SINGAPORE: Consumers in the Asia Pacific region prefer to browse on handheld devices with smaller screens, but they also engage more with content on larger screens, according to a new study.

The Asia Pacific Content Consumption Trends report from Outbrain, a content discovery platform, was based on analysis of data from over 100,000 sites, and looked at the content consumption behaviours and preferences of consumers in Australia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

It found that, in all of these markets, bounce rates – the percentage of visitors who enter a website and then leave rather than viewing other pages within the same site – for content consumed on mobile phones and tablet devices were higher than for content consumed on desktop PCs.

The greatest variance came in Australia where consumers were 36% more likely to bounce when consuming content on a mobile phone compared to on a desktop, and 20% more likely to bounce on a tablet.

The study also showed that Australians engaged most with paid content while those in Singapore were least engaged.

Across the region consumers tended to consume content in the evenings, with hourly content consumption peaking at 9pm in the Philippines and Indonesia, and one hour later in in Singapore and Malaysia.

In Australia and India, however, consumers preferred the early afternoon, with hourly content consumption reaching its highest level in those markets at 1pm and 2:30pm respectively.

"While telling interesting, relevant stories is certainly key to any content marketing strategy, the second half of the equation lies in understanding the where, when and what of how consumers want to consume content," said Anthony Hearne, Outbrain regional director for Southeast Asia & India.

As regards the 'what', consumers showed the greatest levels of engagement with content related to news, sports, business and finance, while the highest bounce rates were for content related to the technology/internet, health and electronics categories.

Indonesians, Singaporeans, and Filipinos particularly favoured content related to celebrities, while Australians preferred crime news, Indians investing and Malaysians soccer.

"The industry needs to get smarter in how it delivers content," noted Hearne. He also highlighted the need for publishers and brands to optimise content for mobile. 

"The industry needs to embrace data to better inform decisions on what to build as well as when and where to push out content," Hearne added.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff