By Adam Fraser
There is certainly no shortage of data, analysis and reporting into media and marketing trends globally but Australian specific data can be trickier to access (hence my appreciation for the annual social media report from Sensis which is Australian specific).
Accordingly, I was delighted to stumble across some quality Australian data into podcasting trends, just released by the ABC. The report unequivocally showed that more Australians are tuning into podcasting.
The second annual Podcast Research Survey from the ABC is a tremendous piece of research for anyone trying to deep dive into podcasting trends and habits in Australia.
Some of the key take-aways were:
- Podcast awareness is high in Australia, with 89% of Australians 18-75 claiming to be aware of podcasts.
- Just over half of Australians 18-75 claim to have tried listening to podcasts. This is highest among 25- 34s (76%) and lowest among 50-75s (40%).
- 16% of Australians have listened to a podcast in the last week, while 29% have listened to a podcast in the last month.
Other highlights were:
- A 56% increase in podcast listening compared to the prior year, with growth highest amongst females and 14-34 year olds.
- Weekly Podcast listeners are highly engaged, claiming to have listened to an average of six podcast episodes and four podcast series per week.
- The average time spent listening to a podcast episode is 48 minutes for weekly podcast listeners who commit beyond the first five minutes.
- The smartphone is increasingly the device most often used for listening to podcasts, at 62 per cent of podcast listeners.
- Whilst the home remains the most common location for podcast listening, the report showed seen year on year growth in podcast listening in a car/truck/taxi
As long time readers of this blog will know, I am massively bullish on podcasting and a passionate consumer (as well as producer) of podcasts. In my recent podcast with marketing professor Mark Ritson we discussed the importance of market orientation, and marketers not assuming ‘they are the audience’. This report, however, confirms that in this case I am not alone! Australians are jumping on board the podcast train in increasing numbers.
I wouldn’t expect this trend to disappear anytime soon. Thanks to the ABC for producing this important annual research.
By Adam Fraser
Comscore have just released their annual report into the most popular US mobile apps.
Before we get to the Top 10, some interesting macro stats covered by the report:
- Across smartphone and tablet use, Americans spend over half of their digital media consumption time (57 percent) in apps.
- 18-24 year olds spend 2/3 of their digital media time in smartphone apps alone, spending over 3 hours a day there.
- in terms of app v web usage, 87% of mobile time is spent in apps versus browsing via the web.
- Mobile web drives more pure reach but mobile apps drive significantly more engagement.
- Interest in new apps appears to be waning with 51% of users downloading zero apps in a month, and the average user downloading two.
- Millennials are much more willing to pay for apps, with 1 out of 5 downloading an average of one paid app per month.
- Across age segments, smartphone users’ number 1 app accounts for half of all time spent on apps and the top 10 account for almost the entirety.
The top 10 apps were:
- FB Messenger
- Google Search
- Google Maps
- Google Play
I wrote as far back ago as October 2015 that the digital world was increasingly dominated by Facebook and Google. This survey confirms the trend – Facebook and Google own the top 6 – and 8 of the top 10 – most used apps, with Snapchat and Pandora completing the Top 10 list.
Facebook is also the most likely app to be positioned on smartphone users’ home screens for easy access (the report notes that there is a strong correlation between how essential an app is to a user and whether it gets placed on their home screen).
The dominance of Facebook and Google may be no surprise, but this report is packed with other interesting insights on mobile usage and behaviour. Well worth a read.
By Adam Fraser
An overarching thematic is the world of big data, something I have explored on my podcast a few times. Dive into the subject of big data and you quickly end up thinking about algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
These are not light topics; no 140 character tweet will give you any answers here. There are massive implications for marketers across the board — from ad effectiveness to programmatic, targeting to CRM, as well as the entire function of the analytics team.
We are in relatively early days in understanding this whole area — it is not even clear what the questions are which we should be asking, let alone comprehend the true implications of advancements in this space. Some difficult ethical issues exist – who are these people designing the algorithms that will impact society so broadly? Who has knowledge of the “12 secret herbs and spices”? When machines truly learn independently of humans, what does this mean for business and, more broadly, society?
No easy answers and so much to think about. Hence my recommendation of a podcast I listened to last weekend. Two of the smartest marketing analyst brains on the planet Mitch Joel (Mirrum Agency) and Avinash Kaushik (digital marketing evangelist, Google) discussing this topic for over an hour. When you truly start to get your head around machine learning (versus the efficient interrogation and analysis of “large databases”) it can be somewhat mind blowing. This is the essence of machine learning and true AI — it performs analysis of a depth, scale and complexity which humans cannot fathom let alone perform.
Mitch and Avinash don’t have all the answers; no-one does. But they help dissect the current state of play and where this may all be going.
Block off an hour to really think about this topic. Highly recommended listening.
By Adam Fraser
It was probably the single most important marketing (if not business) decision I have made. I had been a passionate podcast consumer for many years – it remains today my number one method for learning and staying abreast of current news and trends – but the plunge into podcast production was absolutely a leap into the dark. No media experience, no audio production experience, no interviewing experience….
Fast forward approximately two and a half years and I have just surpassed 120 podcast episodes. I have met and interviewed some incredible, inspirational and extremely knowledgeable people. Some of the brightest minds on the planet when it comes to all things social, digital and martech. I have learned a huge amount along the way with my audience.
So Why Write an eBook on Social and Digital?
The podcasts had thrown up so many astute and interesting points in relation to the strategic landscape of social media, digital marketing and marketing technology.
I kept thinking if I could blend all the insights from all episodes in one spot (metaphorically – no videos of iPhones being crushed here) – what were the key take outs? The headlines and must know points? The exec summary of 120 episodes of 45-50 mins each?
The seed of “Podcast Gems” was born. A “coffee table” style eBook. Key insights presented in a visually captivating way across a range of topics. Straight text podcast transcripts would be hard to digest for even the hardiest of social media analyst but cool pictures, infographics, break out quotes, bullet point summaries – sounds good!
Spoiled for Choice
When you have been lucky enough to have the who’s who of social media and marketing thought leaders on your podcast – how on earth do you pick 5 to base a book on?
Not easy. Not easy at all. A nice problem to have but still very difficult!
In the end, I plumped for expertise by theme to offer a breadth of insight across different social and digital topics, namely:
- Customer retention marketing – Joseph Jaffe, author of Flip and Funnel
- Marketing technology and a world of 5,000 marketing tools – Scott Brinker, author and writer at chiefmartec.com
- Influencer Marketing – Scott Monty, former head of social at Ford
- Social Media Landscape – Jay Baer, best-selling author and key note speaker
- Social Customer Service – Dan Gingiss, author of “Winning at Social Customer Care”
Why Read This Book?
- It looks incredible! Beautiful imagery, visually focused, digestible takeaway points.
- The deepest thinking and insight from genuine thought leaders and subject matter experts in the social media and digital marketing sectors.
- Punchy conclusions across a breadth of topics.
- A great way to understand current trends, key insights and best practice tips for the social media and digital marketing landscape in 2017.
Some Teaser Quotes
To whet your appetite, some examples of the great insights in the book from each of these leading thinkers:
“Twitter should be acquired by the United Nations.”
“You can’t use the absence of perfection to justify becoming a Luddite!”
“Facebook is the swiss army knife of tools.”
“Great content succeeds, mediocre content does not.”
“People complaining about your brand is not something to be scared of, it’s something to learn from.”
How Do I Get Podcast Gems?
I am glad you asked J.
Whilst perfectly readable on a phone, the best experience with the Flip Book digital format will be on your desktop or laptop.
Either way, the book can be downloaded via http://echojunction.com.au/ebook-3/
A Few Words of Thanks
I was really just the conductor here….
Huge thanks to the 5 wonderful podcast guests who collaborated on this project with me, and to the brilliant marketing team at BNY in Sydney who managed the design and production process.
I hope you find value in the book…
By Adam Fraser
Snapchat continues to experience a bumpy ride as a listed company.
As I previously wrote, it disappointed the market with its first quarterly results as a listed company. This pattern continued as it delivered its second set of quarterly numbers – the already troubled share price fell a further 17% and now sits well below the initial IPO price.
If you want to dive into the details, you can check the detailed financials, investor presentation and press release around the quarterly numbers. If you want a quick summary, the 10 key takeaways from the Q2 2017 results are below:
- Daily Active Users (DAUs) grew to 173m from 166m in the prior quarter (4% growth) and 143m a year ago (21% growth).
- Average revenue per user was US$1.05 compared to $0.90 in the last quarter and $0.50 a year ago – this is well below the levels achieved by Facebook.
- Revenue for the quarter was US$182m compared to $150m last quarter and $72m a year ago.
- The user and revenue growth was under the level expected by the market, leading to the negative response in the share price.
- Net loss was $443m for the quarter, compared to a massive US$2.2bn in the prior quarter – note this figure was inflated by the expense associated with stock issues related to the IPO.
- Instagram stories reported in the latest Facebook announcement, that it had 250m users, showing the extent to which Instagram is successfully taking Snapchat head on via imitation of its key features.
- USA DAUs were 75m, representing 43% of global users, a ratio that has been broadly consistent for the past 12 months
- The USA, however, drove 81% of global revenues, showing the more rapid advertiser adoption in the company’s home location compared to the rest of the globe.
- Capital expenditure for the quarter was $19m, broadly consistent with the past 12m when the quarterly amount has varied between $16m and $20m.
- Adjusted EBITDA (removing the impact of stock based compensation) was a loss of US$194m for the quarter, the highest quarterly loss in the period reported (which went back to Q2 2016).
Snapchat is learning what Twitter has learned over recent years – analysts will focus obsessively on short term user growth almost to the exclusion of every other metric, making long term strategic planning a challenge to execute in a listed company environment.
Still valued at US$15bn whilst significantly loss making, Snap Inc is learning that when investors price perfection, even small disappointments will lead to the harshest of share price responses.
Snapchat is growing its user and revenue base. But its losses are also growing. And the glare of the public markets can be an uncomfortable environment to innovate, evolve and pivot whilst also attempting to drive profitability.
Snapchat has by no means completely lost its luster and its loyal, engaged millennial audience remains highly attractive to marketers. However competition from Facebook and Instagram is fierce, and much of its IP has been easily imitated. The road ahead does not look to be an easy one as Snapchat attempts to justify what remains a massive valuation relative to its actual financial performance.
By Adam Fraser
Twitter has delivered its Q2 2017 results, and the green shoots of hope evident last quarter seem to have disappeared pretty quickly.
Whilst the financial results have always been weak, most significantly, monthly user numbers plateaued after increasing by an encouraging 9m users in the prior quarter. The market didn’t like what it saw, however, with the share price declining by around 13% on release of the results.
If you want to dive into all of the detail, you can check the financials, investor presentation, shareholder letter and investor conference call. If you want the key highlights here are 10 key takeaways:
- Monthly active user (MAU) numbers were stable at 328m in line with the last quarter and 313m a year ago (5.3% growth); this is the biggest concern for analysts. Despite the President of the USA using Twitter as his primary means of communication,
- 21% of Twitter’s MAUs (68m) are based in the USA; this is an increase from 67m in the prior quarter, noting most of the user growth is coming internationally
- Attempts to drive greater engagement and more regular usage on the platform are working, with Daily Active Users growing at 12% on prior year v 14% last quarter and 7% in Q3 (interestingly the company does not reveal the absolute number of DAUs and actively refused again to release this in the face of formal queries).
- Total ad engagements increased 95% year-over-year, driven by a continuing mix shift toward video ad impressions as well as higher click-through rates, as a result of better targeting and ad relevance
- Historically, a significant Achilles heel for Twitter has been trolls and abuse on the platform. The company noted it had continued to make meaningful progress in this area. now taking action on 10X the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year. This very important.
- Revenue at $573m was up 4.6% from the prior quarter of US$548m and, more significantly, 4.8% lower than a year ago when ad revenue was $602m. The revenue trends are not convincing
- The breakdown of revenue for the quarter showed 85% of revenue coming from advertising and 15% (versus 14% in the prior quarter) coming from data licensing/other (the ‘big data’ aspect has huge potential for Twitter).
- Twitter made a loss of US116m for the quarter but also discloses “adjusted EBITDA which showed a profit of US$178m after adjusting for stock based compensation, depreciation and amortisation Twitter ended the quarter with US$4.1bn in cash so despite the regular “Twitter is dying” headlines we see, the business is solidly funded.
- Live video remains a key focus. In Q2 Twitter announced approximately 40 live-streaming partnerships, including two 24×7 networks and 10 international deals, extending their total live streaming content deals to well over 200 premium content partners across Live video and Amplify
- Video remained Twitter’s largest and fastest-growing ad format in Q2, reflecting strength in their First View ad format and in pre roll and mid-roll In-Stream Video Ads. Twitter also made a very strong debut at the 2017 Digital Content NewFronts
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO said “We’re strengthening our execution, which gives us confidence that our product improvements will continue to contribute to meaningful increases in daily active usage. We’re also encouraged by the progress we’re making executing against our top revenue generating priorities as we focus on making Twitter the best place to see and share what’s happening, where you can see every side and perspective.”
Jack has had a positive impact since returning as CEO, delivering a tighter strategy and a more communicative approach to market updates. The absence of monthly user growth is the key negative (especially in the context of the massive earned media from the US President’s ongoing use), whilst of course large, continuing quarterly losses. Whether Twitter can convert its undoubted public utility and societal importance into a viable profitable business still remains to be seen.
By Adam Fraser
That new Snapchat feature, Instagram’s latest ad product, Twitter’s user numbers last quarter. Etc Etc. The media focus in the marketing space seems to be dominated by short term results and current tactics.
It can be hard to see the wood for the trees and elevate to see longer term trends and strategic perspectives.
Hence I really enjoyed the recent Medium blog post from Bob Knorpp on “The Fallacy of Digital Marketing as a Discipline”. It’s a reasonably short piece (unlike the excellent long form Doc Searle’s article on AdTech that I also recently recommended), but it is thoughtful and insightful around the challenges digital marketing faces, and the reasons why these have transpired over the past 2 decades. My favourite line (I am sure with programmatic in mind) is; “we’ve traded in meaningful interactions for nuclear-bomb levels of reach and frequency.”
One of Bob’s points on why digital has failed affirms a key thread in my recent podcast with Jason Kint of Digital Content Next – in the world of digital marketing we seem to have gravitated to a direct marketing flashing neon Vegas style “buy now” approach and forgotten about the brand building techniques used in more traditional media like TV, radio, print and outdoor. As Bob says; “marquee brands have been conditioned to treat digital as they used to treat coupon circulars, buying as a commodity, rather than as a considered brand-building choice on the now-dominant media.”
In the chaos and rapid change of social, digital and martech, a great 5 minute read to elevate up and consider longer term trends and the strategic landscape.