How Instagram is changing advertising in Southeast Asia

How Instagram is changing advertising in Southeast Asia

Instagram is now the fastest-growing social platform in the region, and brands need to engage more

Instagram has disrupted the realm of social media in a lot of good ways. It’s changed the way that brands connect with their followers, and, most importantly, the way they advertise with them. The platform currently has more than 1 billion active users, and followers engage with brands and often make purchases every single day.

It’s important to look at ways that advertising is changing in one of the largest populated regions in the world, Southeast Asia. Instagram is a key player in this. Brands not only have the opportunity to further their reach, but they are also setting a standard on the platform for advertising and marketing. Everything from getting more Instagram followers to using Instagram automation is available to boost a brand’s following.

Before we get into the ways that Instagram is changing advertising all over Southeast Asia, it’s important to first understand the profound influence that the platform has on the region.

Also read: 7 tips for using Instagram to maximise your business

Instagram Grows in Popularity in Southeast Asia

For a long time, Facebook was the dominant social platform in the region. However, recent studies have shown that Instagram, which is now the fastest growing social platform in the world, is beginning to dominate Southeast Asia as well.

Findings from Global’s Connect Life Report show that growth in the region is moving at incredible speeds, with the number of followers in the Philippines alone jumping 50 percent just between 2015 and 2016.

However, the biggest population of Instagram users is found in Malaysia, where 73 percent of all internet users in the region have an Instagram account. This is a larger percentage than both Hong Kong and Singapore, and Malaysia has a growing crop of Instagram influencers and “celebrities” leading the way on the platform.

A great example of this is Vivy Yusof, a blogger and fashionista who used Instagram to spur her account to success. She currently has more than 1.5 million followers, and that number is growing all the time. She’s become an icon for Southeast Asia, encouraging shopping and stronger advertising platforms all over the region.

More Users Are Shopping on Instagram

Shopping on Instagram has never been easier, thanks to the new shopping features added to the platform in the last few years. According to a 2016 study published in the Wall Street Journal, Instagram and Facebook are among the most popular social platforms for online transactions in Southeast Asia, accounting for nearly a third of these transactions in the region.

On a comparative scale, only 7 percent of citizens in the United States use social media for shopping. This number is growing thanks to the ease of use, but many Americans go directly to the merchant website to make their purchase rather than staying on social media.

According to study authors, there are many reasons that shopping has become more popular, including smartphone use.

“The success of social media as shopping platform in the region can largely be attributed to booming smartphone uptake and the amount of time South East Asian social media users spend online – up to five hours a day, among the highest in the world,” says a report on this study from WARC.

Additionally, the report highlights online messaging as a great tool for Southeast Asians to make purchases. “Shoppers across the region discover products on Facebook or Instagram, then typically reach out to the seller via mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Line or WhatsApp to complete the purchase,” the report says, pointing out that shoppers can “haggle. and communicate in real-time with sellers – often small- and medium-sized retailers – directly.”

With this information in play, it’s no wonder that advertising on Instagram has become a big part of society in this region. With this social platform influencing so many purchasing decisions of one of the world’s most populated areas, it’s a no-brainer.

Influencer Advertising on Instagram Becomes Key in Southeast Asia

Instagram’s advertising platform is a beautiful thing for businesses trying to grow their following and encourage purchases. The most successful advertising mediums include the use of Instagram’s geo-targeted advertisements.

Since the population of Southeast Asia is more than 634 million people, comprising nearly 9 percent of the world population, geo-targeting advertisements in this location is very smart. Not only does this appeal to a huge population, but it also puts your ads in front of millions of Instagram users who go to the platform to make purchases, as evidenced by the research above.

Most importantly, however, advertising in the region is becoming more centered around influencers. Major Instagram players in the area like Vivy Yusof, Lisa Surihani, Nora Danish, Emma Maembong, Zizan Razak, and many, many more promote their brands and the products/services of others through Instagram every single day. While you can buy Instagram likes, influencers will help you organically expand your reach.

Also read: It’s not you, it’s me: My breakup with Instagram

As evidence of this, Tally Press created a list of 100 influential Malaysian Instagrammers, nearly half of which have nearly a million followers. Each of these influencers will endorse products, advertise new trends, share user-generated content, and set the standard for advertising in the area.

Malaysia is one of the biggest users of Instagram, but they aren’t the only ones who use influencer marketing on Instagram to further their brands. Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, and several other countries have been marked as major Instagram advertising hubs.

The Takeaway

There are a few key lessons to learn here, not the least of which is the influence that Instagram can have on any advertising campaign. It can spearhead a company’s growth, particularly in this market.

Global organizations should also be on Instagram when marketing to the Southeast Asian area. Citizens here obviously respond well to geo-targeted advertisements as well as curated influencer marketing. Any company, no matter their location, that wants to entice customers in Southeast Asia will begin using Instagram as a key player in their marketing arsenal.


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