Australian marketers lead Asia Pacific in digital marketing but investment and skill shortages could stall adoption of more advanced implementation

131119 Paul RobsonPaul Robson, Managing Director, Adobe Australia & New Zealand – LinkedIn

Today Adobe released some new research in partnership with the CMO Council and it shows Australia continues to lead the Asia Pacific region in the adoption of digital marketing. With further investment and skills development, Australia is poised to become a regional centre of expertise for digital marketing in Asia Pacific.

The second annual APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard Report benchmarked the levels of adoption, traction and success of digital marketing in Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. 276 senior marketers within the Asia Pacific region from a range of industries took part.

This year, Australian marketers reported stronger support for digital marketing from company leadership compared with other countries across the region. Customer preference, cost efficiencies and return on investment are cited as the driving forces behind the shift to digital, and this year’s study highlights content strategy and web content development as overwhelming priorities on marketers’ agendas. However, industry skill shortages and lack of investment are noted as impediments to maximizing the potential adoption of more sophisticated digital marketing strategies and techniques.

Key findings from the study for Australia include:

  • Support for digital marketing from company leadership is highest in Australia with 62% of marketers reporting they have a strong digital marketing champion on their leadership team. This compares with 38% across the region and suggests Australian business leaders are ahead of the curve in understanding digital’s impact on business.
  • Measurement capabilities, cost efficiency and the ability to prove a return on investment have emerged as major drivers of digital marketing in Australia according to 69% of marketers.
  • Australian investment in digital marketing increased in 2013 and our marketers continue to invest more than any other country in the region. An aggregate of 49% of Australian companies participating in the survey spend 25% of their total marketing budgets or higher on digital marketing, compared with 41% in 2012. This compares with 42% in India, 31% in Singapore and 3% in South Korea in 2013. The average global spend on digital marketing is between 25 – 35% of total marketing budgets.
  • Australian marketers have new priorities this financial year with 77% nominating digital marketing content strategy as top of their list, ranking as a top priority for the first time. Secondary priorities include social media optimization, which was first last year; and increasing and improving search and online display (each ranked at 42%).

This year’s research shows more senior business leaders are getting behind the adoption of digital marketing and that is driving growth in Australia. The research shows senior leaders are basing their support not only on customer preference for digital but also on the promise of greater productivity, visibility and accountability for investment. They are now seeing proof of the promise for digital marketing to bring value and accountability to a major investment area.

However, while investment levels are highest in Australia, marketers are also reporting insufficient investment and a lack of skills are preventing them from broadening their digital marketing strategies beyond some of the more standard metrics such as website performance (87%) and click through rates (77%).

These are excellent measurements but important performance indicators such as churn rate and customer lifetime value are too low in priority at 13% each. With further investment and better skills, marketers could be leveraging much more from the data they have to drive business results and demonstrate ROI.

In spite of this, with so many of the fundamentals in place, Australia has the potential to establish itself as a regional centre of digital marketing expertise if these issues can be addressed.

We’re continuing to launch country-specific findings across the region this week. Keep visiting Digital Dialogue to read in-depth findings from Korea, Singapore, China & India.

Download the complimentary executive summary

APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard Infographic

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