How selfie app giant Meitu is using programmatic to boost growth in South East Asia

Meitu believes augmented reality (AR) will be one of the key drivers of its future road map.

Selfies are a cultural phenomenon fuelled by widespread social media usage, with more than half of all adults engaging in some form of photo editing before posting - driving rapid growth in the photo editing app industry.

Chinese beauty tech platform Meitu, builds selfie enhancement beauty apps and social sharing platforms and claims it attracts 250 million monthly active users worldwide. It has been downloaded on 1.8bn unique devices. Meitu apps are particularly popular among women aged 18-35, with 6bn photos shared on Meitu apps every month, according to the company.

Since expanding outside of its home market of China in 2014, Meitu now has 112m monthly active users outside of China, with Indonesia and Thailand in South East Asia ranking amongst its top markets. It is in these overseas markets that the platform is looking to boost user growth and programmatic monetisation.

To do this, it recently signed a deal with SpotX to implement programmatic video advertising across its suite of mobile apps. Under the terms of the deal, Meitu will be able to monetise video ad inventory sold on its key platforms like BeautyPlus, Beauty Cam and Meitu Xiu Xiu through SpotX’s supply-side platform and ad server technology, and secure advertising growth beyond its home market of China.

“Video advertising is a huge opportunity for us so we needed a reputable and trusted partner. SpotX’s technology and service have proven to be effective for video monetization whilst safeguarding user experience which will help us achieve our ambitious growth plans across the region,” Cyrion Wang, head of programmatic at Meitu tells The Drum.

“Working with SpotX also eliminates our ad fraud concerns, as they’re well equipped with comprehensive brand safety best practices and work with all the major vendors. Additionally, their programmatic measurement integrations which enable ad verifications will allow us to sell with transparency and make more informed adjustments to optimise delivery success for our client’s campaigns.”

He adds: “Ultimately we want brands to buy our ad inventory across BeautyPlus, Beauty Cam and Meitu Xiu Xiu with trust and confidence so working with SpotX will help us achieve this.”

As the video advertising market in China is unique, Meitu had to adjust its strategies when looking to expand into SEA. Wang explains that working SpotX can help the platform quickly and thoroughly ensure its offerings are aligned to industry norms and expectations of the markets there.

“We believe that they can help to scale our business by providing high-quality and diverse ad units that not only appeal to buyers but benefit our users too,” he explains.

Looking ahead, Meitu believes augmented reality (AR) will be one of the key drivers of its future roadmap because as an AI-driven technology company, it focuses on leveraging photo and video processing technology to 'let everyone become beautiful easily'.

“An immersive AR advertising experience can enhance brand recognition and successfully improve conversion rates, and we’re seeing more of this in e-commerce and other social apps with AR functionality,” says Wang.

“Photo editing apps with strong AR capabilities like Meitu will certainly bring greater creative opportunities to the advertising industry.”

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