Social media use in Thailand continues to grow, with 80% of connected consumers using social media or instant messaging platforms on a daily basis. The online experience is dominated by LINE, with 92% of connected consumers using the Japanese platform, according to Connected Life, the latest study of over 70,000 consumers from global research consultancy Kantar TNS.
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Developments in mobile technology are a clear driver, with the number of smartphones users in Thailand now numbering 20 million , and increasingly powerful smartphone cameras giving connected users the opportunity to share updates with friends and followers instantly. For many mobile-first consumers in the country, social media is the totality of the web experience as is the main access point for the internet, causing a rapid uptake of new channels as they explore the social ecosystem.
However, despite LINE’s far-reaching influence over Thai internet users, global platforms continue to attract a substantial user base, with 86% of connected consumers using Facebook, 31% using Instagram, 16% using Twitter and 6% using emerging platform Snapchat. The Connected Life results showed that on average, connected consumers use 5.6 social media or instant messaging platforms, highlighting that other channels still have a role to play in providing brands with a variety of ways to connect with consumers, beyond the LINE ecosystem.
For example, the highly-curated Instagram network is skewed towards the younger generation, with 16 – 24 year olds making up more than half (59%) of Instagram users in Thailand providing strong opportunities to connect with younger audiences. The in-the-moment platform Snapchat is less prevalent, attracting only 6% of all internet users in Thailand, but this has increased from 1% in 2015, showing modest growth.
The success of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to engage consumers. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape. The Connected Life results reveal that a quarter (27%) of connected consumers in Thailand ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive, as 29% already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.
Arpapat Boonrod, Ph.D., CEO Thailand, Kantar - Insights, said:
“As brands race to actively engage with connected consumers, they risk being seen as invasive. This results in either being ignored or rejected. Our study shows that this is becoming a key issue for brands in Thailand. It’s now essential for brands to focus on the impact rather than just the reach. The ability of brands to grab attention, to make an impression on Thai consumers, and to stand out from the crowd is more important than ever before if they want to meaningfully connect.”
The Kantar TNS study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. Just under half (48%) of online 16 – 24 year olds in Thailand say they trust what other people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV adverts. Again, younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon begin referring to social media influencers for inspiration and information.
Zoë Lawrence, APAC Digital Director at Kantar TNS, said:
“It’s clear that LINE dominates the social media landscape in Thailand, as the platform has been very successful in creating an ecosystem of apps that deliver various consumer needs – from photo sharing to games and music. However, it’s important not to forget the other platforms in use that can deliver an effective and targeted strategy. The adoption of additional platforms amongst Thais is incremental, and so brands need to see these channels as multiple new ways to engage with consumer, and not defer to LINE for every campaign.”
“What’s crucial is that brands no longer look at social channels as blank media space for advertising. The results show that consumers are demanding content that is integrated seamlessly into the platform, enhancing rather than interrupting the use of it. To do this successfully, it’s essential to maintain the brand values of the platform being used. Brands need to approach each platform individually to ensure the content created mixes seamlessly into the user-generated feed and maintains their own integrity.”
About Connected Life
Connected Life is a leading global study of the digital attitudes and behaviours of 70,000 internet users across 57 countries. It uses comprehensive analysis of how connectivity changes people’s behaviour to address the big challenges for marketers. It does so by looking in detail at consumers, connections, content and commerce, providing the strategic guidance needed to keep, engage and influence the people that matter.
The fieldwork was undertaken in all markets between June and September 2016. Instagram and Snapchat usage measured by those who identified as using platform at all (daily, weekly, monthly or less often).
For further information, visit the Connected Life page.
About Kantar TNS
Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 80 countries. We provide actionable insights to help companies make impactful decisions and drive growth.
With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer relationships we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business.
We are part of Kantar, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies.
Find out more at Kantar TNS
Kantar is one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Working together across the whole spectrum of research and consulting disciplines, its specialist brands, employing 30,000 people, provide inspirational insights and business strategies for clients in 100 countries. Kantar is part of WPP and its services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.