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The Thai adventure is arriving to an end. After almost 12 months living between Madrid and Bangkok, we have only two more weeks in this amazing country before going back home. I cannot imagine a better moment to summarize what I learnt about Digital Marketing in Thailand.

On the one hand, the mix of young and middle-aged people, highly addicted to their smartphone and the tradition of small/medium enterprises is the perfect cocktail to make Thailand an example to keep an eye on in digital and social media marketing. Probably this is the country, along with China, where I have seen the most advanced social commerce practices in Asia.

On the other hand, the commoditization of all kinds of electronic “gadgets” (virtual reality glasses, recording cameras in cars…) along with the increase of the conversational commerce, make it necessaire for companies that want to stand out in the Thai market the creation of new tools or services that allow them to interact with their consumers throughout the “customer journey”.

State of Digital Marketing in Thailand

When we arrived here in the last quarter of 2016, it was expected to reach 50% mobile penetration. Probably by now, it has been reached. However, what we can say with certainty that more than 40 million people in Thailand access the internet through mobile devices.

At advertiser level, it is soon to know the digital spending for 2017, but the last years’ trend indicates it is increasingly growing.

At the user level, Facebook is the main social media platform in this country along with Line for messaging. Some years ago, Bangkok was named the capital of Facebook, and according to the latest data released by We Are social, it is still the top town for Facebook. Bangkok is home to 30 million Facebook users, which accounts for 1.5 percent of its total 1.968 billion active users worldwide.

In addition, in terms of advertising platforms, it is also Facebook, followed by YouTube, the platforms which head the ranking. Being in a third place the investment in Display. However, they are still in a very initial state in terms of measurement and data-driven decisions. One of the key future challenges for agencies and advertisers in Thailand is optimizing the spent based on data.

Continuing with the X-Ray of the digital scene in Thailand, another important point to comment is the importance of understanding the Thai consumer. Most of them are Millenials and most could be diagnosed of Nomophobia. Just need to stop by any of malls in Siam to see that they live literally glued to their Smartphone. I recommend reading this post about how this generation of Thai youngsters uses social media as their passport to fame, to have an exotic lifestyle or show how much they like to eat. I like that here I am not the only one worry about nobody touch the food before taking a good picture of each plate.

The Thai consumer is not only social but also consumes a large amount of video content. So the production of content in this format is increasing in the country. From the consumption of short videos “on the go” to the visualization of even complete series chapters directly in the smartphone in the commuting time. It is quite frequent to go on the BTS and seeing the person next to you watching the Thai version of “Al Salir de Clase” (90′ Spanish TV series for teenagers) on the smartphone.

The shopper journey now starts anywhere, goes everywhere, and purchases paths are no longer linear. Companies need to be part in all that process creating integrated formats“. Jonh Wagner (Facebook Thailand)

The digital world is a wonderful place. I have no doubt that if you are reading this post you agree with this statement, but you will also agree that it is not at all an easy world and requires dedication. I have learnt that in the case of the Thai market it is very important to know and understand the culture and values of the target you are going to target: the region has more or less weight depending on the age sector you are headed to, language and messages vary depending on the social class and even there are differences between men and women.

To someone who is against gender differences, it is not ideal, but once you analyse different markets and culture, you understand that what works in your market not always has to work on others. So, if you want to send an effective message, you must adapt to the culture of the country you are targetting.

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Also published on Medium.