Across the Asia-Pacific region, mobile device brands have the most digital fans and followers, with 72 percent of Asian consumers saying that they follow a mobile device brand in the digital space, according to Content Matters: The Impact of Brand Storytelling Online in 2014, a new study from Waggener Edstrom Communications.

The vast majority (78 percent) of Asian digital consumers say they obtain information about product and services using social media—and the survey found that greater online engagement with brand content led to increased spending levels.

The healthcare and food and beverage sectors see the greatest impact of digital followers on Asian consumer spending behaviors, with an average increased spend of 129 percent for healthcare and 90 percent for food and beverage.

The study reveals the relationship between brand storytelling online and key consumer behaviors such as brand advocacy, spending, and engagement across six business categories in ten Asian markets. It urveyed over 2,200 consumers between the ages of 15 and 60 across Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

“Communications professionals across Asia find themselves under increasing pressure to prove the ROI of their investments in digital content,” says Stephen Tracy, APAC lead at Waggener Edstrom’s insight and analytics (I&A) practice. “Our new research reveals a clear relationship between brand storytelling online and increased consumer spending, referrals, and engagement. Put simply, the more consumers engage with brand content, the more they spend on brands.”

Adds Zaheer Nooruddin, vice president of digital at Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D in Asia-Pacific, “For us the real take-away is that brand owners must focus on creating rich, compelling, and relevant storytelling for their audiences in 2014. If brands succeed with creating consumer engagement through high-quality content marketing across Asian markets, then the ROI will follow.”

In China, 86 percent of digital consumers actively consume online advertorial content or click on digital ads. Chinese consumers who follow food and beverage brands online spend up to 160 percent more on food and beverage products every week. Consumers in China who follow personal care brands online are 14 percent more likely to recommend a Personal Care brand, product, or service to a friend, family member, or colleague.

In India, meanwhile, 83 percent of digital consumers in India search for the latest deals and promotions from brands on social media, 91 percent use Facebook frequently or very frequently, and 42 percent use Twitter frequently or very frequently. Consumers in India who follow personal care brands online spend up to 100 percent more on personal care products per week.

"This study shows that in 2014 digital-driven brand storytelling is central to successful communications. Consumers want to be engaged by brands online,” says Matthew Lackie, senior vice president at Waggener Edstrom. “We are seeing that B2B and B2C companies will be rewarded in 2014 with larger spends, engagement rates, and higher levels of brand advocacy when they provide their audiences with great content."