The Asia-Pacific region boasts the world's largest number of mobile phone subscribers, as well as some of the most active text messaging users.
India alone has over 75 million mobile phone users who, in 2005, sent more than 1 trillion text messages. China has more than 400 million mobile users, more than those who use a fixed line phone, and boasts impressive wireless data statistics. The most impressive mobile text usage market in the region is the Philippines. Philippine consumers send over 120 million text messages a day -- that's 43 billion messages a year! For comparative purposes, the United States has approximately 219 million wireless subscribers sending approximately 10 billion text messages a year.
The conclusion? Mobile users in the region utilize their mobile phones as their primary form of communication. Mobile interactions and experiences are a way of life.
Given the statistics, the region's marketing potential is enormous. But understanding the intricacies and differences between the countries and how mobile is intertwined into inhabitants' daily lives poses a challenge for some. In many regions where fixed line access isn't available or is too expensive, many consumers use their mobiles for communications access. E-mail, television, and Internet are all accessed through the mobile device. This drives a new kind of consumer, one who's accustomed to seeing mobile integrated into cross-media initiatives and who's technically savvy. Mobile is integral to daily life. As such, brands are seizing the opportunity to instantaneously engage with consumers.
Use of the mobile channel for marketing has achieved success in the Asia-Pacific region and is growing rapidly. China was the first to deploy mobile advertising using the Mobile Marketing Association's (MMA's) Mobile Advertising Guidelines (PDF download) for mobile Web banners. To illustrate the types of campaigns and brands active in the region, here are a couple illustrative case studies:
Key to ensuring the Asia-Pacific market's long-term growth and sustainability is the development of guidelines and best practices that not only to protect consumer privacy but also ensure brand integrity. Mobile spam has become an issue in many Asia-Pacific markets, and protecting the channel is paramount. The MMA will launch an Asia-Pacific (APAC) chapter in the next 45 days. Current APAC MMA members include 21 Communications, DNS, Coca-Cola, Enpocket, Isobar, Mobile Messenger, Netpia.com Inc., Ogilvy, PUCA China, and the Hyperfactory. If you're interested in participating in leading the development of the emerging APAC market, please contact me.
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