Digital Diversity: Winning Asian Americans on Social Media

October 16, 2017

The Asian American population represents a diversity of languages, nationalities and cultures. As such, they use social media in ways that are distinct from the general population. In this blog post, we will explore some of the things that marketers should keep in mind when creating a winning social media campaign targeting this consumer group.

Asian Americans: Affluent, Tech-Savvy, and Trendy
According to a recent study by Nielsen, The Asian-American Consumer Report 2016, the group outpaces the general population on ownership of the latest technology platforms. Mobile multimedia device ownership stands out particularly:

  • 70% of Asian American consumers use smartphones (highest usage among any other segment groups) to browse daily news, interact with friends through mobile messaging apps, and even frequently make personal purchases through mobile applications.
  • 95% of Asian American TV households
own smartphones—indexing 9% higher than the general population.
  • 76% of Asian Americans own tablets, the fastest-growing personal Internet access platform, at a rate of 18% higher than the general population.

Recognized as early adopters, they gravitate toward the most innovative products, and often act as trendsetters in the tech and electronic categories.

A Closer Look…

Reaching the Right Online Destinations
Asian Americans are more active on apps and social media platforms that are not commonly used by their non-Asian counterparts.

As 69% of Asian Americans are first generation, foreign-born, immigrants, they build their social network so they can stay connected to their home countries. Platforms are popular if they allow more than just sharing posts, and offer functions like international video callings and oversea payment transfers.

Here is a list and comparison of popular apps that are considered non-mainstream in North America:

Showcasing culturally relevant content
One of the most unique characteristics of Asian American Millennials is that culture plays a much greater part in their choice of entertainment. Both U.S. and foreign-born Asian Americans enjoy entertainment with strong cultural ties. In fact, more than any other group surveyed, Asian Americans say they are more interested in a new TV program if it has actors with the same ethnic background as themselves.

This cultural attachment has driven an explosion of Asian YouTube content creators with celebrity status among Asian Americans. Here is a list of the most popular Asian American Influencers who have made significant contributions to Asian culture and identity in online media:

Niga Higa @TheRealRyanHiga
Content style: Comedy, sketches, music videos
Followings: 20MM subscribers (YouTube), 2.7MM followers (Instagram), 2.1MM likes (Facebook), 2MM followers (Twitter)
Total view: 3.4 billion
Brands: Lenovo, Carl’s Jr, Universal Pictures’ “Despicable Me,” 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, Toyota
Most-watched video: “Nice Guys”; 60.6MM views

Twitter: @TheRealRyanHiga

Wong Fu Productions
Content style: comedy, sketches
Followings: 2.9MM subscribers (YouTube), 273 followers (Instagram), 685K likes (Facebook), 218K followers (Twitter)
Total view: 486K
Brands: Subaru, AT&T, and JC Penny, Panda Express, VitaSoy (Check out our case study)

Facebook: @wongfuproductions

Lilly Singh @IISuperwomanII
Content style: Comedy, sketches
Followings: 12MM subscribers (YouTube), 6.8MM followers (Instagram), 3MM likes (Facebook), 4.18MM (Twitter), (Snapchat)
Total view: 2 billion
Brands: Coca-Cola, Skittles and TD, Toyota and Smashbox

Twitter: @IISuperwomanII

Freddie Wong @RocketJump
Content style: action, special effects
Followings: 7.8MM subscribers (YouTube), 43K followers (Instagram), 752 likes (Facebook), 82K followers (Twitter)
Brands: Lionsgate, Hulu,

Facebook: @rocketjumpdotcom

Michelle Phan @michellephan
Content style: Makeup tutorials, DIY
Followings: 8.9MM subscribers (YouTube), 2.1MM followers (Instagram), 3MM likes (Facebook), 938K followers (Twitter)
Total view: 1 billion
Brands: Lancôme, L’Oreal
Most-watched video: “Barbie Transformation Tutorial” (62M views)

Facebook: @MichellePhanOfficial

These content-creators garner millions of subscribers by producing original content that resonates and speaks directly to Asian Americans. They also provide savvy marketers with great opportunities for creative marketing initiatives with unique, relevant, and compelling messages.