There are a lot of reasons why you should transition your marketing and operations to digital ranging from efficiency to threat of disruption. For me the number 1 reason is simply this: making mistakes now and learning digital advertising now is at least 6x cheaper than doing it 3 years from now. This is because online advertising, especially Facebook ads, are currently grossly underpriced in the Philippines.
Why are they Underpriced?
Facebook ads, just like Google, are Marketplace driven in pricing. This means that the prices are determined by supply and demand.
Filipinos across all ages are overindexed on Facebook. According to the last We Are Social July 2017 Report, 100% of Internet users in the PH are Facebook users. However advertising spend is on digital is less than 10% of total budget spent. It is massively disproportionate to the number of inventory and users.
It’s my contention that the major advertisers in the Philippines (FMCG, pharma, big local companies, etc) are underspending on digital advertising. They’re still stuck on spending their budgets on above-the-line mediums such as TV, OOH, and radio because they’ve gotten used to them and they still feel “unsure” about digital as an ad platform. That “imbalance” makes the prices significantly lower than they should be.
This won’t be the case forever. Over time they will learn and they will start to dump their massive ad budgets on Facebook. When this happens prices will start to go up, up, and up.
Make Your Mistakes While It’s Cheap
That said, prices will most likely go up within the next 3 years. As the big local and multinational companies start to invest more, CPCs, CPLs, and CPMs all rise.
It’s the same thing with Google Adwords. Bidding for search words and banner ads used to be much cheaper when they first launched. Now the prices have stablizied and some keywords are now 5x-10x more expensive than 5 years ago.
During this time where digital advertising is underpriced, MSMEs and start-ups should go all out and learn. They should make their mistakes, learn, and get better. The tuition fee is at it’s lowest. But beyond learning the ropes, MSMEs and start-ups have to take advantage of the current pricing not just for them to learn, but for them to quickly scale their business while the prices are still low.
To end this post let me share a key point that I stressed during my talk during the recently concluded Franchise Asia Conference.
“Take advantage of the inertia and slowness of big companies caused by their size and internal politics. Take advantage of digital advertising while prices are low and grab as much market share you can from the big guys before they realize what’s happening. It’s your time. Strike fast and strike hard.”