SE ASIA: Consumer behaviour changes during Ramadan, from what is searched for online (and when) to what is bought, and marketers need to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Research consistently shows, for example, that online search and browsing traffic tends to peak in the pre-dawn hours when people are rising for suhoor, the meal eaten before the day’s fasting.

And searches around recipes, online shopping and food and beverage outlets increase – “creating a ripe environment for driving sales through storytelling”, according to Dheeraj Raina, managing director of Malaysia-based digital consultancy Ada (formerly AdParlour).

“Ramadan is an interesting period for brands to strike a balance between rational and emotional communication,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

“Marketers don’t get such opportunities often these days,” he added.

Their best chance of doing that appears to be via video. New data from Facebook and Google, based on analysis of patterns observed during last year’s Ramadan, show that Facebook users in Indonesia spent 74% more time watching video on the platform, while YouTube search queries in that country increased by almost 40%.

This is partly a reflection of the fact that people have more time on their hands during Ramadan, Raina said, and this in turn highlights a particular aspect of marketing during the month of religious observation that brands should consider.

“One of the biggest opportunities for brands during Ramadan is to master moment-based marketing,” Raina advised.

“We know context and intent are the key ingredients of building brand affinity with Muslim consumers and that is why brands need to focus on mapping each and every moment in the life of a Muslim consumer during Ramadan and then drive a proactive conversation with them,” he said.

While food brands will always tend to be prominent advertisers during a month of fasting, other categories can also take advantage of changing behaviours and different spending patterns during this time.

Data from commerce marketing business Criteo, for example, showed an unexpected 62% rise in sales of toys and games across the region during last year’s Ramadan.

“We are starting to see more and more brands looking at their data holistically and taking control of their sales and customers,” said Alban Villani, Criteo’s regional general manager, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by WARC staff