As people have stayed in their homes to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 pandemic, SpotX and our publisher partners have seen significant changes in platform usage, content consumption, and advertising spend across Southeast Asia (SEA).
Our data shows that around February 10, there was a steep increase in ad calls on premium publisher sites as consumers turned to news and stayed for lifestyle and entertainment content. Ad calls were up 471% (week commencing April 27) as compared to baseline activity during the week of January 6. As lockdowns came in to force across SEA in the first week of March, consumers turned to entertainment. Traffic to over-the-top (OTT) and music streaming platforms increased, with ad calls up 164% and 129% respectively. Gaming also saw significant growth, with ad calls up 268% versus the baseline.
Content consumption and ad spend
Analysis of ad calls by content type shows that interest shifts week by week, as SEA consumers react and adapt to the unfolding pandemic. The latest data (comparing the week of April 23 to the week of March 12) shows increased viewership of gaming and entertainment content as users look to alleviate the lockdown boredom. Finance, news, and travel content understandably continues to be important due to ongoing uncertainty. It also comes as no surprise that sports and weather-related content are less relevant right now.
Brands can — and do — play an important role during these unprecedented times as consumers still need to buy goods and services. We can see from the ad spend data (comparing the two weeks commencing April 16 to the two-week average of the month of February) that advertisers in the family and parenting, financial services, and home and garden categories have increased their spend across SEA, which makes sense considering the relevancy of their products and services.
Our publisher partners across SEA have shared what they’re seeing on their platforms, adding additional colour to the above analysis.
- Viu Philippines (OTT) – Personal care, QSR, and household cleaning advertisers have been the biggest spenders since the country locked down on March 16, with average CTR increasing 97% in the two-week period after the lockdown versus the two-week period before.
- Gameloft Asia (gaming) – Daily minutes played on mobile has increased across Asia during the pandemic with Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam increasing 20%, 19%, and 12% respectively in March versus the January and February average.
- GDP Network Indonesia (premium publisher) – Lifestyle content was the most popular in March as compared to February with unique users visiting TV, comedy and humour, and movie content increasing 40%, 26%, and 17% respectively, compared to an only 9% increase for news content over the same period.
The increase in viewership shows there are clear opportunities for brands utilising premium video publishers and platforms in SEA. For those brands worried about aligning too closely to COVID-19-related news content, the data shows lifestyle content is attracting significantly higher traffic now, offering brands an alternative environment. For OTT platforms and streaming video publishers, there isn’t the same challenge. These platforms are carefully curated with professionally-produced content heavily focused on lifestyle and entertainment. With the surge in OTT viewership, they offer ideal environments for more sensitive brands.
For information on how to add premium online video or OTT to your next SEA campaign plan, contact your SpotX account manager or email [email protected].
About the author
Shrivardhan Sarda is the Director of Demand Facilitation APAC at SpotX. As a sales leader, his role is to grow the advertising sales revenue from existing and new markets by working with media agencies, agency trading desks, programmatic buying units, and demand-side platforms.