Content marketing in APAC is enjoying a boom, with 60% of regional agency chiefs and brand marketers pinpointing it as their number one priority, and 87% of global B2B companies planning to undertake content-driven campaigns this year alone.
It is clear that brands are increasingly in tune with content marketing’s unique ability to engage, educate and inform consumers, while simultaneously boosting brand awareness, affinity and purchasing intent.
That said, it is undoubtedly the case that content marketing has considerable untapped potential in Asia-Pacific, and has the opportunity to stake a greater claim for advertising dollars.
A cursory glance at the APAC ad spend figures shows that an increasing proportion of investment is being pumped towards content-friendly platforms, especially mobile. Digital spend will increase by almost 17% this year to reach $70bn, and this follows an impressive 18% rise last year.
Within this, mobile remains the key driver, amid projections of an impressive 29% hike this year to claim responsibility for two-thirds of the total digital outlay. All of which means that APAC is now the most advanced region for mobile advertising, ahead of North America.
As ever, though, this opportunity also delivers challenges for content marketing.
Aside from the battle to ensure it receives a sizeable slice of the digital pie, content marketers also have to fight smart to ensure campaigns stand out amid the deluge of offerings that consumers can choose from.
Of course, delivering truly compelling multi-platform content across text, video and social is imperative, but I would argue that we need to drive creativity far more widely to make long-lasting connections with the target audience.
Here are my top three tips.
Data as a driver
It is not sufficient to unleash a well-crafted content marketing campaign and hopes it hits the sweet spot. Instead, high-quality insights and clear campaign objectives need to be combined to ensure it is delivered to the target audience, where they happen to be and at the correct time.
And the only way to effectively do this is by expertly using the data.
We know that traditionally in Asia, brands have struggled to create the volume and quality of content required, and despite the increased investment, have also expressed fears that it hasn’t been accompanied with an effective strategy for success.
It is a similar story globally, where less than half of marketers use data to produce content that appeals to their audience, yet 3.4 billion people are online each day.
This means most marketers are not taking advantage of the countless pieces of information that can ensure they are effectively engaging with consumers. We have the benefit of being able to tap into the four trillion monthly data points of Oath’s consumers, revealing their likes and dislikes, locations and more. This is then coupled with our proprietary tool that pinpoints people’s motivations for consuming content, allowing us to develop and distribute the right content in the right moment. This means that getting creative with data and analytics can ensure that the skill that has been invested in content creation doesn’t go to waste.
Deliver via emerging formats
Consumers want to be entertained, educated and feel special – that’s why personalised content marketing campaigns are so important. But they also crave the wow factor that can be delivered through emerging formats and distribution channels.
Take artificial intelligence (AR), as an example. According to Socintel360, AR ad spend hit US$12.8 billion in 2017, up from 0.6 billion in 2014, and we are now starting to see how the savviest brands are reaping the rewards of this investment.
For example, in the US we worked with Pottery Barn to showcase its home furnishings via an interactive, mobile-friendly experience. The augmented reality ad experience invited shoppers to select from a carousel of Pottery Barn furniture and virtually place 3D items in their home, so they could visualize how the furniture will look and fit within their space.
The AR campaign clearly resonated with consumers, who spent an average of 2.4 minutes within the interactive ad experience.
It is a similar story with virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video. To help increase top of mind awareness for Cadbury Buttons and reignite the emotional connection between millennial mums and the brand - Oath’s RYOT studios produced a world’s first personalised 360-degree virtual reality video experience. Called ‘Memory Lane’ - the campaign was able to generate 5% uplift in purchase intent and 1.4M page views of Cadbury content by inspiring parents to create and celebrate ‘shared moment’s. Across the summer months, parents uploaded photos of their shared moments - creating their very own personalised videos - bridging the online and offline worlds together and enabling them to re-live these very important moments.
As this technology continues to evolve, these formats will become more common, with consumers increasingly expecting the level of service they get online to match what brands can deliver offline.
Be distinctive with traditional technology
Video has been around for decades, ever since it first threatened to kill the radio star. But that doesn’t mean time has stood still for the format ever since. We have recently seen how marketers have helped it evolve to build brand connections by eschewing the norm and ramping up the creativity.
Short-form video is a case in point, with 34% of advertisers saying they are investing more in six-second videos this year. Additionally, 40% more brands are investing in branded video in 2018, and with so many new ways to use it — from 360-video to in-banner video ads — the opportunities to create consumer connections are endless.
According to eMarketer, APAC accounted for a staggering 1.1 billion digital video viewers in 2017 across a wide range of desktop, mobile and social platforms. While this reveals the scale of the potential, it also reinforces the fact that successful content on one platform, will not necessarily work on another - even within a single category such as video.
As that last sentence shows, successful content marketing is about much more than quality content. That, of course, is the foundation. But it also needs effective data, reliable consumer insights, innovative delivery, expert distribution and exciting formats to engage consumers in the right place, at the right time, and lead to the right business results.
Rico Chan is managing director, Hong Kong, Japan and INSEA of Oath.