances in AI are allowing marketers to derive more meaningful insights about campaign performance from vast data sets. Performance-based metrics like unique reach, actual impressions, and video views can now be verified and consolidated onto all-inclusive influencer marketing solutions that help streamline campaign workflow with image recognition and natural language processing (NLP).

Allowing social listening and the flagging of inappropriate content, brands can also shortlist the best influencers to fulfill campaign outcomes. Facilitated by automated booking tools, these developments let brands better optimize marketing strategies and ensure brand safety.

10. New highly shareable platforms and content are emerging.

Younger generations want engaging, authentic, and rapidly consumable content. With the adoption of technologies like drones, 360 video applications, AR and VR, influencers can enhance their storytelling abilities and produce higher-quality, innovative content. Rising social platforms such as TikTok and Twitch have also adopted these trends.

This article was written by Madeleine Mak of INCA APAC.

INCA is an influencer marketing solutions which helps brands to run brand-safe content campaigns through creators and influencers across digital platforms. It is owned by media company, Group M.