Digital media spending predicted to increase 11% in 2021
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Digital media spending predicted to increase 11% in 2021

Despite the economic slowdown, digital media spending is expected to surge 11% this year to 23.3 billion baht, with e-commerce platforms at the forefront of the outlay, according to GroupM, a media investment firm.

"Although the pandemic caused budget constraints, brands continue to spend on digital media to boost their sales opportunities," Siwat Chawareewong, chief executive of GroupM Thailand, said at the virtual seminar "GroupM Focal 2021".

The pandemic is shifting media spending towards digital channels, which will become more important in line with people's lifestyles, said Mr Siwat.

Citing research from Digital Advertising Agency of Thailand, he said the country's media spending is estimated to grow 11% this year, an increase from the 8% uptick predicted earlier.

Spending in the first six months reached 11.7 billion baht, with another 11.5 billion expected in the second half, said Mr Siwat.

The automotive sector is projected to be the biggest digital media spender this year at 2.7 billion baht, followed by non-alcoholic beverages at 2.6 billion, skin care at 2.2 billion, communication at 2.1 billion and dairy products at 1.8 billion.

Digital media spending by non-alcoholic beverage and dairy product brands rose markedly from last year as they move away from traditional media, driven by the lockdown, to online channels, he said.

Digital media will become a priority for advertisers to create brand awareness, with the rise of e-commerce helping to drive consumer engagement and sales via online channels, said Mr Siwat.

Brands continue to capitalise on the power of e-commerce to capture more customers this year, using data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to reach their customer targets and increase sales growth, he said.

E-commerce and marketplace channels are expected to rise to the top for digital media spending in the second half this year, up from fourth in the first half of 2020.

Facebook is expected to be No.2 in digital ad spending in the second half this year, the same position as the first half of 2020, said Mr Siwat. YouTube is projected to come in third in the second half, down from No.1 in the first half of 2020.

"AI will be an important tool to help media create content that suits users' need and trends," he said.

Natha Piyavirojsthien, director for strategic planning at media agency Mindshare Thailand, said during the pandemic people are trying to find freedom by shopping or travelling to nearby destinations, and this is an opportunity for brands to tap into, including e-commerce.

She was speaking on a session titled "Pandemic Disruption: The changing consumer trajectories".

Ms Natha said the pandemic somehow improved consumers' mental strength, allowing them to thrive through volatility. Consumer are more likely to act out if they see unfair treatment, particularly young consumers who value their individual voices, she said. Consumers will also pay more attention to environmental protection, said Ms Natha.

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