Facebook Malaysia sees videos, ephemeral sharing, messaging leading 2020 business trends

  • Ephemeral sharing across Facebook’s platforms saw half a billion daily users
  • There are now over 40 million monthly active businesses on Messenger


Facebook Malaysia sees videos, ephemeral sharing, messaging leading 2020 business trends


AT THE start of 2019, Facebook Malaysia shared three social trends that were on the rise across its platforms: ephemeral sharing (media accessible for only a brief period of time, like Facebook Stories), videos and messaging.

Heading into 2020, Facebook Malaysia says that these trends have intensified in the region. According to Facebook Malaysia’s country director Nicole Tan (pic), these are the social trends that will be shaping business this year.

Tan first notes that 2020 caps a “decade of change” where traditional ways of starting, marketing and growing businesses have been upended. This is especially pronounced in Asia, Malaysia included. Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Tan says that the nation’s digital economy contributed 18.5% to the national economy in 2018, whilst e-commerce contributed 8%.

Tan also points out that digital adoption in increasing productivity is crucial for SMEs to expand further, while digital tools give SMEs a boost in economic growth.

In fact, according to a Facebook Malaysia survey in 2018, 82% of exporting SMEs in Malaysia say that at least half of their exports depend on online tools.

“Against this backdrop of macroeconomic change, people’s expectations for the experiences they have with brands and businesses is evolving fast. As we have seen over the last few years, people adopt new technologies long before businesses do, and it influences how they discover, research and finally make purchasing decisions,” Tan says.

The trends

Tan adds that, interestingly, video on mobile is “far from a homogeneous experience”, differing from traditional video experiences in that they’re not linear and vary based on a number of factors.

Through Facebook Malaysia’s research and experience, they noted two distinct categories of video experiences that have accelerated largely due to mobile, namely “on-the-go” and “captivated viewing”.

On-the-go videos mostly comprise of short sessions, and are often unplanned, frequent and to do with discovery and connection. Captivated viewing is identified as longer sessions, with content created with more planning and resources.

“As a result of these changing viewing habits, people are most drawn to brands that are easy to discover and use, whether it’s through their strong presence in online communities or their high-quality mobile content across platforms. With the continued growth in streaming services, people will be looking to brands that can clearly communicate their offerings and to those that can create a more personalised viewing experience,” Tan elaborates.

Going from that, Facebook is seeing fast adoption of ephemeral sharing. Their Stories experiences across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp now have more than half a billion daily users.

“As more and more people use Stories, we’re making it easier for marketers to adopt this format and reach people where they’re spending their time,” Tan says.

Messaging is seeing rapid growth as well. At the start of 2018, over eight billion messages were sent between people and businesses through Messenger every month. That number has doubled to more than 20 billion messages this year, which “shows that people expect to communicate with businesses in much the same way as they message with their friends,” says Tan.

She adds that there are now over 40 million monthly active businesses on Messenger (that is, they send or receive messages on the platform), with Facebook’s research showing that people in emerging APAC countries are more likely than the global average to message a business.

In fact, 63% of people surveyed in APAC messaged a business during the last holiday season, while more than five billion businesses are actively using the WhatsApp Business app each month.

The power of messaging

Tan says that while the last year saw the ability to message with a business make people feel more confident about the brand and foster brand loyalty, Facebook believes that we will see an interesting subset of this preference for messaging – that is, the growing use of messaging or online chat to buy and sell.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group in partnership with Facebook across nine countries found that Southeast Asia outpaces other countries surveyed in both awareness and adoption of conversational commerce.

Of the nine countries surveyed, the percentage of respondents who had undertaken a conversational commerce transaction was the highest in Thailand and Vietnam, at 40% and 36% respectively, followed by Indonesia (29%), Malaysia (26%) and the Philippines (23%).

This is a far contrast to the rate of adoption in other countries – in the US, it’s at 5%; while India saw 10%.

So how do businesses capitalise on these findings? According to Facebook Malaysia, businesses can start by reducing friction and establishing connections to customers by designing mobile-friendly websites, apps, marketing and real-time communication.

Secondly, businesses need to think about how their internal teams connect so they can better deliver the experiences customers expect across the full value chain. Following that, an innovation mindset is required.

This includes being willing to experiment with the new, such as AR/VR formats, more interactive content, and reimagining channels and platforms so that the business can stand out.

“Finally, measure what matters. The spaces brands have to bring their ideas to life, to earn and keep that attention, have never been bigger, richer, or more connected. Being able to set the right objectives and measure outcomes will help businesses plan for new contexts and create experiences that provide choice, personalisation, interactivity and hyper-relevance,” Tan concludes.


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