Singapore is an economic superpower. The growth of this small island city-state has been quite the tale too. Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has grown in stature and is now one of the most developed countries in the world. Singapore is a well-known financial and trading hub, and its strategic location has made it an important spoke in the global trading ecosystem.
Singapore is an attractive destination for businesses too. The liberal tax policies and a high degree of regulation and enforcement make it an ideal location. Singapore also ranks first globally for the ease of doing business rankings. Additionally, there are a lot of exemptions for foreign businesses and foreign earnings in Singapore. Global businesses have been bullish about Singapore for a while now and the attractiveness as an investment destination is also increasing.
Singapore boasts of an internet penetration rate of around 90%, translating to about 5.29 million internet users. This is one of the highest Internet penetration rates globally. In terms of social media, there are 4.96 million users across all platforms - almost 84% of the population. This also translates into revenue numbers for internet-based businesses like e-commerce. The e-commerce market is worth USD 2793 million.
Facebook is the leading social media platform in use with 4.45 million active users. Like in most geographies, Videos and Photos see the most engagement on Facebook. 34% of Singaporeans also use Instagram, and 47.3% of the population use LinkedIn. Whatsapp is also a key app in Singapore. Ever since the government adopting Whatsapp as a rapid information sharing system in 2019, Whatsapp is the most popular social media app in Singapore.
Digital Ad spends in Singapore has been growing over the past few years. 2020 saw a 12% growth in digital ad spends over 2019. The digital advertising market is projected to reach \$965 million in 2021. The majority of the growth in digital advertising has come from social media campaigns, search, and digital video campaigns. These are the hot favorites when it comes to digital marketers in Singapore.
If you see Singapore as a market that is in your plans for the future, there are certain things you should keep in mind. Here are a few noteworthy aspects.
An English-Speaking Audience
English is the most prominent language, owing to its status as lingua franca. Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil are the other languages that are commonly spoken. English is the language that is used across Law, Education, Government, and Business. Most Singaporeans are bilingual with English and their mother tongue.
Having an English-speaking audience makes your job easier. You can use most of your English language content as-is. This includes your blogs as well as your ads and other digital assets. One important thing to note is to tweak the content for authenticity using Singlish (Singaporean English) depending on your target demographic. You can further localize your content to other languages depending on your target audience.
A Very High CPC Market
Singapore has a higher CPC than other Southeast Asian countries, especially because of its much higher per capita disposable income. Though this is not as high as in the US, the costs are still significant for businesses looking to run PPC campaigns. There are 2 main implications of this for digital marketers.
Organic Traffic is Critical
A higher CPC means you may not be able to rely on such ads for your web traffic. You will have to attract organic traffic through smart SEO strategies and a content-led approach, Invest in creating content that is locally relevant. This niche content may have a higher success rate than CPC ads. Follow the principles of conversion-oriented content marketing to ensure that you make the most of the organic traffic you receive.
Consistently creating good quality content that provides your target audience with actionable insights is the winning strategy almost anywhere. Businesses will have to focus on this aspect slightly more for sustainable results.
Well Optimized Campaigns
Even if you decide to invest in PPC marketing, you will have to ensure that your campaign and your landing pages are properly optimized to maximize conversions. The cost of acquisition of a customer via PPC ads would be considerable and so you can’t miss out on the leads you get. Working with an agency will be optimal as they will bring their expertise in building and running efficient campaigns.
Being Sensible About Culture and Laws
Singapore is known for its law enforcement and compliance. This has an impact on how you run your business and what products to promote. You will have to take the help of local legal experts before you set up and run your business or promote certain products.
You will have to understand the intricacies of both trade and business laws clearly to avoid punitive action. To take an example, the sale of cannabis beyond a certain threshold carries the death penalty.
YouTube and WhatsApp are Key Draws
If you are looking at channels that you can use to reach and engage your audience, YouTube and Whatsapp should be on your list. Both YouTube and Whatsapp are used by more than 80% of the population of Singapore.
Digital Video is a great tool for your content. Singaporeans spend almost 2 hours a day on average watching online videos. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, all are quite popular. So focusing on video content that can be shared across multiple platforms. This will help you engage a wider audience. In a study, 72% of marketers said they were able to improve their online conversions using videos in their digital marketing strategy.
Whatsapp is another important app to focus your attention on. Whatsapp tops the charts when it comes to the number of downloads as well as the number of daily active users. Whatsapp plays a key role in online communication in Singapore. You can look at innovative Whatsapp promotion approaches to engage your audience. Local brands for instance have a business WhatsApp account that is automated or manned by a sales representative. You can directly interact with this account to query, consult, or address grievances. You can use this business account as an inbound tool by adding messaging on Whatsapp as the CTA. You can also use WhatsApp to share content and videos with the audience after getting proper permissions.
Singapore is a vibrant, thriving economy with much to offer. Though limited by the constraints of being an island city-state, Singapore performs admirably as an economy no matter which metrics you consider. Singapore is positioning itself attractively for businesses and the general environment is very business-friendly. It is also a country with a high level of literacy both digital and otherwise.
All these factors make Singapore a great place for your digital marketing adventure. As is the case with most places, pay attention to the cultural and legal aspects when you set out to do anything. Following the basic principles of conversion-oriented digital marketing will give you huge rewards in Singapore!
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.