By Mahalia Mingo
Zoom and Google hangouts seem to be the friend after a dinner party that doesn’t get the hint to please, kindly, leave. We crave connection in the form of human hugs and not an emoji, but the reality is that our world has gone digital – more than ever, dare we say, is the ‘new normal’. Checking your blue-light stained notifications first thing in the morning might be just a hair’s breadth from the reliance and resilience of a morning coffee, the welcomed vice we all are nearly all guilty of.
We FaceTime our friends and send virtual gifts through Aus Post. Our sense of community is digitally distanced, brought from the web cam and voice memos. With that, your digital marketing experts have been working on fresh concoctions and takes on tired methods of luring you in with the perfect SEO, advertisement, and quick copy.
We’ve all reigned in the new year with smiles, champagne and without the saying ‘twenty twenty won’ but now, we’re back in the swing of the daily grind, the post-holiday suntan is fading and we’re ready to crack into business.
At 3 Phase Marketing, we like generating our clients’ revenue. COVID-19 has impacted the way in which we shop, peruse and browse. Our AI intelligence grows day by day, gaining greater insight into your preferences and what advertisement to service you next. We’ve learnt to live our lives more online, and our technology has advanced to know what you need, before you search it.
But what do these drastic changes in internet usage mean for your business as we welcome in the new year?
Here is a gamut of wisdom, below are our 2021 trends in internet that usage to give you and your business a heads up this new year.
New Users, New Habits
Let’s get back to basics. There’s a torrent of new users with new internet habits that have been borne out of isolation. Many individuals finding that they have had to adapt to the times through online shopping.
We’ve seen this growth with the ‘new’ generation that has been around longer than the rest of us (we’re talking later than the baby boomers), there’s an abundance of new users looking to explore their options when it comes to e-commerce and community.
Hence, we’ve noted an increase in older individuals using the Internet. In fact, Internet user numbers show that 346 million people came online for the first time over the past year, and over half the world’s population or 3.96 billion people use social media.
To take a deeper look, Statista recorded the number of Internet users in Australia increased by 265 thousand (+1.2%) between 2019 and 2020.
Plus, in the week leading up to Christmas, Australia Post delivered over 12 million parcels to Aussies whose key consumer behaviours have shifted due to COVID-19. Online purchases were up by more than 42% in the first week of December, according to Australia Post data.
Our top tip: Don’t dismiss a whole generation. These new users have new habits that they aren’t afraid to take advantage of. Consider all key audiences and what your product or service is going to benefit them.
Community’s gone digital with a spike in Facebook Groups
Say ‘hello’ to the rise of the Facebook Group. With social gatherings on a hiatus, people are searching for that community feel but now, virtually. Who isn’t searching for the vital nuggets of Melbournians past? The social has been put back into social media with these channels becoming more prevalent in maintaining connections and formulating new ones. Evidence shows that this is the highest level of social media consumption in our lifetime!
In fact, Waterman Business Centres has seen an increase in their Facebook Group of 9% plus a 44% increase of engagement just between March 30th to May 7th during some of our peak lockdown periods.
With social gatherings on pause, social media platforms have become even more important channels for maintaining connections. “There is evidence now of the highest levels of social media consumption that we have seen in our lifetime,” according to Facebook. They’re powerful marketing tools, helping you attract new customers and engage current ones with exclusive content, community, and support. It allows us to directly communicate with our audiences, fostering a direct line with consumers.
This helps your business by featuring personalised, curated content, increase organic reach due to Facebook’s algorithm changes aimed to “prioritise posts that spark meaningful conversation” (Facebook, 2018), and in the future use it as a forum for feedback. Lastly, a Facebook Community Group will frame your organisation or business as an industry leader.
Our top tip: Invest in your community. Prioritise your engagement.
Why, you may ask? People are searching for that community, wholesome feel. Why go to a competitor when you have it right on your home screen?
The Way We Shop
Consumers have changed the way they shop, so you need to change the way you sell. Anyone will know that e-commerce is the way to go as of late, with the effects of COVID dictating the way we buy, shop and browse. Australia Post even reported five years’ worth of growth in the space of four weeks to keep up with these demands.
Online shopping is the go-to from active wear that you’ll be lounging in, to your weekly grocery shop from Prahran Market’s individual traders.
Businesses are changing and so are the Internet’s capabilities. Given the crisis on Australian business during COVID-19, consumers’ needs, wants and desires had to be addressed with rapid technological changes that traditional bricks and mortar stores were in dire need of.
Their key marketing challenge was not just to sell, but to pivot traditional bricks and mortar stores to virtual retail landscapes, demanded by a shift in consumer behaviour during COVID-19 with consumers spending up to 30% more online according to a survey produced by Search Engine Land as a result of social isolation. Plus, with Government restrictions regarding social distancing causing the growth of delivery demand – according to Insider Retail – brands have pivoted to online, to keep up with the times and keep business flowing.
Although you may be thinking, Victorians are (hopefully) on the other side, why would this be important now? National online sales and growth in Australia last November (2020) was up by 55.6 per cent compared with last year, and in Victoria and South Australia it was up by more than 64 per cent.
eBay Australia spokeswoman Sophie Onikul said the company’s research showed 71% of its customers intended to buy from Australian retailers this year.
Our top tip: It’s not too late to delve headfirst into the e-commerce world. Adapt now or stay behind.
You don’t need a state-of-the-art site (but if you do, we know who can also help) to get the sales flowing and the pick-packers running.
It’s safe to say, we live in a highly digitised world. Maybe now more so than ever. The world wide web isn’t the deep, crazy jungle that you may think. But it’s nuances don’t need to be so overwhelming. Anyone with some determination can have a go! If you need an added dash of brain power or some extra hands on deck, your digi’ marketing experts at 3 Phase Marketing are here to help.