Asia has the world’s fastest growing population of social media users, which also makes it a difficult market to navigate.
As regional social media sites fold, new giants rise up to take their place, often in a completely different medium or format. For those looking to tap into burgeoning social media communities for commercial purposes, this poses a challenge. It’s a challenge that Hong Kong-based startup Lamplight Analytics wants to tackle head on.
“The days of ‘Weibo and WeChat in China, Facebook and Twitter everywhere else are long gone if they ever really existed at all,” Lamplight COO Fergus Clarke told Technode. “Indonesia is a good example for this. Jakarta is the biggest city globally for Twitter, while WeChat’s user base is growing at something like 900%.”
The Hong Kong-based startup recently completed a seed funding round of $1.49 million USD, led by venture capital fund Vectr Ventures. Other participants in the investment round included local and international firms, as well as private money.
Clarke and other two co-founders, CEO Sam Olsen and CTO Nathan Pacey launched the company in 2014, after their experience in Asia revealed a lack of specialized tools designed to navigate Asia’s social media landscape. The startup now run by a team of 15 staff and is working with numerous multinational and regional clients.
Lamplight says the new capital is earmarked to develop its proprietary technology, the machine-learning algorithms that drive the platform.
To address the complexity of social media analysis in Asian market, Lamplight tools stem from language, culture and geography, among other factors. The platform now supports several languages from English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.
“First and foremost we don’t believe it’s possible to truly understand social media behaviour without being based in the region. Platforms, vernacular and user behaviour are ever evolving and only by being on the ground is it possible to keep pace with this.”
“Our technology is essentially about machines understanding human emotions. Of course this starts with deriving meaning from social media posts using natural language processing that is specific to each language but over the coming months we’ll be rolling out even more advanced additions.” Clarke said.
“We’re different from our competitors in that we’re not trying to sell social advertising or CRM platforms. We deliver insight into our clients’ audiences and performance insights to support marketing optimization.”
In response to their plans for the Chinese market, Clarke said “China is a very important market but we are helping our clients on a regional basis.”
A study by global market research and consultancy MarketsAndMarkets shows the social marketing analytics sector has a projected worth of at least $2.75 billion USD by 2019, growing at 35% a year, with Asia second only to North America in terms of market size.
Image Credit: Lamplight