With the upcoming Royal Cremation Ceremonies for the late King in October 2017, digital agencies running online paid media should take note of the following guidelines provided by the Digital Advertising Association (Thailand) or DAAT should you wish to take caution and advise appropriately to make adjustments.
- Brochure Websites
- eCommerce Websites
- Custom Applications
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster; this particular zodiac sign is pinned as hardworking, resourceful and talented.
As digital marketing evolves across Asia, it has become clear that these characteristics are vital in terms of success.
The Rooster is hardworking, resourceful and talented; traits that are sure to help anyone navigating the digital marketing sphere over the coming year.
So what does the Year of the Rooster have in store for digital marketing across the Asia Pacific region?
Content marketing is set to become bigger than ever as we head towards 2017;
Josh Black of GroupM Content published a guest post for LinkedIn, predicting that 80% of content marketers will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
According to Black, one trend that has made some waves over the past couple of years is the rise of the robots – a trend that is set to continue throughout the remainder of 2016 and beyond.
Algorithms are particularly useful where there is data to translate – for example, sports and financial reports.
However, robots have also been successfully used to create unique descriptions for hotels across the myriad of different travel websites available to web users.
Today, algorithms are being used on a larger scale by some media outlets to create content in order to keep up with demand and reduce the cost of hiring writers.
In fact, Black predicts that the majority of those reading his article have probably come across ‘robot articles’ on a daily basis –especially when it comes to news websites.
He notes that The Associated Press (AP) already uses robots to write approximately 3,000 articles a quarter – a figure that is expected to grow.
Although these articles can be a tad ‘dry’, the quality is improving by the day.
The majority of AP robot-written articles are finance report-style articles powered by Automated Insights, such as this short piece posted on Yahoo! Finance.
There is nothing wrong with the quality or grammar in this type of article; it is basic and designed to simply convey key facts and figures to readers.
Robots are being used in some instances to create articles where high volume is required.
As cyberspace becomes flooded with content, quality over quantity will become a major factor – quality articles are essential.
While robots are capable of writing sound report-style articles for readers, creativity and forming a point of view are skills harder to replicate using artificial intelligence.
Quality writers can think critically to form a point of view, an opinion or an agenda.
Yes, robots can create readable, accurate report-style articles in an instant – however they are limited in terms of forming opinions, writing in line with brand guidelines and creating something that is truly interesting.
She found that although this algorithm is able to produce articles at an average rate of one per 50 seconds, the quality is undoubtedly lacking.
This algorithm is used to create ‘click-bait’ type articles (rather than report-style articles such as the algorithm used by AP).
These articles may generate clicks thanks to click-bait headings, however the articles themselves tend to lack unique concepts and are essentially just ‘filler text’.
Algorithms such as Articoolo are able to re-write endless ‘unique’ (read: reworded) articles on the same topic; however grammar and readability often become issues.
Even the CEO of Articoolo, Doran Tal, is aware of the algorithm’s downfalls:
Source: Tech Crunch, Meet Articoolo, the robot writer with content for brains (techcrunch.com/2016/06/28/meet-articoolo-the-robot-writer-with-content-for-brains)
Requesting an article on ‘digital marketing trends’ from Articoolo produced the following snippet:
Source: Article generated for ‘digital marketing trends’ by Articoolo
This snippet was enough to ascertain article quality; it’s safe to say this article was not purchased.
In an article for The Verge, Ross Miller discusses the use of robot writers at AP.
Assistant business editor Philana Patterson explains how robots are used for time-consuming, mundane, report-style articles, giving journalist more time to create interesting, thought-provoking pieces.
Source: The Verge, AP’s ‘robot journalists’ are writing their own stories now (www.theverge.com/2015/1/29/7939067/ap-journalism-automation-robots-financial-reporting)
While robots can certainly create accurate finance reports, they are not as useful when it comes to creating engaging content for marketing purposes.
For brands looking to make their mark and capture the imagination of readers across the Asia Pacific Region, quality writers are still required – at least in the immediate future.
According to Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA), studies have shown that micro influencers (which are defined by Forbes as Instagram accounts with 10,000 to 150,000 followers) could be more beneficial than more prominent influencers in some scenarios.
ACMA goes so far as to say that “engagement decreases as popularity of influencers increase.”
The influencer marketing experts over at Markerly completed a study that analysed more than 800,000 Instagram users, with most having at least 1,000 followers; in total, they looked at close to 5 million total Instagram posts.
Source: Markerly, Instagram Marketing: Does Influencer Size Matter? (markerly.com/blog/instagram-marketing-does-influencer-size-matter)
For brands looking to take advantage of influencer marketing, it looks as though the key is to think smaller.
While influencers with 1,000 followers simply don’t have enough reach to be considered as a viable marketing option, many experts (such as the team at Markerly) agree that around 10,000-150,000 followers (i.e. what many consider to be the definition of a micro-influencer) is the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of providing the best combination of broad reach and engagement (which is explained in greater detail below).
Large influencers such as big-name celebrities charge equally large sums of money.
For brands, spreading their marketing spend across a number of micro influencers has the potential to generate higher engagement levels and deliver a better return on investment.
Brands promoting themselves via Instagram may benefit from partnering with micro influencers rather than large-scale influencers.
In a recent article published by Forbes, Sarah Boyd explains how influencer marketing is not just about the number of followers – it’s about consumer engagement.
She notes that people often follow celebrities because a) other people are, and b) they are interested in the celebrity themselves.
Followers are paying attention to the bigger picture, rather than the products being advertised.
There is a definite shift from fame and followers to engagement and audience. While big-budget celebrity endorsements are unsustainable for many brands long term (some demand well over $100K a post), lower-cost micro influencers make it possible for brands to develop ongoing relationships. Boyd notes in her article that:
“Not only do reoccurring activations appear more authentic, but they also create a sense of credibility for the influencer who continues to post about a particular brand, even if the content is obviously sponsored.”
When relationships between brands and influencers appear organic, it is more believable for consumers – thus driving better engagement.
When big-name celebrities endorse a product, it’s generally seen as less authentic compared to promotion by a lower-profile influencer.
As a recent article published by The Social Times notes, “Those with fewer followers are often seen as more trustworthy and more authentic.”
Instant messaging (IM) apps are no longer merely what their name suggests; rather, they are remote controls for day-to-day living.
As explained by The Wall Street Journal, messaging apps in Asia (i.e. LINE and WeChat) are light years ahead of comparable apps in Western countries – such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Asian consumers love having multiple features available on one platform, which has led to these apps offering everything from in-app shopping, games, and content, to deals, cute stickers and more.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com/articles/line-and-wechat-strike-advertising-gold-146661318)
Brands are responding to this craze by not only using these apps as shopping and content projection channels – they are also viewing them as a way to solve social issues, offer lifestyle solutions, provide financial services, and more.
The rise of messaging apps across the Asia Pacific region began in 2014.
WeChat first partnered with FoodPanda at the end of 2014, allowing consumers to search for nearby restaurants and order food via the app.
Early in 2015, LINE began to make the transformation from messaging app to “smartphone gateway for your life”.
The app began to offer grocery purchases and delivery services across Thailand, while fashion label Burberry partnered with LINE to live-stream its runway shows.
Only months later, WeChat amped up its service offering yet again via its partnership with the Shanghai government.
The app began to facilitate everything from finding the nearest hospital to browsing books at the Shanghai library.
WeChat is a popular messaging app across Asia that presents a range of marketing opportunities.
In an article published by Business 2 Community, it was noted that “The WeChat app is so dominant in China that many consider it the de facto mobile intranet for the whole country.”
With this being the case, it becomes apparent why so many businesses are turning to this type of platform in order to gain exposure and build brand awareness.
Brands can partner with a messaging app already used by their target audience; the trick is to make familiar processes faster or easier, provide useful new information or deliver content that is genuinely new.
Apps such as LINE and WeChat allow brands to create accounts, making it possible for them to keep in touch with consumers.
If a large number of consumers are already talking to each other on messaging apps, it makes sense for a brand to reach them on that platform.
Currently, brands are using IM apps to generate revenue via games, hotel bookings, ticketing, flights sales and grocery shopping. Shoppable content – that is, content that allows the reader/viewer to buy directly – is a common content marketing strategy employed by many brands.
This type of content is suited to IM apps, as it plays on the convenience factor and makes it easy for consumers to purchase goods and services.
In addition to promoting and facilitating the sale of products and services, messaging apps are also useful for building a rapport with clients.
Much like Facebook often turns into a customer service exercise for brands (e.g. responding to comments and queries), messaging apps can be leveraged in a similar way – delivering greater convenience and a better level of service for customers.
While IM apps have generally treaded carefully in terms of actual ads, this trend is changing quickly.
While previously WeChat was ad-free and limited brands in terms of how often they could reach out to consumers, this app began to test display ads early last year.
Now, WeChat ‘Moment Ads’ allows for advertising of sponsored ‘moments’ (WeChat’s newsfeed).
These ads display the brand’s name, profile picture, a text description and a link to a webpage hosted within the WeChat network, as well as up to six images.
In a similar vein to WeChat, LINE also offers display advertising.
Optimised advertisements based on user demographic and interests are available on this platform – in fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, these ads accounted for one third of LINE’s revenue last year.
Display advertising will undoubtedly become a common feature across other IM apps in the future.
Digital marketing practices across the Asia Pacific region are constantly evolving.
Digital marketing in the Asia Pacific region is constantly evolving and changing. Nothing stays the same for long; however with new strategies come new prospects.
From the rapid expansion of instant messaging apps such as WeChat, to Instagram marketing via micro-influencers and the unprecedented content marketing boom, the Asia Pacific region delivers a host of opportunities for brands looking to make their mark online – and these opportunities are only set to grow even more.
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to manage how your business information appears across Google Search, Maps and Google+. It allows you to interact with customers both old and new, helping to tell the story of your business while building a rapport in the process.
According to Google Help, GMB is:
“…a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”
Google My Business is designed for smaller businesses that operate on a local level – for example, businesses that have storefronts from which they serve customers, or businesses that work across a local area.
If you are looking to promote a brand, organisation or product (and don’t have a physical address accessible to customers) then you can create a Brand Page instead.
What are local search results?
In the words of Google, “local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location.”
When a person enters a search query that relates to businesses in their vicinity (e.g. by entering a specific location as part of their search term or by searching for certain services with their device’s location setting turned on) Google wants to show them local business that could address their needs.
Without local search, small businesses would find it hard to trump large companies in the SERPs as they would come up against marketing campaigns fuelled by far bigger budgets.
There are a number of benefits to using GMB for your business.
It makes it easier to manage information. This tool makes it easier to manage the information that Google users see in relation to your business, such as your website, physical address and opening hours.
It increases trust. According to Google, when businesses verify their details via GMB they are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
It allows businesses to interact with customers. GMB makes it possible to read and respond to customer reviews, as well as post photos to provide insight. Google has found when businesses choose to add photos to their listings, they receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks than businesses that fail to post any images.
It makes it easier for customers to find you. GMB provides a map of your business location (via Google Maps) and therefore makes it easier for customers to find you.
It provides greater insight into your web presence. GMB allows you to ascertain how customers searched for your business and where the majority of your customers are coming from. GMB also provides you with access to other useful data, such as how many customers called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Maps and Search.
Being a Google tool, it’s not surprising that GMB influences local search engine optimisation. There are a number of ways in which Google My Business and SEO work together, such as:
Improves local SEO rankings. As explained by Google Help, “Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps”. To discuss your business specifically, please contact Bangkok’s leading digital marketing agency
GMB works with local listings and directories. The details on your GMB listing and other local listing sites should be very similar as this allows Google to pull data from all listings. It works in a similar way to backlinks; if Google can see that your business details (NAP: Name, Address, Phone) are consistent across many different web sources, it improves the credibility of your business and therefore your local rankings.
Drive more traffic to your website. Your website URL should be linked to your GMB profile so that potential customers can easily access your site when they come across your listing.
Keywords still play a part. Just as an SEO campaign targets certain keywords, these phrases can also be targeted on Google My Business. How to optimise your business page in relation to certain keywords is explained later on in this article.
While the above chart details the overall ranking factors that influence where a website ranks in local search, it’s important to note that there is a difference between localised organic results and local pack results. Ranking factors therefore vary between these two different sets of search results; GMB is largely concerned with the local pack results.
Ready to set up a GMB account? Here’s how to do it!
Single location (up to 10 locations)
1. Use the business’s @gmail.com account. Use your business’s Gmail account to begin the process.
2. Create and set up a location. Enter your business name and pinpoint its location.
If your business isn’t already added to the map, you will need to create the location.
Once you have entered the location, you will need to confirm with Google that the address you have entered is, in fact, your business premises.
3. Fill in business information.
Fill out all required business information, such as the name, address, hours, industry, contact details etc. You can also add images and a host of other information – remember it’s possible to add to or change this information when required.
4. Verify location.
GMB will ask you to verify your location. This is normally done via mail (a code is sent by postcard and takes approximately 14 days), as this allows Google to verify that your business in fact resides at the listed address. Once you receive the postcard, visit www.google.com/local/verify and log in with the same account you used to request the verification. Once you’ve logged in, enter the code on your postcard and you’re done!
In some cases the verification process can be completed over the phone. Once you have requested this verification, you will receive an automated call to your nominated business number with a 6 digit code. This code is then used in the same way as the code received via postcard.
Please note that your listing won’t appear on the GMB search results until you have verified your location.
Bulk locations (for 10 or more locations)
1. Use the business’s @gmail.com account. Sign in with your business Gmail account.
2. Download a bulk upload spreadsheet. Once you have verified your initial location, you can upload bulk locations by selecting the menu icon to the left hand side of the home screen. Select “Import locations” and then click the “Download the template” link.
3. Fill in all locations (store code and map coordinates too).
When you fill out a bulk upload spreadsheet for additional locations, you will need to include information such as:
- Store code – this is a unique ID that you assign to each of your business locations.
- Business name.
- Address – you may need to include the latitude and longitude coordinates to help Google determine the exact location.
- Phone number specific to the location – this isn’t required if a website is linked. Up to two additional phone numbers may also be supplied.
- Primary category – this is the category that best represents your business and it should be consistent across all locations. Up to nine additional categories can be added.
- Opening hours.
- Photos – add photos to each location.
- Description of your business (max. 200 characters).
- Labels – you can add up to ten unique labels per location.
You can find detailed information on how to fill out a bulk upload spreadsheet here.
4. Upload the sheet to GMB. Once you’ve formatted your spreadsheet, click the menu icon and then click “Import locations” to upload it to Google. You can read more about importing bulk upload spreadsheets here.
5. Edit any errors. You can fill in any missing or incorrect information after the initial import.
6. Bulk upload verification. You will need to verify these newly added locations. Google will make contact with marketing staff on the company phone, company official email or via the Google account manager.
Below is an example of an active GMB page. All business details have been filled out, the location has been verified, insights are available for viewing and the business has already received 37 reviews from customers.
So how does Google decide which businesses are shown in the local Search and Maps listings? There are three main factors that affect local rankings:
This factor refers to how well your business matches someone’s search query. In terms of your GMB page, it’s important to ensure relevant keywords are used so Google can ascertain what it is your business does.
It’s important to ensure your business details are up to date and that these details are consistent across GMB, other directories and your website.
Keywords are also important here. Your business introduction should accurately describe your business and include key phrases that are relevant to what you do and the types of customers who are likely to be searching for what you have to offer. Keywords can also be used in your business title; while you can use a single descriptor within the title to help customers identify what your business offers, the title should still closely mirror the name of your business.
In most cases, Google knows roughly (or exactly) where a person is when they enter a search query. If a location isn’t specified, then Google works with any available knowledge they have about the person’s location. Google is looking for search results that are within close proximity to the person who’s searching.
It’s a good idea to embed your Map on your website as well – this is usually added to the contact page (see below).
This factor refers to how well known a business is. It takes into account GMB reviews (particularly positive ones), web presence (e.g. articles, directories and links) and also the business’s position in the organic SERPs – since Google My Business and SEO are inextricably linked.
As mentioned earlier, having consistent business details across the web (e.g. GMB and local directories) allows Google to verify that your business is real and trustworthy; this helps with local rankings. If details aren’t identical across different sources, it’s hard for Google to verify that it’s actually the same business.
Reviews are now a very important factor – especially when it comes to small businesses in the restaurant sector. Recent changes to Google’s local pack ranking factors mean that many of those businesses in the top three spots have 20 reviews or more. As a business planning to use GMB, it’s important to ensure your customers are leaving reviews. The experts over at Meaningful Marketing have written a great post that provides businesses with strategies for generating more Google reviews.
There are a number of common issues faced by those trying to set up their Google My Business page. Some of these issues – and their solutions – are:
Verifying postcard doesn’t arrive in 14 days. The postcards can take time to arrive. In some cases, it can take up to 30 days. If you have been waiting three weeks or more, the best way to address this issue is to contact Google in order to manually verify the business.
Google couldn’t find the business location. If Google is finding it hard to locate your business, make sure you have included Map coordinates (latitude-longitude) as these can help to pinpoint your location.
Google doesn’t show the desired image on the results page. You cannot choose the priority image to be shown on Google’s search page, so pick the images wisely before uploading them.
Location is duplicated to other existing one. You will need to submit a claim to Google that it is different businesses.
For small businesses trying to get ahead, Google My Business is essential. SEO has been an important marketing tool for many years now; however GMB makes this strategy more accessible to local businesses working with smaller budgets.
Although GMB is technically free, getting the most out of this platform does take time. As a recent Forbes article notes, local business listing platforms (including GMB) “…all say they’re for free, but they’re not free. You will spend a lot of time, and that’s valuable.”
The time it takes to set up your GMB page is time well spent. That being said, time poor businesses can always utilise the expertise of digital marketing agencies. Here at Primal, we can set up and optimise your Google My Business page for you – ensuring you receive the local exposure you deserve! For SEO services in Bangkok, Thailand – get in touch with us today.