As a business owner or an online marketer, how can you always get ahead of your competitor? The answer lies in mastering the secrets of digital marketing.
Digital marketing has the most ever-changing landscape fueled by intense competition. Especially during this pandemic era, businesses should always keep a sharp sense of the latest or future digital marketing trends to boost their online leads and sales.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- 2021 Challenges
- Rising Trends among Malaysian Internet Users in 2021
- Foresee 2022 Digital Marketing Trends
- Grab the Opportunities with Practical tactics
Note: All predicted trends are based on our vast experience in digital marketing and customers’ feedback from different backgrounds and sectors.
Back in 2021- A Quick Review
- Work from Home Normal
Malaysian businesses have been suffering from losses since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. According to a survey conducted in August 2021 by human resources solutions agency Randstad Malaysia, 69 percent of respondents in Malaysia had expressed their preference to continue working from home despite the Movement Control Order (MCO) being lifted.
The survey highlights the rising demand and the positive perception towards working from home arrangements.
- Stay at Home Normal
Malaysia experienced a massive decline in tourist arrivals in 2020, which plunged by 83.4% compared to 2019.
The negative growth of the tourism industry underscores that the outbreak has forced Malaysians to adapt to the stay-at-home normal through the government lockdown or border closure policies.
It may take years for the local tourism sector to fully recover due to the fluidity of the Covid situations locally and globally.
Internet Users and Time Spent
So, what is the result of the rising demand for work from home and stay-at-home norms?
Based on The World Bank’s data, nearly 90% of the Malaysian population was internet users in 2020, which marked an increase of 23.8% users as in 2012.
While it is projected to continue growing, the number of internet users in Malaysia has further increased by 2.8% in 2021 as compared to 2020, based on a statistic report by Hootsuite.
According to Statista, Malaysian Internet users in 2020 spent more hours online compared to 2019.
In 2019, the average time spent online amounted to around three hours per day in Malaysia, while the pandemic has driven the internet time spent to approximately nine hours per day. This accounted for almost a threefold increase in internet time spent from 2019 to 2020.
In terms of digital device usage to access the internet, smartphone users in Malaysia reached a near-saturation level of 99.2% in 2020.
The above data have signified the importance of being present on the internet among Malaysians and the increasing importance of shifting digital marketing strategies targeting mobile devices.
Rising Trends Among Malaysian Internet Users in 2021
- Video is the most popular online content
We know that internet usage in Malaysia has revolved chiefly around personal purposes such as participating in social networks.
Based on Hootsuite’s 2021 report, online video consumption ranked first among all online content activities, marking 98.1% of Malaysian internet users.
- Most-used and potential social media platforms
The largest online video sharing platform, Youtube, has surpassed WhatsApp and Facebook as the most-used social media platforms in 2021.
As one of the most historical and well-established social media platforms, there is no surprise that Youtube is the champion. The opportunity we analyze from the data is another fast-growing social media that has become all the rage these days- TikTok, which ranked the 9th most-used social media in Malaysia in 2021.
Foresee 2022 Nine Digital Marketing Trends in Malaysia
Based on the statistical data we collected and our own observations, we foresee these trends will dominate the digital marketing world in the coming year:
#1 China Platforms Sweeping the Malaysian Market
Source: China Social Solutions
You might not have noticed that China platforms and apps are greatly incorporated into Malaysian netizens’ lives. Referring to the chart , WeChat and TikTok respectively ranked the 7th and 9th most-used social media platforms in Malaysia, indicating the huge potential of China platforms growth in Malaysia.
We bet you might have an account or have been using any of the following Chinese Apps:
Online Video Platforms
Don’t be surprised if you saw Lazada and Touch’ n Go in the list above. Lazada Group, a well-known online shopping platform established in Singapore, has been majority-owned by Alibaba Group Holding Limited since 2016. Touch’ n Go which is widely used in Malaysia, was also tied up with Alipay in 2017.
More Digital Marketing Agencies and companies in Malaysia are now leveraging China platforms such as Alibaba and Lazada to sell products online. Still, we look forward to the massive potential of other China social platforms, especially TikTok, that will grow even bigger and secure a spot in the Malaysian advertiser’s top list to promote their businesses in 2022.
#2 Short-form Video Will Be New King
Internet users nowadays are more prone to watching short video content. That’s why the short-form video sharing platform TikTok has grown sustainably and rapidly in recent years.
More big platforms have joined the rank of short-form videos. Instagram, for example, has introduced Reels that enable users to share videos up to 30 seconds. Malaysian Youtube fanatics were also surprised by the introduction of Youtube Shorts beta version in July 2021, where users can now upload and view vertical videos up to 60 seconds.
We predict the growing short videos will dominate the digital marketing world in the coming years. The reason is that they are powerful enough to grab time-strapped users’ attention in no time, able to explain everything in seconds, can gain more visibility on social feeds, and more.
#3 Customers Nowadays Expect Reply in SECONDS
A Research study stated that 57% of online customers will leave your website if they don’t receive a quick answer.
Instant supports, such as WhatsApp, Live Chat and Messenger, can definitely take business communication and customer service to a whole new level. These one-on-one chatting platforms offer a higher level of privacy and provide real-time conversations that engage much better than traditional contact forms.
Not only websites, most businesses have also realised the importance of setting up WhatsApp as one of the call-to-action on their Facebook Business Pages. And thus, by 2022, we believe most local companies will integrate instant support systems into their websites and as well social media pages.
#4 Don’t Everyone Loves FREE Traffic? SEO Helps!
One interesting fact is, we are getting more and more inquiries looking for SEO services nowadays. This means more local businesses are started to realize the importance of investing in SEO today.
The pay-per-click advertisement was always the first choice of most companies in the past as it delivers quick and promising results. By 2022, we believe SEO will be the biggest threat for PPC platforms such as Google Ads as one of the most popular promotion channels.
Unlike paid traffic that will stop as soon as you discontinue your advertising campaigns, SEO that helps secure a spot on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) will continually bring a steady organic flow to your site. Most important is, those traffics are FREE! You don’t have to pay a single cent when people click on it.
Thus, SEO is more cost-effective and valuable in the longer term and it will be another big hit among Malaysian businesses.
#5 Online Advertising Will Still Stand Out Of the Crowd
A study estimated that organic search results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked, while paid search ads are 1.5 times more likely to convert. So, even though we predict the Malaysia SEO market will get stronger, but we believe online advertising will still rise to an all-time high in 2022.
Zoewebs observes the rising needs of Facebook advertising in Malaysia, in which there will be more eCommerce trying to explore the Facebook Ads market in 2022. According to paid search expert Jason Linde, Google Ads always has a higher CPC than Facebook Ads for the same company, which makes it lose the battle to Facebook ultimately.
However, since Facebook is paid social while Google Ads is paid search targeting audiences from different platforms, we think they should be viewed as complementary rather than adversarial.
Utilising an omnichannel ads strategy that includes both Facebook and Google Ads is ultimately the best course of online marketing action in 2022.
#6 Influencer Marketing Grows Even Bigger
The influencer marketing landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and it will be the next biggest thing in 2022.
Albeit 2021 was a challenging year for many businesses, it has also created many new opportunities for the influencer marketing industry.
More businesses will seek cooperation opportunities with local influencers or Youtubers to enhance brand awareness. A reputable influencer can build trust and authority, help brands reach and connect to a broader audience, and improve their content strategy.
#7 Branding is Key to Success
It’s outdated to think that company brands are all about logos and colours. Branding is now more crucial than ever before and will continue to rock on in 2022 as it represents the entire identity of your business.
Based on Global Trust in Advertising Report, respondents from the Asia Pacific have the highest level of trust in branded websites compared to other regions. Instead of spending thousands on social media or Google advertising, branding is the first crucial step before all.
Brands are invisible and intangible, but they help businesses to get recognized more often and stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, reputable brands build trust effortlessly, creating loyal customers and improving advertising effectiveness.
#8 Go Soldiers, Join The Live-streaming Wars!
More and more local brands, both big and small, will adopt the latest digital trend of live-streaming shopping to attract sophisticated online consumers.
The popularity of live-streaming shopping in Malaysia, especially Facebook, is now impossible to ignore as the urge for real-time interaction among local shoppers grows at a rate that even exceeds our imagination.
Because mobile devices are becoming an increasingly common aspect of daily life, they should be included in every company’s marketing mix in the coming 2022.
#9 Government Wants to Digitalize Your Business!
Traditional businesses have started to realize the importance of digital transformation to survive the Covid pandemic.
The Malaysian government has since encouraged more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to seize more digital transformation opportunities.
Some of the government digitalization grants include:
- MDEC Grant up to RM5,000 for local SMEs
The SMEs Digitalisation Initiative offers a 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 per company to eligible local SMEs. All eligible business owners may obtain digitalisation services from service providers registered with MDEC.
- Bantuan Khas Kewangan of RM1000 for Penang SMEs
This special BKK initiative of RM1000 offered by the Penang state government aimed to support Penang SMEs to transact and engage digitally via a B2B platform (no longer accepting applications).
- Selangor SME Digitalisation Matching Grant
The Selangor state government provides a 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 for Selangor SMEs to subscribe to the chosen digital service provider.
We believe such initiatives will further encourage local companies to be more creative in switching their business online to boost sales and profits. Organizations will seek even greater agility, leading the digital transformation growth rate to skyrocket in 2022.
Grab the Opportunities- Some Practical Tactics
We know some of the opportunities now, and It’s time for some practical tactics to gain a higher ROI in the coming year.
#1 Best Branding Platforms
A user-friendly and professional website is like an identity pass of your company to the online world. A website that aligns with your company image helps build your personal brand and connects you and your audiences.
Website is necessary for those who wish to expand their business online as it is the first and most cost-effective online branding tool.
On the other hand, companies that already own a corporate website should ensure it is always up to date; If it is not, website rebranding is a must to maintain or boost your competitiveness.
- YouTube Channel
As the second largest search engine in the world after Google and the most-used social media platform in Malaysia, YouTube Channel is a to-go for those who plan to step into the video marketing landscape.
Source: Zoewebs Youtube Channel
Yet, branding using YouTube is often overlooked compared to other social media channels and platforms. With the opportunity to reach a worldwide audience, brand exposure is one of the most significant benefits of Youtube.
Setting up a YouTube channel for businesses or personal brands and regularly updating high-quality content can help connect with target audiences on a whole new level. You can even boost performance using YouTube Ads later on.
- Facebook Page
Source: Zoewebs Facebook Page
As the 3rd most-used social media platform in Malaysia, Facebook is not new to most marketers to build brands by setting up a business page.
Most businesses have a Facebook page now, but creating a memory-searing Facebook presence is the key to difference. In this, consistency plays a vital role. You need to ensure the color scheme, font and style are consistent for your post visuals to strengthen your brand image.
Apart from branding, you can also live stream and engage with your audiences through regular information sharing.
#2 Digital Promotion Tactics
According to the MCMC Internet User report in 2020, nearly 43% of the Malaysian respondents stated they had shared content online, which was significantly lower than the response recorded in the 2018 survey marked at 62%.
This implies the importance of online advertising nowadays in conveying messages to broader audiences across the internet.
Source: Malaysian Digital Adex Report
In 2020, video and social advertising continued to grow. We can see the enormous potential of video advertising, and local brands are advised to grab a chance soonest.
- Video Advertising
Cisco reported that videos would account for 82% of all online traffic by 2022.
‘Silent’ videos will be the next big thing in Malaysia. More and more marketers today are creating videos specifically to be watched silently.
On Facebook, a startling 85% of videos are watched without sound. The reason is that people nowadays watch videos on their smartphones everywhere they go, on public transportation, in crowded waiting rooms, classrooms, etc.
Thus, if you are planning to invest in video advertising, you need to optimize the videos for silent viewing, and remember to keep them short and sweet.
- Google is Still a Big Player in Advertisement
As per the infographic above, Google Search Ads and Programmatic Display are still the big players among all advertising platforms.
Be prepared for a better advertising performance on Google Search Ads. Based on Google Ads, responsive search ads will be the only Search ad type in standard Search campaigns starting June 30, 2022. The change makes it easier for marketers to drive performance by utilizing this automated tool.
- Explore the China Platforms Advertising Opportunities
As we mentioned before, China platforms are now a golden opportunity that advertisers should grab soonest. Take TikTok as an example. It recorded over 1 billion downloads, 500 million active users worldwide, and 4 million users in Malaysia alone in 2019, with most of its users being under 30.
Since one of the toughest challenges marketers currently face is targeting Gen Z and Millenials, this is a prime opportunity for advertisers to explore the China platforms and grab chances ahead before the market gets saturated.
We hope this article gives you some ideas regarding Malaysia’s digital marketing landscape in 2022. Let’s hop on these trends earlier than your rivals and adapt to the rapid changes in the digital realm to boost your competitiveness.
Need guidance on how to master these digital marketing tactics and gain more conversions? Let’s connect with us to find out more!