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What to look out for when running digital advertising campaigns in APAC

Most companies looking to advertise their product or service across APAC have seen success in another market first. However, the strategy that works in one nation may not do so well in another. In this article we look at why advertising should be localised for a new market. Then, for businesses who are looking to target the APAC region, we offer tips on what to look out for when tailoring your digital campaign for a nation in the region.

The Need to Localise Advertising for APAC

People around the world share similarities and differences depending on where they live. At one level, many are similar. The desire for love, hope, family, food, drink, etc. are all examples of universal wants from people globally. On another level however, people’s tastes and identities can differ dramatically, depending on where they live. These differences can be categorised into three areas: language, cultural and emotional differences, and the APAC region is no different. This poses a challenge for advertisers looking to run digital campaigns there. To help, we explore points to look out for when running online promotions in the region.

Define advertising goals for the APAC market

If this is your first time promoting your brand in the APAC region, it is important to focus your main objective first. Then, systematically choose your advertising goals and make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). As an overseas brand, it may be more effective to work with a local agency to introduce your brand to your target audience. 

Ensure that promotions are also tailored towards people in the local market and are not merely copied from your existing marketing plan. Be aware that consumers in each nation have distinct consumer behaviours and expectations. Some preliminary market research will help you create an optimal marketing strategy. Here’s a guide on how to conduct market research on Japan which can also be applied to other nations in APAC. 

Update your target audience and personas

The target audience you have for your home market may not be the same across APAC. Each market has its own characteristics, and nations in the region are no different. Learn what type of person might become a customer and find out why they would choose your product or service over the competition. 

Furthermore, knowing the differences in personas between APAC and your home market can provide clues on how to tailor your service offering for each nation there. Make sure to note all the similarities and differences so that you can create effective campaigns that will be attractive to people there. For more information on personas, refer to this article for help in creating personas for the Japanese market which can also be applied to other nations in APAC.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Integrate market trends

When considering digital marketing, there are several key differences in APAC compared to other regions. For example, social media platforms vary depending on which country you are in across APAC. Another difference is search engines across the region.

One way to learn about trends across APAC, especially product or industry-specific data, is through social listening. You can use digital tools to track what popular topics are being mentioned on social media channels right now. Moreover, social listening data can enrich your digital marketing strategy by providing the latest target audience, competition, and market-specific analytics.

Include APAC holidays and events

Countries across APAC have unique sets of holidays, and even the ones that may seem familiar are celebrated differently. For example in Japan, Christmas is mainly a date night for couples or for families to gather to eat KFC and Christmas cakes. Also, it’s the girls, not the boys, who give chocolates out on Valentine’s Day. In addition, seasonal sales occur at different times compared to Western markets. You can reference our guide for building a Japanese marketing calendar for further information. 

Localise all content for APAC

Last but not least, ensure all of your content is transcreated into the native language. This includes your website, organic posts and all PPC ad copy. Unsurprisingly, there are many challenges to properly localising campaigns into native APAC languages, such as Japanese. As such, we recommend that you hire a translation agency or translator who can write marketing copy in native Japanese who is also a native speaker. To choose the right agency, please see our guide titled How to choose the right marketing agency to assist with your APAC strategy.

Furthermore, a mere translation is not always enough when localising digital marketing content. Ensure to use your market research findings and refined target personas to also tailor the messaging in your online campaigns. 

In conclusion, when creating a digital advertising campaign for APAC, it is essential to transcreate every aspect with each local market in mind. We mention the importance of localising every element of your marketing and to not forget the power of research in understanding the differences between nations and their people.
As always, you have the option to hire a digital marketing agency to carry out the above steps and beyond for you. At DMFA, our team of bilingual digital marketing experts can ensure your content strategy will be effective in APAC. We can also provide consultation and ensure the quality of content as native speakers while offering support in English. Contact us to learn more about our online marketing services.

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