TL;DR | 2017 Sensis Social Media Report

It’s that time again!

Sensis has brought us their much anticipated annual Social Media report! If you’re into Social Media, or data about the way businesses are using it, this report is an exciting announcement!

Last year I brought you a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) summary of the report, and it was one of my most-read posts! This year I’m doing the same – I’ll highlight my main takeaways of the report from my opinion as a Social Media practitioner in regard to the way Western Australian’s and WA businesses are using Social Media.

Why the Sensis Social Media Report?

But firstly – why is the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report so highly anticipated?  The main reason the Australian Social Media community gets excited about this particular report is because even though there’s a LOT of data out there, it can be tough to find anything that reflects an Australian audience. We’re a big country with a small population and we just aren’t like anyone else.

Another reason is it’s incredibly important to stay up to date in this fast-moving realm. Trends shift in the blink of an eye, and as a Social Media professional (or a small business owner looking after your own businesses Socials) you need to stay abreast of changes and react to get the best from your efforts.

Is it a fad?

With 84% of Australians accessing the internet daily, Social Media is here to stay. 85% of West Aussies have a smartphone, and 67% of people with a smartphone in Australia use it to access the internet more than 5 times a day.

If you’re not concentrating your marketing and indeed, your sales process and customer service online (and in fact mobile-first) you’re getting left behind. Like, already. Not you will get left behind. You are behind.

Facebook – Still not dead.

94% of Western Australians surveyed use Facebook. Way out in front of second place YouTube at 63%. That’s massive – and it’s only dropped 1% since last year, despite people saying they’re not using it anymore.

I hear often that Facebook is dying, Facebook is irrelevant, “my customers aren’t on Facebook” and so on. Well, it’s still our biggest Social Media platform.

sensis social media report

Message Me

It’s the same when we move to private messaging services, with Facebook Messenger coming out way in front in WA, coming out with 89%, in front of it’s next rival, Viber on 41%.

WA People are a funny lot:

  • We’re more likely than any other state to use Social Media at the gym.
  • We’re the equal highest (with Queensland) to publish a live video.
  • We’re more likely to leave an online rating, more likely than any other state to read blogs or online reviews, and we’re more likely to post an online review or blog.
  • And we don’t put up with any shit from our friends! In WA 50% of us have delete friends.

 

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

Down to Business…

Why do we need to know all this stuff about how people use the platforms? Because it’ll help us as brands get our messages seen and acted on most effectively.

“The survey discovered that the main driver behind social media uptake from businesses is to aid marketing and sales. Providing a line of contact is the next biggest influence.”

You can help your marketing & sales if you aren’t on the right platforms, at the right time, using the right methods to reach the right people. A LOT has to go right, so the more you know the better chance you have of cutting through the noise.

What did we learn?

Not all businesses are on board with Social Media 😮

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

Many of them are not taking advantage of the targeting and availability of paid Social Media

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

In FACT – Social media presence in the business sector in Australia has not grown this year. Just under half the small and medium businesses have a presence. But before we get too excited about this Sensis provide a possible explanation.

in 2016, 17% of the large business sample consisted of businesses with over 1,000 employees, whereas this year only 2% of the businesses have over 1,000 staff and we have seen consistently that businesses with over 1,000 staff almost universally have a social media presence.

Although the report does indicate that 40% of Large Businesses had removed their Social Media profiles. Wow!

In Western Australia SMBs Social Media use has increased against the trend.

2017 sensis social media report

Pay to Play

Social Media advertising is still growing among small and medium businesses and remaining steady in large business if you take into account the data suggests 40% of them deleted their profiles.

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

 

And it seems much of this budget is used to drive website visits.

The majority of SMBs with a social media presence now have a strategy in place to drive people to their sites – 82% for small, 95% for medium and 97% for large sized businesses.

2017 Sensis Social Media ReportBut aren’t very successful at measuring it. In fact we’re getting worse…

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

 

But we’re getting better at being strategic!

2017 Sensis Social Media Report

 

Which is great news! We focus our messaging, have an easier time measuring, and become more efficient when we have articulated goals for our Socials.

Did you want to check out the full 81 page report? You can see it here.

So what do you think? Do these results follow your experience in your business?

I’d love to hear about it, so feel free to leave me a comment!

2017 Digital Marketing Predictions | Part Two | The Interviews

Digital Marketing Predictions…

They’re everywhere! I published mine, and then I thought – one person’s predictions are not enough! We need more data! Let’s ask some people I know who work in Digital Marketing and see if they’d like to share their 2017 Digital Marketing predictions with me (so that I could share them with you)

So I did. And they did! I sent some questions as prompts and this post is a collection of the responses I received.

I hope you gain some insight into the direction/s Digital Marketing is heading!

Digital Marketing Clayton Smith

Clayton Smith – Social Media Manager

Founder of Smith Social, Clayton offers an end to end Digital solution to small businesses in Perth.

Fun fact – him and Carma are birthday twins!

Me: What were the main platforms you concentrated on in 2016 as a Digital Marketer?

Clayton: Facebook, Instagram & Email Marketing

Me: Will this change in 2017?

Clayton:

No. In the world of small business, using social media as a marketing tool is still a developing idea, especially in Perth, WA. When you have a very limited marketing budget, very little time and little knowledge of digital platforms, investing in social and digital can seem daunting. So, the two main platforms of Facebook & Instagram get all the focus, where small business owners know the vast majority of their customers will definitely be.

Me: What are some emerging trends you noticed in Digital Marketing in 2016?

Clayton: Live Video arrived and it’s kind of a big deal. Email Marketing keeps on keeping on. 

Me: Do you think these will continue?

Clayton: Absolutely!

Live video, as well as semi permanent video (snapchat style where content disappears after a set amount of time) has arrived and it is kind of a big deal.

The ability to live broadcast from anywhere in the palm of your hand is as amazing as it sounds. So amazing in fact, everyone is still trying to figure out what’s happening, and like any goldrush, the miners who made it to the goldfields first had a much better chance of finding gold. Every social platform is flying headfirst into video and the businesses and brands who took advantage are reaping huge benefits. I just listened to an international digital marketing podcast with a massive listenership where they interviewed a Sydney chocolatier who has built a following. Some guy from Sydney with one little chocolate shop! WHAT? That’s amazing. Once again, those who get their pickaxes in the video dirt first have the best chance to strike follower gold. Get live people!

Email Marketing – If live video is the wild west of digital marketing, email marketing is the well trodden, boring city road. It isn’t anywhere near as exciting, BUT, email subscription is still the most direct digital marketing channel we have, and although people’s inboxes are crowded, if you have done the work and developed a good relationship with your subscriber by providing them quality content that they want to see, you will still convert and convert well.

Me: Do you use video content in your Digital Marketing?

Clayton: Minimal

Me: Will this increase in 2017?

Clayton:

Yes. Getting a small business to start doing video is turning out to be tricky, just starting a regular consistent blog is a tough challenge for most. Let alone video content, and don’t even think about live video.

Unless of course the business owner themselves is already doing it, that’s a different story. It’s power cannot be ignored though, and I will be pushing clients to get started with video content.

Me: Did you use bots in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Clayton: No.

Me: Will you be using them in 2017?

Clayton:  

Not likely. Small businesses do not have the enquiry traffic that would warrant investing in bots, especially when a selling point of most small businesses is the one on one, bespoke personal service they can provide.

Me: Do you have any predictions on the overall state of Digital Marketing for 2017?

Clayton:

Live Video, 360 live video especially, will continue to lead the way on social platforms, with the platforms themselves looking to better monetise video content.

The Snapchat Vs Facebook/Instagram Battle will be the best and biggest show in town, and it will be fascinating to see who makes what move next. Mr Zuckerberg has shown he is not scared to rip off Snapchat ideas and incorporate into his own platforms, making it an interesting challenge for Snapchat to continue it’s incredible growth rates. I think Snapchat will need to evolve to differentiate itself from the Big Blue Book, both to draw new users in and keep their young follower base interested at the same time.

I will put my money where my mouth is and have a guess at a much better “Discover” experience and some sort of ability to post a link in a video as well.

Me: Are there any trends you feel have been exhausted and will drop off in 2017?

Clayton: Hopefully dabbing?

Digital Marketer Lloyd Birch

Lloyd Birch – Digital Development Specialist

I was given my first computer at a very young age, the first thing I did was take it to pieces. I’ve always been enthused by computers and technology. At school I loved business and marketing, most intrigued by consumer behaviours. My goals have always been a mixture of these elements, creating digital marketing with the consumer in mind.

Growing up in the era of mobile internet and the boom of internet on the go, devices are a huge part of my life. Utilising this, I always aim to create content that looks beautiful and is easy to consume no matter what device is being used, as I’d expect this myself.

With my experiences in website development, promotional email creation, search engine marketing, social media marketing and everything else digital that you can imagine, I aim to produce usable design that is consistent across all platforms.

Me: What were the main platforms you concentrated on in 2016 as a Digital Marketer?

Lloyd: Web, Email, LinkedIn, a little facebook and twitter.

Me: Why LinkedIn?

Lloyd:

I Moved into a B2B market. LinkedIn seems to be making strides to better market itself as a selling tool, it’s still full of recruiters that hound people like a plague which is it’s major downfall as a professional social media space but there are much better tools to gain information and target advertising which is an improvement.

Me: Do you use video content in your Digital Marketing?

Lloyd:

Not currently. I don’t personally like video advertising but can see it’s merit in certain marketing platforms.

Video advertising is shifting from being a marketing led sales pitch to being a more adhoc story based approach. People don’t seek out advertising and feel invaded when marketing is thrust upon them, so a more story based approach works well. The best use of video advertising I’ve seen recently was a cleaning product called Vanish (UK) that asked people to record their own tips and tricks for using their product. This community and story based approach advertises the key USPs of their product without being a corporate sales message and created a community of interest. Also, bonus, it was probably really cheap to do!

Me: Did you include Facebook LIVE (or live on other platforms) in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Lloyd: No

Me: Will you be adding it to your content types in 2017?

Lloyd:

Facebook isn’t on my radar in the B2B industry, but I also think Facebook Live as an advertising tool is a lot of investment for potentially very little gain if the video isn’t backed up by a larger viral campaign. I personally believe the novelty of Facebook Live will fade away.

Me: Did you use bots in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Lloyd: 

Due to the nature of B2B marketing, there is much more emphasis of knowledge rather than data, therefore bots don’t have a huge part to play as it requires a human touch to understand and act upon the information gathered. B2B is very granular but very small marketing pools can produce large yields, so it makes sense to have a much more human approach to marketing.

That being said, I am in the process of producing automated email sign up campaigns to automate the release of information initially as repetitive human content distribution isn’t time effective.

Me: Do you have any predictions on the overall state of Digital Marketing for 2017?

Lloyd:

I think 2017 is going to be the year marketing gets quicker, shorter, and more regular. With the increasing use of multiple channel advertising and more targeted campaigns people are becoming more consumed, therefore less responsive, and it seems to be a trend that right place right time marketing is more persuasive than loyalty or brand retention due to the huge amount of competition and consumers are becoming more likely to try new products or services they’d never considered before, a lot of this is driven by big data from grassroots such as reviews ratings etc as people see other people as more trustworthy than brand marketing, which has always been the case but it’s becoming more readily accessible every day.
There’s also lot of distrust going around lately! Especially social media, it seems to be more and more of an avenue to air grievances. People like to hurt a brands appearance publicly when they feel the services aren’t up to scratch. Maybe because having a one to one discussion with the company in private doesn’t satisfy consumer grievance.

All this is good for small business, the barriers to entry are becoming more and more relaxed every day. Big businesses are seeing their brand recognition doesn’t mean as much as it used to, in some cases the bigger the brand is the more the diseconomies of scale are hurting their public perception as a faceless entity focused on profit rather than satisfying consumer need.

Me: Are there any trends you feel have been exhausted and will drop off in 2017?

Lloyd: 

I think one trend that will drop off in 2017 is brands attempts to hijack new and upcoming social media tools, as the rate at which these tools crop up and brands are trying to encompass all forms of media, usually with little success as they are not prepared to adapt their marketing strategies to cope with the different approach each platform makes. An example of this would be snapchat and boomerang for Instagram.

As companies jump on the bandwagon and try to ride the wave of the latest craze, few companies stop to think whether the platform is appropriate for their target audience or communication style and this leads to wasted investment. Many companies are now not as willing to jump on the hype train as they weigh up the return on investment of new and upcoming media channels.

Many businesses are now creating marketing plans that focus on a select few modes of communication based on whether they reflect the communication style of the business and target audience so that they can effectively manage their resources rather than try and be across all platforms.

Alana Christidis – Digital Marketing Specialist

Alana is a Social Media enthusiast from way back. She enjoys creating Facebook advertising strategies just as much as lurking through memes.
As an avid consumer of content, she loves finding new, exciting ways to share a brand’s story.

Me: What were the main platforms you concentrated on in 2016 as a Digital Marketer?

Alana: 

Facebook and Instagram with a heavy emphasis on advertising – and I can’t imagine that changing too drastically in 2017. 

With the introduction of awesome features like Stories, Instagram was a really fun, engaging platform that did really well in telling a story for brands.  Facebook was my predominate focus, especially in advertising. I really focused on generating ROI with killer ad strategies. 

Me: What are some emerging trends you noticed in Digital Marketing in 2016?

Alana:

Augmented Reality was a big emerging trend in my opinion. As someone who opens Snapchat every day just to check what new filters I can use and celebrated like a crazy person when I caught a Dragonite in Kings Park playing Pokemon Go, I think that we’re going to see more and more opportunity with it in 2017.

Me: Do you use video content in your Digital Marketing?

Alana:

Video was a big player in my content strategies. In a sea of articles and photos, video stood out and got a lot of engagement as a result.

Super short, bite sized videos quickly grab attention when no one has time to read your 5,000 world article. This year, my focus will be on quality over quantity when it comes to my content – rather than smashing the posts, create quality pieces.

Me: Did you include Facebook LIVE (or live on other platforms) in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Alana:

While I didn’t personally use Facebook Live in my Digital Marketing, I think it’s a fantastic method of communication for brands to tell a story and get real time engagement – if it’s done right! Brands need to be aware that swapping to the front camera on their phone and um-ing through a script isn’t amazing content just because it’s live. It’s just awkward to watch.

Be authentic in your storytelling and in my eyes, you have a winning piece of content.

Me: Did you use bots in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Alana:

I haven’t used them but I sure love talking to them. The use of bots is only going to grow this year. It’s such a smart way to improve customer interactions and increase conversions in the process. Since messaging apps have surpassed social media platforms in terms of users, it’s natural that people are looking to messages to communicate with their brands.

Me: Do you have any predictions on the overall state of Digital Marketing for 2017?

Alana:

The decrease in social media automation and the growth of storytelling. People are looking for authenticity when it comes to the brands that they follow and humanistic exchanges.

With the exception of bots, I think digital marketers will move away from automated, robotic feeling responses to their consumers and the inevitable blunders that come along with it and move to more personalised exchanges.

Me: Are there any trends you feel have been exhausted and will drop off in 2017?

Alana: 

I think Twitter’s struggle to remain relevant is going to become even bigger this year. With the continued popularity of visual content, it’s hard to see how they will keep up.

I also really hope people stop screenshotting their Snapchat filtered photos and posting them to Instagram.

Kelly Nelson Digital Marketer

Kelly Nelson – Marketing Consultant

A marketing professional with over 13 years experience having worked in a number of different industries including state & local government, mining, construction, IT and not-for-profit.

Kelly has worked in Scotland, Canada and Australia and specialises in online marketing and social media.

Me: What were the main platforms you concentrated on in 2016 as a Digital Marketer?

Kelly: Social Media, Email marketing & Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Me: Will this change in 2017?

Kelly:

No. I think these are the big players in digital marketing – these platforms have been around for a while and businesses continue to see results when using them.

Social Media is continually evolving and changing and it’s a really exciting platform to work with. Businesses know that they need to be on social media to gain exposure, they’re just uncertain on where or how to start.

Email Marketing is still a great platform to use. It’s free, personable and is delivered straight to a captured audience (depending on how you created your database!). You’d be surprised how many people still sign up for newsletters while visiting an organisation’s website or place of business.

I think SEO is still an underused, unknown (but very valuable) digital marketing tool. Clients often don’t understand the importance of having an optimised website until it’s mentioned that it’s an easy way to get your website found by your target audience. Additionally, many digital marketing platforms direct online traffic to an organisation’s website. Once your potential customer is there, you want them to stay! It’s so important to understand what they want and how they may navigate your website.

Me: What are some emerging trends you noticed in Digital Marketing in 2016?

Kelly:

The increased use of video and imagery (including GIF and memes) in social media.  The increased use of a marketing strategy and well defined target audiences.

Me: Do you think these will continue?

Kelly:

Yes. Many people use social media on a mobile device, in short amounts of time, such as sitting on the train or over a quick coffee.  Digital marketing content that is relatable, quick to skim and arouses emotion (whether it be laugh out loud or pull at the heart strings) is more likely to be engaged with and go viral. Video and imagery do just that.

It’s refreshing to see more organisations having a defined marketing strategy, campaign and target audience/s. There used to be a time where digital marketing was a ‘free-for-all’, whereby content was wishy-washy and an organisation’s brand had to be everywhere, all the time. Perhaps the slower economic climate has allowed management and marketers to take a step back and analyse their business objectives and how this ties in with digital marketing.

Me: Do you use video content in your Digital Marketing?

Kelly: Yes

Me: Will this increase 2017?

Kelly:

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, people are more engaged with content that is quick to look at and watch. With the increasing use of mobile devices (and wearable devices such as GoPro), more videos are also being created and shared by users. There’s been numerous additions to Social Media platforms to enable the use of video content, including Facebook advertising, Facebook LIVE, Instagram and the phenomenal growth of Snapchat. Plus YouTube is still HUGE. Video is only going to be used more in 2017.

Me: Did you include Facebook LIVE (or live on other platforms) in your Digital Marketing in 2016?

Kelly: No

Me: Will you be adding it to your content types in 2017?

Kelly:

Yes. The digital world is forever changing, therefore Digital Marketing has to evolve with it. However it’s still important to reassess each digital media platform to see if it would suit your businesses needs and if it captures your target audience.

Me: Do you have any predictions on the overall state of Digital Marketing for 2017?

Kelly:

I think wearables (e.g. Apple Watch, activity trackers) will start to emerge more in Australia in 2017. Wearables are one of the hottest consumer commodities in the US. People already track their physical activity (eg 5km run) and share on Social Media. It will be interesting to see what companies do with this data, and how they can use it to market their product and target potential customers.

Virtual Reality (VR) will also be making its appearance soon! Mark Zuckerberg has already demonstrated using Messenger in VR, so it won’t be far from Facebook

Me: Are there any trends you feel have been exhausted and will drop off in 2017?

Kelly:

Display advertising including banners, ads and pop-ups. I feel that these are really annoying and wonder if people really actually read what’s there? I tend to ignore them. I hope they will drop off but I doubt it. Wishful thinking.

Businesses thinking that they don’t need to spend money on social media because it’s free. Well it isn’t anymore! The social media arena is busy, busy, busy and the majority of businesses will need to add social media advertising into their marketing budget in order to gain targeted exposure.

Paul Ramondo – CEO Ramondo Media

Paul Ramondo teaches entrepreneurs how to use Facebook Ads and Digital Marketing Funnels to generate qualified leads and sales from their websites.

Me: What were the main platforms you concentrated on in 2016 as a Digital Marketer?

Paul: Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat

Me: Will this change in 2017?

Paul:

I plan to go all in on Facebook as a paid media platform and will scale back the time and effort I invest into Instagram. I also plan to keep my marketing and personal branding efforts on Snapchat consistent (just got the new Spectacles… they’re super fun and present awesome new opportunities for unique first person storytelling – come give me a creep if you’re curious – U/N = paulramondo)

Me: Why?

Paul: 

In a nutshell … Facebook Ads’ ability to provide concrete ROI is unparalleled by other platforms, and I only see it improving from here.

I’m also really excited to see how much Facebook expands its product offering this year as it continues to swallow the internet as a whole…

Happy days though… More platforms owned by Facebook + more Facebook product offerings = increased average time on site per user + more data about those user’s behaviours.

This means the total supply of media for ads will increase (driving costs down for advertisers – ceteris paribus). It also means advertiser’s ability to pinpoint and target desired audiences will increase simultaneously

Me: What are some emerging trends you noticed in Digital Marketing in 2016?

Paul: 

The lines separating our digital and “real” lives continued to blur as disruptive tech (like Snap Inc’s “Spectacles”) have started to become ubiquitous.

Me: Do you think these will continue?

Paul: Yes, exponentially.

Me: Why is that?

Paul:

I think we’ll continue to society’s obsession with on-demand, document everything, eyes glued to smartphones increase as these trends become more habitual and second nature than ever before.

This of course will be met with increased advertising as brands both big and small scramble to capture people’s attention long enough for them to hear their story.

Me: Do you use video content in your Digital Marketing?

Paul: Yes – (mainly) Facebook Ads, YouTube and Snapchat

Me: Will this increase or decrease in 2017?

Paul: 

Increase. I’ll be investing a lot more time into creating immersive content experiences for my audience through video as it is by far the best way for me to generate a return on my time and ad spend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casey Bryan – Search Specialist & Blogger

Casey Bryan by day is an SEO geek at White Chalk Road in her role as a Senior Online Marketing Account Manager looking after a portfolio of local and national clients.

By night she is a wine blogger for travellingcorkscrew.com.au, making sure no wine goes un-tasted

At White Chalk Road where I work as a Senior Account Manager our speciality is Search Engine Marketing (SEM), we are one of very few boutique agencies in Perth who focus solely on SEO and Google AdWords. We understand how vital these online strategies are for businesses small and large and there’s no doubt in 2017 many more websites will put more time, money and emphasis on these channels as they provide positive ROI.

We all know how quickly the digital landscape changes. With more and more businesses actively doing SEM it means competition is ramping up so being on top of your game is a must in 2017. What you were doing for SEM 2 years ago simply won’t cut it today.

In 2016 there were countless changes, from penguin 4.0 (focus on toxic links) to the possum update (local search) and of course there was the big Mobile-Friendly ‘Mobilegeddon’ update in May which caused everyone to rush out and make sure Google deemed their websites as user-friendly for visitors on mobile devices. That’s just a handful of the SEO changes and then there’s the Google AdWords updates; from the new extended text ads to no right-hand side ads in the SERP’s to paid local search ads. There’s no denying you have to constantly be on your toes and ready to adapt your strategy when working in SEM.

Me: So what do I think we should be aware of in 2017 with regards to SEM?

Casey:

1. Secure Websites

By this I mean, shifting to HTTPS and making sure when you make the move, you don’t loose any of the hard work you’ve put into improving your organic search results. In terms of a ranking factor, if you have an HTTPS website rather than HTTP you will have a very small advantage however there’s no doubt this ranking factor is going to get stronger whether that’s in 2017 or 2018. My advice is to move sooner than later as it’ll be less pages to redirect, thus making your job easier. There are risks with moving to HTTPS so make sure you know what you’re doing.

2. Mobile Website Optimisation

We live in a mobile-first world and this is not going to change in 2017. In 2016 we finally saw mobile overtake desktop as the primary device users are on when accessing websites and that teamed with Google’s plan to move to mobile-first indexing means you NEED to be all over your mobile marketing.

3. Website Page Speed

Ain’t nobody got time for that! Both your desktop and mobile versions of your website must be as quick as possible in 2017. This has not changed since 2016 however with mobile becoming even more important this year, then the need to keep things as quick as possible is a strategy we should all live by moving forward.

4. Website Content

Again this shouldn’t be news to anyone online – good quality, unique content is what the web is all about. The more of this type of content you can put up on your website the better, if you don’t have a blog/news section then add one now! This content is not only good for your readers/customers but it can skyrocket your SEO results. All websites should aim for at least 1 piece of new content a month, minimum 600 words – the more the better really but it needs to be useful and interesting content. Make the content as shareworthy as possible so readers want to share it on social media and link to it. Natural link-building doesn’t come easy but by gosh it’s worth it!

2017 is going to be a big year for search. I am excited to be a part of it with the White Chalk Road team alongside building up my blog, Travelling Corkscrew, which welcomed over 75,000 organic visitors in 2016!

So there you have it folks!

A broad range of backgrounds, experience and niches produced different views of where Digital Marketing is heading in 2017! A big thanks to Clayton, Lloyd, Kelly, Alana, Casey and Paul for taking the time to share their thoughts with me (and you guys!)

If you have your own predictions and would like to be featured I’d love to hear from you, or if you just have a comment or question use the comment section below, I’m always welcome for feedback 🙂

Time will only tell what 2017 holds for us in the Digital Marketing world, but it never hurts to have professional insight into future trends to help you target your marketing efforts!

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My 2017 Digital Marketing Predictions

Everyone’s doing a 2017 Digital Marketing Prediction post!

Which is fine because none of us can see into the future, we can only make guesses as to where Digital Marketing will grow (and where it won’t) so we can try to focus our attention in the right places to maximise returns.

Here’s my big three Digital Marketing predictions:

BOTS

Bots are only going to get bigger. More and more businesses will engage bots to take some of the heavy lifting from their digital customer service. If you’re not sure what a bot is you can check out this article from CNET. Chances are you’ve spoken to a bot before, you might have known it wasn’t a human, or you may not have. Bots will continue to improve and will be used by more companies world-wide.

LIVE

People love live. I think partly because we’re so sick of the falseness of Social Media, lies of politicians, and stagedness of infomercials – and partly our FOMO and our desire to be the first to know. We want to see something NOW and we want to see it how it REALLY IS. Live video gives us both of these. The way people used to flock to their Twitter feed when a news story broke, will now be the way people rush to find someone live on Facebook or Instagram (or perhaps Twitter – who knows, they did announce a new live feature)

VIDEO

Video and live go together, but there’s also another aspect I wanted to touch on. Explainer video is going to get bigger. Businesses that couldn’t afford video production will bite the bullet and get animated or stop motion videos on their websites and social channels. I must say I’m not the hugest fan of my Facebook newsfeed being full of video. But I have a weakness for those stop motion recipe videos. You know the ones…you see them on pages like Thrillist, Tasty etc. like this handy cocktail recipe below.

You can see by the views I’m not the only one who loves these. As well as my top three Digital Marketing Predictions, here’s some other aspects of Digital Marketing that will stand the test of time:

Customer Journey Mapping

Basically this just means tracking your customers through their buying journey with you. Which pages of your website did they land on first? Next? How many visits before a purchase?  What prompted them to buy that final time? The more of this type of data you have the more streamlined you can make this buyer journey, essentially increasing your conversions.

Email Marketing

I sometimes cop shit about my views on Email Marketing – but it works and I stand by that. There’s a reason it’s the only service I offer outside Social, and not only is it effective, but it’s Social’s best friend. Businesses would be smart to continue to capture emails, and to improve their automation and segmentation to make sure the right people are seeing the right messages at the right times.

Authenticity

As mentioned above, people are a bit sick of “fakeness” and want to see the ‘real you’ of your business. You’ll stand out of you embrace what makes you different, rather than try to be like the others. Go live, post behind the scenes, people will appreciate the glimpse into your real world.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Platforms I think worth the investment in 2017:

LINKEDIN

I think LinkedIn is getting better. The app works better, and although there’s some glaringly obvious problems with LinkedIn I do think it’s a worthwhile use of your Social Media time allowance.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram will go from strength to strength, regardless of what people think about its copycatting of Snap. It’s easy to use, it’s growing it’s user base rapidly and for the most part it’s a very positive platform in terms of overall sentiment. In short people just enjoy being on Instagram, so it will develop in 2017, and it completely worth your time invested.

FACEBOOK

Facebook cops a lot of flack, but when you think about where it came from, and how it found an untapped need and embedded itself into our lives it’s actually quite remarkable. Facebook is not going anywhere in 2017. Sure, it’ll make some moves to clean up the “fake news” stories (or at least appear to) and hopefully there won’t be anymore ‘metrics fails’ we have to endure, but in general we’ll get more and more features trying to keep us happily spending time on the platform so they can sell more ads. And the ads will get better too.

Instagram and Facebook appear to be moving together – great news for marketers, and I think this will continue. With the combined inbox feature now rolling out, the upkeep on two platforms gets easier removing the need for people to choose between them.

SNAP (But only if your target market are under 30)

Snap (formerly Snapchat) is already a HUGE platform and I think it’s a great place to showcase your products on the following 2 conditions.

1 – You GET it:

Don’t think that any normal ads you’ve done anywhere else are going to work here. They wont. Understand the platform and how it’s used. Make something that suits it, that speaks the language and it could be a great success.

2 – Your target demo are young people:

Don’t get me wrong, I know people who are older than the main Snap demo who use and love it, but they are an exception. If your brand is not appealing to young users don’t even bother.

Things I think (hope) will decrease in popularity:

Vanity Metrics

Seriously, stop it. Your likes don’t mean anything (past a certain couple of set-up stages) A post that gets a lot of comments but contradicts what your brand is about is still a shitpost. So stop shitposting!

Marketing like it’s 2012

See above and add in all the tricks used to make people interact with content. They don’t work anymore. The only thing that works is knowing your market, having a strategy, and working on it consistently.

Booma-bounce

I don’t know what you call these so I gave them a name that’s as stupid as they are. Please stop doing a bounce on Boomerang! Fine if it’s your personal account (not really – but you do you) but I personally can’t stand them. Boomerang is awesome for certain things, jumping into a pool for example, anything that flows one way can look cool in reverse, but your cutesy bounce does not look cool. Sorry – it just doesn’t, and I like to think I’m that type of friend who tells you if there’s something in your teeth.

What will improve:

Customer Service

Customer service on Social is going to get better. Small businesses are doing a great job these days at getting back to you with helpful information about their products and services. The big end of town also does ok, since they can afford a team to handle the bulk. But there’s a big middle here. Improved technology like bots will definitely help the customer service aspect of Digital Marketing.

Not only that, but user journeys should improve too, becoming more personalised (again due to improved technology) and therefore reduce the need for people to reach out via Social channels.

Corporates “getting it”

There’s a growing number of businesses that are getting it. They know their Digital Marketing needs a strategy, metrics, time, effort and money to achieve their business goals. The more this is understood the better the marketers servicing these needs can be at their job, as they get back to the business of doing, rather than arguing about how to make your post “go viral” or some other cool thing my cousin’s friends’ sister did that made her totally Insta-famous.

Overall?

The early adopters are going great. They may need a refresher on their strategy – but these guys knew digital was here to stay and they got to build audiences back when it was easier (and free) Businesses like this will continue to go from strength to strength whether they outsource or have in-house digital teams.

The middle gets bigger. Just like all of us, the middle is expanding! Some of the previously mentioned early adopters may have dropped behind, being hoodwinked by a smooth-talking salesman, or simply not found reward for their efforts. Similarly there’s small businesses working really hard on their digital marketing and not yet reaping the rewards. This middle level of digital success is where most businesses will find themselves.

The newbies are either new businesses competing for a share of the spoils; or businesses that thought investing in digital marketing was a fad, a waste of money, not ‘right’ for their business, or were just too risk averse to put themselves out there. I think the second group are the ones to watch. The reluctant. The begrudging. The haters of change…I think we might be in for some surprises from some of these tortoises. He did beat the hare after all!

So? What did you think of my 2017 Digital Marketing Predictions?

Do you agree? Disagree? Have your own Digital Marketing predictions I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment 🙂

LinkedIn: Now More Than A Digital Resume

LinkedIn has moved on from being thought of as a ‘digital resume’ where people only log in to update their skills when searching for a new role.

These days it’s a great place to publish your original content! It’s a must if you’re trying to build your personal brand and position yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Most of you would have a LinkedIn profile, and have probably at one time or another posted a status update.  If you do it regularly, that’s awesome! You’re already half way there. You know who’s who in your sector. You already have connections and followers.

Use LinkedIn Published Posts to extend this to building influence beyond your connections. Published posts go to LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. Here they can be swept up and read and shared by anyone, whether they follow you or not! And not only that, each time you publish a post your own connections will receive a notification that you did so, encouraging them to come and check it out.

Top Tip: Use tagging. People on Pulse don’t follow you necessarily – they follow subjects that interest them. Think about your tags carefully, you are only allowed 3.

LinkedIn also has a product called Slideshare where you can post publications. These are similar in essence to the old PowerPoint Publications but more image-focused. You can publish your own LinkedIn Slideshare content and depending on the quality and category can be seen by tens to hundreds of thousands of people. Pretty cool huh?

Top Tip: Use content that has performed well as a blog post and re-create as a Slideshare. It’s a bit of work to make them look good and you don’t want to risk it on un-tested content.

LinkedIn Groups can be a great place to publish valuable content to your industry peers. Just make sure it’s a group in which you contribute to the discussion, dropping in to post a link to your latest post is considered a bit rude if that’s all you ever do.

Top Tip: Seriously, don’t be that guy who drops in once a week to post a link to their latest article – the rest of the group secretly hates you.

LinkedIn Pages are a good way for your company to have a business profile on LinkedIn, and your content can be shared there. LinkedIn Pages have a post max of 400 characters, so not really any good for articles – just a blurb and a link with an eye-catching image is all you need. If it’s not your company you’ll need to submit your article to the page admin/s to post for you should they deem it appropriate to come from their corporate voice.

Top Tip: You can advertise from LinkedIn Pages. Targeting examples that work well include roles within industries, i.e. Assistant Manager in Human Resources.

Whether you choose LinkedIn as a place to publish original content or not, you can add your links under publications on your profile. This way people will be able to find them if they are LinkedIn stalking you; which they will if you start getting some attention.

Top Tip: You can set your LinkedIn to private so when you stalk people your name is not listed, however this might not be the best idea. The first thing you do when someone checks out your profile – is look at theirs in return!

These are my top no-fuss tips to using LinkedIn for your personal branding. Do you have any to add? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Unwrapping the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report

Unwrapping the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report [TL;DR]

Sensis release a Social Media report annually, and the reason Aussie Social Media stat nerds like me care is because there’s not a lot of social media reports that analyse purely Australian data. We can be a bit different down here on our island, and real data is real valuable to all Social Media players, the businesses who use it, the people employed by those businesses and the outsourced agency and freelancer folk.

Ultimately, the more you know about the audience demographics, their use, expectations…the things they care about and respond to AND the things that piss them off – the better job you will do at trying to gain attention in an increasingly crowded market.

So here’s the stuff I pulled from their 71 page report that I think will be of value so you don’t have to read the whole thing yourself!

Facebook is not dead!

sensis social media report

Australians are now spending more than half a day per week (12.5 hours) on Facebook alone, up four hours from last year.

Facebook has maintained its almost ubiquitous appeal – 95% of users. The average number of times people access Facebook has remained relatively steady at 32 times a week, but the amount of time spent on each occasion has increased from 17 to 24 minutes.

My takeaway from this: Anyone who tells you their customers “aren’t on Facebook” could be misinformed. Facebook is by no means dead, and continues its dominance of the Social Media platforms.

Social Media use is increasing!

Instagram (31%) is on a growth trend, almost doubling its reach since 2013. This platform has really captured the younger demographic, used by 58% of 18-29 year olds.

sensis social media report

Business Social Media Presence is increasing!

There’s been an upsurge in the number with a social media presence for all business sizes

31% to 48% for small to medium businesses and 56% to 79% for large businesses.

Forty eight percent of small and medium businesses have a social media presence compared with 31% last year, while 79% of large businesses do, which compares with 56% last year.

social media business graphic

Over four in 10 medium sized businesses use Twitter (43%), while this figure increases to 61% for large businesses.

Instagram is also reasonably popular among medium (28%) and large (42%) sized businesses.

YouTube (41%) has a similar penetration in large businesses.

Instagram is also now used by over a quarter of medium sized businesses (28%) but its penetration in the small business segment remains much lower (12%).

More businesses now have a social media presence than has previously been recorded. Forty eight percent of small businesses, 54% of medium businesses and 79% of large businesses are now on social media.

sensis

Why is this significant?

The businesses that were dragging their feet are realising they are being left behind and launching their Social Media channels.

Social isn’t going away. There are many businesses doing a good job of their Social and brands want this competitive edge for themselves.

sensis social media report

The other aspect of this is the longer you wait to get your business on Social Media the harder it’s going to be to find your place in the newsfeed. It’s already a much tougher environment for organic growth than it was when I started using Social Media to drive business 5+ years ago.

You use Social Media differently according to your age group!

No big surprise here.

Visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are more popular for 18 to 29 year olds, and LinkedIn and Google+ for 40 to 49 year olds.

sensis 4

What does this mean for your business? It’s incredibly important to know who your customers are. You won’t get your messages out to them if you’re not using the right channels. Snapchat might be a huge growth platform right now – but if you sell to people 40+ it’s probably not for you (at least at the moment, doesn’t hurt to reserve your business name though…)

Mobile phones are king!

Smartphones are now the most popular device, overtaking laptops which have lost some appeal.

Why does this matter? Due to the varying functionality and display sizes across desktop and mobile Social Media, make sure your content and Call To Action (CTA) are “mobile-first” meaning, optimised for viewing and use on a phone. It’s important to make your images look appealing on mobile, as this will determine whether people will consume your content.

laptops

Australians own an average of three Internet-enabled devices, which underlines our strong appetite for online activity.

People are still researching businesses on Social Media!

Online blogs and reviews remain a fairly widespread influence on purchasing decisions with 60% of social media users claiming to read them before making a purchase.

sensis2

Fifty eight percent will look at up to five reviews before making a decision.

social

Social Media advertising is increasing!

Over eight in 10 of all businesses who advertise on social media have placed an ad on Facebook.

advertising

Here’s some WA stats for my local folks!

We don’t take ourselves too seriously!

wa

And we’re a bit gross…

wa toilet

 

If you want to view the full report here’s a link for you!