Australia Online Landscape Review - September 2014

Who loves a good landscape review? I certainly do and now that there is a mobile and tablet index you can impress your friends and colleagues with exciting phrases such as:

-do you know what the top three streaming brands by audience are because I do -YouTube, Facebook, and Vevo

-if you had read the top 10 mass merchandisers by audience data you would know that -Amazon, Woolworths, Coles head that list

-11.5 millions Australians 14 yrs + access the internet everyday via smartphone, up 1 million YOY - it's important to regularly review the online landscape I find. 

Be the smart annoying one in your meeting today. View the full report:

Mo people, mo problems-five ways to keep trolls out

five double 0, that's my phone number

Blowing away your community because all your members are idiots who say dumb stuff is very tempting but there a few reasons why you shouldn’t. Mainly because it could be a sign that you are doing a great job:

“for human groups, a few hundred seems to be an upper limit for a group size compatible with everyone’s knowing everybody. In our state society for instance, school principals are likely to know all their students by name if the school contains a few hundred children, but not if it contains a few thousand children. One reason why the organisation of human government tends to change from that of a tribe to that of a chiefdom in societies with more than a few hundred members is that the difficult issue of conflict resolution between strangers becomes increasingly acute in larger groups” Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond 1997

It’s the same thing that happens in fast growing workplaces and popular cities- mo people, mo problems. 

1. Law and order. Smaller tribes self regulate more easily due to social pressure and you don’t need to do much to calm down a little blog spat or tacky image post. As groups become larger and more anonymous (think big city versus small town), you may need more law and order and I hate to say it, rules in the form of community guidelines. A secondary login might help to keep anon posters down and put some real faces in the mix to humanise the community. 

2. In the words of the great Tony Robbins, if there are weeds in your garden, pull them out. Don’t pretend there are no weeds and let the trolls take over but also, don’t freak out after a bad hit and blow away the branded Facebook page you spent three years cultivating.  It might just be time to reassess your strategy, gear up some more people to help and think about how you can run your page for a larger audience. Identify and pull out the weeds, you may not need to nuke the whole rainforest. 

Run from the thread

3. Party in the comments. Jonah Peretti from Buzzfeed/ HuffPo discovered that people loved the crazy-sauce comments that appeared at the bottom of their stories. Depending on your community, you may want to leave some weird stuff in their for seasoning. 

4. Talk to some other community managers at other workplaces and find out what they do. Sometimes, lobbing some feel-good content like iPad giveaways and free t-shirts can reset an angry mob. Just sharing your ideas and venting frustrations can make a big difference and you won't feel like you're doing a bad job all the time. I took a beaten down team to another company for a morning and they just sat and watched another online community team working. It made a huge difference to their confidence and showed them some new ways of managing prickly customers. 

5. Reward the good behaviour. Welcome new members so the same people don’t get attention for stirring. Much like the small town/ big city thing, sometimes the founding members of a community can be demanding and expect special treatment. Look after them but don’t let them drag the community down by bringing up old stuff and family feuds from 1967 all the time. It’s important to keep growing and pruning is a part of that. 

Research: Online video growing but Millenials still watching trad TV

I’ve just been flicking through the latest comScore US TV report and a couple of things jumped out

1. The idea that Millenials (18-34 yrs) don’t watch traditional TV is not entirely right. Yes the trad TV numbers are decreasing and viewing is shifting to mobile devices but it’s about a 1/3 of users and there is still a significant audience on the big blue bar. 

2. The main driver for watching TV content on the internet is schedule flexibility and convenience. Skipping ads and cost were are lesser factors in this study

The recommendation from Omnicom to move 10-25% of TV ads dollars to online video sounds ballparkish sort of right (depending on your audience and product type yada yada of course) and remember that customers are following the high quality content so they might be watching full episodes online and on traditional TV.  

full report if you want to have a look: US total video report October 2014

A conversation with Sir John Kirwan on mental wellness

On Saturday I went along to ‘a conversation with Sir John Kirwan' which combined his book launch with World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week #MHAW14 

"doing those TV ads was the scariest thing I've ever done", Sir John Kirwan in stylish tan boots w pink/purple sock combo

If you don’t know who John Kirwan is, he is always high on the most trusted person in New Zealand list and that’s a little bit because he was an All Black and a lot because he is the front man for a series of mental health TV ads that are amazing and basically changed the whole conversation around mental health in this country. He’s also the current coach of the Auckland Blues rugby team.

Draft FCB- Mental Health Foundation TV ads smashed the mental health services

Thankfully, the MC person cut off all the yawn-fest rugby chatter and went straight into the topics he normally speaks on: depression as an illness not a weakness and how to care for self and others.  John told his story of ‘having it all’ and being a shaking, anxiety-ridden mess unable to communicate his fears and the very real physical symptoms that made his life hell. 

I think that was the main thing that made me stop and think. We spend a lot of time looking at the causes and trigger events for anxiety, depression, panic attacks and the like, yet if someone has heart disease or cancer we get them straight into specialist care for diagnosis and treatment.  Truth is, we probably don’t have a lot of the services that we should have for mental health and it’s going to take a while before our services catch up as we have only just started talking about it and acknowledging depression as a real thing.  I know some people are a little critical in the ‘it’s alright for him because he’s an All Black and he has money and can pay for private treatment and therapy'  sense and he openly talked about that. People in the audience shared their stories both positive and negative of their experiences of trying to get help for themselves and others. I think the fact that 150 people could sit in a room and freely talk about their personal challenges with empathy and a desire to see things improved is a huge step forward in one generation.  Thanks for the TV ads John. 

"Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you’re of no use to anyone else if your mental health isn’t right"

me + JK

I was especially happy to hear him talk about ‘everyday wellness’ and slowing down to appreciate the little things as I think, in business especially, we associate rest with holidays and taking time off which has never made any sense to me. I don’t necessarily want time off or annual leave, but I do want to be able to contribute in a way that’s sustainable so I don’t lose my mind and get unhealthy and frustrated and have to keep working against myself all the time. We focus on the two weeks off and not doing the other 50 weeks in a more human way which hopefully will start to change as people start to realise that you can enjoy your work and not have to hold out for holidays your whole life. 

John went over the importance of getting fear out in the open and talked about it in the context of getting his current, dream job as the coach of the Auckland Blues. 

 “You’re either the coach that’s just been sacked or the one waiting to get sacked”

"can you Photoshop the side on one- I'm a fat b*stard at the moment" -I tried a tasteful crop John...

Leadership and coaching is serving and giving unconditionally to your team and not expecting anything in return. The grind can be draining and the anxiety of ‘what if it doesn’t work out’ can screw with your chances of getting on with the job and making good decisions. Admitting that you’re not bulletproof and that you need to prioritise, small everyday things like cooking a meal, going for a walk or reading a book can keep you anchored as the inevitable waves of challenges like media criticism, team blow outs and losing/failure occur. 

His book focuses on raising teen boys and the need to educate young people about stress, fear and symptoms of depression so that people won’t have to go through “the six or seven years of medication and therapy” like he had to. John also wants to drive change for adding mental wellness and stress management as part of the high school curriculum which I think is a winner. I think perhaps the other JK (Prime Minister John Key) might be getting a phone call. 

“Put it on your knee. Don’t put it in the cupboard”

Talk to your fear and anxiety. Get it out in the open and become self aware about what you’re experiencing.  It was a long walk out for John and he still works on it everyday and I think that’s an important message too. 

More information Mental Health Foundation

How to make wonderful mobile ads on the new audience networks

Mobile ads have always been a bit crap and everyone likes the idea that they might work because everyone has a phone and personalised data and measurability, it would all be so wonderful. 


The reality is that trying to do something amazing on a 50px postage stamp with screens that change size all the time and the whole Steve Jobs anti-Flash Apple thing has resulted in some pretty terrible mobile ads. Have you seen people at a conference stand up and present on how amazing their Leaderboard ads are? No. Because they are crap and nobody cares. 

this blog post is also wonderful- $236 on candy crush

Then, some smarty brains people like King (makers of Candy Crush) bolted ahead of everyone else and sold imaginary wands and extra lives to people in a game where you bop little coloured balls and everyone went nuts for it and they made heaps of money. So then people realised that people can interact with things on little screens and not in Flash, you just have to think about it a bit differently. 

I know this all might sound a bit basic to some of you but I kid you not, I went to a catalogue launch for an AU/NZ retailer and the whole thing was in Flash. Someone at their expensive agency probably took the print pdfs and went into Adobe InDesign File>Export>Flash Player SWF, yep that’s all they had done and that sort of thing really annoys me so the more you can understand and question the approach, the better result you’ll get. 

So users wanted rich designs that made the most of their zillion dollar mobile phone screens like they saw in games and responsive design and HTML5 meant that that could happen which is great and sort of where we are today. 

Publishers and ad tech companies are cranking out lots of new mobile ad formats that are more responsive -change to suit what device the user is viewing on -Boston Globe is an example that Adobe often use so grab your neighbours phone and watch the copy and ads moving around as it adjusts to the device. If you all work for the same company and have the same phone then have a play with some online emulators like Mobile Test and Mobile Phone Emulator

Facebook claim to have nailed some new formats that have started serving through their Atlas network. I tried to get a new fancy ad come up on Shazam but all I got was this old-school Leaderboard that isn't worth talking about at a conference but the one they have in their post is quite cool and I’ll just keep tagging songs until I get it. 


In saying that, the audience generation part might be interesting because it’s meant to be serving ads off what books I’ve read in Facebook— ‘Atlas, send her the boring version of the Vodafone ad’

nope -wonderful song though

Google Admob network have also released some new formats that seem heavily influenced by YouTube’s successful TrueView format where a little video trailer plays and advertisers only get charged when a user doesn’t hit the skip ad button. There are also some screen takeovers that mimic a print magazine ads so your designers will be happy about that. With the trend towards larger phone and tablet screens perhaps the whole digital magazine/catalogue thing might finally start kicking in with some decent revenues?

tiny wonderful videos

As evidenced by my boring Vodafone ad (sorry Vodafone but I am writing a blog post about it so tell your manager your ad was amplified and created conversations= earned media :)) and the success of mobile games apps we can see that Creative is a thing and using the formats properly is going to take some skills but I think a good place to start is to start paying attention to formats you like and copy them. Evernote web clipper is a useful browser tool you can use or just screenshot ads on your phone and look at sites like for ideas about how you could integrate ad formats better into your apps and mobile pages. 

I wouldn’t even worry too much about how much you are paying for mobile ads at the moment - I know that sounds a bit wrong but get the formats working properly and think more about what you could potentially do with them because it’s all going to be a bit made-up at the start until the formats settle down and the audiences improve through the networks. Have a go at a video trailer in app mobile ad thing and an in-app Facebook Atlas thing and in the very least, you’ll learn something and have a place to start improving from and it will all be wonderful. 

Will it bend? Rachel Allen buttermilk scones

If your previous scone efforts have been of the Nokia 5 series indestructible brick varietal then this recipe is for  you. 

I’m a big fan of Rachel Allen and her buttermilk scones recipe is pretty internet-famous so I decided to give it a go, because it said ‘difficulty=easy’ on the page and making 'hard' scones that would turn out hard all sounded a bit hard. The secret is to RTFM on this one: do exactly what the recipe says and your scones will be a winner. 

Winning scone of champions and following instructions


Scone science is very complicated and controversial

There is much debate on the best raising agent to use for scones and the cream of tartar/buttermilk/bicarb soda science is what makes them non-Nokia so get all the things ready before you start and get the measurements exact

The buttermilk came fresh in a carton in the chilled section of the supermarket where you get milk

I had a conversion fail at the start going from grams to cups -US standard cup and AU standard cup are not the same so remember it’s fourish cups not 2ish cups of flour 125gms =cup, cup dependent of course

I used normal, plain flour and not 00 Italian pasta flour so that gets them even lighter if you can get that

I cut the dough out with a normal water glass because I didn’t have a scone cutter and it worked ok

Rachel Allen likes crispy golden brown bottoms

Don’t panic if they take a few minutes longer in the oven to go dark golden because I just about pulled them out too soon and then I went ‘no, I must trust Rachel at this critical time’ and they look good I think. Rachel Allen goes on about the crispy outside and bottoms and the soft middle which I didn’t really get before but I do now, it’s amazing and what makes them so different from the atrocities you get at Starbucks et al.

Squishy and soft hooray :)
Jam and cream for the full Queen experience

Will they bend? Nope these ones are not doughy nor brick-like in any way and I was pretty impressed with the colour and height on them, especially for a first attempt. Rubbing the butter into the flour takes ages but if you get organised, it's fast and the recipe makes a lot and you will feel talented and successful in your renewed scone making abilities. Seriously, stick to the recipe and (I even sifted the dry ingredients which I normally could never be bothered with) and you will be tapping crispy bottoms, just like Rachel. 


  • 500 g light Italian or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 125 g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • egg, beaten
  • 275 ml buttermilk or milk, plus extra for the egg wash
  • 50 g caster or granulated sugar, (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. 

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix well. 

3. Set aside about a third of the beaten egg and combine the rest with the buttermilk, then add to the flour mixture and mix briefly to combine into a moist dough. Place on a lightly floured work surface and knead ever so slightly to bring together, then press or roll out to a thickness of 2cm. 

4. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut out approximately 12 scones and place on a floured baking tray. 

5. Add about a teaspoon or so of buttermilk to the remainder of the beaten egg to make an egg wash. Brush the scones with the egg wash (and dip the tops in sugar if you wish) and bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve while hot. 

Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake (Collins)

Hoodies up it's time for marketing tag management 101

Lots of little hoodie wearers are going to be visiting your marketing teams talking about ‘tagging’ so it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a crash course first so you don’t get confused panda about the whole thing. 

It's just really seeing 'did the customer come this way?'
Measurement and attribution has always been a pain with both online and offline conversions so companies want you to ‘tag’ up your sites so we can all see what’s going on and what paths customers are taking and where referrals have come from and that sort of thing. 

Web page tagging is a lot like graffiti tagging. Companies use their third party tag’ to show that users have visited somewhere. So companies like Facebook and Google want you to put their tags on your pages so they can show that customers visited your pages on their customer journey. Metrics and research providers like Kissmetrics and Nielsen also use tagging technology to measure who is doing what on a page. A tag is a snippet of code that goes in the html in the page.

"We have nerds that do that, I’m just the marketing person. I think we have all that anyway"

Tagging for mobile

Yes and this where it starts to get interesting and you do need to know this for yourself. You might have heard this week about Facebook launching something called Atlas for ad serving. When you think Atlas think mobile and think mobile video —those auto play videos that are turning up on your Facebook iPhone app.Central to Atlas are Facebook custom audiences. You create a Facebook custom audience by putting a ‘tag’ Facebook Custom audience pixel, on all  your pages. The current FBX ad serving stuff is limited to desktop inventory only. Custom Audiences from Your Website allows targeting across browsers, overlaying of Facebook data, access to mobile inventory, and usage of all Facebook ad units, all of which are not available on FBX. It's the thing that gets read and messed about with in Atlas so they want you to put it on all your things. You can read more about it here

Ok but what about if you don’t really use Facebook, why is this important?

The end game is to connect company data with Facebook data with customer data. The uses are wider than Facebook and the model is one being explored by lots of advertising companies so the more you understand it the better. 

For example, if you go to the supermarket and use a loyalty card, the supermarket has point of sale scan data linked to your personal data on the loyalty card. Using Atlas, the shopper’s data can be imported from a big enterprise database like Oracle and analysed to create highly targeted audiences back into Facebook and, ultimately across online and offline ad networks. Cookies aren't that great on mobile and advertisers want to get to user-level rather than session level measurement so you can imagine with mobile phones, getting down to an individual with a lot more context like geo-location becomes possible. 

WOAH. Yes woah and that’s why you need to try and understand as much of this as possible. 

Step 1 I would suggest is make sure Google Tag Manager (there are other tag managers but this one is free and there is a lot of info around on it to learn from) is managed from client side for your brand and that you can access it. Don’t let the tag management sit with an agency or outside your company if at all possible because you need the agility to manage your own tags.  Google Tag manager means that you can change the tags on your sites without having to get developer resource. Tags such as Facebook Custom audience pixel and Google analytics tracking sit inside the tag manager. Get Google Tag Manager installed and then your team manages it. If you don’t know how then start to learn, it’s really important. 

That is the end of my blog post. 


If the technical stuff is scaring you and you like the investor strategy stuff then maybe start with this recent interview with early Facebook investor Peter Thiel who just happened to write a book with the partner person for Facebook talking about Atlas Shrugged weird magic-nomics which basically says that there was Microsoft and they missed mobile and Google are good at search stuff but Facebook is good at mobile stuff (shhh don’t mention android) and that there is a massive global ad industry and Facebook is all over it so you should invest. 

Then Marc Benioff tweeted that he’s all about Facebook and Atlas and Salesforce exacttarget are doing some partner stuff with the partner person who wrote the book with Peter Thiel and so it’s donkey kong o’clock but we love competition but monopoly is also good and hey, it’s all about the customers SMILEY FACE :))))

Oracle's Larry Ellison air guitars his way into marketing but do we get it?

There are many things I like about Oracle:

1. The Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts bromance is one of them. 

I once heard Larry describe Russell as the only person he takes orders from and as the only New Zealander in the world today who supported Russell’s move to Team Oracle for the America's Cup  I was pleased to see him at the Oracle's Openworld event today. Haters to the left. 

2. The hilarious rock music driving a Hummer up a mountain in a Rocky action movie vibe for their keynotes

Dun dun dunnnnn — we have a database—YEAHHHH —air guitarrrrrr. 

3. Oracle have a massive client list. 

Laugh all you want but when I got a marketing email the other day from Twitter, it was sent from Eloqua. Twitter Cards puts customer details into Eloqua because lots of big organisations use it. 

Ever applied for a job at a bank or something? You’ve probably filled out an online form in Taleo

Pepsi Frito-lay is doing FMCG promotions on Oracle Demantra? What the hell is a Demantra? You can watch a video and I’m interested in this sort of thing and i can’t be bothered so I can’t really imagine that any of the regular, less geeky and interested in database apps marketers that I’ve worked with would but that's what they use if you care. 

I went to an Oracle  event in Sydney and after being asked by several salespeople whether or not I was in the Oracle events team or the hotel events team or ‘waiting for my husband’, I was invited in to a technical presentation where speakers wizzed through slides of logos for the many builds and acquisitions that Oracle had made, many in the marketing and social space.  

The speaker was the by-product of such an acquisition and he did something to do with retail and databases and e-commerce and then he talked about cloud development gap and how they needed people to build lots of stuff to run on the EXA META GRRR 4000 CLOUDERATION SUPERCLUSTER BLADE platform or something. In the scheme of end-user understanding of how this sort of thing works I would usually rank myself about a 7 and I had no idea what he was talking about. So I figured the preso must be targeted for developers but then most of the people in the room where from client-side big IT departments I don't know?

I couldn’t help but think there must be so many opportunities for developers to build really great products and businesses if someone could just, you know, actually explain the tech behind the Oracle products in a simple way. It’s tricky because a lot great developers are spending their time building Instagram copies and time tracking software when they could be building some awesome plugin for the Oracle Demantra if people like me who actually pay attention could figure out what it was and tell everyone else about the awesome tech at work on —umm Oracle Demantra?

It might not sound as exciting as Snapchat but in terms of impact, building something for a massive open government healthcare project or retail bank or media network would really change things and that’s what we need. IT people are buying marketing and media software because they are already running Oracle gear which may or may not be a bad thing. I don’t know because it’s so confusing to figure out if the stuff is any good or not and nobody would give me a demo account or any way of playing with it to make an assessment because I couldn’t possibly know how to do my job better than an Oracle salesperson who thought I must be part of the events team because why else would I be there?

When you get past all the air guitar-ing and motion sickness from the spinning logos and M7 chipset FUSION ERP HCM you can look around the room and see that there are many, many companies who use this stuff and a handful of nerds who get what their little piece of the puzzle means but probably not how it works across different functions, let alone to their customers. It’s an industry-wide thing and I’m sure Oracle are aware of it but I fear many marketers are going to get stuck with nasty, unusable software that their IT person has gone ahead and purchased because it talks to the Oracle thing and all their other things are Oracle. I’m sure Larry knows this and that’s why he can afford to pay Russell lots of money and buy a nice island in Hawaii with pineapples on it and good for him. What would be really great is if product marketers or evangelists or whoever does the customer stuff would sit and look at successful consumer products like Twitter and Evernote and Mailchimp and communicate it like that so that more people can get it and run with it and make enterprise technology not so complicated and unattainable for regular folk because if you can understand Mailchimp you should be able to understand Eloqua and marketing teams have large, successful teams of loyalty database marketers who get databases so they should be able to get Demantra, whatever that is. 

Understanding the new influencers: AUT guest lecture

What a lovely time I had on Wednesday at the new Sir Paul Reeves buildings at AUT campus. 

sorry Simon Devitt I pinched another one of your photos

I was invited to do a guest lecture on social influence for the third year IMC (integrated marketing communications) course which was great because I got to see all the nice new things and meet some real life student people.

real life students

I’ve put the slides up on slideshare but I decided to go for the all photos thing so you might need to click into the speaker notes to make sense of it. 

Main things are:

1. Broadcast communications can move the herd

2. Internet created more publishers and rise of democratised communications. New influencer emerge on platforms like Youtube, Vine, Instagram

3. Customers are more empowered and can curate, comment and share content. Look for people they trust and who are like them. 

4. Big seed marketing e.g. Buzzfeed. Create content that appeals to people and they distribute and share, decide what’s popular

5. Customers are employees and vice versa. Whole person approach- harness the power of the BWN Bored at Work Network to distribute and share your messages e.g. Zappos Big brands and advertisers struggle to personalise and need to partner with influencers.

Then I worked my 'Lecture Hand' so everyone could see there was some serious business going on right there

live action shot of lecture hand

Thanks for having me and I hope everyone learned something. One of the students told me he was going to go home and set up a YouTube channel and start vlogging so I'm glad my 'stay in school but please make sure you can make things' plea was received by someone. 

Useful resources for getting unstuck on your social media campaigns

It always amazes me the that people working in marketing and communications industries have such a blind spot about asking the technology vendors how to best use their products. I was working on an FMCG Facebook campaign for an agency in Sydney the other day and we weren’t sure about the best way to consolidate pages that had been run by various agencies and marketing teams over the years.

We got a bit stuck about what you could and couldn’t do so I asked for their Facebook account manager’s contact to get an answer. 

“Um. We don’t have one. There was this guy that called once but…why would you call Facebook?”

“Can you call Facebook? It’s just a sales office I don’t think they help you”

In Australia and New Zealand we have got very used to being self sufficient and not having any product support but remember that things have changed and many companies have had their hands forced into putting boots on the ground in market including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Often the resource is targeted at accounts over a certain spend or certain verticals they’re targeting but in the least, you should be going for their resources and guides to get you unstuck as a first point of call. 

Sometimes it’s just to get a download of the latest resources and examples. I find 20 minutes with an account manager can give me an idea of what campaigns they are benchmarking off, what their latest tools are and any metrics we might want to pay more attention to. 

Use their resources and guides as much as possible and don’t be weird about ‘they just try and sell us ads’. Of course they do, and aren’t you in business too? Learn from them, get some logins for their client resources, ask about latest tools and best practices -it’s their product and it beats everyone sitting around stuck. 

Useful resources
Facebook Media

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Twitter for Business

Google mobile playbook

Social media campaign benchmarking by country

YouTube advertising guide