Last year has been a significant milestone for the digital media industry in Sri Lanka. More brands came on board or became more active after realizing the significance of digital media. Same time, the number of content contributors also grew while keeping a proper balance between them and content consumers.
Surprisingly according to internetlivestats.com, 2016 is the year which has the lowest change of user growth (8.6%) after 12 years time. The main reason is that the internet users are now being added from the late majority of the innovation curve. Innovators, Early adaptors and Early Majority have already been connected and there was a rapid growth rate during that period of time. In 2017, It is expected that the growth rate will further go down to 7.5% and many other factors like government regulations, tariff changes will affect this largely.
(Source: Facebook Advertising Platform)
Number of Facebook users in Sri Lanka reached 4.9 million mark at the end of December 2016. It is a rapidly growing social network in Sri Lanka while other social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gaining the momentum in a slow phase. About 73% of the users are accessing Facebook only from their mobile while 18% use multiple devices (Desktop/Mobile) to access Facebook in Sri Lanka. There is about 30% user growth during last year and the main reason can be the viral topics surfaced during the particular period and the mainstream media (TV/Radio/Press) talking about it frequently.
(Source: Facebook Advertising Platform)
Instagram is becoming very popular among the youth in Sri Lanka and the number of users were doubled during last year (2016) after it was acquired by Facebook. Simplicity and the attractiveness of this social network will bring in more new users in the next year hopefully while creating a seamless platform for digital advertisers.
(Source: LinkedIn Advertising Platform)
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals and maintaining a profile in this network has become a must if you are looking for a job opportunity or need to network with like-minded professionals in the respective industries. There is a year-on-year user growth rate of around 10% and by the end of 2017 this network will have about 862,000 users.
(Source: Twitter Advertising Platform)
Twitter is growing quite slowly in Sri Lanka since the users find it difficult to utilize and interact with. Even though, there are about more than 1 million twitter accounts in Sri Lanka, actual number of active users are around 180,000 currently. This will probably grow by another 10% by the end of 2017. Also it is necessary to mention that these current users are highly active and engaging compared to the users on other social networks.
What else to expect than just numbers?
1. Importance of integrating traditional with digital Media
Brand managers will understand the importance of integrating traditional media campaigns with digital media and measuring the success of overall campaign. Already some of the big brands in the market are testing out the possibilities of integration and those campaigns have seen better performance than the standalone campaigns. Also the budget allocation for digital media will increase significantly during 2017. Brand managers will be encouraged to cut down traditional media budgets (press and radio probably) and invest it on digital media.
2. Influencer Marketing
Considering the challenges with outdated banner ads, typical social media posts and ad blocking, digital marketers will see the importance of trying out influencer marketing for their products and services. With the new content creators on Facebook and YouTube, influencer marketing will be an easy task to execute when you identify the right people. You can read more about this on my previous blogpost.
3. Social is the new SEO.
According to a recent report on TechCrunch, Facebook has surpassed search; social has replaced SEO. What does this mean? Simply think about an instance you searched about the latest offers of KFC, McDonalds or KFC. Where did you go to find about offers? Searched on Google or directly checked on their Facebook pages? Obviously you would check the Facebook page to get to know the latest offers and furthermore you would read the comments as well to know the feedback.
4. Competitive Content marketing
Yes. Everyone was doing content marketing for last couple of years and now we are in a matured stage of this method. It will get tougher to stand out from all those content and grab the attention of your audience in this new year. Articles, Photo stories, Video contents, Audio clips and unimagined mediums will surface on digital space and the most creative ones will get the attention in this cluttered landscape.
5. Virtual Reality and Immersive Marketing
This is another way of doing content marketing but with a new twist. Now Virtual Reality is becoming the talk of the town now with affordable devices and different content. This will create a great opportunity for marketers to engage their audience in a new medium. Already Facebook and YouTube has introduced 360 degree videos and these features will be further exploited by marketers in coming months to market the products and services to consumers in a creative way.
By: Udara Dharmasena
This article was first publishedin: http://www.udaraumd.com/advertising/expect-digital-media-landscape-sri-lanka-2017/