Pictured above: Bernard Teo, Co-Founder and CEO of YouAdMe, speaking at Advertising Gala 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Modern advertising can seem easy to the untrained eye. Consumers see ads everywhere they look — from large flashing billboards right down to the device in their hands. It seems like anyone with money to spare can hop online and post an ad — but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With more and more brands saturating the market and companies of different sizes struggling to compete for advertising space, advertising is anything but easy. Coupled with consumers who dislike being directly sold to, SMEs and young entrepreneurs vying for a chance to be seen can often feel like they’re barely keeping their heads above water.
Small businesses with limited marketing budget find it hard to compete with bigger enterprises, while large businesses are forced to funnel large and unnecessary amounts of money on advertising campaigns just to stay visible, ignoring more affordable solutions that are actually available out there.
Cambodia-based YouAdMe wants to change that and flip the advertising game on its head. Short for ‘you advertise me’, the platform democratises the media and marketing world by levelling the playing field for any businesses and young entrepreneurs so they have access to affordable and quality marketing solutions.
YouAdMe was started by Singaporeans who have rich industry experience. The app-based platform harnesses the power of word-of-mouth advertising to generate buzz and create more organic content by incentivising consumers — mainly tech-savvy youths — to talk about brands in creative ways and transform the way we connect to advertising.
Most buying decisions are affected by reviews coming from trusted sources such as comments made by friends and family on social media. Utilising this knowledge, YouAdMe enables brands to connect and engage with consumers through their own social circles.
How it works is that brands create campaigns within YouAdMe’s app-based platform, setting audience targets, budgets, requirements and timelines. Analytics reports of their campaigns with real-time tracking allow brands to adjust and finetune their advertisements and better understand the behaviour of consumers. YouAdMe’s technology can also detect fraud, to ensure real scoring and active account users.
On the other end, consumers act as content creators for the brands, conceptualising creative ways to advertise a product they love in exchange for cash reward. Brands are then able to choose the best, most creative advertisement and pay their customers for posts to be shared to their circle of friends.
Pictured above: In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, brand owners are empowering their customers to advertise their products through YouAdMe
Bernard, co-founder and CEO of YouAdMe, said: “In my 20 years in digital media and advertising industry, I’ve found that businesses are too caught up in collecting social media likes and they are forgetting to actually connect with them. It is important for them to identify cost-efficient and effective marketing solutions and tools in order for them to grow their business quickly.
“These tools are loyal customers. Having just one passionate customer that loves your service or products is exponentially more effective than buying 1,000 likes on social media. I believe the key to cutting through the barrage of audio and visual advertising is by reigniting individual relationships between brands and consumers.”
It doesn’t stop there. YouAdMe’s future goals include further developing infrastructure and solutions that will link brand owners and their customers. With strategic investment from Cambodia’s leading mobile banking service provider, Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank, the platform believes it will be able to provide more innovative digital products and solutions to offer day-to-day consumers with a source of income, access to more digital finance and payment services, and leapfrog them into the digital age.
Pictured above: Zhi Ying Chai, Founding Member & Commercial Director of YouAdMe pitching at ASEAN Pitchfest in Cambodia organized by Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The app-based platform officially launched in Cambodia in 2019 and has since won multiple awards for its innovative solution to modern-day advertising woes. As of December last year, the app had over 800 merchants with more than 100,000 consumers participating in advertising campaigns on the platform. It won Cambodia Best Fintech Startup at the 2019 Rice Bowl Startup Awards, 2019 Seedstars World Cambodia Top 3 startup, ASEAN PitchFest 2018 in Cambodia as well as Top 10 ASEAN SME in 2018 Singapore Fintech Awards.
Cambodia’s startup tech ecosystem may not be the largest or the most well-connected, but it is promising and open to new possibilities. The country is the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia for social media users who are connected 24/7, using mobile smartphones as a central device for communication and transactions.
Where the marketplace was once led by big corporations, the digital population has turned it around and personalised media is taking over. With people more empowered to voice their opinions and their likes and dislikes, formerly unknown brands get the chance to propel themselves into the spotlight and re-shape the retail marketplace.
YouAdMe’s positive reception in Cambodia gives it a strong foothold to catapult itself into the rest of Southeast Asia, which it plans to do by launching in Bangkok in the second quarter of 2020. Their expansion will be followed by Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and other parts of Southeast Asia. By capturing youthful participation, YouAdMe’s fintech and e-commerce capabilities complement one another to bridge the gap between consumers and brand owners while supporting community building and community education efforts.
The startup’s plans to mature and develop also involves identifying new business partners and opportunities across various regions, venture into potential new markets and enhance its services for users. YouAdMe is opening an exciting door for young brands and consumers that is expected to disrupt the current advertising market in a significant way. For more information, check out their official website here.
Pictured above: YouAdMe’s users actively participating in marketing campaigns