Here’s what you need to know today.

1. PayPal shares up 7% after better-than-expected earnings

PayPal, the payments company, posted first-quarter earnings results after the bell on Wednesday. After surpassing analyst estimates with an adjusted 44 cents per share, compared to the 41 cents that many were predicting.

PayPal also announced a $5 billion share repurchase program

PayPal says they added 6 million new accounts in the quarter, bringing the total to 203 million active users.Total payments volume for the company was $99 billion, in line with analyst expectations. This is up 23% from last year or 25%.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Line and Kakao among the top non-gaming apps that are making serious money

The share of revenue for non-game apps in app stores worldwide rose marginally from 15 percent in 2015 to 16 percent last year.

 Chat apps Line and Kakao – from Japan and South Korea respectively – topped the revenue list on Google Play. Tinder – the leader in dating apps from the US – came in third.
Apart from new ways of monetization, revenue growth for apps will come from the continuing rise in smartphone users from 2.6 billion currently to 3.6 billion in 2020.
More than a quarter of the next billion smartphone users will be from India, which overtook the US last year to be next only to China in number of users.
Read the rest of the story here.


3. Amazon’s newest product wants to judge your outfit

“Alexa, do these jeans make my butt look big?”

The release has been met with mixed responses.

No one really asked for this product, and fashion is one of the most unpredictable human behaviors on earth. Providing a fashion service is different to growing a fashion apparel business inside Amazon.

Smart home products are disrupting the home security market, and there is growing demand for products like smart locks and security cameras. The overall security solutions market is expected to grow to over $370 billion by 2022.

Read the rest of the story here.

Google’s Brand Team for Consumer Apps has released a report on the definition of “Cool” for Generation Z in the United States. Unironically, Google has named the report “It’s Lit”.

Cool is what these Post-Millennials – teenagers aged 13-17 – are paying attention to, it’s what gets them excited and what determines which brands they choose to spend money on. This new generation has gained media attention because of their influence as truly digital natives with high degree of brand awareness. They are ultimately the next wave of shoppers.

Gen Z has the power to define which business has the capacity to do well and which will slowly fall into irrelevancy.

There are approximately 60 million Gen Z teenagers in the United States, more than 25.9% of the country’s population. Collectively, their purchasing power is at $44 billion annually and could reach $200 billion if we factor in their impact on household purchases.

As the influence of the United States can be witnessed throughout Southeast Asia from music taste and fashion trends to dining choices, businesses should be aware of what’s factored as ‘cool’ in the west because it will very likely make its way east.

Pink represents female choice. Blue represents male choice. Source: It’s Lit report.

So what do these teens find cool?

“Cool” in Google terms means to bring joy or happiness and stands out from everything else.

According to 13-17 year old boys, they find: technology, sports/outdoor activities and video games the coolest (no surprises here) and choose their activities based on friends and fads.

According to 13-17 year old girls, clothes/fashion/beauty, music and technology rank among the coolest activities because of the way it makes them feel.

Brands such as NYX is popular with younger girls as it is affordable, sold at mass stores such as Target and has a strong online presence, as they tap into the influence of bloggers and social media.

Out of the biggest brands circulating around today, Youtube was ranked as the ‘coolest’. Out of the top 10, six of them involve digestion of media i.e. Netflix, Xbox, Google, Playstation, GoPro and Chrome.

Source: It’s Lit report

The other brands on this list are consumer brands with a strong online presence. Doritos, for example, released the most viral advert during 2016’s Superbowl and Oreo has successfully reinvented its traditional ‘pantry’ brand to become “an agile, culturally prolific marketer”.

This was thanks to Oreo’s aggressive pushes online through its “Twist, Lick, Dunk” mobile app and cheek-in-tongue tweets that garnered a lot of attention among young people. The app became the the best performing branded game ever launched.

“We have a lot of mature brands and culture gives brands rebirth, it breathes life into the room,” says Dana Anderson, CMO of Mondelēz International, parent company of Oreo.

Social media use?

For Gen Z, social media is for consuming and connecting, not sharing.

The most popular social media platforms are Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. And while this makes them potential marketing channels for brands, only Facebook has a streamline ad platform whereas Snapchat lacks the ability to accurately target certain audiences.

Source: It’s Lit report

New tools for brands range from Instagram stories to Facebook Live.

Being connected all the time means Gen Z consumers have a constant pulse on trends.

Below is a spectrum of brands ranked based on their prevalence in the minds of Gen Z out of 122 brands in total.

(Click to enlarge) Source: It’s Lit report

Tech companies with a ‘cool’ factor:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Samsung
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Snapchat

Who has lost a bit of ‘cool’ factor?

  • Line (this would be very different in Asia, where 69% of its 1 billion active users reside)
  • Zara
  • Uniqlo
  • Lululemon
  • Supreme

What can businesses learn from this?

Gen Z never knew the world without the internet. Teenagers around the world today value stimulation, instant gratification and information and this in turn, changes the way brands need to position themselves.

Gen Z consumers are familiar with finding information and tech products, which means that brands need to appeal to this new wave of consumers by attaching a strong message to its product instead of trying to promote a meaningless item.

There are good ways to do this – see Nike – and terrible ways to achieve this – think Pepsi’s PR disaster with Kendall Jenner.

Among the top 10 brands that Gen Z strongly identify with, all have been documented to make efforts to appeal to digitally dependent consumers through apps, viral ad campaigns and a strong social media voice.

Nike has released a stream of buzzy marketing collateral such as its “Pro-hijab campaign” and using high profile Asian celebrities to promote products (Kiss My Airs). Consulting firm Accenture found that more Americans are streaming shows through Playstation Vue and Netflix, making cable TV almost obsolete.

Southeast Asia’s young population is young, over 70% are under 40 years of age and experiencing a surge in spending power – set to contribute 34% to consumption growth by 2030, compared with the global figure of 25%.

A maturing consumer demographic, combined with flexibility to spend means that Southeast Asia’s Gen Z are ones brands have the opportunity to target early, especially knowing the trends overseas.

Google “It’s Lit’ report can be found here.

It’s difficult to deny that digital behavior among Thais has changed drastically over the past few years. Research from various institutions agree that Thai people have become increasingly addicted to their screens, often seen with heads bent over smartphones on the public train or during meal times. The surge of mobile phone addiction means that we’re no longer glued to the television for news because a simple scroll through social media can provide us with instantaneous updates in real-time.

The population’s behavioral shift has given rise to a trend in the marketing and commerce sphere; the much talked about social commerce, a new way to shop through social media platforms. Online shopping is no longer restricted to websites – Thais are turning to Facebook, Instagram and LINE to buy clothing, cosmetics, mangos and much more.

Social media platforms are in turn being used by small businesses to boost sales, provide customer support and increase brand awareness. How are a few individuals able to handle it all?

There are no vast differences between marketing for social commerce channels to marketing for websites as both requires similar ‘brand health checks’ to ensure growth and a viable business. This means that the skills needed for website marketing is transferable to social commerce.

eIQ catches up with Vanitcha Wankawisant, Head of Social Media at aCommerce to learn more about the Online Marketing Funnel framework used to acquire new leads, maintain relationships with clients and how social channels now fit into the big picture.

Source: Social Commerce Workshop – aCommerce Academy

The Online Marketing Funnel can segregate a client’s decision process into 5 key funnels:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acquisition
  3. Activation
  4. Retention
  5. Referral

Each funnel requires their own strategy.

 Case Study: Online Marketing Funnel for a Thai cosmetics mobile marketplace

Stage 1: Awareness

The cosmetics marketplace, called Brand A due to confidentiality, created a “free sampling” campaign targeted to social media savvy women in their mid twenties to late thirties through Facebook. The goal was to sell more products and increase their customer base. They also implemented a hashtag (#) and encouraged users to comment and share their posts to boost engagement.

Stage 2: Acquisition

Aside from ongoing activity on the brand’s social media channels, Wankawisant also recommended Brand A to sign up for a LINE@ account for users to signup and receive notifications regarding exclusive giveaways and announcements.

Working with aCommerce, she revealed the cosmetics marketplace increased their followers by 100% within 1 month.

LINE@ is LINE’s newest platform for businesses that want a direct relationship with customers and more personalized channel to reach them. The business account onLINE@ can be customized for retail brands to bloggers from various sectors.

Through the platform, brands can push out a promotion through a mass group message or customers can contact an admin member directly to chat. LINE@ allows up to 100 admin members to ensure that customers will be given the attentive customer service that is needed.

Brand A decided to move onto the LINE@ platform because they found that other social media platforms had a low level of organic reach whereas LINE@ was able to capture a great portion of the already active 33 million LINE users in Thailand.

Brands can directly “activate” followers through rewards cards, coupon/voucher activation that users can click on to store in their coupon book function in the LINE app.

How coupons can be used in LINE@

Stage 3: Activation

During the time period between the social media campaign to the free sampling announcement day, the brand used the “Broadcast Message” feature on LINE@ to send regular updates and promotions to followers, including discounts for first time buys.

Brand A improved its blended conversion rate by 20%.

Stage 4: Retention

Aside from promotions through “Broadcast” in LINE@, the brand also introduced fun activities to followers such as games relating to the products online. The quickest respondents received free products.

These efforts allowed the brand to maintain their number of active and organic followers and a low block rate of 10%. The games also boosted sales during the campaign period by 15%, and retargeted customers through the Rich Message  feature in LINE@. This feature attracts followers through big banners and includes outbound links to the brand site. It’s also a good way for business owners to obtain organic consumer data.

LINE@ for fast fashion brand, Pomelo

Stage 5: Referral

For every referral that was made between an existing user and a friend, the brand would give discounts to both parties – win-win. The brand gains another potential customer to activate through other methods aside from Facebook or LINE@ such as through email direct marketing (EDM).

Although social commerce is still a new sector of its own, it is becoming a viable business model that is one to watch in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia where social media usage is one of the highest globally.

Business owners in the ecommerce industry and offline stores are already capitalizing. What are you waiting for?