A few years ago, we didn’t know what the term influencer meant because it didn’t exist. But celebrity endorsements have been around for many years. So, why shouldn’t brands take people with a large social media following and use their platform to promote their products?
That’s exactly what happened and influencers are now a daily staple in our lives. These individuals have started to play a highly prominent role in Asian marketing. And the statistics to back this up are staggering.
In this article, we explore the rising growth and popularity of influencers in Asian marketing, examples of notable influencer marketing strategies, challenges in this sphere, and the way forward. Let’s take a closer look.
Influencers’ impact on growth and their rising popularity in Asian countries
The growth of influencers globally has been staggering. Between 2019 and 2021, the influencer marketing space was valued at around $13.8 billion, rising rapidly to $638 million in 2019. By next year, this figure is expected to quadruple to $2.59 billion.
These figures are remarkable. But that’s not where it ends.
That’s because in Southeast Asia in particular, spending is projected to reach $977 million by 2027, rising a whopping 12 times on figures from 2017, which were in the region of $82.87 million. All this signals that the region is rapidly advancing and implementing influencer-led strategies.
In terms of countries, the breakdown per country in order of highest revenue to lowest is as follows for 2023:
- Indonesia – revenue is $194.60 million, expected to rise to $320.2 million by 2027
- Malaysia – in 2017, revenue was $9.87 million and is expected to rise to $93.76 million by 2027
- Philippines -valued at $11.74 million in 2017, the market is expected to rise to $156.5 million by 2027
- Singapore – the market is projected to increase from $12.55 million in 2017 to $148.5 million by 2027
- Vietnam – revenue is projected to increase from $7.80 million in 2017 to $123.10 million by 2027
- Thailand – from $10.02 million in 2017, it is expected that revenue will increase to $94.82 million by 2027
- Cambodia – from $0.66 million in 2017 to $6.90 million by 2027
- Laos – rising from $0.36 million in 2017 to $3.60 million $6.90 million by 2027
Looking at the social media channels—the platforms where influencers thrive—-for the region, we see major rises, too. Here is a short breakdown of these channels and their recent growth:
- TikTok: this platform’s popularity has soared over the past few years. Its user base was 8.02 million in 2017 and jumped to 282 million in 2023. It is expected to rise to 344.5 million by 2027.
- Facebook: the anticipated user reach is expected to reach 442.60 million by 2027.
- Instagram: the projected user base by 2027 is expected to be 201.80 million.
- Other platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, and WeChat are also showing a stable increase in user reach. However, Line and Reddit’s growth projections are lower, although they cater to hyper-niche audiences.
Overall, such growth can be attributed to the countries’ increased digital literacy, expanding internet accessibility, and vibrant influencer culture.
Examples of notable influencer marketing strategies
To highlight the rise of influencers in Southeast Asia, we specifically look at Indonesia and the Philippines as examples where the booming influencer market has great potential for growth. In these markets, singer Ayu Ting Ting and actress Anne Curtis each have over 10 million followers on Instagram. In addition, they each release at least one sponsored post per week. However, there is another side to the coin that we must consider. And that is the rise of micro- and nano-influencers.
For the sake of clarity, a macro-influencer is considered to be someone with a following of more than 100,000. On the other hand, macro-influencers tend to have a following of between 3,000 and 10,000. What makes these people highly effective is the level of authenticity that they can bring to the table.
An example of these micro-influencers in action include online fashion destination ZALORA’s Community Influencer Program in the Philippines. Through this program, it is believed that anyone can be an influencer and it doesn’t need a minimum number of followers or posts per month for people to join. All that they have to do is recommend products to their friends and family. To date, there are over 2,000 influencers who have taken on this challenge.
Following this trend in Indonesia, the e-commerce giant Tokopedia introduced its “Tokopedia ByMe” feature. It works as follows: users recommend products and earn a commission from each sale generated.
The challenges involved
When it comes to Asian marketing through influencers, the landscape isn’t all roses. There are certain challenges involved, among which include the following:
- Influencers have the big task of conveying their partnerships and campaigns in ways that are considered non-invasive and authentic, and
- Audiences are split across different channels, languages, and cultures. This means brands should take a hyper-local approach.
The way forward
To achieve levels of success with their Asian marketing efforts, brands in Asia need to consider several factors as they streamline their influencer marketing efforts. A few of the key takeaways you should bear in mind include:
- Choosing the right platform for your efforts. It’s essential to strike the right balance in the choice of platform to broaden your audience reach.
- Brands should also be on the lookout for emerging platforms that meet their audience at the right place at the right time.
- Niche audience platforms can lead to higher engagement rates and more meaningful interactions. They should therefore not be overlooked.
- Marketers involved in Asian marketing must also customize their strategies for country-specific trends to create more targeted campaigns.
- It is also essential to stay on top of trends and continuously keep an eye on your competitors as the market is expected to rise exponentially as is competition. Differentiation will be key.
Asian marketing is increasingly adopting influencers to help promote brands and products. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it is becoming increasingly essential to ensure that marketers focus on hyper-local, tailored strategies that align with their audience.
What’s more is that the role of micro-influencers will become more prominent in the future and carefully studying their potential for influence can help your efforts, too. Overall, influencers are expected to become a staple of Asian marketing and as such, brands should not overlook this marketing method when crafting localized marketing campaigns.