A Social Step in The Right Direction for Your SEO Strategy

Online SEO

By now we all know the importance of both content and link building to an SEO strategy. But the phenomenon of social media has delivered new tools to provide SEO’s with new techniques to dominate the SERPs.

Social SEO – What is it all about?

Whilst past SEO strategies have largely involved artificially creating relevance and popularity of a site, social media has provided new tools to leverage collaboration and interaction to build real popularity and authority on the web. It is this which some experts believe will form a major part of Google’s ranking algorithm in the future as they continue in their quest to deliver users truly relevant content.

Social Search ToolboxSocial Search Tool Box

The diagram below lists 4 of the key social tools that I believe search marketers can leverage to dominate the SERPs.

A closer look at the tool box

Search engines reward fresh content – which is one of the key reasons blogging can form an integral part of a search strategy. In addition, as a blog provides topical, humorous or even controversial content, it is more likely to be of interest to the user and shared with peers, as opposed to traditional site content which in some cases is prepared solely for the purpose of ranking within search engines. In addition user interaction in the form of users reviews and comments can also play an integral role in SERPs, as comments provides additional fresh content that can be indexed by the search engine.

However despite the content benefits, blogs provide a much bigger opportunity to search marketers. Popular blog content is often syndicated through RSS or cited by other blogs and sites which can generate additional back links to your site – which would normally take weeks to build manually.

Blogging;

Digital Asset Sharing Sites

With nearly 1 in 3 of all search results including universal/blended content, rich content is an important part of SEO. Over and above the basic optimisation techniques however it is the social aspects of sites such as YouTube, Flickr and many others which can help your organisation to dominate the search results. Social popularity measured by views, ratings, comments are sometimes used by Google to rank results. For example YouTube video’s ratings, views and comments are used to rank video content within SERPs. In addition the more popular the content is on these sites, the better they will then rank when new users search for related content on these platforms. This will in turn enables users to find your rich content and either embed it into their blogs / sites or share it with their community, all of which assists to generate additional inbound links for your site.

Social Bookmarking / News Sites

Social bookmarking and news sites have empowered users to store, organise and in some cases rate their favourite content on the web. As sites such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit and many increased in popularity, it has enabled brands to bypass the traditional PR channels, and enables web users to determine what is newsworthy or simply useful to their needs.

So you might be thinking that these sites have linking value. Unfortunately these sites use nofollow tags, thus there is no direct link value derived from such a strategy. As however these sites rank prominently within SERPs, it can assist organisations to dominate top 10 results with additional offsite listings. And similar to digital asset sharing sites, prominent content is more likely to be easier to locate and published on sites/blogs creating back links to your site.

A blog is obviously a great platform of content to leverage social news/bookmarking, however to do so it is important to empower users with widgets to circulate this content. This unfortunately means that brands have less control over their brand than previously – but this is the nature of social media.

Online NetworkingSocial Networking

Whilst links featured on the major platforms, ie Facebook, Twitter, MySpace do not provide the valuable link juice, social networking is still an important part of the strategy. And by now you would understand why? Social networking provides a strong platform for content from blogs or sites to be distributed and shared across communities and the web. In addition however content on these networks such as profiles, questions and answers and other branded content are often indexed providing organisations with additional opportunities to dominate SERPs through offsite methods.

However probably the most significant development in this space is the evolution of “social search” which is expected to be the next big trend – and Twitter is leading the way in this area. The key benefit of social search over traditional search is; content is indexed in real time, providing users with the immediacy to answer timely questions. As a result it is important to consider how your organisation can integrate with platforms such as Twitter, as an increasing number of users will begin to search via such networks and I have no doubt more of the traditional engines will look to leverage this content more and more in the future.

Final words to the wise

Whilst the above techniques will leave many SEOs salivating there are a few important considerations.

A social media marketing strategy is not just an extension of the existing SEO strategy. Social media marketing is a shift from traditional marketing techniques and can require the involvement of many organisation stakeholders. Thus it is advisable that a senior stakeholder determines the key objectives social media must achieve for the organisation, and SEOs can then determine how best to form part of this greater strategy.

Whilst many of the above techniques cover the viral nature of the web – the heart of any social search strategy is the content. Whilst SEOs have in the past had more control over crafting copy for search engines – the balance of optimisation and quality content has never been more important. In addition as the web becomes increasingly saturated with content, organisations need to innovate in this area and push the boundaries to provide users with something truly unique and worth sharing.

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8 Interesting Insights from Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Report with an Australian Twist

Last week, the very influential Mary Meeker released her 2014 Internet Trend Report at the Code Conference in California.

If you don’t have time to wade through the 160+ page report – here is my summary of some of the most interesting insights for marketers with an Australian take on it (where possible).

SOCIAL 

1) From social broadcasting to selective messaging
Global Messaging Services

Tech acquisitions often shed a lot of light into where things like social media are heading, so when Facebook attempted to acquire SnapChat and went on to purchase WhatsApp it became pretty clear that people were beginning to favour private communications over public social networks. In the past 12 – 18 months, we have seen the popularity of messaging apps soar as consumers seek more control over who sees a message or photograph – demonstrating a shift from broadcast type social messaging to communicating to a select few. This consumer shift will change the way brands use social media with these direct messaging services providing brands with new tools to find and build relationships with individual customers.

With recent statistics demonstrating apps like Snapchat are growing in popularity down under – with approx 10% of the online population already using the Snapchat service, it’s one Australian marketers need to watch closely and consider relevance – particularly brands operating in the youth brand space.

Not Findable Content2. Content generation growing but becoming unfindable

As consumers shift some of their focus and attention to communicating via messaging apps – there is a growing amount of unfindable content being generated which limits marketers’ ability to capture brand perceptions and sentiment as well as glean data from social on individual consumers.

MOBILE & TABLET

3. Mobile growth unabated but mobile advertising still flat
Mobile internet usage continues to grow, with mobile data rising 81% year over year and now making up 25% of total web usage. Despite the significant growth, globally mobile advertising represents just 11% of internet advertising demonstrating lots of room for growth in the years ahead.

Device Usage by CountryIn Australia, mobile internet usage trumps usage on any other device making up 33% of all minutes spent accessing the internet. In line with global trends there is significant upside and growth opportunity in mobile advertising down under with mobile internet advertising currently attracting just over $1 in every $5 spent in display, and 17% of all search advertising spend according to the IABs recent statistics.

4. Single purpose apps all the rage

Part of the success of apps like Instagram, WhatsApp and others has been attributed to their single minded purpose. We are seeing tech giants globally begin to invest in single purpose apps i.e. Facebook Messenger to ensure important features that drive usage and interaction are not buried under a mound of functionality.

Mobile Phone Sensors Stats5. Rapid growth in sensors drives innovation & big data

The rising growth in mobile handsets shipped with sensors will pave the way for the next generation of mobile experiences – as the increasing number of sensors embedded into mobile devices provides an opportunity to create new / more engaging experiences. Equally the growth in sensors is also anticipated to create troves of additional data to mine, contributing to the big data mind-field.

6. Tablet continues to power ahead

The growth of table, seems to continue to roll on growing 52% in 2013, and uptake has grown faster than PCs ever did however penetration globally remains low. The low levels of penetration and high levels of growth indicate there is still significant upside for tablet growth in the years ahead. Locally however it is quite a different story. According to Telstye, sales of tablets in Australia reached 4.8 million in 2013, and it is now estimated that tablet penetration stands at 40%. Telsyte estimates that 29 per cent of units sold in 2013 were Low (<$200) or Medium ($200 – $450) cost, and anticipates these segments to grow to over 50 per cent of sales by 2018, given current trends – which demonstrates Apple share will soften in the coming years in Australia.

TV

TV Channels7. The evolution of TV a key space to watch

A solid portion of the report focussed on the evolution of TV – which demonstrates the significant amount of change occurring in the space.

Some of the key trends include;
• Traditional TV is being replaced with mobile apps as broadcasters seek to provide consumers with new ways to consume content on the go
• Millennial’s are leading the charge in online TV consumption shunning traditional TV viewing.
• The growth of new premium channels on YouTube can’t be ignored providing consumers with more choice – much of which is being consumed via mobile (approx 40%)

ECOMMERCE

Same-day Delivery Online Shopping8. Instant gratification drives same day delivery

As free shipping moves towards the norm globally, with approx 47% of online transactions coming from free shipping – the next big horizon is same day delivery to satisfy consumers need for instant gratification. As geographical constraints have led to slower adoption of free delivery by retailers in Australia (due to cost), it is anticipated that same day local delivery will fail to become the norm locally for quite a number of years yet as logistics prove too difficult for most retailers to master.

To view the full report click here

 

Watch: Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report 2014

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13 Valuable Australian Digital Resources For Marketers

Digital Resources

Australian publishers, agencies, industry bodies and bloggers are pumping out a raft of valuable resources which can support strategy / business case development or to simply get up to speed with the digital landscape. This article is a compilation of some of the best infographics, case studies, reports and more that I have come across on the Australian digital market. If you have come across any other valuable resources please share them via the comments field below.


Content Marketing Resources

Mobile Commerce Australia1. Report: Content Marketing in Australia: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
Published: November 2013
Overview: Compiled by the content institute, ADMA and KingContent – this presentation takes a look at the state of content marketing in Australia vs the UK and US. The presentation covers statistics related to investment in content marketing by marketers, key challenges faced and more.

Download here

2. Blog Article: 17 excellent examples of content marketing in Australia
Published: January 2014
Overview: This article is a great compilation of brands both large and small in Australia leveraging content marketing to achieve key marketing objectives. Case studies covered include Intrepid Travel, MYOB, kikki.K, Telstra, Netregistry and more.
View here: http://www.expermedia.com.au/17-excellent-examples-of-content-marketing-in-australia/

Digital Media Resources
3. Diagram: MediaScape – Guide to Australian Digital Media & Advertising Trading Landscape
Published: December 2013
Overview: If you are new to the digital media space, this useful diagram provides a detailed overview of all the options that exist within the digital media trading market in Australia. It serves as a useful cheat sheet for discussions with your media buyer.
View here: http://www.mediascope.com.au/guide-digital-advertising-sales-agencies-networks-exchanges

Mobile Resources

4. Infographic: mCommerce & Mobile Shopping in Australia
Published: May 2013
Overview: This infographic combines data from an array of sources to provide insight into the mobile shopping landscape in Australia. The infographic details statistics on showrooming by Australians, popular mobile shopping categories and more.

View here: http://www.marketingmag.com.au/news/infographic-m-commerce-and-mobile-shopping-in-australia-40000/#.UvYpsPmSyOh

Social Customer Care5. Report: AIMIA 9th Mobile Lifestyle Index
Published: October 2013
Overview: You might need to get yourself comfortable before reading this report as it is 99 pages. The AIMIA Mobile Lifestyle Index is a yearly study now in its 9th year. The report contains a host of valuable statistics related to mobile usage in Australia – from smartphone market-share to key activities consumers engage in via their mobile device.
Download here: http://www.aimia.com.au/ampli

6. Report: Telstra’s How Mobility is Changing the Rhythm of Australian Retail
Published: 2013
Overview: This detailed report provides insight into the Australian mobile shopper – including analysis of the role mobile plays in influencing consumers at various stages of the path to purchase. This is a great resource for any marketer operating in the retail space.
Download here: http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/download/document/business-enterprise-teg1398_mobility_retail_white_pages_v08_hr_singles.pdf

Social Media

7. Report & Infographic: State of Social Media in Australia
Published: May 2013
Overview: This report / infographic explores both Australian consumers consumption of social media along with how businesses are leveraging social media (with a focus on small businesses). From a consumer perspective the report provides a host of statistics on consumer social usage in Australia including the portion of consumers using social media when viewing TV, the portion of consumers accessing reviews via social channels and more. Whilst from a business perspective, the report looks at business uptake of social, budget allocation to the channel and other key statistics.

8. Report & Infographic: Social Customer Care
Published: November 2013
Overview: Social Pulse released a comprehensive report detailing how customers use social media to make enquiries. The report also details what customers expect from companies and how companies are responding to social media queries.

View the infographic here: http://www.marketingmag.com.au/tags/customer-service/#.Uvcq0_mSyOg
For a copy of the full report contact Social Pulse here http://socialpulse.co/social-customer-care-report

eCommerce / Multi-Channel


9. Report & Infographic: NAB Retail Sales Index

Published: Monthly & Quarterly
Overview: Over the past few years NAB has published monthly and quarterly retail sales indexes. The index provides insight into eCommerce growth in Australia, domestic vs international share of online purchases and more.

View the October quarterly infographic here; http://business.nab.com.au/online-retail-sales-index-indepth-special-report-october-2013-5126/
View all available reports / infographics here: www.nab.com.au/onlineretailsales


10. Report: Optus Future of Business Report

Published: 2013
Overview: The Optus Future of Business 2013 research report offers detailed insights into how the retail industry is adapting to succeed in an omni-channel environment. The research also reveals what consumers expect of service channels now and in the future.

Download here

11. Infographic: Online Gift Purchasing – Christmas 2013
Published: January 2014
Overview: Hot off the press this infographic summarises Australians online buying behaviour during December 2013 – detailing key reasons consumers shopped online at Christmas, types of gifts purchased online and a host of other valuable statistics.
View here: http://cdn.marketingmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Infographicfinal2.jpg

Other

12. Infographic: Nielsen Australian Connected Consumers
Published: November 2013
Overview: This infographic compares Australians digital usage and consumption behaviour 10 years ago vs today. This infographic demonstrates the growth / change in device ownership overtime, uptake of social media, online advertising spend investment and more.

View here: http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/au/en/images/infographics/Nielsen-ACCR-Infographic-Final.jpg

13. Infographic: Australian Baby Boomers Online Media Usage
Published: April 2013
Overview: Mi9s Baby Boomer infographic puts the spotlight on the over 50s Australian consumer. The infographic details weekly consumption of the internet statistics, multi-screen ownership data and online purchasing behaviour.
View here: http://cdn.marketingmag.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Mi9-Baby-Boomers-infographic-2.jpg

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2014 Digital Predictions From the Experts

Digital Trends and Marketing Predictions 2014

It’s that time of year again – tinsel, lights, too much food and digital predictions for the year ahead. With a host of digital experts touting what we can expect in the year ahead, I have curated what I believe to be the most interesting predictions for 2014.

1. Pay to play becomes crucial in social media

Augie Ray, former Forrester analyst suggests a focus on paid media will eclipse earned media in marketing strategies. As Facebook and Twitter continue to monetise their social platforms and brand noise continues to rise – it is going to be harder to succeed in the social space unless you pay to play. Thus in 2014 brands will leverage paid as an important part of their social strategy more than ever before.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/17/2014-digital-trends-and-predictions-from-marketing-thought-leaders/

Curated Content2. Content attracts media spend

According to Adam Vincenzini from Kamber, an Australian content agency, 2014 will be the year where content promotion takes a bigger chunk of media spend. As brands have been heavily investing in content production in recent years, brands are recognising that this great content is often not gaining the reach / visibility to gain maximum impact. Thus in 2014 we will see more and more publishers creating content solutions to enable brands to work their content assets harder.
http://www.slideshare.net/AdamVincenzini/social-media-trends-2014?from_search=14

3. The internet of things (IoT) will accelerate

According to Quartz, 2014 will be the year the internet of things takes off. Quartz suggests until recently, connecting a device to the internet was expensive and difficult. But in the past year or so, companies like Qualcomm, Intel and Texas Instruments have created inexpensive, power-efficient chips that enable pretty much anything to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, or to a mobile phone via a standard called Bluetooth Low Energy. As a result innovation by big corporates as well as start ups will accelerate in 2014.
But what does this mean for marketers?
One of the most notable outcomes of the IoT, is that these smart technologies gather a tremendous about of data and for marketers trying to already grapple with the tremendous amount of data already available the IoT adds another level of complexity. Although this challenge will probably not be one marketers need to tackle in the year ahead given the IoT is still emerging.
http://news.msn.com/science-technology/will-the-internet-of-things-be-a-thing-in-2014-1
http://qz.com/154064/2014-is-the-year-of-the-internet-of-things-no-seriously-we-mean-it-this-time/

4. Location-Based Mobile Commerce

According to ExactTarget, location based mobile commerce will begin to flourish driven by technology and application innovations like iBeacon.
Kyle Vanhemert in his inWired article described the potential of iBeacon;
“You step inside Walmart and your shopping list is transformed into a personalized map, showing you the deals that’ll appeal to you most. You pause in front of a concert poster on the street, pull out your phone, and you’re greeted with an option to buy tickets with a single tap. You go to your local watering hole, have a round of drinks, and just leave, having paid—and tipped!—with Uber-like ease. Welcome to the world of iBeacon.”
http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/5-marketing-technology-trends-to-watch-in-2014/#!

Online TV5. Social TV opportunities expand

Whilst second screen usage is not new, few brands have taken advantage of it – particularly when it comes to tapping into the social TV trend. Millward Brown believes 2014 will bring a host of new social TV opportunities. According to Millward Brown “the social TV opportunity will be expanded as Twitter introduces additional audience-based targeting opportunities. Millard Brown writes “based on their data connecting TV to social media usage on the second screen, Twitter will be able to define like-minded communities organized around TV viewing habits. Eventually this will lead to more sophisticated psychographic targeting when those audiences are further segmented based on other interests and habits. For brands that are title sponsors of a show or an event, this means they will be able to continue targeting their show-specific audience long after the event itself, and not necessarily just when those people are tweeting or reading about show-specific content.”
http://www.millwardbrown.com/ChangingChannels/2013/Predictions/index.html

6. Privacy concerns give rise to disappearing data

In an era of Big Data, marketers equally need to grapple with disappearing data. In 2014, David Berkowitz, Chief Marketing Officer of MRY believes marketers are going to have to come to terms with disappearing data in the social space with new social applications like Snapchat gaining momentum. Such a trend will make it more difficult for marketers to track and target consumers. Equally as companies seek to capture more data than ever before consumers will increasingly prioritise privacy, which puts pressure of law makers to legislate against the capture and storage of various pieces of information. Search marketers already have to come to terms with disappearing search query data from Google – expect much more of this in the year ahead.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/12/17/2014-digital-trends-and-predictions-from-marketing-thought-leaders/

Watch: Game-Changing Digital Predictions for 2014

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Australian Brand Interest in PINterest

Whilst Facebook is anticipated to reach its billionth member in 2012, it seems Pinterest is stealing the limelight. And despite the fact that Pinterest usage is unlikely to rival Facebook visitation at least in the foreseeable future, its growth cannot be ignored.

A social media fairytale

According to ComScore, Pinterest traffic reached a high of 11.7 million unique visitors in January 2012 – up from 400,000 less than 12 months ago – making it the fastest growing website to reach 10 million visitors in history. What is however most extraordinary about this growth however is that Pinterest is still at the “invitation only” phase.

But the darling networks success doesn’t end there. According to Shareaholic, in February 2012, it was announced that Pinterest drove more traffic to retail sites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, and Pinterest also drives more traffic to blogs than Twitter.

But whilst the Pinterest phenomenon has caught on globally, are Aussies showing the same enthusiasm towards Pinterest? The answer is definitely a resounding YES, with Nielsen reporting a surge in Pinterest’s unique audience numbers in Australia, from 140,000 in December to 360,000 in January.

What is of PINterest?

With up to 80% of Pinterest users female – there is little surprise that the most popular content being pinned is related to all things girly. According to analysis from RJMetrics globally, the most popular broad categories of content being pinned are;
• Home (17.9%)
• Arts & Crafts (12.4%)
• Style & fashion (11.7%)

Pinterest Category Interest

However the analysis also revealed the content category achieving the highest levels of repins is Food.

Pinterest Repins By Category

Brand Interest

Globally the number of brands flocking to Pinterest over the past few months has begun to snowball and it seems Australian brands are beginning to dip their toes in the water.

Tourism Australia in PinterestTourism Australia

In recent years Tourism Australia (TA), has been one of the first brands to experiment and successful leverage key digital channels – particularly within the social sphere. Thus it would come as little surprise that TA is one of the first brands to trial Pinterest in Australia.

According to an article published on Mumbrella, TA’s strategy is “the same as our wider social media strategy – to inspire people to share their experiences and advocate Australia, with the ultimate aim of encouraging more people to visit.”
At the time of preparing this article, TA has 31 pinboards and 840 pins as well as over 400 followers.

Kikki.K

Kikki K Pinterest MarketingKikki.K has also shown interest in the new virtual pinboard site and as a result has integrated the “follow” and “pin it” badges within its site to encourage people to share / pin its latest stationary. A quick search on Pinterest shows that the brand is definitely doing something right with many Kikki.k products already pinned by users. In addition to date Kikki.K has established a following of over 750 followers and boasts 22 pinboards and 581 items pinned.

Other Australian brands which seem to be experimenting with Pinterest at the time of writing include Amnesty Australia, and Triple J – Obviously it is early days when it comes to Pinterest thus it will take some time for brands to master Pinterest. But based on referral data and the sheer growth – it is probably safe to say that brands may need to start to consider if Pinterest is relevant to their social strategy as first mover advantage is key.

Video: Pinterest Marketing Tips for Brands

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2011 Social Media Compendium

Australian Social Media Usage Statistics

One of the most popular posts published on my blog has been the social media compendium I compiled back in March 2010. Given these stats are now a little out of date I have compiled some of the latest info to provide my digital peeps with a central source of data to pull out of the bag in times of emergency (for pitches / selling in concepts to Senior Exec’s yada yada yada) Enjoy!

Australian Social Media Usage Statistics

People of all ages are using social media: According to a recent Sensis eBusiness report 82% of people in their 30s, 47% of people in their 40s, and 45% of people in their 50s-to-60s are connected on social media sites in Australia.

More Australians’ are logging in more frequently: 4 in 10 Australians log on to social networking sites several times per day, up from less than three in 10 last year

Social Media fix during work hours: Almost one in four Australians access social networking sites from their workplace.

Majority of Australians are logging on: 59 percent of Australians have used a social network in the past 12 months

Females are more obsessed with social networking than male counterparts: In the past 12 months – 61 per cent of Australian females have used a social network vs. 56 per cent of males.

Blogging remains relevant to Australians: 44 percent of Australians have read a blog over the past 12 months

Video uploads on the rise: 21 percent uploaded a video to the Internet up from 14 percent 2 years ago.

A third of time spent online is spent interacting with social media: According to Nielsen research, Australian Internet users spend 7 hours and 17 minutes a month visiting social networks and blogs.

Online Video StreamingA Closer Look at Video Usage

According to a recent report by a third of Australians watched video content downloaded from the Internet.

Demographic breakdown: 68% of Australians aged 18-29 viewed online video content
50% of those aged 30-44 viewed online video content
34% of those aged 45-54 viewed online video content
22% aged 55 and over viewed online video content

Prediction: Watch this space (literally)! Online video usage is anticipated to continue to grow exponentially here and abroad in the coming years – thus it is not unreasonable to expect 50 – 60% of online users downloading / consuming video content via the web in the coming year to 2 years.

A Closer Look at Facebook Usage

According to Internal Facebook Data in September Australia has 10.5 million active Facebook users.

Australian Facebook Users By Age:

13 – 17 – 13 percent
18 – 24 – 24 percent
25 – 35 – 25 percent
36 – 44 – 17 percent
45 – 54 – 11 percent
55+ – 9 percent

Average Time Spent on Facebook: According to Nielsen the average time spent on Facebook by Australians is 6 hrs and 46 mins in August this year

Average Monthly User Frequency: In Australia, the average user visits Facebook 26 times per month!

Prediction: Expect Facebook usage to level out or decline (although I had predicted this in the past which may have been a bit premature). Facebook usage in markets like UK has begun to show fatigue which has led to small declines in the active number of monthly users. Facebook is definitely not going away any time soon but time on site / frequency of usage may start to retreat and new users are also becoming increasingly harder to attract.

LinkedIn MarketingA Closer Look At LinkedIn Usage

More and more professionals are subscribing to LinkedIn; 2 million plus subscribers in Australia as of October 2011.

Majority of professionals yet to sign up: According to market research firm Telsyte approx 40% of professionals in Australia use LinkedIn

Small businesses not embracing power of professional networking tools: Only 10.7 percent of LinkedIn subscribers in Australia are small business owners

Prediction: Whilst LinkedIn has gained momentum, growth has not been as rapid / steep as the likes of Facebook. I anticipate members will continue to grow in the coming year to 2 years as I don’t believe the product has reached saturation point in the market.

References
http://www.socialmediamarketing.com.au/social-media-marketing/linkedin-now-has-2-million-users-in-australia-but-new-competitor-is-gaining-fast.php

http://searcheverywhere.net/facebook-australia-statistics-august-2011/

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/technology/online-use-among-older-people-continues-to-soar/201110214267.html

http://about.sensis.com.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/2011%20Sensis%20e-Business%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

http://zo-au.com/nielsen-report-on-social-media-q3-2011

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Email & Social Media – Bed Buddies Not Arch Enemies

Since the explosion of social media, email marketing has been put on the endangered species list. If we venture into the wild world of email we find it is still thriving and has done so particularly since the economic downturn, however many are sceptical about its life span. The email vs social media argument has been re-ignited in 2010 with a recent Gartner report signalling bleak times for email. However a recent post on eConsultancy interviewing many of the leaders in the email field see it very differently.

So is it time to start preparing for emails devise? Hardly rather social media is probably giving email a new lease on life, giving email a new partner in crime!

So how is the landscape changing and how can marketers leverage the link between social and email to improve communication and response?

Convergence

Whilst each channel provides its advantages and draw backs – industry software leaders know that convergence is going to play a big role in the evolution of the 2 channels.

Facebook knows that email plays an important role in its future and as such is currently investing in a full webmail service – called Project Titan. Whilst Google & Microsoft are also rapidly integrating social functionality into Gmail and Outlook. These changes in functionality will mean that email becomes the start of a conversation from a brand, one which can then continue amongst a subscribers’ network and peers.

Email and Social Media IntegrationCollaboration

Social media provides email marketing with the vehicle to enable one to one communications to become many to many. Providing the ability to share content from email however is not enough. Good online content that is topical will be rewarded and discussed within the social space outside of the confines of email. The viral nature of social media provides the element that email needs to ensure this information is being given to those who will benefit from it most (not just those subscribed to receive it) – and this is what pull marketing is all about.

Database Extension

One of the most valuable tools social media provides for email marketers is the ability to gather new subscribers. Fan pages, groups etc provide brands with the notification that they have a loyal base of followers. However if these consumers subscribe to receive email information it provides the brand with the direct connection with the user to foster a deeper relationship. Advocates that are empowered with this information then become the brand vehicle and gateway to access a wider audience in the social space.

The above demonstrates that in a web 2.0 world it is not a channel fight of the titans but rather a teaming up of email and social that is going to take email marketing into the next decade as a discipline and also important strategy for your organisation.

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Latest Digital Statistics Compilation Australia

Digital Media Users

Since it has been a good 6 months since I have compiled a summary of Australian digital statistics, I felt it’s a good time for us to reflect on the second half of 2010. Enjoy!

Social – Facebook Usage

1. In December 2010 there were 9,361,520 Australia’s actively using Facebook.
2. In December 2010 – users by age group were as follows – 35% or roughly 3.2 million subscribers fell into the 20 to 29-year-old category. At 21% or nearly two million users each are the 30 to 39 and 13 to 19 age bands. More than 1.2 million users are in the 40 to 49-year-old band that makes up 13% of the total. And about 732,000 people between the ages of 50 and 59 form 8% of the total. The remaining 210,000 are aged 60 and above.
3. Facebook represents almost 1 in every 5 pages viewed on the web by Australians during September 2010. Facebook’s 19.3% share swamps Google.com.au’s 7.4% share of page views.
4. The average session time for a user visiting Facebook during September 2010 was 28 minutes and 58 seconds.

Sources
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/email-is-so-passe-for-facebook-generation/story-e6frg6z6-1225981885878
http://weblogs.hitwise.com/alan-long/2010/10/12_things_you_need_to_know_abo.html

Video Content StrategyVideo

5. More than three quarters of online Australians (77%) watched video content on their computer at least once in September and a further 26% watched video on their mobile phone.
6. In October 2010, Australian video viewers consumed an average of nearly 8 hours of video.
7. Males spend a significantly longer amount of time viewing online video than females. On average, males watched just over 10 hours of online video in October, while females averaged 5.2 hours. Males also consumed a higher number of videos on average at 113 videos per viewer, compared to females at 72 videos per viewer.

Sources:
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/OCR_GOS-oct10.pdf
http://www.comscore.com/

Mobile

8. According to the AIMIA mobile survey, the proportion of respondents who own a Nokia or Motorola handset has declined over the last few years, while those owning an Apple handset has increased. The top handset brands of respondents this year were Nokia (41%), Apple (21%), Samsung (12%), Sony Ericsson (9%), LG (6%), Motorola (3%) and Blackberry (3%).
9. 24% of respondents used their mobile phone for banking at least on a monthly basis, compared to 19% last year.
10. 12% of respondents used their mobile phone to buy things for their mobile phone at least once on a monthly basis, compared to 10% last year.
11. 9% of respondents used their mobile phone to buy things not for their mobile phone, at least on a monthly basis, compared to 8% last year.
12. In September 2010, one third of Australians (36%) accessed the Internet via their mobile phone in the past 30 days and 13 percent accessed the Internet via a handheld media device other than a mobile.

Sources;
http://www.aimia.com.au/home/news/member-news/aimia-releases-sixth-annual-australian-mobile-phone-lifestyle-index
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/OCR_GOS-oct10.pdf

Online Shopping

13. In the past year, shoppers have spent $10 to $12 billion online, about 5 per cent of total retail sales of $250 billion.
14. Market researchers Frost & Sullivan predict that online spend will grow to $18 billion by 2014.
15. Online spending grew 12% in Australia in 2010

Sources;
http://www.smh.com.au/business/switchedon-consumers-signal-sea-change-in-retail-20110107-19iq7.html

Mobile AdvertisingOnline Advertising

16. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Media and Entertainment Outlook 2010 – 2014 report, online advertising in Australia is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.4% every year for the next four years. While the same forecast for print growth is 1.9% and for free TV is 3.9%.
17. In Q3 2010, general display and classifieds advertising accounted for 26.5% and 24.6% respectively, of total advertising expenditure, while search & directories advertising comprised of the remaining 48.9%.
18. CPM based pricing continued as the dominant expenditure type with 75% of advertising expenditure allocated to CPM buys whilst 25% was on a direct response basis.
19. Finance, motor vehicles and computers & communications continue to be the dominant industries using general display advertising, comprising 44.3% of the general display spending. Motor vehicle (manufacturers) was the largest subcategory at 10.5% of general display spending for the quarter, marginally down from 10.7% in Q2 2010.

Source;
http://www.iabaustralia.com.au

Video: Digital Media In Australia – Facts & Figures

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On The Digital Politics Campaign Trail With Some Clever Little Lemons

Days of Digital Politics

Since my previous post it seems that both political parties have really taken their online marketing efforts up a notch. Julia Gillard’s Twitter following has ballooned in a short few months – growing to 36,000 followers, and both parties are adopting paid search to educate the Australian public about their stance on the big issues.

What however initially struck me about the marketing efforts (both online and offline marketing) of both political parties, is that political marketing hasn’t really changed over the past decade. We see the same ads on TV ridiculing the opposition and the same brash push marketing tactics that attempt to scare us into choosing 1 party over another. Well so I thought anyway.

Labour Lemons YouTube Video’s

Labour Lemons Youtube ChannelIt is refreshing to see that at least 1 party is leveraging the online channel in a way that is engaging the Australian public. The Liberal Party has decided to use YouTube as 1 of the channels in the marketing mix to market itself and they are doing so in a unique way. Liberalparty.tv has released a series of humorous and entertaining videos – featuring what they term the “Labour Lemons”.

With 3 videos released so far – the Labour Lemon video series seem to be making a few waves on YouTube. Together the 3 videos have received over 130,000 views and with the 3rd released as late as last Friday the 5th of August, this is sure to increase. These videos have outperformed the standard propaganda style marketing video content so often seen in politics and I no doubt believe given the success so far that we will probably see 1 more released before election day.

To view all of the videos in the series click here – http://www.youtube.com/user/LiberalPartyTV

Getting the most out of video

YouTube if leveraged in the right way can provide political marketers with a valuable channel to get their message to the masses. YouTube receives over 12 million unique Australian visitors per month and is obviously one of the ideal mediums for political parties to communicate their message. In this instance the “Labour Lemons” video series lends itself well to the social space – as content that is interesting or entertaining enough moves virally through popular social networks.

However I do feel there is more that the Liberal Party could be doing to gain maximum reach for their video content in the run up to the election. The first is utilising YouTube’s promotional opportunities to increase awareness and eyeballs to the content. Just last month we saw Cadbury trial a 1 day homepage buy out on YouTube – an opportunity which provides a brand with exposure to millions of Australians visiting YouTube daily. In addition the Labour Party is using sponsored video links in YouTube search results to promote its video’s on YouTube – an opportunity that the Liberal Party is yet to explore. Through greater awareness of these video’s, the Liberal Party would most likely see the viral effect treble.

Aside from online activity – it would be great to see the Liberal Party using these video’s as part of their TVCs to adopt a more integrated approach. Earlier this year we saw ANZ very successfully extend the reach of their offline “bank world” TVCs through YouTube.

With that said, I applaud the Liberal Party for trying something a little bit different and breaking the political marketing mould.

Have you seen some interesting and unique ways that either political party is leveraging the online channel? If so please share them below.

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4 C’s To Build Compelling Content Online

Content is King

It has been said that the brands that will succeed and thrive in the coming decade will be those who become publishers. Content is becoming one of the key pillars of any online strategy as it is utilised to drive organic search tactics, forms a key part of social media activities and is also being used to position brands as experts and a trusted source in their field. This content wave is one that has not gone un-noticed by Australian organisations.

The importance organisations are placing on content is is reflected by the increasing demand for content specialists and producers. Content generation is however is more than hiring dedicated resources to support the cause and deliver tangible outcomes. So if you are contemplating content as part of your strategy – here are my 4 Cs to produce interesting content online. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but rather is some of the major factors that can be the difference between a successful content strategy or no more than online dribble.

1. Content Trending & Monitoring

Monitoring what is topical in your industry and forecasting what will be topical in the coming months is one of the keys to producing relevant and timely content for your audience. Social news and bookmarking sites as well as social media monitoring tools enable us to determine what is popular and what our audience is likely to be seeking content for. Content trending and monitoring is also about learning from the content your users are consuming. What kind of articles and topics do your users respond well to and how can you give them more of it? Both of these sources of intelligence form an integral part of any content planning and creation process.

2. Cutting Edge

Digital Blog TrendsThe content arena is vast and often your organisation will be competing against a mass of content related to your product / service or industry. One of the fundamental things to therefore consider is how are you going to build cutting edge content that will keep people coming back for more? When I set out blogging there were 2 key things that defined my content position / edge in the market;

– Local Statistics & Trends; Stats and trends for Australia’s digital market were and still are difficult to come by. Searching for them is time consuming and they are rarely found in 1 single source thus my first edge was to deliver marketers with this source on an ongoing basis to support business case development.

– Client Side Marketing View; Many of the digital blogs that are written are done so by agency professionals who experience very different challenges to client side marketers. I wanted to cover the topics and issues that client marketers face to enable them to make more informed decisions in their role.

Defining your content edge requires you to define boundaries for topics – to identify what you will and will not cover. To do this you need to effectively scope your market and find your edge. Aside from this the other key to producing edgy content is to ensure that you are not simply re-gurgitation the same news and content as everyone else. If its topical use it as a base and re-package it to add new information and value to your users.

3. Content Fatigue

One of the hardest things about developing strong content online is maintaining a constant flow of quality content. The first 6 months is the easy bit, it is after this time where it becomes more difficult. A solid content strategy must consider source and define avenues for content generation and contribution. Below is content source diagram which defines some of the key avenues I use to create compelling content beyond the honeymoon period.

4. Content Distribution

Great content is only great if people can find it and it supports the achievement of your organisations goals. Like any marketing a creative idea is never enough – it is as much about the distribution as it is about the idea thus what is your distribution strategy?

Distribution extends well beyond social sharing buttons. A content strategy should be integrated within your existing communication strategies such as your email lifecycle and also be used to drive sign ups to your database. Your content should also be optimised for search and even paid search may be used as a form to drive users to the content. Your content may also feed into your social profiles – however ensure that this is not the sole purpose of your social profile.

Australian Examples

So with that said – just who in Australia is delivering a good content strategy. Below are 2 examples;
– Blackmores; For a little while now Blackmores has been delivering quality content in the form of health and weight-loss advice to their users. The value delivered through content has been one of the key online value propositions used by Blackmores to build a substantial database of existing and prospective customers.

– Coles; Coles have developed an online content strategy in line with their offline activities. Their content strategy revolves around recipes and cooking tips from Curtis Stone. Coles has tapped into Australia’s cooking obsession and provides hints and tips as well as recipes to cook like a professional or on a budget. This is enabling Coles to build a sticky onsite experience and get people back into Coles supermarkets – a tactic which I am sure is delivering success for the supermarket giant.

I would love to know of more organisations using content to support the achievement of online objectives – thus please share them below.

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