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The Asia story is a growth story, says new Adknowledge Asia CEO Matt Sutton


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

March 31, 2016 | 3 min read

Social and video ad tech business Adknowledge has appointed its first CEO for its Asia business, Matt Sutton, eyeing huge growth for the region as brands shift spend to digital.

Speaking to The Drum about his new role, Sutton said bigger opportunities lay ahead for ad tech businesses in Asia because so many brands are yet to shift any significant spend into digital.

“Markets like the UK and US have grown to a point where you get single digital percentage growth year on year and within that there’s a lot of competition. The market ends up quite static and people are trying to take market share from each other. Business planning in Asia looks a bit different to that because you are planning against growth. We’re seeing advertisers spend about 10 per cent online at the moment and we think that’ll be up to 40 per cent by 2020. The Southeast Asian market is worth about $1.5bn, India is pushing $1b, Hong Kong is pushing $1bn and South Korea $3bn, and that’s with them spending 10 per cent,” he said.

To service this, the company plans to grow headcount in the region from 140 people in nine markets, to double that and adding four new markets.

Adknowledge Asia is a joint venture between Malaysian telco Axiata and Adknowledge, and is the exclusive partner of AdParlor – one of APAC’s largest social and video advertising technology platforms. The business essentially uses telecoms data to make targeting better for social and video ads.

Sutton said the ‘walled garden’ issue in working with businesses like Facebook and YouTube was an issue was very relevant in Asia, further complicated by the fact that key players, such as messaging apps like WeChat and Line, don’t even have the ads API set up that leading Western social media sites do.

Sutton said having additional data to layer on, such as telecoms data, was key until they opened up. “Brands will need to have a value added data layer and intermediaries like us have a pivotal role,” he said.

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