Digital Advertising in Singapore: Opportunities and Challenge



Singapore is a lovely island to work on for marketers.

Few nations are as friendly to tourists and businesspeople as Singapore; perhaps this is why an increasing number of startups and entrepreneurs are choosing Singapore as their home base.

If you’re a marketer, you may locate a top-notch platform for your clients and interact with potential clients in a foreign nation while also reaping the advantages of residing in a beautiful, tropical city-state.

It’s a desirable market for companies trying to make a big impression on the global stage and presents a plethora of chances for marketers looking to widen their circle of influence.

It’s a market that may be quite profitable for advertising given its robust economy and number of digital natives.

So keep your smartphones close by since you don’t want to get bogged down in this intensely competitive market.

Knowledge of the Demographics

Generation Z, which makes up the majority of Singapore’s 1.7 million residents, is highly tech-savvy and grew up with the internet and social media; in fact, Singapore ranks sixth in the world for social media users (120 million monthly active users as of 2017).

Despite having one of the largest social media user populations worldwide, Singapore’s demographics are extremely dispersed.

Just 27% of Singaporeans between the ages of 10 and 34, compared to 71% between the ages of 35 and 49, and 62% who are 50 or older, according to the Singaporean Institute of Statistics (SGIS).

As a result, Singapore has one of the most developed internet advertising markets.

The grouchy old men of society, who spend their days in front of screens, are typically found with grey hair.

The approach they use to digital marketing reflects the fact that the generation before them was raised on pixels rather than actual buttons.

Despite the older audience, Singapore’s online advertising market is still in its infancy.

Just 5% of Singapore’s advertising budgets will be devoted to digital advertising in 2021, down from 24% in 2020 and 11% in 2019, predicts the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).

According to the DAA, this number will increase to 16% in 2025 and 20% in 2027.

You can anticipate that advertisers will concentrate on this platform since mobile devices account for the bulk of Singaporean customers’ internet access.

69% of Singapore’s total digital spending would be made up of mobile advertising in 2023.

Mobile- First Digital Advertising Strategy

Digital-Advertising-in- Singapore-Opportunities-and-Challenge-Mobile-First-Digital-Advertising-Strategy

Marketers will need to modify their strategy to remain relevant as more people than ever access the internet through mobile devices.

In December 2021, mobile platforms (such as Android and iOS) will account for 71% of all global web traffic, up from 63% in 2020 and 18% in 2019, predicts the DAA Mobile Market Share Report.

According to the survey, as more individuals use smartphones to access the internet, mobile usage will continue to expand until 2023.

Marketers need to be aware of how the mobile revolution will continue to change how we use the internet.

Internal And External Digital Advertising


Every way you look at it, traditional banner blindness is seriously threatened by internal and external advertising.

In-house advertisements are, in essence, advertisements that are directly or indirectly sold by the business that controls the platform on which the content is broadcast.

TikTok, which gives marketers the opportunity to target an audience that is more engaged than any other online video platform, is a very well-liked platform for in-house advertisements in 2023.

You can target a very precise audience with an in-house advertising strategy and track the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

Web beacons are one of the many technologies that advertisers can use to display in-house adverts.

Web beacons track website users’ actions, such as whether they have visited a specific product page or clicked on an advertisement.

Businesses can learn what aspects of their internal ad strategy are effective and ineffective by using web analytics solutions like Google Analytics.

Publishers, or corporations that host and disseminate material on their web platforms, permit companies to advertise their goods through banners that are displayed on content sites.

Advertisers will still like this format in 2021 since it gives them the opportunity to reach a large audience and maybe introduce your company to a completely new group of clients.

This is why, as a marketer, you must constantly be on the lookout for banner chances.

Ads That Are Based on Performance


In the early 2000s, traditional banner ads succeeded brilliantly, but since then, the online advertising landscape has seen a significant change.

Back then, Internet Explorer or Firefox, or other web browsers were typically used to display text-based web content to users.

Today, a lot of our content is video-based, thanks to the internet and social media.

This indicates that our approach to online advertising has also changed along with the way we perceive the internet.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, also referred to as performance-based advertising, is a form of internet advertising in which advertisers are charged every time a user clicks on their advertisement.

This type of advertising is quite effective since it reaches the correct audience and stays away from the advertising clutter that we frequently see on social media, but it also has certain disadvantages.

The lack of a true industry standard for measuring PPC ads makes it challenging to optimise the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and demonstrate its efficacy.

It is not to imply that PPC advertising has no advantages.

Google AdWords, one of the most widely used PPC advertising platforms, is optimised for optimal effectiveness.

It’s a popular option for marketers who want to monitor the effectiveness of their SEO and pay-per-click campaigns without having to entrust account administration to a third party.

What to Expect in the Future?

It’s a fascinating time for marketers in Singapore as the nation changes and reinvents itself in response to the pandemic.

Even if the economy has suffered greatly, marketers will benefit financially from the move to digital marketing and advertising.

Businesses can improve customer understanding through a well-designed and implemented digital marketing plan that also increases engagement and yields quantifiable outcomes.

Whatever perspective you take, Singapore’s advertising industry has a promising future.

The economy is expanding, the populace is friendly, and the digital natives are very active, giving advertisers the chance to reach a sizable audience with their ads and expand their businesses.

Possibilities and Challenges in Singapore’s Digital Advertising

Brands saw the Covid-19 pandemic as an ideal occasion to demonstrate their support for the neighbourhood, and Singapore’s most well-known food-related businesses especially jumped at the chance to lend a hand.

Many well-known businesses, including M&M’s and Dairy Queen, contributed thousands of dollars to help Singapore counteract the economic repercussions of COVID-19.

Smaller food manufacturers would have found it difficult to stand out while many large corporations seized the chance to win over customers with kind donations.

We contacted the PR team at TBG Singapore, a renowned PR firm with an exceptional track record of assisting SMEs to solidify their position in the market, to learn more.

You should learn more about the situation of digital advertising in Singapore and what the food industry can do to increase consumer engagement.

Singapore’s Internet Advertising Situation

Brands have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reach an audience that is more open to engaging with digital content thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The food business in Singapore stood out from the others as time goes on and consumers begin to consider investing money in brands they know and trust.

Given that many consumers were spending more time at home and that some of the biggest businesses couldn’t operate remotely, the food industry was well-positioned to boost sales and cultivate customer loyalty.

59.2% of Singaporeans are currently considering cutting expenses, primarily as a result of the pandemic, according to recent statistics from the Future Branding Group (FBG) at Singapore Management University (SMU).

In addition, 34.9% of Singaporeans want to lower their bills, and 28.3% want to improve their quality of life.

Given that so many people are going to the internet for the most recent news and advice.

This trend offers brands a fantastic opportunity to win over customers and position themselves as dependable and trustworthy sources of information.

If you run a company or brand in Singapore and don’t have positive internet reviews, your clients could not have a great experience with you, which could harm your business.

We performed a qualitative study with 20 participants, ages 22 to 55.

To learn more about how Singaporeans decide where to eat by better understanding the impact that reviews and ratings play in their decision-making process.

Here is what we discovered:

Good reviews have a greater impact on consumers than negative ones.

Overall, with an average rating of 3.7/5 vs. 3.2/5, our participants preferred positive reviews to negative ones.

This is intriguing because, before this study, the majority of our participants, or 55% of them, had no idea what a negative review was.

Only 15% of those given an example acknowledged it as such, and only 7% said they had previously read an unfavourable review.

Furthermore, when asked what effect a negative review may have on their choice to eat at a certain restaurant.

10% said it would have a very minimal influence, 3% said it would cause them to second-guess their decision, and 7% said they weren’t sure what would happen.

Thus, just 7 out of every 100 review reader will reconsider going to a certain restaurant as a result of a negative review, and only 3 will actually decide not to go there as a result of a negative review.

The Influencers Have A Major Part in Digital Advertising

Incidentally, influencers also play a significant role in the review decision-making process in creating content for digital advertising.

As demonstrated by the fact that 16% of respondents named them as the aspect that most influences their decisions (on a 5-point scale).

This makes sense considering how easily ideas and conduct may be influenced by powerful peers or community members.

Hence, if you’re an influencer in Singapore and you want to win over customers, you might opt to work with businesses that are well-known and may increase your impact.

Reviews and Rankings on Digital Advertising are Important

Reviews and ratings are important, according to even individuals who would rather keep their opinions to themselves or keep their decision-making a secret.

They specifically mentioned how their experiences at restaurants influenced their perceptions of such businesses.

Reviews and ratings can therefore assist establish your credibility in the eyes of customers, whether you’re an influencer or a virtually unheard-of brand.

What Can Brands do to Engage Singaporeans the Best?

Based on our findings, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions from a digital marketing and PR perspective that brands can implement to best engage with Singaporeans:

  • Give A Fresh Digital Advertising Idea 


Offering new products to customers is one approach to winning their favour.

If you’re a new player on the market, you can bet that not many people are aware of you or your offerings.

Hence, you can beat out the competition by providing something special and engaging.

If you run a burger business, for instance, and you want to win over customers, you might offer them the singular experience of a freshly prepared burger with all the fixings.

They could even choose to have their food delivered in a few days if you’re an online supermarket.

However, if you represent a lifestyle business, you may give customers a peek at your life behind the scenes by sharing images and videos of your typical day.

Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something fresh that people will find engaging and interesting.

  • Attend to Your Digital Advertising Criticisms


Listening to customer feedback is another thing that brands can do to increase engagement.

Many businesses, including those in the food industry, started paying more attention to customer feedback during the outbreak, especially on social media platforms like Twitter.

  • Use Social Media Regularly for Your Digital Advertising


Brands may target consumers based on their interests and demographics via sponsored social media marketing.

Additionally, a lot of social media sites, including Instagram and TikTok, offer businesses the chance to interact with current and future clients through live videos and posts.

Businesses, especially those in the food industry, have a lot of opportunities to better connect with customers thanks to this trend, but as we’ve learned, it also offers a number of difficulties.

Maintaining a brand account on each of the main social media platforms is one of the hardest tasks.

While having a presence on all the big networks is fantastic, managing all the content across various platforms is labor-intensive.

Gaining sufficient trust on social media is another difficulty, particularly when it comes to reviews and ratings.

Because so many people are using the internet to research items, brands need to be active and open about their operations in order to establish trust on social media platforms.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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