Excuse my Malay, or shall I say pardon my French….


I think my Malay is pretty decent as I was born in the idyllic state of Terengganu where 97% of my fellow Terengganunians are Malay. Yes, this piece is not about me but about the largest consumer market in the country.

But let me get some real user-experience questions off my chest first….

I will always remain confused why the Malay media is not on the top of every media planner’s roster, until an advertiser insists on its inclusion.

Is it because more than 60% of media planners do not speak Malay? And isn’t that sort of language illiteracy defeating to Malay media owners when they have to meet planners who haven’t read a paragraph in Malay, let alone speak the language? Is that why most Malay media platforms have to speak to advertisers directly?

Yes, I know it is all about the right audience, the right message at the right place and time.

But what about the potential audience? Ever wondered why there’s almost zero discourse on the Malay market in our industry, unless it is about religion, something Halal or the rural market is part of some mass market analysis.

Some say this anomaly exists because there’s an absence of qualitative metrics on the Malay market to justify bigger spends for that demographic.

I suggest they spend their company annual staff holiday at any Malay homestay. At least then you can say, you have a human understanding of the largest consumer segment in Malaysia.

Thankfully, there are some very smart media planners

I know who expertly navigate this goldmine with their client’s product and market in mind. And I salute them in this article.

Recipes for better understanding of the Malay audience

We look at Astro Digital, whose Malay premier lifestyle content hub, Nu Ideaktiv (NI), holds the position of the largest digital platform in the Malay lifestyle category based on an independent research done by SimilarWeb, a global web analytics company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Malay lifestyle category consumer segment in Malaysia saw a positive YoY growth of 10.98% in 2022 with an additional 34.6M new logins by device in the year 2022. Astro Digital’s assets, driven by the success of NI, accounted for 28% of total visits in the Malay lifestyle category, making them the largest player in Malaysia.

Let’s review some of their digital brands here, from women, men, teens, family, lifestyle, hobbies, food…

Let’s start with food.

Rasa – No. 1 for Malay food recipes

rasa.my has established itself as the premier source for local food recipes, particularly in Malaysian Recipes for Malays, as evidenced by its high relevancy and popularity among users for kari ikan, resepi sup daging. With over 16.6 million visits, Rasa receives nearly twice as many visitors as a typical Malay recipe website, cementing its position as the master of Malay food recipes.

Malay-focused cooking and recipe websites experienced a significant boost in traffic during the month of March, a month before the Raya celebration, with rasa.my securing the biggest traffic share of 42% and registering a staggering MoM growth of over 600%, making it the most visited Malay cooking and recipe site during the Ramadan period.

While Rasa experiences a significant surge in traffic during Ramadan, data shows that its performance remains consistently strong even on a typical day, indicating a loyal and engaged user base.

Keluarga – biggest hub for Malay family related issues, household guides….

When it comes to the parental and family category, keluarga.my leads with the most total visits (5.751M vs avg. 1.925M) and average monthly unique visitors (302K vs avg. 101K) over the 12 months in 2022.

The Top 15 most searched queries sum up to a total of 1.146M search traffic solely went to keluarga.my. The website itself was also the search term with the highest traffic. It indicates the website has a very strong brand presence when compared to other family content related sites.

Power to Malay Women

Mingguan Wanita, Nona, Hijabista fall within the top 5 Malay women lifestyle websites that resonate with women of every category. Child care related queries like “anak 4 tahun kerap demam”, “cara ajar anak behave 3 tahun”, and “tempat tumpuan bawa budak sekolah di johor bahru” were the commonly searched topics that sent the most traffic to mingguanwanita.com. Wellness and automotive guides related search terms are also popular.

Vanillakismis – a Malay culture lifehack

A favourite amongst grassroot Malays who are naturally house-proud; their popular go-to for life hacks and DIY searches, eg. “rak tv, sofa wrap, cara tilam lembik, berkebun di rumah flat here.

vanillakismis.my saw a growth of 15% in 2022. It received 4.336M visits, nearly three times the amount received by the competitive sets, making them the dominant player within the category. It also revealed that it had gained over 241,021 new visitors.

Powerful and Profitable

Understanding the Malay market is not difficult and this article gives you much fodder. Media planners go by metrics and math while marketers understand the marketplace better and will appreciate the insights shared here.

The facts have been laid out for all. Ignore them at your own peril.

Meantime, I’m tucking into my Nasi Kerabu right now. Sedak dok oh!

This article was first published on MARKETING Weekender

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