An outlook of Mobile App Advertising in the Southeast Asia Market of Q4 2020

6 min readJan 25, 2021

In Q4 2020, what are the updates of Mobile Advertising in the Southeast Asia market of a large number of mobile game players? App Growing Global published “Outlook of Mobile App Advertising in Southeast Asia Market of Q4 2020” with global advertising data from October 1 to November 31, 2020, covering 19 global mobile advertising platforms including Facebook, Admob, YouTube, Unity, Line Japan, and Twitter.

1. The Overall Advertising Trends in Southeast Asia

In Q4, there was a slight increase in the number of non-gaming apps, but it was similar to the proportion of Q3. In terms of overall ads, non-gaming apps accounted for the majority in Q4, an increase of 6% for a quarter.

In mobile games, RPG and strategy games are worthy of attention. Both amounts of advertising declined. RPG slightly decreased by 6.95%, and the strategy game went down 15.74%. The fluctuation of the rest type of games was similar to last quarter.

In non-gaming apps, photo & video apps increased apparently in Q4, going up 83.03%. Shopping apps had the biggest drop (52.13%.).

One of the most prominent apps is“SnackVideo”, produced by Kwai Inc. which gained 200k amount of advertising in Q4. You will gain more insights into this app in the following part of“Top-advertising Apps & Creatives Strategy.”

2. Top-advertising Mobile Games & Creatives Strategy

2.1 Top Mobile Games

Korean simulation game“maybe: interactive stories” jumped to the top of the Hot-advertised Ranking of 50k+ amount of advertising in a quarter. Finding differences game “5 Differences Online” and UTA game “Mafia City” remained at the top 2&3.

The above chart shows that hero (aka “xianxia”) theme of RPG is very popular in Vietnam. Two of the new games were hero RPG “Tình Kiếm 3D” and “Thiên Ngoại Giang Hồ”, released by a local Vietnamese company. Compared to the last quarter, “Tình Kiếm 3D” was replaced by “Ngạo Kiếm 3D” in Q4.

It is worth mentioning that the trend of mobile games to some degree would affected by the culture of the gambling industry in Southeast Asia. The proportion of gambling games increased in Q4. Except “Cash Frenzy™ Casino”, two new slot machine mobile games “Double U casino” and “Slotomania” were in the Hot-advertised Ranking. Slotomania, released by Israeli board game tycoon Playtika, (acquired by Giant Interactive Group Inc.) has been profitable continuously and ranks at top 10 in the ranking of Google Play’s best-selling gambling games in Indonesia and Malaysia.

2.2 Top mobile games Creative

Game players in Southeast Asia prefer action games, RPG, etc. Due to geographical factors, people share a similar cultural background from East Asia. Game players are familiar and with three kingdoms(aka “sanguo”), hero theme (aka “wuxia”), and other similar games. Southeast Asia owns huge advantages for Chinese domestic game companies to target, especially core games. However, it’s worth noting that countries in Southeast Asia contain multiple languages, religions, and cultures., Localization is a key to market in different counties.

The following selected cases are from the hot Ad creative of Funtap. The creative shows that cool equipment and skills of the game can provide a better visual experience to appeal to downloads.

▲《Thiên Ngoại Giang Hồ》Ad Creative, Source:App Growing Global

Besides, players can choose multiple characters to play by showing different make-up and costume.

▲《Thiên Ngoại Giang Hồ》Ad Creative, Source:App Growing Global

Gambling games may also be one of the breakthroughs to export to Southeast Asia. According to the current top-advertising Ad creatives, in addition to the creation of “throwing gold coins wildly” with the joy of winning the lottery, it can also combine new elements to design games, which can improve players’ engagements of slot machine monotonous game.

The below ad of“Slotomania™ Free Slots” shows a combination of marbles, snakes ladders, and detective puzzle solving, which makes the game more diverse.

▲《Slotomania™ Free Slots》Ad Creative, Source:App Growing Global

3. Top-advertising Apps & Creatives Strategy

3.1 Top-advertising Apps

In Q3&Q4, top-advertising apps in Southeast Asia mainly focused on personalization. Apps of tools and reading app were at the top 20, such as wallpaper app “3D Live Wallpaper”, phone accelerated App “One Booster”, and reading app “iReader”.

For domestic companies, apps of video, instant video, and live stream are major products to export to Southeast Asia. Kwai Inc and JOYY(“Bigo”) have been in top-advertising for Q3&4. “WeTV” of Tencent and“Uplive” of Asia Innovations Group Limited also joined the traffic competition in Q4.

Notably, the top app “SnackVideo” gained a huge amount of advertising in Indonesia, up to 250K, which is 5-times of Q3. Although recently the ranking of“SnakeVideo” decreased sightly in Google Play top free of Indonesia, it still shortlisted in the top 10 for two consecutive months.

3.2 Top Non-gaming Apps Creative

When the “SnackVideo” was released in Indonesia, in addition to using fun video with singing and dancing in the creative, it shows respect to local culture in its ads. For example, the video below expresses the expectations of local people for a better life and conforms to the local beliefs The content greatly improves the users’ acceptance of the ad which is the one of localized strategies of the “snackVideo”.

In contrast, “Bigo live” used images and videos as the main materials in creatives. The contents of hot girls, real-time social interaction increasingly became its strategy for getting more downloads.

4. Suggestions on Ad Creative in Southeast Asia

1. Although English is a common language in Southeast Asia, it is not 100% applied in the region. Therefore, game manufacturers should consider language localization.

2. The self-made ability of local IP creation is relatively weak in Southeast Asia. The region is deeply influenced by the culture of China, Japan, and Korea as well as its art style. Besides, influenced by Buddhism, Thailand aesthetically prefers glittering elements. Meanwhile, as the number of global female players is growing rapidly, the aesthetic needs of female players should be considered in the art style of creatives.

3. Pay attention to modifying the marketing strategy and strengthen the review of creative details, especially for the diversity of religions, and avoid mischief.

More intelligence in the advertising market can be found on the official website of App Growing Global.

*The above-related advertising materials are sourced from App Growing Global, which is only used for research and analysis. All Rights Reserved.




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