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The e-commerce battle will rage on in South East Asia and beyond



In 2018, we saw the fiercest battles among the top e-commerce players in the region. This was evident as we saw increased investment in online and offline marketing initiatives from e-commerce players.

One of them was Lazada, who organised an extravagant Singles’ Day offline show in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam and broadcasted it more than 5 million viewers. Similarly, top players such as Tokopedia, Shopee, Tiki and others each initiated big promotional campaigns during vital sale periods for Singles’ Day, Hari Raya Aidilftri, Lunar New Year, and 12.12 Sale in a bid to become the biggest player in the region.

Further fuelling the competition was the assistance of investors to fast-track the competition. Top e-commerce platforms in the region such as Tokopedia received a US$1.1 billion huge boost from Alibaba and SoftBank, Bukalapak, became Indonesia’s fourth Unicorn, while Lazada, received US$4 billion to fast track its development as well.

However, who came out as the most successful e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia?

Most e-commerce companies would attempt to announce their results by announcing the total gross merchandise value (GMV) transacted through its platforms. This was commonly used by Chinese e-commerce giants as well such as Alibaba who declared they broke its previous year’s record by amassing US$30.8 billion in GMV on Singles’ Day in 2018. But some considered GMV as a really vague figure as it only takes into account the total value of transactions without factoring in any returns or cancellation. The GMV does not paint a representative picture of its actual revenue.

We conducted a study to paint a better picture and see who were the top e-commerce players in South East Asia 2018 with a more reliable data source. That data is the total visits garnered by each e-commerce platforms from desktop and mobile web. While we would love to get our hands on data such as the total revenue by each e-commerce platforms, this data is usually not available publicly.

With the help of SimilarWeb, we analysed the total visits (desktop and mobile web) garnered by 42 e-commerce companies which consisted of 60 e-commerce platforms from six major markets in South East Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore) between January and November 2018. The companies selected for this study were amongst the 10 most visited platforms (on desktop and mobile web) in their respective countries from this study, The Map of E-commerce.

From here, we ascertained the top players of 2018 and data that would serve as a prediction of what is about to come for 2019 and beyond.

Top e-commerce platforms in South East Asia in 2018

The 42 e-commerce companies analysed in this study saw an average 54% growth in its total visits on both desktop and mobile web. We saw this increase by comparing the total visits between Q1 and Q4 2018. This mirrors Google’s recently revamped report in November 2018 stating that the internet economy’s growth was faster than expected and is predicted to garner an additional US$40 billion, amassing a total US$240 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by the year 2025.

Commanding the biggest market share in total visits amongst the top 10 companies in 2018 were Lazada at 27%, Tokopedia at 17%, Shopee at 15% and Bukalapak at 12%. Lazada maintains its market-leading position despite facing stiff competition from Tokopedia and Shopee throughout the year.

Nevertheless, Shopee overtook the Indonesian e-commerce to become Lazada’s closest competitor by the end of the year. Shopee experienced a 66% growth in its total visits (desktop and mobile web) between Q1 and Q4 2018 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Visits from its Taiwan domain was not included).

The fight for the top step

Lazada’s dominant position in the region began pretty swiftly, leading the pack as early as 2014 as the most searched e-commerce platform in countries such as Malaysia just two years after its establishment. Since then, Lazada consistently grew its market share to become Southeast Asia’s most visited e-commerce platform.

In 2019, Lazada’s dominant position was almost overtaken by Tokopedia in July and August 2018. The margin between the two players was at its smallest point in August, where the Indonesian e-commerce platform just needed an additional 44,600 in of total visits (desktop & mobile web) to claim the top spot in the region.

Tokopedia was highly impressive in 2019 especially in its ability to sustain significant growth in its online traffic even after its major Ramadan and Hari Raya sale campaign in May 2018.

The Ramadan and Hari Raya period (16 May till 14 June 2018) was the most important festive season in Indonesia. It is a popular sale period as consumers will actively purchase gifts, apparels, and decorative items to prepare for the occasion in June. Among the many successful efforts initiated by Tokopedia to maintain its increased total visits on desktop and mobile web after Hari Raya was with its 9th-anniversary sale, which was held in August 2019.

The fastest growing companies in 2019

E-commerce platforms with the most remarkable growth figures were JD at 246%, Shopee 158%, and Tokopedia at 94%. This percentage was obtained by comparing the percentage of growth in total visits on desktop and mobile web between January and November 2018 to see who grew the most by the end of the year.’s exponential growth was due to its continued its expansion into Southeast Asia recently launching its e-commerce platform JD Central in Thailand in October 2018 and has made great progress in Indonesia as well. This was evident as they grew the fastest from 5.4 million in January to 12.7 million in November in total visits on desktop and mobile web.

Two key predictions for 2019 and beyond

A new e-commerce leader as early as mid-2019

We may see a new e-commerce leader in South East Asia by August 2019. Leading the charge to the top step would most likely be Tokopedia. The Indonesian e-commerce company was hugely particularly impressive as it was able to challenge for the top spot though it was only available in a single country.

Its success received further validation as Tokopedia quadrupled its sales in the past year and recently raised $1.1 billion from Softbank in December 2018 to become Indonesia’s most valuable startup, valued at about $7 billion. 2019 will be ‘crunch time’ for the online marketplace which has extensive plans to broaden its scale and reach by investing in technology and infrastructure in Indonesia. As such, Tokopedia is well positioned to fast-track its development to take hold of the title as the most visited e-commerce platform in the region.

Although Tokopedia almost overtook Lazada mid-2018, Shopee is also well positioned to capture the top spot as well. Its gains during the Singles’ Day sale boosted its position from 3rd to 2nd to become Lazada’s closest competitor in November 2018. Shopee is expected to receive an additional boost on its annual birthday sale in March 2019 that will run across seven countries where they operate.

Will Lazada be able to fend off its competitors? We’ll find out by end 2019.

The rise of non-regional e-commerce players

Almost everyone is talking about globalisation and the importance of venturing across multiple countries. However, 2019 could see the continuous rise of non-regional players who are solely focused on a single market. Indonesian e-commerce platforms such as Tokopedia, Bukalapak, and Blibli are good examples of the possibility of thriving in a single market.

Also remarkable in the regional level were Vietnamese e-commerce platforms Thegioididong and Tiki with the average total visits on desktop and mobile web at 29 million and 26 million respectively. Both e-commerce platforms were only available in the Vietnamese market.

This prediction is highly possible as these single-market players still have much potential for improvement in its respective markets. Take Indonesia for example. Statista states that the share of active paying customers from the total population of Indonesia (e-commerce penetration rate) in 2018 was at 40%. A similar figure can be seen in Vietnam, where its penetration rate was slightly higher at 53% in 2018. The e-commerce penetration rate for both countries is expected to rise to 51% in Indonesia and 57% Vietnam by the year 2023.

Taking note of this potential are e-commerce players like Sendo from Vietnam who are investing significantly in new regions to increase its reach within the country. Echoing a similar tune is Tokopedia who obtained US$1.1 billion from Alibaba and Softbank to be a key driver in Indonesia’s economic development and financial inclusion in the country.

In other countries, we see Singapore and Malaysia introducing the digital tax where it aims to level the playing field and provide local players with a stronger footing to compete with international players. This is highly significant as international e-commerce players usually escape taxation if they do not have a physical operations centre in the country. As such, this creates an unfair level of competition between international and local players. This initiative by the two countries will probably serve as a role model and inspiration for other countries to follow suit and implement a localised version of the digital tax. This might would definitely create fertile ground for existing and new players to thrive in the expanding internet economy.

Jeremy Chew is head of content marketing, Malaysia at iPrice Group.

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Verizon Media and Microsoft strike global native advertising deal



Verizon Media and Microsoft announced a new multi-year global native advertising deal.

Through this deal which launches this month, marketers will gain additional access to 20 percent more native inventory through Oath Ad Platforms with high-performing ad formats on Microsoft News/MSN, including exclusive placements.

Additionally, the companies have extended their existing relationship, which delivers unrivalled access to brand safe video, display and content marketing solutions across Microsoft properties globally including MSN, Outlook and XBox.

The post Verizon Media and Microsoft strike global native advertising deal appeared first on Netimperative – latest digital marketing news.

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Content Marketing

Marketing Day: SMX West, new Instagram feature, optimizing for attention



Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Recent Headlines From MarTech Today, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Marketing Technology:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:

The post Marketing Day: SMX West, new Instagram feature, optimizing for attention appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Brand Positioning

The Most Significant Brand Marketing & Digital Trends of 2019



The digital world is moving at pace, making looking ahead to what happens next an increasingly exciting proposition, with plenty of opportunities for curveballs to derail even the most seasoned marketing commentators.
There seems little doubt that 2019 will be the year that some long-standing trends and innovations (such as AI and voice search) will finally take their place in the spotlight, whilst the wider cultural landscape, including privacy and data issues, will continue to impact on brand relationships. But how will this all come together in 2019?
The team at integrated digital development and marketing communications agency, Access, has made its 10 predictions for the brand marketing and digital industry in 2019.
Trend #1 
AI and machine learning gets deep and personal 
Personalisation has been the word on the marketing industry’s lips for the past few years – and with brands such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify nailing the personalisation piece, it is something which customers have simply come to expect. So what next?
For us, the enormous power of opportunity that exists with machine learning means that 2019 will be the year that personalisation steps beyond retail and ecommerce, and into powerful data-driven personalisation in the content marketing space. Advances in the use of data and decisioning tools will facilitate fast progress in this area.
Next year and beyond, personalisation will be increasingly rooted in developing a deeper understanding of individuals through data, and being able to serve better, more relevant and more seamless brand experiences to invoke actions, feelings and responses. There is much debate to suggest that this cannot be done by machine alone – that there must be a human element to ‘curating’ experiences from the data. We look forward to seeing how the debate turns out in 2019 as it is one we have hugely enjoyed being involved in this year.
Trend #2 
We finally see the fallout from GDPR and Facebook’s data scandal … 
GDPR and ongoing Facebook data scandals meant that 2018 was the year that people started to pay more attention to how their personal data was stored and used in the digital space. But has it really made an impact on mass consumer behaviour? We think not yet – but it is certainly one to watch for 2019 and beyond.
A recent report by Marketing Week (published in August) found that in the three months since GDPR, 65% of consumers believed they had seen no change to the experience that they have with brands. What is more, more than a third (36%), believe that companies have used their data without their consent since GDPR came into force.
Running alongside GDPR was Facebook’s data issues. 2018 has left Facebook reeling from a number of high profile news stories which brought to the fore what the world’s biggest social media platform has actually been doing with our data for all of those years. Despite taking a hit on the stock exchange, calls for the world to #DeleteFacebook and a declining younger demographic, people are still using the platform and brands are ploughing ad spend into it. So if that’s not enough for us to lock down our privacy settings and remove ourselves from the platform – what will 2019 bring?
The dilemma that consumers face is – how much do they want to give up their data to be served content and offers that suit their needs? There is also the question of how they choose the brands that they decide to give this information to. Ultimately we have seen how data is the key to driving personalised and ongoing relationships with customers but the onus is now on brands to engage their customers, to create meaningful, added value content for which people are happy to give up their personal information. 2019 will also be the year that marketers place much more of a focus on user experience to overcome the pop-ups and jarring customer journey that GDPR seems to have created. In fact, a recent report by WARC discusses how improved customer experience across both the on and offline space is crucial for not only brand growth but also increasing trust in brands. According to WARC, “almost two thirds (61%) of agencies and 52% of brands cited CX as the most important digital transformation for business in 2019. There is still some way to go, however, as just 15% of brands say their CX is aligned across channels.”
Trend #3
Authenticity and transparency
It is impossible to talk about privacy, without acknowledging the growing shift in customer demand for authenticity and transparency.
2018 was the year that influencer marketing was knocked off its pedestal with the issue of fraud and fake followers being brought to the fore – not to mention a call for more transparency of sponsored posts. Despite this, research by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) revealed that 65% of brands still plan on increasing spend on influencer marketing in 2019.
2019 will see an increased focus on micro influencers to create highly targeted, meaningful campaigns. The focus will be less on who brands work with, but how they do it – creating ongoing strategic partnerships, rather than one-off transactional relationships.
The growing consumer demand for authenticity will also fuel the rise of entrepreneurial influencers launching their own brands with a marketing first, product second approach. Those who have cultivated a genuine, engaged brand following will reap the rewards of these authentic and organic relationships.
Trend #4
More focus on brand values and honesty 
In line with the growing demand for authenticity with influencer partnerships, there will be an overall focus on ‘brand’ in 2019. While the use of Chatbots and technology moves many brands away from human interaction, brands will be increasingly looking at how their customer experience can feel ‘more human’.
Similarly, consumers increasingly want to deal with brands that have better ‘ethics’. A brand staying true to a real, long-standing purpose and strong, clear brand values will be the ones to engender brand loyalty and meaningful relationships with customers. That may be a commitment to saving the earth, helping those in need or just providing really genuinely great products and services that don’t compromise those things.
Trend #5
People close their eyes and listen … 
It’s no surprise that voice search is set to come into its own in 2019, but how about 2019 being the year that people ‘close their eyes and listen’?
While a picture might speak a thousand words – now is the time not to overlook the power of sound as a trigger to evoke powerful memories and emotional responses that can elevate a brand campaign into something truly beautiful.
In fact, a recent report by research agency Neuro-Insight has concluded that “brands that overlook sounds as a creative tool are missing out on a crucial dimension of branding”.
Audio streaming content is undoubtedly growing – placing the power of sound back in the spotlight, when in more recent times the way consumers interact in social channels have led to a muting of audio. In 2019 expect to see sound placed back the centre of brand campaigns, rather than as a post-production afterthought … and prepare to be moved.
Trend #6
Harnessing the power of commuter commerce
In today’s always on world there is no such thing as ‘dead time’ and as such we have seen the commute representing an incredibly lucrative opportunity for brands – and this is set to get even bigger with 5G, connected cars (and the IoT) and more connected trains and buses.
According to a new study of rail travellers’ online retail behaviour, by KBH On-Train Media and Retail Economics, the value of on-train commuter commerce (defined as on-train, on-device retail activity by those using the train to travel to and from work) reached £2.6bn in 2017 and is predicted to grow by 75% to reach £4.6bn by 2022.
They key for brands in 2019 is to harness the sales opportunity that the commute represents, marrying a properly mobile-optimised website and app with a presence across multiple platforms and touchpoints – both within digital and traditional media.
The opportunity for brands to be both highly creative and data-driven in this space is huge – with millions of customers there for the taking.
Trend #7
Pick and mix – best in breed components 
On a more technical, digital development level, ‘Headless’ – the decoupling of backend and front end technologies – is becoming increasingly common and we expect to see this trend to continue in 2019. Headless CMS or Headless Commerce enables teams to select a combination of best in breed technologies rather than choose monolithic software products.
The main rationale driving this trend is to provide greater choice and flexibility in creating the customer experience layer, while delivering other benefits such as increased site speed and security.
Trend #8
Web management at scale 
There has been a marked increase in businesses investing in digital solutions to drive ‘experience management at scale’. The latest innovations in PaaS (Platforms as a Service) content management, hosted on scalable cloud servers, provides global level IT and brand governance, while providing greater autonomy to regional marketing teams requiring agility in creating localised site content and campaigns. This is particularly suited to larger enterprises managing a portfolio of brands and products where websites can be in the hundreds. Creativity is married with automation to create a common platform and process to handle multi-site delivery.
Leading the way in this space is our technology partner, Acquia, whose Site Factory platform is the industry’s only digital experience platform that can deliver strong governance along with the flexibility to support multiple development teams, regions, brands, compliance standards, and multiple versions of Drupal, all with a single solution.
Trend #9
The traditional agency model takes its last breaths … 
Will 2019 be the year that we see the final nail in the coffin of the traditional agency model? Perhaps not – but we will see more and more progressive agencies adapting their models to align with client demands and expectations, as well as employee-driven trends.
Quite simply, agencies must combine brand building with data-driven marketing in order to thrive in 2019 – whilst those that continue with a push-out, broadcast model will begin to fall at the wayside.
In 2019 marketers must be technologists, agile and data savvy and there is no doubt that there will be an increasing need for rapid adaptation and learning to keep pace. The key will be getting the right balance of speed vs planning. Agile working practices and ‘agencies’ within ‘agencies’ will become the norm as small specialist teams are formed to serve specific client needs.
We’ll also continue to see an increasing dependency on freelance specialists. This serves the purpose of the industry’s talent pool (with freelance and remote working gaining in popularity) and agencies themselves, who are having to be more agile, utilising experts for quick and effective thinking with a team delivering and servicing.
Trend #10
AR to outstrip VR?
AR and VR are often mentioned together but in truth it is AR (augmented reality) which is growing at 10x the speed of VR (virtual reality). Could 2019 be the year that the diverse opportunities that exists with AR become fully realised?
The beauty of AR is that it enhances existing experiences and does so via the devices that we use day in, day out – mobiles, laptops and tablets – unlike VR which relies on headsets for a truly immersive experience.
From revitalising the customer experience in retail to giving brands the opportunity to drive always-on communication campaigns, AR looks set to play an important role in the future of how we communicate and interact with the world.
What is more, there are a lot of rumours and speculation surround Apple and its new 2019 iPhone which could potentially be incorporating a number of AR features, including a triple rear camera. If these rumours prove to be correct, Apple could be opening up AR to an even bigger audience – accelerating it even further beyond VR.
So there we have it – our look ahead to the evolution of digital marketing in 2019 … perhaps in 12 months time we’ll review these trends to see what came to fruition. In the meantime, what do you think will be shaping digital in the next year – and do you agree with our predictions?

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