Influencer Marketing Trends in Southeast Asia

Influencer Marketing Trends in Southeast Asia

There are new technological and software inventions almost every single day, and so you have to be kept abreast of the tools and spaces you can employ to make your business more visible.

Traditional marketing makes use of phone printed ads, billboards and direct marketing while digital marketing can be carried out online and electronically via the internet and mobile phones respectively. The internet makes advertising easier because platforms and tools like video, email, social media, websites and blogs offer several options for business owners to project and grow their brands.

Of all these platforms social media has become a big umbrella that currently serves as the biggest tool for digital marketing for businesses, which is why many people assume it is the most powerful  digital marketing platform . What’s even better? There are over 2 billion people social networking.

Digital Marketing and Social Media in Southeast Asia

Narrowing digital marketing to Asia, specifically Southeast Asia, the market in SEAsia has been discovered to be full of potential and the economies have been on the rise. Southeast Asia has also been experiencing a development in internet connectivity and people have been making utilizing social media more than ever before. As a result, influencer marketing is becoming one major way to connect with consumers.

Affable reports that 1.5 billion active social media users belong to East and Southeast Asia, meaning the region is ably represented by a large margin and is contributing to the social media community. Also, the Hootsuite’s report titled ‘We are Social’ records that 55% of the entire Southeast Asia population are on social media.

Paypal supports this claim in their research which states that about 80% of Asian sellers use social media to sell their products and services.

This phenomenon is even more obvious in Southeast Asia. Thailand recorded the highest percentage of merchants using social commerce (commerce using social media) at 95%, followed by 87% of Philippines merchants, and 80% of Indonesian merchants.

These reports only attest to the fact that for SouthEast Asia(SEA), the social media sphere is perfect for marketing.

Although other channels  that were mentioned earlier – email, websites, search engines and blogs, are still relevant in terms of marketing online, majority of customers can be found on social media most of the day.

Again, like the internet community is diverse, so also is the social media. With over 65 social networking platforms, small- and large-scale brands have enough choices to reach new and existing consumers.


Southeast Asians mostly employ the use of mobile devices to get information and statistics shows that about 90% of Asia population own smartphones. A study carried out by Tech Collective Asia relates that the high level of smartphone influx in the population has contributed to the reason why new social media users increase daily.

Influencer marketing comprises two concepts; influencer and marketing. Within the social media sphere are people called influencers. An influencer is a popular personality on social media. He/she makes use of their status as a Social Media celebrity to endorse brands.

This endorsement will then place the brand in a position that will generate sales for it. The modern Influencer Marketing industry is still relatively new as it wasn’t in existence until like 5 years ago. Before then, people influenced through word of mouth and referrals but it has become an industry on its own with no intention of going away anytime soon. Brands in the last few years have realised the importance of tying up with influencers that share same value as theirs.

Below is the list of top 3 social media platforms commonly used by influencers in Southeast Asia:

  • Instagram: according to Sprout Social, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, which shows explicitly how important Instagram has become to influencer marketing. To brand influencers, Instagram is also the major platform for brand influencers. eMarketer in their research reveals that about 78% of brand influencers worldwide would rather use Instagram for influencer marketing while only 4% use YouTube, and 2%, Facebook.

Thus, Instagram is unarguably the number one social networking medium where brands will get influencers to campaign for their brands.

  • YouTube: according to Think With Google, 6 out of 10 YouTube subscribers would most likely pick the advice of their favourite YouTuber over their favourite TV star on what product to buy or what service to patronize. That is to show you the weight influencers carry in the world of social media.

Also, YouTube is favoured by the younger generation and so if as a brand your target audience is the teenagers, then your 70% prospective consumers are on YouTube. In essence, your brand influencers should make good use of that platform to influence YouTubers.

  • Facebook: Although Facebook is still the largest social media community, boasting of over 2 billion  active users. It is a good medium for influencer marketing  

Brands can also connect with content creators that will project what their brands stand for. Although the sister platform,  Instagram is still topping the chart when it comes to influencer marketing, the tools Facebook keep putting in place suggest that it believes influencer marketing is worth exploring and is already a force to reckon with in the world of advertising/marketing.

Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Abide

The Influencer Marketing  industry has grown over the past few years and according to  The influencer report 2019, between last year and now, over 320 Influencer Marketing based companies have been established. Influencer Marketing is here to stay. We have the list of common Influencer Marketing  trends particular to influencers in Southeast Asia. +P

1.       Engagement over Followers

The popular opinion is that the higher the number of followers, the higher the influence of the influencer. However, influencers with a smaller number of followers but higher engagement level have  proven to be more result-oriented and effective while  calculating Return on Investment (ROI) because they tend to connect more with due to their relationship with their followers.

Their influence is quite strong because most times their followers will most likely act quickly on the information they share.

The need for caution arises from the downside of this particular Influencer Marketing  industry because if you are seeking only brand awareness, these  might be financially draining and you might want to stick with influencers with large following

Employees and Clients will become key influencers or advocates.

2.      Brand – Influencer Authentic Relationship

This is still a new trend brands are still testing out due to the high number of fake influencers on the social media especially Instagram. Also, many influencers are not in any way interested in the products they claim to promote, and it is reflected in the way, they go about the promotion. As such, brands have started going through the process of seeking real influencers who are genuinely interested in their products. This move is to create a mutual bond among brands, influencers and their audience/costumers.

So, brands should research influencers thoroughly before they settle for the one who suits their niche. Some might see it as a waste of time but it will be worth it to have a solidly understood long-lasting relationship with their influencers and also achieve a greater ROI.

3.      Computer Generated Imagery Influencers (CGI)

A fusion of technology and IM, CGI is a new trend that is still yet to be fully explored. CGI is a programmed design and operated by people. It is used in movies and now in Influencer marketing. It is like a different face for a real person,  and so it can do what a real brand influencer can do.

A top CGI an influencer on IG is Lil Miquela. With the followership of 1.6 million on Instagram, previous partnership with Samsung, Prada, Diesel and Calvin Klein, including recognition by Time Magazine as one of the most influential persons online, the future of CGI influencer is bright enough. The brand is not yet as popular as that of human influencers but it is bound to enter the spotlight soon. It is one of the influencer marketing to be utilized in 2020.

  • Influencers as Content Creators – Influencers that are not just a channel to carry brand messaging, but they are also great at generating some amazing content for brands. This trend will be leveraged by brands in 2020

Many have been sceptical about influencer marketing and they feel it will be soon be taken over by a new marketing trend, but it appears the concept will stick around longer. The reason for this possibility is because influencer marketing relies on human relationship.

Humans are psychologically conditioned to buy what others have bought and testified to be good or buy from people they’ve come to know and trust

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