HONG KONG: Context has always been a vital factor in content marketing but marketers face an increasingly difficult task in getting this right at multiple levels in the Asia Pacific region.

"Effective content is a cocktail of geography, platform, industry and device," according to Henry Wood, APAC lead/Studio D at Waggener Edstrom Communications.

His comments came as the communications agency published a new report, Content Matters: The Impact of Brand Storytelling Online in 2015, based on a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in nine markets – Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and South Korea – and covering nine industries.

This found that people across the region – particularly in the Philippines, India and China – were more likely than not to follow a brand on social media, and while most were there primarily for the promotions and discounts, this wasn't true in every case, with subsequent implications for the design of campaigns.

Thus, for example, access to discounts was the main reason to follow a brand in Hong Kong (46%), the Philippines (40%), Indonesia (38%), China (37%), Malaysia (36%), South Korea (35%), Singapore (33%) and Australia (31%). In India, however, discounts (27%) took second place to general news about the brand (29%).

An interest in general news was a consistent feature – only Hong Kongers did not cite it among their top three reasons for following a brand. And few consumers felt the need for exclusive content – this sentiment was at its highest among Malaysian consumers, 20% of whom referred to this.

Other reasons for following a brand included customer service, important in India (23%), Indonesia (22%), Singapore (22%) and South Korea (15%), and general inquiries, mentioned in Hong Kong (24%) and the Philippines (30%). Almost one quarter of those in China and Hong Kong also said they simply loved the brand.

The report further noted that while Facebook and WhatsApp were the dominant networks in the regions, the third most-preferred social network was different in almost every market.

"Singapore consumers are hot for Instagram, Indonesians love to tweet, and China is bonding via WeChat," said Waggener Edstrom.

More differences emerged as regards which channels influenced consumers. In South Korea, for example, regardless of industry, blogs dominated purchasing decisions, while in the Philippines, that role fell to social media.

Data sourced from Waggoner Edstrom Communications; additional content by Warc staff