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Marketing Diwali in Singapore and Malaysia: Lessons from 2017


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November 20, 2017 | 4 min read

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Diwali is an Indian national holiday dedicated to paying respects to family, giving thanks and reflecting on the past year.


Due to the vast Indian diaspora, Diwali is becoming a widely celebrated holiday around the world, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, which each boast Indian populations of approximately 350,000 and 2.1 million people, respectively. As preparations begin for this five-day festival, advertisers have an immense opportunity to connect and resonate with the large population who are shopping to celebrate Diwali.

But, who are these shoppers? To find out, The Trade Desk’s team of data scientists delved deep into the shopping and browsing habits of people celebrating Diwali in Singapore and Malaysia. Using lookalike modelling, third-party data and location data, we found insights to help you reach this very specific, very special and very granular audience. As you’ll see, maximizing the value of your Diwali campaign takes more than simply extending your campaign outside of India. It requires a deep understanding of your audience for more relevant and timely campaigns.

In Singapore, celebrators of Diwali were looking ahead and planning their future during this important period. They were especially interested in:

  • Real estate, refinancing and mortgages
  • Parenting and education options
  • Staying healthy and eating the right foods

In the days and weeks leading up to Diwali, the Singapore audience liked to browse sites on these topics at around 8am in the morning, on weekdays, using a PC. It was also evident that the audience was male-skewed and under 40 years old.

In Malaysia, it was quite a different story! Diwali celebrators were more focused on having a great time, socialising, and spending on consumer goods. We saw strong correlations between Diwali celebrators and these key interest categories:

  • Movies and new releases, especially comedies
  • High-end luxury vehicles
  • Sports, especially the World Cup

In the days and weeks leading up to Diwali, the Malaysia audience liked to browse sites on these topics at around 8am in the morning – the same as in Singapore. However, the audience was far more likely to use a phone or tablet to browse than a PC. The Malaysian audience was also significantly older than the Singaporean one – proving that the older generation really are having all the fun (in Malaysia, at least!)

So, what does all this mean for you as a marketer? If you are planning a campaign around next Diwali, or indeed any holiday celebration, our data insights team can let you know how to reach the right audience, with the right messaging, at the right time.

This data tells us that campaign tactics aren’t universally applicable. What works in Singapore may not be the right for a campaign in Malaysia, and vice versa. Marketers need to understand their audience to see the value of their spend. It’s possible – and highly advisable – to segment campaigns to the right audience in a way that’s focused by market. After all, that’s where the power of programmatic really lies – in the ability to launch hyper-targeted campaigns on a global level and at the push of a button.

This article was written by The Trade Desk, in conjunction with its headline sponsorship of The Digital Trading Awards Asia Pacific.

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