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Digital ad spend reaches $2.34b in 2023

Singapore presents a highly-engaged digital audience.

Singapore is reported to have an ‘extremely high’ internet penetration rate, with an average of two hours and 14 minutes spent on social media daily across 6.9 platforms every month. The digital ad spend of SG$2.34 billion last year captures nearly 60% of the total advertising expenditure.

David Hickey, Executive Director of Meltwater Asia-Pacific, said that WhatsApp ranks as the top platform among Singaporeans, overshadowing the global preference for Instagram. 

“Globally, we found that Instagram was the number one platform but here in Singapore, we found that WhatsApp was by far and away number one, it actually had an unassailable lead,” Hickey said.

This preference points towards the unique digital culture in Singapore, where WhatsApp dominates both in terms of favorability and usage intensity. TikTok, however, emerges as the leader in terms of time spent on the app, indicating a shift towards short-form video content that consumes about half of the social media time of Singaporeans.

“TikTok was also number one with more than 33 hours and 20 minutes spent in the app every single month, which means that around half of the time that Singaporeans are spending on social media, they're actually spending on TikTok,” he said. 

The increasing reliance on social media for news access underscores a merging landscape between news media and social platforms. Singapore's affinity for food also translates into social media behaviour, with food-related personalities being the most followed. This intertwining of lifestyle interests with digital consumption patterns provides critical insights for advertisers and content creators aiming to capture the Singaporean audience.

Looking into 2024, digital ad spend is expected to continue its upward trajectory, with a particular focus on paid social media strategies. Hickey highlighted the indispensable role of paid advertisements in achieving success on social platforms, citing a significant move towards this model. The State of Social Media report by Meltwater emphasises that 73% of marketers in the Asia Pacific are already utilising paid ads, with an anticipated increase in its importance.

Hickey advises brands to adopt a proactive stance in combating misinformation, emphasising the importance of real-time content tracking and the collaboration with credible partners.

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