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② Social Media Penetration in Thailand [Research]

25.May.2021

Welcome to article 2/3 focused on social media penetration in Thailand. This article highlights the importance for brands to understand how the Thais use and rely on social media platforms. In addition, we will also explore the popular social media in Thailand. In a market where there are lots of local players, it’s important to remind yourselves to take a step back and remember what core to the success of your campaign – your audience and what makes them tick is. A brand will only succeed with a strong understanding of the market and its audiences.

New exciting prospects abound in Southeast Asia, with Thailand standing out as one of the region’s most promising players from a marketing perspective. Let’s discover the underlying possibilities in the edge-bursting Thailand social media sphere.

Social Media User Penetration in Thailand

  • There were 55 million social media users in Thailand in January 2021, which was equivalent to 78.7% of the total population, 3 million more than last year!
  • According to DataReportal, as of January 2021, YouTube ranked first among the leading social media platforms in Thailand, with a penetration rate of 94.2%. Facebook followed closely at 93.3%, having about 53 million users. Thailand is definitely among the leading social media countries in Southeast Asia.
  • Line, the Japanese instant messaging service is also widespread in Thailand. Its penetration rates are in the high double-digit range at 86.2%.
  • The number of social media users in Thailand is expected to reach 62 million by 2025.

💡  Takeaway: Brands should be aware of the influence of social media in Asia’s emerging markets. The Thailand social media landscape is attractive, and brands should clearly understand how to leverage different platforms when running campaigns. For example, platforms like YouTube and Facebook will be helpful to achieve a high reach, while platforms such as Line and Twitter have significant potential in the market.

Thailand Social Media Platform Use

Facebook

  • Thailand is one of Facebook’s most successful markets, with Bangkok dubbed the ‘capital of Facebook’, being the world metropolis with the highest degree of Facebook connectivity. Indonesia and Vietnam came in second and third, at 49% and 48%, respectively.
  • People aged 25 to 34 were the largest user group (19 000 000) as of 2021 April.
  • Among people who use stories across the Facebook family of apps surveyed in Thailand:
    86% said brands using stories is a great way to get to know new products or services (Facebook IQ Source).
    74% said they are making more online purchases as a result of using stories.
  • Video content earns the largest audience engagement rate on Facebook, followed by photo-based posts. Status updates receive the lowest engagement rates.
  • Among people in Thailand who engage in c-commerce via social or messaging platforms, 65% do so on Facebook products (Facebook IQ Source).

💡  Takeaways: It’s essential to understand how the Thai population use and relies on social media platforms. Facebook would serve both as an information and online shopping channel for Thai digital consumers. The platform has several implications for the success of e-commerce and businesses. This shows that brands should invest more heavily in paid campaigns on social platforms instead of search engines like Google.

✅  The recommended campaign format and placement for brands to leverage are stories with video content since the majority of stories users relied on stories to learn about new products as well as making online purchases. In addition, a great source of references would be Thailand’s most popular Facebook pages, containing viral videos, news, and celebrities.


Full Digital 2021 Report for Thailand

Line

  • Line is the champion of Thailand’s messaging apps, much more popular than WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Originated in Japan, it is shaped like the ‘ultimate life infrastructure’ for fellow Thai netizens.
  • In 2020 it was ranked number 1 in terms of consumer spend, let alone its functions such as booking accommodation and transportations.
  • 90% of the people that are chatting with friends on their phone are using LINE.
  • Thai people use LINE mainly to communicate with individuals or groups of people who have similar interests.
  • The “stickers” are the success factor and the reason it is so prevalent in Thailand. Stickers are a perfect way to express feelings, and Thais adore them. They even spend money on new sets of sticker albums, obviously to show off to their peers.
  • One cool feature of LINE is that you can make free calls and voice messages (becoming increasingly popular).

    Image: Thailand introduces 3D LINE Stickers

💡  Takeaways: Line, in addition to Facebook, should be given special attention. Brands are recommended to study and invest in its digital marketing services, such as Line Point advertising and exclusive deals, and leverage its success factor – stickers – to increase brand recognition and interaction among Thai internet users.


Full Digital 2021 Report for Thailand

Twitter

  • In Thailand, social media has been a critical platform for communication and community empowerment during political activism or crises such as natural disasters.
  • Twitter has become the most popular platform for conversations on political conflict in the country. Many users also come up with new memes and slang, which only these users understand. As the Thais use their Twitter account to critique and express their views freely online, it has sparked many political and social movements.
  • Currently, there are 7.35 million Twitter users in Thailand. Although that may not be as many as Facebook, LINE, or Instagram, the number is rising rapidly, particularly among the younger generation. In contrast, the number of Facebook users sees a decline.
  • Social media was found to assist “pre-, during-, and post-crisis” by adapting to fit different information flows and knowledge needs.

💡  Takeaway:  Brands are recommended to be Twitter-savvy to reach out and connect more deeply with their target audiences. “Conversation is Twitter’s superpower“. The audience on Twitter is the ones who drive the conversation and define culture. A brand needs to listen to what people are saying about their brands on Twitter because their customers’ voices are authentic and influential.”
✅  Be part of the conversation, listen, join in, and create a conversation with the strength of short-text communication and real-time focus.

Top Hashtags in Thailand – Most Tweeted over the past year

It is interesting to observe that in Thailand, Korean boy bands’ fans were using hashtags as a form of voting battles on Twitter. Meanwhile, social movements were the top tweeted topic on the platform as well.

ExplanationTotal tweets
1#BillboardTNT13.8M
2#exaBFFA hastag to vote for Korean boy band GOT7 (Exa stands for @exatv, BFF stands for “best fandom forever”)13.4M
3#เยาวชนปลดแอกLiberated Youth12.4M
4#BestFanArmy11.7M
5#ArtistoftheSummer11.5M
6#BBMAs2021 Billboard Music Awards11.4M
7#ขีดเส้นตายไล่เผด็จการSet a deadline to chase dictators11.3M
8#AMAsAmerican Music Awards9.2M
9#ExaARMYa hastag to vote for Korean boy band BTS (Exa stands for @exatv, BFF stands for “best fandom forever”)8.5M
10#ม็อบ17พฤศจิกาMob 17 Nov.8.5M

 

TikTok

  • In 2020, TikTok ranked the top mobile apps in terms of total downloads In Thailand.
  • Boredom does, in reality, breed imagination. With a pandemic and quarantine in place, tech and social media savvy Thais are flocking to Tik Tok searching for community and link, not to mention spending hours scrolling through millions of user-generated short videos.
  • Older fans, influencers, and celebrities in Thailand, such as Vatanika and Ticha The Face Thailand, were drawn in by the platform’s rapid and growing success.

@therealvatanika
##JLOSUPERBOWLCHALLENGE ##STAYHOME ##ALONEBUTNEVERLONELY
♬ original sound – therealvatanika

💡  Takeaway: TikTok is another Thailand trend for brands to note for great content and influencer marketing in the country. Marketers should be aware of the influence this platform can have on various brand messages and the eCommerce feature on the brand’s conversion performance. In short, even though it may not have the highest social media user penetration, TikTok will continue to grow in Thailand.

Full Digital 2021 Report for Thailand

Social Commerce in Thailand

Thailand is mighty in eCommerce (especially mobile commerce).

  • Thailand has emerged as the world leader in using social media and its application to shopping and retail purchasing online, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper’s report. Southeast Asia is at the forefront of such applications and the use of mobile online payment technology.
  • With the rise of the online marketplace and online payments, 51% of Thais use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to shop online, compared to the global average of 21%.
  • In terms of mobile commerce, 74% of all online purchases in the country this year were mobile, Thailand ranked third behind only Indonesia (76%) and China (74%), the worldwide average was 55%. It is projected that by 2025 there will be 61 million smartphone users in the country.
  • Lazada, for example, is outperforming the competition in Southeast Asia’s regional markets, such as Thailand. Brand loyalty and affinity have now become a part of the online business equation in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

💡  Takeaways: 

  • In the coming years, Southeast Asia and Thailand may be the first to pioneer a new online buying experience. Online businesses expect to deploy new technologies such as artificial intelligence and even voice-assisted systems to open up a whole new world for the online retail experience.
  • As a result, brands should anticipate and are encouraged to launch innovative social commerce experiences in countries like Thailand, adaptable and open to trying new mobile commerce experiences. We cannot overstate the importance of prioritizing mobile responsiveness.
  • For brands shooting for success in Thailand’s eCommerce, it is recommended to increase ad spend in Q4 because it is the peak online shopping event in Thailand.
  • Combine efforts with penetrative social media networks to further tap into Thailand’s massive mobile commerce market. Build good content and do live-streaming on channels like Facebook, Instagram, Line, TikTok, and even Shopee and Lazada, in addition to simply selling them on your social media marketplaces. This is particularly useful for limited-time deals.

Explore article 1 of this series:

Explore our other Market Research in Asia:

🇸🇬 Singapore Social Media Insights:

🇻🇳 Vietnam Social Media Insights:

🇮🇩 Indonesia Social Media Insights:

Interested to learn more about Thailand Social Media?

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