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Online Marketing in Asia Pacific: Thoughts from ad:tech Singapore

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
22 July 2008

Time flies in this world of digital marketing. Less than one month ago, Bill Nussey and I were speaking at the inaugural ad:tech show in Singapore. As opposed to many of the US-based shows that seem to attract more of the interactive, BtoC audience, the Singapore show had a great mix of BtoC interactive as well as BtoB direct marketers, including a dedicated track for BtoB topics. Given the mix of marketing specialties, there was much more of a, dare I say, practical nature to the presentations and discussions.

For example, though mobile was, as usual, discussed widely, there wasn't a "holy grail" feeling of mobile marketing (see Bill’s blog post on same topic). Could this be the year that it now takes hold? After being burned year after year by making proclamations that didn’t pan out, most speakers were cautiously optimistic that mobile is now ready to take a real seat at the marketing mix table.

In terms of online advertising, the movement from offline to online marketing efforts of most businesses in Asia Pacific is just beginning, but growing rapidly. For example, according to the Asia Digital Marketing Association:

  • China's online spending was up 75% to approximately $1.3B, now on par with total spending for Australia
  • Internet advertising in Hong Kong and Singapore is expected to grow by more than 30% this year with online ad spend in Singapore overtaking traditional ads by 2010
  • India's online spending, currently, is only 1% of all ad spending, compared with Korea and Japan where, by 2009, an estimated 10% of all ad spending will be online

From these numbers, you can imagine the online ad growth possible in the next 3-5 years. With this growth comes the need to best capture and nurture possible online leads. It was no surprise that much of the discussion at the show was around best practices for opt-in name capture, email design, and tactics to improve email response rates and deliverability. Even with the mobile sophistication of Asia's market, email is still deemed the best and most cost effective permission-based marketing and lead management tactic. With the launch of the iPhone in Asia and the proliferation of PDA devices, email will continue to provide a low cost, yet highly effective direct marketing channel for marketers.

For a further take on "what's hot and what's not" in relation to digital marketing from the show, I encourage you to read Nick Wreden's FusionBrand blog.




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