As a marketer in the crypto/blockchain space, I’m fascinated by how similar and yet different crypto marketing and “traditional” digital marketing are. I’ve been particularly interested in the reaction in Asia to the crypto craze, so when Facebook threw a few bucks in free advertising credits my way, I thought: “How can I use Facebook to test crypto interest in Asia?” With that goal, I promoted a recent article about decentralized exchanges — “The Paradox of Decentralized Exchanges: Many Projects, Few Users” — targeted at 18+ year olds in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, and Myanmar, and who show an interest in cryptocurrency as a topic.
Estimating Audience Using Facebook Ads
Fortunately, Facebook makes the targeting pretty easy, and in fact, simply creating the ad provides a fair amount of information about which countries are most crypto-engaged, using interest in the categories “cryptocurrency”, “bitcoin”, “ethereum”, “litecoin”, or “ripple” as proxies for interest in crypto overall.
Some interesting takeaways:
- In total, there are over 14M people in East Asia who are interested in crypto and reachable through the Facebook Ad network. About 17.5% of East Asia’s population of 2.3 billion is reachable on Facebook, and 3.5% of those are interested in crypto.
- Indonesia has the largest crypto-interested audience you can reach on Facebook, with 3.7M people (26% of the total East Asia audience), but the country is average in terms of % crypto interest.
- Malaysia and Singapore have the largest percentage of the Facebook audience who are interested in crypto, each with 8.6%. I feel like Singapore is much more well-known as a crypto hub than Malaysia has been, so this parity was surprising to me, especially given the relative population difference between the two countries.
- Not surprisingly given governmental restrictions, China is the hardest to reach on Facebook, with only 73k crypto-interested people reachable, mainly driven by only being able to reach 0.2% of the population.
- Hong Kong and South Korea have high crypto interest, with 5.7% and 4.3% respectively, in alignment with the anecdotal evidence of the number of crypto projects and crypto funds in each country
- Taiwan and Japan have surprisingly low crypto interest, at 2.2% and 2.0% respectively
In my opinion, Facebook can tell us a fair amount about crypto interest and engagement even without running an ad on the platform. While some countries in East Asia have yet to embrace crypto, there are clearly many parts of the region with vibrant crypto interest (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia). With the right content, crypto projects can reach an audience in Asia through Facebook, although the platform still does not accept ads obviously promoting an ICO, token sale, or other things classified as financial instruments.
For next steps, I’m personally interested in:
- Native language ads to determine if ads in English or the user’s native language perform better
- Different call-to-actions to see if there are differences from country to country (I’m particularly interested in testing the relatively new WhatsApp integration given its high usage in some countries)
- Content tests, to determine what topics most engage certain audiences in Asia and other countries
Please share your results and takeaways if you have run crypto ads on Facebook or other platforms, and what you’re planning on focusing on next. I’d definitely be interested in continuing the conversation in the comments or on our Telegram group: https://t.me/SesameOpen