Educated and addicted to their smartphones, Hongkongers seen as ideal target audience for mobile ads

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 2:26pm

Hong Kong smartphone users across all age groups are spending over two hours daily on their mobile devices, presenting excellent opportunities for brands to reach various audiences, according to a study this week.

Hong Kong millenials, or users between16 to 30, spend 2.8 hours a day on their mobile devices, while ‘baby-boomers’ aged 46 to 65 spend 2.2 hours daily on their smartphones, according to a study done by global research consultancy TNS.

This essentially means that younger users spend only 36 minutes more on their smartphones than their parents. Additionally, three-fifths of the older generation also use Facebook on a daily basis.

The Gen X group of users between ages 31 and 45 spend almost the same amount of time as millenials do on their phones, clocking in at 2.7 hours daily, or just six minutes less than their younger counterparts.

The study, conducted across 60,500 internet users globally, also found that millenials in Hong Kong spend almost half the time on their smartphones watching videos, and about 40 per cent of the time on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

“Millennials in Hong Kong, who have largely grown up with this technology, are constantly connected,” said Anita Wong, managing director of TNS Hong Kong.

“[This provides] brands with numerous new ways of interacting with them,” she said.

Social media companies such as Facebook and Instagram, have certainly sat up and taken notice of this trend.

Facebook’s major stream of revenue comes from advertising, and the company recorded over US$4 billion in advertising revenue in the third quarter. Advertising makes up 95 per cent of Facebook’s total revenue.

The US social networking company’s subsidiary Instagram has also jumped on the bandwagon and rolled out its ads platform globally in September, allowing merchants worldwide to put up ads that appear in users’ Instagram feeds directly.

In a survey released by Nielsen Audience Research early this week, Hong Kong Instagram users tend to be highly educated, with four in five users employed.

This is especially true for Instagram users over the age of 35, who prefer designer products and dining or shopping at higher-end restaurants and stores.

“[Female users in Hong Kong prefer] shopping, being perceived as having [good] taste and being different from others,” said Jayne Leung, head of Facebook in Greater China, citing the results from the survey.

Male Instagram users on the other hand want to be up to date with trends and products, Leung added.

Brands also came in as the third most-followed category for Instagram users in Hong Kong, highlighting the opportunities available for merchants to strengthen their brand among the “young and stylish” Instagrammers in the city.

To strengthen its advertising services, Instagram implemented a carousel feature that allows merchants to tell a story by putting up multiple pictures in an ad, which users can swipe.

“It all builds up to one big story,” Leung said, adding that story telling is now recognized as important way to raise brand awareness.

Currently, merchants looking to advertise on Instagram can utilize Facebook’s targeting tool to reach out to their audiences with relevant advertisements based on categories such as gender, age and interests.

But Instagram’s plans for its services do not stop at just advertisements, as the company looks to shift into enabling better discovery for users.

"Discovery is one of Instagram's biggest areas of focus right now. We're going to make it much easier to discover stories as they happen, and surface them for the Instagram community," Leung said.