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Digital marketers, are you listening?

Podcasts have become widely popular in a short amount of time in the US. About 75% of trendsetting Generation Z – people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s – pay for a streaming or music service, compared to six out 10 among the not all that older Millennials (a third of whom say they listen to at least one podcast daily). Commuters and workers are coming more and more to value multitasking and making efficient use of time. This is indeed the Information Age, as a new study among on the popularity of podcasts in the US indicates.

 

Giving reason to radically rethink ideas related to digital distraction and shorter attention spans, Millennials are focused more than other age group on education podcasts, and along with Gen Zers are 5 percent more likely to play podcasts for motivation related to professional development than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. The two younger generations were also more likely to listen to podcasts of 26 minutes, compared to older generations. Significant majorities in all generations believed that podcasts helped them in terms of intellectual growth. Older generations still saw them more as gadgets associated with downtime rather than the platforms for learning they have also become thought of among younger Americans.

 

Spreading the word

 

Most podcast fans want to share, but desire easier technology allowing for sharing snippets of sound rather than links requiring some fine tuning to get to the best sections. Spotify, Apple Podcasts and web browsers were cited as the most popular platforms for podcasts. Nearly a full tenth of the entire adult US population listen to at least one podcast a month, a trend that has shown significant increase. Good listeners are indeed out there, for anyone sharing the right messages…

 

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Sports influencers making lots of smooth moves

After a slow start compared to other marketing fields, sports marketing has taken off, and shows no signs of slowing down. Industry experts cite a variety of factors for the trend, but particularly the relatively sudden appearance of Gen Z’s financial prowess. This digital native, most socially conscious demographic is expected by next year to be spending anywhere from US$30 billion to over US$100 billion annually. Just as e-commerce platforms and big data are coming of age, not surprisingly, so are the youngsters best positioned to take advantage of new ways of spending income, including sports-related purchases.

 

An e-marketing bonanza awaiting

 

The new earners and spenders of Generation Z are seen as being more pragmatic, supportive of social initiatives, and robustly responsive to campaigns of all kinds that directly appeal to them and appear genuine in intent. At the same time, around two-thirds of marketers of sports events, teams and equipment and see more influencer programs as being vital for their field in the mid- and long-term future. The up-and-coming generation in particular can long expect to be targeted with sports-related campaigns.

 

Great ROI for sports marketing

 

The ROI of recent sports marketing programs indicates that they are very effective in generating profits. Sports marketers in recent studies said this is facilitated by having open relationships with influencers and working collaboratively to ensure that the authentic reach of their influence was optimized in line with client companies’ needs and matching them in turn as closely as possible to the expectations of buyers.

 

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Marketing, automated

When you’re curious about what chance there is of rain, snow or something even more dramatic falling down on you, it’s good to know weather reports are reasonably reliable. While the forecasts for marketing trends may not yet be as accurate, they are getting better at indicating stormy conditions best avoided. Still in its infancy, this technology is called predictive analytics, and uses AI to help marketers forge ahead more confidently with strategy based largely on future customer behavior, in ways that would have looked risky just a few years ago.

 

PR, scientifically

 

The science takes a variety of statistics and facts about current trends to build models that are getting better at giving a good indication of how consumers will spend their money, based on analysis of past behavioral patterns. The big idea is that this will help save a ton of money on splash-out marketing campaigns and help PR agencies and their clients improve ROI numbers. Six out of 10 entrepreneurs questioned in a recent study said that think predictive analytics is an extremely significant trend, while nearly three-fourths of them said it would more definitely be so within two years.

 

Why predictions matter

 

Beyond lucrative applications for predicting the wants and needs of buyers of all kinds of products and services, the technology will be useful for prioritizing and qualifying leads, focusing publicity and campaigns on more targeted audiences, and more efficient introduction and testing of new items in the market. Predictive analytics is one more indicator of how big data is changing and enriching the information landscape in countless ways.

 

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The rise of video SEO

Image may not be everything, but videos are often more fun to take a moment to be distracted by than text. Marketing experts know that using video helps websites rank more highly in terms of SEO. The authority of the website matters as well, in addition to various factors that will increase the professionalism of your videos. High quality video videos have been easily shot on smartphones for years now, and companies are slowly getting better about capturing images in short films that help project the image they want.

 

How to optimize

 

Having a website that’s already impressive helps. So does a good choice and use of platforms your videos are seen and available on beyond your website. Social media accounts like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook are of course useful for generating awareness. Screenshots can be extracted from footage and used to help generate interest with a choice caption. If you don’t have a transcript yet, make one – this will make it easier for those who still prefer reading or use it part of the time. And do you offer a choice of languages?

 

Thumbnails matter

 

The video will get better play when it is the focus of the page and not lingering in corners. This makes for easier navigation as well. Another tech spec to be aware of is page-loading time. Since videos aren’t digested all in one go, and don’t lend themselves as effectively to scanning and scrolling through like website and texts, having an enticing and clear thumbnail image with an appropriate title is a must. If your video is about dining in a particular restaurant, don’t use a thumbnail featuring someone driving to the restaurant or something else indirectly related. But being human matters too. One marketing site found that thumbnails with a person were clicked on 30% more. Many tend to judge a book by its cover and a video by its thumbnail, so make sure to have an irresistible one.

 

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The shifting but significant nature of SEO and social media

Recent research shows that while almost two-thirds of small businesses have social media accounts, just over half of them have a social media marketing strategy. While that may not be as dangerous as buying and driving a car without getting a driver’s license first, there is plenty of room for more prudence on behalf of firms of any size attempting to make best use of their online potential. Even when you don’t know all of the terrain that lies ahead, roadmaps are useful.

 

Social media marketing coming of age

 

Over 55% of these businesses with a social media presence have an in-house team managing these webpages, while 37% of them use social media software to help maintain their social media accounts. The most popular ways in which these firms are tracking the success of their social media presence is engagement (24%), leads/conversation (24%), clicks to other websites (18%) and audience growth (16%). There remains significant reluctance to jump into new waters without a sense of what lies beneath.

 

Don’t forget SEO, even if it’s mysterious

 

Even more perplexing than attempting to optimize usage of social media is managing your website’s SEO, since, well, we’re not quite sure exactly what it is or how it works, actually. Over 60% of small companies place greater importance on social media marketing than SEO planning. Just over a third of small businesses have an SEO strategy, although about a quarter of them plan to have one by the end of 2019. This lack of planning is perhaps understandable when considering the shifting, unreliable nature of what SEO is, and how search engines like Google define it. But it pays to pay attention and be ready for what comes next, when some kind of calm and standardization comes about after the stormy conditions defining the online world of today.

 

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Who’s your CSR czar?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been with us for around a quarter century now, but is rooted in philanthropic concepts as old as time, which go to the heart of what society could or should be based on. The tendency to want to be seen as doing good and being fair-minded has long been a concern to leaders of businesses, nations and other institutions. Not least of which since it helps justify their continuing to retain power and influence, for – at least in their minds – the greater good.

 

The authority to help out

 

While CSR is still seen as secondary to the overriding purposes of many firms, it easily aligns with their overarching mission statements, which describe companies’ ideal societal impacts, beyond profits. At a minimum, companies facilitate the betterment of the lives of employees and their dependents. Meanwhile, governments tend to see themselves as providers or at least enablers of the SR part of CSR. But as big data comes about, transparency increases and bottom lines and product origins become more traceable, CSR in a wider sense of ethics increasingly affects not just local environments, but carbon footprints felt globally.

 

The Gen Z factor

 

People with little to know knowledge of the last millennium or life before smartphones are now coming of age, shopping online, and expressing tendencies to spend their money on companies they see as taking stands on issues and sourcing products and services in ethical, sustainable and documentable ways. Several multinationals like Netflix, Google and IBM have reached out to young consumers who have expressed interest in supporting companies aligned with their progressive, modern values. Many brands are shifting to move away from certain segments of the public and more overtly marketing and positioning themselves to take better advantage of new demographic realties.

 

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Influence through the ages

While there’s tendency to look at modern, IT-focused folks these days as something like minions, overly reliant on our smarter-than-us smartphones and losing the ability to think independently, the truth is humans have never been all that hard to persuade. We are easily influenced, and influencers have long been toying with our perceptions of ourselves and how we might ideally perceive ourselves. But while we may not be fully in charge of our own destiny, we can at least be alert enough to retain significant influence in deciding who we let influence us in the digital age.

 

Incognito by nature

 

Two years ago, the US government called on social media influencers to be more open about who they are and who their sponsors are. The relevant regulating board noted that “clarity counts” in its advice for the industry to self-regulate, calling into question vague attributions such as #collab, #ambassador or #spon. Yet the lack of clarity and anonymity of those posting messages provides them the cover of security when whistleblowing is called for – not to mention good old-fashioned privacy.

 

All’s Well that Ends Well

 

This play by William Shakespeare’s play includes the advice of one character to another that if you “eat, speak, and move, under the influence of the most receiv’d star” the chances of career advancement and steering clear of trouble are higher. But while a full fourth of the master wordsmith’s many plays include the word “influence”, rarely is the word presented in a positive context. “Influence” derives from the Latin words for “inflow”, and indeed in many ways being influenced is as natural as breathing. But we must be on guard. Cautionary tales abound, and the truism “buyer beware” retains significance in the digital era. Be mindful of the influence that blows your way, and be careful of what you take to be truth.

 

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Gen Z’s sustainable, supercharged shopping spree

The young people of the world know what they want and know where they can get it. This trend will only increase, as the newest generation grows up. Online marketers not tuned into the call of Generation Z’s growing legions of focused, often female online shoppers, entertainment seekers and social media users risk losing out to, well, the future, actually…

 

Currying favor, spinning stories

 

The boldness and brevity of Gen Z was sportily displayed by one spritely girl who upon discovering that Stephen Curry’s latest line of trainers were available only for boys, personally appealed to the NBA superstar in a Tweet sweetly succinct, imploring him to take action. The forthrightness and connection the young storyteller forged proved irresistible and the Golden State Warriors player Tweeted back saying he had arranged for his young fan to attend an upcoming home game. She did, and was presented a pair of custom-made Curry 5s, along with a promise that she’d be among the first to try out the new Curry 6s when they debut.

 

Beyond brand awareness

 

In addition to not being shy about putting CEO-types in their place, girls are giving big brands a challenging time by being more willing to buy off-brand and generic products, patronizing companies like Kirkland and Amazon Essentials. Brands are in better shape on another score though, as long as they’ve got logistics covered: almost half of Gen Z girls said that their top motivational factor for buying clothes online was fast and free delivery.

 

Get ready, providers of products and services and the PR firms supporting them: Gen Z is entering the workforce and will be shopping online more and more in years to come.

 

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No cash, no problem

The 2018 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes indicates strong signs Thais are happy to forgo banknotes for the ease and convenience of digital payments. Eighty percent of people in the country surveyed for said they had tried using digital transactions systems last year, representing a boost of 50% in the number of respondents who had been asked the question a year before.

 

Less baht in hand, but more options

 

The trend is led by industry allowing for easier access to and promotion of payment systems involving debit and credit cards, QR payments and smartphone apps. The study says that 40% of Thais carry less currency notes that they did just two years ago, a rise of 15% among those who answered yes to this question in the previous survey. Besides convenience, safety was also cited as a key reason for the popular rise of cashless transactions. The shift in attitudes is also reflected in how 45% of respondents report that they could forgo cash for at least three days due to their increased familiarity with and the normalization of digital transactions. Stakeholders in various businesses are encouraged by the findings, and all the more galvanized to continue plans towards transforming Thailand into a cashless society.

 

No cash… No problem?

 

Companies are scrambling to align with the surge in online shopping – or should be. Cashback sites bringing together opportunities to buy a variety of products and services are making it just as easy to buy groceries as to book air tickets to just about anywhere. Yet for those on the margins, getting in on the trend remains challenging, when taking into account findings in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2018, which reports that the richest 1% of Thais control two-thirds of the country’s wealth, a higher percentage than in any of the 40 countries covered in the report, and surge of almost 10% since the previous report. While the study also lists Thailand among a few countries as “notable cases for emerging wealth”, income equality is an issue to consider if society as a whole is to take full advantage of the benefits of a cash-free lifestyle.

 

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Australia cracks down on violence in social media

Social media executives are now liable for punishment for scenes depicting “abhorrent” violence that are not “expeditiously” removed, according to a new law in Australia. The significant shift can more easily turn erstwhile nearly untouchable online publishers into criminals for their being deemed as overly lax on oversight of material on their sites. While traditional media has long played by such rules, social media has been held less accountable due to the nature of running a sharing community in which everyone is a potential content provider, with allegedly fewer opportunities for effective checkpoints.

 

Large platforms need to more responsible, not less

 

The clear message the new legislation sends is that larger sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, with their many millions of members, need to see themselves as complicit with the shockingly easy available videos and rants of an extremely offensive nature. A platform’s large size, rather than being used as an excuse for the difficulty of effective monitoring, should be all the more reason for more effective checking for the appropriateness of information being transmitted on such a scale.

 

Higher technology, lower morality

 

While representatives from many in technology and social media companies have raised concerns about the legislation, Australian Attorney Genera Christian Porter said that just as TV stations wouldn’t be able to get away with showing footage of a murder, neither should social media. Punishment for people hosting a service and neglecting to take appropriate action to remove material can now face up to three years in prison, a fine of 2.1 Australian dollars.

 

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