Alyka founder Bernard Chia says WA companies are using digital marketing less than those overseas.

WA behind in digital marketing: report

About a third of Western Australian small businesses don’t invest in digital marketing, according to a recent report by consultancy Alyka, although around 51 per cent of the sector are planning to spend more in that sphere in 2017.

Alyka founder Bernard Chia said the data, based on a survey of 192 businesses by Metrix Consulting, indicated that a lot of businesses felt underprepared for the economy’s growing reliance on the digital world.

“My main view is that WA is so far behind the whole world, even the eastern states,” he said.

That was because in the US, for example, companies would often spend more than half their marketing budgets on digital-based advertising.

But in WA that was generally less than 10 per cent, Mr Chia said.

Most business leaders surveyed considered digital marketing would be more valuable in five years than now, with 26 per cent currently considering it important today compared with 52 per cent predicting it would be important in five years' time.

Additionally, about 75 per cent of businesses did not have a process in place to plan and execute digital marketing campaigns.

Mr Chia said this indicated a disconnect between how important businesses considered digital marketing and their preparedness for change.

“It all starts from the audience group; each audience group consumes things differently,” he said.

“For a person like myself, you reach me through Linkedin, but you don’t reach my wife through Linkedin, you reach her through Facebook or Instagram.”

That meant decisions about targeting audience group were the first step in any campaign, he said.

Mills Oakley corporate advisory partner Stephanie Rowland said businesses were still learning about online marketing.

"Businesses are perhaps only beginning to come to terms with how important digital marketing is," she said.

"They’re learning how savvy they can be with data that can be collated, what kind of metrics you can run on that data, and how you can use that to really gain a deeper understanding of your client base."

There’s another interesting trend emerging in search engine optimisation, Mr Chia said.

Google is continuously changing its analytics to make it harder, judging quality and content using algorithms that are driven by social signals, reputation, time on site and bounce rates, he said.

That made the process more costly over time.

It was generally medium sized businesses that used search engine optimisation, he said.

The report is attached here.

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