Advertisers struggling to exploit rising smartphone adoption: Nielsen

  • Smartphones now out-number non-smartphones in a number of Asia Pacific markets
  • Opportunities for location-based shopping and convenience services

Advertisers struggling to exploit rising smartphone adoption: NielsenALTHOUGH smartphone popularity is soaring across the Asia Pacific region, resulting in increased consumption of mobile media, advertisers have yet to identify the key to effective engagement via mobile advertising, according to a global study undertaken by Nielsen.

Nielsen’s Smartphone Insights Study, conducted across 39 markets globally (including 13 Asia Pacific markets), highlighted the prevalence of smartphones in the region in recent years, and in many markets smartphones now out-number non-smartphones, including Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan (click chart to enlarge).

As smartphone ownership continued to increase, mobile internet usage was also on the rise, in particular social networking and internet search. In Japan, close to nine in 10 smartphones users (86%) accessed the internet via their mobile phone in the past month, as did 80% of smartphone users in Korea and 76% of smartphone users in Hong Kong.

Mobile social networking was especially popular in Hong Kong and Malaysia, where 76% and 74% of smartphone users respectively engaged in mobile social networking in the past month.

The Nielsen study also revealed the growing affinity of smartphone users towards tablets. In markets such as China, Thailand and Malaysia, around one-third of the smartphone users owned a tablet (39%, 32% and 30% respectively) highlighting the importance of understanding interaction between the two device types as well as the need to identify differences in content consumption across devices.

Smartphone popularity was also driving increased usage of location-based services (LBS) across the region, with smartphone users significantly more likely to tap into such services. Korea had the highest usage of LBS amongst smartphone users (59%), followed by Japan (56%) and Hong Kong and Taiwan (both 53%).

“Growing use of location-based services and location-aware services such as maps and navigation present strong opportunities for companies to tap into the functionality and insight that these services present,” says Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen’s Telecom Industry Group in the APMEA Region (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa).

“In particular, location-aware services provide great potential for location-based shopping and convenience services.

“Although currently both location-based and location-aware services are being primarily utilized by smartphone users in mature markets such as Korea, Japan, Singapore and China, other markets in Asia such as Indonesia and Malaysia where currently the usage is more focused on social networking and search will be quick to catch up as availability of these services improves.”

With a plethora of applications now available for smartphone users, not surprisingly, apps usage across Asia Pacific is high. Korea and Japan had the highest incidence of apps usage in the past month (81%), whilst Korea and Singapore smartphone users had the largest number of regularly used apps (median of 55 and 47 respectively).

Games were the most popular app category across the Asia Pacific region, with the exception of Indonesia where music and social networking apps were favored.
With advertisers and media owners looking to leverage the burgeoning smartphone market, Nielsen’s Smartphone Insights study found that the smartphone users most likely to have been exposed to mobile advertisements in the past month were those in China (77%), Malaysia (74%), Korea (66%) and Hong Kong (66%).

Advertisers struggling to exploit rising smartphone adoption: NielsenFrequency of exposure to mobile advertisements was highest in Japan and Korea (74% exposed at least daily) and Hong Kong (65%). Resistance to mobile advertising remains high, however, with many smartphone users reporting to never click on mobile advertisements (click chart to enlarge).

“The constant connectivity of smartphones provides an ideal platform for advertisers to reach their consumers,” says Bali. “However, to date we are seeing a significant level of resistance among smartphone users towards mobile advertising.”

“Hence, it becomes important for advertisers to understand various factors that can help to improve acceptance levels and provide a better ROI.”

Bali notes that such factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. Improved creative and design elements tailored to the mobile platform
  2. Availability of various ad formats to cater to different screen sizes as well as having a targeted approach rather than going for mass advertising
  3. Utilizing contextual advertisements that are location-specific and provide smartphone users with access to free content.

“Marketers must build in these key hooks to get a better response and engagement with their brands,” he adds.

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