As reported recently in the NZ Herald, new research commissioned by NZ On Air has highlighted the further dramatic growth in reach of the various online video/AV media channels. 

While this is not a new trend, the Where Are The Audiences? study – conducted by research agency Glasshouse Consulting – does shine a helpful light on Kiwis and our viewing habits, especially where digital marketing is concerned.

The ever-expanding reach of digital

The growth in share of digital channels comes as no surprise, given the all-but-constant presence of connected devices in our lives. Increased device processing power, more intuitive apps, improved high-speed/WiFi connectivity and lower costs have all contributed to audiences’ willingness to stream video content. Peripheral devices like the Google Chromecast, used to broadcast content streaming on a computer or mobile device to a TV, have also made more viewing formats available to more people.

Importantly, the survey covers social media as well as paid TV streaming services like Netflix and Lightbox. Primarily social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram now not only host their own video content, but also provide a funnel into more specifically video-focused sites like YouTube. 

In fact, YouTube is now the most popular channel, site or station or channel among Kiwis, with 51% of all viewers in this country watching daily. (TV1 came in second with a very impressive 44%.) This YouTube figure covers all video content viewed on the site, from short clips to full-length TV episodes.

What’s the catch?

The important distinction when considering online viewing habits is between pay-TV content like Netflix, and free platforms like YouTube and other social channels. While pay-TV channels are growing in popularity, they tend to be ad-free as part of their value proposition.

The opposite is true of social media. With the exception of YouTube Premium, which is not wildly popular compared to the behemoth free version, social media channels are built on the premise of being free to users, while offering advertising space to generate revenue. In this sense, they could be considered to be replacing traditional free-to-air TV. 

How do I make the most of this?

Where digital marketing leaves traditional TV behind, of course, is in the targeting. 

While the free-to-air TV audience is in fact sitting stable (at 35% of total viewers watching daily), offering some perceived ongoing value, ads broadcast on these channels can only be tracked in broadest audience categories. 

By contrast, digital video ads (shorter and often cheaper to produce than a standard TVC) can be far more targeted towards specific groups of customer. By using the demographic tools of each social media site, plus the ubiquitous Google Distribution Network, you can reach specific groups according to an ever widening set of factors like age, gender, location, interests or even cultural group. And on top of reaching a growing number of traditional TV-watching audiences, you can also be seen by social media users whenever they check Facebook, read their email or watch a quick viral clip on YouTube. 

So how do you put your best foot forward with video content as a small business? This we will cover in our next blog, with some expert tips on both planning and execution. 

In the meantime, to get the more out of your digital advertising dollar, get in touch with Ark Advance today.

Be prepared when opportunity knocks

The best way to get started is for you or your team to take photos on the job, either in progress or on completion. With a few handy tricks, even today’s smartphones can capture a high-quality digital image. 

“Obviously taking photos can be a sensitive activity, especially in private homes,” Ida says. “Be sure to seek the customer’s permission and graciously accept their choice, whichever way it goes. If they’re on board, having a simple property release form printed off makes it easy for them to put it in writing.” (There are plenty of online templates, including this one.) Having a few forms handy in your vehicle or bag will make this as convenient as possible.

Choose your time of day

The best time of day to take photos will depend on what you’re photographing, and the effect you want to achieve. The difference comes from the presence and direction of sunlight, and the contrast between light and shadows.

“Pay attention to direct or indirect sunlight,” Ida advises. “More sunlight, especially direct sunlight, creates high contrast. This is ideal for capturing textures, or any scenario where you want to highlight one dramatic element.”

Indirect sunlight creates lighter shadows, as do overcast conditions outdoors. This helps to capture anything close to the window without losing too much detail in the shadows. “If you’re aiming to give an impression of how a product feels in the room, say for example, curtains or roller blinds, low contrast will most likely work best,” says Ida, “This will give a more balanced light and a sense of what’s outside the window. When you can, take the time to experiment with the effects of different lights on your photos, especially when you’re starting out.”

Do not tilt 

Much as we may like to experiment with “arty” angles, it’s wise to ensure you hold your camera straight on when taking a product shot. 

“You can lower or raise the lens to get the frame right, but tilting it downward or upward will create distortion that is confusing to the eye out of context,” says Ida.

“To check an image, look for vertical lines – these should be truly vertical, not leaning.” Ida continues. “Horizontal angles, like shooting along a shelf into the distance, is less risky from a visual standpoint, but should still be used with caution.” 

Build a varied library

By taking a wide range of sample shots, you can gradually build a library of varied imagery that will catch the eye and spark the imagination of your clientele.

Ensure that you’re able to tell your customers the whole story, by capturing a range of images of your work in real-life situations. Below are Ida’s key recommendations for curating your own photo collection:

Use your phone’s camera features

While camera technology is unknown territory for many of us, most smartphone cameras have easy adjustment tools to help you capture the image you want. 

“Tapping on an item in the frame on the screen will move the focus to that point – this alone can sharpen up the digital detail,” Ida says. ”Your phone camera will measure the light on this spot. If it is too light or dark, simply slide your finger up for brightening, or down for darkening your photo. This is very useful in high-contrast situations”

As with most jobs, the most important part of taking better business photos is to get started. 

At Ark Advance, we can give you more tailored advice for your digital marketing needs – and if you’re ready to enlist a pro (and you’re in Auckland), give Ida Larsson a call at White Lynx Photography

If you’ve ever wondered how much of your ad spend to put into search vs social media, you’re in good company. For many business managers, online’s mysterious enough without having to figure out how to divvy up your spend in that area.

The good news is, the difference between search and social media is simple and, once you understand it, deciding where to put your budget becomes straightforward.

Search Marketing, you’re out to connect with people who are actively looking for you, or for someone like you. Social Media marketing is more about connecting with people who fit the description of your ideal customer but are probably not looking for what you can provide and may not even be aware that your service exists.

Let’s look at each a bit more closely.

Search Marketing: They’re looking for you

As the name suggests, Search Marketing is built around the search terms that people use. Your aim is first to learn what search terms are being used by people who are seeking your services. If you don’t do that, you won’t connect with them.

If you do do that, your work is not yet done. Not everyone searching for “used cars”, for example, is your ideal customer. You may want to narrow the audience down to 18-25-year-old females who live in Auckland. Or to people who’ve previously visited your website.

That’s the power of Search Marketing. It allows you to target your audience very precisely, and therefore only pay for clicks that are most likely to lead to a sale.

Social Media Marketing: You’re looking for them

Unlike Google, people don’t use Facebook to search for information. They use it to connect with others. Likewise with Instagram, Snapchat and other social media.

So advertising here isn’t about learning what search terms people are using, but understanding the attributes of your prospective customers. If you’re selling expensive cloth nappies, say, you might be seeking people who’ve recently had a child, are on good incomes and are into green issues.

With Social Media Marketing, your job isn’t to know what people are actively looking for, but to understand the profile of those most likely to buy from you when they discover what you can do for them.

What to say

Someone actively looking for what you provide is a world away from someone who’s not. So it stands to reason you’d talk to each differently.

When someone is searching, they’re in – or close to – buying mode. You don’t need to woo them, you need to convince them to choose your product or service above all others. So be direct in your advertising copy and pack it full of benefits.

Someone on social media, on the other hand, isn’t in buying mode. Direct, benefit-packed talk is a turn off for them. Your job here is to be subtle and build to a purchase through a series of marketing like messages. That’s not too difficult, since Facebook and Instragram offer plenty of advertising options for just this purpose.

What next?

Given these insights, where should a new online advertiser begin?

If people are actively searching for what you offer on Google, you should start with advertising there first in order to fulfil that demand and generate sales.

But if few people know about what you offer, then Search Marketing won’t yield much. You’ll be better to define your buying market and target that type of person via social media.

As always, talking to us as a first step is a smart move. We’ll give you the best advice we can and, if you choose us as your online marketing partner, create and implement a strategy to keep your sales numbers tracking upwards.

The allure of all that social media online attention was way too much for Google so it’s back again with another social media play (anyone remember Google Wave?), this time with Google+. So in one corner there’s the Gorilla of Facebook with its 750 million users and now, in the other corner, we have Google+ with a quickly growing base, but still way below 10% of its competitor’s membership.

So here’s a quick summary of the Chris Price take on what all this means.

Firstly, I think Google has a way to go before it offers a viable alternative to the big F. There are two areas in which it needs work – simplicity and community. Facebook is so simple to use that even the most technologically challenged person can write a status note and find a friend to connect with. There’s not a lot that can go wrong. This is probably why there are so many millions of people using it across so many age groups and demographics. Keep it simple and it seems the crowds will follow – as they have.

Google, however, has only got part of the simplicity message. Writing a post in Google+ is a breeze. You just start writing away and you are done.

Here’s an image of what my Google+ page looks like.

Google even extends the way you can interact with your friends by allowing you to use group video and group chat. But when it comes to finding and connecting to others in Google+, then things become a bit more tricky. Part of the reason for this is Google’s ability to let you cluster your friends into “circles” and then to share certain types of content with each of these.

Here’s what my circle area looks like – leaving me the job of picking people from my contacts and then dragging them down into the circle I want them to be in.

Everyone needs to be in their own circle but some can be in more than one at a time. You can configure your own profile to have alternative privacy settings for each circle. Getting confused yet? Well it’s all a lot easier once you get a Google+ account and watch the videos they offer to see what you need to do.

Which is of course the issue – you need to watch a video to figure it all out. It’s the true dilemma I suppose Google faced. Do they make their tool so basic to use that it attracts and engages as many people as possible, knowing that by doing so they risk being seen as no different to Facebook? Or should they increase the number of features available in Google+ to set them apart from the alternative but, by doing so, also increase the likelihood that people will find the tool too hard to use and therefore limit its growth?

So they took the latter option and, while millions are seemingly joining every week, none include those who are in my rather small but perfectly formed Facebook friends list. Which means I’m not moving soon. Social media websites are the ultimate example of the “network effect” in action – the value of the website is directly linked to the number of people using it. So, while having 750 million users is a nice thing to present, the real value to me as a user is that my siblings in the UK use Facebook, as do my cousins in Denmark and, closer to home, some ex work chums in Wellington. It’s probably a collection of only 25 people but for me those 25 are very important.

A few of these work in IT so are super-techno-literate, while others probably use a computer just to check their own personal email once or twice a month. And somehow Facebook, with its very basic interface, allows them all to connect with each other in a very simple but very valuable way.

So what was really broken in all this to make Google go out and produce a replacement?

Some would argue that it was the way that Facebook allowed limited control of how your content was shared amongst your connections through some quite basic privacy settings. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with it – and neither have any of my Facebook friends. But nevertheless, there’s no doubt that Google+ with its “circles” of contacts allows you a lot more control here.

However, improving the privacy options available to users is not the real strategy here. It’s all about capturing as much online attention as possible. Last year Facebook kicked Google off its perch as the most visited website in the US. That would have hurt those at Google. There’s only so much “attention” you and I have and one more hour spent inside Facebook chatting with our friends is one less hour you could use searching Google for a product or reading other websites, where in both cases you may end up clicking on a Google ad or two along the way.

Whether Google will achieve its goal of winning the “attention war” between it and Facebook I’m not sure. However, I am picking that there are buildings full of very smart computer engineers in Google Land trying their hardest to ensure they do. What we see now in Google+ could well be very different to what ends up on our screens in the months ahead. The drive to simplify the interface while still retaining some edge over Facebook must be a constant challenge.

My take is that Google will have a year to gain the membership volumes they need to make the network effect work for instead of against them. That is unless Facebook makes a privacy blunder of massive proportions, which convinces masses of people to migrate to Google sooner than they expected.

As some of the regular readers of this newsletter will know, I did not start out as Facebook’s biggest fan. And to be fair, while I have softened my stance ever so slightly, I would hardly put myself in the rather crowded room of social media evangelists. There’s way too many uber-cool people in this space for me to feel comfortable.

I always thought that social media would really start to capture my attention when I could prove to myself that it was responsible for either my customers or, less importantly, myself gaining more customers. Well that time has come.

But first – a few very short notes on the basics of Facebook as I see them for non-social media people. Yep, the bits your teenage children will not tell you because the last thing they want is you on Facebook. Well it’s time to move over – oh yee of little faith in us grey-haired ones – now there’s some business to be done.

So, to start you need to set yourself up with a personal Facebook profile. You can’t set up your business without having one. Don’t worry, it’s easy and doesn’t require too much commitment. Just head over to the Facebook home page and register – share some of your details and you are done.

Now that you have a profile you can connect with others and ask them to be your “friends”. If they say yes, then everything you post on your “Wall” they will see within their “News Feed” and, likewise, all they post you will see in your “News Feed”.

So you can see some pics of this, below is an image of my News Feed.

When I took this snap, it included a note from my brother who lives in the UK and who had just landed in Lanzerote for a holiday – lucky him! Plus a short note from Allan Li – he used to work at Permission but has now moved to London and is working for a large corporate search optimisation company. Here is a picture of my “Wall” – that’s where I add my own new content.

This can be images, video or plain, ordinary text. You can comment on and “Like” your friends’ posts, videos and pictures.

I think the privacy settings in Facebook are adequate for most. You can configure these to limit your posts so they are just seen by your friends and not the friends of your friends.

Done this? Then you are now one of the many millions who are Facebook people. All that’s left to do is to set up a Page for your business. To start this just head over to and pick the option that best suits you.

Once this is registered you can invite people to “Like” your page and become your fans. When they do this they “should” see what you write on your page’s Wall within their News Feed. Now there’s a “should” there because if your posts get very little interaction (i.e no comments or likes for a reasonable period of time) then they are not shown up. So developing some interaction with your posts is important. More to come on this later.

But first let’s get back to adding in some content. This is simple – it’s done in exactly the same way as you update your personal Facebook profile. Just write, upload a photo, or even delve into the land of video. With a fan page you can control the ability for your Fans to write on your business page Wall, which may be a good or bad thing depending on how much interaction you want to get going.

So that’s it. It’s the basic basics, I know, but it moves you a bit further forward. Hopefully, you will start to appreciate that the overall goal here is to get your audience to “Like” your business page, love your content, engage with it because of this and, then, do what you want them to do.

Here are a few questions that all this may prompt.

Do I need a Facebook page to advertise on Facebook?

No you don’t. You can send Facebook advertising links to your usual website. You will see this traffic as from the Facebook domain within your Google Analytics account. And if you have goals set up – please tell me you do – then you will see its conversion rate.

How do I increase the number of people who “Like” my page?

It depends on your true goal. If it’s all about numbers and increasing them, then competitions, draws and vouchers are a few good ways. Your Fan count will grow – however, most will be there for the draws, vouchers and free stuff – no surprises there. Once this all goes, then there’s a good chance they will too. Whereas if you want to gather around your page a reasonable number of hopefully more engaged people then it’s all about delivering them a steady stream of content that they see as being valuable. When you think about it, the concept is very similar to growing an effective email newsletter list.

How do I get my own Facebook URL, e.g.

As I write this note, Facebook tells me you need a group of 25 people to “Like” you. Then you can follow the help screens in Facebook and they will show you how to register your details and pick your URL. Also, as of now, once this is set up you have to live with your choice – so pick carefully.

What are the basic mistakes I should avoid?

Here’s just three that quickly come to mind. First, starting off with a page instead of a plan. Knowing who you want to talk to, what you want to say and the desired outcomes of all this work are some basic things to include in your plan It doesn’t have to be pages and pages of closely typed, small font. One or two pages will suffice. Just enough to refer back to and re-energise yourself after you grind through writing your 50th post and are wondering – Why?

Second, starting the conversation on knowledge, tips and general value-building content and then switching tracks to focus on offers, promotions and super deals. They “Liked” you so they could receive what your Wall showed them when they dropped by. Keep on message to keep their “Like”. Yes, people can “Unlike” you.

Third, not feeding the beast. It doesn’t need to be an hourly task. Some get by with just adding new content each week and responding to feedback on a daily basis. Multiple week gaps between posts is probably not such a good thing.

What’s the least amount of time I can spend on this?

This follows on from the last point. It really doesn’t have to be much. I would suggest that people asking for a response by posting or commenting on your Wall shouldn’t be left longer than the time you would take to return a phone message asking the same question. For some this would be half a day at most. And if you place some new content out there each week then this is a good start.

And finally – how much is this going to cost me?

This is the nice part. Setting up a page is free. Yep, nadda – nothing. Adding content to it may cost depending on who you get to write it. (Yes, we offer services for this at an affordable rate.) You may need someone (like us) to help customise some pages to welcome people to your page and entice them to hit the “Like” button. Or to create a page to host some video or other web page content. Fortunately, Facebook has built an environment that allows these changes in a reasonably open way so adding them is not that costly.

So there you have it. For some experienced Facebook people this content will be way too basic. But that’s fine, it wasn’t written for them anyway :). Nope, this should be enough to help the successful business owner who is considering Facebook to feel that little bit more confident about taking it on. Those teenagers can’t have all the fun and it pays to embarrass them on a frequent basis – just try and ask them to be your friend. I’ve a few stories there I can tell you. (“No Dad, that’s creepy.”)

And anyway, just let me know when your Facebook business page is ready. For reading this far, I’ll reward you with one shiny new “Like”.