2016 is left already. I wrote this insight article since last week of the December, 2016. This include all about internet user information, social media status, top website, online marketing techniques of some companies. I would not say this is all about. This is actually some quick summarised information that I got in mind after going deep down into send freely available data.
Myanmar Internet Users of 2016.
According to the data released by GSMA, Myanmar has over 37.5 millions of Mobile phone connections. Myanmar population is around 53 Millions. In this case, we cannot ignore the unregistered mobile phone subscribers. According to government order, all operators have to cut all un-registered mobile phone number off the living user pool. So do you think Myanmar has 37.5 Mobile phone penetration? I will say 25 millions. Let’s see what will happen in March, 2017. So according to current data, mobile broadband data user is about 50 percent. In a way, it says that there are about 18 Millions mobile internet users. It is also a kind of data we can recognise as Myanmar internet user population. Yes. Facebook user population is about 13 Millions. Facebook penetration is about 86% in internet user pool. Let’s get into more data about Facebook soon. Myanmar mobile phone user status started rising since 2014 when Myanmar government let two foreign operator to run in the country beside MPT, a government-owned telecom company.
Mobile and internet user data are to compared with Vietnam. Vietnam population is 93 Millions. Mobile phone user cover 100 percent of the population. But when speaking about internet user, their penetration is just 25 Millions. It is just 10 Millions more than Myanmar internet users. The market nature of Vietnam and Myanmar is quite similar by judging from the background of user’s internet literacy. You can check more in GSMA report. In the mean while, Vietnam is coming into Myanmar market soon. They freshly got the license to do business in Myanmar as a telecom operator.
Facebook user status in Myanmar
According to Facebook’s released data, Myanmar has about 13 Millions active users monthly. Therefore this is about 86% of Myanmar internet users. User population spread through different places in the country.
Facebook user locations
Half of Facebook users live in Yangon, main city of the country. Almost 40% of Facebook users are in Mandalay region. It proves that Facebook users mainly live in major cities. Taungyi, fourth major city of the country, has 5% of Myanmar Facebook users. But one should not recognise it as a few user group. Taunggyi region has few population. These 5 percent can also be about 90 percent of youth population living in that region. Youths here mean age between 18 to 35. As checking in terms of the gender coverage, major group is male and it is 64 percent of Myanmar Facebook user amount. Being familiar with IT and gadget related things mostly happened in man group. Myanmar women are hardly adapting the technology. They are more relying on man for IT related helps such as Facebook account creation, email creation, etc. These are all in GSMA report. Half of Facebook users in Myanmar are younger than 24. 30 percent of Facebook users are younger than 34. It is also giving another meaning that more than 80 percent of internet users are young people who are younger than 34. This data is correct according to my judgement and learning in current community through 7 years. Mass of Myanmar people start experience internet from 2014 approximately because mobile telecom offered mobile data service. Before 2014, to use mobile data internet, MPT SIM Card owner has to activate for internet by paying about 15 USD.
Source: Social Baker
Top Facebook pages in Myanmar
Top Facebook pages in Myanmar are 7 Days News Journal, Eleven Media Group, BBC Burmese, The Irrawaddy – Burmese Edition, Teleor Myanmar, VOA Burmese News, Mizzima – News in Burmese, MPT, Myanmar Model Girls and YoYarLay. The significant data we got here is Two Telcome Facebook existing in Top 10 Facebook page list in Myanmar. They are Telenor and MPT. Ooredoo used to be in the top 10 list in the last year report. I consider this as a real user reflecting from outside the internet. It is true that Telenor is holding biggest number of mobile phone subscriber while MPT follow at second place. It is usual that News Media pages are on top positions. 7 Days News Journals hold biggest fan amount. Their local fan total is more than 12 million. Their international audience total is about 1 million.
7Days News Journal used to be a journal only presenting Facebook page. But after releasing daily newspaper with the name of ‘7Days Daily’, they kept on using one Facebook page to publish news from both platform papers. The nature goes same with Eleven Media Group which has daily newspaper and weekly journal. Telenor takes third place in top 10 lists. Could you imagine how much they spent? With our experience of buying paid likes on Facebook, 10K Likes equal to 300 USD as average. Therefore, here we can take remark as Telenor spent 140,000 USD to get over 7 million fan total. Let’s say Telenor grow organic like by 50 percent. It is still about 70000 USD usage in page like growth promotion. It is not for post reach promotion reach yet. News Media pages are not needing page growth promotion and they seem not doing that activity. Some media page owners reportedly told to business owners that they grow organically. I agree with this.
Is Facebook Fan important?
Yes because of the current market situation in the country. Facebook is king in Myanmar. Facebook is internet. Facebook users are not jumping so much out of from Facebook apps. Facebook introduced instant articles. Many local media are posting instant articles too. So Facebook will still be the king. However we are still wondering which other platforms are rising beside Facebook.
This data prove that Google is mostly used platform in Myanmar. But it is not true. Google.com and Google.com.mm are mostly default search for mobile and computer devices in Myanmar. Google automatically get user number rise daily. Visiting time and unique visiting amount on Google will be lower than Facebook. Facebook have constant users who open Facebook 3 times per hours in Myanmar. Google AdWords also prove it by showing potential reach for Google Ads. Google say they only has 1.2 million potential reach. You can check it in Google Ads when you set up an Ads campaign. When you do Google Ads campaign. Google can help you getting 7 million impression. But total reach is 1 million only. This reach is calculated as unique user.
Google Trends in 2016, Myanmar
In Myanmar, Burma is most searched for the year 2016. The second most searched keyword is Facebook. Pokemon Go is top rising category in Google Search. Meizu and Oppo are also in top 10 list in search category. We consider keyword search for that two smartphone brand rise because people search for firmware and software related for those two smartphone brands. Huawei and Samsung are having lots of service center around the country and so people can easily rely on those shops for phone servicing. Therefore Google was fatally important for Meizu and Oppo users. Oppo is now a rising brand in Myanmar as a brand which invest the biggest marketing budget among other competitors. iPhone is at ranking at number 15 as a category. Nature of user in Myanmar on Google is quite different from developed countries. Search is still a problem as majorty of the users in Myanmar are using a kind of Myanmar font to which Google does not support. Therefore searches in Zawgyi, a kind of nonstandard Myanmar font is not giving correct result and people try not to bother Google for searching. Current 1 million Google users can be recognized as users who has more knowledge on internet than the rest of the people in Myanmar.
Myanmar has over 18 millions internet users
Active Facebook user is between 10 and 15 millions monthly.
Google monthly unique user amount is about 1.2 million.
4) More than 60 percent of Myanmar internet users are men.
5) Myanmar most using platform is Facebook.
6) Two adult websites are in Myanmar most visiting top 15 websites.
7) LinkedIn has monthly active user of 500,000 by ranking at number 15 in most using platform in Myanmar.
8) Channel Myanmar, a controversial website which is sharing cracked foreign videos, rank at number 7. Thihtoolwin, a news aggregate website rank at number 9. GoldChannelMovie is also a similar website to Channel Myanmar but ranking at number 9. These three websites are in top 10 websites in Myanmar.
9) Pokemon Go was the most interest and searched topic in Google in 2016, Myanmar.
10) Except Telenor and MPT, the rest of the Facebook pages in top 10 are news media pages.
11) 7Days News Journal is number 1 Myanmar Facebook page which has over 1 million local fan. The page cover about 70 percent of local Myanmar Facebook users.
Thoughts on Myanmar internet market
Myanmar is not yet a mature market. Several challenges include the following
Online Payment is not ready yet.
Local banks have been trying to have a good online payment solution which can help local people to easily commercialize online. Actually online payment is not ready yet. Banks start offering MasterCard and Visa Card which are credit card needing to fill up to use. And these cards are not easily usable when arriving other countries. Many websites which run under US government regulation are still blocking payment transition from and to Myanmar. People can do online shopping on some international online shopping website but only few website offer delivery services to Myanmar. DHL is still the only way but it has limitation such as not carrying any thing which is more than 500 USD expensive, etc. Local websites are not getting robust KPI and tunnel for payment yet. Banks such as AYA and CB Bank started offering Merchant account for some local companies which accept international payment according to the business nature. But the percentage taking and tax regulation on those transition are still not clear through to grass root level of the community. More than 80 percent of local startup face payment problem. COD (Cash on Delivery) is the most relying method. I got chance to talk with an email marketing business expert from Thailand and he said Thailand people are also favorably choosing COD if having choices. But in US, cards are fatal. So here is a thinking about payment solution which is unsatisfying yet. Local people are also not adopting yet. Internet wallet such as OK Dollar also started operation but expectation is always left when comparing with real situation.
Government enforcement on internet business
Internet business are registered as a trading company in Myanmar which has not so much different amount of tax to pay to government. In this case, do you think Google and Facebook pay tax to Myanmar government for they are doing business in Myanmar? Facebook is taking thousands of dollar each hour in Myanmar. Do you think if Myanmar government should tax on it? Giants internet companies face different kind of tax regulation and goes under corresponding laws in each country. Not only Facebook, but also many other e-commerce websites from foreign countries are operating in Myanmar by different kind of method. Another question is how local offline real-estate agents will battle with Airbnb? We interest on which place government should take and do something benefit for both local consumers, local businesses and international internet businesses.
Learning Phase of Myanmar
I name 2017 a learning phase for Myanmar internet users. Myanmar internet users started learning since 2014. They still need time to be educated. People skip the technology but still it takes time to adapt. Internet is just for information consuming at the current stage. That’s why online marketing campaigns such as cost per conversion and even click-through rate are still a hardship. Impression and Reach are more reliable KPIs for online marketing campaigns. We let consumer learn the internet and then we do simple campaigns. It is the right solution I see so far for the current situation.
We see several kinds of internet marketing campaigns. Telenor, Ooredoo, MPT and some other internet business companies are doing Google Display Ads campaigns. It is a good initiative and still a low-cost. CPM is still under 0.01. Costs will be more expensive when competition is hight. For now, competition is still low and so cost rates for international Ads are still in low-cost value. My belief is doing something is better than doing nothing. Businesses which aim to take lead in the market should try online marketing by using several platform supports such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and other social media.
People are still learning. That’s why only simple marketing campaign can only get more participation. Simple but creative campaigns will be more remarkable. When you force people do a lot for a campaign, campaign participant total will be low. We have tested several campaign which include campaign that need few step to achieve and campaign that need many steps to achieve. Few steps campaign are more successful such as photo contest, short essay contests, etc. Like and Share campaign are now bored and it is not transforming Facebook users to your customers.
ROI still matters
Challenge every companies have in Myanmar is calculating ROI for online campaign. As I said that Myanmar market is still not mature, I even feel doubt on research companies’ data on collecting internet user’s behaviour data. NPS, brand preferences, other key questions being taken for offline market are ok. But for internet users who live in Myanmar the questions type and the way to ask are still a little hard like walking on the string which bared feet. Myanmar people has nature of being shame to talk the truth. How will you get the data? At the end of the day, how many product item has ben sell out is more important than those research data. But if your product is successful which marketing channel you will be more praising? I will be focusing more on topic such as understand Myanmar internet user’s behaviours, calculating ROI and setting KPI for internet marketing campaign in future. If you are just a starter in the field, I suggest you to just do it. Start something simple and your expected and reasonable KPIs. Don’t so much rely on internet market by forgetting offline and TVC market. But ignoring the internet market can also be a mistake. Brands can use social media as a service channel to help the customer in the current situation. This is a way to win the market mean while others are not doing. As to recap, doing something is better than doing nothing. I hope you can find out valuable information and key factors to use in your business from this insight article.