Affiliate Marketing in Southeast Asia (SEA)

Some time ago, affiliate marketers had nothing to do in Southeast Asia. Times are changing and nowadays, the SEA region is a gold mine. If you feel the gold fever just like we do, then you are bound to read our new article till the end. Prepare to learn local trends, tendencies, payment systems, holidays & big events, population preferences, top verticals, and other important details.

Know Your South East Asia

Albeit Southeast Asia is a simple term, it might be cumbersome at times, which is why there are some acronyms associated with this region. Unfortunately, these acronyms are not that well-established as LATAM, CIS, or the USA. This leads to a great deal of confusion, so now is the time to fix it.

  • APAC — Asia-Pacific is a geographical term that refers to the countries in the Easter hemisphere, bordering the Pacific Ocean, i.e., China, Japan, Australia on top of the countries named next
  • ASEAN — Association of South East Asian Nations is a political term that unites 10 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • SEA — Southeast Asia as it is, which includes ASEAN + East Timor (Timor-Leste) — 11 countries, all of which belong to the 2nd tier

These terms can be arranged from the broadest to the narrowest: APAC → SEA → ASEAN. Since we are talking about Southeast Asia, we will use the SEA acronym and deal with 11 countries throughout the narration.

General Info about SEA

Let’s talk about demographics, linguistics, and geopolitics of Southeast Asia. Here are some quick facts about this magnificent location:

  • Population: 688,950,000 people (as of July 6, 2023), or 8.58% of the world
  • Urbanization: 334,418,881 citizens (2019), or about 50% of the population
  • Median age: 30.2 years
  • Languages: Burmese, English, Filipino, Khmer, Lao, Indonesian, Malay, Mandarin, Portuguese, Tamil, Tetum, Thai, Vietnamese + a plethora of local dialects
  • Religion:
    • Buddhism — 205 million of Buddhists, with 95% of Thais following this religion
    • Islam — 242 million of Muslims, concentrated in Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia
    • Hinduism — some minorities of Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam
  • Largest cities:
    • Jakarta (Indonesia) — 33,756,000 citizens, which is the 2nd largest city in the world, after Tokyo
    • Manila (the Philippines) — 24,922,000 citizens, the 6th place in the world
    • Bangkok (Thailand) — 18,007,000 citizens
    • Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) — 15,136,000 citizens
    • Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) — 8,911,000 citizens
  • Top countries with the highest average net salary per month (in U.S. dollars)
    • Singapore — $4,971.53
    • Malaysia — $796.39
    • Thailand — $540.35
    • Vietnam — $452.55
    • Indonesia — $326.65
  • Local time zones: UTC+6:30 (Myanmar)–UTC+9:00 (Eastern Indonesia)

TIP: When making a campaign, it is better to take into account local languages, culture, customs & habits

Asian market in general is all about the subtext and subtleties, which can make your campaigns a blast or bust. Make sure to do a thorough research of a country picked, if you are into localizing your campaigns and raking in more leads.

The Rise of Digital Advertising in SEA

No digital activity is possible without internet. Which is why it is important to know how many people of SEA use the internet every day.

Via: Insider Intelligence

More than half of the population in total frequent the internet. Even though the growth of adoption has slowed down, shown by the red line in the picture, it is present nonetheless.

Following the example of China, both digital advertising and eCommerce are on the rise in SEA. For example, this is the chart, demonstrating the current and expected level of revenue generated in this region for eCommerce:

Via: Statista

As you can see, electronics contribute to the largest share of the revenue, doubling the same metric of health & beauty products — scoring the second in the ranking. Besides electronics and health & beauty, such categories as fashion, food, toys, hobbies, and do-it-yourself are also popular and are projected to grow.

If you’re wondering whether mobile traffic is preferred over the desktops, here is the chart addressing this concern exactly:

Via: Statista

SEA follows the global trend, where mobiles slowly but surely eradicate the positions of the former king of traffic.

TIP: It is important to optimize your campaigns for mobile devices too, provided that you want to stay ahead of the competition

Besides eCommerce platforms, social platforms are essential too for affiliate marketing. Would you like to know what are the most popular platforms in SEA?

Via: Statista

Facebook smokes the competition in all the SEA countries. Yet classic YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are all viable options too.

Popular Local Payment Systems

We have been focused on the advertisers mostly so far. Time to give some facts that can be useful for publishers too. How about learning the most popular local payment solutions, so you can design a website accordingly, when entering this mysterious market?







The Philippines:

Integrate these payment providers into your websites, so that you can add credibility and efficiency to your platforms.

Local Holidays and Key Shopping Events

Here is the compilation of some holidays you can use to your advantage when doing eCommerce:

  • Lunar New Year: dependent on Lunar calendar (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia): January/February
  • Holy Week (The Philippines): April 4–11
  • Songkran Festival (Thailand): April 13–15
  • Ramadan — dependent on Islamic calendar (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia): May/June
  • Islamic New Year — dependent on Islamic calendar (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia): July/August
  • Christmas Day (Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines): December 25

And this is the list of just big events you can profit on, when doing business in South East Asia:

  • Lazada Birthday (Indonesia, The Philippines): March/April
  • Great Singapore Sale (Singapore): June–July
  • Amazing Thailand Grand Sale (Thailand): June 15–August 15
  • Tokopedia Anniversary (Indonesia): August 17
  • 9 Shopee Super Shopping Day (throughout Southeast Asia): September 9
  • Black Friday & Cyber Monday (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines)
  • Single’s Day (throughout Southeast Asia): November 11
  • Harbolnas (Indonesia): December 12

Popular Websites

Continuing the topic of eCommerce, no online sales are possible without online platforms. In order to make sure your campaigns are bountiful like a horn of plenty, you need to know the most popular platforms in the region. Here is a list with the most popular online sale platforms in the SEA region with the number of users:

Via: Iprice insights

  • Shopee — with 470 million monthly visits, it operates beyond just SEA and expands to Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. Shopee favors fashion, beauty, home & living decor products. Pay attention to the terms and conditions, since promotion of the following items is prohibited:
    • Alcohol drinks
    • Orthodontic tools
    • Tattoo accessories
    • Tangible currencies or cards
    • Homage to state service uniforms
    • Personalized vehicle plates
    • Listings or reserved items
    • Toy guns
  • Lazada — a subsidiary of Alibaba group, with 140 million monthly visits. Lazada is well-known for selling child care products, home stuff, sports equipment, clothing, accessories for gadgets, groceries, health & beauty items, weight loss supplements. Refrain from promoting these:
    • Unlicensed software
    • Second-hand products
    • Counterfeits
    • Regulation-violating food
    • Telecommunication accessories
    • Items of +300 cm in size (length, width, height in total)
    • Liquids of +200 ml in volume
    • Weapons, toxic materials, chemicals
  • Tokopedia — a subsidiary of GoTo with 150 million of visits per month, which is headquartered in Indonesia, unlike Shopee and Lazada, situated in Singapore
  • Bukalapak — let a more humble 27 million of monthly visitors not discourage you — it is the third most popular eCommerce platform in Indonesia
  • Blibli — enjoys 16 million visitors per month and was the first Indonesian eCommerce website to implement video streaming

As you can see in the picture, the people of SEA prefers local platforms to international companies. Albeit, such giants as AliExpress, Amazon, and eBay have made their way into this market and rank top-10 firmly. Much like with the languages, international options are a good start, but if you strive for the peak performance, consider harnessing the traffic streams of local platforms. Just make sure to read the terms and conditions, so that you don’t end up promoting something illegal.

Top Verticals per Country + Tips

Now is the right time to figure out the most converting verticals in some of the SEA countries. The list is far from being exhaustive but should serve as a good reference point for newcomers.


  • Don’t use public representatives or royal family members in your creatives
  • Avoid depicting government institutions
  • Focus on the following verticals: eCommerce, credit cards, live stream apps, and nutra offers


  • Translate your ad creatives into Indonesian
  • Promote dating, finances, horoscope, and sweepstake offers


  • Target the richest cities and regions in Malaysia
  • Avoid using images of dogs and pigs in your creatives
  • Promote sweepstakes offers, mobile utilities, nutra, and financial offers


  • Use English ads as it is widely spoken
  • Promote nutra offers, financial offers, and sweepstakes offers


  • Use English ads as it is widely spoken
  • Highlight value-for-money in your ads
  • Promote binary options, health products, weight loss products, and eCommerce


  • Translate your ad creatives into Vietnamese
  • Promote eCommerce, health products and food supplements, credit cards, and loans


  • Use Khmer language in your advertising
  • Integrate with local payment systems
  • Promote nutra offers, binary options, eCommerce, PIN-submit offers, and mobile utilities

Remember to consider cultural nuances and preferences when running ads in each country.

Giving Away the Offers

Knowing the top verticals, we can explore the offers and drive traffic. We’ve done the first part already and present you with a bunch of the top-converting offers for SEA from CpaRoll network. Have at them!


Southeast Asia (SEA) is an awesome GEO for affiliate marketing, with a population of nearly 689 million people. Mobile traffic is dominant, so campaigns should be optimized for mobile devices. Facebook is the leading social platform in the region. Local payment systems like eGHL, MOLPay, and PayPal are important for facilitating transactions. Key shopping events and holidays provide opportunities for targeted campaigns. Popular online sale platforms in SEA include Shopee, Lazada, and Tokopedia.

Use this info well and remember that each country in SEA has specific verticals that perform well, such as eCommerce, credit cards, and nutra offers in Thailand. Conducting thorough research on demographics and market trends is essential for successful affiliate marketing in SEA. Make sure to contact us, in case any help is needed — we’re available 24/7.

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