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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Ryan Jamboretz named president of commercial and partnerships at Smartly.io

New York, USA — Smartly.io, a social advertising automation platform for creative and performance marketers, has announced the appointment of Ryan Jamboretz as president for commercial and partnerships.

When Jamboretz joined Smartly.io in 2021 as its first chief strategy officer, he was focused on leading Smartly.io’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy, as the company accelerated its growth. In his new role, he will oversee sales, customer success, strategic partnerships and M&A, keeping Smartly.io at the forefront of the industry as it continues to propel customers forward at the bleeding edge of the social media ecosystem.

Prior to joining Smartly.io, Jamboretz held the position of chief development officer for advertising agency Amobee. Previous to that, he was the chief commercial officer, and international managing director and chief developmental officer for ad agency Videology, Inc.

Jamboretz’s expertise in growing global B2B SaaS platforms, maximizing economic value for global businesses, and driving corporate development outcomes support Smartly.io’s focus on expansion. He also has experience working in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, which is valuable as Smartly.io focuses on increasing its global presence.

Laura Desmond, interim CEO of Smartly.io., said, “Smartly.io is a superior player in the social media advertising landscape, and we are quickly taking that expertise to digital advertising as a whole. We are constantly building unique opportunities for our customers with the world’s largest platforms, from Meta to Google to TikTok and more.”

Desmond added, “Our customers are at the forefront of everything we do as we push our organization to be truly global, expand our footprint to brand-centric advertisers and leverage our performance DNA to navigate the toughest challenges facing our industry’s landscape.”

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC webinar discusses why now’s the time to go multiplatform in social advertising

Singapore – Last April 6, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with Smartly.io, launched a webinar to discuss the current state of social advertising in APAC. The industry discussion, ‘Social Advertising Trends in APAC 2022’, gathered marketing leaders from brands like HappyFresh, KFC Malaysia, and Unilever Indonesia to draw their expert insights on the best strategies for social advertising today. 

Stewart Hunter, the director for customer success of Smartly.io for APAC, delivered the keynote presentation and shared why a multiplatform strategy stands to be the best plan of action for brands in this new period of social media. 

According to Hunter, a Smartly.io-led report showed that APAC brands are truly becoming social media-first where over 84% of brands in the region are spending over 50% of their advertising budget on social media advertising, which is the highest percentage globally compared to their North American and European counterparts. Of where they wish to direct this ad spend in 2022, the top social media platforms eyed were Facebook, followed by Instagram, YouTube, and then Twitter. 

Hunter said that 2022 is the year for brands to truly go multiplatform. 

“Your customers are already there, [and] are already across social media platforms; now the brands, the CMOs are really looking to make sure they are truly following their consumers and potential consumers,” said Hunter.

While there used to be fewer social media platforms for advertisers to focus on previously, now that more users have gone multiplatform, so should brands and advertisers.

In addition, in order to deliver effective social advertising today, Hunter said that brands must harness the human and tech resources needed for today’s social media landscape. As they adopt new multiplatform and multiformat strategies, social media advertising creation and delivery that still involve manual processes will prove to be cumbersome. 

As more brands and advertisers focus on social media advertising, they will need to attract talent, amid the growing competition for skilled employees. Hence it is key to harness the power of automation to drive campaigns across various platforms and generate the greatest results.

When it comes to talent, Hunter said this doesn’t necessarily mean removing talent, but rather, unleashing the creativity of their people to add additional value to the brand. 

“Within this year, how are people going to use automation to blend a range of processes [is important] so they can achieve creativity at scale,” added Hunter. 

On-demand access to the webinar, Social Advertising Trends in APAC 2022, is now available here.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

Marketing heads in APAC come together for a webinar to discuss social advertising in 2022

Singapore – Held on April 6, 2022, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with Smartly.io, roped in top APAC marketing leaders to discuss and uncover the present key opportunities and challenges in social advertising today in the webinar ‘Social Advertising Trends in APAC 2022’

Stewart Hunter, the director for customer success of Smartly.io for APAC, presented the key trends in social advertising which included the different platforms where marketers are currently investing their social media advertising spend, and other platforms they are looking to increase spending, as well as the biggest external and internal challenges for marketers when it comes to the social advertising process. 

Most importantly, Hunter talked about the rise of multiplatform advertising – how such a strategy is becoming imperative as brands need to meet where their consumers are, who are now on various platforms. 

Meanwhile, joining the panel discussion are David Lim, the vice president for marketing at HappyFresh; May Ling Chan, the CMO of KFC Malaysia; and Jappy Posadas, the U-Studio lead of Unilever Indonesia. The said marketing leaders shared what each of their unique challenges are in social advertising and the strategies they employ to make sure they keep winning in the space. 

HappyFresh’s Lim shared about pain points and key solutions being in the grocery space, while KFC’s Chan discussed how a local brand anchored to a global branding is managing the social advertising process to be relevant in a region. Meanwhile, Unilever’s Posadas shared his expert insights on branding and the key ingredients that would make up an ‘unmissable’ social advertising strategy. 

Overall, there were a total of 169 marketing professionals who graced the webinar, with the majority of marketers representing the retail & e-commerce industry, followed by financial services and travel & hospitality. Participants included brands like Affin Bank, AirAsia, Fave, Four Points by Sheraton, Hong Leong Bank, Lamudi, Shopee, SM Retail, Sun Life, and Traveloka, among others. 

Meanwhile, region-wise, the webinar was attended by marketers representing a diverse set of markets, with attendees hailing from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

“Social media has become more than just what it was made originally for. We now do everything on this platform, and this industry discussion is important to have us pulled back and see how brands can continue their social advertising efforts that would truly resonate with and reach where consumers are,” said Shaina Teope, the regional editor of MARKETECH APAC.

Meanwhile, Khush Karai, APAC marketing lead of Smartly.io, commented, “Partnering up with MARKETECH APAC for this webinar was a pleasant experience and the overall process was smooth. The team also delivered regular updates and tracking leading up to the webinar date as they promised.”

On-demand access to the webinar is now available. Get your access HERE.

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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

What’s NEXT: Why brands must adopt a multi-platform strategy for social advertising

The pandemic has pushed for even greater dependence on social media. And while the platforms have already been ingrained in the fabric of peoples’ daily lives even pre-pandemic, the current times have made it evolve to now serve different purposes to consumers as well as to give birth to new challenges along with its usage. 

According to Statista, the most popular social media platforms worldwide as of October 2021 are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The popularized short-video platform TikTok during the pandemic has also expectedly entered the list. 

In an interview with Stewart Hunter, the director of social advertising platform Smartly.io for customer success in APAC, he said that within this overcrowded social media space, brands are not only up against other brands, but are now dealing with a situation that requires them to understand the mindset of consumers towards each social media platform as each gives rise to unique perceptions and behaviours. 

Hunter explains that today, each social media platform has grown to “serve a different role in the funnel and this poses challenges also to the brand message and format in various platforms.” 

One of the greatest changes we saw during the pandemic was the transformation of the role of social media in consumers’ shopping journeys. While social media merely stood as a branding and promotional strategy for brands before, it has now made its way to the purchase pathway itself, serving as the touchpoint from discovery to purchase. 

The multiple consumer touchpoints within social media

As we enter the new year still in the pandemic, it’s crucial to talk about how to approach social media now that it has become consumers’ go-to when searching for brands and products to purchase in the past two years.

Hunter explains that with this being the reality, brands will now have to deal with unique multiple touchpoints present in the consumer journey. 

 “As consumers spend more and more time on social media, they also have multiple touchpoints with a brand before ever making a purchase decision, and every touchpoint matters,” said Hunter. 

This rings true for example with Australian shoppers, where one study found that 64% of 18- to 25-year-olds have researched products on Instagram during the past 12 months, while 67% of those 26 to 35-year-olds have done the same product research, this time on Facebook, within the same period.

Hunter shares a few principles to consider in navigating the new phase of social media, and lo and behold – values that brands must emulate in today’s social advertising are far from novel, emphasising that the fundamentals remain supreme – just directed towards a different goal.

For one, brands must take note of the importance of having a strong brand messaging and creatives.

Through an earlier experiment with some popular fashion brands, Smartly.io has also found that a clear brand identity drives business results and the social advertising platform showed the importance of branding in its platform to help in delivering more than product pictures – across the sales funnel. 

In the post-cookie world as well, creative will be more critical than ever in driving successful campaigns. Hunter says that this has often been undervalued, but as privacy regulations take effect and social media platforms take proactive steps to change the way data is available to be used, advertisers will have to get creative with the privacy-friendly approach in 2022. 

Second, in line with the stronger call for digital privacy, brands need to show that they are data compliant and ensure they are responsible with their consumers’ data.

“People want [openness] and transparency from brands around what their data is being used for and why. We have already seen some changes within the publishing industry, and a number of eCommerce platforms could follow suit,” said Hunter.

Above these changes in social media is an emerging new dimension – with the easing of restrictions, consumers will soon move from online to offline, and it is now brands’ job to find how the interactivity of social media with the offline journey will evolve. 

“Shopping journeys will continue to grow complex as consumers seamlessly move from online to offline (with the easing of the restrictions in some countries) and jump between social channels. Hence for brands to succeed, they need to invest in a multi-platform strategy which allows you to meet your customers where they are while communicating a coherent brand story and ultimately building trust among your audience,” asserts Hunter. 

Jumping into a multi-platform strategy this 2022

Fast gone are the days that each social media platform is viewed in silos. Hunter believes that brands must start diversifying investments across social media channels. 

First of all, there’s no better time than now to start investing in social advertising and ramping up one’s efforts in this area. In fact, according to Smartly.io’s recent annual survey with top CMOs in APAC, one-third of respondents said that they will spend more on social media advertising in 2022 than they did in 2021.

For a brand to create genuine and long-lasting customer relationships with its consumers, building a multi-platform social advertising strategy will be key.

In order to successfully bring this to fruition, Hunter says to focus on talent and find ways on how expertise in the team can be leveraged such as by strategically adopting creative tech. 

72.3% of respondents say that their social media advertising creation and delivery still involve manual processes that are often time-consuming. This manual work can be off-putting to talent and takes time away from the more fulfilling creative and strategic functions of the job. 

With 51.5% of respondents naming lack of talent as one of the biggest internal challenges to their social media advertising processes, it’s time brands prioritise employees and take a closer look at the actual work being done.

Hunter says it’s important to automate in order to create and deliver social media ads at scale. Platforms like Smartly.io allow brands to manage their sprawling campaigns in a single place, enabling easy coordination and optimisation of creatives across platforms and formats. 

Marketing trends to leverage in social advertising 

We now know that we are now up against a different kind of social media and the next crucial step, therefore, is knowing which type of content and format are currently on top of consumers’ radar 

Hunter says right off the bat – video. 

TikTok has led the pack and has shown everybody how powerful short but sweet videos can make an impact on audience engagement. Hunter says the use of video will continue to become more prominent, with mobile being the medium. 

The heightened fondness for videos has made social media platforms Facebook and Instagram roll out more video formats, and we expect to see more brands adopting video. So what type of video content would then attract audiences? 

The style of videos will continue to evolve to follow what consumers want from their brands – which is authentic, open, and closer to their lives, said Hunter. 

According to Hunter, campaigns that are based on user-generated content (UGC) will enable this style of communication and align with what TikTok and Instagram reels were made for – content created by people rather than brands. Advertisers should spend some time understanding how UGC aligns with their brand strategy and resonates with their consumers.

Another one is augmented reality. Today’s virtual reality space has now seen the emergence of the metaverse, which means that earlier immersive tech such as augmented reality will grow more into maturity, making it an imperative format for brands to stay relevant. 

“As consumers get deeper into the use of social media and devices become more immersive and powerful, augmented reality will become a bigger part of social media creativity,” said Hunter. 

AR is no doubt a powerful tool for consumer engagement and makes it even much easier for brands to showcase creativity through applying filters to videos, feature-changing effects to the people in them, and adding playful or informative stickers to enhance the message.

This article is written based on an interview with Stewart Hunter, director of Smartly.io for customer success in APAC.

Smartly.io is a global platform that automates every step of social advertising. With a global team of over 650, the platform automates creative production and ad buying at scale.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

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Technology Featured Global

Social advertising SaaS platform Smartly.io acquires Ad-Lib.io

London, United Kingdom – Smartly.io, a global social advertising software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, has announced the acquisition of creative optimization platform Ad-Lib.io. Said acquisition advances Smartly.io’s cross-channel reach from social to now include dynamic creative optimization across programmatic, CTV and the entire Google ecosystem.

In addition, Smartly.io’s SaaS solution for social advertising will now be augmented by Ad-Lib.io’s enterprise suite of creative tools for YouTube, DV360 and Google Ads campaigns. The industry is seeing a growing demand for solutions that bring creative and media closer together across all channels.

Kristo Ovaska, CEO and co-founder at Smartly.io, said that the past two years have proven that creative technology has become the most important lever for driving digital advertising performance.

“Ad-Lib.io is a clear leader in the creative space by innovating on the mission-critical dimensions of workflow, automation, brand governance, personalization and insight. Their knowledge of the Google stack is unmatched in the industry and combining that with Smartly.io’s deep understanding of Facebook and the social stack across creative, media and data allows us to now serve customers across all major digital channels,” Kristo said.

Meanwhile, Oli Marlow-Thomas, founder and president at Ad-Lib.io, commented, “Smartly.io is the preeminent leader in delivering creative and media effectiveness for social. With brand marketers and agencies increasingly uniting their social and programmatic teams into integrated digital creative and media investment teams, this is a natural next step for both companies.”

In addition, Adit Abhyankar, CEO at Ad-Lib.io, added, “These teams are currently using multiple technologies or software partners, but going forward they won’t have to. The Smartly.io and Ad-Lib.io solution will provide the connective tissue to maximize creative effectiveness, media buying and creative intelligence.”

Smartly.io has its Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Singapore, while Ad-Lib.io has a presence in Hong Kong.