Spotlight on Australian Digital Careers

With all the talk of recession, marketing departments are having to become more accountable and resourceful. Many experts believe this already is and will further escalate the need for Australian businesses to invest in digital marketing, as their uptake to date has been slower than many other major economies.

But what impact if any will this anticipated shift in media have on the demand for Digital professionals?

As late as November last year, Marketing Magazine confirmed that Digital salaries were going from strength to strength, as organisations struggle to source qualified Digital professionals.

But have things changed in the past 5 months?

I interviewed Jeff Estok from Digital Search Specialists “MitchelLake” to get the low down on the Digital recruitment market in Australia as is stands.

Teresa Sperti; What impact has the current economic climate had on recruitment of Digital Marketing professionals?

Digital Blog TrendsJeff Estok; There is no doubt that digital marketing is under pressure due to the financial crisis, though not to the same extent as traditional advertising. Some companies have a headcount freeze in place, and are not replacing staff, whilst others are slower to hire or utilising contract labour.

This means that there are fewer jobs available and more candidates seeking positions than at this time last year.

Teresa Sperti; What trends are you witnessing on the agency and client side?

Jeff Estok; On the Agency side, we are seeing re-bundling and an attempt to increase the breadth of digital talent. A decade ago when the digital revolution began, most Agencies were happy to buy or set up stand-alone digital offerings, but are shifting back to an integrated offering. We have interest from a few Agency groups at present who are seeking to acquire mid-size digital Agencies and integrate them in an attempt to provide clients with end-to-end solutions.

On the client side, there seems to be a degree of candidate dissatisfaction with their organisations’ failure to fully embrace digital.

Teresa Sperti; What trends are you witnessing at the various career stages of Digital professionals?

Jeff Estok; The hardest positions to fill tend to be the more junior and senior positions.

The junior positions are tough because of the salary expectations of people with 2-5 years’ experience. For Junior positions it is important for Digital marketing professionals to understand that as the market matures there is more competition and salaries are becoming more aligned with traditional marketing roles.

In terms of senior level positions, the difficulty is that the job specs are so tight that very few candidates exist that fulfil all the requirements.

Digital creative talent is another area where there appears to be a shortfall, with Agencies having us perform UK searches for new talent.

Teresa Sperti; What trends are you seeing on the Digital salaries front?

Jeff Estok; There is no doubt that in some areas, digital salaries have ‘normalised’. Gone are the days where an employee could demand a $20,000 pay increase for year-on-year performance, particularly in the oversaturated, mid-level positions.

Senior level salaries appear to have held, but once again, due to tight specs and few suitable candidates, the laws of supply-and-demand come into play.

Digital MarketerJeff’s final advice to marketers is:

First, make sure you understand what quite a few Agencies don’t yet—that the communications landscape has changed from ‘commercials’ to ‘content’, and from ‘push’ to ‘pull’, so your content must be relevant and engaging, or consumers will not pull it through.

Going digital also begins a ‘conversation’ between the brand and the consumer. Make sure you are committed to this new paradigm, that you are adequately resourced to facilitate this, and that this strategy is embraced and endorsed by senior management, so that it will survive your eventual departure. Enduring Brands outlast changes of Brand Managers.

About Jeff Estok & MitchelLake

Jeff Estok is a past Managing Director of the Ad Agency Clemenger BBDO and is Partner – Media/Advertising for digital search specialists MitchelLake.

If you are looking to recruit digital marketing professionals in Australia, please visit MitchelLake or phone 02 8292 9100. You can also follow MitchelLake on Twitter.

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Top 20 Most Interesting Australian Digital Statistics For 2009 So Far

Search Engine Marketing

Trying to locate Australian specific internet usage and user behaviour trends is often difficult. With a lot of new research circulating the web, Digital Marketing Lab has summarised the top 20 most interesting Australian Digital trends/stats which have been recorded in the first quarter of 2009. If you have any others that we have missed please feel free to add them.

Online Behaviour

1. Aussies spend a total of 16.1 hours per week on the internet – Nielsen Online
2. Australians now spend one-third of their leisure time online – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
3. Australian internet users are ditching desktop computers in favour of wireless technology with laptop ownership jumping from 49% to 63% by the end of 2008 – Nielsen Online.
4. Australians who shopped online in February 2009 spent an average of $760 compared to the global average of $3160. – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

Search Marketing

Search Engine Marketing5. Top 3 search terms in Google at present are find a job, how to write a resume and how to survive the recession – AustralianIT
6. Google Australia search volumes have risen 20% from January 2008 to January 2009 – Search Engine Room
7. Google’s Marketshare reached 89.6% in February 2009 with Yahoo at 2% – Hitwise Australia
8. Australian search success is 71.1 per cent in February of 2009 from 70.1 per cent in February of 2008. Search success is measured by if a user goes to conduct another search straight after visiting the page from search results. – AustralianIT

Mobile Marketing

9. 97 per cent of Australians surveyed used their mobile phone for more than just voice. – m.Net Corporation
10. 31 per cent of Australian mobile users have used their mobile phone to make a purchase like movie tickets – m.Net Corporation
11. Mobile advertising growth is poised to treble in 2009 with Telsyte forecasting that mobile advertising spend will grow to $20 million this year – Digital Media

Social Media

Social Media Marketing12. 1 in 2 Aussies are now using a social network – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
13. On average Australians are registered with 2.7 social networks – .2 higher than the global average of memberships on social networking sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
14. Australian Twitter Subscribers Reached 250,000 in February 2009, up from 149,000 in January – Ninemsn
15. 7.5 million Australians visited consumer-generated media websites in January 2009, up 17 per cent on 2008. This compares to 8.3 million Australian visitors to the news/information mainstream media that month. – Nielsen Online
16. More than 5 million (1/4 of Aust popn) visited Facebook in January (up 100 per cent on 2008) & 2.4 million MySpace (-17 per cent) – Nielsen Online
17. Many Australians (83%) are aware of virtual worlds such as SecondLife., but only 26% have viewed or contributed to these sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
18. 2.3 million Australians visited blogger blogs which is up 21% on 2008 – Nielsen Online
19. CGC has become a mainstream activity for Australian internet users with 57% admitting to publishing opinions online – Nielsen Online CGM Report
20. One in three (36%) Australians have friends or contacts that they met online with whom they regularly communicate demonstrating the impact of Web 2.0 on online relationships – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

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Launch of Digital Marketing Lab’s “How To” SEO Guide

SEO Guide ProductDigital Marketing Lab is pleased to announce the launch of its first how to guide, in what we hope to be a series of practical guides for Australian marketers.

The 50 page guide has been written by an Australian marketer for marketers. It delivers a practical in-depth overview to assist beginners to intermediate level SEO marketers with a non technical way to learn about organic search.

The guide is priced at $25 + GST. However Australian client side marketers who complete our 5 minute SEO survey will receive $10 off.

If you are interested in purchasing the guide, marketing@digitalmarketinglab.com.au. Payment methods include direct deposit or paypal.

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4 Digital Weeks In Review – March

Stats, Stats & More Stats

Finally Australian statistics are becoming far easier to come by for marketers to make informed decisions. This month has been packed with stats for us to sink our teeth into.

Nielson Online conducted a survey of 2000 Australians, major findings are;
– Australians over the age of 16 spend 16.1 hours per week online, which is greater than TV, radio, newspaper & mobile phone consumption.
– Australian population has become more wired than even with ownership of desktop computers declining by 10% as consumers move towards wireless solutions such as laptops.

The Digital World, Digital Life survey conducted in 16 countries found;
In Australia one in two Australians use social networking sites
On average Australian’s are members of 2.7 different social networking sites which is above the world average of 2.5.
Awareness of web 2.0 is high, but interaction is still in its infancy compared to the rest of the world. Only 13% have contributed to blogs, 6% contributed to wiki’s and 26% viewed/contributed to virtual worlds.

Social Media AdvertisingNokia Australian “Comes With Music Announcement”

– On the 20th of March the Comes With Music Nokia 5800, is set to change the way consumers explore and enjoy music – according to Emile Baak, General Manager, Nokia Australia and New Zealand.

With internet usage growing rapidly in the mobile market, we are set for an interesting year as the big brands battle it out for market share. These trends will further accelerate the uptake of mobile internet as new features such as “direct music download services” and application centres that can be used on the go are introduced by handset manufacturers.

Google Behavioural Ad Targeting

Google has launched behavioural targeting on its YouTube and partner sites. The ads are part of what they call their “interest based advertising” enabling advertisers to target based on consumer interests. The site is currently being beta tested but advertisers are keen for this to be rolled out on a wider scale. From a consumer perspective, Google will be collating information through cookies but users do have the ability to opt out of the service.

So what does this mean for Digital Marketers; More access to low cost ad inventory reducing cost of entry for SMEs. In addition struggling platforms will be further squeezed to compete in the marketplace which is good news for client side marketers.

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Social Networking Sites of Tomorrow

Social Media Strategy

In the digital world what’s hot today is yesterdays news, and this is particularly true when it comes to social media. This is not to say that I believe social media is just hype – completely the opposite, this space is so hot right now that everyone wants a piece of the action.

Facebook has averaged nearly 4.7 million unique users in Australia in December and Twitter’s growth rate in Australia equates to 517% in January year on year.

With some of the web’s youngest sites, becoming the worlds leading web properties in a matter of a few years it is no wonder others are trying to muscle in to create the next big thing online.

So what is coming?

Social Networking for Mobile

Gyspii ChinaGypsii; Currently trialling in China, and also eyeing Western Europe and the US, Gypsii is all about sharing experiences. But will it take off in Australia? Given our love of travel, I think it is not a matter of if but when.

Gypsii has been created to support the relationship individuals have with technology, and to leverage from the mobile internet era.

So how do you use it? The site has 5 main functions, with some of the most exciting being the PlaceMe and SpaceMe features. PlaceMe provides users with the ability to capture the moment, by creating a place (based on their current location) and then uploading an image / video or audio via their phone. Whilst SpaceMe provides the ability for users to locate their friends on a map. Looks like no more lying to your friends about feeling sick and staying in for the evening.

The above features and others on the site do seem to provide the perfect travel journal thus I expect this is one to watch out for.

For marketers it could also provide a new opportunity for targeted marketing with the ability for users to search for location based services via keywords – thus combining the power of relevance with user profile information.

View the short 8 minute video on Gypsii and share your comments below.

Micro-Blogging For Professionals

Blellow is a micro-blogging site created for freelancers, entrepreneurs or professionals. Based on the success of professional networks LinkedIn and Xing, Blellow aims to enable professionals to talk and share information with users based on a groups/users skills, experience or interests. Blellow answers the question “what are you working on”, which is the same question a user can answer on their LinkedIn profile.

It will be interesting how this new network can monetise its offering to advertisers – specifically those offering career management services.

Seesmic Video Sharing PlatformVideo Micro-Blogging

Seesmic.com; Founded in July 2007 in the US, Seesmic is described as the video version of Twitter, allowing conversations to be captured and responded to all via video. Seesmic already powers video commentary on other blogs and the usage of both video blogging and commentary may be used more frequently in Australia in the not too distant future. The one downfall of a video micro-blogging site however is the ease of use and if it is set to become the next Twitter it will have to work hard to make it easy to comment on the move.

For marketers, video blogging provides the opportunity to run built in ads on popular video content.

For more information on Seemic visit the Seesmic Video Blogging Site

Do you think these sites will make it to the Australian shores? Are there any other sites you feel will be the next big thing in Australia? Why not comment below.

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Google favouring big brands but are SEOs to blame?

Google Favouring Big Brands

Its been a long 48 hours in the field of Search Marketing with many of the SEO experts commenting on what they believe to be Google’s latest shift in algorithm. The experts believe that Google seems to be favouring big brands in ranking results. Although it is American data, it has been witnessed that American airlines have come out of nowhere and are now ranking for “airline tickets” and there are many others that seem to be benefiting from the rise.

So why would Google favour brands?

It seems absolutely out of character for Google to make such a change given that their ethos is centred around relevancy not brand. It seems that recent commentary from Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google provides hints to the problem Google is facing.

He says The internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrives. “Brands are the solution, not the problem,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”

So this brings 2 key issues in the Web 2.0 world that we currently exist in;
1) As consumers are becoming less trusting of brands and more trusting of their community, it seems absurd that Google would deliver consumers more of what they don’t want – which is more brand messages from the big corporates?
2) How independent will content be that we must consume, if brands continue to push their own agenda?

Black Hat Seo TechniquesAre SEOs to blame?

But inline with the theme of the article, the bigger question really is whether or not SEOs are to blame for the possible change in Google’s algorithm. Search results are not based on what is most relevant to the user, they are based on what SEOs have done to make them most relevant. In particular blackhat SEOs have contributed to the results being littered with junk and somehow Google has to eradicate this.

In a world where user experience/engagement is crucial has Google done what any site would do if they found it would make a significant improvement in their user experience?

Are there any Australian brands that you have seen rapidly increase rankings in the past few weeks?

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Universal Search – Are You Ready For It?

Universal Search Google

Whilst it is not a new concept, it is surprising how little media attention universal search has had in comparison to traditional SEO optimisation techniques.

Have search marketers been missing a trick? The short answer is yes I think they have.

So what is it? Universal search or blended search pulls results from multiple data sources to provide the most relevant results to a user based on their search needs.

At the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in London, it was suggested that 33% of all search results now contain a blended result and this comes as no surprise. Blended results are particularly prevalent in industries where decisions are made with visual aids like that of the travel industry or in situations where instructions are more easily consumed through rich media – such as how do I do the tango – in these situations text descriptions just simply doesn’t cut it.

Search Engine RankingThis alone however doesn’t capture the essence as to why in particular rich media formats are so important within SERPs.

So why else is it important? Firstly it is that blended results present the opportunity to dominate the SERP results. As Google now aggregates content from Maps, Images, Local, Books, News and Video it presents sites with far more opportunity rank on the first page, and not just onsite – but also offsite on sites such as Wiki’s and social media sites. Combine these opportunities and they are far greater than the opportunity than to simply rank in the SERPs through text only optimisation.

What is also more appealing to the end user is results which draw the eye away from text results towards the more visually stimulating content – turning the traditional position=clicks equation upside down. And this isn’t just a theory we have dreamt up. Google has in-fact conducted an eye tracking experiment to prove the changes that universal search is having a major impact on behaviour.

Google Eye Tracking – Universal Search

PR ToolsSo what does this mean for your SEO strategy? The first step is to re-frame some of your pre-existing thinking. With content portability the web is now about people interacting with your brand on and off your site, thus you should look towards an SEO strategy which sees you dominate SERPS on and offsite.

Look at how you can leverage from organisational assets for the benefit of SERPs. For instance do you have images, videos etc that are part of your content strategy – if so how can these be optimised onsite and also used on third sites. Does your PR team distribute news via online PR tools – if so do they feed into Google and Yahoo news results?

As a final note of advice, this is just the beginning. Universal search will become an even bigger phenomenon as Google and other engines start to test the ability to read videos through voice recognition software thus the true explosion in this arena is yet to be seen. So start to prepare for it now.

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ME 2.0 – Digital Career Management

Digital marketers are at the forefront of a dynamic online industry and with a plethora of online tools and concepts, we are spoilt for choice with web 2.0 offering a plethora of new opportunities.

But how is web 2.0 changing the way in which we need to market ourselves? The topic of online recruitment is an interesting one and one which is a hot topic of debate within the recruitment industry. With job seekers now empowered with new tools such as professional networking sites just how important is the online space to your career? Just what are employers looking for when it comes to hiring digital staff and how can you maximise job opportunities?

Social media has now given rise to new career management tools for the savvy digital marketer. Sorting the best from the mediocre – the future of your next career move will be dependent on how well you market yourself online. If you think about it, it makes sense, if you were to hire a digital marketing professional and wanted to check their credentials then online is the place to start.

So how can you maximise your “ME” brand in the hire 2.0 world?

The modern day equivalent of the resume for a digital marketer is said to be the blog or at least regular blogging on third party sites. Blogs provide the opportunity to display knowledge in your area/s of expertise and allows you to actively manage your ‘ME’ brand. A blog also provides the dimension of credibility and unlike a traditional CV will provide differentiation to put you in a more favourable position than other candidates applying for the role.

Outside of maintaining your own blog, sites like LinkedIn allow users to build up and display knowledge in a specialist area through responding to network member questions providing an alternative route to demonstrate your knowledge.

Social Media StrategyGetting the most from your networks

There is an increasing number of people who are using online techniques to gain job offers rather than utilising traditional online channels such as job sites. Sites like Twitter can provide individual marketers with the opportunity to gain a following online providing industry recognition. This can lead to being approached with new opportunities through the network of followers. LinkedIn can also be a useful source to strike up discussions with professionals in the company you aspire to work within.

Managing Online Reputation

It’s not only big brands which can suffer from a bad online reputation. Online reviews and discussions are indexed by Google and can have an impact on how you are perceived by potential recruiters. Always ensure your online interactions are creating positive outcomes for your ME brand to mitigate any bad PR which can affect potential job offers.

If you have any other tips for ME 2.0, or any experiences where the new social channels have assisted your career why not share them, by clicking on the comments link below.

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4 Digital Weeks In Review

Online Content Strategy

Here is my latest edition of what has made Digital Headlines over the past 4 weeks;

1. Google Phone Goes Onsale – From the middle of February, the new Google powered HTC’s Dream phone will go on-sale. The phone will initially be sold only on Optus with 4 plans available – offering up to 3GB download. This will boost Australian’s already strong appetite for internet access on the move.

Other phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung are also
planning to also launch phones in 2009 on the android platform which will bring stiff competition to its rival the iPhone.

For the full article on the release visit;

http://www.smh.com.au/news/digital-life/mobiles–handhelds/articles/first-google-phone-aims-to-ring-the-changes/2009/02/05/1233423373213.html

2. Optus’ Mobile Advertising Platform – In December 2008, Optus trialled its mobile advertising campaign with McDonalds. Optus’ new mobile platform which was then subsequently launched in late January, and has been built to provide targeted advertising opportunities through mobile phones. The mobile advertising platform will utilise user data from the Optus Zoo mobile portal to deliver targeted opportunities to advertisers. To ensure the new mobile advertising network delivers, Optus is launching a major campaign in February to increase subscriptions / data capture on Optus Zoo – to provide even more opportunities to advertisers.

Niche Social Media3. Battle of the Social Networks – It seems Facebook has continued to increase its popularity in the Australian marketplace. According to web traffic monitor Nielsen Online, Facebook had over 4.5 million unique visitors whilst MySpace only registered 2.3 million in December 2008. Businesses looking to benefit from friendvertising may start to re-think directing efforts towards MySpace over the coming months particularly those in SME’s where resources are limited and decisions are made based on placing effort into areas with the highest potential for return & exposure.

For full details click here:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/web/australians-ditch-myspace-for-facebook/2009/02/05/1233423387206.html?page=2

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5 Digital Marketing Tips For Those On A Budget

Digital Marketing Trends

If you have worked for an SME you will know doubt understand the frustrations of a lack of budget.  And with the economy becoming tighter, it will be survival of the fittest. So when it comes to marketing professionals we must become more resourceful with the already limited financial/manpower resources we have.

Here are 5 of The Best Tips For SME Marketers On A Budget

Paid Search Engine MarketingPaid Search Marketing

Paid search is not new to the Australian market, but many businesses are still yet to benefit from this cost effective and measurable form of advertising.   Google AdWords provides the ability to set up a free account, and will step you through the process of creating a campaign.  With however the vast proportion of companies advertising on Google, much cheaper paid search opportunities exist on the Yahoo & Ninemsn network through Yahoo Search Marketing.  With 11% of all Australian searches conducted on this network and only 3.7% of total search advertising conducted on this network it can provide a lower cost alternative channel for promotion.  And the best bit is that you can set your daily budget on these networks to control your costs.

Prepare A Press Release & Distribute It Online

Distributing a press release online can be an effective way of increasing traffic and bringing engaged users to your site.   There are many tools available online to distribute PR releases.  One such company providing PR distribution to Australian media channels is www.seekingmedia.com.au.  For as little as $100, seeking media can distribute press releases to a plethora of media channels including Google News Australia.  This site also provides tools to assist you to prepare a release which is informative, newsworthy and is likely to be published.  And the best bit is that any online PR conducted will also assist you to improve your SEO rankings.

 Blogging

Another free tool available to the masses is that of blogging.  When it comes to blogging you also have a few options available. If you have a lot of valuable information to provide to users, why not consider setting up a blog on your site.  You can obtain a free blog from wordpress.org and place it on your domain. The added benefit of a blog is also that search engines love content so by having a blog you may also improve your search rankings.

The other opportunity is to find other sites which you can blog on.  If you choose this route it is important to understand that plastering your message on every forum and blog you can find is not the most effective way to leverage these sites.  Use your expertise to help people and as part of this subtly include your company contact details.  This will help you to position yourself as an authority on a given subject.

Social Media AdvertisingSocial Networking Ads

As nearly half of all Australians have a profile on a social network, and the average time users spend on these networks at nearly 30 minutes per week this is another low cost opportunity to exploit.  Both MySpace & Facebook offer pay per click advertising opportunities as low as USD $.15 cents per click.  Best of all both the MySpace & Facebook networks offer targeting options to ensure your advertising reaches your desired audience.

Article Distribution

In the digital age where content is king, sites are always on the look out for new content. On many community/networking based sites organisations have the ability to upload articles/resources on a range of topics.  In addition articles can be loaded to article specific sites which can be listed on the site as well as can be re-printed on other sites.

If you have any other low cost tips share them below

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