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Australia is the smallest continent and one of the largest countries in the world. It comprises the Australian continent, Tasmania, and other smaller islands. The nation is also known for its wealthy underpopulated demographic, fantastic natural wonders, and most notable for being geographically isolated from the rest of the globe.
The English-speaking nation is a highly developed, high-income country and is the world’s 14th largest economy. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the nation has the world’s tenth-highest per capita income. Furthermore, it is considered as a melting pot of various cultures as 29% of its population are immigrants, making it the 9th largest immigrant population in the world. More representations of its progressiveness are shown through having the third-highest human development index and high rank in terms of quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, civil liberties, and political rights.
The digital side of the business industry in Australia is thriving as businesses spend more on digital media ads than ever before, and this is expected to continue increasing over the coming years. With the booming e-commerce industry and fast adoption of smart technologies, the digital landscape in the country presents space for more growth and promising opportunities for marketers.
Australia’s Online Landscape
Australia has experienced incremental growth over the past years. However, We Are Social and Hootsuite’s recent collection of global digital reports show that the number of Australian internet users has remained unchanged since January last year, with a penetration rate of 87%.
Despite this, social media use remains prevalent. As of January 2019, the number of active social media users and mobile social media users in the country has seen an increase of +5.9% and +6.7% respectively. Out of the nearly 25 million population, this translates to 18 million active social media users and 16 million mobile social media users, with penetration rates at 72% and 64% each.
Australian online users spend an average of 5 hours and 4 minutes daily on the internet, or a frequency rate of 93%, and approximately an hour and a half on social media. It must be noted, however, that the daily internet time consumption has decreased by 30 minutes since last year. In a month, this is 15 hours less on the internet. Social media use has also seen a decrease in this aspect but with only 8 minutes every year.
The report also shows that Australian internet users are well into adopting new technologies. Over 25% of users use voice search or voice commands, which means that people will soon no longer be seeing pages of search results, but only a few generated by their voice assistant. It is expected that voice search will continue to grow over the years and disrupt the search landscape.
Digital advertising is something that incites initial resistance from Australian users. In fact, over one-third of the entire Australian internet population use ad blocking tools and as much as one in five opt not to see any digital ads within 30 days. This is reflected in the growing number of subscriptions for online streaming services such as Netflix.
Recent studies also show that Australia has the lowest click-through rates for banner ads in the world. However, recent consumer studies show that there is an 82% preference for tailored, targeted advertising. Thus, marketers must focus on devising precise and addressable marketing strategies.
Since 2018, online shopping has been a flourishing industry in Australia and has experienced growth across all metrics. It has also had +22% year-on-year increase on the value of consumer goods in the e-commerce market, which is currently worth US$18.63 billion.
According to the We Are Social’s report, people searching for products and services are at +11%, people visiting stores at 11%, people making online purchases at +10% via both desktop (+22%) and mobile (+11%).
These data show that Australians are comfortable with online shopping, be it mobile, desktop, or social. As such, marketers may consider it high time to delve into social shopping for their brand.
According to the Yellow Social Media Report 2018 by Sensis, over 80% of the Australian internet population access social media sites, with one-third doing so five times a day, and 62% going on social media daily. The report also showed that 8 out of 10 Australian users see social media as a way to communicate with family and friends, with 46% saying that they use it for sharing content such as photos and videos.
Facebook remains as the most popular social platform and networking site with 79% of the internet population maintaining a Facebook account or approximately 16 million users. The site’s appeal appears to be dominant among all places in Australia. In 2018, the report showed that Facebook is the preferred platform for SMBs and large businesses advertising, followed by Instagram at 30% of large businesses.
Taking the second spot as the most preferred social media channel is YouTube, which currently also has a 16 million user-base. Last year, it was found that the site attracted more male users than female. However, unlike Facebook, YouTube receives more traction in New South Wales, Victoria, and around metropolitan areas.
For messaging apps, Facebook Messenger dominates with 62% of Australian online users. Far behind are WhatsApp at 28% and Viber at a mere 9%.
Other popular social media sites are Instagram, which has had a steady growth of +2.1% since last year, and LinkedIn, which has also experienced a recent increase of nearly +10% in terms of quarter-on-quarter growth of advertising reach. In contrast, the sites who have seen the biggest dip during the past quarter are Snapchat and Twitter, with -14% and -2.3% decrease in quarter-on-quarter growth in advertising reach respectively.
Trends and Opportunities
Research shows that over 40% of adults use voice search every day. In Australia, approximately 57% of adults use voice search, and it is estimated that the voice recognition industry will be worth over US$40 billion. Voice assistants like Google Home has shown a penetration rate in the country higher than that in the US. In just six months, the smart speaker has reached over 5% of the 12 years and older population in the country, and is expected to rise to 7% this year.
The rise of voice-based assistants is perceived to disrupt the search landscape, which begs the need for marketers to integrate this into their digital marketing strategies as soon as possible. With voice search, consumers no longer have to sift through pages of results; voice assistants will only generate one or two of the top results.
Additionally, it is expected that this will also mean lesser screen time. Thus, brands, along with the production of more audio content, must pair voice search with a good SEO strategy to ensure continued brand awareness among its target audience.
Furthermore, the structure of content will also change to a more conversational tone; therefore, keywords should also be tailored to what people would usually say in conversation, instead of basing them off the traditional typed keyword results.
The voice search industry might also expand to offering ad spaces in the near future. One blog even puts it that voice assistants like Alexa might soon answer questions along with a “reminder from her sponsor.”
Augmented Reality (Product Placement in Real Time)
Australia has a thriving e-commerce industry, which means that its consumers are also particular when making purchasing online. A 2018 research from PayPal shows that 44% of Australians are more likely to purchase online if they could virtually see what an item will look like on them. Furthermore, 39% indicated that this would reduce the number of product returns, while 35% said that this would make the shopping experience more enjoyable. Augmented reality is also very helpful for conducting testing placement of heavier items such as furniture, décor, and equipment.
As eMarketer puts it, AR essentially helps marketers develop strategies that meet their audience’s specific needs for information, convenience, and entertainment, thereby improving customer experience.
Social Media Marketing
As previously mentioned, social media usage is very much an important aspect of the Australian online landscape. According to the Yellow Social Media Report 2018 by Sensis, over 80% of the Australian internet population access social media sites, with one-third doing so five times a day, and 62% going on social media daily. Additionally, 33% said that they first check a brand’s social media presence before making a purchase. Furthermore, more than 50% of Australian social media users said that they are most likely to subscribe to a brand if they engage positively with the consumer on social media, create relevant content, and update frequently.
However, social media advertising has seen more negative than positive reaction from the Australian audience, leading the country to have the lowest click-through rates for banner ads in the world. In 2018, only one in three users occasionally clicked on ads they encountered on social media, while more than one out of five said that they quite happy seeing the presence of these ads.
Although quite difficult, marketers may still penetrate the Australian market through constantly improving customer engagement and experience, paired with creating relevant content.
According to We Are Social’s recent global report, mobile phones are the most popular devices in Australia with 96% of the adult population owning one. With this comes geofencing, a location-based service that uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger specific communications to prospective customers that enter or exit a particular area with a virtual boundary. For instance, a customer who has downloaded your app may receive mobile alerts once they are in the vicinity of the geofence you have set up in your business.
This technology has many uses for marketers, such as audience engagement, social networking, and even O2O marketing. Apps that use location-based filters and stickers, such as Snapchat, use geofencing to enable these features. In a concert, geofencing can be used to gather related social media posts and further promote the event. It can also be used to deliver push notifications, in-store promotions, and ads targeted to specific audiences which in turn help marketers develop better personalized customer experiences. Additionally, geofencing can also be a tool for consumer analytics.
However, marketers should be transparent with their customers about having access to their location-based data in order to encourage their trust and continued engagement with the business.
Chatbots are the current norm in improving customer experience and engagement. This AI-driven technology offers businesses a way to provide real-time customer support 24/7, reducing call wait time for customers, which in turn can increase overall customer satisfaction. Customers can immediately voice out their concerns and get simple issues solved quicker, which also shows customer care. Additionally, customers may be able to directly purchase from your website because of the immediate response from an AI.
Brands can leverage chatbots to gain important insights through their post-feedback and also as part of customer analytics.
Using chatbots as part of your multi-channel strategy is an ingenious way of expanding your reach while maintaining engagement. Marketers must choose the right channels to integrate a chatbot in as customers have different preferences depending on the type of products or services they may search.
In the survey results for The State of Influencer Marketing and Social Media in Australia report by The Exposure Co. last year, over half of the respondents said that they read influencer reviews and blogs to gather insights about the products of surveys they are interested in. Forty percent said that they are more likely to make a purchase when an influencer posts about the brand. Additionally, over 1 in 4 Australians have used a discount count from an influencer.
Influencers can definitely help increase brand awareness and create an invaluable connection with your target audience. However, it is crucial that marketers must select the right influencer who best fits the campaign or brand value. The influencer does not have to be a huge celebrity; micro influencers who already have a loyal following that overlaps your company’s target demographic will be equally effective or even more so. It is even recommended to use micro-influencer for a groundswell approach and for building brand awareness, especially if working with a limited budget.
In fact, this is what automotive brand MINI Australia did to launch the new model of its new MINI convertible. In partnership with Vogue Australia, they collaborated with five fashion micro-influencers to help build brand awareness around the stylish features of the car. These influencers were then asked to test-drive the product, and then provide their thoughts, comments, and favorite features of the convertible through a series of Instagram posts.
As a result, the campaign reached nearly 148,000 consumers, with 8,319 engagements with the campaign content.
Australia’s online landscape revolves around the realm of social media and internet-enabled devices. For digital marketers wishing to enter the Australian market, it is important to know that with the country’s large geography, different channels and trends accompany each city. Some of the best marketing strategies to base on are AI integration—such as AR, chatbots, and smart speakers—geofencing, influencer marketing, and good old social media marketing. With knowing the target audience well and the best ways to reach them, these trends may help brands devise the most effective strategies.
Contact us at Info Cubic Japan today to learn more about online marketing in Australia.