All You Need to Know About Advertising in Singapore

Advertising in Singapore

Over the past few years, Asia has experienced a spectacular amount of growth in its economy. In fact, since the 1960s, this continent has been able to grow its wealth faster than any other region around the world. And this is largely due to its labour and capital– specifically in the eastern countries. However, there is none more attention-grabbing than Singapore. Its political stability, industrial competitiveness and transparency has helped to pave the way for its neighbouring countries’ economic prosperity.

In fact, Singapore is currently the headquarters of over 3000 multinational companies. Its financial and service sectors are considered to be world class and its physical infrastructure is known to be highly efficient. This country has achieved a per capita gross domestic product level that is comparable to that of developed western nations which is why it has managed to consistently rank among the most attractive countries in which to conduct international business.



The evolution of Singapore’s economy has come with a change in the latest marketing trends. For instance, personalisation is becoming the main focus. Not only are companies interested in getting to know more about their general target audience, but they want to get to them on an individual level. Singapore companies feel the need to make sure that touch points are as specific as possible so that they are able to streamline the purchasing process as well as make it more responsive.

Companies are starting to heavily incorporate AI into their processes. This is especially the case when it comes to using chat-bots to interact with the customers and appeal more to their individual needs. Many hope that this will help to greatly improve the customer experience. Also, this type of AI will foster an environment of deep learning which will provide data crumbs from around the web and give businesses a better understanding of consumer behaviour.

Not only are companies looking to market to their customers in real-time, but they are also interested in marketing to them at the right time. Marketers are now using data in order to isolate when its the best time to reach out to the customer. In this way, they can form a more intimate and effective connection with their target audience.

Speaking of data, another popular trend is measuring and analytics. While certain social media channels, such as Facebook, have admitted that their data does not tell the entire story, companies are starting to recognise the value in measuring their performance with purpose. And for many, the KSI is customer retention, profit, satisfaction, and revenue. In fact, many executives are expected to be more than overseers, but also data scientists and marketing technologists. From devices and sensors to TVs and fitness brands, they will be expected to monitor the useful data that can be leveraged from them.

Also, content is still king, but many are starting to prefer it in the form of video. And this is because it helps to appeal to more senses. Visual marketing can go a long way.


Types of Advertising in Singapore

While there are many different trends in Singapore, they can be applied to multiple forms of advertising. And luckily, there are many to choose from. Let’s take a look at a few.

Digital Advertising

Perhaps one of the most popular forms of advertising is digital advertising. This is the leveraging of digital channels such as Google search, email, social media, and websites in order to connect with prospective customers. More specifically, businesses use methods like search engine optimisation to attract free traffic to their websites, content marketing to generate brand awareness and leads, inbound marketing to convert customers, and pay-per-click (many using PPC agencies) to drive paid traffic to their website. All of this and more is the fastest and easiest way to connect with millions of prospects online.

Print Advertising

Print advertisement is any advertisement that is printed on paper. It is typically split into three subcategories. One is periodical advertising in which ads are printed in magazines, newspapers or anything other publication that is released at regular intervals. The second subcategory is flyers, leaflets, brochures, and handouts in which ads are treated as separate entities. The last subcategory is direct mail advertising in which ad is mailed directly to consumers.

Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor Advertising is a form of advertising that done outdoors. The most popular include bus benches, billboards, exteriors and interiors of buses, business vehicles, taxis and signage that has been posted on the exterior of brick-and-mortar locations. These ads are usually placed in high traffic locations.

Guerrilla Advertising

Guerrilla advertising is a form of advertisement that plays on the element of surprise. The campaign is usually very unconventional and is created with the purpose of catching people’s attention unexpectedly in the middle of their daily routines. In fact, outdoor advertising is often used as a vehicle for guerrilla advertising.

Cable TV Advertising

Cable TV advertising reaches millions of viewers sitting in the comfort of their living rooms. This form of advertising typically involves the use of television and a setup box/decoder device. And until recently before the advent of Internet streaming, this has been seen as the most dominant and effective way to reach potential customers. This form of advertising can reach millions of people at once.

Mobile Advertising

This is another way to obtain the attention of a captive audience especially if you can find a list owner with well profiled subscribers. If is possible to message millions of subscribers within hours or days with your promotional message on their mobile devices in Singapore. An example of this is SingTel Media which has (at last count in 2019) 4,100,000 subscribers for its mobile advertising service.


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Advertising standards, rules, regulations, laws

Though Singapore business owners and marketers have their choice of which forms of advertising they will use to promote their business, this does not mean that they have free reign on how they can use them. In fact, there are certain guidelines set in place when it comes to advertising. And these rules and regulations are considered to be best practices.

For instance, companies must make sponsored messages distinguishable from editorial content and personal opinions. And this requires their disclosing all of their commercial relationships. This is especially the case if they are endorsing certain sponsors, products, services or product names. All disclosures must be placed in prominent places so that consumers can clearly see them. Advertisers must also be transparent about the fees that they charge as well as the purchasing process.

When advertising on social media platforms, advertisers are to avoid falsely inflating their popularity. This includes purchasing tools and services that would increase their likes and comments. It’s also advised that businesses refrain from encouraging people to like, share, or use their social plugins in order to make their posts seem more popular.

Advertisers are expected to avoid promoting ads which contain pornographic, racist, sexist and violent comments. This is especially the case when it comes to advertising to children. Not only that, but marketers are forbidden to distribute the personal information of children without consent from their guardians.


Professional Governing Body

While these rules and regulations may not be seen as official laws, they are considered to be widely known best practices. In fact, there is an organisation that is responsible for ensuring that these guidelines are followed. It’s known as the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore, or ASAS.

The ASAS was established in 1973. They are responsible for promoting ethical advertising in Singapore. When advertisers have concerns or are in doubt about the acceptability of their advertisements, this organisation offers advice and guidance for advertisers prior to publication. They can help to ensure that advertisements are in full compliance with all regulations.

The ASAS also handles complaints. Their most common complaint is in regards to information that is misleading and depicts a different or even false message about the product or service. If an advertisement is deemed to have broken the rules or gone against the guidelines, ASAS may withhold advertising time or space from the business. They may withdraw their trading privileges. In some cases, ASAS may even publish the details of this investigation and name the offending company.


Which Are the More Effective Advertising Media: Newspaper? Magazines? Mailers? eDMs? TV? Radio? Outdoor? Digital?

According to a study published by Econsultancy, businesses are failing to match their adspend to where consumers are actually spending their time. They are instead basing their budgets on the historical performance of each form of advertising. In fact, when researchers examined the total adspend across digital and traditional channels, it shows that TV ads continue to dominate most company’s budget allocations–with 50-60% of executives stating that they plan to keep their TV advertising commitments the same for the upcoming year. However, many traditional media channels are experiencing a decline in investment.

So if the most effective form of advertising is one on which consumers spend most of their time, then which one is the most effective? It’s digital. Studies show that over 3.2 million Singaporeans use their mobile devices in order to access social media platforms. And almost 96% of Singapore’s internet users have at least one social media account on which they spend an average of 2.5 hours every day. Also, APAC Consumer Barometer has found that over half of the country’s internet users watch videos online every day. 42% of Singaporeans depend on the Internet when researching products and comparing different options before making a purchase decision.

It’s clear that Singapore is a digital society which is why both small and large companies are starting to shift their focus towards digital marketing. The effects of digital advertising are even further displayed in companies’ business practices. Singapore Business Review found that businesses in Singapore are starting to aggressively employ digital marketing strategies such as SEO, Facebook ads, and paid search, in order to reach a wider audience.

This is not to say that traditional advertising is completely ineffective. Trust in the more traditional advertising is still considered to be very strong. According to a Neilsen report, television, newspaper, and magazine advertisements are still among the most trusted forms of advertising for consumers who reside in Southeast Asia. 65% Singaporeans said they were trustful of television ads which is well above the global average of around 62%. And despite there being a decline in trust in newspaper and magazine advertising, 62% of Singaporeans said they trusted magazine advertising and 66% said they trusted newspaper advertising.

So which should you opt for? The answer depends on the goals of the business and its target audience. For instance, if the business is interested in an advertising format that is cost effective and appeals to millennials, then it should invest a sizeable portion of its budget into digital marketing. This is especially the case if its a small business. However, if the company’s prime objective is to drive instant brand awareness and it has an unlimited budget, then they may consider investing more of their budget into traditional marketing. Though its obvious that all can work together and that a digital marketing presence is crucial to today’s brands.  


Most Prominent Advertising Agencies in Singapore

The amount of growth that has taken place in Singapore over the last decade has lead many companies to focus more of their attention developing their digital marketing strategies. While you could hire an in-house team to take over this project, you could also work with a team that is already up and running. For example, digital marketing agencies can ensure that your campaigns run as smoothly as possible. Below are a few of the most prominent.

Happy Marketer

Happy Marketer was founded in 2009. This company specialises in SEO, social media marketing, inbound marketing, conversion optimisation, analytics and much more. It has certifications as well as partnership arrangements with several big players such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and InMobi.

WE! Interactive

WE! Interactive was founded in 2009. This company specialises in digital, social, and print. Their clients include companies such as Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and Singapore Airlines.


Foolproof was founded in 2002. This company specialises in Design Research, UX Strategy, Interaction Design, and Experience design. They have worked with Hyundai, Suzuki, and Elanco.

Vintedge Technologies Pte Ltd

Vintedge Technologies Pte Ltd was founded in 2001. This company specialises in Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, and more. They have worked with companies such as Cannon, Pizza Hut, and Honeywell.

Dentsu Media Singapore

Dentsu Singapore was founded in 1994. This company specialises in Creative Development, Sales Promotion, Strategic Planning and more. It has worked with companies like Cannon and has been consistently ranked in the top 10 advertising agencies in the country.


MediaOne for Digital Marketing  

MediaOne, established in 2008, is the #1 digital marketing agency in Singapore. This company has worked with over 1000 SME & MNC clients, and currently has well over 500 active clients. They are recognised by both local and international certifications as well as awards bodies such as TOPSEOs, ISO 9001 and PSME500. They specialise in SEO, search engine marketing, social media marketing and much more. It has worked with companies like Singtel, Changi Airport Singapore, and Fuji Xerox.

What sets MediaOne apart from the rest is that it’s one of the few digital marketing agencies that is built on a foundation of white hat SEO. Though these particular methods are considered to be time-consuming and resource-intensive, MediaOne genuinely wants what’s best for our client and maintains its commitment to white hat SEO strategies. In fact, they say that it’s hardwired into their DNA.

In keeping with the white hat SEO methods, the company prides itself on its transparency–only using marketing tactics that have been tried, tested and shown repeatedly effective. And clients are treated to some of the best 24/7 real-time client reporting in the industry. Easily track your SEO progress at any time. Whether you’re interested in the overall progress of your campaigns and would like to get a little constructive feedback, the client is in control.

MediaOne specialises focus much of its time on targeting human audiences and search engine algorithms. And they do all of this non-aggressively and according to Google’s strict guidelines and search engine algorithm updates. They are about providing the safest choice for companies who need robust rankings and getting your lasting results without your being banned from the search engines.

Entrepreneurs who are interested in getting an edge on the competition and growing their business must constantly work towards obtaining the top spot in the search engine results. MediaOne helps their clients get there. Not do they get organic visibility but they also get higher conversion rates, up to 500%!

Even after a decade of experience, MediaOne continues to be the trailblazer in the digital marketing industry. This company’s dedication to quality is what makes them a leading digital marketing agency in Singapore. And they are more than worth trying out!

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.

April 01, 2018

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