Why Influencers are the Future of Marketing in the Asia-Pacific

Suki Lin looks at how brands can leverage the evolving influencer landscape to develop and execute more effective campaigns.

Image by Ivan Samkov

In this day and age, no introduction to influencers is needed. Brands look to them to get the job done, and done well as they are increasingly becoming the marketing tool of choice for brands to acquire users and achieve growth, especially across the Asia-Pacific.

Video sharing platform TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity, giving rise to more content creators than ever, while Instagram continues to house some of the world’s most influential public figures.

In a region as diverse as the Asia-Pacific, influencers function as ambassadors for brands to build on-ground awareness and promote their products or services. But what makes them especially effective in these regions, and why are more emerging despite the saturated landscape? More importantly, how can brands leverage the evolving influencer landscape to develop and execute effective campaigns?


Influencers command consumer loyalty in an increasing climate of online scrutiny

With consumers being more online than ever, they can easily access information on scandals, or instances where the effectiveness of products have been called into question in a public forum. Over time, these audiences have shaped increasingly distrustful attitudes towards brands that have been associated with negative reviews.

Across various sectors such as FMCG, e-commerce and mobile gaming, influencer marketing works because influencers help brands build authenticity, by using human-centric experiences to frame their products and services. Individuals are seeking meaningful human connections, even when online, and interactions with influencers offer an accessible avenue for engagement with public figures.

These online personalities, with unique target demographics and significant follower bases, offer effective ways for brands to tell a compelling story and reach out to existing captive audience groups.

The accessibility of influencers to mainstream audiences, as well as their strength in shifting the opinions of specific audience groups, are key points of appeal for advertisers. Brand awareness, engagement with differentiated social media followers, as well as sales and lead generation, are all achieved through influencer marketing, all while adding humanized depth to a brand’s story.


Diversifying influencer choices with micro and nano influencers for maximum reach

The accessibility of social media and low barriers to entry make it relatively simple for individuals to gain fame and become online content creators. In today’s context, social media platforms are seeing an influx of micro and nano influencers, who bring just as much value to brands as their counterparts with more followers.

In Southeast Asia alone, 4 in 5 influencers are micro-influencers, and their authentic and relatable content helps build popularity among the younger generation of social media users.

Image by Ivan Samkov

This is especially so in a region as diverse as Asia-Pacific, where it is difficult to find a one-size-fits-all public figure who caters to the wide spectrum of cultures and socio-economic statuses.

With smaller follower bases, these online personalities bring together a tight-knit community of shared identities or hobbies, such as fashion, gaming or comedy. As such, these influencers, who are seen as “everyday people”, are more likely to know their followers personally through frequent engagement on their profiles.

This also leads to comparatively higher engagement rates of micro and nano influencers are more likely to lead to higher conversion rates from brand awareness. It is no surprise then, that the number of brands that have tried collaborating with nano influencers rose from 52.2% in 2020 to 81.4% in 2021. Research has also found that 78% of brands are likely to collaborate with nano influencers at least once a month in 2022.

“It is essential for advertisers to make quick yet calculated judgments to jump on social media trends for timely campaigns, especially when it involves influencers who need time to plan their content.”

Influencer campaigns typically leverage multiple micro and nano influencers simultaneously, each working in tandem to drive overall objectives. For instance, the mid-core fighting game Metal Revolution gained exposure and quality users in the Brazilian market through local influencers, through Nativex’s partnership with Kwai. The campaign leveraged 24 influencers to promote the game through a hashtag challenge, reaching out to more than 7 million fans combined – and they were joined by 85 additional content creators, as well as 82,000 pieces of user-generated content.

Best practices to maximize ROI with influencer marketing

With the understanding that markets in the Asia-Pacific are highly differentiated based on language, culture, socioeconomic structures, and more, deep research on individual markets is the first step to influencer marketing.

For example, emerging markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam offer key growth opportunities for brands, and target demographics (such as a growing middle class with greater purchasing power, as well as Generation Z) within these respond differently to brand campaigns.

As influencers have unique online personas, and each of them has crafted specific strategies for optimal engagement with their followers, it is important that advertisers and marketers offer certain levels of creative autonomy to the influencers they work with. Online personalities are most familiar with their own audience and know best the types of content that effectively engage with them.

Influencers who are able to bring a sense of personality and original perspectives through their content (even if these may be sponsored) are able to build stronger engagement. By staying true to their online personas, influencers retain and strengthen the authenticity that their audiences follow them for to begin with.

“Staying relevant is one of the top priorities for both influencers and brands alike, especially when trends come and go in a matter of days.”

Crafting holistic campaigns in collaboration with selected influencers is also critical for success. Omni-channel campaigns can be executed across the most popular platforms in the region (including Instagram and TikTok), and content types can also be diversified – for example, through live streaming and more.

Additionally, as campaigns roll out, measurement and performance analysis are also extremely helpful to understand success and adjust approaches accordingly. Qualitative and quantitative insights gathered can then help brands develop more tailored and impactful campaigns.

Finally, keeping pace with the rapidly-changing online trends is imperative to developing campaigns involving influencers. Staying relevant is one of the top priorities for both influencers and brands alike, especially when trends come and go in a matter of days.

As such, it is essential for advertisers to make quick yet calculated judgments to jump on social media trends for timely campaigns, especially when it involves influencers who need time to plan their content.

By combining the mainstream appeal of social media, with the organic opinion-shaping capabilities of influencers, companies can reach out and build connections with their potential customers with authenticity, relatability and transparency – to ultimately build brand love and generate tangible conversions.

More from Suki Lin:

With Mobile Gaming Projected to Top 3 Billion Users by 2023 Advertisers Can’t Afford to Ignore the Trend


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