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SE Asia attention spans shrink

News, 11 April 2016

SINGAPORE: Marketers must rethink TV-style video content as research shows that attention spans are shrinking in South East Asia, says a leading marketer at Facebook.

In Marketing to goldfish, Reynold D'Silva, the Business Group Head for FMCG / CPG, Tech, Telecom and Media / Entertainment at Facebook South East Asia, suggests that brands need to move away from video content designed for TV and desktop toward video optimised for Asia's mobile-first, social media hungry consumer.

In evidence he cites a meta-analysis of cross-media studies done by Millward Brown in Asian markets, which found that Facebook delivers up to twice the ROI of TV, as measured by impact per dollar spent on generating awareness, association and purchase motivation.

While TV remains a key channel in the region, a separate Millward Brown study revealed that Indonesians spend 33 minutes more per day on their mobiles than they do watching TV, a trend that is reflected across much of South East Asia.

Further, according to data from the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average human attention span has gone down by 33% since the year 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015. Coincidentally, ten seconds is the ideal length for video ads on Facebook – significantly shorter than a 30-second TV commercial.

Shorter ads still need to be shown at the right times in order to maximise views and D'Silva advised that morning and evening commuter periods are prime times for mobile advertising in South East Asia.

In general, he argues that the current best practices in advertising and brand storytelling often don't work on mobile because they are based on decades of research into the passive medium of television.

As online video and social media uptake soar across the region, video content that is specifically optimised for those platforms has been proven to be more effective at generating return on investment, he said.

Warc subscribers can read more about video content for Asia's mobile first audiences in Six tips to optimize video for mobile viewing in Asia.

Data sourced from Warc