Facebook reviews 2014: Robin Williams, Tony Abbott and Malaysia Airlines

Robin Williams, Tony Abbott and Malaysia Airlines were the most talked about topics on Facebook in 2014, while more people checked in to Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Cricket Ground than anywhere else in Australia.


Facebook has compiled its top 10s of 2014 – Australia’s most talked-about topics and most checked-into places.

The social network anonymously aggregated Facebook posts, creating the lists by analysing how frequently a topic was mentioned between January and December 2014.


Top 10 topics on Facebook in 2014


Top 10 places on Facebook in 2014


Here’s a video summing up 2014 on Facebook:

2014 Year in Review from Facebook on Vimeo.


Globally, the top 10 topics of 2014 were:

  1. World Cup,
  2. Ebola virus outbreak,
  3. elections in Brazil,
  4. Robin Williams,
  5. Ice Bucket Challenge,
  6. conflict in Gaza,
  7. Malaysia Airlines,
  8. Super Bowl,
  9. Michael Brown/Ferguson, and
  10. Sochi Winter Olympics.


The return to creativity

Big data and the use of technology have dominated marketing conversations in recent times, but among the chatter we’ve missed celebrating a creative renaissance. In this guest op-ed, Facebook’s Alexandra Sloane explains why a return to creativity is essential if brands are to connect with consumers in the year ahead.  


It’s an exciting time to be in marketing, but also a time of great change. That change is the move to personalised marketing – marketing that connects and engages audiences on an individual level.  It’s what businesses used to do before we developed mass media. Today, digital and mobile marketing allow brands to get personal at scale.

Marketing that’s personal is driven by great creative. In the days before mass media it was carefully crafted messages and stories that got people to connect. The same is true today.  It’s just that in the hurry to embrace new technologies and platforms, the art form of brand story-telling isn’t always being transferred to new platforms, especially when it comes to mobile.

The way people consume media is changing fast, making it harder for brands to reach audiences in the same way. Take for instance changes in mobile consumption – one of the most significant shifts in consumer behaviour in more than 60 years. According to ACMA, over 12 million Australians own a smartphone and of those, two-fifths completed a mobile transaction in December last year. This shift alone requires new ways of thinking.

If the way people consume content has changed, how are you changing the way you reach those people? Also, linked to that is the question, ‘what stories are you sharing to engage people?’ It’s an important one when considering mobile since people are often distracted when using a mobile device, doing other things such as talking with friends or watching TV.

The answer lies in creative story-telling. Hungry Jack’s recent ‘Burgers’ campaign shows how this can be done. The campaign saw the brand create a fictional 1970s AFL team – ‘The Burgers’ – and use Facebook to share regular mockumentary videos to tell a story about the club’s history. The campaign was funny and engaging, but above all creative, opening up new ways for the brand to engage with audiences on mobile.

With one in five mobile minutes now being spent on either Instagram or Facebook, expect to see other brands embrace more creative mobile campaigns in the year ahead. Online video ads will also become a greater priority as brands look for ways to capture the attention of busy consumers. That prediction is backed up by PwC research that pegs the market at $300 million next year, although from what we’re hearing, it’s likely to be almost double that – accounting for around 7.5% of the $4 billion Australian TV market.

A lot can change in a year they say, and that was certainly true for 2014, but as we look ahead to 2015, it’s also worth reflecting on what hasn’t changed. And when it comes to connecting with consumers, it’s clear creativity remains king.


Alexandra Sloane is ‎head of marketing at Facebook, Australia and New Zealand.

Facebook has abandoned social marketing

Facebook has announced one more change with some marketers claiming it is the end of the free ride. Here Lucio Ribeiro clarifies what the change really means.


In case you missed it, recently Facebook announced yet another update to its News Feed algorithm that will impact how promotional content from Pages is distributed.

Starting in January users will see less promotional posts in their News Feeds, meaning Pages “that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

This is a direct result from a recent survey Facebook conducted of users to determine the impact of content in their News Feeds. According to Facebook, people indicated they want to see less promotional content.

Facebook’s official announcement:

“According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app,
  • posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context, and
  • posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.”


Essentially, Facebook is saying:

  1. Get more creative,
  2. if it looks and feels like an ad don’t bother posting it in the social stream, and
  3. if you want to reach customers with a promotional message you better start buying ads.

What does it mean for marketers?

It is not 100% clear how Facebook will determine what’s considered ‘overly promotional’ and even after the definitions there’s the challenge of categorisation and scale.

Will the system work efficiently and accurately to understand and separate relevance by business vertical that demands DR and  ’offer value’ in the form of regular discounts (eg. CatchOfTheDay) and verticals that don’t?

For marketers, organic Facebook reach and engagement were already basically non-existent. The days of getting any free reach on Facebook are gone.

It’s no secret that organic distribution of posts on brand pages has declined. Some of our clients at Online Circle Digital have seen rates of 30% in 2013 dropping to 3% in 2014.

Ogilvy reported earlier this year that Facebook posts of brands with over 500,000 fans reached just 2% of their audience.

And that’s not all: thanks in large part to brands’ lack of organic reach, a Forrester study this year found that just 0.73% of top brands’ fans engage with each of their Facebook posts.

It’s clear Facebook has abandoned social marketing, and is a place to buy old-fashioned ads.

It is important for marketers to remember that Facebook has unrivalled targeting abilities that allow brands to build high reach and controlled frequency to consumers with very specific messages in specific devices.

The approach to Facebook (and social) used to be simple: ‘We need to be on Facebook.’ Now the approach is much more complicated, things like budget, time, content and industry can muddle up the answer to the question. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just makes it a more mature conversation.

Brands that are using things like Facebook Social Login, Retargeting, In-depth Targeting, Behaviour-based ads, Tracking with Conversion pixels and Building Customs and Look-alike Audiences are the ones ‘winning’ on social.

Just because businesses used to get a free ride, doesn’t mean they always should. Facebook’s biggest issue is to convince brands and small businesses to pay for what they used to get for free – and the numbers show they are doing a good job.

With 89% of organisations saying their organisation uses content marketing, moving forward, revisit and rethink the way you are using Facebook. There’s a huge difference between utilising Facebook’s features and utilising Facebook as the centre of your relationship marketing efforts.



How Facebook’s Atlas is rewriting the book on ad targeting and measurement

Facebook recently relaunched Atlas, a suite of ad technology it purchased last year from Microsoft. Alex Horner, senior strategy planner at GPY&R Melbourne, investigates the features of this new offering.


Facebook Atlas promises far tighter targeting, true cross-device tracking and measurement of the impact of online ads on offline sales. If it manages it pull these things off successfully, Atlas is going to be a very big deal indeed to us in the advertising world. Let’s break down why:


Facebook-style targeting beyond Facebook.com

In the early days of digital advertising, targeting was something of a guessing game. If you needed to raise awareness of a new type of bank account you’d whack an ad on the finance section on Yahoo and hope for the best. Then Google’s AdWords came along and took some of that guesswork away. Suddenly you could serve an ad based on someone searching for terms that were strongly related to your product or service. If you wanted to sell a lawnmower you’d buy ads against cheap lawnmowers or gardening tips.

Then Facebook ads came along and took targeting a few steps further by tapping into the rich data the platform collects on us all. By targeting based on age, gender, location, brands and pages liked and more, the guesswork in ad targeting diminished even further. They also let us use cookies to track users’ behavior on other sites then show users targeted ads once they return to Facebook.com. But what if I wanted to serve such tightly-targeted ads on a site other than Facebook?

Atlas’ first benefit is that it allows advertisers to use the type of sophisticated targeting we’ve become accustomed to on Facebook to serve ads in other, non Facebook.com places.


Cross-device tracking and measurement

Our increasing use of mobile devices has made attribution modeling tougher than ever before. Take me as an example: I use a computer at work, one at home, an iPad and a smartphone. Trying to keep track of my purchase journeys back and forth between each channel isn’t just difficult, it’s nigh on impossible with current solutions. Cookies, the technology behind retargeted ads, just aren’t always smart enough to track me across multiple browsers and devices or as Atlas themselves put it “cookies cover a shrinking set of experiences in an evolving digital reality”.

Atlas will fix that problem by linking users’ web browsing, app usage and ad interactions to their Facebook accounts instead, a solution that apparently works across mobile and desktop. Ever wondered how the Facebook share buttons on news articles don’t ask you to login every time you want to post something using them? It’s because your Facebook login details travel with you as you traverse the web. And those sites and apps that let you register and login using Facebook rather than filling out a new username and password? Yup, they can track you and serve ads via Atlas there too.


Offline sales tracking

Often considered the holy grail when calculating ROI, tracking the impact of online ads on offline sales has historically been time-consuming and prone to massive inaccuracies. Atlas promises to change that by matching identifying data of a consumer who’s just made a purchase against their Facebook profile.

Here’s an example: I’m exposed to and interact with a couple of ads for Schweppes Tonic Water on a website and an app then subsequently go into a Woolworths and buy a bottle. Assuming I scanned my Everyday Rewards Card when I made a purchase, Schweppes could request that purchase data from Woolworths and pass it on to Facebook who’d match it against their Atlas user profile history. They’d be able to see which ads I was exposed to and interacted with and in which order. Clever stuff.


The bottom line

While Facebook has experimented with more intelligent audience tracking and targeting in the past (anyone remember Beacon?), Atlas represents the first time they appear to have gotten it right. In theory at least. Many questions still remain about the methodology behind all the tracking and despite the ubiquity of Facebook, we’re not always going to be logged in on every site or app we use.

All things said, the success of advertising will always come down to relevance. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged this fact when talking about Atlas just after its relaunch: “Forty percent of ads do not reach the right people. Atlas is designed to change that and is all about making ads relevant to the right people.”

The more relevant and measurable they can make ads, the more Facebook and Atlas stand to become advertisers’ best friends.

Alex Horner is senior strategy planner at GPY&R Melbourne

How Apple and Google cracked $US100 billion in brand value and made history

Apple and Google have become the first brands to surpass $US100 billion in value according to the Interbrand Best Global Brands list for 2014. Apple’s brand value rose 21% to $118,863 million and Google rose 15% to $107,439 million.


Apple and Google came in at number one and two respectively for the second year in a row. The top six brands retain their positions from the 2013 list, all having grown except IBM (down 8%) and GE (down 3%).

After topping the list for 12 years running, Coca-Cola last year dropped from first to third place, which it has retained this year.

The top 20 is as follows:


interbrand 2014 top 20


Facebook grew strongly this year, increasing its brand value by 86% and jumping from 52nd position to 29th. Other fast movers included Amazon, up 25% to 15th, and three automotive brands: Audi, up 27% (to 45th) and Volkswagen and Nissan, both up 23%, to 31st and 56th respectively.


interbrand 2014 top risers


Interbrand on Apple

Apple’s extensive product launches this year has helped the growth of its brand, including contactless payment system Apple Pay, Apple Watch wearable technology and two new iPhones including the larger-screened competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note.

“With sensors everywhere and the brand’s consumer interactions deepening every day, it’s safe to say that Apple is not only ‘back’, but also boldly paving the way to the ‘age of you,” Interbrand’s report says.

The brand is also strengthening by extending into new spaces: CarPlay integrates iPhone features for use while driving and HomeKit integrates home accessories.

Apple’s recent collaboration with IBM will help the brand to penetrate the enterprise market by integrating big data and analytics with business apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Interbrand sees Apple Pay as having “the potential to become the most powerful payment platform around”.

“With the unveiling of Apple Watch – reportedly more capable than any other smartwatch on the market, not least of all in terms of advanced health monitoring – Apple’s future will rely heavily on its ability to partner effectively with healthcare companies.”


Interbrand on Google

Google has spent USD $17 billion over the last two years on expanding into a diverse range of fields including robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, connected devices and wearable devices.

“Google is aggressively pursuing a broad market agenda and, as it continues to grow beyond the billion users it currently serves, its strong brand position seems secure,” Interbrand’s report says.

The brand’s track record of success in search, advertising, Android devices, apps and social network Google+ has laid the foundations for a strong brand, with these new endeavours set to strengthen Google’s name further.

“Google ultimately seeks to gather more information about consumers so that it can deliver more personalized experiences. Google certainly has the capabilities and resources to deliver on its vision,” Interbrand says.


Ello explained: the ad-free, invite-only social network dubbed the ‘anti-Facebook’

“Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads.

You are the product that’s bought and sold.”


This is the anti-Facebook message that serves as an introduction to a Ello, a new platform that is taking a different approach to the social network concept. Not only is it ad-free, it is invitation only for now.

It’s even been called “a referendum on personal data-driven web advertising”.

ello invite only


Ello is spearheaded by entrepreneur and bicycle enthusiast Paul Budnitz, in partnership with graphic design practice Berger & Fohr and creative technology agency Mode Set.

To say Ello is ad-free is an understatement – Ello is passionately and self-righteously anti-ads.

The network instead plans to charge users to upgrade their profiles with special features. It has to make money somehow. Will it catch on?

Currently in Beta, the site’s clean, design-focused interface is full of hipster pretence, topped off with an air of exclusivity because having a profile on the platform is currently ‘invitation only’.

The network’s ‘favourite user profiles’ give an introduction to the kind of people that are likely to hang out here – trendy types doing creative things such as photography and music production.

Photographer Jamie Kripke, of Boulder, Colorado, has secured some kind of partnership with Ello, which involves allowing the platform’s visitors exclusive access to a selected series of his work.

jamie kripke ello


Large images feature on the site, higher resolution and cleaner than you’ll find on Instagram. Most profiles so far have posted only professional, clean, minimalist shots – no homemade selfies with sepia filters here.

Ello’s news feeds take inspiration from other, more popular sites such as Facebook and Google Plus, and it utilises the @ tag first seen on Twitter and later Instagram.

But Budnitz has been quoted telling Bloomberg Businessweek it doesn’t see Facebook as a competitor.

Ello’s anti-ad manifesto is passionate and lengthy. Here’s a snapshot:

“Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.”


So far, commentators have been skeptical.

Columnist Jeff Yang wrote on CNN that Ello should serve as a “wakeup call” to other social networks that are relying more and more on paid advertising to guarantee their survival.

“Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of users, are dissatisfied or disgruntled with what the social powers-that-be have to offer. And they’re willing to at least try something new, especially if that ‘new’ is positioned as elusive and enigmatic, with invites as rare as Willy Wonka’s golden tickets,” Yang wrote.

Maxwell Strachan wrote on Huffington Post: “For a site that’s being billed as the anti-Facebook, it sure looks and feels a lot like an early version of Facebook. Even the profile pages look similar. Besides that, it’s mostly the same stuff. You joke with friends. Share the occasional comical YouTube link. The usual.”

Sarah M Watson on Al Jazeera America was optimistic despite encountering various bugs on the site while it’s still in Beta. “It’s worth checking out if you can get an invite. But should you abandon all your other accounts for it? Not just yet,” she wrote.


Big changes to social media for September 2014: everything you need to know

In the world of digital, things are changing on a daily basis. As different social platforms are increasingly competing for more avid followers, tweaks are made to enhance the user experience and ultimately drive traffic (and in many cases, advertising dollars) to them. Cade Witnish takes us through the key social platform updates for August/September 2014.


13.2 million active Australian users, 1.31 billion active global users

Ad manager for mobile

Facebook has rolled out Ad Manager in its mobile app. It allows on-the-go marketers to pause or resume campaigns, view insights, edit budgets and schedules and respond to alerts.

Buy button

A new ‘buy’ button is currently in testing. The button can be deployed on Newsfeed/Sidebar ads and Page Posts, and it allows users to make simple, one click purchases without leaving the Facebook site. The feature is forecasted to increase conversion rates.

Facebook messaging

Facebook has discontinued its messaging service within the mobile Facebook app. Users are now forced to download Facebook Messenger to use mobile instant messaging services.

Newsfeed ad hiding

When a Facebook user asks to ‘hide’ a Newsfeed ad they are now prompted to answer why. This feature will help users find the content they want and help marketers reach people interested in their content.

Double ad placements

Ads can now be placed to fans and non-fans twice. Previously, ads were limited to a single placement. Marketers beware; if you’re posting the same content twice, make sure it’s good.

Facebook takes on Snapchat

Facebook Messenger has been running tests on two new features: the ability to send self-destructing messages and the ability allow text overlay and doodling over images.


1.6 million active Australian users, 200 million active global users

Instagram advertising

Until recently Instagram was an ad-free service. It’s difficult for Instagram to monetise its service by introducing ads because, by nature, it’s an aesthetic experience. Ugly ads have the potential to ruin that. Ads are not yet available to the public but in anticipation Instagram has released a suite of analytics tools. Instagram ad partners will be able to view post analytics, campaign analytics and have the capability to remotely collaborate on posts.


Instagram recently released its own ephemeral messaging app called Bolt. A clear shot at Snapchat, the app allows users to quickly and easily share photographs with friends. Like Snapchat, the pictures self destruct after being viewed and the platform is designed to facilitate visual conversation.


Instagram recently released Hyperlapse, a camera app allowing users to take time lapse videos. The app uses advanced stabilisation technology that gives even handheld time lapses a smooth, cinematic look.


2.5 Million active Australian users, 271 million active global users


Twitter has begun testing its first e-commerce product, a ‘buy’ button. The ad will be displayed in-feed, and transactions can be completed with just a few clicks without even having to leave Twitter.

Timeline format

There have been reports of Twitter users seeing ‘tweet favourited by [person you follow]’. This has sparked rumours that Twitter may be moving to a timeline format, much like Facebook – and Twitter has not ruled that out. In fact, the CFO has made comments about the introduction of an algorithmic timeline, much like Facebook, that will display trending content at the top of the timeline rather than displaying everything chronologically.

Video content

In mid-August, Twitter launched a beta test of promoted video content. The company claims that uploaded native video content to Twitter gets significantly more engagement than linked content. Promoted video builds upon the platform’s amplify offering.


33,000 active Australian users, 50 million active global users


Foursquare has discontinued the ‘check-in’ function, instead pushing users to download their new app, Swarm, for check-ins. While lots of people have downloaded the new app, the new setup has disgruntled loyal Foursquare users and may result in a further decline of popularity.

Gumtree’s Aussie Pickers brand ambassadors hit the road in experiential campaign

Gumtree is teaming up with the TV stars from Aussie Pickers to launch an experiential campaign that integrates social and digital elements.


As part of the Gumtree Roadshow, stars of the Foxtel series Aussie Pickers, Lucas Callaghan and Adam McDonald, will tour the east coast of Australia scouring four thriving markets, at Glebe, Maitland and Bellingen in NSW and Carrara in QLD.

The project will integrate social and digital elements hosted at a website landing page featuring embedded YouTube videos, links to the project’s blog and a social wall of posts curated from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #GumtreeRoadshow.


aussie pickers website


Locals at the four market towns are encouraged to take part in the experiential campaign by bringing along their unwanted goods to be valued.

The campaign aims to prompt people to “start thinking about selling their unwanted goods” on Gumtree’s website.

Gumtree Australia head of marketing, Sara McConkey said: “The Gumtree Roadshow is an offline representation of the website and shows Aussies the breadth of goods and services available. Everything within the market stall, from the furniture, signage and entertainment, truck and juice bar, was exclusively sourced from gumtree.com.au.”

Gumtree also sponsors native advertising as part of the Aussie Pickers TV show on Foxtel, with the team showcasing a ‘Gumtree pick of the week’.


How Michelle Bridges 12WBT dealt with an army of unauthorised fan groups

Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT), the fitness program, battled a legal and brand management challenge when its online community program noticed hundreds of fans setting up unauthorised groups outside the platform on Facebook.


Community and social media manager Larah Kennedy this week told attendees at the Swarm Conference in Melbourne how the company dealt with fans taking the brand into their own hands, both online and offline.

A quick search on Facebook reveals thousands of private groups using the name ’12WBT’. The nature of the program itself is partly to blame for the existence of these unsolicited private groups, as members gain access to the official 12WBT online community for only 12 weeks (a core pillar that the company won’t be changing).

“These guys are super passionate about 12WBT. Not only are these guys coming off our platform, using our brand name and setting up groups, but they’re doing it without our eyeballs. We don’t know what’s going on in there – it’s like the wild west of 12WBT on Facebook,” Kennedy said.

The company sought opinions from two different lawyers, who gave two very different pieces of advice.

“The first lawyers were very fire and brimstone. They said to us, ‘You need to shut this down… You are in a world of trouble if the ACCC cottons on to this… This is damaging your trademark’.

“They told us the fact that we’re letting these guys use our brand name, if we ever have a serious trademark case, we won’t be able to do anything about it because we’ve got all these cases where we’ve just let our trademark go.”

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But one of Kennedy’s main points of advice to community managers at the conference was: “If it doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion”.

“There’s a lot of grey area around social media and legalese. Just because one person tells you to look at it a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the way everybody will see it or the way it has to be done,” she said.

It didn’t “feel right” to Kennedy and her team to send cease and desist letters to such massive fans and brand advocates. The second lawyer’s advice seemed far more sensible:

“They told us, ‘Treat these guys like sporting fans’. If you go onto Facebook and you search groups named Hawthorn Hawks, you’ll find a whole bunch of Facebook fan groups. They use the logo, they use the name. Basically they’re like affiliates to the brand, but they’re fan groups.”

12WBT decided to treat their crews in a similar way, with minimum interference, as well as supporting them through the following initiatives:

  • The ability to add a link to their crew’s page on the 12WBT website,
  • a newsletter sent to the crew group admins,
  • a supplied welcome note including group guidelines that admins can use on their group pages, and
  • a dedicated email address through which crews can contact 12WBT.


“They know who we are, they know how to contact us, they come to us when they need us. But this is their space, we’re just happy to help out wherever we can,” Kennedy explained.

“It’s about keeping these core advocates happy, keeping them in the family after the 12 week program is finished.”


Media Monday: Fairfax outperforms NewsCorp, Better Homes and Gardens is most-read mag, ad screens at train stations

In Australian media news this week, Roy Morgan figures show Fairfax metro newspaper titles’ readership tops NewsCorp’s, Better Homes and Gardens is the most-read magazine, Sydney and Melbourne train stations will soon host screen advertising, and much more. 

Fairfax outperforming NewsCorp in Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald has extended its lead as the Australian publication with the largest cross-platform audience, now reaching 3,392,000 people in an average week, according to Roy Morgan Research.

The newspaper’s total readers increased 7.5% in the year to June 2014, despite losing 87,000 print readers. Its digital audience from online and apps increased by 237,000 people.

The Herald Sun’s readership totalled a loss, as 187,000 fewer people read the paper in print, while its digital audience grew by just 164,000.

The Herald Sun maintains its second place with a total audience of 2,716,000 people, ahead of the Daily Telegraph which grew by 2.8% to 2,520,000.

The Age was the country’s only newspaper to increase its print readership, up 3% for the average issue.

Roy Morgan Research general manager Tim Martin said most publication’s gains in digital audience numbers were more than offsetting the trend away from print readership.

“The proportion of all newspapers’ total audiences who are accessing the content via website or app has grown in the past year. Between 42% and 79% of each newspaper’s audience is now using a computer, mobile or tablet to get its news fix.”

Better Homes and Gardens wins close readership battle between top three magazines

Roy Morgan figures for June 2014 say fewer than 100,000 readers separate the top three paid-for-magazines in the country.

Better Homes and Gardens is at number one, up 3.2% year-on-year to 1,819,000 readers per average issue, according to Roy Morgan data. Measurement competitor EMMA put the publication’s audience figure at 2.6 million including print, digital and television.

Closely following according to Roy Morgan figures is Australian Women’s Weekly (1,800,000 readers, up 1.4% year-on-year) and Woman’s Day (1,729,000 readers).

Two free in-store supermarket publications remain the most-read magazines in Australia. Coles Magazine leads with almost three million readers (2,917,000) per average issue. Woolworths’ Fresh magazine was the fourth fasting growing magazine in Australia, up 30% to an average of 2,182,000 readers per issue.

Home and Garden magazines together grew by 2.1% from June 2013 to 2014, with two-thirds of all titles in the category posting gains.


Train stations to host new advertising screens

A new rail advertising platform, XtrackTV, will give advertisers to access of 8.4 million contacts per week through a digital broadcast network of screens at Sydney and Melbourne’s busy train stations.

XtrackTV producers APN Outdoor says the new rail advertising platform takes on an industry and world first format, as the only large format, cross-platform digital screen network at this scale.

The media will be sold in packages of 62 panels – 32 in Sydney and 30 in Melbourne, for advertising of 15 seconds with weekly, six month and 12 month purchasing options.

Stations to be fitted with XtrackTV screens include Sydney’s Town Hall, Wynyard, Central, Martin Place, North Sydney, Chatswood, Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Bondi Junction and Melbourne Central, Parliament and Flagstaff in Melbourne.

XtrackTV media space is for sale now, with the hardware is expected to be complete by October.

XtrackTV example


Cinema advertising increases brand consideration by 40%

Val Morgan Cinema Network has released the results of a study finding cinema advertising produces a 40% increase in brand consideration.

This builds on previous research findings that showed cinema to deliver six times the engagement of television.

BrandScience conducted the research, which included 1200 interviews across metro Australia as part of an extensive research program capturing media exposure across campaigns running identical creative on TV, online video and cinema.

Val Morgan Managing Director Daniel Hill said:

“The results unequivocally show that cinema increases campaign effectiveness. The strength of these findings clearly demonstrate that cinema should be included as a core component in an advertisers a/v strategy.”

New social media apps

Social media networks Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have all launched new apps in recent weeks.


Instagram Bolt screenshotInstagram Bolt

This one-to-one visual messaging app captures and sends photos and videos quickly and simply in a similar way to Snapchat. Once users swipe away a Bolt message, it’s gone.

A statement from Instagram said:

“Mobile messaging is how people communicate today, but sharing an image still takes too many steps and too much time. Bolt was built to be fast and simple – it’s for communicating in that moment with people you’re close to, as quickly as possible.”


Facebook Mentions

This new app is designed for public figures such as athletes and musicians to monitor and join conversations involving them.

Nearly 800 million people are connected on Facebook to public figures, creating more than a billion interactions between public figures and fans every week.

Public figures in the US who are verified on Facebook can download the app and request access to:

  • See what fans are saying about them and join the conversation,
  • share their story by posting updates, sharing photos or videos or hosting a live Q&A,
  • join popular conversations on Facebook and see the latest posts from people they follow, and
  • get streamlined notifications about their posts, including mentions from other influencers or the media.


LinkedIn Connected

LinkedIn Connected provides users with relevant updates about people in their network, in order to strengthen professional relationships and “take the work out of networking”.

The new app shows relevant and timely updates including news such as job changes, birthdays and work anniversaries and more.

David Brubacher wrote on the company blog: “We know relationships matter to you because in an average week there are more than nine million comments, likes and congratulations posted across LinkedIn for updates like job changes, birthdays, being mentioned in the news and work anniversaries.”

LinkedIn Connected screenshot


Piggy-back marketing lands Western Union six-fold social boost

Banking institution Western Union saw its Facebook following jump from 160,000 fans to over a million in the past year thanks to piggy-back marketing initiatives around Rio 2 and the World Cup.


adma global forum The bank created campaigns around events which it chose for broad appeal across its target market in order to boost engagement in what is traditionally a low engagement category on social media.

The first was the release of Fox Studio’s animated movie Rio 2. “We needed a platform for 2014 that was bigger, something that had more scale,” senior vice president of the bank’s marketing team in North America, Laston Charriez, told the audience at last week’s ADMA Global Forum.

“In the US, our customer base over-indexed for having children under six and under 18. Second, they watch a lot of movies, especially animated movies.

The bank gained full use of Fox’s Rio 2 assets, had custom executions developed by the production house and even got hold of the script a year and a half before the movie’s release to deploy creative across channels.

“We created digital, outdoor, radio, television, CRM, retail… everything surrounding the movie,” Charriez said.

Performance of the campaign was strong across the board, Facebook being no exception with a 26% increase in likes and 7.4 times the engagement with posts on the bank’s page.


The 10 most influential brands in Australia – Facebook, Microsoft and Google in top three

In this guest post, Gillian O’Sullivan reveals the 10 most influential brands in Australia and delves into how these brands have stood out from the crowd. This diverse list of brands is heavy in the technology and online space, but more traditional brands such as supermarket chains also get a mention.

From the technology we use, to the food we eat, to the kind of car we drive, we turn to brands to help us through our daily lives. And while some brands help us fulfil needs and desires, others say something about ourselves, projecting and adding to our own identity, personal brand and sense of being. But with so many brands in the market, there are a select number that stand out as having much more influence over us than others.

So why does influence count? Strong brands have meaning, personality and even attitude. And because people identify with and relate to them, brands also have the power to influence people in a number of ways and therefore the broader market.

Ipsos decided to investigate what these brands are and, most importantly, what characterises these brands against others. The result is our inaugural ‘Most Influential Brands’ study. This is the first time we have conducted a study of this kind – to determine brand influence – in Australia and the results may surprise you.

We asked consumers across the globe, including Australia, about the major local and global brands, how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that drive influence (see breakout).

We started by identifying 100 well-known brands in the Australian market, including in the list household name global businesses, such as Google and IBM, and Australian icons such as Weetbix and Woolworths. After establishing a list, we asked Australian consumers about these brands – how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that make a brand influential. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Influential Brands in Australia. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons they stood out from the crowd to deserve a place in the top 10.


10. Telstra

Telstra’s rank is driven first and foremost by its presence in the marketplace. With its origins dating back to the turn of the 20th century, Telstra is an established iconic Australian brand. There is a high degree of familiarity and recognition of the brand. Most importantly, Telstra is not only seen as a brand with a solid history, but also as a brand with a promising future. Consistency in messaging has resulted in confidence in the brand, and a view that Telstra continues to lead its competitors. Presence and competitive edge adds up to Telstra being a very influential Australian brand.


9. Visa

Visa, and its tagline ‘It’s everywhere you want to be’, means that Visa has presence. It is a brand that has forever changed the consumer landscape, more so than any of its competitors. Visa is an influential brand first and foremost, because it is leading edge; it leads its competitors, it shapes consumer behaviour and it stands out from the crowd. Operating in a sector where brand trust is weak, Visa stands out as also being a trustworthy brand.


8. Australia Post

Australia Post is a brand the influence of which is first and foremost driven by the trust that the Australian public has in it. It is a brand that meets its community service obligations. More than any brand in the 100-brand list, ‘it is a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride’. Australia Post is a brand with heritage on its side, but like all influential brands, it continues to be an important brand in the world today.


7. Apple

This is a brand that Australians view as a trendsetter, an innovator, an iconic brand that is leading edge with a strong future. And with the continual launch of new products and updates, this is a brand that holds consumer interest. It influences because it is a game-changer – it has forever changed the way people engage with one another. Excitement around Apple has not waned and consumers can’t wait to see what it will introduce next. Apple has set itself as the benchmark to which other brands are compared.


6. Coles

Coles leads all other brands in sheer presence – it is a brand you see everywhere. Celebrating its 100th year this year, Coles is also a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride. Consumers shop there regularly and feel that Coles understands their needs. This all adds up to making it a very influential brand.


5. eBay

eBay is influential because it created a new marketplace need. Almost one-third (30 percent) of those surveyed said eBay ‘introduced me to something I never knew I needed’. From its first auction item listed, a broken laser pointer, to its most expensive item sold to date, a Gulfstream II Jet sold for US$4.9 million, eBay’s unique business model has forever changed the consumer landscape for the buying and selling of goods and services. It is no surprise that this company has changed the way people shop and created a new way for people to be their own boss (or just make some extra cash), which has helped make eBay the fifth most influential brand in Australia.


4. Woolworths

With its wide network of supermarkets across the country, Woolworths touches most Australians. Woolworths is influential not only because it is so well-recognised – 67 percent say it advertises a lot – but also because it is recognised for its support of local communities, its environmental responsibility and because Woolworths understands consumer needs. This all leads to high trust in the brand.


3. Facebook

Did you ‘Like’ anything today? With so many people and so many brands connecting through Facebook on a daily basis, it is no surprise that this is one of our most influential brands. Facebook’s influence is driven largely from being viewed as leading edge. Facebook is also seen as a trendsetter that has forever changed the consumer landscape. It is a medium for sharing and connecting with others, including connecting with other brands. It is Facebook’s ability to connect and engage with people that underpins its success and influence.


2. Microsoft

Microsoft is seen as innovative, more so than any other brand in the 100 brand list. Microsoft scores in at number two because it is everything to everyone. It is leading edge, consumers trust the brand, they engage with it and it is part of their daily lives. It is an exciting brand, people can’t wait to see what Microsoft will introduce next. It has presence, it is reliable, relevant to all and continues to get better. At this point in time, it seems Microsoft can do no wrong. A brand that is as strong as this deserves to be one of our most influential brands.


1. Google

Google is a brand that has built a reputation for being trustworthy, for being leading edge and for engaging with its users. When your brand name has become a verb, that’s a sign that you have tremendous influence.

Australians have not tired of Google. They want to hear from this brand more than any other in this study and Australians anticipate that Google will continue to go from strength to strength. All of this leads to high levels of confidence in this brand.

What ultimately makes this brand unique in the study is that people feel that the brand has helped them to make smarter choices, and changed what they do every day for the better. It is the brand that has become a fundamental part of everyday life and achieved the ultimate goal of making our lives that little bit more interesting.


About the study

Results are based on an online study of 1000 adult residents of Australia using the Ipsos I-view panel. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Australian population according to Census data. The same survey was conducted in nine other countries, with a total global sample size of 15,152.



The dimensions of influence

This study revealed five key dimensions that define and drive brand influence. Brands that are seen to be doing one or more of these successfully are more likely to be seen to be influential. In order of importance these dimensions are:

Leading edge: Brands that are seen to be ahead of their time and innovative are often influential, as they shape consumer behaviour and alter, or even create, markets. They set the standard to which other brands aspire.

Engagement: For a brand to be influential, people have to be engaged with it. This means wanting to get to know it better, and letting others know about it. Engaging brands inspire consumers to interact with them, to seek out more information about them, to support them online, and to share them with their own networks.

Trust: Truly trustworthy brands inspire confidence; they are dependable. They are consistent in how they perform and in what they represent. Brands with high levels of trust are influential, as they are more likely to be recommended to others and foster stronger loyalty.

Corporate citizenship: Influential brands are brands that care. They are environmentally and socially responsible and support their respective communities. Ultimately, they have the potential to represent traits or characteristics to which consumers aspire.

Presence: To have an impact and to have influence, people have to know who you are and what you stand for. Brands that have a high presence generally advertise a lot, are well-established, and are seen and used everywhere.