5 Tips on How to do Marketing and Advertising in Indonesia

But, there’s another way to look at it. People of varying ages, personalities, likes, and dislikes can also bring endless possibilities for marketers and advertisers. There will always be a group of people who would fit your niche and brand image. And, you will never run out of an audience! Thus, Indonesia has a fertile market for businesses in various industries, sizes, and target audience.

Indonesians today are very digital. More than 70% of the population are active internet users. Therefore, businesses now should consider using digital platforms to launch their marketing and advertising campaigns. Although the Indonesian market comes with challenges, it comes with great opportunities as well. You just have to know what to do, who to talk to, and how to do it right.

If you are looking on how to do marketing in Indonesia, you came to the right place. In this article, we have compiled the best tips for marketing and advertising in Indonesia from Arthur Sabalionis and Joon Kim the founders of AJ Marketing – leading marketing agency in Indonesia. Let’s take a look!

Five Best Tips for Marketing in Indonesia:

  1. Know Where to Start: choose the right platform for your campaign from the very beginning
  2. Humanize Your Brand: create a brand character or persona and make it extremely relatable
  3. Go Digital: research about e-commerce trends and start shifting your business towards it
  4. The Audience is Everything: make your product all about your specific audience! Target, Localize, Implement
  5. Use the Power of Influence: know who have the power to influence your market and coordinate with them to build brand trust

Tip #1: Know Where to Start: choose the right platform for your campaign from the very beginning

Choosing the right platform from the very beginning is essential to ensure a successful marketing campaign. No matter your effort in launching a campaign, if it’s done in the wrong place, then the results will be minimal. Your time, effort, and resources would go to waste. Before you enter the Indonesian market, you first have to ask, “Which platform should I use?”

Now that you know that Indonesians are avid internet users, let’s take a look at their internet usage, habits, and behaviors. It’s time for you to find which platforms they frequent, and what activities they do on each platform. Internet users in Indonesia spend about 8 hours daily surfing the internet. They use the internet to gather information, to connect with friends, to watch online videos, and to research brands.

DataReportal suggests that as of February 2022, more than 67% of Indonesian internet users research brands before making purchases. These people mainly discover brands using search engines, social media advertisements, social media comments, and brand websites. Social media are the leading platforms for brand discovery because it provides more customers touch points. The most popular social media platforms in Indonesia are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

Before you launch a campaign, you need to identify your target audience and which platforms they frequently use. You can segment your audience based on their age group, sex, habits, likes, dislikes, and character. Once you’ve done this, it is easy to pinpoint which specific platform to target.

Let’s take a lesson from one of Indonesia’s successful internet campaigns. Pond’s wanted to market their product for Acne Solution. Their target audience were women in their teens who frequently have acne and skin problems. By narrowing their target market, they were able to point out that Indonesian teens frequently watch beauty vloggers on YouTube and Instagram. With this information, Pond’s hired 40 beauty influencers on YouTube and Instagram to post contents about their skincare routine featuring Pond’s Acne Solution. This campaign earned more than 1 million views.

To know more about successful marketing campaigns in Indonesia, read Indonesia’s Top 10 Marketing Trends in 2021.

Tip #2: Humanize Your Brand: create a brand character or persona and make it extremely relatable

Brands should think outside the box when it comes to doing marketing and advertising in Indonesia. A creative approach will set your brand apart from competitors and will attract more customers.

Indonesian customers have high brand loyalty. They choose brands that relate to their personal character. This is why creating a brand persona is important for businesses in Indonesia. By creating a brand persona, businesses can relate to the customers’ day-to-day activities.

Most companies in Indonesia still struggle to create a persona for their brand on social media, especially the large corporations. In social media, these companies often use a made-up character for purposes of adding personality to the brand. However, this persona becomes too shallow as it relies too much on imagery. Companies need to add depth to their brand’s face–their characters should talk or type like any person would.

If you have stumbled on any of Wendy’s snarky replies on Twitter, you know what we’re talking about.

Not too many brands in Indonesia have the guts to actually be interactive with followers on social media platforms. Social media interactions which are automated do not gain people’s attention and interest. Therefore, make sure that your brand is interacting with your customers in the most natural way.

We can take a few lessons from Netflix Indonesia’s Instagram account. This account was super creative with its clever and relatable captioning of popular scenes from series or movies. For example, in this post, Netflix Indonesia made a meme out of a popular scene from the KDrama Our Beloved Summer. Netflix Indonesia posted this on Valentine’s day, and the caption roughly translates to “all single copywriters who have to post today”. The video showed Park Jin Joo slamming through her keyboard.

Ultimately, this gained attention among Indonesians, most of them commenting how relatable the account administrator was. Some even asked how to apply as Netflix’s Instagram administrator.

The Directorate General of Taxation on TikTok also generated buzz by reacting to video creators who flex their wealth on social media. The screenshot below is from a video that follows a social media trend where people show off their bank account’s balance. The Directorate General of Taxation commented, inferring that they’re aware of the riches and their taxation matters. Surely enough, the comment gained a lot of attention with nearly 200,000 likes and 5,000 replies.

Actions as simple as interacting cleverly with the audience can generate a lot of engagements for businesses wanting to promote their brand in Indonesia. Think about who your business would be if it were a person. What would they look like? How would they talk with other people? Envision this and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Humanizing your brand is not limited to interacting through comments or post captions using your business account. The founders of AJ Marketing emphasized that fostering a brand identity can also be done through the use of actual people whom Indonesians already know and trust. Influencer marketing, for example, is a great way to show the market that your brand is authentic, personal, and trustworthy.

Tip #3: Go Digital: research about e-commerce trends and start shifting your business towards it

As of 2021, Indonesia is #1 in the e-commerce users percentage worldwide with up to 90% of people relying on various online shopping sites like Shopee, Tokopedia, Lazada, and Blibli to shop for products. E-commerce is now a necessity for most Indonesians, because they can buy their needs without stepping a foot outside their homes.

With that said, selling products through e-commerce sites would be in your best interest. Having an online shop which is one click away drives an increase in business sales. If you were the consumer, would you choose to get up your bed, go outside, and walk to the store, or would you choose to simply type an e-commerce website, swipe to browse their products, and tap the “add to cart” button? Millions of Indonesians would choose the latter.

Of course, a digital store is no easy strategy. Some parts in Indonesia are still struggling with digital transformation, making some consumers opt to purchase products physically so they can pay in cold hard cash. This is where smart marketing and advertising strategies come into play.

Shopee, being one of the largest massive e-commerce companies in Indonesia, pushes its platform as the top-of-mind for cash on delivery (COD) online stores. As a result, they’re pushing ads and collaborative content with this theme. Take a look at the video below. This video reached 421 million people and has delivered a very effective message that Shopee can still be used by Indonesians who cannot pay digitally.

How was Shopee able to do this? Through on-the-ground research and local partnerships with agencies and producers. AJ Marketing believes that partnering with a local marketing and advertising agency can help you in knowing the Indonesian market. This moves us to tip #4.

Tip #4: The Audience is Everything: make your product all about your specific audience! Target, Localize, Implement

The best way to approach the diversity of the Indonesian population is by developing localized marketing and advertising plans for each locale.

Indonesia ranks 4th in countries with the highest number of population. This country even represents more than 3% of the people of the whole world. This presents a unique challenge for marketers and advertisers aiming to penetrate the market – one strategy may be effective in Jakarta but not in Surabaya.

A study by McKinsey & Co. found that depending on geographical location has a significant impact on customer behavior. In Surabaya, people are twice as likely to ask friends and relatives for product recommendations – particularly for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). This means that marketers aiming to target Surabaya need to use words of mouth as one of their channels.

On the other hand, people in Jakarta are more progressive and independent with their products choice. Being the largest urban center in Indonesia, people in Jakarta have a significantly higher awareness of the products they need. They often find relevant information through online reviews from content creators and websites they know to be trustworthy. This entails that influencer, social media, and search engine marketing can be effective for this area.

This study proves the fact that various places have various audiences with various behaviors. You must know each of these groups and adjust your strategy accordingly. Now, you may think this is doable by simply searching the internet. However, this perspective is incorrect. This type of localization needs inside information from the locals themselves.

One good example for a localized marketing campaign is from Tokopedia. In 2021, Tokopedia launched Waktu Indonesia Belanja (WIB) campaign which roughly translates into Indonesia Shopping Time. The promo materials for the WIB campaign features local cultures and traditions. The campaign name WIB is also easy to catch on since it’s also the abbreviation used publicly for one of the three time zones in Indonesia – Western Indonesian Time or Waktu Indonesia Barat. The video gained more than 39 million views and it is one of the most awaited promotion periods from Tokopedia.

Tip #5: Use the Power of Influence: know who have the power to influence your market and coordinate with them to build brand trust

The popularity of influencer marketing in Indonesia gave rise to successful content creators such as Atta Halilintar, Reza Oktovian, and Ria Ricis. Indonesia has all types of influencers from different niches; from tech, beauty, fashion to health and fitness. Influencer marketing has been used by hundreds of brands such as Shopee, Tokopedia, and many more.

But there’s a reason why brands are increasing their influencer marketing budget. According to reports, 51% of Indonesians find that online reviews by influencers are more honest than paid ads. Social networks is the main channel for online brand research in Indonesia. Indonesians resort to product reviews of real, reachable, and relatable people.

Some brands took bigger leaps and collaborated with idols and celebrities, instead of influencers. K-pop culture is impactful in Indonesia. Working with Korean idols in their campaigns proves to be highly effective for brands such as Tokopedia. Their most recent video collaboration with Weeekly, which was uploaded at the start of February 2022, has already been viewed more than 400,000 times on YouTube in a span of 2 weeks.

Like any other strategy, influencer marketing comes with its own challenges. You need to keep in mind that not all influencers are fit for your brand identity. Take for example two different influencers. One is a gamer with 5 million followers, and the other one is a fashion guru with only 300K followers. If you were a clothing brand, which of these influencers do you think is the best for you? Just because the former has millions of followers doesn’t mean they could represent your company values. Quality should also be taken into account and not just the quality.

The next question you have to ask now is, “How do I know which Indonesian influencer is best for my business?” To answer this question, you’d need the help of a local marketing and advertising agency as a partner.

The founders of AJ Marketing believe that by being physically present in the country, they get to see first-hand the marketing and advertising trends that are gaining results. They have actual first-hand data from real customers that can help you strategize your next campaign to the Indonesian audience. They know which influencers match different kinds of brand identities. AJ Marketing believes that their integration with the Indonesian market has equipped them with deep insights to know what type of content Indonesians like and dislike.


The diversity of Indonesian people is both a challenge and a blessing for marketers and advertisers. Whatever audience profile you have, chances are you can find it in Indonesia. However, the sheer diversity also means you’ll have to create multiple marketing campaigns to get the best results from each region and culture in Indonesia. You have to keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all type of strategy for each location. Aside from localization, humanization efforts are also a must. Lastly, all the tips provided point to one direction and that is going digital with your business efforts.

We hope these 5 pro marketing and advertising tips from the founders of AJ Marketing gave you a glimpse of how to expand your business in Indonesia. These tips can guide your journey, but these alone aren’t enough arsenal for a successful business expansion. To know more information about the Indonesian market, visit the AJ Marketing blog.

Asia Insider


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