Thought Leadership
Fetch Media on the growth of Mobile in APAC & China


Kelvin Yim
General Manager, Fetch Hong Kong
Fetch Media



Fetch Media was acquired by Dentsu Aegis back in November of 2014, most likely to beef up their mobile specialization. Can you share a little more about the role of Fetch within the Dentsu family of companies?

The key priority for Fetch is to communicate to our clients our shift from being mobile experts / experts in the app economy to experts in the mobile consumer. We’ve got over 7 years experience in doing just that.

What that means within Dentsu  is that we not only succeed in doing excellent mobile execution for our clients but we must also think about how mobile is changing the way consumers interact with other media, so we can offer the mobile-first perspective to client briefs at planning stage.


How is the mobile advertising market in China, and APAC at large, doing? Are there any trends that you can share?

It is obvious that more and more clients are tapping into mobile advertising as mobile phone penetration is much better in China and APAC. But given the fact that different markets in APAC behaves differently, trends are diverse. But one thing in common is nearly all clients in China and APAC understand the importance in capturing their target audience on mobile and willing to spend more on it.


Many people spoke of vendor consolidation over the coming years, with many of the independent networks being acquired by larger players or just dying off. However, it almost seems as if more are popping up faster than ones that are dying off. In terms of number of vendors, how do you see the market evolving over the upcoming years?

It’s certainly ever more complex! Consolidation is happening, but is simply serving to encourage new investors to back start-ups and as the barriers to entry into the vendor marketplace are low, we’re seeing new suppliers emerge frequently. This makes the role of the agency ever more critical. Clients are looking to experts in mobile media to help them navigate the complexity and determine where the value really sits.


Other than being able to fulfill campaign objectives, what are some other criteria your media planning / buying team looks for when evaluating new ad vendors?

The number one criteria is, of course, performance, and performance is typically driven by price. Cheap media has its downsides, however, so we also scrutinise delivery by geography, the publisher lists made available by the vendor (we expect transparency as a standard) and any performance we suspect may be fraudulent.


How does your typical RFP process work? (eg: media brief from client, find relevant vendors, find their contacts and set up a call, take notes, evaluate with team, come up with shortlist of vendors, send RFPs, make recommendation to client)

Generally our vendors are selected by our global trading team. We know that there are such as vast array of specialisms these days that a formal RFP process needs to be based as close as possible on ‘like for like’ skills sets.


According to eMarketer, programmatic spend in China is growing at a pretty rapid clip. Is this truly the case, and do you ever see a day where there is “One Platform to Rule Them All” where most inventory can be accessed? 

Programmatic spend, not only in China, is growing rapidly over the past few years. As marketers become more and more sophisticated, they are looking for ways to improve their existing campaigns and programmatic is one of the ways to target audience. Having said that, I don’t think China programmatic spend, in terms of percentage, are growing at a much faster speed than the western counterpart.

Given the unique market situation and landscape, we don’t see a “one platform to rule them all” will happen any time soon or even in the near future. Data sharing is still an issue and lack of “good” third party data, legal problems on information exchange, all results in a total lack of transparency and seriously fragmented market.  This leads to another serious problem of fraud where every marketer is trying their best to tackle.


In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges that exist today in mobile advertising?

Fragmentation and complexity in the mobile media landscape, as well advertisers seeking to ‘go it alone’ without expert advice and counsel, they risk being unable to fully understanding the challenges which lie ahead.

All of the above and that’s not to mention that on top of hundreds of vendors, apps and mobile sites, there’s the widespread issue of ad fraud which we work closely with our clients to combat.


It was announced a few months ago that ad blocker Shine (invested in by Li-Ka Shing’s Horizon Ventures) signed a network-level deal with UK carrier Three (owned by Li-Ka Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa) How do you think this whole ad blocking issue will play out on mobile?

It’s something we as an industry need to keep an eye on but it means that better creative will emerge.

We’ve always strived to deliver useful and entertaining mobile content. The problem is not adblocking, adblocking is the symptom. The problem comes from poor creative & boring media planning.

If the creative / message was fun, entertaining, relevant, I doubt people would feel the need to block it.

So adblocking should be seen in the industry as a challenge, a yellow card from the audience addressed to brands and agencies. People want quality & clever ads.


What are some of the most common client campaign objectives as it pertains to mobile? (get more installs for their app, drive people to their mobile site, drive sign ups, store locator) 

We moved on from delivering pure app install campaigns in tune with out the industry advanced some time ago. We’re helping clients from across our roster of both start-ups and established brands who are seeking to position mobile at the heart of their integrated campaigns. Whether than means driving new customers to an app or even building an app to ensure fantastic customer experience, advertisers know that thinking mobile-first opens up the opportunities for brands to deliver both on ROI and brand metrics and we’re well positioned to help them to achieve that.


What are some innovations in mobile happening today that excite you the most? (mobile beacons, cross-device buying, 2nd screen from the likes of Shazam, chat bots, connected cars, IoT) 

We’re really excited around the opportunities around chat bots in particular as consumers become increasingly comfortable with communications which (whilst to all intents and purposes are actually programmed) can solve their specific needs. So with 6 out of the top 10 most used apps globally being messenger apps it seems like a really interesting way for brands to exploit having a direct conversation with their customers. For instance KLM launched a chat bot via Facebook Messenger app to deliver all their flight information , itinerary and boarding pass, even providing delay information. That’s useful. And we know that in APAC so for instance being able to find the information you need when you’re travelling from place to place via chat bot is useful and relevant. And we know that within the APAC region messenger apps are very familiar channels of communication so brands that understand how to have useful and relevant conversations will win here.


When it comes to attribution and reporting – do you work with multiple install tracking partners, and why? How do you typically consolidate reports from vendors with the aggregated reports that these attribution / install tracking partners provide? 

Yes we work with a wide range of MMPs in the market – we are agnostic and don’t tie ourselve to one tracking partner. Generally our approach will be to work with our clients to establish which one will fit their specific needs.

Our proprietary data platform FetchMe takes vendor and tracking partners data and then aggregates these into a single consolidated client-friendly view so that we can derive insights and continually optimize our campaigns.


Lastly, what is your take on the future of mobile advertising? 

It’s here to stay!



Fetch, part of Dentsu Aegis Network, is a global mobile-first agency with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berlin, Manchester and Hong Kong. Fetch has been delivering mobile-first advertising and digital media services since 2009, and its role is to understand the mobile consumer better than any other.

Fetch works with some of the world’s most pioneering brands including Uber, Facebook, Hulu, HSBC, Expedia, eBay and, and has won numerous awards for its campaigns for clients including, Expedia and eBay in disciplines which include mobile video, paid social, experiential and mobile marketing. As well as being listed as top 50 digital agency by Econsultancy in 2016, Fetch has also been named mobile agency of the year in three consecutive years, and was voted fastest growing mobile marketing agency in Europe by Media Momentum Awards.

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