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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

New project by top game developers Ubisoft, Riot Games to better AI tools in detecting ‘disruptive’ behaviour in games

Singapore – Top game developers Ubisoft and Riot Games have recently announced ‘Zero Harm in Comms’, a technological partnership that aims to enhance the reach of their artificial intelligence-based solutions in order to prevent harmful player interactions. The project aims to develop a cross-industry shared database and labelling ecosystem for in-game data that will improve the training of AI-based preemptive moderation tools for detecting and mitigating disruptive behaviour.

The ‘Zero Harm in Comms’ research project will allow both companies to explore how to lay the technological foundations for future industry collaboration and create the framework that guarantees the ethics and the privacy of this initiative. It is expected that the resulting database should cover every type of player and in-game behaviour with their competitive games and diverse portfolio, in order to better train Riot Games’ and Ubisoft’s AI systems.

According to the active members of the Fair Play Alliance, Ubisoft, and Riot Games, the creation of safe and meaningful online experiences in games can only come from collective action and knowledge sharing. As such, this initiative builds on both companies’ larger journey of developing gaming structures that foster more rewarding social experiences while avoiding harmful interactions.

Yves Jacquier, executive director of Ubisoft La Forge, observed that, “Disruptive player behaviours is an issue that we take very seriously but also one that is very difficult to solve.”

Wesley Kerr, head of technology research at Riot Games, also mentioned, “Disruptive behaviour isn’t a problem that is unique to games – every company that has an online social platform is working to address this challenging space. That is why we’re committed to working with industry partners like Ubisoft who believe in creating safe communities and fostering positive experiences in online spaces.”

Jacquire added, “At Ubisoft, we have been working on concrete measures to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences, but we believe that, by coming together as an industry, we will be able to tackle this issue more effectively. Through this technological partnership with Riot Games, we are exploring how to better prevent in-game toxicity as designers of these environments with a direct link to our communities.”

The ‘Zero Harm in Comms’ research project, which is still in its early stages, is the first step in an ambitious cross-industry project that aims to benefit the entire player community in the future. As part of the first research exploration, Ubisoft and Riot have committed to sharing the initial phase of the experiment’s learnings with the entire industry next year, regardless of the outcome.

Kerr said, “This project is just an example of the wider commitment and work that we’re doing across Riot to develop systems that create healthy, safe, and inclusive interactions with our games.” 

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Marketing Featured APAC

Research firm Ipsos announces new key leadership hires for APAC

Australia – Research company Ipsos has announced the appointment of its long-time global executive Hamish Munro as the new CEO for APAC, and current CEO for SEA Suresh Ramalingam as the new chief client officer for APAC

Munro moves into his new remit after three years as Ipsos’ global head of interactive devices. Since joining the company in 2013, he has also had stints as CEO of Australia and New Zealand (2013 – 2015), CEO of SEA (2016 – 2017), and CEO of APAC operations (2017 – 2019). 

In his new role, Munro is set to bring broad international operational and research management experience, along with more than two decades of diverse market research and leadership. He will also be replacing current Ipsos APAC CEO, Christophe Cambournac, who will move into a global role with the business. 

Meanwhile, Ramalingam moves into his new role after four years as CEO for Ipsos’ SEA markets. Prior to joining Ipsos, he spent more than 20 years at Nielsen, working across its emerging markets in various leadership roles, and the most recent one as managing director of consumer insights across LATAM, EMEA and South-East Asia, based in Dubai. 

In his new remit, Ramalingam will be leading the client organisation for Ipsos’ APAC region and will be based in Kuala Lumpur. 

Commenting on his new role, Munro said “I am excited to collaborate with my colleagues across Asia Pacific and continue to build on our strong client partnerships, building and strengthening our talent and deploying many of our new services to help our clients grow.”

Meanwhile, Ramalingam also said, “Our strong client organisation teams help drive engagement with our key clients in Asia Pacific collaborating across our services to provide the best possible research outcomes catering to their business needs. I am very excited to continue to focus on building client relationships across Asia Pacific.” 

Ben Page, Ipsos’ CEO, said that Munro and Ramalingam were set to bring a wealth of industry experience and corporate knowledge to their new roles. 

He further shared, “Hamish has been an integral part of the global Ipsos team since 2013, sharing his 25-plus years [of] experience in market research, marketing, communications and account management roles.”

“Suresh has already shown his ability to grow and manage client relationships across Southeast Asia, delivering on our long-term growth plans for the region. In his new role, I’m confident that his client and people-focused leadership style coupled with his extensive research and management experience will help in leading the client organisation successfully in our APAC region,” added Page.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

What are the factors, perspectives among Filipinos regarding cancel culture?

Manila, Philippines – The term ‘cancel culture’ or the term for boycotting public figures that are found to be problematic–is becoming more prevalent within the younger generations in the Philippines. Cancel culture remains linked to the call for accountability, and Milieu Insight has conducted a recent survey to learn more about the factors and perspectives that shape cancel culture locally.

According to the data, around 1 in 5 Filipinos have joined in a ‘cancel’ movement, with 66% saying they joined because they did not agree with the actions/opinions of the person or group, and 54% said they joined because he person or group is or was involved in a controversy.

Locally, cancel culture skews towards cancelling public figures due to cultural issues such as cultural appropriation (50%) and political stance (48%). Within the Southeast Asian region, respondents’ withdrawal of support tended to be racism (54%), sexual assault (50%) and physical violence (48%).

Meanwhile, around 31% of Southeast Asians said a person/group that was ‘cancelled’ can always or often be forgiven or given the opportunity to make a public appearance. This sentiment is shared by more Filipinos, with 41% being more agreeable to giving a cancelled entity a second chance – the highest rate among the different Southeast Asian countries.

Most local respondents describe cancel culture to be cruel (45%) and aggressive (35%) but those who have been part of a cancel movement tended to view it as normal (30% vs 17% overall), helpful (22% vs 8% overall), and progressive (16% vs 11% overall). This reflects their belief that cancelling is a useful tool to demand responsibility from public figures. In addition, the majority of Filipinos agreed that cancel movements are a fair punishment (76%) for wrongdoers to be held responsible, and 78% see them as effective in doing so.

Around 51% of Filipinos also say that cancel culture happens too often, significantly higher than those who say it happens just as often as it should (42%).

In the recent Philippines’ national elections, people cancelled not only public figures but also their friends and family due to different political beliefs. It is no surprise then that the majority of Filipinos act cautiously both online (92%) and offline (91%) because they are worried about being cancelled themselves.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s What’s NEXT returns with a 4-month long festival of insights sharing

The Philippines – MARKETECH APAC‘s What’s NEXT returns this year with a stronger push to bring the industry together through a variety of knowledge-sharing activities. MARKETECH APAC will continue to feature thought-leadership articles written by renowned marketing leaders to cover various marketing areas, as it did last year.

With MARKETECH APAC‘s ongoing push to create relevant video content, we will gather the best in the industry this year and sit down with them to discuss how marketers can prepare for the upcoming year of marketing opportunities and challenges.

On November 3, 2022, What’s NEXT 2023 will kick off with a regional webinar, What’s NEXT: Events in Asia Pacific, in collaboration with event tech platform, Hubilo. On November 8, in partnership with influencer marketing platform Vamp, another regional webinar, What’s Next: Influencer Marketing in APAC, will be held.

True to its mission of creating a well-connected marketing community in Asia Pacific, What’s NEXT 2023 concludes with a two-day hybrid conference, What’s NEXT 2023: Marketing in Asia Pacific, on February 21-22, with at least 120 physical attendees in Manila and 1,500 virtual attendees from various markets in Asia Pacific.

The conference will spark offline and online discussions about digital, e-commerce, customer engagement, CX, esports, research, B2B, metaverse, and other relevant topics that will help marketers future-proof marketing strategies.

MARKETECH APAC’s What’s NEXT 2023 will be a go-to platform for checking out the marketing industry’s new trends, opportunities, and challenges to be explored in the region through this holistic approach.

Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for updates on the hybrid conference.

Please contact Joven Barceñas at [email protected] if you are interested in becoming a partner.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

JCDecaux NZ releases research on how brand codes in OOH creative influence mental availability

New Zealand – Out-of-Home (OOH) media company JCDecaux in New Zealand and behavioural insights company, NeuroSpot, have released the results of their latest proprietary research project called the ‘Distinctive Creativity’. This study is part of the JCDecaux Intelligence programme, which dedicates funds to annual local research projects to better understand how consumers connect with the company’s OOH touchpoints. 

The study revealed that OOH creative incorporating distinctive brand codes – including logo, colour, shape, tone of voice and style of imagery – averaged a 13% uplift in category mental availability versus weakly coded ads.

Moreover, the study also found that ads with strong brand codes are liked 31% more than weakly coded ads, while liked ads drive uplifts in category mental availability by 18% because strongly coded ads are easier to cognitively process, which leads to perceived preference. 

Victoria Parsons, senior insights and strategy specialist at JCDecaux New Zealand, noted that the first looked at format, and this study extends to creative. 

“At JCDecaux, we subscribe to the view that advertising ‘works’ through building memory structures that consumers call on in a buying situation. This study puts specific numbers around our knowledge that strongly coded Out-of-Home advertising can influence decision making and drive a sales effect,” said Parsons.

The study aims to examine how using distinctive brand codes in OOH creative influences mental availability. Mental availability is one of the most important metrics for brands and is often under-measured compared with awareness or consideration. Mental availability predicts the propensity for a brand to come to mind in a buying situation versus simply being known.

Cole Armstrong, NeuroSpot’s managing director, shared that there are points for showing up, but if brands really want to impact their customers, it’s the way they surface their brand via OOH advertising that will make the difference. 

“If you ensure your ads are strongly coded with distinctive brand codes, the potential for you to leave a lasting impression in the minds of consumers is significantly increased,” said Armstrong.

Meanwhile, Gary Rosewarne, sales director at JCDecaux New Zealand, said, “Our role as a leader in Out-of-Home is to help advertisers create the best Out-of-Home campaigns. We know that creativity drives effective outcomes for brands, but we can now validate that creative using strong brand codes delivers a sales effect. It is not about one or the other but ensuring Out-of-Home campaigns deliver both.”

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Marketing Featured APAC

4 in 10 online shoppers admit to over-ordering only to return unwanted items

Singapore – One of the challenges for online sellers looking to provide service and sustainability is that 23% of everything that global shoppers order online is returned and almost 39% admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items, presenting another dilemma for retailers’ digital supply chain, according to global e-commerce consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce. 

The same research found that the worst offenders for returns in the APAC region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44%. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13%. It also revealed that the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continues to drive consumer spending online, which can be predominately seen in the APAC markets, as China leads the way in online spending sitting at 66%, followed by Indonesia and India at 64%, Thailand at 60%, Australia at 55%, and Japan at 48%.

But winning online means getting the service right – one of the biggest changes post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers. About 24% of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours, and the APAC region leads the charge in these demands with 46% of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27%, and China and Thailand at 25%. These delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers with 48% of global consumers demanding faster delivery, while 68% said that they wished that brands and retailers offered better environmental practices. 

Meanwhile, when consumers were asked if they ‘actively choose brands that are more environmentally responsible’, the region sits well beyond the global average. Thailand consumers sit at number one globally at 83%, followed by Indonesia at number two with 82%, India at number three with 81%, and China at number five with 71%. Australia and Japan had further to go in making active in sustainable choices, sitting at 46% and 38% respectively.

Aadit Bimbhet, regional commerce director at Wunderman Thompson APAC, shared that the COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption globally and in Southeast Asia nearly 70 million new shoppers are estimated to have come online for the first time, while marketplaces remain the dominant force online, consumer loyalty and preferences in APAC are evolving in the face of fragmented online journeys. 

“Consumers expect to engage with brands across multiple touch-points and brands have to start enabling connected commerce experiences to efficiently acquire and retain shoppers. Furthermore, as competition for shoppers in APAC increases, delivering brand experiences that are consistent, cohesive and engaging will be crucial to capturing a share of heart, mind and wallet in the long run,” said Bimbhet.

Meanwhile, Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, noted that TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and e-commerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favourite products and services.

“However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have reduced patience; they want products and services at the click of a button and won’t settle for second-best. Couple this with the rising cost of living and retailers face a fight to get consumers’ cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use,” said Fletcher.

In addition, the research shows that consumers have a healthy appetite for retailers to invest in emerging tech trends, including cashless payments with 58% and checkout-less supermarket services such as Amazon Go with 64%. The online world is also creating enormous value for retailers, with 60% of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels. This has been driven by working from home (WFH), with 69% of consumers saying they have shopped more online, and 62% saying they have discovered new brands as a consequence of WFH.

The results have been even better this year for online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Mercado Libre, and Rakuten, amongst others. About 64% of global consumers go as far as to say they are excited by the prospect of buying everything through one retailer and 36% have already started their search on top marketplaces. While Amazon sits at number one across Europe, UK, USA, and UAE, APAC sees more diversity, with more marketplaces vying for consumers and social media platforms featuring heavily.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Digital payments in India to constitute nearly 65% of all payments by 2026: report

Bengaluru, India – With the Indian payment ecosystem undergoing a paradigm shift in recent years, digital payments in India is expected to constitute nearly 65% of all payments by 2026 and valued at around US$10t in that same year, according to a report by digital payments company PhonePe and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

According to the report, India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system has supercharged India’s transition to non-cash payments, especially in person-to-person (P2P) fund transfers and low value merchant (P2M) payments. Not surprisingly, UPI saw about 9 times the transaction volume increase in the past 3 years, increasing from 5 billion transactions in FY19 to about 46 billion transactions in FY22; accounting for more than 60% of non-cash transaction volumes in FY22.

It also noted that a key outcome of the many significant shifts in customer behaviour was an acceleration of digital payments in India. Customers switched to e-commerce and contactless modes of digital payment to minimise contact and infection risk. More than a 50% jump was observed in monthly transaction volumes across UPI, Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) over 6 months following the imposition of lockdown in March 2020.

Karthik Raghupathy, head of strategy and investor relations at PhonePe, said, “This indicates that digital payment has truly gained ubiquitous acceptance across the country. While Tier 1-2 cities have witnessed high acceptance of digital payments, penetration in Tier 3-6 cities shows headroom for growth. The next wave of growth will now come from Tier 3-6 locations, as evidenced in the past two years wherein Tier 3-6 cities have contributed to nearly 60 to 70% of new customers.”

Meanwhile, Prateek Roongta, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, commented, “India is set to become a digital payment economy as a source of payments invert with 65% transactions being done digitally by 2026, as opposed to 40% transactions today. Merchant payments will emerge as the most powerful driver of this growth, especially in the offline segment due to growing QR code deployments. We expect that merchant payments will soon outpace person-to-person fund transfers.”

He added, “We will increasingly observe digital payments get embedded in all forms of commerce, we will also witness the progression from embedded payments to embedded finance. As more and more merchants begin to accept digital payments, it will unlock a significant change in access to credit for small merchants due to the creation of a digital transaction trail.”

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Marketing Featured Global

Hivestack launches metaverse-oriented research division

Toronto, Canada   Independent programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) ad tech company, Hivestack, has today announced the launch of a new research division that will focus on exploring in-store, programmatic media activation in the metaverse. Former Microsoft Research managing director and computer vision pioneer P. Anandan joins Hivestack as a special advisor to spearhead the initiative.

According to a recent eMarketer report advertisers spent $31B USD in 2021 in the US on retail media, with a path to $100B in the coming years. The findings of the report showed that the majority of the ad spend went to advertising on Amazon and Walmart’s digital assets. A growing trend is that large, big box retailers are implementing custom ad tech stacks with identity solutions to monetize their online marketplace as well as their physical stores. 

Metaverse stores will enable advertising opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers – in particular, their avatars, at the point of purchase – on virtual in-store walls, virtual digital endcaps, and even virtual in-store audio advertising. Preliminary research shows that consumer engagement in the metaverse will far exceed current online experiences and thus lead to deeper engagement with ensuing greater outcomes for advertisers.

Andreas Soupliotis, founder & CEO of Hivestack shared, “With the launch of our research division, we are prototyping how ad tech can be used to programmatically activate ad opportunities in virtual retail stores in the metaverse. In this environment, the consumer is technically inside their homes shopping via VR headsets, but their avatar is out-of-home. Much of Hivestack’s full-stack technology for digital out-of-home activation and monetization applies to retail metaverse advertising, but some important computer science gaps remain to be addressed. We launched this initiative to formulate the needed technology to make programmatic DOOH a success in the meta as well as the physical world.“

The use of meta and crypto-related concepts to buy and sell DOOH ads is already happening. As an example, Hivestack’s exclusive partner in Japan, LIVE BOARD (a wholly owned subsidiary of NTTDocomo and Dentsu Japan) have already started to experiment selling outdoor advertising space as NFTs, representing the first initiative in Japan to sell outdoor advertising rights as an NFT.

P. Anandan commented on his new role of special advisor at Hivestack, “I am thrilled to be advising Hivestack on this new direction of avatar-based out-of-home advertising. There are some important technology, product and engineering challenges that need to be addressed in order for marketers to benefit from this new generation of advertising.”

According to Anandan, there are many unanswered questions regarding how media payments will be made to metaverse retailers, with cryptocurrencies possibly being used. In such cases, RTB bid requests and responses between DSPs and SSPS would be based on cryptocurrency CPMs. With this, he is looking forward to helping Hivestack grow a research team that will address these new frontiers in ad tech and provide marketers with the solutions they will need to succeed in the burgeoning field of ‘Meta Marketing’.

Kevin McDonald, CEO of Kinetic Canada, commented, “The retail metaverse is opening up a new reality for consumers that blends the sensations of physical, out-of-home shopping with ease of mobile shopping.”

Kevin adds that Kinetic Canada is laser-focused on driving precise measurable outcomes for our clients. As the lines blur between consumers and their avatars, the combination of real-world, retail DOOH and metaverse retail digital out-of-home advertising is an important area of exploration to them and their clients.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Consumer analytics firm Milieu Insight launches new features for mobile app

Singapore – Southeast Asia research and analytics firm Milieu Insight has unveiled the new update of its mobile survey app, Milieu Surveys, which provides flexibility and convenience of gaining insights into localized trending topics.

Milieu’s opinion-sharing community is made up of an extensive representative panel across all ages, and segment groups, enabling quality consumer research results at quicker turnaround times. Milieu Survey’s innovative survey technology allows respondents to take surveys, polls, and quizzes, as well as learn, and earn at the same time.

The new app update builds on its previous version, focusing on offering a superior user experience with a host of new gamification features. By utilizing highly visual gamification elements, language localization features and engaging, interactive content, the new app experience encourages active participation and delivery of high-quality data.

The new key features include ‘play’, which allows users to earn points from participating in surveys, taking daily quizzes or ‘Hot Topic’ polls, and also earn booster points from time to time. It also includes ‘track’, which enables users to view their status tier and track how many points they have earned, surveys completed, and activity history. And lastly, the ‘spend’ feature, which allows users to redeem their reward points for attractive items such as shopping vouchers or donations to charity.

Gerald Ang, Milieu Insight’s founder and CEO, shared that they started Milieu Insight to make market research accessible to everyone – consumers and businesses alike.

“We are excited to have reached a new milestone with our Milieu Surveys mobile app, as we continue to innovate and find new ways to transform the market research landscape, empowering our clients to move beyond legacy ways of conducting consumer research,” said Ang.

Meanwhile, Stephen Tracy, Milieu Insight’s COO, commented that the success of their data collection app, Milieu Surveys, was built on their unwavering commitment to user-centricity.

“Our latest app upgrade doubles down on our commitment to offering our users a great experience, while adding exciting new features and ways to collect new types of data that are opt-in and permission-based,” said Tracy.

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Technology Featured South Asia

Merkle B2B, BloombergQuint launches media guide for Indian tech marketers

Mumbai, India – With more organizations in India heavily investing in technology or technological assets that will allow them to thrive in the coming times, Merkle B2B, the B2B arm of dentsu’s customer experience agency Merkle, and financial news organization Bloomberg Quint have launched ‘The Media Guide’ to understand the world of evolving Indian tech buyers and the factors influencing their decisions.

The study, commissioned through Greyhound Research, has been conducted with Indian CIOs (Chief Information Officer) and ITDMs (IT Decision Maker), to identify their concerns, issues, and preferences about a brand, product or solution while making a purchase.

According to the study, CEOs and managing directors are personally getting involved in the technology decision-making process. They are seeking business leaders and external parties (analysts/consultants) to gain deeper insights and better bargains from the existing and new vendors. 

In terms of media channel utilization, 80% of traditional and 73% of startup organizations in India prefer to use local podcasts and videos along with their global content pieces to strengthen context. Meanwhile, 40% of startup organizations and 23% of traditional organizations in India? find global video content to be helpful while identifying a technology vendor.

Other results showed that 73% of respondents from traditional organizations continue to value conferences and events, while only 53% of startup organizations prefer them as part of the new technology buying decision-making process. Lastly, 60% of traditional organizations and 100% of startup organizations in India find online technology magazines to be effective in their technology buying decision-making process.

“Our intent is to get an on-ground understanding of the tech buyers’ evolving world and unearth insights that can help tech marketers make informed decisions. Merkle believes that today’s customer-focused marketing leader is evolving with the core pursuit of placing people at the heart of the business strategy,” said Abhay Kulkarni, managing director at Merkle DWA.

He added, “Our aim is to help marketers stimulate their thinking towards the future of marketing while getting actionable ideas that can impact businesses, and ultimately, strengthening their ongoing approach to people-based marketing.”