Singapore has one of the biggest gaps globally between digital media spend and consumption

Singapore's dominant medium

Singapore’s dominant medium

Singapore has one of biggest gaps globally between the amount of time people spend using digital devices and the amount advertisers actually spend on digital platforms.

A report by Datalicious and Econsultancy has found that while advertisers in Singapore are massively overspending on print, which takes 42% ad share but only 10% of Singaporeans’ media consumption time, they are underspending on digital, which is estimated to take just 13% of a total ad market worth US1.6bn.

Singapore media time Vs media spend

Media spend Vs media consumption in Singapore, source: Datalicious, Econsultancy

Advertisers are also underspending on television (by 3%) compared to the time Singaporeans are spending with the medium, the study found. They are also underspending on radio (by 14%) but overspending on print by 32%.

The 13% spend on digital figure is considerably bigger than an estimate made by the chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Singapore, Tobias Wilson, who said in an interview with Mumbrella in December last year that digital spend in Singapore makes up 8% of the total. At an event a month ago, Wilson said digital’s share was closer to 10%.

Digital’s share of spend in Singapore compares to just 11% in India, 27% in the US, 38% in the UK and 43% in Australia and New Zealand, the report has found. The US is the only market in the report where advertisers are believed to be underspending on offline media.

Media budgets compared

Legacy systems and siloed department structures in agencies are the two most common reasons for not spending more on digital channels in Singapore, the study suggested.

Singapore is one of just a few markets where even internet giants such as Google have not made the inroads into the advertising market that they have elsewhere, because of the dominance of domestic players Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp.

Christian Bartens, CEO and founder of Datalicious, commented that the slow conversion to digital will come at the expense of marketing efficiency.

“Singaporeans are spending 38% of their media time online, but the spend commitment falls a long way short of this. It’s a curious finding in a nation which is a rapid adopter of technology to see a more traditional approach to media spend,” he said.

“I expect with greater adoption of sophisticated attribution methodologies marketers will be able to see where success is coming from and adopt a more balanced approach to media planning,” he said.

The survey found, however, a strong interest in mobile marketing in Singapore combined with concern that the medium will prove to be effective.

62% of respondents said they expect to increase their spending commitment to mobile. But as one respondent said: “There comes a point when the customer is looking at Facebook on a tiny screen without the sound up and you have to ask – are they getting an experience on mobile or not?”


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