The B2B team talks to Steven King about the Facebook craze in Cambodia, and the relevance of other social media. Steven King is the General Manager at IMS Consulting Group, one of the country’s leading advertising agencies, offering services in media planning, branding, research and digital media monitoring. Having spent the past twelve years working in research, media and advertising, King has managed IMS since 2006.
B2B: What has changed in Cambodia to generate such a high level of technological advancement?
King: For many years Cambodia was stuck in a digital ice age with one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world but with the rapid growth of the telecom sector and the rollout of 3G and 4G mobile services the number of internet subscribers has grown from 320,190 in 2010 to an impressive 6,264,902 as of Q2 2015.
B2B: How does Facebook figure into the activities of Cambodian internet users?
King: The mobile telecom boom has fueled the equally impressive rise of Facebook as the most popular website and social network in Cambodia. The network had just 700,000 active Cambodian users at the end of 2012 but has increased in size by 100% each year since then and there are now over 2,800,000 active users as of October, 2015. What’s more is that this growth shows no signs of abating with both third party and Facebook’s official statistics showing around 100,000 new users signing up to the social network in Cambodia each month. The site’s popularity has also been confirmed by a recent media habits research study conducted by IMS Consulting Group with respondents ranking Facebook as the top website they access on a regular basis and accounting for over 65% of internet usage in the country.
B2B: What is the significance of Facebook’s dominance on the media scene?
King: With Cambodia’s population estimated at just 15,706,000 the penetration of Facebook now equals that of the country’s top rated TV stations yet offers local businesses the chance to reach and engage with a targeted, educated and upwardly mobile audience for a fraction of the cost. The fact that 89.3% of Cambodian Facebook users are aged between 18 and 34 is something that has not been missed by web-savvy businesses which have become increasingly active with dedicated Facebook Pages setup to promote their brands, products and services. The top five brand pages in Cambodia have on average around 1,700,000 fans each, many of which have been generated within just one or two years.
B2B: What benefits does Facebook offer as an advertising medium versus traditional media?
King: Facebook offers something that no other media platform in the world has – access to billions of people’s data. Whenever we want to run an advertising campaign we can target our audience by country, province, city, gender, age, relationship status and thousands of other factors. When you advertise on a popular medium like television you may reach millions of people but only a certain percentage will be relevant to your product or service whereas with Facebook we can automatically exclude non-relevant audiences before even launching a campaign. Even more useful is that we also have access to post-campaign data that allows us to specifically measure the result rates and many different types of metrics to evaluate the success, or areas for improvement, of each campaign.
B2B. Why are local Facebook users an attractive audience for Cambodian business?
King: Cambodian Facebook users are some of the most engaged and active in the world. They are twice more likely to like a business page or leave a comment promoting your brand than the average global user. Also, 92% of Cambodian’s access the site via mobile phones which indicates that not only are they tech savvy but that they can afford to pay anywhere from $80 to $800 for their devices. 57% or 1,596,000 access the site using Android smartphones while an impressive 27% or 756,000 use iOS devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad). These are people with enough disposable income to buy high quality smart devices so it stands to reason that they also have money available to spend on your company’s products and services.
B2B: What advice would you offer to a company or brand not yet on Facebook in Cambodia?
King: If your business or brand is not yet on Facebook then take the time to check how popular your competitor’s pages are – you might be surprised at the number of potential customers you have been missing out on. There are literally millions of potential customers just waiting to like and engage with your business on Facebook every hour of every day.
B2B. What should a company do to become successful in the Cambodian Facebook market?
King: Under no circumstances should you put your brand’s reputation into the hands of a $150 per month intern. To be successful and represent your company or brand professionally you should engage the services of an agency with an established track record in this market. A reputable agency should provide three things to assure you of their services: results, rationale and recommendations. If they have succeeded for other clients, have a strong strategy for building your fan base and clear recommendations about what to do and what not to do then it is worth a relatively small investment when compared to traditional advertising mediums. For under a thousand dollars per month you could be accessing a base of wealthy, middle class users with disposable income to spend with your company. You do not want to leave a bad impression from the first instance so you need to align yourself with an experienced agency in this field from the very beginning.