Indonesia: The new frontier for mobile marketing

Andrew Cheah / January 2017

Whether they’re looking for online deals while shopping at the neighborhood “pasar” or binging on Cumicumi videos at home, more and more Indonesians are making smartphones part of their everyday routines. The surge in mobile usage across Indonesia presents marketers with innumerable opportunities to reach consumers in crucial moments.

Indonesia is a Southeast Asian digital powerhouse. The country has more than 100M internet users, it’s projected to become the fourth-largest internet market (based on number of users) by 2020,1 and smartphone penetration has more than tripled—from 14% to 43%—between 2013 and 2016.2Indonesia is the next frontier for brands looking to connect to a new, mobile-centric consumer base, and it’s the one to watch for other developing markets.

We teamed up with Ipsos to dig into how this rising smartphone usage influences Indonesians’ shopping habits. We found that mobile plays a central role in users’ online and in-store purchase behaviors. A whopping 98% of mobile users in Indonesia have researched brands and products on their smartphones,3 which often influences their final purchases. In fact, 80% of Indonesians (second-highest in APAC after Thailand) change their minds along their purchase journeys after consulting their smartphones.3

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Along with influencing consideration, smartphones have changed the way Indonesians actually make purchases—59% of consumers make online purchases weekly and 39% do so at least monthly, while only 2% say they’ve never made a purchase online.3

In these micro-moments—when consumers pick up their mobile devices with the intent to search or make a purchase—brands have a great opportunity to be there and be helpful with relevant content. To that end, we have identified three key insights about how brands can reach these consumers through digital marketing, what consumers expect from brands, and the nuances in consumer behavior.

1. Search intent is more important than demographics

When Indonesians are ready to shop, what they want matters much more than who they are. We looked at a few key elements—smartphone usage, frequency of weekly online shopping, and YouTube usage—and found very little variation in online behaviors across age and gender demographics.

This is big news for marketers who are used to thinking about tailoring messaging or approaches for different demographic groups. Our research shows that what shoppers need in the moment influences their smartphone behavior more than their demographics. Ninety-two percent of Indonesians say they’re more likely to purchase a product if the brand messaging is relevant to them,3 so understanding customers’ search intent when they go online is crucial for brands looking to stand out.

Take action: Know your audience beyond demographics

Take a close look at your audiences’ online behaviors, including popular keyword searches, to understand why they’re using their smartphones to search. What do they search for? When? What do they need in those moments? Brands in APAC like Kia and have found success in their search marketing and online video campaigns by serving relevant content in users’ micro-moments.

2. The most active and engaged customers are watching YouTube

Another big finding for marketers: Our research showed a positive correlation between the frequency of watching online video and brand engagement. Online video has a strong influence on customers’ shopping behavior, especially in their I-want-to-know and I-want-to-do moments. Forty-five percent of Indonesian smartphone users discover new brands via online video, and 79% say they’re willing to buy from a company that provides instructional video content.

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YouTube viewership is also tied to the effectiveness of intent-driven digital marketing. When we asked Indonesians how their purchase intent is affected by relevant messaging, we found that those who watch YouTube daily or weekly are much more likely to buy (94%) than those who watch YouTube monthly or less (76%).3 This was especially true for certain product categories like beauty, travel, and mobile phones and tablets. Considering 92% of smartphone owners in Indonesia watch YouTube at least once a week,3 brands can’t afford to overlook the impact of online video in reaching consumers.

Keep in mind: Online video is more than just entertainment to Indonesians

Indonesians may love watching fun things like Dovi & Jovi on their smartphones, but YouTube also plays an important role in their shopping decisions. Take a look at the video categories your audience enjoys the most and invest in developing relevant content to capture their attention.

3. Not all smartphone owners exhibit the same behaviors

Within the country’s growing digital population, we found that smartphone owners display relatively small, yet crucial, differences in device usage and how much mobile marketing influences their online shopping behavior. We’ve separated them into four groups: ”Prompt,” “Traditional,” “Exploratory,” and “Inactive/Uninterested.”4

“Prompt” (33% of total smartphone users): Exceptionally mobile-savvy smartphone owners

This group of Indonesian smartphone users is defined by a strong relationship between mobile marketing and purchase and a high frequency in online shopping. Specifically, 92% of these users are likely to purchase from a company that provides relevant information when browsing online on their smartphone,4 and 100% of them make online purchases every week.4

This means a huge portion of the smartphone-owning population is very comfortable with making purchases influenced by mobile marketing. This group offers brands a lot more opportunities to reach them than the other groups do.

“Traditional” (25% of total smartphone users): Researches online frequently, but less likely to shop online

This group is also readily influenced by helpful, relevant information from brands, with 80% of users being more likely to make a purchase from a company that provides relevant information.4 They differ from “Prompt” smartphones users in their lower preference for online shopping; none of these consumers make purchases online more than once a month.4

Instead of going online to finish a purchase, 90% of these consumers use their smartphones to look up brands and information in the stores to confirm their purchases.4 Brands should focus on being present and useful in the I-want-to-go and I-want-to-buy moments when consumers are searching for information before making a purchase.

“Exploratory” (22% of total smartphone users): Takes a conscientious approach to research and purchase

“Exploratory” consumers are heavy digital users during the research and purchase phase, but they’re less easily influenced by digital marketing. This group doesn’t want to be spoon-fed information—just 31% are likely to make a purchase if provided with relevant information.4 That said, despite the more cautious approach to research and consideration, these exploratory consumers love shopping online: 98% say they make online purchases at least once a week.4

For this fifth of Indonesia’s smartphone population, the consistency and quality of a product and marketing over time is more important than the immediacy of a marketing message. To reach and influence these consumers, brands should focus on consistently winning over a series of micro-moments.

“Inactive” (13%) and “Uninterested” (7%): Have a relatively weaker relationship between micro-moments, smartphone usage, and purchase behaviors

“Inactive” consumers exhibit a more hands-off approach to digital, having a lower openness to mobile marketing and e-commerce. Twenty-seven percent are likely to make a purchase based on relevant information,4 and only 4% make online purchases more than once a month.4

“Uninterested” consumers are interested in e-commerce but are averse to mobile marketing. Within this group, 91% of users make online purchases more than once a month,4 yet just 4% are more likely to purchase based on relevant information.4

Marketer takeaway: Targeting micro-moments isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution

Understanding the nuances in behavior within Indonesia’s digital population is essential to developing an effective marketing strategy. To reach key audiences online, brands should invest in omni-channel measurement to see how digital influences consumers along the path to purchase, then optimize campaigns accordingly.

Micro-moments: The key to reaching Indonesia’s booming digital population

A digital strategy based on micro-moments is all about serving the right content at the right time to the right person. As Indonesia’s digital population continues to grow and evolve, marketers’ strategies need to reflect this new reality. Marketers will win the day by adapting to consumer behavior trends and being online with helpful, relevant content all along the path to purchase.

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