Consumers across Southeast Asia experimented with new apps as a way of staying connected during lockdown – and that has created opportunities for brands willing to take a risk, says PHD’s Scindya Datt.

Writing for WARC, Datt, Associate Director/Strategy at PHD Media in Singapore, notes that to begin with, alternative methods of staying in touch with friends and family included Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts (all of which also saw increased usage from employees working from home); this ultimately led to an approximately 200% increase in active users for video chat apps in Southeast Asia.

“Most of these apps aren’t monetised, but some brands did spot an organic opportunity to get air time in consumers’ virtual events,” she notes.

One such was Sentosa Development Corporation in Singapore, which released a series of interactive backgrounds featuring the scenic beaches of Sentosa. Backgrounds were also the focus for The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Singapore, which turned Zoom backgrounds into virtual homes for pets in need of forever homes as a way of encouraging adoption.

Datt also cites research which found that 36% of SEA consumers downloaded a new social media app during lockdown while 38% said that they were using their social media apps more.

Houseparty and TikTok have been among the beneficiaries of this trend but these aren’t monetised either and, Datt says, “most advertisers remain sceptical given limited targeting capabilities in an environment with high volumes of teens and young adults.”

There’s also a cost factor as, to be successful, creative generally needs to be tailored to specific platforms. But the most successful campaigns, she believes, will leverage a multi-channel approach to media – and for those willing to take a risk and venture into some of the newer digital platforms the opportunity of moving sooner rather than later will be greater.

“With limited competition, the chance to connect with consumers in an engaging manner will be increased, and the ability to pioneer creativity on these platforms is expected to deliver greater campaign effectiveness,” she states.

For more details, read Scindya Datt’s article in full: Brands must look long-term as COVID-19 alters SEA media consumption.

Sourced from WARC