SEA is still an emerging market for mobile advertising: Christian Nguyen of Glispa

According to a report by Ericsson, smartphone adoption in Southeast Asia is set to increase rapidly over the next few years. This growth is fueled by a number of factors, including more affordable smartphones, and a high rate of adoption among a large and tech-savvy youth population. Christian Nguyen, General Manager, Glispa, Southeast Asia in an interview with Techseen explains how the mobile marketing company recognizes advertising trends and service needs in Southeast Asia and plans to expand its presence in a region with rapidly increasing internet usage.
Techseen: What trends have you observed in SEA and what made you choose Singapore for your regional office?
Nguyen: Southeast Asia (SEA) is a very unique market. From the global perspective, SEA is a latecomer on the digital scene. But in recent years, mobile internet adoption and smartphone penetration rates have begun to skyrocket across the region. IDC expects smartphone shipments in SEA to continue their upward trend over the next few years, reaching 113 million units (12% growth) in 2016 and 166 million units by 2020.
Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are all emerging, high-growth markets. Explosive growth is showcased clearly in Indonesia, which has the third highest number of smartphone users in APAC, behind only China and India.
According to an e-Marketer report, the number of Indonesian smartphone users are expected to rise from 55 million in 2015 to 92 million in 2019. However, Indonesia is not alone in shaping Southeast Asia’s mobile future. By 2018, smartphone penetration is expected to reach 57 per cent in Malaysia and 50 per cent in Thailand, and Vietnam’s rate of smartphone penetration is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the coming four years. All these factors make Southeast Asia an important market for Glispa, as it has the biggest market growth potential for mobile advertising and presents a lot of great opportunities. However, compared to growing markets like Indonesia and Malaysia who are m-commerce focused, the Singapore market is more mature with a variety of business needs. We set up our office in Singapore because it is a politically and economically stable country in Southeast Asia, making it a reliable regional hub, and a launch pad for our efforts in Southeast Asia. It is also a role model for surrounding countries, with many of them looking to Singapore when adopting the latest technologies and initiatives.
Techseen: How does Glispa help marketers and advertisers advance progressively in the adtech arena and achieve high results?
Nguyen: Our objectives are to continue fostering the great relationships we have with our current regional clients such as Lazada, Gumi and Shopee, as we have the quality, technology and resources to help our clients achieve their KPIs, while at the same time, showcasing this to potential clients. This enables marketers and advertisers to further advance their adtech strategy and fuel growth. By working with local partners in providing mobile-user acquisition, monetization and optimization tools, it allows us to assimilate into the local ecosystem while meeting our regional clients’ needs. We also aim to continue our strong partnerships with publishers and advertisers, while helping them attain their own objectives. By having an even stronger local presence, we will look to further our partnerships with measurement partners, engage local grassroots trade communities and continue to build the mobile marketing ecosystem.
Techseen: In May this year, you acquired the Brazilian Mobile Advertising company, MOBILS. What are your plans with the LATAM companies now? Are you looking at striking more partnerships?
Nguyen: Glispa has set up a footprint in LATAM since 2008. Leading up to the acquisition, Glispa and MOBILS have already worked closely as partners. MOBILS has a more customized, manual approach to the market, and Glispa provides technology, tracking, campaign optimization and operations support. Now the two companies will combine their expertise to enable MOBILS to scale up customer and market reach throughout LATAM.
MOBILS is a strategic acquisition in the LATAM region as we continue to grow established partners, such as as Webmotors, Netshoes, and iFood. We also worked with premier brands through agency partnerships, these include Samsung, Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
Glispa was the first performance marketing and advertising company in the territory, and we have subsequently built a network of thousands of publisher partners and clients such as OLX, and Psafe. The number of Latin American mobile users is expected to exceed 374 million by 2017, and Glispa will continue to grow its almost decade-long presence in the region, and create a vibrant ad tech ecosystem.
Techseen: How can companies maximize exposure and ROI through mobile ads?
Nguyen: As competition is tougher than ever, companies looking to tap into the SEA market have to structure a comprehensive marketing strategy and allocate considerable portions of their budgets to mobile advertising. Traditional marketing channels, such as Google search and Facebook remain go-to tools in the user acquisition tool box, but CPCs (cost per click) are at an all time high, and may not necessarily achieve the required scale. Burst campaigns offer a welcome alternative in these market conditions. By combining multiple marketing channels and strategies, companies can effectively make their mark while being sustainable at a reasonable cost.
To optimize the ROI of marketing spending, companies can identify how each channel actually contributes to creating a pool of high-quality users based on engagement, monetization and more.
The goal of every campaign is to scale and improve quality at the same time. In order to achieve that, our Quality Optimization Engine utilizes proprietary algorithms to detect fraud and rate every traffic source based on the quality of user. Therefore, marketers do not have to pay the same for all installs when some users are more valuable than others. With proper data, payouts and budgets can be adjusted across multiple acquisition channels as performance changes to maximize ROI.
Techseen: Can you elaborate how your ad mediation platform, Ampiri, can provide advanced monetization while keeping publishers’ eCPM goals.
Nguyen: Ampiri utilizes a data-driven approach to mediate the major networks such as Facebook Audience Network, Admob and others, to achieve maximum yield and the highest fill-rate for publishers. Our Glispa Audience Platform (data management platform)— a proprietary technology that turns big data into actionable consumer insights — powers Ampiri by enabling a highly targeted, engagement-focused monetization solution to increase yield per ad opportunity. App developers and publishers benefit from greater mobile user information and audience insights. This allows for more advanced and impactful advertising. Ampiri blends the major demand sources into a single campaign selection algorithm, which optimizes in real time, so that developers can choose the best performing campaign out of direct demand, cross-promotion, ad networks and DSPs. It enables advanced monetization while keeping publishers’ eCPM goals in focus.
Techseen: How do you ensure a secure SDK (software development kit) for developers to develop applications on mobile devices with Ampiri?
Nguyen: With Ampiri, app developers get a single software development kit (SDK) connecting apps to hundreds of ad networks and demand-side platforms. It can be self-serve or a managed service, with seamless mediation between ad networks and programmatic demand. Publishers run campaigns and direct demand simultaneously. The system also lets the developer select the best ad network in every one of 200 countries. It supports a range of ad formats including native, banners, interstitials, rewarded and non-rewarded video, and high-impact, immersive video ads for user acquisition and monetization. App developers can make fully informed decisions using the unique visualizations that show which networks are performing better than others at any given time. The level of transparency and control in Ampiri goes far beyond what is currently offered in the market.
Techseen: How is the advertising audience in SEA different from other markets? Does the approach need to be different for different countries besides, of course, the localization of content?
Nguyen: In mobile advertising terms, SEA is still an emerging market, with many advertisers not yet seeing the full value that mobile advertising can bring. It is about market education, as well as helping to develop the infrastructure that would require the adoption of more advertising technology. The characteristic of the markets are varied, Singapore is a recognized mature market, while Indonesia has shown significant growth, leading other emerging mobile markets such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Aware of the diversity of the markets, our multinational, client-focused team helps to ease the localization process of any campaign we run around the world with local knowledge of each market, backed by our holistic, data-driven technology.
Techseen: Can you give us an insight on your expansion plans in SEA and other regions? Do you have plan to set up more centers in SEA?
Nguyen: We already have a significant market share and a dominant leadership position in m-commerce in Southeast Asia. Much like the Southeast Asia region, Glispa is also experiencing fast-paced growth. With a good and diverse regional client base in SEA, especially in Indonesia and Singapore, we are looking to continue our strong growth alongside the industry in user acquisition and monetization, sustaining our dominant market position in mobile commerce and improving our core technologies, to deliver top-notch market solutions. With the office in Singapore, along with our SEA focused team/experts based in our headquarters, we have even more capabilities to penetrate new markets and take them to the next level of advancement.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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