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SME Featured APAC

Amid unprecedented rise of digital, 94% of SMBs in APAC have implemented ‘some sort’ of cybersecurity

Singapore – The onset of the global pandemic has pushed former brick-and-mortar businesses to the digital realm, and with this,small and medium businesses (SMBs) saw the need to implement their own cybersecurity measures, as well as setting their own digitalization roadmap, 

According to new insights from global technology company Cisco, about 94% of SMBs in the APAC region have implemented at least some sort of cybersecurity measure, while 90% revealed that they have also implemented a digitalization roadmap for their business to follow.

In terms of the implementation of the said roadmaps, 65% of APAC SMBs have implemented them, while 50% have deployed them.

Part of the growing trend of APAC SMBs realizing these digital strategies are fears over cybersecurity flaws in their business systems, with 56% of business respondents admitting that they have fallen victim to one of the many cybersecurity threats such as email phishing and malware attack, which clocked at 85% of the threats most of these businesses experienced.

With these fears in hand, about 62% of respondents have said that a cyber incident had disrupted their operations and 61% noting that it resulted in a loss of revenue. In addition, 57% saw a loss of trust with customers, while 66% said that a cyber incident affected the company’s reputation negatively.

“It is not a surprise that three quarters of SMBs said they are more concerned about cybersecurity today than they were 12 months ago. This is significant. But it is also encouraging because it demonstrates increased levels of awareness of cyber risk among SMBs,” Cisco said in their report.

As the large number of APAC SMB respondents have noted the consequences of cyber attacks, more and more of these institutions are now setting aside investment and budget for their cybersecurity and digitalization measures, with 63% of SMBs in the APAC region spend at least 4% of annual revenue on cybersecurity on average, with 30% of businesses spending at least 6% of their annual revenue, and 9% spending over 10%.

In terms of challenges, SMBs said keeping pace with continually evolving technologies and security requirements (77%); keeping pace with constantly evolving cyber threats (76%); challenges with engaging employees around responsibilities (75%); too much complexity in the industry (75%); and the ability to recruit (73%) are the top barriers they face to increasing cybersecurity resilience.

“The growing maturity in SMBs’ understanding of cybersecurity is perhaps best highlighted by the fact that they are looking at preparedness holistically. However, even with investments in solutions, talent, and training, SMBs do find themselves at the wrong end of a cyber attack. It’s just the nature of the industry,” Cisco explained.

The report added, “With a growing understanding of the potential impacts of a cyber incident on business, and increased legal implications, SMBs are turning towards cybersecurity insurance as a key investment area. This provides them with a cover to cushion the financial impact any such incident might have on their business.”

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Platforms Featured Global

Health, fitness app sessions increased by 31% in 2021

Singapore – The pandemic has paved the way for people to opt out utilizing digital experiences, including the usage of mobile applications. Under such categories are health and fitness apps, to which its digital lifestyle solutions have made their app sessions increase by 31% during H1 in 2021 globally, the latest insights from mobile marketing analytics platform Adjust shows.

The increase in app sessions are noted despite the gradual re-opening of gyms and fitness centers globally due to eased pandemic restrictions. Yet, health and fitness app installations have dropped by 24% during H1 of this year.

This is a large contrast with the previous Adjust statistics that showed that the aforementioned app installs of apps under that category saw a spike by 67% by March 2020, and sessions boosted by 48% during May 2020, an indication of online activity in these apps due to existing pandemic restrictions back then.

In terms of workout and fitness frequencies on these apps, the insights noted that Sunday was the most preferred day to workout during the week, with Friday being the least favorite. Meanwhile, in terms of peak weak performance, health and fitness global sessions were at peak during the first week of March last year, 9.1% above the H1 average.

“Although installs are not as impressive as last year, sessions are trending upward, suggesting that users are sticking with apps since adapting to taking care of their mental and physical health from home. The growth is expected to continue, but the key challenge for apps is to gain the competitive edge and acquire more high-LTV users,” according to April Tayson, regional vice president for INSEA at Adjust.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Nostalgia, unrepresented sectors key drivers among young Filipinos’ preference for audio content

Manila, Philippines – The global pandemic has pushed the majority to tune in to digital channels to be entertained, including music streaming. With the greater majority of these listeners being under the Gen Z and millennial demographic, their diverse perspectives on music streaming content can be tapped by advertisers, as the latest insights from Spotify shows in retrospect of the Philippine market.

Part of the influencing factor many young Filipinos are streaming audio content more than ever is due to reasons around having it as a ‘mental escape’. For instance, the survey noted that the respondents have listened to songs from the ‘70s 59% more and songs from the ‘80s 40% more as a way to lean on to a ‘nostalgic feeling’. Furthermore, about 87% of millennials and 85% of Gen Z’s locally say that they listen to audio to reduce their stress levels. Lastly, around 76% of Filipino millennials see audio as a mental health resource.

In line with this, the survey recommends brands to align any of their sponsored content to a more ‘comforting’ zone, noting that this creates a positive association with the type of audio we are listening to. Furthermore, the survey also emphasizes the significance of the rise of podcasts, which can be used by brands to promote podcast episode snippets to inform listeners and increase curiosity.

“Listeners are more receptive when messaging matches their mood. Consider millennials’ nostalgic listening experience and lean into contextual targeting to match their vibe,” Spotify said in a statement.

And with audio now having a more ‘emotional’ attachment to these younger generations, respondents are now more positive in democratizing live experiences concerning audio content. About 65% of the respondents say that they prefer connecting with other music fans around the world through a live-streamed concert, while 35% prefer connecting with their favorite local artist and fellow fans through a physical concert.

In addition, 51% of the respondents now prefer virtual concerts in contrast to the 42% of respondents preferring physical concerts, stating that virtual concerts are far more cheaper and more convenient.

The survey also noted that as part of democratizing these audio experiences to a wider audience, brands are advised to think more of the consumer base’s interests, not what they are made of. For instance, gamers who are long stereotyped for the male demographic, are now expanding into the female demographic.

“Gamers are focused on scoring when they’re deep in play mode, but they also use time spent gaming to learn and discover new things, from podcasts to playlists. Take your targeting to the next level by reaching gamers of both generations in real-time while they’re soundtracking their gaming,” the company added.

A larger part of the democratization of live experiences in audio content is due to the wave of fanbases rallying support behind these artists and content creators, with 39% of the respondents saying they have known their favorite music artists or podcast creators via social media. Other factors include knowing them from an existing artist (15%), streaming service recommendation (11%), friend recommendation (9%), and as seen from a movie or TV show (8%).

“Gen Zs and millennials are not just consumers, they’re creators. Pull back the curtain and give your audience a backstage pass to your brand’s creative process — and the opportunity to be part of it,” they commented.

Lastly, Filipino Gen Z’s and millennials understand that part of their diverse audio listening experience comes from amplifying unheard perspectives from societal sectors that are not given amplification back then to represent themselves. Around 62% of millennials and 58% of Gen Z’s in the Philippines said they’ve sought more content from more diverse creators and podcasts in the last year.

In addition, 68% of Filipino Gen Z’s believe they have more freedom to be their authentic selves than previous generations.

“As voices behind the mic become increasingly diverse, the audio medium is resonating with a wider audience — the fruits of which are already starting to change the industry,” Spotify stated.

The platform added, “[Gen] Zs are the most racially and culturally diverse generation yet, and they expect brands to reflect, represent, and empower them through their campaigns, talent partnerships, and participation in social justice movements.”

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Here are the top streaming services in Australia during the pandemic

Sydney, Australia – Despite easing movement restrictions due to COVID-19, streaming content consumption in Australia remains large, with 19.1 million subscriptions recorded at the end of June 2021 across these platforms, which is an increase of 16% from 16.4 million in June 2020. This is according to the latest insights from technology analyst firm Telsyte.

According to their latest insights, Netflix dominates the Australian subscription video on demand (SVOD) services market, with 6 million subscriptions recorded by the end of June 2021. This is then followed by Amazon Prime Video with 2.9 million, Disney+ with 2.6 million, Stan with 2.4 million, and Kayo Sports with 1.1 million.

The remaining 4.1 million are from more than 30 SVOD services such as Binge, Apple TV+, Hayu, Paramount+, Optus Sport, and Britbox.

The survey also notes that 78% of Australian households had at least one entertainment subscription at the end of June 2021, an increase from 65% three years earlier. Subscribing households now have an average of 4.3 entertainment services, which is up from the average of 2.7 in June 2018, largely driven by SVOD subscriptions.

In terms of what type of content Australians want to watch, the sports category has grew 48% year-on-year and the percentage of paid sports subscriptions has also improved significantly, from less than 15% a year ago to over 50% at the end of June 2021.

In addition, around 51% of Australian SVOD customers believe it is important to have content that has Australian stories, voices, culture, and values on SVOD services.

“Australians are clearly attracted to big production movies, TV shows and sporting codes they follow year on year, and are collecting subscriptions on the way,” Foad Fadaghi, managing director at Telsyte, says.

The firm also estimates that total SVOD subscriptions could reach 26 million by June 2025 with higher multiple subscriptions and new services which are boosted by new content licensing deals, and potential bundling, like what is done with Amazon Prime.

“Increasing investment in original content will become more important as part of SVOD providers’ growth and retention strategies. Additionally, Australia has been a popular choice as a source of content and content production,” the firm said in a press statement.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG brands should bank heavily on strong purchasing power from Chinese expats: survey

Singapore – As the national government is easing down border restrictions related to COVID-19, local businesses in Singapore are finding new ways to bounce back and generate positive momentum. One of these factors is the significant rise of the Chinese expat demographic, who are seen as a factor these local brands can bank on in terms of purchasing power, a survey conducted by AI marketing platform EternityX shows.

Around 52% of the affluent respondents noted that they have spent an average of more than S$1,000 per month on luxury or beauty goods, 19% of which even spent an average of more than S$5,000 – a sum typically equivalent to buying a small shoulder bag from a luxury fashion house or a diamond ring from a high-end jeweler.

Furthermore, regardless of the complicated cross-border logistics, more affluent Chinese expats prefer shopping on Chinese online marketplaces including JD.com, Tmall, Taobao, and Pinduoduo rather than local and regional ones such as Shopee and Lazada.

The survey also found that most Chinese expats have been easing back into their pre-pandemic life; as 63% of respondents said that they have been spending more this year than they had in 2020.

“During the lockdown, we’ve seen brands shifting their focus to new consumer demographics within the territory, and Chinese expats are believed to be an important segment to aid consumption growth, now and into the future,” said Richard Andrew, managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia at EternityX.

In terms of making investments, about three-quarters of the affluent agreed that digital resources, including search engines (80%) and social media (73%), play important roles when they make investment decisions. In addition, 33% of the affluent Chinese expats plan on saving and investing 16% to 30% of their annual income, with stocks and bonds, insurance, and real estate being the top 3 investment options, indicating great untapped opportunities for financial institutions.

Lastly, in terms of media consumption, while over 71% of the respondents have lived in Singapore for over 10 years, Chinese expats still heavily utilize Chinese media platforms, with iQiyi, Douyin and Sina being the most influential platforms when it comes to their spending decisions; while WeChat, Toutiao and Sina News are their primary Chinese media channels for breaking financial news.

Media consumption plays a huge role on the purchasing behavior of these expats, as the survey shows that despite many of the respondents speaking English at home, 77% still tend to purchase brands that advertise in Chinese on a Chinese media channel. The survey reveals as well that campaigns running on Chinese digital platforms in simplified Chinese drive higher engagement and generate more leads with Chinese expats living overseas. This shows the power of communicating in a customer’s native language and the diversity of the platforms that can provide enhanced interaction with Chinese expats.

For Andrew, their latest data has shown that it can take up to 30 steps for a customer to make their purchase decision; the more expensive the products, the more steps the customers need.

“This survey reveals the unique ways in which Chinese expats spend their disposable income and consume media, which sheds light on how brands and businesses should tailor a personalized approach that best connects with their target customers. Demographics matter and therefore brands should embrace technology and innovative digital solutions that precisely target one of Singapore’s wealthiest segments [Chinese expats] in order to maximize the effectiveness of advertising campaigns,” he stated.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Big shot ambassadors to continue driving growth of SEA’s e-commerce platforms

Singapore – As more and more e-commerce brands in Southeast Asia ramping up their presence through frequent platform deals such as the recent ‘9.9 Sales’, these brands in the region are highly incentivized with the use of influencers for their sales campaigns, hence pushing the e-commerce industry in the region to a steadfast growth, latest insights from e-commerce aggregator iPrice shows.

Comparing the latest ambassadors of Lazada and Shopee namely K-pop actor Hyun Bin and international kung fu actor Jackie Chan respectively, the report showed that the senior global star received higher engagement for articles published regarding the collaboration. Jackie Chan’s presence in Shopee’s latest campaign garnered 59 articles published, compared to the 53 articles garnered by Hyun Bin’s Lazada campaign.

Despite that, Hyun Bin’s campaign garnered more engagement in social media, receiving 79% of ‘love’ reactions, 19% of ‘haha’ reactions, and 2% of ‘wow’ reactions. Meanwhile, the study found that Jackie Chan’s campaign garnered 62% of ‘love’ reactions, 21% ‘haha’ reactions, and 17% of ‘wow’ reactions on social media.

“It’s clear to see that influencers play an important role in driving excitement for the upcoming sales period. Thus, key e-commerce companies have enough incentive to involve influencers in their campaigns,” said iPrice. 

Meanwhile, overall web visits among e-commerce platforms across the region have increased by 31% this year from January to June compared to the same time frame last year. By average, overall web visits from the aforementioned period this year clocked in 4 million web visits.

The Philippines experienced the most surge by 73%, followed by Indonesia (41%), Malaysia (34%), Singapore (10%), Thailand (9%), and Vietnam (7%).

Specifically, the top two Singapore-based companies, Shopee and Lazada, experienced an increase of web visits by 56% and 10% in 1H 2021 compared to the same period last year.

In terms of consumer behavior, given the uncertain COVID infection rates, consumers will continue to stay at home, and consequently forego holiday travels and family get-togethers. With that given, it is expected that there will be more opportunities for online shopping. iPrice foresees that Southeast Asian consumers would probably spend an average of US$40 on e-commerce by the end of the year.

Furthermore, the insights found out that there was an increase of 26% in average consumer spending in 2020, when consumers spent about US$32 per e-commerce transaction.

“Most purchases will be directed towards the categories of sports and outdoor, home improvements, and electronics. Lastly, even if consumer spending won’t increase as predicted, online retailers can still expect far more online web visits to their platforms this year,” the company concluded.

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Platforms Featured Global

Article theme, in-feed ad must match to trigger detailed memory response: report

Singapore – Amid consumers’ online content consumption, in-feed advertisements show up to monetize the traffic it gets from online readers. And with that traffic, online consumers now expect that there should be an evident correlation between the article they are reading versus the in-feed ads they are served, new data from technology company Integral Ad Science and Neuro-Insight, a neuromarketing and neuroanalytics company.

Said data was collected not through traditional survey data methods but rather through examining brain activity in response to contextually matched ads, showing context can significantly impact ad memorability.

According to the report, matching informational ads with an article’s message creates a very strong detail memory response, and drove a 36% lift in detail memory compared to when there was no match. This can be especially relevant for campaigns that focus on a clear call to action that brands want consumers to respond to.

Part of what consumers also get a closer affinity to as well is that endemically matched ads drive higher memorability: Endemically matched ads, or those that align with and match the surrounding content based on vertical, such as auto ads near auto content, drove a 23% lift in activation within the part of the brain responsible for the memory of practical details, which includes key messages, calls to action, and branding elements. These ads also boosted global memory by 27%, or the memorability of broad themes, overarching narratives, or audio and visual elements.

‘Detail memory’ pertains to the type of memory based on specific themes the consumer observes among the advertising being served, whereas ‘global memory’ pertains to the type of memory based on broader topics.

Meanwhile, ads focused on an emotional response are best paired with content themes. Ads that aim to leave an emotional memory, a particular feeling, or overarching brand perception among consumers performed best when placed alongside articles with a matching theme, such as an ad with a seasonal summer theme adjacent to summer season content. The study found that emotive ads drove 40% higher global memory within thematically matched articles compared to when there was no match.

Lastly, consumers recognize ads as part of their online experience, as the vast majority of consumers (63%) viewed ads as part of their online reading, not disruptive or a distraction. Only 36% of participants said they scrolled past an ad without reading it.

“Using the latest neuroscience and neurometrics, this groundbreaking study demonstrates the specific ways that a webpage’s context can dramatically alter how audiences recall and respond to ads. As our industry prepares for a cookieless future and increasingly moves away from audience targeting, advertisers have a significant opportunity to be intentional with contextual targeting tools, such as IAS Context Control, to drive greater campaign outcomes,” said Tony Marlow, CMO at IAS.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

The Sydney Morning Herald takes lead as Australia’s most-read newspaper: report

Sydney, Australia – National daily compact newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald takes the lead as the most-read newspaper in Australia, new data from media industry body ThinkNewsBrands and market research company Roy Morgan shows.

According to recent data, The Sydney Morning Herald registered 8.4 million readers, both print and on their digital version during a four-week period.

These are followed by The Age (6 million readers), The Australia (5.2 million readers), The Daily Telegraph (4.9 million readers), The Herald Sun (4.7 million readers), and The West Australian & Sunday Times (4.1 million readers).

The report, which is the first release of Total News readership reports, shows that news is holding strong with 20.4 million Australians consuming news in a four-week period, an increase of 1% compared to the same period last year. 

In terms of which medium most readers consume their news from, digital news maintains its position of strength with readership of 19.1 million, 90% of the population aged 14 and up. Meanwhile, print news has seen a 6% increase compared to the same period last year, now reaching 14.1 million people, 67% of the population aged 14 and up. 

“With all of us feeling the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, trusted, timely news has never been more important. This is very clearly reflected in the first release of Total News readership figures which shows news maintaining robust audiences,” said Vanessa Lyons, general manager at ThinkNewsBrands.

Meanwhile, Michele Levine, CEO at Roy Morgan, commented, “We’re pleased to be working with ThinkNewsBrands to measure and report Total News. Since our appointment, we have been busy behind the scenes creating simplicity for channel planners and clearly representing the reach and scale of news among all Australians.”

Speaking about the milestone, Lisa Davie, editor at The Sydney Morning Herald said, “These results show that the Herald’s brand of journalism is rewarding readers with fearless, independent news and analysis, especially as New South Wales goes through one of the toughest periods in its recent history.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SEA report shows social media mentions of cryptos on uptick rate

Singapore – Cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, have sparked popularity over these years, thanks to a huge following online. In the case of Southeast Asia, social media users have been active in discussing the sector across various social media platforms, new data from a report by social media monitoring and intelligence company Digimind.

Singapore takes the lead as the most active market where cryptocurrency mentions are prevalent across social media platforms, amounting to 902,225 mentions from February to May 2021 or about 16% of the density against regular social media users. Social media density refers to the ratio of social media mentions for a particular topic against the number of recorded social media users, regardless of what topic they discuss.

This is followed by the Philippines (2,767,413 mentions) and Malaysia (815,523 mentions) who both tallied 3% of social media mentioned density. Indonesia, meanwhile, is the least vocal in the region when it comes to cryptocurrency mentions. Despite having 3,011,790 mentions, it only takes up 2% of social media density, in proportion to the 170m recorded social media users.

As Bitcoin and Ethereum take the lead of what is on consumer’s minds on social media across the region, the cryptocurrencies Dogecoin, Binance, Tether and Ripple also follow suit, signifying the diversity of cryptocurrency choices for consumers in the region.

In terms of most-mentioned cryptocurrency platforms, Coinbase takes the lead, with 41% of respondents saying it’s on the top of their minds. This is then followed by Binance (28.9%), Okex (19.8%), Huobi (8.2%) and Coinhako (2.1%).

“Determining the right cryptocurrency trading platform is akin to frequenting a supermarket store that offers the best services, from discount prices to exclusive membership rates, and convenience. Brands need to be well equipped to detect the most pressing pain points of consumers or users, survey threats to brand reputation and make informed decisions quickly by synchronizing omnichannel information within a single dashboard to stay investor-centric,” Digimind said in a press statement.

For Olivier Girard, APAC head at Digimind, through the lens of social listening, they see the insecurities and motivations of the average investor, as well as the potential for this new technology to be adopted into the mainstream market.

“From the consumer perspective, it is remarkable to see how cryptocurrency is embraced by people from all walks of life and nationalities – fueling the hope of mainstream adoption in the near future. Even in APAC, we can see efforts ramping up to create greater accessibility, and provide regulations within cryptocurrency exchanges that affirm the trust consumers are having,” Girard stated.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Social ad spend in SEA jumps up to 74%: report

Singapore – The Southeast Asian region has seen a steadfast growth in its advertising realm, more specifically in social media which has jumped to 74.29% this year, according to the latest data from a report by customer experience and social media marketing company Emplifi.

Based on their latest findings, said percentage was evident on Facebook and Instagram advertising on a year-on-year (YoY) end basis during Q2. The report noted that SEA brands spend US$2,287.22 per ad account on average per month, registering the advertising cost growth to 85.75%.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the social ad spend surged to 106% YoY to US$2,162.96 per ad account per month. Under this factor, the e-commerce category accounted for 41.8% of the total interactions of brand pages on Facebook in Q2 2021. On Instagram, the services sector took up the most interactions at 17.6%, followed by the retail category with 16.8%. These industries are mainly service-based, demonstrating that brands are adapting to the modern consumer and providing customer support and customer service through social media platforms.

According to Zarnaz Arlia, chief marketing officer at Emplifi, the ongoing increase in social media ad spend is proving to be more than just a pandemic-related ‘bounce-back’ scenario, adding that more and more brands are relying on social media marketing to engage with their audiences meaningfully and at scale.

“Social commerce and the formats which support it are also becoming more prevalent as the year goes on. As more brands recognize the value of live streaming and start to leverage more live content to cater to users at different stages of the customer journey,” Arlia stated.

Another factor tackled in the report is that Facebook Live videos earned the highest number of organic post interactions and delivered three times the engagement rates of standard videos globally, but account for less than 1% of branded posts. In Singapore, Facebook Live videos and video posts performed the best compared to other formats such as status, photo, and links posting.

On a global scale, global social ad spend saw a 50% YoY jump while the overall worldwide CPC grew by 85.1%. Marketers spent 49.9% more on Facebook and Instagram advertising globally compared to Q2 2020.

“As more and more consumers begin to expect a brand’s social media channels to facilitate outstanding customer experiences across many stages of the customer journey, the importance of engagement and interaction data is taking on a greater significance. What we’re seeing is that an engaging and responsive social media presence is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’ for consumer-facing brands, it’s a key point of differentiation,” Arlia added.