Is New Zealand on its way to being a digital nation?

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On January 18 2015, the record for the fastest 10 km on crutches was awarded to a New Zealander who completed the race on one leg in 1 hour 13 minutes and 40 seconds.

Other (and perhaps more interesting – depending which way you look at it!) things that happened in New Zealand in the first quarter of 2015 include the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) releasing the Q1 2015 digital marketing stats, which report a record breaking $179.88M NZ online spend; up 53% year on year (YoY). In dollars, that’s over $63M YoY growth in online spend.

Compared with Q4 2014; online spend was only up 9%, however, in dollar terms that’s still a fairly significant increase of over $14M, or the equivalent of $4.6M per month.

Online spend (referred to above) covers display, online video, search & directories, mobile and classifieds. The standout growth areas as per the IAB’s report are spend on search & directories (91% YoY growth – perhaps somewhat overstated?!) and on mobile (88% YoY growth). Not a lot happened with classifieds while both display and online video saw reasonably large growth of over 30% YoY.

To answer Brad’s earlier question on whether NZ marketers are starting to fish where the fish are; it certainly seems as if they are heading in the right direction. While still behind other more mature digital nations, NZ seems to be heading toward the digital fish. Both month on month and year on year trends certainly indicate that New Zealand marketers are starting to recognise the effectiveness of directing marketing spend to online channels – where measurable results for each dollar spent are obtainable.

While the latest IAB report contains some extraordinarily high online growth stats for NZ, it still has us fishing in a much different ocean than Australia or the UK. Total online spend grew 5% YoY in Australia, with the standout growth area being video which grew 79% YoY. Of note is that mobile has a 20% share of online advertising expenditure in Australia versus only 2% in New Zealand.

Google’s Consumer Barometer indicates that smartphones play a part in the way 56% of NZ consumers access the internet, and it’s not just Gen Y who are using them. Smartphone usage is much higher in under 25’s but a fair amount of over 55’s are also using smartphone’s which would suggest mobile needs to be considered as a core part of marketing strategy irrespective of age. For how connected New Zealanders are to smartphones, only 2% of online spend on mobile doesn’t entirely match up.

Lower spend on mobile in NZ for many advertisers can come down to it not converting as well on an unfriendly mobile website, or that they don”t understand the role that it plays in a customers journey (i.e. crediting a conversion to desktop when the customer started their research on their smartphone and then switched to desktop to convert).

The IAB’s report predicts that of the total projected 2015 spend, mobile will grow 25% YoY but still remain at 2% of total online spend. It will certainly be interesting to see what ocean NZ is fishing in this time next year.

Tessa has years of experience in data analysis and number crunching, following the completion of a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in both Finance and Economics. Since discovering the ever changing, complex, and data driven world of digital marketing and SEM she’s never looked back. Tessa currently manages campaigns for clients across a range of industries; specialising in the management of both lead acquisition and e-commerce campaigns. Finding the sweet spots to maximise the return for clients is all in a days work.

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