Adobe Digital Dialogue

SEO, the Global Language of Digital Marketing Communication

We have a diverse set of con­sid­er­a­tions to take into account when we talk about glob­al dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. That diver­si­ty of issues is as com­plex as you can imag­ine in the Asia-Pacif­ic region, or APAC, as most like to call it. The thing that cre­ates a mar­ket­ing fer­vor among big inter­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions is the sheer size of the mar­ket. Sup­port­ing that desire to carve out a hefty piece of mar­ket share is the depth of Inter­net pen­e­tra­tion of the APAC pop­u­la­tions.

internet users asia 2014

Inter­net user pen­e­tra­tion in the Asia Pacif­ic

The Upside

Accord­ing to Sta­tista, as of June 2014, in a dis­tri­b­u­tion of inter­net users world­wide, the Asia Pacif­ic region account­ed for 44 per­cent of all inter­net users aged 15 and above. Asia Pacific’s share at that time was more than Europe and North Amer­i­ca com­bined, which reveals its dom­i­nant posi­tion in the mar­ket.

Despite account­ing for a major­i­ty share of inter­net users world­wide, the indus­try still has room for growth in Asia Pacif­ic. Inter­net user pen­e­tra­tion in the region was record­ed in 2013 with fore­casts gen­er­at­ed for the years up until 2018. In 2013, 30.9 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion had accessed the inter­net via any device, at least once a month. By 2018, the share of the pop­u­la­tion is expect­ed to grow to 40.7 per­cent.

mobile data traffic asia forecast

Mobile data traf­fic in Asia Pacif­ic

Anoth­er impor­tant SEO con­sid­er­a­tion is the device that the major­i­ty of poten­tial APAC cus­tomers use to access the Inter­net: mobile and pri­mar­i­ly smart­phones.

Those are some pret­ty impres­sive fig­ures and cer­tain­ly enough to make most data-dri­ven mod­ern mar­keters drool over the prospects. If you crunch the num­bers, the pro­ject­ed com­pound annu­al growth rate (CAGR) amounts to 58 per­cent.

Language and Communication

When we talk about lan­guage from the SEO per­spec­tive, we are talk­ing about lan­guage in the lit­er­al sense, i.e., what each pop­u­la­tion of the Asia Pacif­ic coun­tries speak as well as the lan­guage of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the tools of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, i.e., search engines, web­sites, and social media. Each has its own unique role to play in APAC mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The intent here is not to dis­cuss those in detail, but rather han­dle each type of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in sub­se­quent blog posts. I will sim­ply intro­duce them here and pro­vide links to more sub­stan­tial mate­r­i­al.  The Adobe web prop­er­ty,, pro­vides us with some of the lit­er­al con­sid­er­a­tions when deal­ing with talk­ing to the poten­tial cus­tomer in their native lan­guage.

We all know that search engine opti­mi­sa­tion is an essen­tial tool for mod­ern mar­keters in build­ing long-term demand gen­er­a­tion, i.e., a con­tin­u­ous flow of traf­fic to the brand web­site. By pro­duc­ing web con­tent that uses the right words (key­words) at an opti­mal fre­quen­cy, your con­tent can appear clos­er to the top of search results when poten­tial cus­tomers are look­ing for ser­vices. That is essen­tial giv­en that the major­i­ty of traf­fic gen­er­at­ed comes from a page-one SERP rank­ing.

It sounds achievable–until you remem­ber that glob­al­ly, only about 320 mil­lion peo­ple speak Eng­lish. This means most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion won’t be able to read your web­site if it’s avail­able only in Eng­lish. To com­pli­cate mat­ters, the SEO tech­niques you employ for one lan­guage may not work for anoth­er. More impor­tant­ly, 85% of online shop­pers won’t com­mit to a pur­chase unless the prod­uct descrip­tion or com­pa­ny site is in the lan­guage they speak.

Google’s Asia Pacif­ic blog released a research called “The Con­sumer Barom­e­ter,” pro­vid­ing pow­er­ful insights into the way con­sumers are using the web across 46 coun­tries world­wide.

As I stat­ed ear­li­er in con­junc­tion with the mobile ten­den­cies of the Asia Pacif­ic mar­ket, Asia has gone mobile-first. This is not a future trend, on some dim and dis­tant horizon—it’s already hap­pened in the past year. What does Google mean by “mobile-first”? Well, for starters, Asia takes gold and sil­ver for top smart­phone adoption—Singapore is now #1 in the world at 85%, and Korea is just behind at 80%. This might not come as a sur­prise because these are both, after all, advanced economies.

What real­ly puts this into per­spec­tive is when you look at com­put­er adop­tion fig­ures. In most coun­tries, com­put­er adop­tion is still high, but what’s new is that across Asia—especially South­east Asia—smartphone adop­tion in the past year has over­tak­en com­put­er adop­tion for the first time. The trend is true in coun­tries of all sizes and stages of eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment: Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, Indone­sia, not to men­tion Hong Kong and Chi­na.

There are many places where you can get off track when build­ing your SEO com­mu­ni­ca­tion infra­struc­ture. Adobe’s tool for strate­giz­ing web based SEO com­mu­ni­ca­tions is Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ag­er (AEM). There is a right way to do it and this blog post cov­ers the many traps and indi­ca­tors for which to keep an eye out. These SEO glob­al­iza­tion and local­iza­tion tech­niques are all lessons learned from many years of using our own Adobe prod­ucts in sup­port of devel­op­ing Adobe and client web­sites alike.

The Digital Maturity Challenge

The dig­i­tal divide between mar­kets and busi­ness­es finds men­tion in var­i­ous con­ver­sa­tions to cau­tion those who are either slow in adopt­ing dig­i­tal or are not putting the best foot for­ward. While all coun­tries in Asia Pacif­ic under­stand the impor­tance and val­ue of dig­i­tal, no coun­try is tak­ing full advan­tage of the oppor­tu­ni­ties it presents, cre­at­ing a gap in mar­ket­ing matu­ri­ty across the region.

The third annu­al APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board, con­duct­ed by the CMO Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with Adobe, indi­cates that coun­tries such as Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia, and India are pulling away with strong exec­u­tive sup­port and dig­i­tal cham­pi­ons; while Korea, Chi­na and Hong Kong strug­gle with exec­u­tive sup­port and skill short­ages.

“The 2014 Dash­board uncov­ers the vary­ing degrees of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing matu­ri­ty across the region, and high­lights the need for mar­keters to con­tin­ue to demon­strate val­ue and return on invest­ment (ROI). With cus­tomers able to touch any part of an organ­i­sa­tion, the role of mar­ket­ing in trans­form­ing busi­ness­es is cru­cial and requires exec­u­tive sup­port for suc­cess­ful trans­for­ma­tion,” said Hisamichi Kinomo­to, Vice Pres­i­dent of Mar­ket­ing, Adobe Japan and Asia Pacif­ic.

Organ­i­sa­tions need to accel­er­ate their invest­ment in employ­ees’ pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment to close the skills gaps faster and lever­age the ben­e­fits of dig­i­tal. In addi­tion, a bold­er approach is need­ed to apply­ing met­rics and dri­ving a more com­pelling case for increased invest­ment.

“There is no doubt that under­go­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is a com­plex and chal­leng­ing process. Adobe has been on our own jour­ney of trans­for­ma­tion and we under­stand the pain-points mar­keters face as they adjust to a new dig­i­tal world,” added Mr. Kinomo­to.

The num­bers in the chart below reflect the real­i­ty of dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty in the APAC mar­ket.

adobe digital marketing dashboard asia 2014

Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Dash­board APAC 2014

Cyber Maturity in APAC

The dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty of APAC is but one aspect of cyber­space where you need to know the sta­tus of the nation­al envi­ron­ment for each coun­try you choose with which to do busi­ness. How­ev­er, cyber matu­ri­ty is anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion that must be weighed. The Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (ASPI) keeps track of the cyber envi­ron­ment around the APAC Region. Its report on the state of cyber matu­ri­ty 2014 is an inter­est­ing read.

The Asia–Pacific region is an increas­ing focus for major and mid­dle pow­ers. In an envi­ron­ment such as cyber­space where gains are high, the prob­a­bil­i­ty of cap­ture is low, and deni­a­bil­i­ty rules, many dif­fer­ent eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal con­fronta­tions are play­ing out simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. A by-prod­uct of this ten­sion has been a rise in the num­ber of coun­tries that have acquired or are seek­ing offen­sive cyber capa­bil­i­ties.

Fea­tured image pro­vided cour­tesy of Rudy Wong at and is dis­played under the terms of the Cre­ative Com­mons license
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  • By CentralSQ - 12:52 PM on August 3, 2015   Reply

    Tod, This is a great first post, and you do an excel­lent job lay­ing out the demo­graph­ic and behav­ioral changes that are hap­pen­ing in APAC and around the world. An increas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are con­nect­ed and they expe­ri­ence the inter­net in a mobile-first way, so demand gen­er­a­tion and con­tent mar­ket­ing are strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant for glob­al com­pa­nies right now. Based on research, trade shows, and real life col­lab­o­ra­tion with glob­al mar­keters one of the biggest chal­lenges is mov­ing away from a “com­mand and con­trol” rela­tion­ship between cor­po­rate and the local mar­kets. In order for local dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing efforts to remain authen­tic and effec­tive, the local mar­kets need a good amount of auton­o­my. Here’s a link to a resource on glob­al con­tent mar­ket­ing that peo­ple might find use­ful — 
    It includes some great exam­ples from top glob­al com­pa­nies.

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