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LadBible is growing in APAC – and hoping to repeat the success of localization strategy

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

August 4, 2021 | 5 min read

LadBible Group has been on an expansion spree in the past two years, with offices opening in Ireland and Australia. It recently opened a New Zealand arm, after seeing success in Australia, less than 18 months after launch. The Drum catches up with the social publisher on what it has learned in the Asia Pacific region.

Having started out as a small team in 2019 in Australia and leaned on its headquarters within the United Kingdom for knowledge and expertise in social, social publisher LadBible believes in over 18 months it has learned the importance of localizing.

To succeed in Australia, Joseph Summers, the general manager for Asia Pacific at LadBible, explains the publisher had to truly become an Australian publisher and not simply an extension of its UK operation.

It hired a local team to produce content that was tailored to Australians and adapted to how brands wanted to work with LadBible in the region.

“LadBible has grown in Australia into a social publisher in the country with an audience of 17 million. We have worked with over 50 brand partners and have grown to 30 staff across our offices in Sydney, Melbourne and now Auckland,” explains Summers.

“We did not want to be an international publisher that assumed what was working for it in the US or Europe would work here too. We had to understand what content Australians wanted, what topics they are passionate about, and how we could authentically connect that audience with brands.”

For example, when working with brands such as Menulog, a food delivery app, LadBible helped the brand leverage the influence the publisher had within the younger Australian demographic.

This is a real opportunity for Just Eat-owned Menulog, as the 18-30 age group is responsible for the lion’s share of the food delivery market growth, ordering food delivery twice as much as the next age group.

“Having fallen off the radar with this demo, we knew attacking them on our own just as Menulog wouldn’t have the same impact. Instead, we shamelessly borrowed some of LadBible’s cred with this audience to start to build up our own and slowly influence a perception change,” says Fiona Bateman, head of brand, Menulog.

“We have since run multiple campaigns ranging from brand awareness for Menulog to order-driving tactical initiatives for our partners such as McDonald’s and Guzman y Gomez. This year we’ve seen some of our key brand metrics start to shift with this audience as a result, including statements such as ‘this brand feels like it’s going places’ and positive increases for brand associations such as ‘cool’, ‘trendy’ and ‘a brand for me’.”

LadBible can help Menulog reach the younger Australian demographic because it has an audience-led content strategy, explains Summers, which means that it is a two-way relationship, and the publisher can use insight from past learnings gathered by its audience.

In addition, LadBible has developed knowledge on how to engage a youth audience on each platform and has a wealth of data and insights that it can share with its brand partners to help them reach gen Z and millennial audiences.

“To drive our breadth of commercial partners, we launched LadBible social, our in-house social content agency to offer clients 360° organic social media management, which includes managing their social channels to boost their organic reach and engagement while sharing our expertise to help them achieve their goals,” he adds.

Even as the likes of Apple and Google are moving away from tracking individuals’ cookies, LadBible can continue to optimize media campaigns and deliver measurable performance improvements for clients by using interest and behavioral data layered on to its audience, as well as custom audiences of those who have engaged with similar content.

This way, it can build on profile data rather than cookies, explains Summers.

“When it comes to campaign performance, we are fortunate to have vast organic reach alongside rich first-party data, which means we are able to continue delivering campaigns that perform to the levels our brand partners have come to expect,” he adds.

Moving forward, LadBible will be taking the same learnings it gleaned from Australia to New Zealand, where it launched its operations in the country in May. It celebrated the launch in a uniquely LadBible user generated content-style video, celebrating the beauty of New Zealand in its first-ever post on its Instagram channel.

Ultimately, Summers says LadBible’s aim is to replicate the success its UK arm has achieved, and establish LadBible Group in multiple APAC countries, where it can deliver on its mission and add value to its audiences’ lives.

“We have made progress in a short space of time, especially here where we have built a community of 17 million. We have produced local content, which champions everyday heroes, and we have put our weight behind causes that young Australians are passionate about, such as climate change and racial injustice,” he explains.

“LadBible APAC has the same mission as LadBible UK in that we give the youth generation a voice by building communities that laugh, think and act. In the UK, we are involved in government briefings, producing ground-breaking original content with politicians and A-list celebrities, and seen as a premium publisher by commercial partners.”

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