Digital Marketing in Thailand

Digital Marketing in Thailand

In our second blog post we are going to explore the digital marketing landscape in Thailand. Before we get started, I would just like to point you back in the direction of our first post where we introduced ourselves.

Thailand Digital Advertising Spend YoY

Firstly, let’s take a look at the overall spend on digital media in Thailand in recent years, and what is forecast for 2018, courtesy of the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand data:

Digital Marketing Thailand Spend

Everything is looking healthy for the industry, then. Digital advertising spend continues to rise at a good rate, although not quite at the enormous growth we saw back in 2013 and 2014. It should be noted that the 2017 figures were adjusted upwards mid-year from 13% growth to 31% growth.

So what does this tell us?

The Thailand market is still growing at a much faster rate than the global digital marketing industry. The 31% growth in Thailand from 2016 to 2017 is comparable to the global growth rate of just 17%. Thailand has not reached the maturity of the global market just yet, lagging behind by approximately 2-3 years from the lead markets of the US and Europe.
Although all major advertisers have been active online here in Thailand for many years now, a large proportion are only just finding their feet in terms of ensuring campaigns are profitable for their business, and in fact realizing how important digital marketing can be in driving their revenues and increasing market share.

Digital marketing in Thailand was the “Wild West”!

In the first few years that digital made an impact in Asia we saw many advertisers wanting to test the space and make use of the shiny new possibilities that the internet provided. Companies rushed to employ eCommerce Managers to oversee the agencies which were directing the use of their marketing budgets. With very little in the way of know-how, and even less in the way of regulation, online campaigns were lacking in sophistication and results were often indifferent. I call these early years the “Wild West” due to this lack of regulation, with the loudest cowboys assumed as being the most knowledgeable.
Thankfully, times have moved on, although I would like to cover in a future blog post the issues of how campaigns are often measured by agencies which can be misleading. It will be vital reading for all clients I can assure you!

Anyway, step forward to today, and as campaigns have become more profitable, and measurability has improved, naturally businesses have been comfortable spending more. There are certainly still some issues to be sorted out in the Asian markets which have already been addressed over in the US and Europe, but I’m confident that these will be adopted here in Thailand over the next 2 or 3 years.

How does that advertising spend in Thailand look across channels?

Everyone knows that Thailand is ‘Facebook mad’. Thailand makes up 0.9% of the global population, and yet it accounts for more than 2% of the world’s Facebook users. These users are on Facebook on average 3 hours per day. Scary news for all employers!
So it should come as no surprise that Thailand’s growth is being driven by Facebook advertising spend:
Digital advertising spend by channel in Thailand
A very healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) proportion at 33% of digital marketing spend in Thailand is going through Facebook, with the next most popular channel being YouTube at 17%. Needless to say, that Facebook spend proportion is much higher than most other markets, although in general Facebook is increasingly gaining a firmer grip of budgets everywhere. The key to its success is the ability to provide great marketing tools for both awareness and performance campaigns, backed up by unrivaled targeting methods.

What does the future look like?

Facebook will surely continue to dominate, but other areas will emerge providing good value to advertisers. In the US, it is forecast that 60% of display marketing spend will be through native ads. The term ‘native ads’ is used quite flexibly so I must clarify for this statistic: here, referring to native ads are any ads that blend into the content of the platform they are being shown on. So yes, Facebook ads do come under this native term, but there are other channels too such as other social networks and content seeding platforms like Taboola and Outbrain.
It’s clear that native ads are the way forward for digital advertising, rather than the classic banners that we have all come to know, love and ignore, that are shown through the Google Display Network or more recently Demand Side Platforms (DSP’s).

I’m looking forward to posting more thoughts and analysis in detail of each of the digital marketing channels on this blog in the future, so please stay tuned!

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