SINGAPORE: With mobile increasingly important to online Asian consumers' browsing and shopping habits, retailers in the region anticipate increasing their adspend in this channel and putting a greater focus on personalisation, a new survey says.

A study by ad tech firm Criteo, Performance Marketing: Asia, was based on interviews with more than 400 senior marketing executives across Australia, New Zealand, India and South East Asia.

This found that increasing brand awareness was the top online marketing goal in the next 12 months, followed by delivering personalised ads – defined as showing consumers ads that based on products they have already been looking at or displaying recommendations that may complement an item already purchased.

Third was improving customer life-time value and loyalty, a development the report interpreted as a shift away from the previous focus on click-throughs and conversion rates.

Greater personalisation of advertising faces some major challenges, however, one being the practical consideration, cited by 55% of respondents, of how to marshal a huge amount of data from multiple sources, some of it unstructured, into usable segmentations.

But finding the right partner to enable them run to cross-profile, personalised advertising campaigns emerged as the biggest headache, faced by 65% of retailers.

And they also need to be sure that any partner will comply with relevant privacy standards – a concern for 59% of respondents.

Nonetheless, four in ten companies indicated their intention to spend 41%-60% of their digital budgets on retargeting and personalised ads; half planned to allocate 21%-40% to this activity.

"Up to 70% of online shoppers who are served ads in this way go on to view products they had not looked at previously," said Yvonne Chang, executive MD/APAC at Criteo. "Retailers who get this right will be able to drive online conversions very effectively."

Marketers believe that getting it right involves moving away from mobile web display ads, which, while still important, are no longer such a priority. The survey observed a marked shift towards greater use of in-app advertising and video in the next 12-18 months.

Data sourced from Criteo; additional content by Warc staff