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Archive for June, 2014

An Australian Reaction To Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Internet & new technology analyst Mary Meeker has been known for her industry-leading work around online growth & investment opportunities since 1998, when Google was in Beta and looked like this:

Currently in a venture capitalist role at the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers firm, her latest Internet Trends report was recently delivered and there are plenty of precious nuggets of wisdom we think are relevant to the Australian market. Here are 3 (of many) of Meeker’s key observations we feel are salient to current local industry conversations:

1.       Mobile usage vs total web usage is growing…  But is it cannibalising PC usage, or creating incremental time spent online in Australia?

Globally, the percentage of page views coming from mobile devices is 25% in 2014, up from 14% in 2013:

The corresponding shift in advertising spend is rather incongruent. In the US, for example, mobile accounts for 20% of total media consumption time with only 4% of advertising budget being invested into the channel. Although many advertisers and agencies are recognising this imbalance, the question remains as to whether a greater mobile investment ought to be at the expense of prevailing desktop/PC budget, or whether it should be supplemented by wider marketing allocations.

One way of exploring this is to measure the fluctuations in average daily users over time across PC and mobile devices:

Source: Nielsen Market Intelligence – Australia Domestic Traffic

With both mobile and tablet activity increasing, and PC activity remaining steady, it suggests that Australian consumers are not sacrificing good old PC time to make way for greater mobile and tablet usage. It follows that advertisers need to look beyond traditional digital budgets to capitalise on the significant mobile opportunity on the table.

(As a side note: marketing in media silos in this way, while widely regarded as passé, remains an inherited factor to be addressed by brands and agencies).

2.       Digital music streams are up, but digital track sales have suffered their first YOY decline (US)

Music streaming services have proliferated in the Australian market in the last year – and if we follow our US counterparts, this new way of listening to music is here to stay. This new model has been driven by Millennials, both in terms of the industry circumventing music piracy, but also by this audience’s pure utilitarianism & lesser need to ‘own’ music. Indeed, we’ve seen a 27% increase in the number of people streaming music in Australia from 2012 to 2013 compared to only an 8% increase in digital album sales revenue and a 26% decrease in physical sales.

The result is a confusing abundance of music streaming services launching in our local market in the past 2-3 years:

With front runners Spotify (1.1 million monthly active members) and Pandora (700,000 monthly active members) now delivering significant scale, it’s again the role of advertisers and agencies to capitalise on the opportunity and understand the role of music streaming as a channel (i.e. am I a radio ad, or something more?)

Some great examples of brands using music streaming as something more than a natural extension of radio are those integrating with streaming services’ APIs. Reebok was one of the earlier but most effective examples of this, with the Reebok FitList app being enabled by their Spotify partnership:

This provided a relevant and useful tool to Reebok’s fitness audience, and leveraged the true value and functionality of the platform rather than its audio ad potential alone.

3.       YouTube continues to see strong growth as a favoured online video platform, however is TrueView video marketing the optimal format?

Meeker attributes YouTube’s continued growth to the large volume of new channels being created and consumed on mobile devices, which are going through early stage rapid unit growth (particularly tablets). However, her favourable reference to the skippable, ‘cost-per-view’ TrueView video ad format is something currently being challenged in the Australian market. While many agree that being able to skip ads before short-form content respects user experience, marketers also need to achieve positive ROI within this format.

One example of this is Tube Mogul’s Engage-to-Skip product, which maintains the user’s ability to skip to the content but requires them to make a simple brand engagement before doing so:

Uptake for this format is not yet mainstream, however it’s a good example of a brand trying not to disregard user experience in the quest for driving advertising ROI. We can see this ‘Vote for your Favourite’ functionality working well for most categories – although it may be a challenge for some (Life Insurance and Adult Diapers immediately come to mind). Nevertheless, we love the idea of using this data to then serve a more desirable video ad to engagers.

This is really the tip of the iceberg in terms of the trends Meeker covered, which gravitated around the ‘Re-imagining’ of experiences now heavily influenced by new technology. Whilst many of her insights are global or US-centric, we definitely think it’s worth reading in full because this lady really knows her stuff!

State – The Global Opinion Network

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

There’s a new kid on the social media block and it might just be one of our best consumer-led research tools yet.

Since Myspace, many social networks have come into play, most notably Facebook. During this time social networking has continued to grow and evolve, while at the same time evolving and changing us. Our relationship with Facebook is a complicated one; it has changed how we interact and connect with each other, regardless of geography. On the other hand it has changed how we view each other and perhaps ourselves. Studies suggest that social networks such as Facebook affect our happiness and our relationships, particularly when it comes to feelings of envy.

Facebook has also become a repository for opinion.  However, when Facebook news consumers were asked about what bothered them, political statements from family and friends ranked high at 32% with 14% bothered by opinions about something in the news. 58% also stated they had been surprised by a friend or family member’s opinion about an event in the news on the site. This is likely due to our networks being traditionally made up of people we know. Not necessarily people we’ve connected with through how we think or feel about a subject.

Queue State.

State is a new social media platform that has launched with the intention of being a conversation network for users to express their opinions, without the self-promotion (or ‘like’ anxiety).

According to its creators: ‘State lets people communicate in a lucid, non-competitive way. It’s a place where you don’t need hashtags, followers, or fame, just an opinion. The solution we lit upon was at the convergence of simple design and semantic intelligence. It allows people to express opinions in a quick and fun way that also provides enough information to interpret, count, and connect them.’

Basically State is set up to connect people through what they think (whether they differ or share the opinion). As described in an introduction video published by State “every time you ‘State,’ your opinions connect you to new people and new things. So you’re not limited to a single group of friends or followers, and your network gets bigger and smarter.”   

It’s fairly user friendly, you pick a topic, choose three ‘opinion words’ from a set list and leave a comment. After doing this you’re able to see who shares your opinion and who doesn’t; with a top word group (or word cloud) based on the top ‘opinion words’ and, most interestingly, a sentiment graph.

If State can grow its user base to the likes of Facebook or Twitter it will become a very valuable source of sentiment information. Given you can join through Facebook or Twitter, basic demographic information would also be available. For brands, companies, advertisers and politicians this kind of information can be very useful and potentially powerful.

As an advertising platform, companies will be able to target an audience based not just on their demographic, but on their self-declared passions and interests.

However where it may differ from Facebook, is in its appeal. Given its based on opinion sharing, State may not be as broad in its appeal as Facebook, which would mean opinion and sentiment information would be limited to its own demographic profile. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as sentiment within certain demographics is still very valuable information for certain brands.

State is definitely a space to watch and if it can maintain the integrity of what it has been set up to do, it could be a very interesting and empowering tool for both users and marketers.



How to connect with the Millennial Generation

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Smart advertisers are quickly realising that the Millennial Generation is one to watch. Aside from taking selfies, this young group of adults who are the major consumer group of the future are rumoured to be larger than the Baby Boomers and 20 percent bigger than Generation X.

The Millennial Generation also known as Generation Y were born into an ever evolving digital world where mobile phones, digital TV and the internet have formed part of their DNA. Often seen head down in their smart phone, this generation is consumed by media.

The Millennials world is a mixture of real and virtual life and with access to ever developing technology and devices, Millennials can be online 24/7.

Advertisers are quickly realising that they need to be smart if they want to keep up with this generation whose spending is increasing but attention span is becoming less and less.

So how do we engage with these people and what makes the Millennial tick?

  • I know my stuff’ – This generation can hardly remember life without the internet, as a result they are very well informed. You can bet your bottom dollar that this group of people won’t make any significant purchasing decisions without researching, discussing with their friends and sharing their thoughts and feedback on social channels.
  •  ‘Let’s connect’ – Millennials don’t mind advertising and they appreciate clever viral ads but if it doesn’t provide something of use it will quickly be forgotten. This group of people like to be treated professionally, they appreciate the ‘straight talking no messing’ approach and aren’t a fan of gimmicks.
  •  ‘Don’t waste my time’ – Millennials are time precious and often in a hurry, they have no problems purchasing online – in fact, they prefer it. They like everything to be quick, painless and easy, so seamless media executions and simple forms are high on the Millennials list.
  • ‘I like free stuff’ – Instant gratification and freebies are right up the Millennials street,  Millennials will often enter competitions and will happily share their experiences with friends.
  •  ‘Reputation is key’ – Millennials are influenced by their peers.  Often looking for their peers opinions and approval before making decisions, this generation is constantly craving contact with their peers through social media.
  • Shout it from the rooftops’ – Keeping Millennials onside is important. Bear in mind that this group have constant access to technology and are often willing to share their experiences online, both positive and negative!
  •  ‘Mobile, Mobile, Mobile’ – Mobile should be a key focus when communicating with the Millennial Generation since their mobile phone is never too far away. Cross-media and cross-device strategies have never been more important.

In summary, the Millennial Generation is the group to watch.  By tailoring marketing efforts with the above points in mind you are likely to gain success in an ever evolving and lucrative generation.