Facebook, Messenger Replacing Email, Phone, Text in Southeast Asia

How do people in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia use Facebook?

How do people in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia use Facebook? The social network commissioned global market research company TNS to find out.

Facebook IQ presented some of the general findings by TNS:

  • People in the five Southeast Asian nations studied by TNS use Facebook while commuting, during days off and while waiting in line.
  • Popular places where the social network is used include work, Internet cafés and home in bed.
  • Facebook usage is relatively steady throughout the day but spikes before or during primetime (after 8 p.m.).
  • After 8 p.m., similar proportions of people simultaneously watch TV and use Facebook.


TNS also offered details on how Facebook is used as a discovery tool:

  • People in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia are most likely to use Facebook to discover breaking news and new games, products, brands, services and entertainment.
  • Only three out of 10 people in Singapore reported using the social network as a place to discover new content.


Finally, TNS studied the use of Facebook and Messenger as communications tools:

  • Facebook and its Messenger applications often replace other means of communication, such as email, phone calls and text messages.
  • 61 percent of respondents said they would rather talk with close friends via Facebook than via phone or email.
  • Thailand saw even more dramatic numbers, with 82 percent of respondents saying they emailed less, 79 percent reporting less phone use and 91 percent sending fewer texts due to communicating via Facebook and Messenger.


What does this mean for marketers? Facebook IQ offered the following takeaways:

  • Dominate through dayparting: People go online throughout the day, often during times when they can’t be reached through traditional media like TV. Reach people when they can’t be reached elsewhere and stay top-of-mind through dayparting.
  • Make it multiscreen: As people increasingly multiscreen, Facebook can help marketers extend the reach of their TV investment inside and outside of the living room. Providing quality content and integrating that content across screens—from phones to tablets to desktops to TV—will create experiences that people remember.
  • Drive digital discovery: In many countries around the world, digital sources of discovery are becoming as important as traditional sources of discovery. This is especially true in Southeast Asia, where people go online—and on Facebook in particular—to learn about new products and services. Marketers who leverage the power of digital discovery can connect with new audiences and grow their customer base.

Readers: What did you think of the findings by TNS?

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.