2020 in Review: Top Insights from APAC

2020 is the year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac. This year should be a year of new beginnings. As marketers, this was a true statement. We redefined consumer behavior and adapt our marketing strategies to the digital age.

We are a marketing agency that helps marketers be agile and move quickly. However, we understand the importance of helping to ensure that every dollar is measured and understood.

We have compiled a list of top Think with Google content for 2020. It includes digital opportunities in APAC, industry and consumer insights, best practices to achieve digital marketing maturity, tips and tricks on optimizing and efficient spending.

1. Looking back to look forward

Marketers pride themselves on being able to understand their customers. In a year that has seen so many changes, we had to distinguish the trend from the reaction. We examine the rise in searches in 2020 in APAC and identify five consumer trends that brands must know before they enter 2021. We look at how last year has changed consumer mindsets and redefined what it means to be a successful brand.

Get the complete report to interact with the trends.

2. We learned how cognitive biases shape shopping behavior

How do consumers make decisions in an online environment with limitless information and abundant choices? A new decision-making model reveals six cognitive biases deep within consumer psychology. These biases can have such an impact that when they are combined in a study it led to a fictional car insurance company winning 87% of consumers preference over other trusted brands. This shows the power of behavioral science principles to win and defend consumer preference.

Find out more about the six cognitive biases, and how you can apply them

3. India’s online video audience continued to grow

India’s online video audience now exceeds the US with 1 in 3 Indians viewing online videos. Brands have an opportunity not only because of their sheer size, but also because of their engagement. Each user spends an average of over an hour online, mostly in the privacy of their own homes. Over half of online video users watch content to have fun, relax, unwind and be entertained. 43% prefer learning-based content. Brands have a unique opportunity to work with influencers, who have created large, loyal and eager audiences for new content.










Find the top internet viewer trends in India

4. Digital adoption in SEA surged

A huge wave of consumers started using digital services in SEA — a trend that was accelerated by COVID-19 lockdowns. We saw 40 million people go online in the past year, more than double the average annual number over the previous five years. This huge growth means that 70% of the population uses the internet. One in three digital consumers tried a new service at least once during this period, with the fastest growth occurring in education, grocery, loans and online video ( see their videos). This behavior does not only include lockdowns. We expect these trends to continue as people trust digital tools more. 90% of new users across SEA said they would continue to use digital services after COVID-19. It is estimated that by 2025, online gross merchandise value will surpass $300 billion.

View the complete e-Conomy SEA Report

5. Digital marketing maturity is more important than ever

As we enter a digitally accelerated era, eleven industry experts discuss how digital marketing maturity can be a foundational part of our success. Sir Martin Sorrell is the founder of the largest advertising and PR company in the world. He said that understanding the role of data, programmatic and how it fashions highly personalized content at scale will determine the future marketing. However, brands don’t have to start large. Building strong digital hygiene foundations is the first step towards digital maturity. This includes accurate naming and tagging. You can also use experiments to make sure your largest investments are profitable.

11 industry leaders

6. Asian gamers lead the charge

Asia, home to 1.5 billion gamers is the fastest-growing gaming area in the world. This is mainly due to the growth of female gamers. Asia accounted for 68% of the global esports gaming revenues in 2019, thanks to its established esports community and fan base, robust internet cafe infrastructure, prominently mobile-first consumer base and strong internet cafe infrastructure. Asia’s gaming market offers endless revenue-generating opportunities for marketers, strategists, game developers and strategists. This is especially true in Japan where mobile gamers made 10x more revenue per year than the average Asian gamer. Be aware of the differences in game-playing preferences between APAC markets. South Korea, Japan, and SEA players prefer role-playing games while India and China gamers prefer action games. China’s gamers have shifted to strategy-based games that often draw on local art styles, heroes and storylines.

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View the complete APAC gaming insights collection

7. The future is first-party data

Sir Martin Sorrell, who is well-known for his 30+ years of service at WPP believes that only one factor can change the future digital marketing. It is first-party data. Matt Brocklehurst is Google APAC’s head for platforms marketing. Sorrell shares his views on data and creativity, transparency and how brands can navigate the next decade with “persistence and speed”.

View the video

8. In an uncertain year, agencies stayed agile

We spoke to nine agency leaders and learned the best ways to create and think in isolation. Also, tips for rethinking your brand strategy now and into the future. Agency leaders use this time to experiment with new methods and challenge established working models in creative thought. From thinking digital first and double down on production turnaround times to being more like publishers, creating work and responding quickly to clients’ requests. Leaders in marketing strategy are trying to maintain stability wherever possible, while only adapting the parts of the business that require agility as they discover the right balance between “new” or “normal.”

Hear the leaders of agencies

9. New online stores opened on every digital corner

Shopify store creations in Southeast Asia increased 62% between April and May, compared to last year. Expectations for frictionless, fast e-commerce are rising with more online stores capturing the attention a growing number of digital shoppers. Despite the pandemic, 70% of online shoppers will still shop in the same categories they bought online. Trendwatching confirmed that “all meaningful and lasting trends in consumer behaviour are founded on fundamental human needs or wants, and with E-commerce it’s often all about convenience.”

How to Maximize Omnichannel Impact in Retail Space

10. The region is cautiously optimistic about traveling again

APAC places booking vacations at the top of their priority list for actions after lockdown. The way that consumers travel will change, however, so there will be new marketing strategies for the travel industry. Promotions, safety, cleanliness, and flexibility in bookings are all key elements to securing customers for travel. Instilling customer confidence is crucial for business travel. However, this assurance can look different from one market to the next. In China, 48% of travelers believe hotels have better health protection than vacation rentals. New Zealanders, however, had a different perception.

Learn more about the state and future of travel in APAC

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