What we learnt from taking SushiVid to Jakarta
In hindsight, it was probably foolish to think we could instantly replicate our Malaysian success in Indonesia. Sure, we’d done months of preparation. We also speak kind of the same language, and we’ve grown up with Indonesian friends, but was that ever going to be enough?
With a population of 260 million, Indonesia is a whole new level of marketing. Don’t believe us? Here’s four revelations from the time we took SushiVid to Jakarta:
1. That don’t impress us much
Remember when Shania Twain belittled men everywhere for having a car, and being Brad Pitt… well, our trip to Jakarta started out a bit like a sad country ballad.
At the time of departing we had over 300 YouTubers in Malaysia, or for those of you who like statistics – 60% of all Malaysian influencers. To us, that was a pretty big deal. In Indonesia, this barely made an impact. You see, their influencer numbers are MASSIVE. Indeed, The Jakarta Post describes beauty influencers as the new “cyber socialites.” To tap into that market and obtain major influencer acquisition would require a substantial amount of effort.
And when talk inevitably turned to money, it’s lucky we weren’t laughed out of the country. In Malaysia our clients spend an average of US$1,000 per campaign; just a tenth of what they spend in Indonesia.
Lesson learnt: understand the size and conditions of your target market and what it will take to achieve traction there.
2. You cannot be serious
As it turns out, 400 signups for a giveaway is NOTHING!
While in Indonesia we met the famous YouTuber, Laurentius Rando who has two channels, Jakarta Beatbox and Laurentius Rando. Both have over 300,000 subscribers – it’s the kind of thing we go to bed dreaming about. There we were, like proud parents telling Laurentius just how excited we were about a client spending US$800 for a giveaway, which elicited over 400 signups; hey, the result was well above the normal 3% click rate for normal ads, it seemed worth sharing!
How did he respond? He laughed and said “even a referral code I share would get 5,000 signups.”
He wasn’t joking. Here is a mobile phone giveaway he uploaded yesterday that has already had 179,673 views (and counting):
There we were giving away a phone #sadpanda.
Lesson learned: focus on the statistics that show how well you’re doing and explain how the same results can be achieved in the local market.
3. Hey Jesse J, sometimes that price tag really does matter!
If you’ve ever been to Bali on holiday, you’ll know the cost of living in Indonesia is relatively low (though many still languish in poverty – but that’s a story for a different blog). What this means is that the cost of making a video is cheap. And guess what… that means the precise cost per subscriber in Indonesia is peanuts!
As a business, we’re driven by metrics. We measure everything in order to show brands and businesses the value of their campaigns with us, showing them the cost per subscriber. For example, if an influencer with 1,000 subscribers proposes a video for US$100, the cost per subscriber is US$0.10.
Of course, in Indonesia everything goes by the millions; population, subscribers, rupiahs! That means if we create a video for US$1,000 with a subscriber who has 300,000 subscribers, the cost per subscribers is going to be US$0.003
Lesson learnt: Do the maths and be sure you can offer value to your target market.
4. Consult with Charlie Chan
Before we launched SushiVid, we spent a lot of time scouting out our local competition. With all of our research we were pretty confident that our product would stand out in the Asian market; everyone else who appeared in the top 5 pages of Google for "influencer marketing" was already on our radar.
Unfortunately we were working in amateur hour, because what we hadn’t appreciated was that there were also amazing influencer marketplaces who don’t promote or advertise their services in English. Face palm. Suddenly our detective skills had plummeted to kindergarten level. Charlie Chan would never have made such a mistake.
Now that we’ve researched these businesses, we know we have real competition in the region. But you know what, that will just drive us to be even better!
Lesson learnt: make sure your market research is as comprehensive as possible and you know what you’re up against.
Taking SushiVid to Indonesia is by far the hardest thing we have done. What it shows it that the Malaysian market was crying out for our service. However, the Jakarta experience also reveals that we were really only looking at this from a Malaysian point of view. What a powerful lesson so early in the SushiVid story!
Overall, it was a truly refreshing experience to take our product to a new place and gain a fresh perspective. For all that ties us in Asia, the region is so much bigger and more colourful than we can really comprehend. And isn’t that what all great journeys are about.
Like what you read? Check out our post on how to attract the right YouTubers to your campaign.