Marketing Analytics Firm Snaps Up Japanese Influencer Platform; 'Smart' Billboard Lights Up in AU

In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire sums up key industry updates on ad tech from around the Asia-Pacific region – and in this edition: Marketing analytics firm snaps up Japanese influencer platform; VMO lights up ‘smart’ billboard in AU; Publicis sees drop in APAC growth; Vietnamese agency offers free access to Decision Lab; Dentsu buys in South Africa & creates JV in Russia; and Dentsu looks to IndoChina for growth.

Marketing analytics firm snaps up Japanese influencer platform

Ginzamarkets has unveiled plans to acquire Tokyo-based influencer marketing platform, Withfluence.

The parent company of SEO and content marketing analytics platform GinzaMetrics said the acquisition would beef up its marketing offerings to include amplification, analysis, and optimisation.

GinzaMetrics CEO Ray Grieselhuber said: “Content promotion is a top priority for many of our customers and is one of our six key initiatives in our platform offerings. This acquisition adds a great product to our technology base and builds on big plans to expand out the data and markets that we can serve.

“Additionally, we see an important opportunity in marketers finally having the insights and awareness to move beyond siloed marketing operations”, Grieselhuber said.

The vendor further noted that the SEO, content marketing, and influencer marketing industries, amongst others, were converging and changing the way marketers and consumers interacted.

GinzaMetrics’ president and COO Erin Acheson added that simply increasing budget and adding additional tools were not sufficient for marketers to engage with the right audience, at the right time.

Acheson pointed to the need for tools that helped create content, target specific audiences, optimise across channels, and search, as well as amplify content.

According to Grieselhuber, Withfluence’s network influencers spanned Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and other Asian markets. With the merger, he added, it was targeting to extend this to other global markets such as North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

VMO lights up ‘smart’ billboard in AU

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) vendor VMO has unveiled a large-format digital outdoor billboard that is equipped with AMD (audience measurement device) capabilities.

Facing Surfers Paradise Boulevard, the ‘smart’ outdoor screen tapped AMD technology to measure audience engagement with VMO’s real-time measurement system, called ‘DART’ (digital outdoor audience in real time).

The screen measures six metres wide and four metres high, and is located on the façade of the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre.

Noting that it would be able to deliver “real-time accountability” for roadside clients, VMO’s managing director Anthony Deeble said: “VMO is testing Vehicle Recognition Technology (VRT), [which] will give us the capacity to recognise the make, model, and year of oncoming vehicles – leading to an enormous opportunity for advertisers.”

The delivery of real-time audience insights also marked a shift away from historical data in OOH, according to VMO. Deeble noted: “This is the new era of outdoor screens. Soon, historical data will no longer be acceptable for large-format outdoor.”

The digital billboard would anonymously measure live pedestrian traffic and use facial recognition to detect people in vehicles.

Publicis sees drop in APAC growth

Publicis Groupe has recorded a 1% drop in revenue and 2% dip in organic growth for Asia-Pacific over the first nine months this year.

China grew just 0.4% due to “difficulties” it faced at a specific entity that was under strategic review, said the French ad and media agency, but did not disclose further details.

Business in Singapore, however, clocked a 9.5% growth, while India grew 0.4%, 13%, and 3.9% over the first three quarters, consecutively.

Across the globe, Publicis said its revenue dropped 2.2% year-on-year to €2.26bn (£2.03bn) in the third quarter. Organic growth clocked at 1.2%, compared to 0.8% in the second quarter, it said, attributing the boost to accounts gained over the quarter including Walmart, Motorola, and Lowe’s.

Arthur Sadoun, Publicis’ CEO and chairman, said: “Over the course of the [third quarter], the financial markets were exposed to a negative news flow regarding our industry. But, the truth is, there is nothing new there. We all know that our industry is facing many challenges. Consumer behaviour is changing, the media landscape is being disrupted, we are confronted with new competition, and our clients have been facing challenges around growth, cost, and brand trust challenges for years.

“For the last four months, we have been accelerating the execution of our plan by ‎shifting our model ‎from a communications business to a transformation partner by ‎building our organisation as a platform and putting our people first”, Sadoun said. “We are beginning to see the fruits of these efforts, but we know we are only in the middle of our transformation journey, as it is a profound change, in a highly volatile market.”

Vietnamese agency offers free access to Decision Lab

Vivid Ad Solutions has inked a partnership that offers its customers free access to Decision Lab’s brand measurement tool, Effect Lab.

The Vietnamese digital ad agency said “eligible clients” would be able to tap Effect Lab for insights on how their campaigns were affecting the brand. It underscored the need to move away from click-based measures to access brand impact. Instead, marketers should measure reach and frequency, increases in brand awareness, as well as purchase intent in assessing brand impact.

Vivid Ad Solutions CEO Thanh Nguyen said: “We optimise and enhance marketing campaigns by delivering iTVCs (internet TV content) to the right audience via the most effective and cost-efficient media mix.

“We know we deliver higher ROI than most networks, but we want our clients to see it for themselves”, Nguyen said. “That’s why we have entered into the partnership with Decision Lab to provide state-of-the-art third-party measurement.”

Decision Lab’s founder Aske Østergård added: “Going beyond traditional metrics, such as impressions, clicks, frequency, and reach to measure impact and effect on consumers’ perception is crucial for digital branding campaigns.”

Dentsu buys in South Africa, creates JV in Russia

Dentsu Aegis Network says it is buying up a majority stake in South African creative agency, FoxP2 Holdings.

With offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, FoxP2 offers a range of creative services, including design and digital. Founded in 2005, the agency currently has 83 employees.

The acquisition was still subject to regulatory approval, according to Dentsu, which did not disclose financial details in the deal.

The agency group said South Africa was projected to see a 5% year-on-year growth in ad spending this year and another 5.3% growth next year.

In a separate announcement, Dentsu Aegis Network said it also set up a joint venture with Moscow-based media agency, People & Screens.

Founded in October 2015, the Russian firm currently employs 27 executives in sales, account management, media planning, mobile trading, data analytics, and other backoffice functions. It was targeting to become a “full-service agency for app economy” brands, which communicated with mobile consumers and primarily via mobile apps.

Focused on mobile display, mobile search, and TV advertising, People & Screens would boost Dentsu’s mobile capabilities in Russia and Russian-speaking regions, said the Japanese agency group.

Sanjay Bhasin, IndoChina CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network

Dentsu looks to IndoChina for growth

Apart from acquiring companies, Dentsu Aegis Network also has sets its sights on Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar as the next growth cluster, appointing a CEO to lead its expansion plans for the region.

Sanjay Bhasin would assume the newly created role for IndoChina from January 2018, to be based in Vietnam. Current CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Vietnam, Toshinori Aoki, was scheduled to return to Tokyo after leading the local business for seven years.

As IndoChina CEO, Bhasin would be responsible for driving the Japanese agency group’s brand and operations for the region, reporting directly to Southeast Asia CEO Dick van Motman.

“We are looking to bring in fresh talent to further evolve the business and tap into the growth that is now occurring across the IndoChina region”, said van Motman. “Sanjay brings a great breadth of experience, a client-centric and solution-based approach, and a deep appreciation for what creates consumer engagement in this day and age.”