Why Southeast Asia could be the leader for influencer marketing?

Why Southeast Asia could be the leader for influencer marketing?

The new decade has swept and turned the tides for influencer marketing. The Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising reveals a significant climb for the influencer and advocacy marketing avenues. Three factors that have made this happen are demographics, local trust and global appeal, and platform diversity.


According to the Google e-Conomy SEA Report, the Southeast Asian region has over 360 million internet users. And 90 per cent of them access the internet via mobile phones. The mobile-first approach, along with a youthful demographic and spread of social platforms, makes it a fertile ground for influencer marketing.

What’s more, 84 per cent of consumers are highly likely to follow through on recommendations made by micro-influencers. And 80 per cent of influencers in the Southeast Asian belt are micro-influencers. 

Global Appeal and Local Trust

Today, Southeast Asia has a massive global appeal towards people looking to get a social-media fix. Predominantly, influencer partnerships tend to work in the travel, food and photography spectrums. Another aspect is that consumers tend to view influencers as more trustworthy and relatable entities when compared to other endorsements. More or less 70 per cent of the survey respondents in the Philippines made a purchase based on influencer recommendations. 

Take, for example, Samatha Lee, a Malaysian food artist. Her mantra, “Let food be thy medicine, served as a work of art too”, along with her quirky brand of food photography, has garnered her intense connections with her audiences. In this light, several hospitality brands, including Turkish Airlines, Mastercard, ESPN, Sustagen, Samsung and Barbie, display a keen interest to work with her.

Next, take Trinh Pham, a Vietnamese beauty influencer. Her infectious personality has garnered a long-standing partnership with cosmetic brands such as Loreal, NYX and Laneige. Brands then align their image to Trinh’s content across social media channels, including Youtube and Instagram. And what’s more, the connection is authentic yet non-invasive.

Given these examples, influencer marketing in Southeast Asia has created “global appeal” and “local confidence” flawlessly.

Diversity of platforms

While Facebook, Instagram and Youtube are undeniably popular, Southeast Asia is home to about 40 per cent of TikTok’s global users. So much that TikTok has about 190 million users from SEA alone. Combine this with the native platforms of LINE, Zalo and WeChat, and brand awareness, engagement and visibility are off-the-roof. With this, companies can now leverage the finer nuances of each social media partnership.

The Numbers Game

About 482 million people, nearly over 70 per cent of Southeast Asia’s population, have a social media presence. And this is where influencers reign their supremacy. The ROI on influencer marketing, reportedly, is about USD 5.78 for every dollar spent. Also, influencer content cannot be blocked. Hence, influencer marketing can tap into 56.8 per cent of Indonesians using ad blockers.

Hitting the Spotlight in Indonesia and the Philippines

ZALORA, the online fashion destination, through its Philippines Community Influencer Program, posits that anyone can become an influencer. It does not have prerequisites such as minimum followers or monthly posts. Another brand that does this is Tokopedia through its Tokopedia ByMe feature. In this, users can recommend products and earn commissions.

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