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Digital campaigns in Hong Kong have low share of city’s advertising spending, study shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2016, 12:23am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2016, 6:33pm

Digital campaigns have a low share of advertising spending in Hong Kong at 20 per cent compared to 31 per cent across the Asia-Pacific, even as online marketing promises strong returns, according to a senior executive at multinational market research firm Millward Brown.

Brands in Hong Kong have been cautious to shift budgets to online advertising from their traditional preference for television or outdoor advertising as they are unfamiliar with the new metrics, said Rupam Borthakur, the managing director of Millward Brown for Hong Kong and Taiwan, who cited a recent GroupM study in a presentation. 

“Marketers in every region, or every country, or every city knows the power of digital but there is some sort of hesitancy in terms of moving to online or digital, part of it is ‘How do I get a good sense of ROI’,” Borthakur said. “Online there’s a lot of metrics, so which one do I take? So that sometimes is a barrier.”

A Facebook-commissioned Millward Brown survey, which examined the reach and efficiency of different advertising channels for six campaigns in Hong Kong and Taiwan from 2014 to 2015, found advertising on the social network was seven times more cost-efficient in terms of reach delivery, compared to television, and three times more efficient than other digital advertising.

Compared to mainland China, television advertising in Hong Kong was affordable and outdoor advertising was still a large part of the city’s advertising mix, Borthakur said.

Facebook gives advertisers access to its 1.59 billion users and its wealth of user data allows brands to more closely target potential customers, said Anita Lam, Facebook’s head of fast moving consumer goods and retail in Greater China.

“The fact that Hong Kong lags behind the region in digital spend share shows companies and media professionals here stand to gain from higher returns from their media investments, by increasing their online ad spending,” Lam said.

The Millward Brown survey found that advertising through Facebook had a higher reach at 60 per cent compared to 52 per cent for other digital advertising, while television advertisements had the highest reach at 84 per cent.

Lam added that Facebook and Instagram’s strength in mobile allows the company to advise brands on how to target their advertising to users of smartphones and tablets.

Global mobile advertising spending is predicted to exceeed US$100 billion this year and account for 50 per cent of all digital advertising spending for the first time, according to eMarketer.

As of January, 80 per cent of Facebook’s revenue comes from mobile, said Ashwin Puri, the director of publisher adtech for Asia-Pacific at the social network.

The service also claims that its services enable advertisers to better target customers across screens, as more than 950 million of its users are logged in on two or more devices.