Spoiler alert: The rules of video engagement in Southeast Asia (SEA) are no longer set by the industry’s players. Instead, it’s the people who determine them now.
With so many video platforms and content to choose from — 150 video streaming apps are available across SEA,1 and over 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute2 — the audience is calling the shots.
Whether they’re watching K-dramas on the train or Blackpink’s Coachella performance in the living room, audiences are taking control of their viewing experience and creating their personal video universe. Everything from what they watch to where and with whom is according to their design, suited to their unique passion points and habits.
For one, they’re choosing to turn to YouTube for quality content every viewing session. Viewers across SEA, including Indonesia,3 Malaysia,4 Philippines,5 Thailand,6 and Vietnam,7 say YouTube is the No. 1 place they would spend their entire viewing session, significantly more than social media platforms.
The dynamic video universe is a boon for viewers. But for brands looking to further engage audiences, it’s perhaps never been more challenging to keep up with the complexity.
To help you reach your audience wherever they are, we surveyed viewers across the region to discern where their video viewing needs converge, and what truly matters when engaging them.
What matters when engaging SEA’s video viewers:
Here, we share our research findings, along with examples from brands that stood out at the 2023 YouTube Works Awards SEA, so you, too, can successfully multiply your business results by tapping into these audience needs and creative strategies.
To connect with viewers in every context and viewing session, Thai yogurt brand Dutchie used YouTube’s multiformat and multi-length videos to tell a humorous story. Its “Love Your Gut” campaign likens a poorly functioning gut to a careless delivery driver, and shows how its yogurt is key to a healthy gut.
Dutchie adapted its video into multiple formats, ranging from six-second cuts that piqued interest to three-minute videos that dove deeper into its story, and achieved a 4.3% absolute lift in ad recall and an 18.5% increase in brand relevance among Gen Z audiences. Its success in mastering creative excellence and media planning led its campaign to win The Grand Prix Award at the 2023 YouTube Works Awards SEA.
Of the wide variety of content available on YouTube, viewers are especially drawn to creator content for its authentic, creative touch. Indonesia’s top Shorts videos in 2022, for instance, were dominated by content from creators.
And creators, for their part, are empowered by YouTube’s creation tools and multiple formats to push beyond their creative limits and freely express their ideas. For example, MingWeiRocks, a YouTube Diamond creator from Singapore who has over 10 million subscribers, combines his passion for taekwondo with humor to engage audiences across multiple formats and screens.
Indeed, the bond that viewers have with creators is so strong that 88% of shoppers in APAC agree that YouTube creators give recommendations they can trust.14 And it’s why brands ahead of the curve are working with creators to develop content which has the personal creative touch that viewers love.
Pantene Indonesia, which won The Collaborator Award at the 2023 YouTube Works Awards SEA for its best-in-class creator partnership, went one step further by not only choosing to work with a creator, but one that broke the beauty industry’s norms.
Instead of choosing a female influencer with long, silky hair to advertise its conditioner, Pantene collaborated with YouTube creator Keanu Angelo, who is known for his bad hair day videos, to document the transformation of his unruly locks. The “Recharged Hair, Recharged Me” campaign’s short- and long-form videos drew 23 million organic impressions within 24 hours, and drove 121% growth in six months.