Bangkok, Thailand – The popularity of virtual influencers is becoming more prevalent online, and is evident across consumers in Southeast Asia, including Thailand. In the latest survey conducted by consumer research platform Milieu Insight, large majority of Thai consumers have no preference when following virtual influencers.

According to the data, 74% of the respondents say that they have no preference at all in regards to the ethnicity of the virtual influencer. Meanwhile, 18% say they want a Thai-based virtual influencer, and 8% say that they don’t want a Thai-based virtual influencer.

Regarding communication, 64% of the respondents say that they have no preference on whatever language the virtual influencer uses, while 32% say they prefer it to speak Thai, and 4% say they want other languages other than Thai.

Lastly, 58% of the respondents said that they have no preference whatsoever of what the virtual influencer’s gender is. Meanwhile, 9% said they want it more masculine, 19% say they want it more feminine, 13% want them to be more androgynous, and 3% have other options.

Credibility-wise, 9% of Thai respondents say that virtual influencers are more credible than their human counterparts. Meanwhile, 34% say that they are just as credible as normal influencers, 33% saying they are less likely to do so, and 25% saying they are not sure.

In terms of interest in following virtual influencers, 21% of the respondents say that they are interested in following virtual influencers, 55% saying they are somewhat interested, and 23% saying they are not interested.

Singapore – Consumer data and analytics startup Milieu has recently raised US$5m in funding, which will be used in bolstering product innovation and accelerate the development of new SaaS-oriented consumer insight offerings.

The funding was led by MassMutual Ventures (MMV) Southeast Asia, with participation from OSK Ventures International Berhad, Genesis Alternative Ventures, as well as several private investors.

The company had previously raised funding in 2019, and has since then expanded their commercial operations to cover six markets, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Funds raised from this current round will be allocated to expand Milieu’s reach beyond Southeast Asia.

Milieu has recently launched several new products, including an automated brand tracking solution, as well as a programmatic activation offering known as ‘Milieu Activate’, which enables advertisers to target mobile ads more effectively.

Gerald Ang, founder and CEO at Milieu, said, “As consumer preferences and behaviours evolve rapidly, we see a tremendous opportunity to revolutionize market research to better meet the needs of business leaders today. These funds will help us develop more exciting, innovative products and fuel our expansion. We have demonstrated sustained growth and this is a testament to the resilience in our business model.”

Statistics-wise, Milieu has been growing their mobile app user base from 500,000 users to more than two million in 2020, as well as increasing their customer base by 300% from 45 enterprise customers at the start of 2020 to 180 in October 2021.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the rise of the digital economy and we will continue on with our mission to use technology to empower organizations to connect with consumers at a deeper level. In time, we hope to inspire change globally by sparking meaningful conversations between brands and their customers around the world everyday,” Ang concluded.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Malaysian arm of consumer data and analytics company, Milieu, has announced a new executive joining its team – Aaron Low – to take charge of its commercial operations in the country.

Low is a seasoned martech expert, and consultant, coming from data technology company Zanroo, where he brings over eight years of experience working in martech and software-as-a-service (SaaS) industries. Through his new role, Low will be responsible for building up the sales pipeline and commercial operations for Malaysia, and forging strategic partnerships.

Low was regional strategic partnerships and business development head for APAC at Zanroo. He has also worked with the Malaysia arm of IT services company Meltwater, where he served as a senior business development consultant; and with corporate media marketing company, marcus evans Group, as a corporate sales executive.

Commenting on his appointment, Low Said, “After meeting Milieu for the first time, I got really excited about the product, company vision, and the team. A lot of businesses fail to make the right decisions simply because market research is too complex, too slow, or too expensive. Milieu’s approach really resonates with me in terms of how it can be used to help companies of all shapes and sizes make better decisions.”

Low will report to Marcus Lim, Milieu’s regional head of growth in APAC.

“2020 was a milestone year for us, and we’re proud of what we accomplished with a small team and in the face of the global pandemic. We saw incredibly strong demand for our product in the market as many businesses, both big and small, are now under immense pressure to make data-driven decisions in the face of tight budgets. We’re excited to welcome Aaron to the team and to start building up a base of clients in Malaysia,” Lim stated.