Marketers need to put the user at the center: Appier’s CMO Caroline Hsu
Multi-device usage is on the rise in Asia with around three in 10 (31 per cent) multi-device users engaging with 4+ screens, compared to just over two in 10 (22 per cent) previously, according to a study by Appier. In a conversation with Digital Market Asia, Caroline Hsu, CMO, Appier explains why a multi-screen approach to campaigns should now be the norm for advertisers.
In Asia, the number of multi-device users on 4+ screens increased by 40 per cent between the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016. The Appier report finds that in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, the number of users on 4+ screens increased at a faster rate than those using three. The percentage of users on 3+ screens also increased in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.
“It is imperative that advertisers embrace cross screen. Asia today isn’t just mobile, but post-mobile. Instead of a one-way shift to mobile, our data shows that people are actually moving between PCs, tablets and smartphones in increasingly complex and interconnected ways. For instance, though there are between 3 to 4.5 reachable smartphones for every PC, PCs in Asia generate 70 per cent more volume of web usage on any given day than smartphones. Tablets also see disproportionate use, with each average tablet generating between 3-4 per cent more app usage and about 30 per cent more web usage as each unique smartphone,” Ms Hsu opines.
Embracing the multi-screen behaviours
Ms Hsu explains that while Asia is a mobile-first region, PCs can still not be ignored for campaigns. According to the latest Appier study on cross-screen behaviours, PCs account for a greater number of unique users visiting websites on weekends, while smartphones account for a greater share of unique users on weekends. “Similarly, when we look at pageviews, we see that smartphones generate a greater number of pageviews throughout the week, and also account for a greater number of conversions (excluding purchase) than either PCs or tablets. When it comes to online purchases however, PCs dominate, accounting for a greater number of purchases throughout the week, while tablets lead in terms of pageviews per unique user. What all this means is that marketers need to take a cross screen approach, reaching users across every screen they own. Even in region that is famously mobile-first, it’s too early to dismiss the PC and tablet to go mobile only,” Ms Hsu added.
The number of users responding differently to ads across screens has increased, the study finds. In Asia, 72 per cent of cross screen users respond somewhat or completely differently to ads across screens, up from 68 per cent previously. Of these cross screeners, six in 10 interact completely different with ads across screens, compared to just over half previously.
Ms Hsu explains, “This means that they are exhibiting different behaviors depending on the screen, using different screens for different purposes or favoring certain ad formats or subject matter on different screens. This is because behaviour in the cross-screen era is not only based on convenience, habit and preference, but they also vary due to factors like gender, time of day and day of week. Keeping this trend in mind, marketers today need to put the user at the center, account for all these varying factors in their campaigns and consider how different ad formats and messages can trigger different responses across screens.”
Cross-screen vs single-screen campaigns
The report also shows that cross screen campaigns outperform single screen campaigns across the region by around 67 per cent in Northeast Asia (Japan & South Korea) to 10 per cent in developed Asian markets (Hong Kong, Singapore & Taiwan) and 16 per cent in developing Asian markets (Philippines, Malaysia & Vietnam).
Looking at conversion paths and devices, the report also found that there is wide variation in the final converting device among cross screen conversions paths across Asia, with PCs and smartphones playing the greatest role in both driving awareness and conversions.
In some places, like India and Singapore, conversions on PC outweigh those on smartphone, while in others, like Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam, smartphones drive the greatest number of cross screen conversions. In total, over half of all cross screen conversions paths in Asia end on the smartphone. But even as mobile emerges as a key screen, PC and tablet account for nearly a quarter and a fifth of conversions, respectively.
Ms Hsu emphasises that the rewards for marketers who do so are significant: cross screen campaigns, which reach users across all their screens consistently outperform single campaigns by a significant percentage across the region. This has been supported with findings in the report which highlights that the more screens a user is engaged on, the more likely they are to convert. In fact, the number of per user conversions among those reached on three screens is up to 230 per cent higher than among users reached on two.
Website usage in Asia
According to Appier’s findings, on weekdays, the majority of unique users visiting websites are doing so via PC, while smartphones account for a greater share on weekends.
Smartphones also generate a greater number of pageviews and non-purchase actions taken on websites. However, when it comes to purchases, PCs dominate in Asia.
In terms of pageviews per unique user, tablets outperform both smartphones and PCs, especially on weekends, indicating that each average tablet user browses websites much more actively than their counterparts on PCs and smartphones.
Time of day also impacts behaviour on websites. For instance, the number of unique users browsing websites on PC greatly outnumbers those on mobile during the workday, dropping rapidly after 5pm, while smartphones take over from 7pm. Similarly, conversions (non-purchase) on smartphone outstrip those on PC, while PC accounts for a greater number of purchases during the day (7am-10pm).
Looking to the future
Discussing the mistakes that a marketer makes, Ms Hsu said, that the marketers need to know that one size does not fit all. “Users in Asia respond more differently to ads on different screens than ever before. Today’s marketers need to consider how different formats and messages can trigger different responses on different screens,” she opined.
Highlighting the trends to watch out for 2017, Ms Hsu outlined more multi-device users, more complexity and more variability in responses to ads across screens as the three things marketers should keep in mind, “Across Asia, the number of people demonstrating zero per cent similarity in behaviours across screen increased during the first half of 2016. I expect this will also continue into next year,” she concluded.