To better understand social influencers and their increasing influence on audience purchasing behaviors, Nielsen has released new insights across Asia based on a study done in conjunction with Rakuten that analyzed 6,000 responses from proprietary panels in 12 Asian markets.
According to the findings, 80% of social media users in Asia who follow influencers on social media in Asia are either more likely or much more likely to buy products when they are recommended by those influencers.
The insights are especially important to marketers who are tasked with engaging consumers across a growing abundance of channels and platforms, coupled with the challenges of establishing relationships that feel genuine and personal. And while brand building remains global marketers’ top objective, mass reach channels may not always fit the bill, says Nielsen.
“The markets across Asia generally have healthy creator economies, not just in terms of growing numbers of influencers but also in the number of influencer followers across age groups,” said Arnaud Frade, Head of Commercial Growth, Nielsen APAC.
“In this very dynamic landscape, brands must keep an eye on changing market trends. Influencers can be a powerful tool to increase brand awareness for marketers capable of hitting the right combination of persona, content and engagement. Brands that align themselves with the right influencers can become a trusted source for consumers—and the brand they remember when they want to make a purchase.”
With a focus on brand building, marketers are continually looking for ways to stay top-of-mind with potential buyers. To do this, many are turning to social media—and influencers—to make more personal (and profitable) connections with consumers.
Global marketers plan to increase their social media spend by 53% in the next year, more than any other channel. And social media appears to be global marketers’ most bankable channel, as 64% of the global marketers surveyed for this year’s Annual Marketing Report say it’s their most effective paid channel.
It is easy to see why marketers are putting so much spend behind social media and influencer marketing in Asia.
Key takeaways for marketers
Each Asia market should have a different social strategy
According to the findings 80% of social media users in Asia who follow influencers on social media in Asia are either more likely or much more likely to buy products when they are recommended by those influencers. This appears to be especially the case in Indonesia (61%), India (60%), and the Philippines (60%).
By comparison, this appears least likely to work in Hong Kong and Japan (both 16%). Due to the lower reach in these two markets, it could be more of a challenge to adopt a successful influencer marketing campaign. Hence, a more diverse media strategy may be necessary to drive campaign objectives.
“Overall, youths are more interested in gaming influencers and beauty bloggers, mid-lifers skew towards kid-fluencers, politicians and gamers. Partnering the right type of influencers will help brands increase their campaign effectiveness in age-based targeting.”
However, each target audience in each market is looking for something slightly different from the influencers they follow. In China and Taiwan “likeability” and “inspiration” appear to be key themes, whereas in India, Thailand and Vietnam importance is placed on “trustworthiness and authenticity”. Engaging with influencers who convey traits that are relevant to a market is a key to a successful campaign.
All age groups matter and are unique
When building a social strategy it’s important to not neglect the older demographics. There is a sizable number of followers in the 50+ age bracket in the Philippines, China, India and South Korea and such mature followers are just as likely as younger followers to like and share a post.
While seniors may not be digital natives, they have certainly come of age on social media. The assumption that influencer marketing should only be used for Gen Zs and Millennials can be laid to rest. Brands looking to target this demographic can consider influencer marketing as part of their strategy mix.
“Product reviews are the most appealing type of branded content across Asia markets, with the exception of influencer followers in China who prefer product demos. Engaging influencers who will provide honest reviews of your product will resonate well across most of Asia.”
Although 90% of youths that use social media follow social media influencers across all Asia markets except Japan, the report found that at a regional level, mid-lifers engage with social media posts the most through commenting on posts, reposting and sharing, and clicking on links. Adopting an interactive influencer campaign may work better amongst this target audience.
Overall, youths are more interested in gaming influencers and beauty bloggers, mid-lifers skew towards kid-fluencers, politicians and gamers. Partnering the right type of influencers will help brands increase their campaign effectiveness in age-based targeting.
The power of product reviews
Product reviews are the most appealing type of branded content across Asia markets, with the exception of influencer followers in China who prefer product demos. Engaging influencers who will provide honest reviews of your product will resonate well across most of Asia.
However, brands looking to stand out in China’s crowded consumer market may consider partnering with influencers to create original and imaginative product demos. Product demos reduce perceived risks of trial and can be highly engaging. This could result in enabling others to sample the product themselves.