Kicking brand goals in the thriving digital marketing game

INTERNET marketing specialists SponsoredLinX, one of Australia’s largest privately-owned digital agencies, is reaping the rewards of what founder and CEO Ben Bradshaw describes as “unprecedented demand” for digital marketing assistance.

He said SponsoredLinX had seen a strong year’s trading with revenue growth tracking at 30 percent. To further fuel expansion, SponsoredLinX Group had increased its workforce by 50 percent to more than 150 staff in the past six months. 

“This is an excellent result for SponsoredLinX,” Mr Bradshaw said, “The company continues to deliver on a progressive and sustainable business strategy and has significantly expanded its footprint in Brisbane, citing unprecedented demand for its unique combination of developing and maintaining successful digital marketing campaigns.”

Mr Bradshaw said mobile search traffic was revolutionising small business activity, with comScore research on Facebook showing that users aged 18-34 spend about 800 minutes per month engaging with the site, either by desktop – with a reach of 91.4 percent – or mobile (99.3%). For those aged over 35, statistics show an average of 560 monthly minutes spent on Facebook.

Mr Bradshaw said Facebook also generated a 90.2 percent reach among millennials, more than 30 percent higher than second-placed Instagram.

“On mobile, Facebook again leads with an influential reach of 97.9 percent,” he said.

“Most businesses do not yet realise the power of mobile, and that a mobile website could be their most powerful marketing tool, due to their high conversion rate.”

Mr Bradshaw predicted that in less than three years, mobile search would overtake desktop searches – and with technology advances making it easier to make online purchases by mobile phone.

“People search differently via mobile than they do on their desktop, with 59 percent only looking at the first page of search results when conducting a search on their Smartphone,” Mr Bradshaw said.

He described SponsoredLinX’s role as being to ensure clients get on that first page of search results, no matter what type of device or program they use – and that when they do so, the experience drives greater real world customer-business contact.

“The business community’s acknowledgment that digital marketing is now a commercial imperative has radically shifted perceptions over the past few years,” Mr Bradshaw said.

“That’s a pretty exciting opportunity for everyone in this sector as we’re seeing incredible reach and diverse capability positively impacting everyday products and services not only commercially, but socially and culturally.

“With consistent growth throughout 2017, SponsoredLinX has paved the road for innovation in 2018,” Mr Bradshaw said. “This year, we have addressed the significant increase in mobile usage through app development and proprietary technology. This has driven deeper offerings for our SME clients.”

Brisbane born and raised, Mr Bradshaw said Brisbane had a competitive advantage when compared with other cities in the Asia Pacific region and was “the perfect base to run a cost-competitive business”.

“With Brisbane’s great infrastructure, it continues to strengthen its base of knowledge, talent and innovation, it is a great place to be and do business,” Mr Bradshaw said. “Our notable expansionary growth is a great confidence boost for Brisbane, which is why SponsoredLinX is proud to remain headquartered in Brissy.”

Since launching in 2006, Mr Bradshaw and his partner Shannah Whitford-Lowe have built a technology empire, now based in Fortitude Valley, that has sustained robust growth, spanning four cities, now with more than 150 employees.

“We’ve expanded significantly to ensure that we can bring to market the benefits of new technologies,” Mr Bradshaw said. “Businesses are seeking expertise to help them manage and benefit from technology-driven change and disruption.  To meet this need, SponsoredLinX crafts digital marketing campaigns for clients to achieve audience engagement. 

“Being successful in the highly-competitive, cut-throat industry of technology is difficult but with the right technology platforms and personnel, success becomes achievable. My personal dream of becoming a successful technology company has been realised as a result of pure hard work and innovation,” Mr Bradshaw said.

He described SponsoredLinX as an end-to-end data driven digital marketing solution agency, specialising in tailored strategies that deliver a direct return on investment to a wide range of businesses. He said using the latest technologies and pioneering new strategies. SponsoredLinX teams were able to offer unique solutions across a number of services with a heavy focus on data-driven marketing and application programming interface-driven solutions.

“Our goal at SponsoredLinX is to leverage on digital capabilities to change the way businesses operate to achieve greater business success through cutting edge digital marketing technology,” Mr Bradshaw said. “We support SMEs with the right technology to provide industry-focused solutions, leveraging on the latest innovations that will drive digital marketing competitiveness.

“A digital marketing presence is undeniably important for any SME business, but with so many platforms out there, how do you know which ones to be present on?

“We walk clients through which social platforms their business should be present on and why.”

Mr Bradshaw said most requests from businesses sought help with digital strategy across Google Adwords, SEO, mobile marketing, social media management, app marketing, mobile websites and web development.






ABC is not joking about comedy

THE AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Commission (ABC) has announced the December 4 launch of ABC Comedy,  a new multi-platform brand that spans a TV channel - replacing ABC2 - ABC iview, ABC listen and key social media platforms.

A statement from the ABC said the new brand would be "devoted to providing Australian audiences with an unrivalled comedy offering". ABC Comedy is a mix of scripted and non-scripted, long and short form TV shows, and podcasts.

Tonightly with Tom Ballard will screen on the ABC Comedy TV channel weeknights at 9pm and stream live through ABC Comedy  on iview, Facebook and YouTube. 

"It’s a show made for today's audiences — fast moving, irreverent, topical, talent driven, and just plain funny — with bite-sized packages released throughout the day on social media," the ABC spokesperson said.

"Lovers of snackable short form comedy will enjoy six all new Australian ABC Comedy  series available on iview from December 4. These include Nakkiah Lui’s new series Kiki and Kitty#CelesteChallengeAccepted from comedian and Instagram star Celeste Barber; The Chinaboy Show from YouTube sensation John Luc (aka MyChonny); Neel Kolhatkar’s Virgin Bushthe charming Other People’s Problems; new Indigenous comedy Aussie Rangersplus the next series of When TV Was Awesome as well as 60 new bite-sized films from the new batch of Fresh Blood teams."

New ABC Comedy  YouTube and Facebook feeds will feature short form content, exclusive edits and live streams. A new and fast-growing series of comedy podcasts on ABC listen will also give audiences opportunities to listen and laugh.

Over summer viewers can also binge on ABC Comedy  on iview with the full series of Rosehaven, Get Krack!n’The Ex-PM, The Edge of the Bush, The Katering Show, Upper Middle Bogan, Almost Midnight, DAFUQ, Goober, Fancy Boy, Growing Up Gracefully, Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am, The Letdown, Lost in Pronunciation, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival showcases and Comedy Up Late.

There is a plethora of premium international titles to launch the ABC Comedy channel including: Game FaceCatastrophe Season 3 (S3), Episodes (S4&5), Murder in Successville,Inside Amy Schumer (S3&4) and every weeknight a chance to enjoy Never Mind the BuzzcocksThe Office30 Rock and Parks and Recreation2018 titles include Fleabag (S1), Plebs (S3)Asian Provocateur, and Idiot Sitter (S1). More titles are to be announced soon.

"The laughs will continue on the ABC’s main channel, with a raft of returning favourites in 2018 including Gruen, Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Black Comedy and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018 in addition to new series from some of Australia’s best. 

"Squinters stars Tim Minchin plus a stellar ensemble cast including Jacki Weaver. It follows five car-loads of Sydney commuters squinting into the sun and riffing on their days. Sando is a new family comedy that follows the trials of lovable larrikin Victoria ‘Sando’ Sandringham. Don Angel (Wayne Hope) returns in Back in Very Small Business. And Corey White’s Road Map to Paradise tackles the big issues of the day and aims to solve them — with a laugh or two — in 15 minutes."

David Anderson, ABC director of television said, "The ABC is committed to investing in great content for all Australians. We have a long and impressive history of entertaining Australians through iconic comedy and entertainment programs. Our announcement today reaffirms this commitment and underscores the ABC as a powerhouse of great Australian comedy into the future."




Fake news threatens journalism

JOURNALISTS  are trying to do more with less amid challenges of poor funding, job insecurity, digital disruption and – most threatening of all – public confidence loss from ‘fake news’.

Those are the conclusions of research by national communications consultancy, BBS Communications Group, which found of the 48 Australian journalists surveyed, 29.2 percent believed the reputation of mainstream news in Australia as a trustworthy institution was either ‘in the balance’ or ‘under threat’. Australian journalists generally believed the perception was getting worse. 

A worrying 70.9 percent of those polled said the Australian public generally viewed mainstream news as ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘only trustworthy at times’; and most – a 62.5 percent – believed the general public’s view of mainstream journalism had declined in the past year. 

BBS director Lisa Nixon said the survey results painted a bleak picture of the challenges facing journalists and their outlets.

“The constant need to be first was a prominent theme that came out of the research,” Ms Nixon said.

“This isn’t new of course in the media world, but it is concerning that journalists feel under increasing pressure to put first above factual. Journalists are racing against the clock — and each other — to meet their employers’ expectations to be first, frequently at the expense of accuracy.”

Another area for high concern is in the area of ‘fake news’.

Fake news articles are deliberately outrageous hoax stories packaged as legitimate news and designed to be quickly shared through social media to create advertising revenue for the website’s owner.

A sizeable minority – 27.1 percent – of journalists polled said their outlet had published an article based on fake news in the past year.

“Once again, I think it comes down to a lack of time and resources for many journalists,” Ms Nixon said.

“A lot of fake news stories can be pulled apart with time and investigation, but the business pressures of many news organisations often don’t allow for or it seems, encourage that to happen.

“Changes in technology have meant news outlets are frequently chasing something — anything — to fill the news vacuum and gain an edge over their competitors.

“The rise of citizen journalism is a good example of how technology has changed how journalists operate,” Ms Nixon said.

“The vast majority of those we polled say citizen journalism has impacted the professional news business and interestingly, journalists are both enthusiastic and critical about it.

“A lot of journalists said citizen journalism has generated leads, but also allows business to bypass traditional media gatekeepers.

“This bypassing of the traditional fact-checkers in our democracy is cause for concern in the longer term,” Ms Nixon said.

Other key findings from the BBS Communications report: 

  • Journalists believe Australian journalism is perceived as more trustworthy than their global competitors. 
  • Most journalists believe they have the resources to adequately fact check stories but are under time pressure to get stories out. 
  • ‘Trump’ and ‘Social Media’ are the words that first come to mind when journalists think of fake news. 
  • 12.5 percent of journalists say the public’s trust in their profession is significantly worse than last year. 
  • While it is still a concern, most journalists (66.7 percent) encounter deliberately false news less than once per week. 
  • Journalists believe the number one issue for Queensland and Australia in 2017 will be Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.




ABC $50m investment extends to regions

THE AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Commission (ABC) will invest $50 million in new content and create 80 new jobs in rural and regional Australia under a new strategy and transformation program.

The program announced by ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie – named Investing in Audiences – involves a number of interlocking initiatives “designed to strengthen the corporation and enhance its ability to deliver on its Act and Charter and serve the community”. 

Ms Guthrie said the key initiatives were creating a $50 million fund open to all employees to source new ideas for content; investing $15 million per year in regional jobs and extra digital and video output as a key part of the fund; implementing a new streamlined leadership team and structure; reducing management by 20 percent and addressing duplication in support roles; signalling a transition to a more audience-focussed content structure over the next 12 months; delivering additional production and support efficiencies across ABC TV and ABC News.

Ms Guthrie said both the Content Fund and the Regional Investment involved unprecedented financial commitments by the ABC from within its own budget.

“The fund enables us to respond with flexibility and speed to shifting audience trends and to extend our reach and engagement, especially with audiences who are infrequent ABC users,” Ms Guthrie said.

“Regional investment will be a priority. We’re committing to an injection of funds, ultimately building to $15 million a year, to provide more reporters and content makers, better tools and increased video and digital output. The ABC will recruit up to 80 new content roles in regional areas within 18 months.”

The ABC aims to reduce management by an average 20 percent across the corporation, with support areas to absorb a higher percentage of that cut. There will also be a process to address duplications across support roles. The savings will go directly towards the Content Fund. ABC TV and ABC News will also reduce production and support roles as part of internal efficiency targets.

The restructure reduces the number of main ABC divisions from 14 to eight, with the four existing content divisions balanced by new streamlined support functions. Sitting alongside the four content divisions (Television, Radio, News and Regional) will be new divisions for Finance, Technology, Engagement and Audiences. Editorial Policies and Government Relations will be specialist functions reporting direct to the managing director..

“These initiatives recognise that incremental reform isn’t the answer and that transformational change over the next year is essential if the ABC is to realise its full potential,” she said. “Change that strengthens the organisation, empowers our people and delivers long-term results for audiences.”

Ms Guthrie said 150 to 200 staff would leave the ABC by June 30, 2017.

The ABC has proposed integrating staff in ABC International into the ABC, enabling the Corporation to utilise all its knowledge, skills and platforms to better serve audiences in the Asia-Pacific region and deliver on its International Charter remit.

There are a number of new leadership team appointments. David Anderson, previously the director of corporate strategy and planning and director of Digital Network with 25 years experience at the ABC, is the new director of ABC Television.

There will be a new Audiences Team, led by Leisa Bacon, who was previously the director of audience and marketing. The new Audiences Division has an expanded remit to oversee the use of the Content Fund and to provide an across-the-ABC approach to research and audience strategy.

Louise Higgins, who has a strong background in financial media management, including working at the BBC and at Nova Entertainment, has joined the ABC as chief financial officer. Sam Liston, formerly the director of ABC People, has become chief engagement officer.

Alan Sunderland will remain as director of editorial policies and Michael Millett will be director of government relations.



The ABC Board has issued its own statement here.

For additional information on the ABC Leadership Team is available here.