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Malaysian digital growth in 2020: exponential online traffic means exponential opportunities

Malaysia – 2020 was a challenging year. Across the board, people have had to adapt to new styles of working, adapt to new business strategies, and even changed industries. It would be easy to write off 2020 as a ‘bad year’, but I believe that’s the wrong way of looking at things. In fact, there is a case to be made for 2020 being one of the most important periods in the evolution of digital marketing, all over the globe. Let’s look at the facts.

1. As a direct impact of the lockdown in the pandemic, specifically called Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, there has been a surge of online activity that was unprecedented. Everyone staying at home with no recourse for outside entertainment meant that users were highly more inclined to spend time online. Think about what that means in terms of your online audience, and compare it with the online audience of, say 2019.

2. With MCO, suddenly there are more people on social platforms than ever before. When users used to consume digital media when they were at home pre-COVID, now entire nations can (and do) consume digital media throughout the whole day. And it doesn’t end at media consumption. Over the course of 2020, users have also taken more decisive action to leverage digital platforms to fulfill consumer needs.

3. Where there have previously been large pools of users that were either unfamiliar or untrusting of e-commerce and online shopping, those groups have largely been converted. Where there was once a common mistrust, there are now entire generations of new believers.

4. Think about it, now your parents or grandparents have become somewhat accustomed to the online shopping process (at the very least, they understand how to browse and then ask for their children’s help with the purchasing process).

5. To illustrate the above point, Facebook recently reported that Southeast Asia as a whole has undergone an approximate 5 YEARS worth of digital ‘education’ in just one year of 2020. This means that what would have originally taken 5 years of digital education to achieve this size of audience with media consumption and e-commerce familiarity has only taken a year because – that’s right – new users have taken the initiative to educate themselves on how the process works. This in turn means great news for all digital marketers.

6. As marketers, in order to sell, you need a market to sell to. For digital, understand that your audience is limited to users that are on the digital platform. To grow your potential audience, an education process must happen to educate users about their ability to conduct purchases online. There is an overwhelming increase in demand for online consumption, and the supply of services is struggling to keep up. The climate is still fresh.

7. So what does this mean for you? Don’t worry, a rising tide raises ALL ships.

8. If you are a small business owner, you can pivot extremely fast in order to scale. You have an expanded audience to collect data and learnings from, and with the right automation tools deployed strategically, you can grow your business at an accelerated rate than you would have been able to just this time last year. Use this knowledge as leverage that you have an exponentially bigger audience to sell now vs. just a year ago.

9. If you are a larger scale marketer for bigger brands, you should also rejoice, as the digital market is bigger than ever, with so much more to play for. There is a bigger slice of the pie to corner, assuming you are willing to experiment with new strategies and pivot as you go along. With the power of scale, your analytics tools will be more important than ever in leveraging the mass amounts of data available. This is the time to run mass A/B testing and test out different audience sets as there is more data than ever, and there is a key opportunity here to actually help shape the market in these early days.

10. Come 2021: NOW is the time to make big, bold moves on digital. This is the time for taking bigger risks, and collecting learnings while the new digital climate is still fresh. For those that refuse to adapt…the market will not wait for you.

This article was written by Fadli Azali of iProspect.

iProspect is a digital marketing agency part of the Dentsu Aegis Network in Malaysia. It delivers integrated marketing campaigns such as performance marketing, search engine optimization, website, and app development, content marketing, as well as social media, and CRM.