April 10, 2018 - No Comments!

How Brands Can “Do Good” With Purpose

Gone are the days where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was a nice-to-have on a boardroom meeting agenda. It’s 2018, “doing good” is here to stay and millennials are sick of brands just talking about it.

Brought up in the fastest evolving decade, millennials have been well researched: from their spending habits and interests, to why they choose one brand over another, and just how important CSR is to them. With little government trust, millennials are backing bigger brands to take centre stage and use their power for good. It makes sense that they are increasingly focused on the world that they and the next generations will one day inherit.

But what is it that millennials want your brand to do?

We’ll Do Good, You’ll Do Good.

Doing good in their own right is just as important as their brand expectations. But with rising costs of living not matching their desired lifestyle, they’re turning to their social feeds rather than their wallets.

What if helping millennials do good was the thing they desired the most?

We’ve recognised a new way to connect with the market—by providing our readers with the platform to give back as well as create opportunities for brands to align with the doing good movement.

The Engagement Sweet Spot

Not only has The Urban List gained market share over this generation, we’ve come to understand how to connect with them in a unique and powerful way. When looking for product options to help us connect through doing good, there were three stats that really stood out and helped push us in the right direction.

  • 68% of millennials say creating change in the world is a personal goal (Enso, 2017)
  • 78% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than “stuff” (Harris, 2015)
  • 80% of our audience action our recommendations every month (The Urban List Reader Survey, 2016)

From here, The Urban List’s LOVE.FOOD experiential event was born.

LOVE.FOOD harnesses millennials’ desire for meaningful experiences and provides them with an opportunity to do good while having a good time.

We knew bringing the two together would cut through the noise, creating a destination where not only could brands achieve the kudos of connecting with a cause, but also reinvent the “do good” moment.

Last month we teamed up with Dress For Success for International Women’s Day to host the ultimate inspirational lunch. Set in the stunning Sydney Opera House, 160 guests were treated to amazing food by Solotel Group, and a panel discussion from some of Australia’s leading ladies of fashion. The event was a sell out, and 20% of all ticket sales were donated to Dress For Success, helping empower women around Australia. Guests walked away feeling inspired, full, and knowing that by purchasing a ticket to that event they have helped at least one woman in Australia on her path to thriving in work and live.

The Opportunity

There are another four LOVE.FOOD events planned for 2018 and four opportunities for brands to tap into this sweet spot.

The perfect opportunity to:

  • Position your brand to millenials as one that “does good”
  • Provide a platform for this market to actually engage with your brand as opposed to just reading about it
  • Leverage The Urban List influence and reach to spread the word and build brand affinity

Each event will see readers and brands connect over shared plates and shared social causes—empowering brands to raise awareness for the causes close to their heart.

If you’re sitting there thinking this is something your brand has to be a part of, get in touch with your Sales & Partnership Manager now to find out more info.

Jade Dunwoody
Strategy Director
The Urban List

February 5, 2018 - No Comments!

Insights From Inside: Facebook Changed Something Again…

by Clem Robin, Digital Marketing Manager

The publishing industry had a rather abrupt start to 2018 when Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook was changing its focus from helping people find relevant content, to helping people have more meaningful social interactions.

I.e. More content from friends, family and groups, and less content from businesses and publishers.

In many ways, this didn’t come as a surprise. We’ve seen them testing similar things in the market over the last 3-6 months, including a dual newsfeed in a handful of small countries.

Personally, I like the idea. I want to see more of the things that matter to me - friends, family and locally relevant content. Content that improves my life, rather than distractions.

In regard to its impact on The Urban List, it certainly prompted a few urgent conversations. How was it actually going to impact? Was it going to hit as hard as the media was drumming up?

For some businesses, probably, but as a content publisher who has always strived to create meaningful interactions through truly engaging, locally relevant content, we remained positive.

This is what Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed said, “The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” And we’re firmly in the second camp!

We’re now a month on from the announcement, and we just had our second biggest month of all time for website users, and traffic from Facebook was our best in three months.

That’s not to say we haven’t been affected. We’ve seen engagement rates up and down since Sept ‘17, but we’re still tracking at a level within the industry we’re really happy with.

You can see from the graph below that The Urban List Melbourne & Sydney have outperformed our peers for average engagements per post since July ‘17, and both pages kicked significantly in Jan ‘18.

We’ve maintained this level of engagement as social content has always been one of our strengths - it’s one of the areas that sets us apart from our peers. In fact, this is a key reason why our Facebook following is more than twice as large as our closest peer - testament to a very different approach to social content creation.

Of course it would be naive to rely too heavily on any third party. To mitigate that risk, we’ve done a lot of work to diversify our channels over the last 18 months and have had some solid results, including 60% YoY growth in search traffic and 37% growth in email traffic.


So what does the future hold?

The one thing we can be certain of, is that change will continue to happen across all marketing channels. And this is exciting.

One of the seven business pillars we have at The Urban List, is ‘Change is an Adventure’. We’re ready and willing to embrace change and the new opportunities that will come about.

Oh, and we’re of course happy to see Facebook’s most recent announcement that local news content is going to be prioritised in the newsfeed.

“Starting today, we're going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city. If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed,” said Mark Zuckerberg, noting that large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics.

As with all things Facebook, it's hard to know when it will take effect in Australia and New Zealand, but we're structured perfectly to benefit from this update. Bring it on!

November 29, 2017 - No Comments!

Insights From Inside: Peeling Back The Polish

by Susannah George, CEO & Founder

I am a total perfectionist and for the last two years, the building momentum around real time media has made me want to cover my eyes like the see-no-evil emoji. (🙈)

It’s impossible to ignore the deluge of instant content that’s blowing up across Snapchat, Facebook and the now-leader, Instagram. (ICYMI, Insta Stories surpassed Snapchat’s daily users early this year, on their first birthday.) And quite frankly, peeling back the polish that I’ve prided our brand on has made me feel unbelievably exposed.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in that. The idea of reducing the control around our brands, and our clients, feels like a minefield. And yet, many of us are conscious that it’s also one of the greatest opportunities we have. That we need to learn to manage the risk to reap the reward.

As to how the O.G. Snapchat was about to amass 170 million daily users and disrupt the Facebook empire sufficiently to follow suit? I have my theories… Certainly, a growing trend toward capturing moments to prove they transpired. (Enter, #picsoritdidnthappen) Though perhaps more poignantly, it all boils down to the age old need for trust – a growing preference to share in a version of the world that’s more authentic, more true; a backlash, led by millennials, in the face of over-filtered celebrity snaps, hyper-saturated sunsets, and seriously misleading food porn.

When butts are so high they warp doorframes...

Complexions are all shades of flawless…

And breakfast that looks like it was served in the post-Oz land of technicolour dreams.

Quantity Over Quality

Where once millennials curated their social feeds more religiously than brands, today they’re opting for quantity over quality. They create hundreds of millions of content pieces each day and are shifting their consumption behaviour to dedicate the majority of their time perusing the real-time carousel; thumbs tapping the right-now in lieu of scrolling through the feed of things shared more than 2 hours ago.

And unlike mid-30-somethings like me, they could care less about the longevity of their content. It’s not a treasured archive of experience, but a stickered snapshot in time – a RN (right now) look at #lyfe in all its unfiltered glory.

Timeliness = Relevance

Being both a publisher, and a perfectionist, the idea of peeling back the polish and the production value is quite daunting – producing content that isn’t lauded for its cinemagraphic brilliance, but its timeliness.

And inherent in that timeliness lies a new measure of quality – one that shows, first hand, that we as publishers and as brands, have relevance in culture. And that relevance presents an invitation to their lives.

This perfectionist is a convert.

Real time content represents one of the most under utilised opportunities, both for media and for brands. And while some waste time rendering style guides on to the new genre, hundreds of millions of people are consuming the content of those who were prepared to take the leap and fly.

The Proof

Each week, we see our Insta Stories racking up 450,000+ views – half a million eyeballs actively engaging with content that could just as easily, and relevantly be produced in collaboration with partner brands.

Half of our team watched the YES announcement crowded around Facebook Live (despite the oversized TVs dwarfing our board rooms) – testament to the relevance of this channel over broadcast. Ed note: Facebook Live is a space we’re just about to navigate through the talents of our new Branded Content Director, and former MTV Editor, Leni Andronicos.

And while the commercial opportunities of Snapchat are still being tested and trialed, this is a platform that our audience adores and as such, in 2018 we shall be showing it some love and getting on board.

We’ve always been committed to storytelling, where, when and how our audience wants it. And today, it seems they’re asking us to cut the brand conservatism and get real.

Top Tips From Our Editors
  1. Don't fight the medium.
    Higher production value does not equal increased impact. Produce content that pairs with the strength of the channel, and make use of it's native features (like polls, stickers and Facebook Live's functionality that allows you to create/edit some of the content in advance).
  2. Just because it's live doesn't mean that you can forget the narrative.
    This is still content and it should tell a story. Plan what you want your audience to take away from the experience, and look for elements that bring this to life.
  3. Authenticity is the aim of the game.
    Brand integration must be carefully considered, and used sparingly within the first 5 seconds unless you're in the fortunate position of being a socio-cultureal phenom. Arnotts & Peters Iced Vovo ice-cream collab, and unicorn Gaytimes, we're looking at you.