The world of digital marketing never remains static. Technology is developing new and innovative ways to engage with audiences in the Hong Kong market. Any brand that wishes to maximize their success in the marketplace should be aware of these trends, to help ensure their digital marketing strategy doesn’t lag behind the competition.
Trends to watch
1. The growing role of analytics in Key Opinion Leader (KOL) identification
Now we’re seeing it’s not just celebrities, but the “everyday” social media users who influence others. Engagement with such KOLs has proven to be an effective way for brands to reach the current market, but also has the potential to connect with new market segments. Companies and brands are paying as much as HKD 50,000 for an image to be shared by a Hong Kong KOL in their social media.
At the heart of any successful influencer marketing campaign and to ensure digital marketing budget on KOLs are well-spent is analytics, which play a critical role in helping marketers identify and target the right brand influencers to begin with. Social media monitoring will help sift through the wealth of online data to identify influencers that are a good fit for a brand and make an otherwise manual process less tedious.
2. Smart automated holistic reporting on trends that are spotted online
Missing out on trends could mean missing out on great opportunities for business growth. Given the ever-changing nature of trends, an automated reporting system that can generate holistic reports on people’s conversations online is going to be very important for brands to capture new trends they can exploit to strengthen their business. In particular, by keeping an eye on the rise of some trends and how they shift from time to time, brands will be able to establish a leadership position and adjust strategies in concert with the shifts.
3. Mobile first
According to the Office of the Communications Authority, as of June 2017 Hong Kong’s mobile subscriber penetration rate is over 230%, and out of the 17 million plus mobile subscribers, over 90% are subscribed to a 2.5G and 3G/4G mobile network. Mobile now represents more than 50% of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a "secondary touch point" for an increasing number of digital users. With the development of mobile technologies, such as e-commerce transactions, everything goes online. In addition, the rise of “on-the-go” media consumption and the increasing volume of media outlets means that content today is being consumed at a record speed. It is vital for brands to keep abreast of how the rise of mobile is changing consumer habits online, so that they can adjust their digital marketing strategies accordingly. It is also important to identify the type of social media content that mobile users engage with the most—text, video or images—in order to develop content that will genuinely resonate with mobile users.
4. Live streaming video content
The nature of the video content people are watching is changing, with a growing preference to watch video that is streamed live. The success of 100Most proves that Hong Kong audiences are hungry for creative video content that is relevant and engaging. It’s therefore no surprise that brands are streaming more and more video live in line with this change. But to make the most of their efforts, brands will need a video tracking tool that can inform them about which social media platforms have the largest live audiences, at what times of day or week, and for what kinds of live content.
5. Chatbots as a digital marketing strategy
Chatbots are increasingly becoming the rage for customer engagement strategies, thanks in large part to Facebook introducing the chatbot phenomenon to the masses. Chatbots can use AI, deep learning, and data crumbs from across the web to understand and guide consumer behaviour. Their cost-effective nature and 24/7 availability are two reasons why chatbots are likely to play a big role in digital marketing strategies nowadays.
6. Changes in the popularity of social networks
With 5 million monthly active users in Hong Kong, Facebook remains king in terms of being the most popular social network. Nevertheless, other networks such as Snapchat are gaining users on a rapid basis. For brands, it is imperative for them to be aware of changes in the popularity of social networks, not only in terms of changes in the number of users, but more importantly changes in the number of active users. This information will help brands determine which social media channels are most worthy of investment depending on the proportion of their active user base.
A common theme about the above trends is that digital marketing will rely on having the right set of tools to engage with online audiences in the most productive way. The adoption of social listening and media monitoring applications are particularly crucial to companies in Hong Kong, to give insights about what conversations people are having online, what online content is resonating with mobile devices, what social media platforms are most popular and so on. Other tools, such as chatbots that captivate consumers and analytics software that can make sense of online data are also important. In other words, if a brand wants to stay ahead in the digital marketing game, having the right technology is just as imperative as having the right strategy.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Being one of the top performers in Meltwater, Ewan has led a successful career within the organisation starting in Edinburgh before moving to South Africa where he developed business across Africa. Ewan then launched Meltwater's business in India before moving across to Hong Kong where he now heads up the Greater China region with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
In his current capacity as Area Director of Meltwater, Ewan Ross oversees the business development and operation in Greater China. With years of experience in media intelligence in different markets, Ewan understands the importance of leveraging external data to build brands and drive business growth. As a trusted partner and media intelligence consultant to brands, he is passionate in enabling brands in the region to extract insights from billions of online conversations, and stay ahead of their competition.
London born, Scottish-bred, Ewan was educated at the University of Edinburgh studying economics. He currently calls Hong Kong home.