Digital Marketing Trends in Singapore in 2024

Digital Marketing Trends in Singapore in 2022 and 2023 _ MediaOne Singapore

Singapore is considered the 20th century’s most successful development story — and for a good reason. It’s an innovative, tech-savvy island nation with a business-friendly environment and plenty of opportunities for digital marketers.

And if you’re looking to capitalise on these opportunities,  below are the digital marketing trends to watch out for in Singapore in 2023 and the years to come:

#1. 92% of Singaporeans use the Internet Daily

Singaporeans love the media and technology, which is why it comes as no surprise that 92% of us access the internet daily. And not just that. Nearly 90% of us are active on social media apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

But this is where it gets interesting: there are 50% more cell phone connections in Singapore than there are people. In other words, access to technology has never been an issue, as most of us have smartphones or tablets with reliable internet connections.

#2. The Meteoric Rise of TikTok and Video Marketing

The meteoric rise of the video-sharing app TikTok has made it one of Singapore’s most powerful marketing channels. For two years in a row, TikTok was the highest-grossing non-game app worldwide.

In 2021, it was the highest-grossing app overall, even with gaming apps included. While it’s not the most used app in Singapore, it’s among the top three, just behind Facebook and Instagram.

Even with that, let’s not forget that it’s the most frequently used app on the market, with users spending 95 minutes daily on the app, opening it eight times daily.

Source: Wallaroomedia

Engagement is also high, considering people love short, creative videos.

And just to mention, TikTok isn’t limited to teenagers and Gen Zers. Even healthcare and B2B companies are jumping on the trend to market their products and services.

Top Grossing Apps for February 2021 (for non-game apps)

Top Grossing Apps for February 2021 (for non-game apps)
Overall Revenue Google Play Revenue App Store Revenue
  1. TikTok
  2. YouTube
  3. Tinder
  4. Piccoma
  5. Tencent Video
  6. Disney+
  7. IQIYI
  8. Google One
  9. Twitch
  10. BIGO LIVE
  1. TikTok
  2. YouTube
  3. Tencent Video
  4. Tinder
  5. IQIYI
  6. Disney+
  7. Piccomma
  8. Netflix
  9. Youku
  10. BIGO LIVE
  1. Piccoma
  2. Google One
  3. Disney+
  4. Twitch
  5. LINE Manga
  6. BIGO LIVE
  7. LINE
  8. Tinder
  9. Pandora
  10. TikTok

#2. YouTube Has One of the Highest Ads Reach in Singapore

Though not quite on the same level as TikTok and WhatsApp, YouTube is still one of the most used apps in Singapore. First, people spend about two-fifths of their time online watching videos. 

And similar to TikTok, YouTube isn’t frequented by teenagers and kids. When you run an ad on YouTube, about 88% of its reach will be from users over 18 years.

engaging the top social media agency in singapore

As of February 2022:

  • The potential reach of YouTube Ads was at 5.08 million. That translates to 85.8% of Singapore’s population or 93.3% of internet users in Singapore. 
  • YouTube ad reach for users above 18 years was 4.43 million. That translates to about 88% of Singapore’s population above 18 years. 
  • The female ad reach above 18 years is 47% of the population above 18 years. 
  • The male ad reach is slightly higher, at 53% of the population above 18 years.

#3. YouTube Ad Business Almost Matches Netflix’s Total Revenue

YouTube’s ad revenue has been growing steadily over the years, and now it’s almost on the same level as Netflix’s total revenue. 

In the first quarter of 2021, YouTube’s ad revenue totalled US$6.01 billion (S$8.17 billion), while Netflix’s total revenue was US$7.16 billion (S$9.72 billion).

So, how do you take advantage of this growing trend?

There are two ways:

  • Advertise: YouTube and TikTok advertising revenue will continue to grow as more businesses realise their potential reach. So, don’t wait until it’s too late to get in on the action. It’s effective and affordable.
  • Be active: As YouTube and TikTok advertising gets more competitive, you might want to consider creating your own video content. It’s easier and more cost-effective than ever before. Just make sure it’s engaging, informative, and entertaining.
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Here’s our advice:

You can start by creating a trickle-down content calendar. That way, you can plan out when to post and how often.

Your content plan must include long-form pillar-based blog content, podcasts, and videos. Post the long-form video content on YouTube, cut it into multiple short videos, and post it on TikTok and other short video streaming platforms.

Plan your content for the whole month in advance so you don’t have to wait until the last minute to brainstorm ideas on the fly.

#3. Singapore Has One of the Highest Internet Penetration Rates

As of April 2023, Singapore is ranked 9th worldwide in internet penetration, with 96.9% of the population connected to the web.

According to Kepios Analysis, the number of internet users in Singapore increased by 38 thousand (0.7%) between 2022 and 2023.

For perspective, 185.9 thousand people in Singapore didn’t use the internet at the start of 2023, translating to about 3.1% of the population.

WhatsApp Growth and Digital Advertising in Singapore

As of January 2023, WhatsApp was Singapore’s most-used app, with 83.2% of the population between 16 and 64 using it. It’s followed by Facebook (76.4%) and then Instagram (64.4%), with Telegram (48.1%) and TikTok (45.8%) trailing behind. 

The Most Used Social Media Apps in Singapore

The Percentage of Internet Users Between 16 and 64 Who Use Each of These Platforms Per Month

  1. WhatsApp: 83.2%
  2. Facebook: 76.4%
  3. Instagram: 64.4%
  4. Telegram: 48.1% 
  5. TikTok: 45.8%
  6. FB Messenger 45.3%
  7. LinkedIn 37.9%
  8. Twitter 32.0%
  9. Wechat 25.0%
  10. Pinterest 23.8%
  11. Reddit 22.0%
  12. Skype 19.8%
  13. Imessage 19.7%
  14. Line 18.8%
  15. Discord 13.8%

It’s easy to think of WhatsApp as a messaging app for keeping in touch with family and friends. However, companies use it to provide individualised, concierge-level customer service and build customer relationships.

WhatsApp is still the most used social media app in Singapore, with 83.2% of  Singaporeans between 16 and 64 using it monthly. 

In other words, most Singaporeans are always on WhatsApp all day, even more than on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. 

So, How Can You Capitalise on This?

While WhatsApp has yet to introduce ads, you can utilise it to start a conversation with potential customers, so long as you’ve created a WhatsApp business account.

WhatsApp business because it allows you to integrate a chatbot with WhatsApp and run ads on Facebook that can direct users to a conversation on WhatsApp.

Here’s what you want to do:

  • First, you’ll have to set up a WhatsApp business account. Just download the WhatsApp Business app from the App Store or Google Play, and follow the instructions to set up an account.
  • Next, create a Facebook page if you haven’t already, and link it to your WhatsApp account. This way, you can start running ads that direct users to a conversation via WhatsApp.
  • Finally, add a chatbot of your choice to your WhatsApp account. Examples of popular chatbot programs include Chatfuel, ManyChat, and BotStar.

Podcast Advertising in Singapore

In 2022, people in Singapore spent about 56 minutes every day listening to podcasts. That’s roughly the same as Americans and more than any other Asian country.

Podcasting ad revenue had a banner year in 2021, with podcasting ad revenue crossing the $1 billion mark in the US alone (1.448 billion in 2021). 

It would slow down a bit, hitting 1.8 billion in 2022. Still, that demonstrated resilience, given the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. 

And if the trend is anything to go by 2023 might be the year when podcast ad revenue crosses the 2 billion mark.

So, what does this mean for Singapore? It means there is an opportunity to capitalise on the fast-growing podcast industry in the country.

Singapore has seen a similar trend and is expected to continue in the coming years.

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So, how do you take advantage of this?

You can start your own podcast and work on building a community around it, or you can advertise on other established podcasts. 

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If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, you’ve probably heard an advert interspersed in the show. 

Here are some of the ways brands advertise on podcasts:

  • Native Ads: These are ads that are integrated into the podcast itself. Think of a 30-second ad spot right in the middle of a podcast episode.
  • Sponsored Episodes: A company will sponsor and provide content for an entire episode. You can ask the podcast to discuss a specific topic, interview someone related to your product or service, or even talk about your company.
  • Paid Interviews: Companies can pay to be interviewed on a podcast. That provides both an opportunity to get your message across and build relationships with the podcast hosts and their listeners.
  • Product Placement: Product placement is a popular way for companies to get their message out. You can place your product in the middle of an existing podcast episode and have the host wear a t-shirt with your logo or use your product on set. The possibilities are endless.
  • Streaming Ad Insertion:  The ads are inserted into the podcast after it’s been recorded and uploaded. The platform inserts them and appears between episodes or within an episode. It’s a great opportunity to experiment with different ads and see which ones work best for you.

Many Singaporeans listen to podcasts on a wide range of topics. From lifestyle to finance, there’s something for everyone. So if you’re looking to get your brand out there in Singapore, podcast advertising is definitely an option.

Localized SEO Content for Singapore

Search engines are pretty advanced. When you run a search query on Google, the algorithm will determine if you’re looking for a local result or if a page from anywhere worldwide would suffice.

For example, if you search for a “plumber near me” on Google, the search engine will be smart enough to know that you’re looking for a plumber in your local area.

But if you search for something like “how to choose a plumber,” Google will know that the results you’re looking for aren’t restricted regionally.

That explains why international competitors often outrank Singapore businesses for some keywords. 

Google has long prioritized local results, and it’s not like they’re about to change.

That’s why Singapore businesses need to start optimizing their websites and content specifically for local users. Creating localized content and optimizing for regional keywords is an effective strategy for getting more organic traffic in Singapore.

Here’s our advice:

When optimizing your website for search engines, we suggest you find topics and subtopics for which you could add a local spin.

For example, you could create an article about “the best residential plumbers in Singapore” or “how to choose a reliable plumber in Singapore.”

website design banner

Localizing your content gives you an advantage over international competitors who lack local flavor. Oh, and don’t forget about creating content for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn —they’re an excellent way to target local audiences.

Digital Marketing Trends in the Metaverse

AV and VR technologies have been on the rise for some time now, and they’re only gaining more traction. 

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Over 100 million people in the US actively use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). In Singapore, the numbers are not yet high, but it’s rising.

So, what does this mean for digital marketers?

The marketing space is about to change dramatically as more and more companies move their activities to the metaverse.

We believe that marketers should start exploring this space now, lest they miss the opportunity to get on board with this new wave of marketing.

That could include creating custom avatars, leveraging AR and VR experiences, and building virtual stores for customers. 

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

So start experimenting with the new technologies now. Keep your eye on the latest developments and jump on the opportunity to be an early adopter. 

Stay nimble, stay ambitious, and you’ll be rewarded for your creativity. 

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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