32% of Australians share a news story via email or social media

The Reuters Institute just released their Digital News Report 2015* giving an overview of consumption in each country which includes Australia.  The survey gives detailed data tables and statistics around the use of smartphone and tablets and the role of different social networks for news. Overall key trends show a fast development of social and mobile news, a decline in desktop internet, and a significant growth in video new consumption online intensifying battle for global audiences online.

Interestingly, 32% of Australians share a news story via email or social media, ranking 4th/12 – on part with the US and before the UK ranking 10th/12 (19%). Similarly, 32% say the smartphone is the main way of accessing online news in AU, positioning Australians as early adopters of new technology and avid digital news consumers compared to their US & UK counterparts, respectively at 26% and 27%.


Without too much surprise, the data show that Facebook is becoming increasingly dominant, with 41% (+6) using the network to find, read, watch, share, or comment on the news each week – more than twice the usage of its nearest rival. In Australia, 48% use it weekly, followed by YouTube (15%), Google+, Twitter (7%) and LinkedIn (5%) at the back of the pack. Facebook is without doubt the channel of choice for finding, discussing and sharing news, with owned channels such as Instagram & WhatsApp playing a big role amongst younger groups. Acknowledging these averages mask significant differences between genders, ages, and countries in terms of the networks used. 18–24s continue to use Facebook and Twitter but have also adopted other networks and messaging apps for more private conversations, sharing pictures, and a different tone in term of devices usage, we can see that Apple ranks almost equal to other devices (31% vs. 30%) for smartphones whilst being the preference for tablets (25% vs. 11%).topsocialSourceAge

The survey also reveals second & third-screen devices becoming mainstream: 45% using two or more digital devices (58% for AU) and 16% using three or more digital devices. 15% say tablet is the main way of accessing online news versus 10% in the US and 18% in the UK). When asked Which, if any, of the following devices have you used to access news in the last week, 59% of Aussies said they used their smartphone, ranking #1 before most European countries included in the survey as well as the US and Japan.

Despite the traditional media industry in Australia, some pure digital players launched in the past 3 years such as the Guardian, the Mail Online, as well as Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post most recently counting on this strong usage of digital in Australia.

*Source & copyright: Reuters Institute


How does the future digital agency model look like?

In the last month, I’ve been extremely involved in digging out opportunities related to Programmatic Marketing and was planning to share about it today, however as I came across an article claiming that the digital agency model we have today is dead, I thought it was worth prioritising it. I am referring to an article published in memeburn.com ‘a website that focuses on everything digital in the emerging markets sphere’ (see source in the footer).

To give a quick overview of the topic, it is a question of reputational risk and the inability of digital agencies in managing this properly due to their lack of knowledge in legal and compliance related topics. We are then provided with the example of Deloitte Digital, which offers digital services additionally to their historical core business (risks & finance advisory), as a potential model.
Having worked agency side most of my working experience and in digital for the last 7 years, I totally agree that there are changes that need to happen quickly in the digital landscape for agencies to continue growing and servicing their clients successfully. However, I am afraid the article does not demonstrate at any point why and how agencies need to change their model.

Certainly, agencies lack legal background; there is usually no legal department as such in most agencies which results for the legal function to be covered through finance, or through external consultancy. That said, it is certainly not the main criteria to judge the success or the failure of digital agencies model.

In regards to positioning Deloitte Digital as the potential disruptor model for digital agencies based on the fact that their mother company understands risks reputation better than others; again this is really providing details around what the new digital agency model should be. Without knowing any of the talents that are for sure working in this company, it is obvious that any other strategy firm – such as Mc Kinsey for example – would master risk-based decisions in a digital environment. In that scenario, Deloitte Digital is just leaning back against its mother company consultancy group that happen to do risk management. So what?

Also, the article tends to focus on social media reputation and its impact for brands. This is indeed a big part of our digital efforts for brands since customer engagement through social channels is a core asset in expanding their business. Nevertheless, it feels to me like we are missing the big picture here: Digital is NOT only covering social media engagement. The digital environment is a holistic ecosystem that has multiple touch points and any good digital agency should deliver a strategy to their clients has a 360 degree understanding of what the customer touch points are – even non-digital – since they all have an influence on the customer engagement, and ultimately the brand reputation. Influence is not only coming from a social point of view, despite what most of the social media want to make us believe, thank god! – and apologies to all the social gurus out there.

As a result, the agencies that will survive are not necessarily the small start-up model, specialised in one unique skill. On the opposite, the rise of behavioural marketing is clearly showing that agencies need to demonstrate multi-disciplines capabilities. The future of digital agencies lies into their ability to be agile, but in an integrated way. Digital marketers need to understand every single piece of the puzzle in order to deliver an ROI and I believe they will only reach this model when they are able to successfully integrate multi-disciplinary profiles that understand creative as well as media planning as well as analytics as well as technology. An agency where people don’t work in silos anymore. Whether big multinational groups can achieve it, this is another debate. In my opinion, Google is, for now, the best (and only?) example of a large company, which has the flexibility to move toward this integrated model.

Source: http://memeburn.com/2013/10/the-digital-agency-model-is-dying-but-no-one-in-the-space-can-see-it/

Give your staff an Effie Award and win their loyalty!


Effie Awards 2013

As my team @DDB Sydney won the Silver Effie Award for Best Digital Platform with partner agency OMD and client Telstra this Thursday (wooop!), I have been asking myself what was the benefit of such a prize… Above of course bringing our trophy back to sit on a shelf at the agency – the client actually got it – and congratulate each other. What are the after effects of receiving an industry award?

For my family and friends, what this award represents is very abstract as it’s very much an industry buzz. So I patiently explained to each of them what it was: ‘it’s a bit what the Oscars are to the movie industry, but without Brangelina’ (haha). But as I was trying to explain a bit further what it meant and what it was bringing to the agency, to the team and to myself, I surprised myself in not having a lot to say. These are a few thoughts that I would like to share, not to wow about our work or to talk specifically about digital in this instance, but to truly try to understand what’s in it for a company and it’s employees, all the more that I was told their was a lot of politics involved in the final judges decisions – this is not a criticism, but just acknowledging a point of view that I was given.

From the official website The Effie Awards ‘honour the most significant achievement in advertising and marketing communications: effectiveness’. This is pretty clear to me and I am glad that our work with Telstra this year got recognised for that, as we are indeed contracted to increase ROI i.e. effectiveness on their advertising though data-driven marketing.
Now, how does this win impacts us?

Firstly, from an agency point of view it’s always good to be represented and recognised on the market, from our competitors as well as from our clients or prospects. And in this instance, this was the only entry for which we won the highest prize (no Gold was attributed in this category). Great! It also demonstrates a successful partnership built over the last months between creative and media agencies to deliver best results, which is very unique in this industry. Most of the time, the two have different strategies and KPIs, which leads to major disagreements. This is also an awesome win for our client, re-enforcing their partnership with us and giving them industry recognition. Surely, they can comfortably go to their manager showing that they are making the most of their marketing budget.

But the value I really find in this award is beyond the wow effect for both parties client/agency. I see a motivational value to the teams, to leverage pride and recognition from their pairs, from the hard work done and a certain visibility internally as well as externally. Let me explain this. This prize brought an extreme buzz amongst our colleagues, only because our work won, but also because it reflects on them as well! There is a certain pride in saying that you are working with people who received a prize for their work, it makes you feel that you work along with a brilliant team and sharing their success makes you successful as well. And in an industry were the average turnover is 2 years, this is a strong way to improve employees’ loyalty to the company!

Being rewarded and taking pride in our work is clearly something that makes us feeling happier at work and make us forget about all those over hours we made, overnights and weekends we worked, stress and frustration we experienced… Receiving recognition by people that don’t know you and haven’t necessarily seen your work yet are respected and known in your industry is the most compelling reason why one would want to keep up with their company. On top of this, it makes your profile a bit more valuable to another potential employer, as it gives you confidence and strength that you are doing well your job.

The conclusion here is to say to advertising agencies, and specifically HR whose role is to attract the most talented candidates: if you want your teams to achieve more, be motivated and potentially stay in your company, make them visible externally, endeavour people’s passions and hobbies, and find multiple ways to reward them, above and beyond the monthly staff beer & pizza lunch as this will make you a Google #1 Great Place to work.

Data Analysts and traders to become the future of digital advertising?


Having read through several articles this week, it is no secret that the merge of Publicis and Omnicom is an answer to a major shift in the advertising industry, driven by non-stop development of digital capabilities but above all by the major focus on data-driven solutions.

I was initially planning to write about big data this month and how advertisers benefit from accessing more data to target users more accurately. On the one hand, it is a benefit since it provides users with a better experience i.e. I am shown ads that are relevant to my interests, but on the other hand it can also become a pain as it’s going into users’ most personal information e.g. Facebook Graph (read Mumbrella article here) to the point that even the FBI has requested access to use it (read Venture beat article here) which is really a thesis subject in itself – I think.

So, instead I would like to look at how digital and the use of data has changed the advertising industry to the point that two iconic competitors decided to merge. All the more that this is still relevant to the above non developed subject…

The weight of digital in the overall advertising industry raised in the last 10 years has it revealed to be the only stream capable to track and measure return on investment accurately across all channels (Social, EDM, Display ads, Paid Ads) vs. traditional ATL (TV, radio, Outdoor) which is still used but with the only hope goal to increase Brand Awareness rather than Performance i.e sales – ultimately what all companies are looking for to survive and continue to develop.

This initially started with the Paid Search advertising model (brought to you by Google) using real-time bidding, and soon after the development of ‘exchange’ platforms were Publishers & Ad agencies were able to share unwanted inventory – basically leftovers from traditional media buying advertising or sales if you compare this to the retail industry. In the beginning, there wasn’t a lot of pick up from advertisers as those placements were perceived to have a lower value and could ultimately damage the brand image, due to the lack of visibility of which sites this was advertised on, or the lack of ‘premium’ placements (expandable ads units for example).
But, as more websites were launched on the market, this model grew up to the stage were it is now providing advertisers with a more robust inventory, plus it provides a very accurate segmentation of the target audience at a lower cost than traditional display media thanks to a very simple & virtuous circle: the more targeted you are, the better you reach the right customer with the right message, the better the customer is likely to buy, the more sales you have, the better the ROI, the more budget you get for next campaign. And so on!

Now, the reason why such big mammoths of the advertising industry are merging is because they need to shift their model and start a huge investment on data technologies & analysis talents to survive. Creative and media buying are not enough to retain advertisers, data has become the third core elements to be successful in this industry and as Google & Accenture are developing new approaches to reach and re-target the end-user, they now represent a major thread.

Next episode should reveal whether this merge is an antitrust violation or not.

Source: The Financial Times Limited 2013

How Google is rocking the future using HTML 5?

English: W3C HTML5 Badge in SVG.

This week I have been luckily selected to attend a half-day training session at Google on HTML 5. And this was really one of the most inspiring one I have had since I arrived in Australia (2009)!

To begin with, I’d like to give a quick & very top line explanation of programming languages for those who are not familiar with this already – so you can skip this part if you are: HTML is a semantic markup which is used to layout visual creative as well as Flash, CSS is for style & formatting whereas Ajax is used for linking/calling databases. All those are used congruently to create websites, web pages, apps, ad units, etc.

In brief, if you work in digital, you cannot ignore those unless you’re a suit and never got involved in production. And even now, it’s hard to do without because most of our clients also understand it to some level, which is great!

Historically, flash has been the market leader technology to develop animations and was used in most of the websites developed back in 90’s up until 2004 – remember when your computer would prompt you to download flash to see a website which had trendy creative? However, with the rise of smartphones & tablets (note this year, mobile devices overtake PC devices), and accordingly to Adobe’s announcement last year confirming there will be no further development done on this program, meaning flash is DEAD. Why? Well, simply because flash does not provide a good enough experience on devices using iOS or Android!

To demonstrate better how mobile has become the future off the web, let’s look at the Australian market stats:

  • 43% of all media interactions occur exclusively on mobiles and tablets, the remaining 57% interactions occur on (TV, Print, Outdoor, PC)
  • 100% of Smartphone owners have researched a product/service on their phone
  • 72% of tablet owners make purchases from their device weekly
  • 28% of shopping searches on a smartphone have lead to a purchase on a PC

Source: Our Mobile Planet Q1, 2012 & Australian Online Landscape review, Nielsen, June 2012

As a result, HTML 5 is THE only open source language for building start-of-the-art web solutions in our multi-screen environment: it enables more creative touch points & actions without hard coding: touch, swipe, pinch, tilt, shake, rotate, GPS integration and much more.

But, you will ask, how is Google involved with that?
Well, since Google is a publisher, it is in it interest to provide the best experience to their user, through their browser Chrome, but also through their advertising platform: Double Click Campaign Manager (DFA 7). Chrome being the #1 browser in the world, it is core that Google is looked at as a technology leader which enables the developers community to come with innovative solutions, again for user but also for the advertising market i.e. brands and advertising agencies. And Google is going even further in providing (free) tools to us such as Google Web Designer.

And how is that beneficial for brands?
As using flash provides a better user experience across all browsers, all devices, all OS, all platforms, it also reaches a bigger part of  the users which increases engagement. All that for a more effective budget, since you don’t have to create multiple creative for multiple device.

Enough of talking, let’s have a look at the best in class case studies we have been taken through (using Chrome):

UK Burberry Kisses, launched last week:

US Disney – Find your way to OZ:

US Cirque du Soleil:

Many other Examples


Hey Facebook, what’s in it for users?

The more I read about new features or services offered by industry leads such as Google, Facebook or Apple, the more I am asking myself: how is this providing a better user experience?

facebook engancha

With the launch of video advertising in its newsfeed in July, it seems pretty clear that Facebook is just becoming another advertising platform rather than providing a great social networking experience for its users. As a majority of the population is now comfortable browsing the web, sharing content and also purchasing online, companies are finally realising the need to shift their media buying and start to dramatically invest in digital advertising to target new or existing customers.

What’s new here? 
Well, the trend that is slowly invading social networking sites is that they would rather increase their revenue streams through offering more advertising options than improving users’ conversational & sharing experience. And this is specific to content generated websites, such as blogs, Wikipedia, YouTube and now… Facebook!
The reason behind this choice is that advertisers see more ROI when using contextual targeting. Meaning, as a user one is more and more likely to click on an ad and purchase an item online when seen within a content one is interested in e.g. displaying a cruise ad when you are reading travel tips to go to Fiji. Concerns are that this type of advertising is intrusive for the user, all the more that is it not sought by the user. Using your personal interests, location, cookies, and preferences is not enough, brands are now hungry for what you read, share and write about.

Fair enough, one will say this is the purpose of advertising. But, what about social media? Are we meant to accept a poor user experience on a site where we are the ones creating the content? Shouldn’t Facebook consider its users, since we are ultimately the ones that are making Facebook a successful business?

Source: Facebook looks to video ads as it seeks new revenue streams – Financial Times, May 6 2013