Brand campaigns and technologies like programmatic may be less mature in the Asia Pacific, and to promote them you need a mascot!
1. Brand marketing needs more focus than direct response
From a digital standpoint APAC is a performance driven market.
So the digital efforts of transactional travel firms tend to be more strongly geared towards direct response marketing rather than harder-to measure brand campaigns. By contrast, in US and European markets, while direct response marketing remains important, efforts to define broader metrics that contribute to overall brand lift are intensifying.
One of the reasons for this stronger focus on ROI is that local firms often don’t have as deep pockets as international players. Another is that Asian consumers tend to be more price-conscious than Western counterparts. It is also especially true in travel where the cost of customer acquisition is high – about two to three times more than it is in US or European markets.
For this reason there is growing recognition that branding efforts are crucial, especially for aggregators because of the high cost of paid search. Aggregators rely mostly on SEO and retention mechanisms like email subscription, mobile app installs, Facebook likes.
Max Kraynov, chief executive of JetRadar stresses that you have to start from scratch and be creative in both offline and online campaigns. “It’s not just about throwing a budget of $50 million dollars at Google Ad Words, for example, and expecting to see the money roll in,” he says.
2. Programmatic technologies are maturing
According to a Magna Global Programmatic 2015 roadmap for growth, two APAC markets – fall within the top four programmatic spenders. Japan and China lag just the UK and US, which remains the largest market by far.
In 2017, however, Raj Beri, chief operating officer at technology firm Adadyn, believes that technologies like programmatic will start to gain traction more widely in Asia, which is also seen as a growth opportunity for US-based firms.