Identifying your priority regions and the channels most suitable to B2B and B2C business models, (as recommended in Chapter 1), is critical to deciding what where you should run ad campaigns, on what channels and how much ad budget you should use.
In this chapter, we will review the most prominent channels that could be potential options for your business split by B2C and B2B focuses. In this chapter, we will also include a separate section for China due to it having different advertising platform options compared to the rest of Asia.
B2C Paid Marketing Channel Options
Google Ads for B2C
If your products and/or services have public awareness then it’s likely that people will search for them via a search engine and in the majority of Asia, most people use Google as their search engine of choice.
User behaviour related to Google Ads
Often people who select Ad search results on Google tend to be more conversion focused during their current search journey purchase and therefore the conversion rates can often be better than from organic search results selected.
Extensively Defined Keyword Strategy
With Google Ads, it’s important that you have a thorough target keyword strategy based on keyword research that has assessed search volume across all your target product and service keyword groups and across all the target countries you are looking to grow your business in.
If you are running multi-region and multilingual campaigns across Asia, you also want to ensure you identify the most popular target search queries, knowing what monthly search volumes are present in each country and language.
Google Ads, Ad Types
Also with Google Ads, you will want to decide which of the Google Ads features you believe will work best for your business model, some of the features to consider are:
- Standard Google Ad search results (which also have other features such as click to call ads, and other ad extensions)
- Google Shopping Results (if you have eCommerce products to promote)
- Google Display Ads (if you wish to gain brand awareness or retarget previous visitors)
- Google Local Ads (which can be served across Google Maps, YouTube, the Google Display Network, and standard Google Search)
- Google Video Ads on YouTube
- App Ads with the Google Play Store, Google Search and on YouTube
More details on Google Ads ad types can be found via their Google Ads Help section
It’s important to understand the types of ads Google provides so you can choose the best ad types that are most relevant to your business to give the best chance to reach your target audience and maximise your potential conversion rate.
Google Ads has also started to introduce new types of campaigns you can create within the Google Ads platform that use multiple ad types within one campaigns. The latest campaign type of this nature is the Performance Max campaign type you can use, which uses less manual expertise and configuration and more AI led configuration and targeting from Google itself. Google Smart campaigns are another example of AI led type campaigns that Google Ads is now offering.
Google Ads Spend Requirements in Asia
In terms of the ad budget required for Google Ads, this very much depends on how many products and services you are looking to promote and also how many countries you are looking to serve your ads in. A minimum monthly budget of around 500 USD targeting one country could be used for a Google Shopping campaign, or perhaps a Google Display campaign.
For a Google Search campaign you are likely to need a minimum monthly ad spend of 750 USD for one target country depending on how competitive the industry search terms are. Depending on what budget you allocate per country should depend on factors such as:
- The population of each target country
- The level of internet adoption in the industry your business is in
- The level or the demand for the product/service you offer in the countries you target.
- How many languages are commonly used in each target country
Ensuring ROI Driven Focus
The important objective for any campaign is to ensure you measure target ROI focused metrics such as cost per acquisition, target conversions and/or target average order value.
Facebook Ads for B2C
Currently, Facebook is the biggest social media platform across the world and this is certainly the case in most countries in Asia with the exception of China.
The average age of Facebook users is increasing, which often means the disposable income of it’s users is also increasing.
Countries Using Facebook the Most in Asia
Facebook is used widely in countries and regions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Facebook Ad Types
Facebook Ads offers many different ad types and is typically seen as the first go-to platform if you wish to promote a service or product to a specific target audience who may also not be aware that such a service or product exists and so may not find it via a search engine.
As most social media ads you will want to determine the main objectives for your ads which typically tend be focused on:
- Generating leads
- Generating engagement on Facebook with your company page
- Generating brand awareness
Different ad types will be weighting more towards certain promotion objectives.
We find that the majority of businesses we work with tend to want to use image focused ads in their campaigns. This can sometimes restrict ad performance, as using ad types like Stories and particularly Video ads can perform well. Often companies don’t always have the ability to produce video content and so this is a challenge that should be addressed either in-house or with the support of an external party.
More details can be found on different Facebook Ad Types via the Facebook for Business section
Audience Targeting Using Facebook Ads
Facebook provides businesses with a powerful way of targeting specific audiences that are most likely to be most relevant to their products and services.
Facebook splits their audience targeting options into 3 main types:
- Core Audiences
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences
Core Audiences are used via the standard targeting options that Facebook has in it’s Ad manager platform. You can target specific ranges within attributes such as location, age, gender, interests, behaviour and connections. You can also target by more specific demographics such as job title and education but in our experience Facebook does not include a large target sample for some attributes in these areas compared to other platforms, such as LinkedIn.
Something that is becoming more of a key factor for Facebook audience targeting in Asian countries is the different mobile device types that are commonly used. This is because it is now much harder to target your chosen audience demographic through the normal Facebook targeting features in the Facebook Ad Manager for people with iOS devices. This is due to the way the iOS 14 operating system now asks permission to track data in apps. So now less data is being tracked within the Facebook app on iOS making it harder to send ads to the relevant audience demographics.
There are some solutions to help improve audience targeting for your Facebook Ads in light of the permissions tracking changes, these are:
- Create custom audiences using your own first party data, such as email addresses from your CRM system.
- Configure the Facebook conversion API on your website and / or app.
When running Facebook Ads campaigns in Asia, it’s important to identify whether the country or countries you are targeting have a large percentage share of iOS (iPhone) users because this could result in Facebook not being able to target your chosen audience as effectively. For example Hong Kong has a large percentage of iPhone users on iOS, whereas Indonesia has a larger % share of Android phone users across different phone brands. A useful tool to analyse the mobile phone device split by country is https://gs.statcounter.com/vendor-market-share/mobile
Instagram Ads for B2C
Whilst Instagram Ads runs through the same management platform as Facebook (the Facebook Business Manager), the ad creative strategy required can be different. Also there are specific countries in Asia where Instagram Ads will need to be prioritised over Facebook Ads.
Indonesia is one country in Asia where this approach is required as Instagram is very much the primary online medium of content consumption and communication (along with WhatsApp). Businesses in Indonesia will often have more up to date information on Instagram than they will on their website. Official government online announcements are often put through Instagram, which highlights the primary usage of the platform in the country.
When targeting specific countries in Asia it’s important to research the user base totals between Instagram and Facebook, so your business can prioritise each platform accordingly. Indonesia uses Instagram as the main go to social platform, whereas Instagram is less popular in somewhere like Hong Kong and is used more by expats and markets focusing on lifestyle, as well as being more female orientated.
When running Instagram Ads you may want to consider using a more creative approach than if you are just running Facebook Ads, this is because content types such as stories are more widely viewed on Instagram and users often engage more with more creative ads on Instagram. So you may want to have more creative resources available if you believe Instagram needs to be one of your primary social media platforms to run Ads on.
Video content is very important for Instagram ads to run on both story and post ads. Having excellent branding positioning is also important from messaging to colour schemes. Instagram Ads can also provide you with an excellent opportunity to promote your brand and also you can also run shopping ads and have people purchase your products directly via Instagram, so this can be a very effective ad platform for eCommerce providers.
In Asia per country, as a rough estimate you will need a minimum ad budget of around at least $500 USD depending on the target audience you are looking to serve ads to.
TikTok Ads for B2C
TikTok is a rapidly growing platform in Asia and has high market penetration in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. TikTok is not available in some countries in Asia though such as Hong Kong.
Currently, TikTok’s advertising reach in Southeast Asia is around 227 million users, many of which are aged between 18 and 30. So if you are looking to target customers in this age range TikTok is a very suitable platform to use particularly if you are promoting products and services in industry like Beauty, Clothing, Fintech, Gaming and Travel.
TikTok has started to provide in-app live streaming which is very powerful for retailers who wish to promote their products. In Asia live streaming is available in Indonesia at the time of writing but is expected to expand to be available in other countries in Asia soon.
On TikTok you can create a Business Account that is a public facing profile where you can add key information about your business. You can also build an eCommerce experience within your TikTok business account where you can sync your product catalogue similar to how you can do this on Facebook and Instagram.
In terms of terms of Ad types available on TikTok, In-feed Ads are the main ad-types that are most suitable to businesses with smaller budgets and there are also other ad types like Top View, Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effect Ads that are aimed at companies who want to generate more brand awareness but these are often more expensive ad types.
TikTok Ads provide target audience options for different demographics similar to Facebook and Instagram and also have similar ad objective categories that ad types are within being, Engagement, Consideration and Action. These different ad categories enable you to include different call to action layouts in your ad creatives, some of which are very interactive which is a key mantra of TikTok’s.
To run a basic In-Feed campaign on TikTok you will need approximately 2,000 USD per month in ad budget to run an effective campaign.
A key consideration if you are thinking about running TikTok ad campaigns is that you need to think about how you are going to produce short video creatives for your ads. Whilst TikTok offers images to be used as ad creatives, videos ads have far more engagement due to the nature of the platform predominantly being video driven.
LinkedIn Ads for B2C
Whilst LinkedIn is often used more for B2B marketing strategies, which we will cover in the B2B LinkedIn Ads section, there are some scenarios where LinkedIn can be effective to target B2C customers.
If you are targeting the Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysian market then LinkedIn is widely used in these countries and so would be the main countries to use this platform in your growth strategy. Other countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan may not be suitable for using Linkedin ads as part of a B2C marketing strategy.
The following are often scenarios where LinkedIn Ads can be used to grown your B2C focused business online:
- Promoting physical and online events for people to attend, using the events ad type.
- Targeting specific individuals in certain demographics such as as affluent or high net worth individuals (this can be done by custom segments provided by LinkedIn in the back-end)
- To promote content that will help boost your company brand awareness to your potential B2C customers
In terms of ad budget allocation, LinkedIn Ads can be more expensive than other platforms that are more B2C focused such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, and to make an impact as a startup or a small business you will need at least 750 to 2,000 USD per month, depending on how many countries you are targeting, how many ad types and campaigns you are running per months and also the size of your target audience you want to show ads to.
People at LinkedIn Ads actually recommend a minimum budget of around 3,500 USD per month and also suggest running some branding campaigns to help improve the chance of success for conversion and revenue focused campaigns.
We understand that not all businesses want to invest this much ad spend in a channel like LinkedIn (or any advertising channel) and we believe you can still get results on LinkedIn with ad budgets of around 750 to 2,000 USD per month, depending on what industry your business operates in.
Quora Ads for B2C
Quora is a platform that many people would not consider serving ads on however providing your business is suitable to the audiences on Quora you can drive traffic to your site and gain enquiries using Quora Ads that provide a very low cost per click and cost per lead. You can run Quora Ad campaigns for as little as $100 USD per month and if you start to obtain leads from your ads you can look to scale up your budget to acquire more traffic and leads.
For businesses that have more specialist products, where people often want to find out more about and ask questions related to the product or service your business offers, Quora can be a very profitable platform to run ads on. Some industries that could benefit from ads on Quora or ones like financial services and pharmaceuticals.
If you decide to try out Quora Ads then you should check whether Quora is used enough within the country or countries you are targeting. Quora tends to have more user base and traffic in more English speaking countries or countries where there are a lot of Expats.
An important thing to do when running Quora Ads is to make sure you scrutinise the traffic and lead quality in great detail. This can be done by integrating your leads in a CRM system such as HubSpot or Salesforce. If Quora Ads won’t natively integrate into a CRM system you may be able to find a third-party connector such as Zapier to ensure lead data can automatically follow into your CRM system from your Quora Ad campaigns. This will ensure you can determine whether the leads you are obtaining are worth the low cost per click and cost per lead.
B2B Paid Marketing Channel Options
It’s worth noting that many of the points highlighted in the last B2C section of this chapter is often still relevant to a B2B paid marketing approach. In this section we aim to highlight some specific elements that are specific to a B2B audience.
LinkedIn Ads for B2B
LinkedIn is certainly one of the main “go-to” platforms for B2B focused advertising because it allows you to engage and target people within specific businesses in specific buyer roles.
Understanding LinkedIn Reach Per Country
It’s important to research and understand how prominent LinkedIn is within the countries you are looking to target in Asia. There is a larger percentage of the populations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines in particular that use LinkedIn regularly, whereas the level of reach versus the total country population in places like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan is quite low.
LinkedIn Ads Targeting
LinkedIn Ads is one of the most effective ad platforms to enable you to target a high probability decision maker audience profile within a business which makes it a primary B2B promotion channel.
You can also target specific companies by uploading specific target company lists as part of your tailored target audience for each ad campaign as well as targeting specific profiles in companies by size, location and industry.
LinkedIn Ad Types
LinkedIn also provides a useful channel option for new companies who have not built their website yet as you can use InMail Ads with lead generation forms for target profiles to enquire via and you can also include lead gen forms on sponsored news feed display ads as well. This means you don’t have to rely on pushing target profiles through a specific website based funnel.
If you run LinkedIn campaigns pointing traffic to your website who then convert via your website it’s important to set up relevant LinkedIn tracking insights pixels prior to starting your campaigns and if possible integrate a CRM system to use and track lead details from you ad campaigns. Analysing lead quality is very important in B2B campaigns so this stage is very important to implement and integrate correctly.
Brand Engagement Often Required First to Boost Conversion Rate
Most businesses who decide to use LinkedIn Ads want to drive new conversions for their products and services however businesses often don’t realise that if you are a smaller business with a lesser known brand then you should also consider running more brand focused ads on LinkedIn so that target profiles can be exposed to your brand first, which can then provide a higher percentage chance of them converting.
Running brand ads that include videos can be very engaging and help provide exposure. For those who interact with your LinkedIn company pageant your website via LinkedIn can also be retargeted via specific campaigns as well.
Ad Budgets for B2B LinkedIn Ads
A suitable monthly budget for LinkedIn Ads depends on factors such as the geographic size or your target audience, the industry being targeted, the amount of ads you want to run and the type of ads you want to run.
If you want to have a high focus on generating leads then InMail ads are often the most effective and depending on your target audience size you can run InMail Ads campaign for under $1,000 USD. You may also need to consider running branding and/or engagement ads as well (to help your conversion focused ads) in the form of sponsored feed ads, which will cost a minimum of $500 USD per month.
Google Ads for B2B
Targeting B2B Focused Search Queries
Running Google Ads campaigns for a B2B focused business model can be quite challenging, as there is often significant overlap for certain search queries that can be used in both B2B and B2C related user searches. This means you can often be bidding for terms that have much less chance to convert because a searcher is actually a potential B2C customer and not a B2B customer.
A definitive target keyword strategy is essential to a successful B2B paid search campaign and ensuring you target specific search keywords that use B2B query modifiers is the best way to ensure you have a highly relevant keyword set. Ensuring you include and prioritise terms that are often associated with B2B focused searches is important.
The following words may be terms that could be included in search queries that indicate that a search is more B2B focused:
B2B Audience Targeting for Remarketing
Whilst it’s not possible to target specific audiences for most viewers of your search ads, you can retarget users who have visited your site and then are searching for related keywords that you show search ads for. This can help you to show targeted ads to those who are more likely to be relevant to your B2B business model.
If you are running display or video ad campaigns then you can configure more audience targeting features on your campaigns to ensure it targets predominantly a B2B audience.
Google Ads Budget Requirements for B2B Campaigns
Depending on how many countries you are running ads in, B2B focused campaigns can often require less ad spend on a monthly basis due to campaigns targeting more niche search queries that are often less competitive to bid on. It may be possible to run a small set of ad groups within a campaign in one country for around $500 USD but this would depend on the amount of products a business is serving ads for.
Facebook & Instagram Ads for B2B
Running campaigns on Facebook and Instagram for B2B focused marketing are not likely to be priority channels for most businesses but they still may help play a part in building brand awareness and being part of the purchase funnel for a business.
Whilst the audiences for Facebook and Instagram may not be in “work mode” when on the platforms and therefore may not take an immediate conversion action, the channels may act as a touchpoint from a brand awareness and engagement perspective and then a conversion may occur at a later touchpoint in the marketing funnel.
Countries in Asia where B2B Campaigns could work on Instagram & Facebook
Certain countries in the Asia region may provide better opportunities for more successful B2B campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. For example, Indonesia may see good performance on Instagram for B2B, as Instagram is very much the lead platform when it comes to businesses promoting their information. Often in Indonesia, businesses have more accurate and up to date information on Instagram than on their website due to the level of cultural engagement and routine using Instagram in Indonesia.
Quora Ads for B2B
Due to the specialist niche subject matter that Quora covers in the listed questions on the site and also in people’s personal news feeds it can be worth considering as a B2B advertising channel and may provide a low cost per lead channel for your business.
If your business is in an industry such as Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Technology, Manufacturing or another more niche specialist industry then it may be worth testing Quora Business Ads to see if you can drive relevant leads through different campaigns.
China Paid Marketing Options
If you are looking to grow your business by entering the China market as part of your Asia digital marketing strategy then you will need to understand that there is a higher barrier to entry when it comes to running paid marketing campaigns on specific Chinese marketing platforms that offer advertising.
For most platforms you will typically encounter the following requirements to run advertising on each platform:
- A separate advertising account has to be set up in addition to your standard social media account on each platform
- Providing business documentation to each advertising company that owns each of the social media platforms. Documents such as your business registration license and ID of the main account holder will be required
- Commit to providing a minimum deposit to open an advertising account with each company that serves as a initial ad budget on the platforms that can be used over a number of months of advertising
Below we have listed a short summary of the most popular platforms that offer advertising, as we will be writing a more in depth guide in the future specifically related to China Digital Marketing.
Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, so if you wish to serve search focused ads then Baidu should be the priority platform to do this.
Baidu offers both Search and Display Ads, with the majority of display ads being served via their Baidu App and Baidu news sections.
Baidu Search is said to be more advanced than Google Ads when it comes to audience targeting campaigns you can run as audience targeting is available in Baidu Search campaigns and not just Display campaigns.
Baidu Ads can be considered for both B2C and B2B marketing campaigns with a minimum recommended budget of around 1,500 USD per month needed depending on how competitive the industry you want to target is and how many regions in China you wish to target.
As the most popular super-app in China, WeChat is used by pretty much everyone it feels and so you can target both B2C and B2B audiences.
WeChat is owned by Tencent who you can set up a Tencent Advertising account with and this will give you the ability to also serve display ads on related platforms such as Tencent News and Tencent Video.
You will need a minimum of around 1,000 USD to advertise effectively on WeChat Ads depending on the audience size you wish to target.
An important part of a WeChat Ads strategy is to plan the desired user journey of those clicking through your ads, as you can decide whether to point them to your WeChat account to interact with the content on you Official Brand WeChat account (if you have one) or send people to a China optimised website that your business has.
Weibo (for those who don’t know) is a cross between Twitter and Facebook and is more suitable for larger companies with large, well-known brands.
If your key goal is to increase the brand awareness of your company or product then Weibo could be considered but you do need to consider that you need to pay a 1,000 USD annual account fee to Weibo if you wish to run an official brand account. A minimum ad budget top-up fee commitment also applies when setting up a Sina-Weibo account. So most of the time if you are a small business or startup looking to do marketing in China, Weibo may not be a priority as a marketing promotion channel.
Toutiao is a News App platform provided by Bytedance and can be a consideration if you want to target professional, intellectual focused audiences. You need a minimum ad budget commitment of around 800USD to set up a Bytedance Ad account
Douyin is what Tik Tok is called in China. To advertise on Douyin, you can set up a Bytedance Ad account with a minimum ad budget commitment of around 800USD. When setting up a Bytedance advertising account you can run ads across all Bytedance’s platforms such as Toutiao as well. If you are looking to target your products and services to a younger audience then Douyin maybe a suitable platform to run video and image display ads.
XioahongShu is essentially a cross between Instagram and a fashion & beauty orientated social commerce app.
If you are a retailer focusing on promoting fashion and beauty products then this platform allows you to serve ads to a very relevant community and demographic. To convert your ads at the best possible rate, it is also beneficial to set up a business account profile on XioahongShu and sell directly on this app platform.
To get started on XioahongShu, you need to commit to a minimum ad budget of around $800 USD in order to set up an Ad account. However you will require a larger budget to set up your account and eCommerce infrastructure on the platform to actively sell products through the platform.
Managing Sales and Enquiries in Chinese
If you are planning to run ad campaigns in China, it’s worth making sure you have a plan to service the traffic and leads you may gain from your campaigns, as you will need to ensure you have customer service resource that speaks Mandarin and writes in Simplified Chinese. This element can sometimes be overlooked by businesses who want to enter the China market, so make sure you plan for this element
If you are unsure about what you have heard regarding digital marketing in China, then you may want to check out our China Marketing Misconceptions eBook. You can find more information in the type of China marketing platforms that may be suitable for your business to target customers in China via https://www.taksudigital.com/china-marketing
Advertising Regulations for Specific Industries and Countries
One of the key steps you should take when planning your advertising strategy in Asia is to make sure you check the advertising rules and guidelines for each platform (plus specific countries and regions) in relation to the products and industries they allow to be advertised on each platform.
There is no point starting a plan to advertise on certain platforms by requesting strategy proposals from external companies or planning advertising budgets and ad creatives within your marketing team, only to realise later that the platforms themselves prohibit you from promoting your products and services.
Some useful guidelines links to refer to are:
Summary for Advertising Strategy in Asia
Knowing what the best advertising platforms to use is not easy if you are just starting out to promote your business using online advertising. It can take some time to develop a formula that delivers results and ROI you are happy with.
We recommend using a traction model in order to determine the best marketing advertising platforms, where you test different platforms and closely measure the performance that is achieved and over time narrow down the channels you use to achieve the growth you are striving for.
Having the correct analytics measurement tools in place in also important and taking the time to analyse data.
We recommend analytics and reporting strategies like:
- Ensuring your Google analytics is configured correctly and having all the required conversion tracking goals and eCommerce tracking (if required) installed within the property or properties
- Using the insights and reporting tools included in the advertising platforms such as the Facebook Insights reporting tools and the LinkedIn Ads performance charts and tables.
- Using dashboard reporting tools such as Google Data Studio and Databox to help summarise your data clearly
Ensure you research the platforms you are considering advertising on closely, particularly from a demographic perspective, to see if it is a good fit for your business model and the countries you are looking to market your products and services to. In Asia it’s likely that one platform may not work as well in one country as it does in another country in the region.
Also, make sure you are aware of the usage splits between Android and iOS mobile devices for the countries you plan to advertise online.