Malaysia 4th largest world market for social commerce adopters

AdParlor Asia’s Dheeraj Raina shares key trends, digital spending to soar
Today, Malaysia represents the fourth largest market in the world for social commerce adopters, with social media users who are highly likely to convert into paying customers, states Dheeraj Raina, MD,AdParlor Asia, Malaysia, in a report on the key digital trends for 2018.
As per a recent report  by IAB and eMarketer, Malaysia is expected to see its media ad spending reaching US$1.3 billion by this year-end while its digital ad spend is set to grow by another US$36 million by 2018. All this even as marketers are figuring out how to tap into the connected consumers of Malaysia.
Malaysia is one of the most digitally connected economies in Asia Pacific. Besides boasting a large, connected consumer base, this also means that global social and digital trends are likely to impact business here – fast.
As such, social media and the socially-connected consumer can be expected to continue pushing businesses to evolve quickly, or risk being left behind.
Dheeraj, who leads a multi-disciplinary team of strategists and planners in his agency, has laid out four key trends expected to shape the next stage of digital marketing in the region.
Dheeraj believes this could provide a possible roadmap for the key decision makers in the industry as they take strategic decisions to optimise budgets in the coming financial year.
So what are these trends that will transform digital marketing in 2018?
The rise of the buy button
2018 is likely to see social commerce take off in a big way in Malaysia. Businesses in Malaysia have the luxury of operating in a market that enjoys high penetration of digital, social and smartphones. Combined, this means that the consumer base here is largely mobile-first, digitally savvy and always connected.
For brands that are able to adapt quickly, this represents an opportunity to connect with, engage, and sell to customers – all on social media. Brands will now be able to compress the entire marketing funnel by integrating ‘buy’-buttons in their campaigns.
To do this, businesses must analyse and optimise existing factors such as operation processes and UX design, to provide a more seamless online shopping experience. A single-click should facilitate this process from discovery to check-out.
It also means that marketers will finally make the big leap to measuring success beyond vanity metrics such as likes, follows and shares, to meaningful performance markers such as conversions.
Cashless economy goes mainstream
In 2018, selling to customers on the go will no longer be recognised as the sole domain of e-tailers and high-tech e-commerce startups.
Recent developments in the industry indicate that mobile payment is set to go fully mainstream in the coming year, and every merchant needs to be prepared.
As the economy continues to go cashless in a major way, advertisers need to acknowledge that their responsibilities no longer stop at awareness-based metrics.
Marketers need to have such capabilities readily integrated into their platforms.
Partnerships with merchants to offer greater value to consumers will also grow significantly, as the battle for the e-wallet intensifies.
Less becomes more with influencer marketing
The meteoric rise of Instagram – both globally and in Malaysia – has made celebrities out of a select group of prolific users. Brands hoping to borrow some of their reach and credibility have quickly followed with sponsorships and endorsements.
As a result ‘Insta-stardom’ has become somewhat of a full-time job for these high-profile users, who juggle both paid and organic content for their armies of followers.
However, brands are also realising that influencer marketing needs to take into account audience interests. Hence, 2018 is likely to see businesses embrace micro-influencer marketing.
Unlike traditional influencers, microinfluencers, both on YouTube & Instagram usually have a more modest following, and share content that revolve around a specific passion, such as food or fitness. Until recently, many brands have overlooked these microinfluencers – and their hyper-engaged audiences.
This will change in 2018, as businesses expand their personalisation strategies to influencer marketing. By activating a pool of microinfluencers and nurturing them over a long period, brands will actually be able to access a more engaged audience, while building brand value through more credible advocates.
Content marketing reaches adulthood, finally
As the always-on customer takes centre stage in the coming year, content marketing is set to grow in importance and establish itself as a separate pillar of marketing altogether.
For too long, even marketers have recognised content marketing simply as a subset of their usual advertising and marketing efforts.
Advertising, much in the same way as it has for years, continues to be organised in burst-based campaigns. In contrast, content marketing establishes a steady, consistent channel of communication with the consumer, a key consumer relationship building tool in the age of social.
In the same vein, the content marketing practice will also grow its appetite for creatives and creative professionals in 2018, especially in terms of video.
Budgets for content marketing are also expected to grow, and marketers will need to choose meaningful measurement metrics to justify ROI on the increased spending.
To conclude, businesses that are able to anticipate, prepare for, and leverage these changes, now have an opportunity to take the lead in the industry and eventually gain an even deeper connection with their customers. 2018 will be the year where personalised marketing will hit the escape velocity in Malaysia and in the region.
Ogilvy Digital Trends

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