adtechad:tech Singapore  had the largest number of attendees in show history this year with more than 2,400 digital marketers and exhibitors attending the 2-day conference and an almost 25 % increase in exhibition space.

“The digital opportunity in Asia is real and the time is now for marketers to best harness available resources and practices to implement strategic plans that can create high-levels of engagement amongst stakeholders,” said Paul Beckley, Vice President, ad:tech Singapore. “With a record number of attendees in 2012, ad:tech continues to stand at the forefront of converging digital and marketing platforms for interaction and we remain committed to driving Asia’s digital development to the next level.”

The event organizer correctly predicted in last month‘s issue of Asian eMarketing, that all speakers at the conference will talk about or at least refer to social media issues. The other two most important topics were mobile and video.

During the press briefing, Michael Lazarow, CEO and founder of Buddy Media spoke about „the power of the human network“, and about being psyched by the opportunities in Asian markets. Especially in terms of developments of mobile video, he said that „locally I think YouTube will be brands‘ TV station, due to the power of the video experience“ and further stated that the development would be even more dramatic, would the infrastructure allow it.

Greg Dale, COO of comScore spoke about how global trends relate locally and how social media makes up for „one in five minutes of all activity consumed on the internet right now, that‘s crazy to think. 20% is consumed on social networking and of that three of four minutes were one brand, which is Facebook.“ He also spoke about online video growing and that there are changes taking place „from short form to long form content, as you move away from just having UGC on one end and streaming on the other. You‘ve got this middle class which is going to open up a lot of opportunities for brands, for sponsorships, for new types of engagement, with online video. That‘s a huge opportunity which isn‘t there yet, but you can see the writing on the wall. Some of the early stories of how people have taken advantage are pretty encouraging.”

Greg also spoke about „a lot of exciting things going on with mobile. Part of that is not just what are the numbers, how big is it, how much of an audience can I reach on mobile devices, it‘s what you want to do with those different devices. Each device has its own personality: a tablet is going to be used very differently from a smartphone or a PC. As a marketer, thinking about that is really key and you have to make up your mind how you can drive a mobile strategy.“

Loren Shuster, Country Manager Emerging Markets for Google and President of IAB Singapore, spoke about „a world where everything is really accelerating. If you look at current internet penetration, with about two billion people globally, which will by the end of the decade reach 5 billion, a majority of those people will be in emerging markets, many in Asia, which makes this a very exciting place to be.“

He further emphasized the importance of mobile from a Google perspective, explaining that „this is really a part of the world where mobile is first, mobile is here now, and for brands it’s very important to understand that. People are always connected and always engaged and we think everything will be moving from ecommerce to just commerce. Although Asia has traditionally been lagging, particularly in ecommerce, Google see it accelerating very rapidly. And the distinction between bricks-and-mortar and online business activities is going to disappear in the coming years. Virtually 80% of internet users go online to search for information about products and services – and that’s constantly growing. Due to complete price transparency, people do a search online, or scan a QR code, get a price list from an online retailer or a store in that area, and decide on the best priced product.” Loren provided global statistics on search queries originating from mobile devices as well, stating a „500% growth in the past two years and 200% in 2011 on a global level. In Asia it is accelerating at a much more rapid pace. “We‘ve heard about Android which is bringing smartphones into lower price categories, currently there are 900,000 Android devices activated each and every day, to an installed base of 300 million. That‘s just a remarkable number. Internet traffic originating from mobile in some countries, like India, is surpassing internet traffic from desktop. So clearly mobile is something that all brands need to be very well aware of and use it as a key platform to engage consumers.“

Loren also provided some very interesting numbers on online video and social, and stated that „YouTube, which is a social platform in itself, but is heavily dependent and reliant on other platforms to redistribute its content, whether it‘s user generated, or branded content. You have five hundred years of YouTube video watched every day on Facebook, and 700 YouTube videos shared on twitter every minute. That‘s a remarkable amount of content that is being generated. Sixty hours per minute and then shared across multiple platforms.“ Especially in Singapore, Loren said, but also in other markets, people are spending the vast majority of their content consumption time online (and although spending on digital in Singapore is lagging at 8%). This provides „a huge opportunity for brands to reach out to consumers where they are spending time, whether it‘s on their mobile, whether it‘s on their desktop, on their tablet, at home, on the move. We believe digital spend to grow dramatically in the coming year - not only in Singapore, but the rest of Asia.”

Speaking about ecommerce, Loren predicted that „although ecommerce in Singapore hasn‘t really taken off, this is changing this year. There‘s a lot of investments going into ecommerce, and despite the fact that most purchases are made offline, the vast majority of consumers are doing their research online. The purchase behavior needs to be well understood by brands, and they need to invest in all the platforms - both traditional bricks-and-mortar and digital, to ensure that they are tracking consumers throughout the purchase cycle ultimately to a purchase and engagement.“

Finally Loren stressed the importance of analytics and understanding when there is the appropriate time to deliver a relevant brand communication to consumers along their purchase process. He concluded his speech with Google‘s mission to „enable brands to win the moments that matter, to make better decisions, analyze and  attribute their web traffic, and to drive down their costs per acquisition. And we also enable brands across our different platforms to get bigger and faster by offering mobile solutions, tablet solutions, YouTube for branded video solutions, and of course search.“

After listening to different speakers at this year‘s ad:tech, it is obvious that all the big brands and service providers are very keen and poised for taking advantage of all the potential that Asian markets still have to offer, and Asian eMarketing will keep you up to date.

By Anjum Siddiqi