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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Germany’s Hubert Burda Media to fix Southeast Asia’s series B funding gap

What is Hubert Burda? The print and online media company employs over 10,000 people globally and reported a revenue of $2.35 billion in 2015.

The firm’s investment arm, Burda Principal Investments, has started a dedicated investment team in Singapore.

The company’s priority is to foster more successful exits for startups in the region.

Deal sizes will be flexible but the company is looking for an average of US$5 million per deal. So far, BPI’s investments in Southeast Asia haven’t focused on specific verticals, but will focus on the B2C segment.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Android users, you can now send and request money via Gmail

Users of the Gmail app on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap.

Source: Techcrunch

The user experience has been designed to make exchanging money as easy as attaching a file

The entire experience takes place on the Gmail app, and the user can simply tap the attachment icon, choose either “send” or “request” money. A pop-up window appears and the user can input the amount, add a note and simply press send.

This could be useful for those times where the money is already a topic of an email conversation, for example, planning a vacation. Currently available only in the US.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Another US brick and mortar staple feels the ecommerce effect

It’s currently tough times for Urban Outfitters. Amid a bout of sales turmoil, the company has been removed from the stock market index, S&P 500. Last week, Urban Outfitters released a disappointing quarterly earnings report.

Lagging sales at brick and mortar locations have prompted Urban Outfitters to focus more and more on online retailing.

Sales over the internet increased at a double-digit pace last quarter, but that news isn’t actually as good as it sounds. High delivery expenses and other logistical costs have eaten into the company’s profits.

Slumping store sales, a problem that retailers in general are dealing with, seem to be causing the company’s biggest problems.

Read the rest of the story here.

As email marketing is essential for businesses to continue growth and more than half of marketers in Southeast Asia are using some form of automation such as email triggering, it’s important to know what channels and platforms their customers in the region prefer.

A recent survey by JakPat, one of Indonesia’s open survey platforms, revealed that Gmail by Google is the leading email service in Indonesia used by 96% of respondents followed by Yahoo!Mail with 56% users.

The JakPat survey showed majority of 987 respondents use two or more email accounts, up to as many as five, but most respondents claim using Gmail the most. 9% of respondents use email domains given by the workplace or university, 8% use Outlook and 4% use iCloud email service.

Number of email accounts Indonesians use

Source: JakPat, Which and Why: E-mail Service and Web Browser of Choice, Jan 19, 2017, n=987 respondents who use email aged 16-39

The popularity of Gmail in Indonesia offers several benefits for ecommerce marketers. First, businesses can use Gmail ads to advertise to Gmail users at the top of their inboxes.

The interactive ads look like normal emails and have responsive designs, making it great for viewing ads on mobile phones.

 

The Gmail ads come in several formats – a single image or catalogue view – offering businesses options to be creative about the message they want to communicate to their consumers.

 

The inbox ads also offer a range of targeting options – affinity segments, topics, interests and targeting users who have received emails containing contextual keywords. It also allows targeting based on the domain of emails, including that of competitors’.

Secondly, Gmail made image loading safer a few years back meaning that images in emails are displayed by default and users are able to see the rich photos or promotions. Note, there is still an option for users to disable images for incoming messages.

Ecommerce software platforms such as Shopify also offer several integrations with Gmail, for example, adding a customizable contact form to your online store.

While JakPat wanted to know if email usage habits differ among students and employees, it found no significant difference.

Two thirds of respondents named creating a social media or ecommerce user account as one of the key purposes to use email, second only to corresponding.

Among other reasons named for email usage are knowing notifications from actively used social media (44%) and receiving shopping promotions (31%).

Some other behaviors to take note of:

  • 81% of respondents use a mobile phone to check a new email while only 19% use a computer and of those who check email on their phones, 86% do it via an application.
  • 81% of respondents who use email have allowed a notification and 31% open the inbox to check when a notification about a new email pops up.
  • Half of respondents check their email two and more times a day, 13% do it once a day.

The JakPat data on email usage frequency contradicts the findings from the latest Digital In 2017 report, according to which only 14% of respondents in Indonesia check their emails weekly. The significant differences might be explained by different survey methodologies, including demographics and geographical dispersion.

The overwhelming support for Gmail, which is used not only as a private email service, but also powers business correspondence most likely stands true.

Businesses and digital agencies should keep up to date with new Google features that will allow them to optimize their marketing efforts such as Gmail ads to best communicate with their Southeast Asian audience.