BANGKOK: Thailand is already a mobile-first country and as 4G services roll out this year marketers are expected to increase their focus on digital communications and content while also growing social commerce opportunities.

"Thai consumers are born social," according to Rattakorn Potharam, general manager and executive creative director at MRM Thailand. "They are yearning for relationships, rapport and chemistry," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

"In this sense, social commerce is undergoing a makeover to match this demand for socialising, while LINE, Instagram and Facebook are becoming storefronts for interaction and conversation," he added.

Indeed, LINE recently noted that as much as 60% of Thailand's online transactions are conducted via mobile devices and predicted that social commerce would be a significant trend in 2016.

Recent data from We Are Social highlighted the rise of social media across Southeast Asia, with Thailand – along with Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines – among the top ten countries globally in terms of social media usage.

Internet and social media usage is increasing more than 15% year-on-year in the region, with the rise in connectivity being driven largely by mobile.

And with Thailand's leading mobile operators all gearing up to expand their 4G services after last year's auction of 4G spectrum – with better network coverage in rural areas and competitive price packages on offer to attract new subscribers and encourage switching – marketers will be looking to offer more rich media content and exploit new opportunities in e-commerce.

But Potharam cautioned that they would have to pay more attention to context than they have so far done. "The context will matter a lot and unveil new spot-on insights in creativity," he said.

That will require them to collect and analyse data to be able to offer more targeted and personalised content, including shoppable content.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Nikkei Asian Review, Bangkok Post; additional content by Warc staff