The most common reason why Asians follow brands in social media is because they want discounts, not because they’re interested in brand-produced content, a study by Waggener Edstrom has suggested.
India is the only country in a study of nine APAC markets where an interest in the content a brand has to share is considered a more valuable reason to follow it than a special offer or discount.
People in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, China and Indonesia follow brands for deals ahead of company news, exclusive content, to get better customer service or because they love the brand, according to the study of 4,000 individuals, titled Content Matters, on the impact of technology and social media on buying behaviour.
However, a glut of promotions from brands in social media is one of the most popular reasons why people in APAC will not follow a brand, the study also found.
People across APAC – particularly in the Philippines, India and China – are more likely than not to follow a brand on social media. The exception is Australia; Australians want to keep their social media feeds for personal information and do not find brand content particularly interesting, the research showed.
The desktop computer is still the most popular medium for making buying decisions in China, India, Australia, the Philippines and even Asia’s leading smartphone market, South Korea.
But in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia the smartphone is the preferred digital device for getting information to inform a buying decision.
Malaysia and Singapore are the only markets besides China and Korea – which both have strong local players – where Facebook is not the most popular platform for sharing content; Facebook-owned messaging app Whatsapp is the preferred way to share in Singapore and Malaysia.
Word of mouth is main source of information used before making a purchase in every sector – including food, tech, healthcare and personal care – in each of the nine countries in the survey.
In Indonesia, traditional media is regarded as a more important source of information for buying something than social media, which does not feature as a particularly credible information source in any country surveyed.
In Australia, search engines, review sites, company websites and traditional media are seen as a more important sources of information for making buying decisions than social media.
Recommending brands in social media is not particularly common, particularly in more developed markets Korea, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. In Korea, people are much more likely to criticise a brand on social than advocate it.
Across all markets, experienced based sectors such as restaurants and dining and travel and tourism are the most likely to prompt recommendations.
The most fertile ground for brand advocacy in Asia is the Philippines. Funny content is the most sharable overall, according to the study.
Indonesians, Australians, Koreans and Singaporeans are more likely to share stuff they are entertained or amused by, Indians and Filipinos are most likely to share content that inspires them, and personal status updates are the more shareable content type in China and Hong Kong.