[Updated 22nd May, 2023]
Indonesia is a country with a rapidly growing internet user base, businesses must adapt to the unique digital landscape to maximise their marketing efforts. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best marketing channels in Indonesia, the most popular advertising marketing channels, and the latest digital marketing trends for 2023.
Digital marketing is ever-evolving. More and more marketing channels enter the scene and drop off again, and it is important to stay on top of the latest developments. An effective digital marketing strategy takes into account the way people interact with online businesses, brands, and technology. The way this happens is different in every country, and Indonesia is no exception.
Internet Penetration and Growth
According to Datareportal’s Digital 2023: Indonesia report, there were 212.4 million internet users in Indonesia at the start of 2023, with internet penetration standing at 76.8 percent. This represents a significant increase in internet users, highlighting the growing importance of digital marketing in the country. As more Indonesians gain access to the internet, businesses must adapt their digital marketing strategies to reach this expanding audience.
Smartphones are the main device for viewing content online in Indonesia and this should be the number 1 consideration when creating digital marketing strategies for an Indonesian audience whether it be for a B2B or B2C audience, content, ads, social media posts and websites are most likely to be viewed in mobile format.
Many Indonesians have never owned a desktop computer or laptop, and their first exposure to the internet and digital marketing is through apps and mobile websites. As a result, there are many online businesses that reach their customers without even having a website.
As of 2023, according to research by We are social and Meltwater, between 23% and 47% of the Indonesian population still do not have access to the internet yet. This means that in years to come, with internet penetration ever-growing, the online visibility and reach of your business will only increase with more potential customers gaining access to the internet.
So, how are Indonesian business owners reaching their audiences online currently? In this article, we explore the most popular digital marketing channels in Indonesia, how to optimise your presence on them, how to engage with your audience, and specific online growth opportunities.
The data above describes the growth of social media usage in Indonesia. The total number of active social media users has reached 167 million in 2023. This is around 60% of the total population of Indonesia, of which the vast majority is using the various platforms primarily via mobile devices.
If you have a business in Indonesia, social media should be your number one priority to establish your online presence and to reach your audience and customers.
Facebook is still the most popular social media platform in the world with 2.95 billion members. with Indonesia having the third largest population of Facebook users in the world. Often Facebook is used to target older demographics or target communities who use Facebook Groups or marketplace features
With the development of social media, many Indonesian businesses have been expanding their online presence, using Facebook to promote themselves and their services and products. Promoting through Facebook does not require much time and expense if done correctly.
Here are some of the most effective features to utilize Facebook as a marketing medium:
- First of all, create a dedicated Facebook Fan Page for your brand so people can discover you
- Frequently post updates promoting your brand, using targeted hashtags to reach your preferred target audience and increase your organic reach
- Use Facebook’s Paid Advertising feature to display your products and services directly on the feed of your target audience.
- A/B test your ads to find out which ones are the most effective
While establishing a Facebook presence is important, for some business models, such as e-commerce stores, there is an even bigger social media channel to utilize: Instagram.
Instagram is very popular in Indonesia. For your business to succeed online, having a presence on Instagram is critical. Many e-commerce stores are active solely via Instagram, even though the platform wasn’t meant to be an e-commerce platform in the first place.
Instagram’s ad reach in Indonesia at the start of 2023 was equivalent to 41.9 percent of the local internet user base (regardless of age). However, data published in Meta’s planning tools showed that Instagram’s potential ad reach in Indonesia actually decreased by 10 million (-10.1 percent) between 2022 and 2023.
Small businesses in Indonesia are uploading photos and videos of their products via Instagram posts and stories to eventually sell them via direct message exchanges or by including a link to their Tokopedia or Shopee account (two of Indonesia’s largest online e-commerce marketplace platforms).
Another great way to market your brand on Instagram in Indonesia is via influencer marketing, although this does require a larger budget to invest. It is becoming a very competitive space with many small businesses competing to be endorsed by relatively few large influencer accounts.
Instagram is not only being used by small businesses and individuals; even Indonesia’s largest brands and online stores are successfully using it to increase their sales. According to this case study by Instagram, Indonesian e-commerce giant Tokopedia has doubled their sales for certain products and has increased their product page views by 67% using Instagram.
Last but not least, it might be a very fruitful endeavour to invest in Instagram ads, which is another great way to increase your brand visibility on Instagram in Indonesia. Much like is the case with Facebook, this allows you to get your posts in front of a very targeted audience.
TikTok has experienced rapid growth in Indonesia, with 92.1 million active users aged 18 and above, making it the second-largest TikTok user base globally after the USA. Businesses can take advantage of TikTok’s popularity by creating engaging content related to their products and services, participating in TikTok challenges, and collaborating with popular TikTok creators or influencers for sponsored content or product reviews.
Figures published in ByteDance’s advertising resources indicate that TikTok had 109.9 million users aged 18 and above in Indonesia in early 2023.
TikTok offers a range of advertising options, including In-Feed Ads, Brand Takeovers, and Branded Hashtag Challenges, which businesses can use to reach a wider audience and promote their products and services. In-Feed Ads appear in users’ newsfeeds and can include a call-to-action button to drive traffic to a website or landing page, while Brand Takeovers are full-screen ads that appear when users open the app. Branded Hashtag Challenges encourage users to create and share content using a specific hashtag, increasing brand awareness and engagement.
Data published in ByteDance’s own ad planning tools show that TikTok’s potential ad reach in Indonesia increased by 18 million (+19.4 percent) between the start of 2022 and early 2023.
If you are a small business owner in Indonesia, make sure to set up a WhatsApp Business account because this is the platform a large chunk of your customers will use to interact with you.
WhatsApp is the number one messaging app in Indonesia, and for a lot of businesses, this is the primary medium to communicate with customers. While it is technically a messenger app, it does have some social elements to it which are being used a lot in the country, primarily the WhatsApp Status feature (similar to the Instagram Story).
So WhatsApp is not only being used for direct business-to-customer communication but is also a great tool for customer retention in the form of WhatsApp Status updates.
Figures published in LinkedIn’s advertising resources indicate that LinkedIn had 23 million members in Indonesia in early 2023. This in not the amount of monthly active users however, which is suspected to be considerably lower.
The company’s advertising reach figures suggest that LinkedIn’s audience in Indonesia was equivalent to 8.3 percent of the total population at the start of 2023.
LinkedIn restricts the use of its platform to people aged 18 and above though, so it’s also helpful to know that 11.9 percent of the “eligible” audience in Indonesia uses LinkedIn in 2023
Data published in LinkedIn’s planning tools show that LinkedIn’s potential ad reach in Indonesia increased by 3.0 million (+15.0 percent) between 2022 and 2023.
With Ad reach continuing to increase on LinkedIn in Indonesia, you may wish to consider testing ads on LinkedIn via sponsored display feed ads in the news feed using video and image based ad creative, particularly if you are looking to target specific industries and decision makers of higher seniority. You can also target profiles via InMail Ads which is often based to use as a retargeting strategy based on profiles who have watched your video ads or engaged with you LinkedIn company page. Running campaigns to promote events and specific B2B services are two common purposes that LinkedIn Ads often promote in Indonesia
When running LinkedIn Ads, it’s often worth considering what language to run the ads in as sometimes user on LinkedIn may also engage in more English based content. the feedback we received from account managers at LinkedIn were that sometimes running campaigns in Bahasa works better, but some work better in English and it’s best to run multilingual tests specifically for your target industry.
To gain the best results using LinkedIn Ads you often need a large budget to run multiple campaigns as an overall strategy to run initial brand awareness campaigns first, followed by engagement focused campaigns using video and sharing articles and then running more conversion focused ads with lead generation forms integrated or using InMail message ads.
YouTube is one of the most visited websites in Indonesia, so it is not to be ignored. It is much more than just a search engine for videos; it contains a lot of social elements, has high engagement rates and is free to join.
Updates to Google’s advertising resources indicate that YouTube had 139.0 million users in Indonesia in early 2023.
It’s important to stress that these advertising reach figures do not necessarily represent the same thing as monthly active user figures though, and there may be meaningful differences between the size of YouTube’s ad audience and its total active user base.
However, the company’s own data suggests that YouTube’s ad reach in early 2023 was equivalent to 50.3 percent of Indonesia’s total population at the start of the year.
To put those figures in perspective, YouTube ads reached 65.3 percent of Indonesia’s total internet user base (regardless of age) in January 2023.
Data published in Google’s own ad planning tools show that YouTube’s potential ad reach in Indonesia remained unchanged between the start of 2022 and early 2023.
Publishing high-quality video content is one more way to get your business in front of your target audience, indirectly growing your sales and revenue. Not only will you be discoverable on the largest video platform in Indonesia and the world, but you can also use the videos to embed into your website and other online marketing channels.
One might think that YouTube would be primarily useful for B2C marketing, but did you know that 59% of executives prefer watching video to reading text? This statistic proves that video content is also great for B2B marketing. Combine this with the huge popularity of YouTube in Indonesia in general, and it becomes a channel very much worth considering, no matter the size of your business.
Producing high-quality video content does not need to be expensive either, with many modern smartphone cameras being of a high enough quality standard.
One way of running running effective video advertising campaign on YouTube is to run video ads in YouTube as part of a Google Performance Max campaign which enables you to run ads across Google different channels in different media formats.
Google Search Ads
You have probably seen them when searching in Google: advertisements. Above many organic search results, Google displays up to 4 ads related to the keyword you are searching for. This is a relatively easy way for you to “bypass” the organic search results and make sure your business is more visible than your competitors.
However, the ads displayed aren’t randomly chosen; businesses pay money for their ads to be displayed at the top of the search results and clicked on. How much you need to pay for your ads is entirely dependent on how competitive the specific keyword is.
When searching for the keyword “hotel in Bali”, for example, the paid ads might look like this:
For your hotel to be visible in the paid ads, you would need to pay more than large websites like Booking.com and TripAdvisor are paying. This is unlikely to fit in the budget of a small and privately owned boutique guest house, for example. It is therefore recommended to use Google’s Adwords tool to do detailed keyword research and identify keywords that are less competitive and less expensive to bid on.
If you need help setting up and executing your paid ads strategy in Indonesia, check out our PPC services offering.
Google Display Ads
Running display ads in Indonesia ca be a cost effective way of advertising as it can help gain a larger number of impressions across different websites and apps and the click through rate for display ads in Indonesia is typically much higher than the average click through rate for display ads in other countries, this can often be the case for the conversion rate, in our experience when running Google Display Ad campaigns in Indonesia.
Google Performance Max Campaigns
As referenced briefly in the YouTube section of this article, Google Performance Max is a goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. The campaign is designed to automate ad creation and delivery based on information provided by the advertiser. It runs on all of Google’s inventory and allows for budget and bidding customisation, location, language, and ad scheduling, asset group creation, and the addition of individual ad extensions.
Performance Max aims to increase conversions across all advertising channels, including Search, Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. It optimises ad performance in real-time using automated bidding technology and allows for single-campaign optimisation across all platforms. This results in more efficient advertising, new audience discovery, and the ability to control ad campaigns.
However, there are cons to using Performance Max, such as lack of data transparency and the inability to compare different devices. Nonetheless, Performance Max can be used by advertisers looking for a comprehensive advertising strategy and is suitable for smaller businesses with in-house advertising. The campaign type allows advertisers to speed up optimisation by providing audience signals, which means that campaigns may not only be delivered to those who have shown interest but also to those who have not yet interacted with the brand.
Google Performance Max can be a powerful tool for advertisers looking to increase conversions across all advertising channels. The campaign type offers automation, customisation, and control over ad campaigns. While there are some cons to using Performance Max, it can be an effective strategy for smaller businesses with in-house advertising.
Google Universal App Campaigns
With Android phones having the largest market share in Indonesia, if you have an app then using Google Universal App campaigns to promote your app across Google Play and other Google platforms is definitely worth considering.
Another marketing channel that is being used more and more in Indonesia is Google Maps. As we have talked about before on the Taksu Digital blog, Google Maps is increasingly being used as a discovery platform, meaning that your audience is entering search terms directly into Google Maps and is discovering businesses this way.
Google is increasingly serving its customers local search results, meaning that someone in Jakarta will see different search results compared to someone who is in Bali, for the same search query.
For example, let’s say you have a flat tire and you are looking for a motorbike repair shop. Whether you are in Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali, when you search for “motorbike repair shop” in Google or Google Maps, it will show you the nearest and best-rated motorbike repair shops relevant to your current location.
The good thing is, you have direct control over how you want to position your Indonesian business in Google Maps. All it takes to get started is to create a Google My Business account and get it verified by entering the post card Google will send you. If you need help setting this up, Taksu Digital does offer this service as part of our local optimisation services.
What’s often missing from the online experience when interacting with businesses in Indonesia is a great website. As mentioned before, this is largely due to the massively popular social media channels and messaging apps, but also because of budget restraints or business owners simply not realising the value of having a great website. This can often be of great value for B2B marketing in Indonesia.
Creating a website does not necessarily need to be expensive, and will eventually generate more customers and revenue for you compared to the amount of money you have invested in it.
Keep in mind: a website is the best medium to execute a targeted content strategy (via a blog or guides section for example) and will generate more brand awareness and customer trust over time, as well as brand visibility in the overall online landscape. Publishing great and valuable content on your own website will make people see you as an authority on your specific subject matter.
Perhaps more importantly: a website gives you access to two very important traffic (and thus revenue) streams via search engines which you don’t want to miss out on: organic traffic and paid traffic.
SEO in Indonesia
If and when you do have a website for your Indonesian business, it is important to make it as visible as possible in search engines like Google. The process to achieve this is called SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Simply put: by having strong SEO on your website, you increase your chances of ranking high in organic search results.
More than 70% of users searching in Google clicks on the top 3 search results, which means you should aim to be in the top 3 for your most important keywords.
To use an example, a coffee shop in Jakarta should aim to rank high for keywords their target audience types into the search engines, such as:
- Coffee shop Jakarta
- Drink coffee in Jakarta
- Good coffee in Jakarta
- Best coffee in Jakarta
But it is also possible to refine it further. Let’s say your coffee shop is located in Kemang, Jakarta. Example keywords could then be:
- Coffee shop Kemang
- Drink coffee in Kemang
- Good coffee in Kemang
- Best coffee in Kemang
For a start, it would make sense to include these keywords in the title and content of your page, so the search engines will understand that these are important keywords associated with your business.
The audience you should be most interested in reaching via organic search is users searching via mobile devices. On a worldwide scale, more people are now using mobile devices to search versus desktop computers. In Indonesia, this is even more so, because a large population of the country uses the internet solely via their smartphones.
If we had to give one tip to improve the SEO for your website in Indonesia, it would therefore be to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. If it is not, Google will likely favor one of your competitors who does have a mobile-friendly website.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more ranking factors to SEO optimise your website for. If you would like more information about SEO, or if you need help increasing the organic visibility of your website in Indonesia, please check out our SEO services page.
Key Takeaways & Focus Areas
This article highlights the importance of understanding the digital landscape in Indonesia and implementing tailored digital marketing strategies to meet the needs of each target audience. It’s importance to research your exact industry interaction with digital marketing platforms to ensure the success of digital marketing campaigns in Indonesia.
Businesses in Indonesia should focus on social media marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing, and content marketing to effectively reach their target audience and achieve their marketing goals. By leveraging the right digital marketing channels, businesses can tap into the immense potential of the Indonesian digital market and grow their business.
There are many ways to increase and optimise the online presence for your business in Indonesia, and depending on your specific business model, certain channels might work better than others.
The key focus should be to optimise your presence on the most beneficial channels for your specific business. This way, you can get in front of your ideal target audience in the most efficient way possible.
If you need help with your digital marketing efforts in Indonesia, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of digital marketing experts in Indonesia can identify the best online channels for your unique business and situation, and create a tailored digital marketing strategy to give your business the online visibility it deserves.
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