In the final instalment of our Incubeta Ignite: 2021 Digital Predictions Series – where we’re catching up with some of Incubeta’s leadership team across our Global offices, to discuss predictions for 2021 – we had the pleasure of talking with Sean Binedell, our Senior Digital Account Manager based out in Singapore.
Matilda Rose Moir
Expanding on his predictions from our 2021 Global Predictions series, Sean discusses the importance of ad customization, digital infrastructure and the integration of client database streams into the Google machine learning ecosystem.
Singapore & Asia
While the majority of the world started feeling the effects of Covid-19 at the start of 2020, Singapore, and other parts of Asia, started lock downing much earlier – at the end of 2019. Although only a matter of months apart, Singapore and Asian businesses were hard hit early on with drastic shifts and cuts in budget spend being seen across the market.
Due to the stringent Covid regulations imposed across Singapore, as a result of their population demographics, a lot of in-market businesses completely shut down their budget spend for a considerable amount of time until restrictions were relaxed. Businesses also struggled with issues regarding the part-closing of the land bridge between Singapore and Malaysia – which acts as a strong business hub for both countries. With a reduction in the number of individuals allowed to cross borders, there was a severe reduction in the volume of work being conducted on a daily basis. As a result, advertisers across Asia were moving their ad spend, reducing office spaces in market and freeing up budget to alleviate pressure, and optimize spend later on in the year.
Pulling upon his prediction in our 2021 Asia Global Predictions piece, Sean expanded on the notion that Covid-19 wiped-out years worth of data and trends used by companies to inform their digital marketing infrastructure and strategy. Data we’d become accustomed to using went out the window, and advertisers had to adjust to these changes in market conditions. There was a clear correlation between clients who had a full digital infrastructure installed, and the speed in which they were able to respond to shifts in market conditions.
This correlation proved the value of digital infrastructures such as Ads Data Hub for improving performance across the board. Sean furthered this conversation, discussing Ads Data Hub with regards to data driven creatives and audience targeting. Across the industry we’ve seen a trend towards personalization of content, and the ability to marry that content with user data pulled from one’s website. Being able to determine what users want to see within creatives, and customizing your real-time ad content to reflect those wants is invaluable to marketers.
Digital Arms Race
In our 2021 Asia Global Predictions piece Sean referred to 2021 as a Digital Arms Race, which he expanded upon further. Over the last year there has been substantial growth in the introduction of Chinese market, with quality products emerging from China rivalling those produced by large tech companies – such as Google and Facebook. As this growth continues, and the economy gets more and more involved with the rest of Asia, we’re going to see a clash with other platforms as they try to outcompete one another. Although this is unlikely to happen for a couple of years, it’ll be interesting to see which platform comes out on top as the world’s premier platform.
Ultimately speaking, those who will succeed in this ‘digital arms race’ will be the ones that are prepared in advance, or those who are willing and able to put substantial funds down to gain market share.
Unlike the rest of the world, Asia didn’t experience the substantial shift in budget from physical to digital that we saw across the Europe/US industries in 2020. Due to the pandemic hitting Asia earlier, and then re-emerging at the height of Spring, Asia has been stuck in a somewhat cyclical Covid-19 narrative – never witnessing a period of respite. As a result, the Asian market focused more on refining and building digital infrastructures rather than shifting ad spend to digital.
That being said, at the tail end of 2020 Singapore and other Asian countries saw a substantial increase in video advertising, due to the (possible) roll out of 5G and the exponential growth in mobile users that it’ll drive. While businesses are still operating offline advertising, the static restrictions on movement are driving brands to rethink their budgets – shifting away from physical advertising to digital opportunities. Moving further into 2021, advertisers not implementing video advertising within their strategy are missing out on a huge revenue opportunity.
2021 will also see a shift to consumer interactive advertising – such as a boost in chatbots and direct email marketing. Consumers want real time feedback and efficiency – high touch points with instant gratification. Advertisers should be relocating their budget to invest in technology that increases functionality, customer engagement and consumer satisfaction.