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In Asia, influencers can’t be ignored

In our previous post, “Is it Time to Start Thinking about Influencer Marketing?”, we talked about how influencers are often used in marketing campaigns in modern countries like the U.S..

However, in Asia too, bloggers, Youtubers, and other influencers are becoming more and more common.

While nearly every country in Asia is seeing a rise in influencer marketing, in this article we are only looking at the countries of China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.

In Asia, influencer culture is still being defined

In Asia, an “influencer” is generally regarded as a person who utilizes SNS in his/her work and has a certain number of fans, followers, and page views.

As we talked about in the previous article, in the US, influencers can be found on a variety of social platforms.

This same trend is true for China and other Asian countries as well.

As an example, according to one company in China, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are considered as people who meet the following criteria:

・People who have 5,000 PVs or more on their official WeChat account (a messenger application similar to FB Messenger)
・People with more than 10,000 followers on their Weibo account (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter)
・People with over 1,000 viewers on their Youku account (a video sharing platform similar to Youtube)
・People with over 10,000 followers on Meipai (a live streaming social media service similar to Instagram)
・People with 10,000 followers or more on “Meilimeizhuang” (a streaming social media platform dedicated to makeup reviews)


Nowadays, individuals who meet the criteria above can simply register on influencer-search platforms and then wait for brands to contact them.

While 2-3 years ago brands (or their advertising agencies) would search for influencers and negotiate one-by-one on advertising deals organically, currently the process is much more streamlined and casual in nature.

We can expect that within a few years, the criteria for classifying influencers will change even more, along with their pay rates, altering the future of the industry.

There’s even an Emmys for influencers

There is proof that influencers are becoming more mainstream in Asia.

A group from a company in Singapore has went to the extent to create an “Influencer Emmy Awards” show, called “Influence Asia.”

Nominees are chosen from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Korea–for some reason Japan and China are excluded.

Of the nominee countries, though, it appears that Korea has the most developed influencer culture in Asia.

Not long ago, it was Japanese culture, fashion, and technology that were leading Asia, but in a way those times have passed.

In the current era, and perhaps well into the future, Korean style seems to be shaping other countries’, even in how they approach influencer marketing.

Difficulty choosing? When in doubt look to WeChat or Instagram

While it’s true that the SNSs used by influencers vary for each country in Asia, WeChat and Instagram seem to hold the largest shares.

Given that WeChat is enormously popular in China, if your goal is to reach a as many people as possible in the country, then it is the medium to turn to.

For S.E. Asia, though, Instagram is the medium that has the most reach, so if you are looking to market to a young audience in this region, it would be best to use this medium.

You can even run the ads in the English language as there is a large global market of young people in S.E Asia with working English proficiency.

Another consideration for Asian influencer marketing is what industries are most suitable.

A relatively large number of influencers specialize in travel, makeup, and fashion.

Depending on your industry you would need to consider what influencer to use or even if influencer marketing is the right channel for you.

How much does it cost to start?

In Asia, it is normal to search for and interact with influencers over influencer marketing platforms.

This is similar to the way things are done in the U.S.

For these platforms, there is generally a fee to search, but it is fairly reasonable.

As for the cost of hiring an influencer, it isn’t too expensive (starting at about 50 USD) when compared to what’s found in the U.S.

If you don’t go through an agency, then you should be able to make a request for proposal and receive a handful of them for a starting price of around 300 USD.

If you have a small advertising budget like this, or can’t find a way to use up your remaining marketing funds, rather than engaging in a cheap PPC advertising campaign, it may be more effective to use your money on influencers.

It is at least worth testing.

However, expectations shouldn’t be too high for a cheap influencer campaign in terms of the amount of buzz that it will generate.

You do generally get what you pay for.

Influencer marketing is effective in Asia!

For many countries in Asia, smart phones are the main device to access the internet.

For this reason, marketing on SNS is popular, and effective.

This even applies to the area of search.

For example, if you search for “restaurant” on Google, the results will include many links to Facebook pages (many businesses and companies no longer see the need for a web site or simply forgo them due to their expense and difficulty managing).

What’s more, many searches now take place directly on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube rather than on traditional search engines.

As such, digital marketing in these areas is largely comprised of SNS marketing campaigns, and consequently, there is a high affinity and need for influencers.

Want to find out more about influencer marketing?

If you are interested in learning even more about Asian influencer marketing and how you may be able to start a campaign, just send us a message and one of our reps will contact you. Thanks for reading!

Featured Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash