Cultural nuance and understanding can provide an opportunity to stand apart in the mobile app industry.
Establishing a mobile presence has become an integral factor for business success in today’s dynamic market. Globally, apps account for over 80 percent of mobile time and with app downloads predicted to grow to well over 250 billion downloads by 2022, it is clear to see where the opportunity lies for marketers to grow and consolidate their user base, particularly in Southeast Asia where 350 million internet users spend more time on mobile than any other market.
To succeed, businesses and independent app developers should go beyond just launching an app and increasing downloads. They need to own its entire life cycle — including user engagement and retention.
One important aspect of engagement is to seize the opportunities that come once in a year. The festive month of Ramadan, in this sense, is perhaps the ticket to making your app stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Nearly 250 million people will be celebrating Ramadan across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The potential impact of Ramadan on businesses is, therefore, undeniable.
As we know, consumers and businesses alike are influenced by their surroundings and habits. It’s no surprise that just like Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the United States, or Boxing Day in England, Ramadan makes a serious impact on Southeast Asian businesses.
Over the past decade, this sacred time of fasting and prayer has called for a shift in the digital realm. Users are increasingly turning to their phones for shopping, information or diversion, profoundly impacting how app marketers are approaching their mobile strategies and campaigns around this festive season.
Ramadan this year, will start on the evening of Sunday, 6 May and end on the evening of Tuesday, 5 June. This leaves businesses with a very short window to further plan their marketing activities for this period.
Here are the top three key pointers to ensure that mobile-first businesses reach the right audience with the right messaging this Ramadan season.
1. Benefiting from the 13th Month Salary Allowance
Businesses should consider allocating more of their Ramadan campaign budget spend to Indonesia, as the largest economy in Southeast Asia has been a top performer over the past few years. Besides the country’s strong economic growth in 2018, smartphone penetration has been steadily on the rise, growing from 24 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2018.
The most significant opportunity for businesses comes from a steady increase in the purchasing power of their users in Indonesia during this period.
“Tunjangan Hari Raya” (THR) translated to “Religious Holiday Allowance” is commonly known as the 13th salary, and is usually given two weeks before Eid. This additional “month’s salary” provides app users with the additional boost in buying power, which can in many cases translate into more in-app purchases.
While current data shows that Ramadan observers tend to spend this disposable income on new clothes, gadgets grooming and gifting, perhaps there’s more than can be done outside the typical habits.
With so many transactions taking place over this festive period, marketers who get their messaging right will be able to capitalise on this massive opportunity and direct shoppers and browsers alike to their app.
2. The Right Message at the Right Time of the Day
To campaign more effectively during Ramadan, businesses should take the opportunity to secure a better understanding of the holiday itself. Appreciating the nuances and traditions of different observances can make all the difference.
Whether it’s rising for pre-dawn Sahur, fasting through the lunch hours or winding down after Buka Puasa (breaking the fast), marketers can learn the times of day in which they should avoid pushing alerts for offers and discounts to their audiences, and which other times would boost app opens and revenues.
A recent report from AppsFlyer indicates that for most app categories, the hours between 3 am to 6 am before Sahur are when festival observers tend to be most active online and make the most app purchases. Other peak periods include lunch hours and evenings, after Buka Puasa.
On the other hand, after observers leave work from 4 pm to 8 pm, apps register fewer opens and purchases, compared to other periods in the year. During these hours, in fact, many consumers are commuting in traffic or preparing for Buka Puasa.
3. Localisation is More Than Just Translation
Localisation does not only refer to the local user interface but also covers marketing content. Advertisements and articles created in one geography can be interpreted differently in another.
Indonesia and Malaysia have many regional dialects and languages, but more importantly, each country has a unique culture that should be respected and reflected in any marketing strategy. Businesses should then ensure that they take into account the cultural differences at the social, organisational, and individual levels.
For instance, Mudik is the tradition of returning home to celebrate with family and is observed across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is also commonly known as ‘Pulang Kampung’ in Indonesia and ‘Balik Kampung’ in Malaysia and Singapore.
This period sees a substantial rise in travel spending on flight and train tickets, car rentals, and accommodation. Mudik presents an opportunity for marketers to personalise their messages based on their customer profile, which includes information about the user’s hometown and place of work, language, and personal preferences.
In conclusion, businesses should be spending substantial portions of their budgets on Ramadan, when supported by strong data recording purchasing and engagement patterns.
As the opportunity to re-plan marketing campaigns within the four weeks of Ramadan is small, marketing campaigns should be devised in a lean way, by testing and iterating efforts throughout this period.
Furthermore, by taking advantage of specific seasonal occasions, such as Indonesia’s 13 Month’s salary and Pulang Kampung, and targeting users with localised content at specific times of the day, app marketers will be able to tap into unexpected revenue sources and boost user retention.