Google targets savvy SMEs

Google targets savvy SMEs

Digital marketing offers big opportunity

Google country head Ben King says Thailand is a mobile-first country. (Photo supplied by the company)
Google country head Ben King says Thailand is a mobile-first country. (Photo supplied by the company)

The new head of Google Thailand has outlined four strategic directions for its online advertising service in a market worth 10 billion baht last year.

"We want to bring more Thais and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online to benefit from the digital marketing opportunity," said Ben King, 32, country head of Google Thailand.

In 2015, Thailand ranked in the top 10 countries for the amount of YouTube viewing time, while Bangkok was ranked in the world's top 10 cities.

YouTube viewing time in Thailand last year increased by 70% from 2014.

"Thailand is a mobile-first country where people use mobile devices to connect to the internet," said Mr King, who took the top post at Google Thailand on Jan 4 after working for Google for 10 years in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Consumer Barometer, a research arm of Google, has found that Thailand is one of 21 countries where smartphone adoption is higher than PC adoption.

Thailand's mobile penetration stands at 64% of its population, up from 40% in 2014. In comparison, the mobile penetration rate in the US is 57%.

Mr King said his four strategies aim to enhance consumers' online experience, especially among new mobile users; cultivate local content; provide digital marketing courses for university students; and help SMEs to capitalise on the digital economy.

He said SMEs contribute up to 40% of the country's GDP. Some research has found that SMEs going online will have the capacity to generate 80% more revenue than traditional offline companies.

Google Thailand aims to increase the number of SMEs going online to 1 million over the next few years, up from 300,000 now.

Google is providing tools for SMEs with its Google My Business application that identifies them on Google Maps free of charge and with a free trial of AdWords, its advertising platform.

"We found that 60% of Thai online shoppers buy products and services via mobile phones, so it's important for companies to have a digital presence these days," Mr King said.

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