The State of Advertising in Singapore: Trends, Methods, and Best Practices

advertising in singapore

Table of Contents

For your brand to excel in the Singaporean market, you must have an outstanding advertising strategy.

Staying on top of advertising trends in Singapore ensures your visibility to consumers.

With many advertising options to consider, digital advertising and SEO are high-yielding strategies you should invest in.

Ensuring the longevity of your brand and the market success of your business, product, or service in a competitive market should be your top priority.

When it comes to strategic advertising in Singapore, SEO is the most valuable tool you can utilize.

Having a stellar advertising campaign as part of your marketing strategy could be the difference between a mediocre presence in the market and essentially dominating your niche.

The economy in Southeast Asia has exploded over the last decade – in 2020, Singapore had an urban population of approximately 5.69 million people on a land area of about 720 square kilometers. 

The urban population in Singapore in 2022 has increased to 5.92 million people so if you think about it, that’s a lot of potential spending power per square kilometer.

singapore population increased in 2022

With a thriving free-market economy, it’s no surprise that as of October 2021, Singapore ranked in the top ten richest countries in the world.

To acquire wealth for yourself, you need to effectively target desirable consumers, increase brand engagement, and convert these consumers into loyal customers.

With marketing campaigns, there are various advertising methods to consider.

What is the difference between traditional advertising and digital advertising?

In this article, we explore the merits of these advertising methods.

Foundation of Advertising

Let’s start with the basics.

What is “advertising”? 

Advertising is the process of using various techniques through sponsored or paid channels to grab the attention of a target audience.

what is advertising

You want this target audience to notice your brand, business, products, or services.

Advertising is not to be confused with marketing, and there is a difference between marketing and advertising worth mentioning.

Marketing is the process you embark on to create awareness in the market around your brand and what you have to offer.

Advertising is a strategy falling under the context of marketing on how you will proceed to create awareness in the market.

In essence, advertising is a marketing technique. 

The underlying intention of advertising is to ultimately influence your target audience to purchase your products/services.

Your ad campaigns need to be persuasive and memorable by using mediums like striking imagery, informative product videos, other innovative and interesting video marketing, and powerful messages through text and words.

One of your marketing goals through advertising will be to attract new customers, and another is to retain your business customers.

Some of the biggest global brands, like Apple and Nike, successfully achieved these business goals.

Both are household names that have extremely loyal consumers that will likely be customers for life.

Types of Advertising Techniques

It can be overwhelming to decide on your business’s marketing and advertising strategy.

With the vast number of options, it’s normal not to be entirely sure which route to take and to understand what advertising techniques even exist.

You know you want to target, influence, and engage customers through your advertising campaigns, but how do you do this? 

If you follow the wrong advertising strategy for your specific target audience, this could be highly detrimental to the success of your brand.

It’s essential to conduct thorough marketing research on target audiences to fully understand which advertising strategy could lead you to success.

As the global economy grows and technological advancements increase, the options of advertising methods evolve.

Some advertising techniques also become redundant with time as trends change.

Your ads must help differentiate your products or services from your competitor’s products and services in the market.

People need to understand clearly why going with your offer is the best decision. 

Let’s dive into the different advertising methods, how they’re done, and what benefits they offer your business.

Traditional Advertising and Digital Advertising

It’s common for businesses to fail to match their ad spending to where their target audience is actually interacting with the market.

This can be detrimental to your business’s efforts to successfully enter a target market and to even grasp a large market share.

It’s vital to understand your target audience and consumer behavior to know which advertising strategy (traditional or digital advertising) is right for your business.

There are several advertising techniques and advertising platforms that you can use.

To make things simple, let’s divide these options into two widely understood types of advertising – traditional advertising and digital advertising.

types of advertising

Traditional Advertising

This covers all advertising methods that are “offline” or not “internet-based.”

They’re the forms of advertising that existed for many years before the internet. 

One drawback of traditional advertising methods is that you may not know if your target audience is being reached effectively.

Additionally, tracking the data to get insights into the effectiveness of that advertising method can be challenging.

It can be difficult to see where you stand in your industry’s market share.

Traditional advertising methods

  1. Broadcast advertising – marketing on radio stations, television, and billboards.

  2. Direct mail advertising – includes directly mailing catalogs, coupons, flyers, postcards, solicitation letters, or samples to consumers’ homes or businesses.

  3. Print advertising – print mediums like brochures, magazines, newspapers, and posters to advertise your business, products, or services.

  4. Telephone advertising – direct marketing of your business or products to potential customers by telemarketing.

  5. Outdoor advertising – advertising that reaches consumers outside of their homes, like billboards in high-traffic locations, business signage, posters, outdoor displays, and wallscapes.

Traditional advertising

Digital Advertising

This covers the advertising methods that are “online” or “internet-based.”

Digital advertising is seen as the more modern advertising technique and has also overtaken traditional advertising by a long shot.

This is due to technological advancements and consumers moving more toward the online world. 

Digital advertising is also growing in popularity in Singapore at an exponential rate.

After all, you have to put yourself in the line of sight of where the people are – and the vast majority of people are online.

By utilizing digital advertising, you’ll be able to reach your target customers directly and it’s also easier to obtain results on actual engagement and measure your advertising campaign’s success.

Digital advertising uses various digital channels and mediums to reach prospective customers.

These digital channels or mediums include, amongst others – email, search engines, SMS services, social media, video, and websites.

Within digital advertising, two of the top marketing methods that are used are SEO marketing and content marketing.

Digital Advertising Methods

  1. Display advertising – digital interactive advertising on third-party websites. This includes graphic advertising through audio, banners, images, text, and video advertising (YouTube, for example).

  2. Native advertising – an advertising technique where sponsored content matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears.

  3. Mobile advertising – using a digital marketing campaign to reach your audience while they are on their phone or tablet. Mobile advertising includes SMS marketing, email marketing, and mobile-optimized emails.

  4. Social media advertising – using popular social media networks to advertise, including paid advertising and influencer marketing on these social media channels. Popular social media networks advertised Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

  5. Paid search advertising – this includes driving traffic to your website by paying search engines to place your adverts higher up on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, where you pay the publisher when your advert is clicked on.
digital advertising

The State of Advertising in Singapore

In Singapore, 88.5% of its population was using the internet in 2020, with projected growth in internet usage to 93% by 2025

In 2020, internet users in Singapore spent, on average, about 8 hours per day using the internet for primarily personal purposes like online shopping and gaming.

In 2021, 96% of Singapore’s population owned a smartphone or mobile digital device.

This makes it even more convenient to access the internet daily and allows for increased digital consumer media consumption.

With stats like that, it becomes clear that you should use digital advertising if you’re serious about your business.

There are so many opportunities for digital advertisements that you can tap into, with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reigning supreme.

More and more businesses in Singapore are shifting towards digital advertising to promote their brand based on the latest social media statistics in Singapore.

Methods like email advertising, influencer marketing, social media marketing like Facebook advertising, mobile advertising, paid search advertising, and SEO are all on the rise.

The Value of Digital Marketing and Online Advertising Campaigns

Ad spending in Singapore through digital advertising is forecast to reach around US$1,40bn in 2022.

Search Advertising is reported to be the largest segment of ad spending in Singapore in 2022, with a projected market value of US$0.54bn.

Online advertising, specifically mobile advertising, dominates offline advertising in Singapore.

With the increasing percentage of Singapore’s population accessing the internet, the online advertising market continues to grow.

Traditional Advertising Campaigns

Traditional advertising still has a place in Singapore, though.

Even with growth rates being projected as far lower and slower than the growth rates for digital advertising methods, broadcast and print advertising are still alive and well in Singapore.

If you ask Singaporeans, most will confirm that they still view these forms of traditional advertising as relevant, trustworthy, and valuable.

But do you really get the same level of reach and value as digital methods like SEO?

We’ll dive deeper into this later in the article.

The Regulation of Advertising in Singapore

The advertising industry is regulated in Singapore, as it is in many other countries.

For advertising agencies and private individual advertisers, specific guidelines or “best practices” must be adhered to when developing an ad campaign.

While you have a host of advertising methods to choose from in Singapore, what you decide on needs to be in line with the prevailing rules and regulations on advertising in Singapore.

So, where do you find the Singaporean advertising rules and regulations, and who regulates advertising in Singapore?

The Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP)

The Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) is the guiding and regulating principle for advertising in Singapore.

The purpose of the SCAP is to ensure and promote the highest ethical advertising standard in Singapore. The Singapore Code has been endorsed by various organizations.

regulation of advertising in singapore

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS)

The administration and enforcement of the SCAP are through self-regulation in the advertising industry by the ASAS Council under the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

ASAS was established in 1976 and is made up of representatives from advertising agencies, advertisers, government agencies, media owners, and other supporting organizations.

ASAS is not responsible for actually approving all advertising before it’s published.

This responsibility to comply with regulations remains on advertisers and consumers reporting regulation infringements.

This promotes an industry of accountability, honesty, responsibility, and trust among Singaporeans.

The ASAS Council is tasked with:

  • an advisory role when advice is requested on the acceptability of specific advertisements.

  • adjudicating consumer complaints about questionable advertising practices.

  • providing business-to-business advertisement feedback.

Here are a few of the items the SCAP advertising regulations in Singapore cover:

  • guidelines for reducing children’s exposure to advertising of food and beverages high in fat, sugar, and salt.

  • guidelines on interactive marketing communication and social media.

  • to curb remote gambling, advisory guidelines on gambling advertisements, and promotions.

  • guidelines on displaying full prices for products and services advertised and disclosing all commercial relationships in sponsored advertising.

Examples of sanctions imposed by the ASAS Council on advertisers who fail to comply with regulations:

  • an advertiser’s trading privileges may be withdrawn.

  • ASAS could publish an advertiser’s name and details of the investigation for public knowledge.

  • an advertiser’s advertising time or space may be withheld.

Marketing Trends in Singapore

With the advancement of technology globally, and specifically in Singapore, more businesses and marketing and advertising agencies in Singapore are including Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their advertising efforts.

There has been a massive surge in the use of chatbots on websites for advertising.

This allows for positive interaction with your customers and enables businesses to meet the individual needs of their customers through a more personalized touchpoint.

Using AI can assist you in analyzing consumer behavior to improve the overall customer experience with your business.

There is a definite momentum in the Singaporean advertising industry to make the customer experience more personalized.

This is why market research is critical when setting up ad campaigns, as you need to know who you are talking to and tailor the language and advertising method to them.

An advantage of digital marketing is that advertising agencies and businesses in Singapore can use various analytics tools on the market as these tools provide you with research data regarding a wide range of interest points.

You are also able to measure the performance of your advertising efforts.

That way, you can see what works and what doesn’t, so you aren’t wasting precious capital on ineffective advertising efforts.

Analyzing data regarding consumer traffic to your website or consumer interaction with your ads will help you pinpoint who your target audience is and what they care about. 

As of 2022, there are approximately 5.30 million active social media users with a social media account in Singapore, out of a population of 5.92 million people.

It goes without saying that social media marketing is highly beneficial in the Singapore market.

Another big marketing trend in Singapore is focusing on content marketing, which is focused on creating consistent, relevant, and valuable content with the aim of driving consumer traffic back to your website or business.

SEO is trending

Further, there is a move by advertising agencies toward promoting SEO as an effective strategy in digital advertising.

SEO is also infused into social media marketing, so it is a foundational digital marketing tool to utilize in multiple ways. 

There is a difference between effective SEO and amateur SEO – and that has to do with the value of the content and the quality of your branding.

You won’t see the results you’re after if you hit the keywords in your niche but don’t give the customer any value in the content they’re directed to.

These visitors won’t convert into customers. 

This is why it’s imperative to have a well-rounded SEO strategy that strongly focuses on consistent valuable content.

That’s what we do at Traffv.

We help brands grow long-term organic traffic with a “brand first, rankings second” approach so that the traffic turns into customers. 

SEO as a Best Practice in Digital Advertising

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Understanding the difference between SEO vs SEM is crucial for a successful online marketing campaign.

Included in SEM are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing and paid search advertising like PPC (pay per click) advertising.

SEO is directly focused on optimizing your online assets (like your website and profiles) to get traffic from organic search results.

SEO only deals with non-paid results and does not rely on paid advertisements.

SEO ultimately seeks to result in a boost in traffic that then leads to increased conversion rates for a bigger bottom line.

One of the golden aims of SEO is to reach that desired ranking on the first page of prominent search engines like Google.

If you get this right, you won’t need to spend so much of your advertising budget on paid ads.

Using SEO marketing campaigns in digital marketing is highly recommended if you are looking for long-lasting results.

What is the Cost of SEO Marketing?

While it’s true that SEO marketing deals with non-paid results, as opposed to PPC ads which are paid, there is a cost involved in pursuing SEO marketing. 

The non-tangible cost arises from the immense effort, knowledge, and expertise required to optimally drive free SEO traffic to your website from organic search results.

You will also need some understanding of how search engines operate.

Even if you decide to undertake SEO yourself, simply educating yourself on this will take time, and we all know that in business, time is money!

It can be overwhelming to put together an effective SEO plan if you don’t know much about SEO.

For example, understanding how to use SEO keywords effectively to drive your content traffic is just a tiny part of the equation. 

SEO can take a lot of effort and time before you even see positive results.

The reality is that you may never rank highly for specific keywords or terms if you don’t get SEO right.

You may want to consider approaching SEO experts to come on board to assist your business with an SEO plan.

You may need to invest in an advertising agency that specializes in SEO to assist your business with SEO marketing.

With digital marketing thriving in Singapore, you should consider expert help from digital marketing agencies with SEO web design, whether entering an established or new market.

Where Does SEO Position Your Advert or Website in Organic Search Results?

When you conduct a keyword search on a search engine, you will usually find PPC ads appearing above and below the organic search results.

Organic search results appear in the middle of the results pages.

Ideally, you want your ads or website listing to appear on the first page of the search results pages.

It’s even better if you can claim a top 5 position on the first page.

Understanding SEO Traffic

An SEO marketing agency will confirm that exceptional SEO drives more long-term and continuous traffic to your website.

Keep in mind that the volume of traffic, even if ranking in the top 5 organic search result positions, will depend on the popularity of the keyword or phrase search.

If you rank in the top 5 organic search results, your chance of getting search traffic visits to your website is exceptionally high.

In terms of the actual conversion, PPC ads place higher than SEO marketing.

This is because PPC ads directly target specific consumers who end up clicking on them because they are interested in the advertised content.

The major downside to PPC is that it can get expensive to run these campaigns, whereas SEO is much more affordable in the long run. 

The Benefits of SEO and Hiring Advertising Agencies

By now, you’ll know that there are many benefits to using SEO marketing as part of your brand strategy.

Hiring agencies with SEO expertise can achieve many of these benefits.

Benefits of SEO for advertising include:

  1. Provides long-term digital marketing strategies and results.

  2. SEO optimizes the user experience – your customers have higher satisfaction levels in interacting with your brand.

  3. Enhances the success of PPC ads, as the two can work well together.

  4. Land the top positions in organic search results.

  5. It improves the perceived credibility and trust of your brand and business.

  6. Increased ROI.

  7. SEO can provide continuous 24/7 promotion of your ad, brand, business, and website (whereas traditional marketing cannot do this).

In summary, one of the main benefits is its ability to increase organic discovery of your brand and website and drive quality traffic to your website. 

How and Where Do You Advertise in Singapore?

An excellent place to start is to enter the digital realm.

Considering some of the stats we’ve referenced (advertising spend, active internet usage, and mobile and digital device owners in Singapore), you’re surely convinced that investing in digital marketing for your local businesses in Singapore is a good move.

Ensure that your marketing and advertising strategy is relevant to the local community you wish to target.

Your advertising strategy should be so good that consumers become a captive audience to your digital ads, and you continue to stay in their line of sight even after purchasing from you.

Remember that there are several digital advertising techniques that you can use in Singapore to attract your target audience and drive traffic to your website and business.

From the likes of email marketing, influencer marketing, Facebook ads, mobile ads, paid search advertising, and SEO, you have multiple options to increase engagement and claim more customers.

If you find yourself in that uncomfortable space of not knowing how to go about digital advertising, you shouldn’t hesitate to approach an advertising agency to assist you.

What To Consider in Your Advertising Campaign

In all honesty, there is a huge amount to consider when creating an advertising campaign.

This is why there are experts who have their entire business dedicated to helping businesses reach their goals through advertising.

At the end of the day, your business should be an authority in your industry rather than trying to be an expert in the advertising industry.

As a business owner, educate yourself as much as possible, and know that getting the support of pros, where possible, will be the most effective.

The advertising strategy you pursue needs to be cost-effective for your business and should also align with the consumer profile of your target audience.

This needs to be taken into consideration when allocating advertising budgets.

You also need to actively and regularly engage with your target audiences to ensure a continued presence in the market. In this way, advertising is a process that needs to be consistently maintained, not just a one-time thing.

Starting Your Digital Marketing and Advertising Journey

When it comes to successful advertising in Singapore, you need to consider whether you are up to the task yourself or need assistance with your advertising strategy.

With digital marketing dominating Singapore as the advertising route to follow, you need to know how to use effective digital advertising.

Things can get complicated when you start throwing SEO into the mix.

If you acknowledge that you need assistance with digital advertising, you could use an in-house marketing team to run your digital advertising campaigns.

Alternatively, approaching a leading source of information and experts in the advertising field through advertising agencies can help bring you closer to successful and effective digital advertising.

We place a lot of importance on SEO marketing in Singapore due to the longevity of results using this method for our clients.

If you’ve never considered SEO to drive traffic to your website before, perhaps now we’ve been able to plant that seed with you. 

And if you’re interested in starting an online business in Singapore, you may want to check out our guide on How to Start an Online Business in Singapore for tips and best practices on getting your business up and running.


Digital advertising continues to evolve.

We also see regular advancements in the tech industry and online world, which could mean that new digital platforms and advertising techniques can enter the digital arena anytime.

It would be best if you keep your finger on the pulse in respect of digital advertising trends, specifically, trends in Singapore.

We trust that you have been able to take something of value away from this article with the value of marketing in the digital age in Singapore and how your business fits into that. 

If you are starting with your marketing strategy in Singapore, our last bit of advice is to consider one advertising technique at a time.

Weigh up the pros and cons, do adequate market research, and leverage the use of experts in the industry. 

We’ve helped our clients achieve first-page organic search result listings through SEO and you too, can also reap great rewards with your business by investing in SEO services.

singapore seo consultant

Article by:

Jaden is the CMO and SEO lead at Traffv. With over 10 years of marketing experience, he has worked with renowned MNCs and his work has been featured in outlets like Hubspot and International Business Times.
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