By Zizi Averill
Here are our top ten insights from the research:
Social media audiences are guarded by two gatekeepers, Facebook and Google. Businesses willing to pay the costs to gain access to their huge audiences and treasure troves of data make them ideal for segmented marketing strategies.
Last year, Facebook was the most popular platform for paid ads with 94% of businesses boosting posts. That’s followed by Instagram (at 44%), also part of the Facebook family.
According to Salesforce, all other social channels, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter, only account for only 11% of marketing budgets in 2018. By 2019 this will fall further, with two-thirds of digital advertising dollars heading towards just Google Search, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Recommendation: Companies need to learn the rules of these platforms to keep in lockstep with Facebook and Google. The whims of their algorithmic patterns will determine the power of your reach.
2. Social media is pay-to-play
The social media landscape is no longer a wild, untapped reserve of potential customers. In 2017, over half of businesses saw a decline in their organic reach. Businesses must allocate more of their advertising budget to social media, to combat the effects of the Facebook algorithm change.
Companies who pay to boost their posts were twice as likely to say social media marketing is “very effective”. Because of this, more than two-thirds of businesses are allocating more to their social media budgets in 2018.
Recommendation: For businesses, talk isn’t cheap. Social media platforms are jealously guarding their audiences. Companies must accept that talking to your customers on these platforms will require investment. Allocate some of your budget to pay for social media advertising.
3. Choosing the Right Social Media Metrics for You
According to The State of Social report, 90% of businesses believe that social media marketing is important. However, over a quarter of marketers remained uncertain of its effectiveness.
Like a New Year’s resolution, social media strategies will only be effective if businesses set concrete goals and choose relevant performance indicators. Marketers need to consider what kind of interactions, and what level of engagement will make this campaign a success.
For most advertisers, social media is more about engagement than driving traffic or converting into direct sales. According to The State of Social report, 42% of businesses saw audience engagement as a primary goal. Only 17% wanted audiences to follow leads and 15% measured sales conversions.
Recommendation: To have an impact on your business objectives set the right metrics in place, measure them often, iterate your strategy and repeat.
4. Data, Data and more Data
With every click and tap recorded customers are providing more information than ever. However, without proper data management, organisations could miss the important insights in the information blizzard.
Effective data management is critical. However, nearly one in five businesses still don’t have a data management plan.
Recommendation: Don’t get left behind. Complex data management and marketing programs are gaining popularity, allowing businesses to expand their reach, targeting the right customer, at the right place, at the right time.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Personalisation
Marketers can no longer push the same cookie-cutter strategy on every customer. Today audiences are looking for the personal touch. Big data has allowed marketers to target potential customers down to the street corner.
While the North America and Europe have adopted the philosophy of ‘the more data, the better’, Asia-Pacific advertisers are seeking more targeted data; who our customers are, what they like and dislike and where they are.
By 2020, there will be a 36% increase in companies targeting customers based on their interests.
Salesforce predicts a 14% rise in companies investing in location information allowing Australian businesses to target their customers’ smart phone as they walk passed their store.
Recommendation: Start reviewing your tech stack for tools that will capture this audience information.
6. Messaging Apps
Since 2016 messaging apps users have outgrown Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, according to BI Intelligence.
Despite their popularity, only 20% of marketers are utilising Chat Apps.
Recommendation: There are huge opportunities to access a relatively empty advertising space. With the rollout of Facebook’s Messenger for Business, companies can enjoy direct access to their customers.
7. The Year of Video
2017 saw an explosion of video advertising with 65% of companies creating videos. 2018 will see this trend grow, with 85% of companies intending on producing videos.
Despite the enthusiasm, more than a quarter of businesses have never produced video content, and small businesses were twice as likely to never create one. More than two-fifths of companies haven’t allocated a large enough budget for video production, while 64% said they lacked the time.
YouTube advertising is expected to rise by only 1% in 2019 with only one in ten companies planning on buying YouTube sponsored posts. This is clearly an underutilised ad space.
Recommendation: Start experimenting with video even small businesses can you low cost and free video tools such as Vidwiz, Promo and Typito.
Live streams, or short-lasting stories encourage high levels of audience interaction. However, these platforms are underutilised by marketers, especially live video. Over two-thirds of businesses said they had had not created live content in 2017. This is an untapped market, according to Facebook, as live videos have on average six times as many interactions as regular videos.
Businesses have been more enthusiastic in their adoption of Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Last year saw a 13% increase in companies making instant content compared with 2016, with more than two in five companies using Instagram Stories. Instagram appears to be the platform of choice for marketers seeking instant access to audiences.
Recommendation: Take some time to use the Live feature of Facebook and tap into Instagram Stories to connect with your audience
9. Getting Creative with Images
In 2017, 95% of businesses published images as part of their social media campaign. In 2018, you should do more to stand out. Three alternatives include Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), interactive images and GIFs.
Currently, less than a third of businesses have an AR or VR campaign. However, there is enthusiasm to adopt the technology this year with 36% of businesses looking to start up.
Recommendation: Interactive posts, like Facebook’s ‘360 Photos’ are a low-tech alternative that still inspires audience participation.
In 2017 only 36% of companies have shared GIFs on social media, despite their popularity, especially among younger audiences.
10. Adopting new technologies
Australians are calling on Alexa, Siri, and Google Home to organise their lives. Today marketers need to be ready to tap into voice-activated searches. Nearly two-fifths of businesses have a voice-search strategy. Those that don’t are fast implementing one, with 35% planning on rolling out the technology before 2019.
More than two-thirds of businesses are planning on advertising on wearables in 2018.
Recommendation: Now is the time to start considering a wearable campaign as one in ten Australians now own an Apple Watch or FitBit, according to Sensis research.
Marketers are sizing up SmartTVs after recognising that three out of ten Australians have one at home. Currently, 44% of companies are using internet-enabled televisions. While 29% of companies plan on starting SmartTV advertising within the next 12 months.
2018 is the year to get your house in order. Algorithm changes, audience demands, and new technologies will force marketers to adapt their strategies. Set up a strong digital foundation with an organised data management program. Expand your walls by effectively using your social media platforms and setting key metrics to targeting your audiences. Only then, use interesting and new content to engage and convert your chosen audience.
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