Taiwan is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and over the past few years, its e-commerce market has also solidified as an excellent site for investment. In 2020 , the country was estimated to have a US$27 billion market value, with an estimated average annual growth rate of 13%. Its capitalist and export-driven economical approach has created a comprehensive foundation for the e-commerce realm, and the money flow and distribution service providers allow for smooth transactions. These place the country as one of the most dynamic trading powerhouses in the world today.
Taiwan has also taken the age of globalization in stride and hosted a sophisticated consumer market. While English is also used, messages will be more effective when carried out in their primary language, Mandarin Chinese, or a combination of Mandarin-English that must be simple and easy to understand. Other important facets of the Taiwanese market are that they are loyal to brands, respond well to a personalized approach, and give importance to environmental care, behaviors that will be further discussed in the article. To sum it up, brand identity should be a focal point of marketers in building their strategies to successfully connect with the Taiwanese audience.
Currently, the e-commerce market in Taiwan has expanded to strategies such as live broadcast promotion on social media and the use of big data and AI to merge traditional and modern platforms. However, Taiwan is currently at a conundrum regarding its economical state on the international scale. It currently faces problems with underdeveloped infrastructure, pollution, among other issues, places the country in the gap between developed and emerging countries.
This article will discuss Taiwan’s digital marketing environment, industry challenges and opportunities, successful campaigns, as well as the best possible ways on how to reach the Taiwanese audience.
Taiwan’s Digital Landscape
Online activities are some of the residents’ favorite pastimes. According to the 2020 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite, out of Taiwan’s nearly 24 million residents, 20.82 million are Internet users, and 21 million are active social media users. As a result, the country has an exceptionally high internet penetration rate of 88%.
The Taiwanese market spends 7 hours and 57 minutes on the Internet every single day, a rate that has pushed the nation to be one of the highest in the world. Interestingly, however, the average duration consumers spend on social media is 2 hours. This means that social media is a particularly necessary platform that marketers should focus on especially when they are trying to establish themselves in the country’s consumer market.
In line with Taiwan’s global outlook, the Internet has been increasingly more accessible in the country. As of January this year, 86% of the population use the Internet every day, which means that the online world is quite integrated into the peoples’ daily lives.
There are currently 19.12 million active Internet mobile internet users in the country, making mobile phones the dominant devices used by 93% of the population. This is followed by smart phones, rating 97% and one of the highest among “mobile social” countries in the world. Therefore, mobile devices are an important channel in digital marketing.
In addition, watching online videos is the country’s most popular form of content streaming activity. This also means that content, especially video marketing, incites more active response from the consumers.
According to the We Are Social Report for 2020 by Hootsuite, the top three dominating social media platforms in Taiwan are the sites Youtube and Facebook, and the mobile messaging app LINE. Below are some statistics and insights on each platform that marketers should consider into creating their strategies:
Youtube takes the number one spot for video content in Taiwan with a 89% estimate of internet users who report using the platform. According to a survey by Google, the site proves to be a far more effective platform among other leading sites in terms of advertising.
Due to globalization, the Taiwanese audience have increased standards on goods and services, and at the same time also grown immune towards ads. However, the survey showed that the duration of consumers’ gaze time on Youtube ads was twice more compared to other leading sites, with 1/3 of the country’s consumers feeling more confident and acquainted with brands that they’ve seen through the online video site’s ads.
Aside from being a powerful site for ads, Youtube is also great for ratings, reviews, product information, and increase of sales. 34% of viewers state that they visit the site for product reviews and 81% also rely on the online entertainment staple to help them finalize their purchasing decision.
Although Facebook is certainly one of the most popular sites in the world, it is unusual that it dominates the online scene in Taiwan. We Are Social confirms, however, that the social media giant holds a penetration rate of 89%, one of the highest in the world.
Some would later connect this success to Facebook’s market-entrance strategy using the game Happy Farm, where users had to operate and maintain a virtual farm. Others credited this to Facebook’s lack of a strong domestic competitor and its constant work on improving user experience. Jamie Lin, co-founder of the App Works, points out that photo-sharing is an important feature in Taiwan’s world of social media. Therefore, when Facebook continually made updates to this functionality, the company successfully planted itself Taiwanese market.
As of January 2020, 17 million residents are estimated to be reached with adverts on Facebook, with 80% estimated to be reached from the “eligible” sector.
The Taiwanese pride themselves as a sovereign state, and marketers must note that some strategies used on the Chinese market will not mean instant success with the Taiwanese market. This is how Line became the most popular mobile messaging app in the country instead of WeChat, a dominating app in most Asian countries and exceeds a billion users in China. The success, as Lin expounds, stems from the strong sales of the app’s stickers, games and advertising. According to him, stickers are actually an indispensable feature for mobile messaging apps in the nation.
In addition, Taiwan is a free country, meaning more leeway to employ their strategies and operations. With a more dynamic market environment and less censorship, WeChat is forced to compete. Currently, Line has around 86% of Taiwanese Internet users who are using the platform to report, with Facebook Messenger lagging far behind at 55%.
Trends and Opportunities
The rapid pace of the digital era has led to a transition to countries having more global outlooks. With consumers becoming fluent with global trends, their standards over the quality of services and goods they receive also increase.
In Taiwan, the following are the most promising trends and opportunities that marketers should consider weaving into their strategies.
Businesses are beginning to understand the invaluable input of consumer insights, and have therefore set out to more personalized approaches with their strategies. This is why artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the future of the digital marketing realm. AI predictive analytics allows marketers to understand consumer behavior patterns easily and quickly, which leads to building deeper connections with their audience.
Among the more tech-savvy countries in Asia, Taiwan is poised to be a hub for this burgeoning field. Aside from having a flourishing environment for technological innovation, Taiwanese universities are also constantly at the top of the AI research industry. These factors have caught the attention of tech giants such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft, who also have recently expressed their interests in furthering the AI industry in the country. William Foreman, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, further explains this. “Companies can hire top-quality engineering talent that has earned a reputation for being more loyal and stable, less likely to be poached, compared to others in places like China, where the competition for talent is absolutely fierce”, he states.
It is also important to note that a personalized marketing strategy is an effective way to penetrate the Taiwanese market. For instance, Taiwanese consumers now want to identify themselves with a brand. AI can be a great tool to improve customer experience, build trust and loyalty to their audience, and create more effective ads.
Mobile phones are the main devices for Internet and social media use within the country. This is reflected in its 100% penetration rate, making Taiwan the Asia-Pacific country with the highest mobile social media penetration. Also, the prevalence of mobile messaging apps is a telltale sign of the device’s significance in digital marketing within the nation.
As established earlier, mobile apps are key platforms to penetrate the Taiwanese market. With the residents’ increasing spending time and comfortability with online shopping, mobile devices are further being embedded into their daily lives. This means that mobile ad spend has to catch up to this surge.
Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders
Social media use is now considered a norm, a platform that should be in every smart marketing strategy. The approaches need to be more personalized and people-centric to get the trust and loyalty of consumers. As this becomes a standard in the advertising world, marketers are beginning to employ the help of influencers or key opinion leaders (KOL) to amplify the intended goal of these strategies.
The effectiveness of influencers lay in their “relatability”, or how consumers perceive these individuals to be someone they see themselves in. These influencers can be micro-influencers, politicians, and even celebrities. Once relatability is established, a foundation of trust is immediately built and people will start to seriously take into consideration the opinions of these influencers, which can be reflected into traffic or sales growth.
Social media influencers can be a crucial element in making that invaluable bond with an audience. This channel presents a direct line where consumers can immediately voice out their opinions, and therefore allow these opportunities for marketers to gain new insights in improving the quality of their content.
Here are some successful campaigns in Taiwan that have also incorporated the above-mentioned trends into their marketing strategies:
For its 2018 summer campaign, Coca-Cola Taiwan introduced Music X Coke. The campaign sought to improve the company’s brand favorability and brand interest among teens and young adults, specifically 15-34 year-olds who like drinks and music, with the message that drinking Coca-Cola will make your summer more fun and memorable.
To do this, the campaign employed many innovative elements into their strategy, which marketers consider to be the key factors in the campaign’s success. Its key strategy in building awareness was integrating a Messenger bot that engaged consumers into knowing more about the campaign and joining the lucky draw. Additionally, Coca-Cola used the carousel format, a single unit ad that shows multiple videos and/or photos, for its short-form video ads on Instagram Stories. When users clicked on the ads, they got taken to the Messenger bot where the one-on-one interactive experience began. Ultimately, the campaign garnered a 65% target audience reach, 22% lift in sales in convenience store channels, and 15.6 interactions per person on Messenger.
The beauty brand Clarins also employed similar strategies into their campaign. The company’s goal was to gain new customers and increase sales for their new product, Double Serum. It ran from August 29-December 31, 2017, which was the most competitive time of the year for the beauty industry.
In line with their “listening” philosophy, Clarins also used a Messenger bot to amplify the “one-on-one experience” with consumers, and short videos ads in carousel format that ran on Facebook and Instagram. At the end of the campaign, they had accumulated a whopping 92% increase in Double Serum offline sales, 4% lift in sample redemption rate at counters, and1.5X increase in new customers through the bot for Messenger. In addition, 86% of visitors downloaded a sampling coupon after an encounter with the Messenger bot.
Although Taiwan is in a gap between developing and emerging countries, it hosts a thriving environment for digital marketing. The future is very promising for strategies, such as mobile marketing, AI, and influencer marketing, which have proven successful by several marketing campaigns through their use of smart chatbots. Aside from these, marketers must begin to develop their strategies around brand identity and more personalized approaches, and any one mistake can completely alienate their business from the market. Thus, penetrating the Taiwanese market heavily depends on first carefully understanding the country’s distinct culture.
Talk to us at Info Cubic Japan today to learn more about online marketing in Taiwan.