Finger placed on New Zealand media pulse

In this collection of searing Michael Carney-created insights from Marketing Week:

  • New Zealand media by the numbers
  • Jericho crunches the email numbers and tells us when we should send them
  • Too much discounting?
  • Trade Me takes on Yellow (and Google)
  • Social media and the jobseeker
  • New revenue ideas for the small screen

Numerically Challenging

Roy Morgan Research’s annual NZ Media Trends presentation is now out, drawing from the company’s NZ Single Source Database results (for All People 14+, from 2001 through to the end of 2009) to bring us up to speed on what’s happening in the New Zealand marketplace. These are some of the findings that struck us as particularly noteworthy as we soaked up the statistics from the 139-page presentation:

Newspapers: Online vs Print

Two charts absolutely stood up and screamed at us. The first, reporting on All Aucklanders Over 14 who have a home internet connection, showed that (with the January-December 2009 survey) online readership of nzherald.co.nz rose to equal the print readership of the Herald. Each medium reached 40% of the 14+ Auckland demographic. They never taught us about this at journalism school!

The second chart was even more compelling. For those more elderly citizens of Auckland (aged 25-54), the baton was passed somewhat earlier (by the February 2009 survey). The most recent result, for the period up till April 2010, saw the printed paper reaching just under 40%, while the online version was achieving around 46% of the 25-54 Auckland demographic. No wonder Mr Murdoch is turning over in his gravure.

Media Consumption

Overall, we continue to consume more than our own bodyweight in media. No great changes in 2009, despite the economic downturn. 90% of us still read a newspaper in the last seven days, 96% watched telly and 81% listened to radio over the same time period. Magazine consumption dropped just a couple of points, to 83% — a remarkable result given that magazine purchases typically came out of our badly-battered discretionary budgets in 2009. Internet usage grew a point or two, to 82%; and cinema also bumped itself up, to 29%, as we donned our goggles and hid away from the recession in another dimension.

A somewhat different picture emerges, however, when Heavy Consumption entrails are examined.

We find that:

  • 22% of us are heavy newspaper readers (down from a high of 30% in 2005/6)
  • 29% are heavy magazine readers (39% in 2005)
  • 26% are heavy TV viewers (highest, equal with 2008 results)
  • 17% heavy radio listeners (down a little from 2002’s 18% high)
  • 31% are heavy cinema-goers (down somewhat from LOTR-influenced 2003/04’s 35%)
  • 50% of us are now heavy Internet-users (a category that’s steadily grown every year from 2001’s 21%)

That heavy internet usage is thrown into even sharper focus when we look at what percentage of each age group represents heavy users:

  • 60% of 18-34s, confirming that Gen Y really are born to click
  • 56% of 35-44s, demonstrating that Gen X can wield a mouse with the best of them
  • 54% of 45-54s, suggesting that Baby Boomers still remember how to log on
  • 47% of 55-64s, indicating that even the oldest Boomers are still connected
  • 28% of 65 plus, proving that most of our senior citizens have better things to do than tweet all day

Home Technology

Time to trade in that Philips K9 Colour TV and move to a more recent model. 48% of us still a cathode ray tube in our lives by March 2010 — but 41% have switched to a Plasma or LCD TV.

The once unassailable VCR is now only in 51% of homes, whilst the DVD Player has plateaued at around 76%; the DVD recorder has similarly stalled at 26%, superceded in many ways by MySky and TiVo devices.

Those white earbuds? Not cool anymore, now that the iPod has hit 31% penetration, neck and neck with the Portable CD/cassette/radio and the MP3 player and slightly ahead of other audio devices. The iPad will start swiping its way into the ranks of personal computing this year, but for the most recent twelve months the desktop PC (which 71% of us have at home) still outpowers the 46% share enjoyed by notebooks/laptops.

Got broadband at home? Now 67% of us do, leaving 16% to d-i-a-l t-h-e i-n-t-e-r-w-e-b very slowly, not making any sudden moves (as if).

Time Spent With Media

We spend an average of eight hours a day with the various media. 39% of our time is spent with television, 30% with radio, 22% with the internet, 5% with newspapers and 3% with magazines. No wonder our significant others complain we have no time for them.

Top Internet Activities

So what do we do when we go online? How do we while away the hours spent heavily consuming this designer e-drug (but not of course inhaling)?

60% of us check our email. It’s the most popular addiction of all online activities. Who wants to talk to us? What should we say? Dare we say this? Will we leave an electronic trail that will end in tears?

Our next online obsession is with money. We check our bank balance (48%) and our bank statements (39%), make transactions (46%) and pay our bills (38%). Then we try to make or save money online by heading over to Trade Me or another online auction site (22%).

The dishes may be piling up around us, but not our problem. We kill time on the web by surfing around (44%), checking the weather (23%), reading the newspaper (21%), playing games (20%), downloading software (19%) or watching videos (18%).

30% of us chill with our friends on social networks — or wait desperately for someone to friend us. Oh, the indignity.

Amazingly, despite our realworld fixation with getting lost rather than asking directions, online we’re not so pigheaded — 28% of us consult maps or get directions. Oh, wait, that’s probably our wives doing the online homework.

And 18% of us are above all this, using the internet for what it was intended — academic research. Hear, hear.

The Mobile Web

Surely everyone now has an iPhone, iPad or iPoor (as in “i must have this gadget, even if it keeps me p—-“), or so all the hype out there would have us believe. But how many of us are using a smartphone or other mobile device to connect to the web? 10.9%, according to the Roy Morgan data (although the numbers do vary according to your age). If you’re aged 14-17 (perhaps with someone else paying the bill), then 19% of you simply must use the mobile phone as a web tool, perhaps to stay in touch with your friends via Facebook. If you’re Over 50, 95.4% of you don’t bother to connect on the go (might not even know the capability exists).

Media Most Useful

Finally in this roundup of results from the Roy Morgan Media Trends study, a look at the latest data covering which media are considered the most useful source of information for guiding purchase decisions:

  • For purchasing a used motor vehicle? 50% Internet, 32% newspapers
  • For purchasing a new motor vehicle? 35% Internet, 23% newspapers
  • For purchasing real estate? 36% newspapers, 31% Internet
  • For purchasing entertainment/electronics? 41% catalogues, 22% Internet
  • For a home loan or other loan? 41% Internet, 15% newspapers
  • For services such as plumbers and electricians: 60% yellow pages, 11% newspapers, 11% Internet
  • For searching for a restaurant: 35% yellow pages, 23% Internet, 18% newspapers

A couple of other “Media Most Useful” stats caught our attention. If you’re looking for a job, your choices have been evolving, with the Internet breathing down the neck of newspapers:

On the other hand, for travel/accommodation, the Internet won that particular battle long ago.

The Roy Morgan Media Trends study may not have as many obscure icons as The Da Vinci Code, but it’s full of plenty of numbers and patterns to keep us thinking.

100 Million Emails In Your Inbox

Hot off the press from SmartMail providers Jericho: the first NZ Email Marketing Metrics Report, containing nearly everything you wanted to know about email* (*but were afraid to opt in for). The Report is crammed full of data (head to Jericho for your own free copy), as you’d expect when you slice and dice 100 million pieces of email, kids, don’t try this at home.

These are the key metrics we wanted to know (and you’ll hopefully find interesting as well).

The Render Rate (aka Open Rate)
How many recipients open that email you’ve sweated blood to create? In the US, Open Rates tend to hover around the 20% rate; you’ll be gratified to learn that in NewZild we average a much more flattering 33.85% (with results in some industries as high as 48%). Or perhaps you’re a glass-half-full kind, in which case you’ll be apoplectic to hear that two-thirds of your effort is wasted.

Highest Open Rates: Wholesale (48.56%), Agriculture (46.01%),Insurance (43.42%)
Lowest Open Rates: Hospitality (29.04%), Recruitment (29.06%), Not for Profit (29.64%)
In the middle (but we care about them:

Media/Publishing 37.13%
Advertising/DM/Web Agencies 35.85%
Click Through Rate (CTR)

Do those who receive emails click on the links therein? Overall, the CTR average was 7.59%. Of course, that average includes those 66% of emails that were never opened in the first place. If we confine our gaze to the clicks contained in opened emails, the CTO (Click to Open rate) is a much more useful 21.1%.

Best CTOs:
Trade / Services 32.97%
Construction 32.30%
IT / Telecommunications 30.06%

Our Mates:
Media/Publishing 26.41%
Advertising/DM/Web Agencies 23.32%

Lowest CTOs:
Local Government / Councils 11.73%
Electricity / Gas / Water / Waste Services 10.58%
Distribution / Freight 10.40%

Best Day To Send
As the fine folks at Jericho note, the choice of day depends on your audience. B2B emails work hardest when recipients are at work and able to receive them; conversely, B2C missives should shake down an audience effectively at weekends. The envelope please.

And the winner: a mixed bag. Wednesdays have the most traffic, by a long shot, and enjoy good open and click through rates. On the other hand, Monday and Friday have the highest open rates and Saturday emails get more clicks per email. If you have to choose, Monday is probably the best day to send, with its mix of good open and click rates.

The Jericho Email Metrics Report also contains a wide range of useful tips for improving your email effectiveness. Get it.

Pandora’s Box – on sale now

Oops, now we’ve done it. A new Australian research report from TNS confirms our worst fears—we’ve successfully conditioned consumers not to worry if they miss an item on sale. There’ll be another one along in a few minutes. TNS’ Discount Retailing Study has found that 65% of Australians perceive retailers are constantly having sales. As a result many (dare we say most?) just won’t pay full price.

“Consumers are no longer willing to accept the first price they find; they know there’s a good chance of finding it cheaper somewhere else,” noted TNS’ director of retail and shopper research, Chris Kirby. “In essence the industry is training us to become professional, if not predatory, consumers.”

“This more proactive group of consumers display a high willingness to search for information, engage with brands, bargain for the best deal and access and contribute to word of mouth and user reviews.”

TNS’ Discount Retailing Study also found that, in the lead up to the end of the 2009/10 financial year, only 23% of Aussies were waiting for mid year sales to make purchases.

Predatory consumers? Love the term. Shame about the collateral damage to those profit margins..

Are You Being Served?

You can’t advertise services on Trade Me. The auction site is purely for physical goods. Well, that’s been the rule for Trade Me up till now. But the company has just announced the launch of a new “services” category on Trade Me (at the end of August), positioned as “a place where small businesses can cost-effectively advertise their services”. On the consumer side, Kiwis will be able to search for local businesses, as well as deliver and review the businesses’ feedback.

Trade Me is teaming up with NoCowboys, a services-focused website that enables consumers to rate business and tradespeople (tapping into our newfound fixation to make purchasing decisions based on what other consumers say about the product or service in question).

It’s not terribly clear yet exactly what Trade Me will be offering in the services category. From what we know so far, small businesses will be able to list their services on Trade Me on an ongoing basis (for a fee, naturally, although until the end of the month you can sign up at NoCowboys for six months worth of Trade Me exposure at no charge). Where our crystal ball turns a bit fuzzy, however, is in understanding under what circumstances Trade Me members will be able to rate service providers; whatever’s chosen, it’ll have to be on a different basis than the current Trade Me Feedback system, which functions in tandem with the bidding operation.

As Sam Morgan noted half a dozen years ago, Trade Me has been steadily working its way through the back of the newspaper, identifying the key classified categories and enticing them onto the web. Now the company is taking on the Yellow Pages and UBD as well, although in reality the primary competition for Trade Me in the service sector these days is Google. Both Trade Me and the Jolly G Giant are making a landgrab in the local advertising space.

Grab a front row seat and let’s watch the battle begin.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Look

Rose Tinted Spectacle syndrome is alive and well and living in New Zealand. In a recent online survey by recruiting expert Hays, 855 jobseekers were asked whether they thought employers use social networking profiles to help vet applications.

27.37% said they didn’t think employers vetted applications that way—although we’re not sure what led this group to reach that conclusion. Does this hopelessly optimistic segment believe that current social network privacy controls are working? Do they believe that employers are too kind-hearted to make use of such information? Or are they trusting in the Generation Gap and Technophobia to keep employers from discovering those frightening photos on Facebook?

Curiously, Hays New Zealand managing director Jason Walker was also one of the deniers, but his negative response was based on real data rather than wishful thinking:

“In our experience, most employers do not leap to check a candidate’s online profile.  It is far more common that an employer will extend their vetting process to include social media only if they feel a candidate might not be what they are portraying themselves to be in their face-to-face interview. In such cases, a Facebook profile with a public setting may reveal content that could make an interviewer see you in a different light.”

But what about the substantial majority who did believe that employers are snooping on social sites? Good thing or bad thing?

35.09% have obviously covered their tracks well: they agreed with the statement that “Employers should use all available information”. In other words, social networks are fair game. Meanwhile, a further 37.54% said they believed employers were scanning the social networks for applicant-vetting purposes—this group felt it was wrong.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Shaking The Piggy Bank

The ancient Mayans, it seems, were somewhat negatively inclined towards 2012. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, thanks in large part to Hollywood’s minor epic named after that apocalyptic year, the soothsayers of many moons ago picked 2012 as the end of all things (not necessarily including Coronation Street, of course).

More contemporary soothsayers McKinsey & Co., making presentations to America’s major marketers in 2006, announced a slightly less fire-and-brimstone conclusion, but a harrowing one nonetheless: that by the year we now occupy, 2010, traditional TV advertising would be only one-third as effective as it was in 1990.

The McKinsey report itself wasn’t that surprising – the inadequacies of John Logie Baird’s creation have been regularly proclaimed since the televisor was first demonstrated in 1925. What gave the 2006 report street cred were the accompanying statistics, which spelt out only too clearly the milestones on the road to ruin:

  • a 15% decrease in buying power driven by cost-per-thousand rate increases;
  • a 23% decline in ads viewed due to switching off;
  • a 9% loss of attention to ads due to increased multitasking;
  • and a 37% decrease in message impact due to saturation.

Radio and print were in similar predicaments, according to McKinsey, with declining performances but escalating advertising rates.
Little wonder, then, that in the UK (as elsewhere in the world), free-to-air networks are exploring new ways to generate income, recognising that television advertising revenues may not always keep them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed (PriceWaterhouseCoopers is forecasting that online will become the largest media sector in terms of Australian ad spend by 2014; and similar prophecies are echoing through other markets around the world).

In an interesting move that we could readily imagine being copied here, British broadcaster ITV has just announced that it will be offering High Definition versions of its ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 channels to paying subscribers for a fee (via pay TV carrier BSkyB). ITV2 HD will launch in October this year, just in time for the start of ‘The Xtra Factor’, the behind the scenes show for ‘The X Factor’ (which says rather more than we dared hope about what British TV execs think viewers will pay to watch).

We already have HD versions of One, TV2 and TV3 available without charge via Freeview — but surely paid versions in 3D are not out of the question? Would we pay good money to see if newsreaders are really wearing shorts behind that desk or if Pippa actually looks mortified when Paul Henry makes some of those comments? Brave new worlds, don’t you just love ’em?

  • Be sure to check out Michael Carney’s new tome, a “carefully-selected collection of Social Media campaigns from NZ and around the world, explored and analysed (and full of ideas worth stealing).” There are only 53 copies left. And they’ll probably be worth millions one day. And you can get a special deal here. And the Social Media Marketing eCourse has multiplied and now comes in several, more specific flavours: travel and tourism, cause-related, small business and the original. And for ‘Those Who Don’t Want to Read the Manual But Just Want To Get Stuck In’, there’s also another new offering, the Social Media Kickstart Package. Email [email protected] and speak with the oracle himself.

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