The e-commerce market in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly, and Malaysia has steadily proven to be one of its major players. The country mainly speaks English as an active second language, and more and more residents of the country are proficient in the use of digital technology and social media.
Malaysia has a high degree of urbanization and is currently one of the countries with the highest Internet penetration rate in the region, thus bringing a very bright future to the e-commerce market. Its potential has not been overlooked in companies around the world. As investment in the digital market matures, Malaysia has attracted the attention of companies around the world. Because of this surge, the country has even seen a wave of digital startups in the past twelve months. Coupled with Malaysians becoming more comfortable with online shopping, optimistic views on digital marketing and huge economic plans, the country will soon become a mature site for the online marketing industry.
This article will discuss Malaysia’s digital marketing environment, its biggest channels, industry trends, challenges and the best ways to attract Malaysian audiences.
Malaysia’s Digital Landscape
Malaysia has one of the most favorable digital marketing environments. Most areas are urbanized, citizens are well-educated, and the total literacy rate is 95%. The country’s modern attitude also reflects its rapidly growing online population.
According to We Are Social’s annual digital ecosystem report, four-fifths of Malaysia’s 32.25 million population are now online, 78% of which are active social media users. This makes the country rank 27th in the world with 79% Internet penetration rate and one of the highest countries in Southeast Asia.
On average, each resident handles four social media accounts, thus significantly increasing the time and money spent online in Malaysia. The country’s average daily time on the Internet is about 8 hours and 5 minutes, of which 2 hours and 58 minutes are spent on social media. Therefore, the country has 83% of Internet access frequency every day.
In terms of online consumption, Malaysia is also considered very suitable for accepting online shopping and adapting to the transformation of the digital society. Currently, it is one of the countries with the highest penetration rate of mobile online shopping among ASEAN countries, with a penetration rate of 58%.
It should also be noted that 96% of adults in Malaysia use mobile phones, followed by 88% of smartphones. In addition, compared with computers, there are more people using mobile phones to visit social media sites. This makes the country the fourth-highest country in the world in terms of mobile social media penetration, and first in Southeast Asia. Therefore, marketers must ensure that they develop strategies that are suitable for mobile devices.
Although the country’s retail e-commerce sector has made great strides, digital marketing is still relatively new in Malaysia, which has led Malaysian marketers to be reluctant to invest in this area. In a GetCraft survey of marketers in 50 different industries across the country, two-fifths admitted that this hesitation was due to uncertainty about the meaning of digital marketing and the use of digital strategies.
However, the country is gradually realizing the importance of digital marketing. If this gap is finally bridged, it will give the entire country a full high-income status, create more opportunities, and attract more business appetite.
The giants of the social media world frequently stay the same in most countries and regions, although they may still vary according to rank. In Malaysia, YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook, and Instagram dominate the top three social network platforms. Below are some statistics and insights on each platform that marketers should ponder on:
As of January 2019, YouTube has become the leading active social media platform in Malaysia. This has become so, because Malaysians have since gravitated toward the app for browsing video content instead of the usual television.
Ninety-five percent of Mobile activity come from watching videos on mobile. The top YouTube search queries in 2018 are Movie, Lagu and Live.
Facebook is undoubtedly one of the leading social media platforms in the whole world. In between 2018 to 2019, it saw a 9.6% increase in monthly active users on a global scale. This global reach still rings true among Malaysians and has garnered a whopping 91% rate, taking its place as the second active social media platform in the entire country along with WhatsApp.
24 million users in Malaysia can be reached with advertisements on Facebook. 98% of the Malaysian Facebook users are adults aged 13 and above can be reached by advertisements on Facebook. 43% of those users are female and 57% are male.
The chat app trend among Asian countries is not lost in Malaysia. WhatsApp makes its way as the number one messaging app among Malaysians and ranks second along with Facebook as the most active social media platform in the entire country. As of January 2018, the app has accumulated a 68% penetration rate with approximately 21 million users. Following far behind in the chat app category are FB Messenger, Skype, and Line, with penetration rates of 47%, 40%, 23%, and 19% respectively.
As of January 2019, WhatsApp takes the spot as the most popular messaging app worldwide followed by Facebook Messenger and Viber.
Instagram lands as the 3rd most used social media channel in Malaysia. There are 12 million users in Malaysia that can be reached with advertisements on Instagram. Forty-nine percent of those are adults aged thirteen and above. Fifty-three percent of the users are female while Forty-seven percent are male.
Trends and Opportunities
Here are some best digital marketing trends in Malaysia which may greatly help companies in their digital marketing strategy:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Since mobile phones are the new norm in Malaysia, mobile marketing strategies should not be the focus this year. This is apparent in how the country is shifting towards a more AI-centered approach to marketing. Sue-Anne Lim states that the mobile experience in Malaysia should have now reached 1st class, adding that applying AI will make consumer assistance so much easier because will be able to discern consumer intentions quicker and more efficient.
There are 61% of Malaysians that believe new technologies offer more opportunities than risks, and 60% prefer to complete tasks digitally whenever possible. In line with these statistics, delving into the world of AI will be a smart move for marketing companies into further penetrating the country’s digital market.
2. Influencer powered marketing in social media
Customers are giving more and more importance to words they hear from social media influencers. Influencers can work as brand advocates, spread awareness and drive action from consumers.
In fact, their recommendations often get more attention than brand advertisements do. A recent survey by Tomson shows that businesses are making about 6.5 dollars for every 1 dollar spent on influencer marketing.
3. Integration of different marketing channels and devices
Digital marketing is no longer a special tactic used only by select kinds of businesses. It has become an essential part of any sustainable marketing strategy.
Businesses are now implementing integrated marketing plans that include all channels, such as traditional, social and online marketing.
The diversity of devices is ever-increasing, and marketers are focusing on delivering consistent brand experiences that engage and retain customers across as many platforms as possible.
4. Hyper-targeting customers
Customised marketing is reaching new heights every day. Modern marketers are trying to deliver specific offers to people based on their preferences.
Thanks to the increasing availability of customer data, entire sales cycles are being tailored to increase conversions by targeting a particular group of customers. Also, remarketing techniques are playing an increasingly important role in reaching potential buyers.
5. Greater access to consumer data
The increased use of mobile and handheld devices and a greater reliance on online services has meant that consumers are generating a lot more data than before.
One of the key challenges of digital marketing is deciding how to make use of this information to turn that into a competitive advantage. This kind of data is not only useful for personalised advertising; it can also help businesses gain insights into market trends.
6. The explosion of video based content
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a growing popularity of videos in social media websites and other digital formats. Often, users prefer to have information presented in such a way that allows it to be more easily consumed, which may explain the explosion of video-based content over this period.
The widespread availability of video recording devices has also played a role. Whatever the reason – video now makes up a big part of the digital content that people are engaging with and consuming.
In a 2014 survey, 52% percent of marketing professionals said that video content produces the best ROI. According to Google, 1 out of 4 people checks YouTube before making a purchasing decision. It’s clear that today’s marketers should be investing in the production of high-quality video content to attract customers.
7. Content publication is a mandatory part of branding
The Internet defines purchasing decisions of consumers now more than ever before. According to a study by Aberdeen, companies that put their focus on content marketing see a conversion rate six times higher than those who do not.
Creating and promoting online content has become mandatory for businesses to remain visible in search and social media. A large part of digital marketing is about creating helpful, interesting content that engages potential customers. Branded content that hits all the marks will turn out to be more and more valuable in near future.
8. Online Shopping
Digital marketers should look into the online purchasing behaviors of Malaysians, as the country holds a penetration rate of 67% for online shopping or an estimated 15.3 million online shoppers. This is one of the key factors behind its thriving retail e-commerce market, allowing the country to stand just behind Singapore.
Improving and expanding the availability of e-commerce goods and services should also be the focus of digital marketers. According to Sue-Anne Lim, Dentsu Aegis Malaysia chief data officer, this will be an important facet towards more effective marketing strategies, especially for Gen Z and future generations who will soon view this as a necessity and not a mere want. As of 2019, the top three most purchased categories of products are fashion and beauty, electronics and physical media, and food and personal care.
Digital Marketing is important to every industry in business. You have to understand your target audience and online trends to make your business sucess.
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