Malaysia heads for high-income status

Solid GDP growth is moving Malaysians up the spending-power ladder.

According to the World Bank, Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world, with a trade- to GDP ratio averaging over 140 percent since 2010. It’s openness to trade and investment has been instrumental in creating employment opportunities and income growth. In 2017, Malaysia proudly increased its ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report to rank 25th out of 138 economies, leading the region of emerging economies. Malaysia aspires to achieve status as a high-income economy by 2020 as classified by the World Bank and as a result has been focusing on efforts to attract investments and drive productivity and innovation through political, economic and regulatory reforms.

In Q4 2017, the Malaysian economy expanded by 4.9%, continuing the strong momentum shown throughout the year. Headline inflation moderated to 3.5% in Q4 2017, mainly due to lower inflation in the housing, water, electricity and gas as well as transport categories. The central bank expects GDP growth to remain favourable in 2018, with moderate inflation coming from domestic demand, continued export growth from encouraging global demand conditions and the stronger Ringgit.

While the economy expanded in Q4 2017, consumer confidence has remained stable throughout the year. The economy continued to be the top concern for Malaysian consumers during this period, reflected by subdued consumer spending. On the FMCG front, the market hit an all-time high for the year in Q4 2017 after subdued performance over the festive periods in Q1 and Q2 2017. Modern Trade growth has come via Super/ Minimarket and Convenience store format expansion in line with the growing propensity for Malaysian consumers to shop at stores that are ‘convenient to get to’ and shops that offer low prices for most items. It is these attributes that appeal most to consumers’ changing lifestyle needs, which are driving the expansion of smaller store formats.

The digital landscape is changing the way Malaysians interact with each other, how they form their opinions and how they make purchase decisions. It is an exciting time for Malaysian media, as digital media continues to grow and traditional media innovates to keep pace and stay relevant. Increased internet usage has also positively impacted Malaysia’s e-commerce industry. Among the 17.4 million Malaysians aged 15 and above, 10% have shopped for products or services online past month. Online shoppers tend to be younger (the majority are under the age of 39), and among the most affluent (with a household income of more than RM8000) online shopping rises to a healthy 25%.

The rise of digital media, however, does not mean that traditional media is no longer relevant in Malaysia. Nielsen Consumer and Media View shows that in 2017, daily newspapers, television, radio, outdoor advertising and in-store media continued to enjoy more than 70% reach across the board.

In this environment, it is critical to embrace both traditional and new channels and formats to ensure consumers receive a consistent brand proposition across both physical and digital mediums. Authenticity and transparency are central in this highly connected world, where consumers can quickly verify claims and check price comparisons at the click of a button.

Source: campaignasia.com; 27 Aug 2018

We’re spending more time with Google than ever. Is it time to ditch Facebook?

A recent study shows that consumers are spending more time with Google than ever before, while digital consumption of Facebook is down. Should advertisers jump ship as well?

Google and Facebook have made the headlines so frequently in recent days that news about them is beginning to sound more like salacious celebrity gossip than reports about tech companies. In fact, one recent headline claims that “Google consumes one-third of our digital minds.”

The headline was inspired by a study by Brian Wieser, a researcher at Pivotal, that found consumers spent 34.2% of their time online in June using Google products, including Waze and YouTube. That number is up from 28.6% last year.

The study also suggested that the increased time spent on Google could be cutting into time spent on Facebook, since digital consumption of Facebook dropped 10%, and consumption of Instagram (a Facebook company) dropped 6%.

If consumers are no longer spending as much time on Facebook and have migrated to Google, should advertisers follow suite?

Right on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data of 87 million Facebook users was accessed in an attempt to sway the U.S. presidential election, the company was hit with billions in fines for failure to comply with new EU privacy rules. Then, a month after the GDPR took effect, it was announced that Facebook’s stock dropped 20%, losing $120 billion in value.

And most important for marketers, Facebook ads are getting more expensive, yet people seem to be less receptive. Merkle, a performance marketing agency, recently found that the cost of advertising on Facebook in Q2 has risen 70%. But advertisers may not be getting what they pay for, since the company also found that impressions were down 17% for the same period.

Google ads, on the other hand, are doing better than ever. Merkle also found that Google shopping ads were up 31%, while YouTube ad spend grew an explosive 189%. Google also accounted for 96% of organic search visits.

And while Google has also faced its share of scandals lately, including its own set of EU fines and user concerns about privacy, that doesn’t seem to be slowing down the amount of time consumers are willing to spend with the company.

So as Facebook struggles to shake its less than stellar reputation, should advertisers be moving to greener pastures?

Back in January, Mark Zuckerberg himself told advertisers that changes to the site may cause users to spend less time on the platform, resulting in less opportunities for reach with both paid and organic ads.

And while the drop in time spent on the platform, not to mention the soaring cost of advertising, may seem scary, according to Andy Taylor, associate director of research for Merkle, they’re not as dire as they seem. While impressions are down, users are clicking more than ever. Over the same period that saw a decline in impressions, total ad clicks actually increased by 20%, indicating that users are actually more interested in ads now that they’re spending less time looking at them.

According to Taylor, the soaring price of advertisements is a result of companies clamouring to be included in a limited space.

“Google makes changes by adding inventory and expanding ads. But for Facebook, there are only so many spots you can throw ads on a page.”

Expanded inventory could be coming soon

If Facebook is going to continue to grow ad revenue, it’s going to have to find a way to offer more inventory. Instagram is one channel Facebook is exploring to increase opportunities for advertisers. And while advertising on Instagram is still in a nascent stage – with mixed opinions on how much space they should fill – the popularity of the platform, which recently grew to 1 billion users, and it’s newish Stories feature provides ample opportunity for advertisers looking to experiment.

Facebook has also announced plans to focus on a “family-wide audience metric,” that unifies advertiser campaigns across all its platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

And though it’s more expensive to advertise on Facebook than ever before, Taylor isn’t advising his clients to leave the platform.

“I don’t see advertisers fleeing from Facebook for Google,” Taylor says, “and I expect to see Facebook grow in a meaningful way over the next few quarters.

Yet Taylor also isn’t telling his clients to avoid Google. In fact, quite the opposite. While many articles and studies depict Facebook and Google as an either/or proposition, a healthy campaign should probably include both.

“It’s really about what you can afford,” Taylor says. “But the goal is to be visible on as many platforms as possible.”

Source: clickz.com; 17 Aug 2018

Google highlighted the Assistant at I/O 2018

At its annual I/O developer conference, Google made several announcements related to its voice assistant, Google Assistant, that aim to spur adoption of the technology. The biggest updates circle around improving natural interactions and adding a visual component.

Google is enabling more natural interactions with the Assistant aimed to bolster usage of the platform with four key additions:

– Google introduced a Continued Conversation feature. Continued Conversation allows Google Assistant users to ask multiple questions in succession without having to repeat the “Hey, Google” wake-up word for each command. This feature, which should be available in the coming weeks, is similar to Amazon Alexa’s Follow-Up Mode.

– Google launched the ability to create custom Routines. Google rolled out Routines in March 2018 to enable users to manage their connected devices with just a single voice command to Google Assistant, but it was limited to only six pre-programmed Routines. Allowing for customization of Google Assistant Routines could make the platform more useful for consumers, and puts it on par with Alexa.

– Google rolled out a Multiple Actions feature. The Multiple Actions feature allows users to make multiple requests in one voice command. Now Google Assistant will be able to listen to a string of commands within 8 seconds of the initial command. The new feature will improve the speed of the Assistant’s responses, as users no longer have to wait for a second, or third, response.

– Google Assistant now supports six new voices. This brings the total number of voices the Assistant supports to eight — previously, Google Assistant let its users pick between just one female and one male voice. The new voices are built with machine learning technology called WaveNet, which is DeepMind’s model for creating natural-sounding speech. WaveNet also powers Google’s Cloud Text-to-Speech platform.

Google Assistant is also becoming visually assistive. Google unveiled a new experience for Google Assistant that brings up visual information as well as new ways to interact with apps such as those for smart home products. When a user makes a Google Assistant voice request, the assistant will provide a more interactive visual, full-screen experience. For instance, when asking Google Assistant to turn down the heat, a display will show up on the phone with a way to adjust the temperature.

The Google Assistant-powered smart speakers with screen displays will launch in July, with partners including Lenovo, LG, Sony, and Harman via JBL. Smart display speakers can perform all the same functions as smart speakers, but they also offer the ability for users to make video calls, watch videos, look at photos, and search the internet, using both their voice and hands. They also serve as a funnel to bring consumers to YouTube, particularly in areas like the kitchen, where a hands-free, voice-controlled screen could be useful for instructional videos, for example.

The latest announcements could be key in helping Google bolster its voice assistant platform. Google’s emphasis on making the overall Google Assistant experience more conversational and visually assertive will likely fuel engagement on the platform.

As Google Assistant becomes more intelligent and allows for a more natural interaction, and developers create better and more useful ways to integrate them with consumers’ lives, the Assistant will cement itself as the primary way consumers interact with their devices.

Advancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer’s life.

However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.

Source: businessinsider.com; 9 May 2018

Brands in non-EU countries should adopt GDPR rules, study finds

Publishers are being too slow to adopt consent management platforms, which will cause growing pains for programmatic advertising when the new regulation comes into force.

The majority of consumers in non-EU countries would like at least one of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules to be in effect in their country, a study has revealed.

Research carried out by video ad tech company Unruly, which spoke with 4,000 people across eight markets about the incoming changes to the way data is handled by firms, also found that 63% of consumers worldwide trust brands more when they are clear about how and where their data is used.

“There’s a lot of trust that needs to be built between brands and consumers globally, not just in the EU,” said Kenneth Suh, chief operating officer at Unruly. “They really need to be providing some clarity around the data and the purposes it’s being used for.

“This is all really great news for users. It’s an opportunity to get a much clearer picture and understanding of who’s collecting your data and how it’s being used.”

The new law kicks in on May 25 and applies to all EU citizens, but even companies in the US or China have to follow the rules if dealing with EU citizens.

Among the changes include that future requests for consent of data sharing can’t be hidden under reams of Ts and Cs — they have to be clearly distinguished. Pre-ticked boxes can no longer be used to indicate consent, and making people hand over more personal information in exchange for extra features is also not allowed.

Only 58% of those surveyed in the UK had heard of GDPR, and 26% in the US

But when asked, 93% of all consumers in non-EU countries said they would like at least one rule brought about by GDPR effective in their country.

Among the top areas of importance, people agreed with the three following statements: I should have the right to see a copy of my personal data at any time; I should have the right to ask how my data is being used at any time and; I should have the right to delete the data companies have collected about me.

The research found that people are most comfortable sharing biometric data for services like fitness apps because the rewards for exchange of data are clear and obvious — you get to learn about your health.

In an age of fake news, brands and advertisers must strive to voice a message of trust and transparency, stressed Suh.

However, using social media to project this message may hinder the goal. The study found that 43% of people worldwide say their trust in advertising on social media has dropped significantly in the last few months — 43% in the US, 51% in the UK

“You can think about the conundrum brands have around social media platforms as a way to reach audiences,” said Suh. “We know that reach is on the social media side, but if more than half of the information you’re reading from that place isn’t considered real, then your brand being associated that information.”

The findings come as the programmatic world braces for extreme turbulence. Research by PageFair found that just 3% of brands surveyed believe users will opt-in for third party tracking on websites.

Suh said it isn’t clear how much havoc GDPR will wreak on programmatic advertising, but there will definitely be “growing pains.”

“In GDPR world, [publishers] are going to be adopting a consent management platform to ensure that the user knows what data is being collected on the website,” he said.

“What we’ve seen is, widely, publishers are still trying to figure out what platform they want to use. That’s important, because those are signals that are going to be passed through the bid request to programmatic buyers. So, without that platform adoption happening at the publisher side, those signals won’t be coming along as readily available to buyers, and then as a buyer you would say, ‘if I don’t see those signals I won’t bid on that,’ or it may be a less valuable piece of inventory.”

Suh believes advertisers will have to jump through multiple hoops before programmatic is brought up to speed.

At a glance: GDPR around the world
– 58% of people in the UK and Germany have heard of GDPR, 63% in Sweden

– 93% of consumers in non-EU countries would like at least one of the rules brought about by GDPR to be in effect in their country

– Worldwide, consumers are most comfortable sharing biometric data (fitness trackers as best practice examples for brands)

– Less than one-third of consumers in the UK, Germany and Sweden trust brands to ask their permission before sharing data with third parties

– But 63% of consumers worldwide trust brands more when they are clear about how and where there data is used

– 60% of people worldwide believe that more than half the news they read on social media is fake — this number is highest in India where it rises to 71%

– 43% of people worldwide say their trust in advertising on social media has dropped significantly in the last few months — 43% in the US, 51% in the UK

The most requested changes in data policy
– Australia: 67% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– Singapore: 67% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– Japan: 54% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– India: 63% want the right to ask how their data is being used at any time

Source: campaignasia.com; 24 May 2018

Time Spent with Media, Ad Spending and Trends in China

Consumers in China are known for their digital savviness. For many, digital is their first choice to consume media, with much of that time spent on mobile devices. Content that was previously viewed or read through traditional media is now being consumed via digital and mobile devices.

Much like in the US, digital video is challenging linear TV as the delivery system for entertainment and advertising, and it has given rise to new video categories, including “short-form” video and live streaming.

The trio of digital powerhouses known as “BAT”—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—are leading the advertising market due to the popularity of their digital platforms.

– Ad spending on digital overtook traditional media in 2016. Since then, digital has only grown in its dominance as the preferred channel among advertisers in China. We expect digital ad spending to reach $61.81 billion in 2018, growing at a rate of 25.0% for the year. Digital will capture 64.6% of total media ad spending.

– Over three-quarters of digital ad spending will be allocated to mobile in 2018, with the rest going to desktops/laptops and other nonmobile devices.

– In 2018, Alibaba’s net digital ad revenues in China, derived from its core commerce as well as its video-on-demand (VOD) subsidiary Youku Tudou, will exceed $20 billion. (That’s more than Baidu and Tencent combined, and surpasses traditional TV ad spending for the first time.)

– Of the 6 hours, 23 minutes per day adults in China will spend consuming media this year, 55.5% will go to digital media (including 47.1% to internet-connected activities), followed by 39.8% to TV, 1.6% to print and 3.1% to radio.

– We forecast that slightly over a quarter of digital time will be spent watching video in 2018, rising to almost one-third by 2020.

Source: emarketer.com; 15 May 2018

Five Surprising Facts About China’s Internet Users

As China enters the Year of the Dog, the latest data from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows how the country’s digital landscape has changed over the past 12 months. Here are five surprising facts about digital usage in China.

No. 1: There Is Room for Much, Much More Growth

The number of internet users is growing quickly, but the market is nowhere close to saturated.

During 2017, China added 40.7 million new internet users, bringing the total to 772.0 million. That’s the largest single internet market in the world by far, but still represents just 55.8% of China’s population. So there is plenty of room to grow.

What’s stopping people from accessing the internet? Two obstacles cited by CNNIC are computer illiteracy and the inability to type in Pinyin (the romanized version of Chinese).

Emerging technologies like voice recognition could play an important role in bringing the internet to the rest of the population.

No. 2: It’s a Mobile Market

By the end of 2017, 752.7 million internet users in China accessed the web on their mobile devices, representing 97.5% of all internet users in the country. That compares with 95.1% a year prior.

Other access methods trailed far behind, the CNNIC data showed: For instance, barely half (53.0%) of all internet users went online via desktop. For laptops, the level was 35.8%. And for tablets, it was 27.1%.

No. 3: Rural and Unconnected

At 2017’s end, rural internet users made up 27.0% of all of internet users in China, the CNNIC found. However, 42.7% of the country’s population resides in the countryside, based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics China.

In effect, rural areas are China’s biggest untapped internet market.

No. 4: Internet Time Is Growing Rapidly

People in China are spending an unprecedented amount of time online. In 2017, average weekly time spent reached 27 hours, up about 36 minutes from a year ago—the fastest that measure has grown in three years.

Growth drivers are about what you might expect: video-on-demand (VOD), live streaming, social networks and online shopping.

No. 5: The Online/Offline Blur

In a country where mobile payments are far more common than in the US and other markets, online-to-offline (O2O) activity has soared.

Food ordering, ride hailing (taxi or private car) and travel purchases all saw rapid growth. The latest CNNIC data showed that 44.5% of China’s internet users ordered food online in 2017, an increase of 64.6% vs. 2016.

Source: emarketer.com; 26 Feb 2018

F1 makes biggest ever investment in digital as it looks to serve fans better

F1’s marketing boss admits it hasn’t served fans as well as it could have in the past, but hopes a new TV app will bring them closer to the brand.

Formula One is making its biggest investment in digital to date with the launch of an over-the-top live subscription service, as it looks to change brand perceptions and serve its fans better.

F1 TV will launch across 40 markets – including Germany, France and the USA but not in the UK – next month, in time for the upcoming Formula One season. It will allow fans to watch ad-free live streams of each race, while on-board cameras will show live content from the driver’s point of view.

Speaking to Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday (27 February), Formula One’s marketing director, Ellie Norman, said 2018 is about “launching the brand” – and F1 TV will play a pivotal role in opening up the business to new digital opportunities.

“Previously, we definitely had a logo but we didn’t have an identity,” Norman said. “What we did have was a series of perceptions that we are working hard to change.”

Norman, who joined Formula One last August, said her main focus this year is building Formula One an identity with fans “at the heart”.

“For us this is a real step-change from the sport as it was in the past, which fans definitely felt wasn’t there to serve them,” Norman said.

“Every decision we are making is about how it serves the fan, so if it doesn’t serve the fan, it doesn’t serve Formula One.”

The app will launch without any advertising, but Norman said Formula One is open to conversations “if there is a relevance there” to improve the customer experience.

Alongside F1 TV, Norman said ‘fan festivals’ will also be key to bringing people closer to the sport.

Following a successful launch in London last summer, another four events are lined up this year in Shanghai, Marseilles, Berlin and Miami.

“It’s an opportunity for us to take some of those core elements of Formula One but to take them into city centres; to an audience that has never engaged with, or been to a Formula One race before,” Norman explained. “The ambition is to increase that number to 15 in 2019.”

Source: marketingweek.com; 28 Feb 2018

Why the GDPR Is Actually a Good Thing for Brands

Putting an end to data gossip

In less than four months, the European Union data regulator will begin enforcing the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to strengthen the security and protection of EU residents’ personal data. Companies that don’t comply with the GDPR not only risk losing their customers’ trust, but they could also face fines of €20 million or 4 percent of global annual revenue.

Like many regulations, the GDPR is not an easy to understand or practical manual for how brands should go about protecting their customers’ data. Therefore, figuring out how to interpret it and making changes across your organization to adhere to the regulation will be an expensive undertaking on its own. The IAPP and EY predict that Fortune’s Global 500 companies will spend a combined $7.8 billion working to achieve GDPR compliance.

With more questions than answers, I’ve found that the complexities and costs associated with the GDPR tend to overshadow the many benefits for businesses across the globe.

Here’s why I think the GDPR is a good thing for brands:

It will cut the ‘data gossip’

Consumers expect the brands they buy from to adhere to strict standards around protecting personal data. They also expect brands to obtain consent for collecting their data in the first place. According to a recent study from Accenture, “87 percent of consumers believe it is important for companies to safeguard the privacy of their information.”

The GDPR will promote responsible use of data that aligns the law with customer expectations. Specifically, the GDPR requires that businesses be more transparent about how they collect and use data. This means the standard for valid consent will be far higher, and it will be difficult to rely on third-party consent.

As a consequence, marketing departments will likely need to reduce their reliance on third-party data. Third-party data is user or behavioural information that companies purchase rather than collect themselves. It is often aggregated from multiple websites and segmented based on user interests, demographics, shopping behaviours and more.

This data is often collected with questionable consent and shared across companies without explicit consumer permission. That’s why I call the act of companies sharing third-party data with each other “data gossip.”

If you’ve ever received an email promotion from a company you never shared your email address with, you’ve experienced data gossip. Your customers wouldn’t tolerate their grocer telling their banker what they just purchased, and data gossip is no different. Moving away from third-party data will improve customer trust, which in turn will boost your brand’s reputation.

Brands will have to personalize without compromising trust

Reducing third-party data usage doesn’t come without its challenges, however. Third-party data is often used to personalize customer experiences, and customers increasingly expect this. The Accenture study mentioned above found that “58 percent of consumers would switch half or more of their spending to a provider that excels at personalizing experiences without compromising trust.”

Many companies purchase third-party data to personalize their websites or show ads to a specific audience based on previous behaviour. The problem for these companies is the last part: “without compromising trust.”

How can your company deliver on respectful, private and personalized experiences? The answer is by activating your own first-party data. First-party data is data on how your customers use your products or services. This includes information on which products a customer views or purchases from you, how often they visit your website or mobile app and even your CRM data.

First-party data is valuable for showing customers that you’re attentive to their needs, showcasing products that fit their interests, or removing irrelevant content. It also has many advantages over third-party data.

First-party data is not usually shared with other brands, which is beneficial for both your customers and your business. It’s typically more accurate than third-party data, as well, because it reflects actual customer behaviour from your own channels (web, mobile, in-store, etc.).

Companies must ensure they always use first-party data in line with the principles of the GDPR: transparency, accuracy, fairness, minimization, purpose limitation and security. I believe the GDPR will accelerate trends leading away from third-party data and toward the ethical use of first-party data to deliver helpful, respectful customer experiences.

As a result, I think the GDPR is good for brands—even with its complexities.

Peter Reinhardt is an aerospace engineer turned CEO and co-founder of Segment, a customer data platform.

Source: adweek.com; 22 Feb 2018

Amazon plots digital ad push with ad tech launch

The ecommerce giant is bringing new ad tech tools for publishers to Europe as it ramps up attempts to take on Google and Facebook in the digital ad market.

Amazon is pushing further into the digital ad market as it brings new ad tech tools to Europe aimed at helping publishers make more money online.

Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace, which went live in the US a little over a year ago, is now launching in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It offers digital publishers and app developers a new means to monetise their content using header bidding (a technology that allows multiple ad buyers to bid on ad space at the same time, meaning the highest bid should always win).

What differentiates this product is that it is cloud-based, meaning the bidding takes place on Amazon’s servers rather than on the publisher’s website. That in turn means publishers don’t have to input lots of codes from different ad buyers into their website, speeding up page load times.

Amazon also claims the product will offer greater transparency, enabling publishers to see which companies are bidding and which one won the auction.

“When we started offering header bidding several years ago, we quickly saw there were clear publisher, advertiser and customer benefits in moving ad calls to the cloud and giving publishers full visibility into who’s bidding on their impressions, who’s winning, and why,” explains Matt Battles, vice president of ad technology at Amazon.

The launch is just the latest sign that Amazon is looking to make a bigger move into the ad space. Emarketer estimates that, in the US, Amazon is the fifth largest generator of digital revenues with sales of $1.65bn in 2017 – more than Twitter and Snapchat. That figure is expected to rise to $3.19bn in 2019.

It is also the fastest growing player – with increases of 48.2% in 2017. But it will account for just 3% of the total US market in 2019, well behind Google and Facebook.

That Amazon would want to become a bigger player in digital advertising should come as little surprise given that it was a $209bn business globally last year, according to Magna Global. And Amazon has both the scale and data that means it could compete with the two biggest players.

However, Amazon has so far been reluctant to discuss its ambitions. Nevertheless, it is rapidly hiring sales people for the ad unit as its New York office, with the latest launch a clear sign it is hoping to attract publishers as well.

And brands including Procter & Gamble and Unilever are increasingly working with the company. For example, P&G says it has teamed up with the ecommerce giant to make use of its consumer ID data to reach consumers who are ready to buy. And that is the key to Amazon’s pitch to advertisers – its data on what people buy.

Source: marketingweek.com; 9 Jan 2018

89% Indian car purchases digitally influenced: Google & Kantar TNS Study

India is going digital but the speed at which the transformation is underway in the automobile market is taking industry and marketers by surprise. A new study, whose findings were revealed today, indicates that more and more people are taking a digital approach to decide on their new set of wheels. Nevertheless, the claimed percentage of digitally influenced buyers seems to be on the very high side.

A research report by Google India along with Kantar TNS claims that in 2017, 89 percent of car purchases in India were digitally influenced compared to 75 percent in 2016.

The survey was carried out across 27 markets covering over 500 respondents in each market, with a total of 13,828 respondents. The survey was carried out both offline and online, with an estimated average survey length of 15 minutes.

The report titled ‘The Drive to Decide’ states that potential buyers exhibited three key digital behaviour patterns – 96 percent of them searched online, 80 percent watched online videos and 88 percent of them preferred to research on their smartphones.

Vikas Agnihotri, Industry Director, Google India said, “Online video has emerged as the biggest disrupter for the four-wheeler industry in India. YouTube has over 225 million Indian smartphone users watching online video every month, auto content itself has witnessed an astounding 225 percent year-on-year viewership growth. From an advertiser perspective, what makes this trend even more relevant is that car manufacturers can now measure the exact impact that online is having on offline sales, and we believe that is a real game-changer.”

In the last two years, the report states that around 2.5x growth was seen in consumers who took only two months to buy a four-wheeler. Concurrently, dealer visits by the consumers saw a decline of almost 50 percent in the last three years. Finally, two-thirds of digitally influenced buyers searched and discovered dealers online. The research report sees all this translating into shorter and more efficient buying cycles.

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As per the report, online video (depicted above) is fast becoming a preferred information source that allows buyers to explore a new car from different perspectives. The percentage of online video usage in the process of buying a car in 2017 has nearly doubled from 43 percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2017.

Safety first
Breaking up the types of videos consumers are watching – 41 percent were on vehicle safety tests; 41 percent on technology and features of the car; 38 percent on performance and 33 percent of them are customer reviews. Furthermore, the report highlights that 79 percent of consumers who view online videos are expected to act upon, underscoring the important role of online video in the decision-making process.

Speaking about the challenges for the marketing team faces today and some future trends, Gabri Herrmann, Kantar TNS said, “The modern auto shopper walks into the dealership armed with a staggering array of information. Delivering on research needs and inspiring the consumer is critical. Brands that succeed in this will win the sale.”

Source: autocarpro.in; 13 Dec 2017