The State of Brisbane Digital Marketing Agencies in 2024

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The Increasing Complexity of the Brisbane Digital Marketing Landscape

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In the last few years, the complexity for all marketers has only increased. A pandemic, new trends and platforms, and the rapid rise of AI have seen the digital marketing landscape as we know shift towards a new era. And, while BFJ Digital has adapted easily to these changes, it does make our job as marketers even more important to support businesses in navigating the digital landscape.

The Rise Of AI, How It’s Impacting Us, and How We’re Harnessing It

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AI has been quoted as being the most significant shift in business since the internet. Its arrival has fundamentally impacted our industry, transforming the way we operate, analyse data, and create content. However, the clear potential for AI to be used for malicious purposes is a problem. As AI use continues to increase, so does the concern for its misuse, from deception and manipulation of content to automated systems that could execute large-scale cyber attacks.

In the digital marketing landscape, AI has revolutionised how digital marketing agencies reach audiences, enhanced customer experiences, refined messaging strategies, and assisted return on investment (ROI) for businesses. On the flip side, AI poses its own threats, including click fraud and the consequences of spreading misleading information. There is also the question of Google’s algorithm and AI – will pure AI-produced content be penalised in search engine optimisation? How will Google protect unique content and brand individuality in a space where content no longer needs to be written by humans just to simply get words on the page?

We have found that the best digital marketing strategy for AI is one that emphasises transparency and accountability. AI is an incredibly powerful tool that has and will continue to shape digital marketing services, such as SEO services and social media advertising. However, it must be used carefully and with human intervention.

As an advanced technical agency, BFJ Digital have been using AI for years – from simplifying internal processes to using AI in Google Ads campaigns, and more. Here are some of the key ways our Brisbane digital marketing agency uses AI right now:

  • Start the research process for almost anything
  • Help clean up written material
  • Support ideation for both creativity and commercial thinking
  • Review code for the dev team
  • Audit certain systems (ie, we use AI to review GMB accounts optimisation)
  • Audit websites to determine interlinking opportunities
  • Increase daily processes like emails and writing (it will never replace us, we only use it to review what we’ve done, or get us started)

Media Strategy

The media landscape is becoming so fragmented and complicated that some advertisers and digital marketing agencies are wasting a portion of their budgets without the relevant governance of channels and platforms. With a lack of skills in the industry and some agencies not managing their ad spend properly, according to Next&Co.’s annual report, Australia saw a whopping $6 billion ad spend wasted out of a total of $14.1 billion. That’s disturbing, and an illustration of why marketers need to hold their agencies accountable. 

Businesses with a good agency or internal media team will find that the above figure will not affect them. 

When businesses are being courted by agencies, there are a few things for them to look out for to avoid working with agencies that are inexperienced or poor in service quality. 

  • Ensure there is full transparency in their reporting and strategy. 
  • Look for agencies who are clear in their explanations, and don’t just use jargon to impress.
  • Seek testimonials or case studies that outline clear results from successful campaigns.
  • Ensure they prioritise your involvement in decision-making and collaboration in digital marketing strategies for your business. 
  • Low prices can be indicative of shortcuts in quality – businesses should look for signs of rushing in proposals or past campaigns.

What We’re Seeing in the Media Landscape

  • Google CPC has increased, according to Search Engine Land, Google increased prices by 10% in 2023.
  • Google is still the king of acquisition of quality leads and likely will be until when / if AI chat competes. 
  • The pressure of mistakenly going for CPA is increasing when brand campaigns are not applied properly. Brand is king, and should always be included in any campaign.
  • Facebook is still performing, regardless of public perception. The success of the Metaverse rebrand has allowed the platform to redefine its identity – regardless of whether or not the Metaverse can actually be delivered. 
  • AI is controlling more media optimisation
  • TikTok growth is rapid, increasing 57% to $15.2bn in 2023. The platform is fast becoming a popular platform for social media marketing services. 
  • Programmatic advertising is becoming more important, with 1st party data the linchpin of any decent media strategy. 
  • Twitter’s rebrand to X has offered no change to the public perception or increased its use
  • The Twitter / X alternative, Threads, rose quickly before becoming significantly stagnant in popularity. We have yet to see high-quality marketing opportunities here.
  • Chinese social apps and marketing agencies are becoming increasingly competitive in Australia

Are you a changemaker?

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  • Meet with a strategy specialist to build a growth plan
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  • We cut to the chase. What digital marketing is actually working?

Attribution and Reporting

Attribution Becomes More Difficult (for some)

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) replaced Universal Analytics last year, and with that came a massive learning curve for marketers in how to use the interface, but also get around the sampling issues and reduction of accuracy. Marketers need to ‘educate’ clients that with privacy, and tools like GA4 becoming less accurate attribution can become more difficult. The move from 100% accuracy is now clear and means traffic that’s direct (non-tracked, or went to the domain immediately) is increasing.

47% of Australians are running IOS, and IOS 17 now blocks data being fed back to email platforms like Hubspot for anyone using an iPhone. We won’t know if an email’s been opened if they’re using an iPhone.

To help mitigate the challenges as a result of these changes, tools such as Conversion API (CAPI) are enabling agencies to capture and utilise first-party data more effectively. In turn, this reduces the need to rely on cookies for tracking user behaviour online. However, this has left an even wider gap between performance and creative agencies. Traditionally, performance agencies are more adept at navigating changes focused on data analytics and technical implementations, whereas creative agencies may struggle to master these changes as quickly.
Google also announced its plans to start phasing out Chrome’s third-party cookies. This will have significant impacts on digital advertising and user privacy, as third-party cookies have long been used to track users across different sites, delivering personalised ads to manage campaign effectiveness.

Offline Attribution Is Key for Bricks-And-Mortar

Businesses should NOT rely on digital reporting only to make decisions. Real offline results (revenue) are how decisions should be made. With the right stack, this can be achieved. 

When relying solely on digital reporting, businesses with physical stores can often experience incomplete data sets. Digital reporting provides valuable insights (such as site clicks and website visits), however, it does not capture the full impact of digital marketing on in-store purchases or visits. 

Server-Side Attribution Becomes Critical

The advent of server-side tagging has radically changed tag management. Server-side GTM overcomes this by moving away from client-side methods of loading tags in browsers to server processes. This means having fewer scripts and HTTP requests slowing down your website, hence faster page load times. In Google Tag Manager / Google Analytics world, this is a big step forward to ensure that your website tags along with marketing tags will work with optimum efficiency

Martech

Bloatware and What Systems to be Using

An excellent graph of the digital marketing industry is the rate of Martech software apps growing.

Marketers have an extremely difficult job in determining what their marketing stack should be, to make matters more difficult, AI has increased the rate of growth by 18% in just 12 months, and there are now a total of 13,080 apps to choose from. 

The key to a good marketing stack is to consolidate, put the customer first and think – does this tool really help my potential customers, and if so, how? Almost every single client we take on has software we’ll remove, or replace with a simpler solution. Data integrity is also a problem with having bloatware. 

The average client now has:

  • CRM
  • Dataware houses 
  • CDP
  • CXP
  • ERP 
  • Accounting systems
  • Email marketing system (if the CRM can’t do it)
  • CMS 
  • Numerous dashboard systems 
  • Attribution software (outside GA4)
  • Social media posting platform 
  • Ticketing systems
  • Review software 

See the problem? Marketers are expected to know all of these systems, run them, and increase ROI. Not to mention the amount of technical know-how and experience that’s needed to ensure these metrics are working correctly at maximised efficiency.  It’s impossible for one person to do this well – but more than possible for a team of experts. 

So marketers, take a breath, look at your stack from the consumer’s point of view and simplify it, or consolidate it into a larger system. 

In-House Marketing Teams vs Digital Teams

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As AI and digital marketing tools become more advanced, the ability for less technical people to run digital marketing functions improves. This is a good and bad thing, back to the quality of work point I made earlier, if tools enable ‘anyone’ to run a campaign, the quality and output will be lower.

This situation means that in-house marketing teams are being equipped to do more than ever, which is good and bad. If a business is large enough to have channel managers for each platform then it might make sense to run media internally, however, a lack of access to the latest methods, ad types and audiences can mean the return on media investment is lower. So, agencies will always have a place to not only run media but also deliver marketing technology solutions.

Business leaders need to consult and understand the complexities of marketing teams to ensure their mix of in-house vs marketing consultants is accurate. The wrong type of marketing consultant can cause significant problems for businesses. Whether they are traditional marketing consultants of creative / fractal CMOs., a lack of technical knowledge and understanding of the business and its industry can lead to ineffective strategies and their executions, misaligning strategies with business goals, missed opportunities for optimisation and marketing across channels, and an impact on team dynamics.

Education Keep-Up

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With such rapid changes in the industry, how does education keep up? Well, unfortunately, larger education providers, such as universities, are facing an uphill battle. Ironically, agencies like BFJ Digital have become educators in a roundabout way. How? Every single day, we explain to clients how things work and how we do it. Internally, we run masterclasses where each team member educates our own team on how their channel is going, this then expands our knowledge to share with our clients.

This approach isn’t exactly new in digital marketing. BFJ Digital have been educating clients since Google and Facebook Ads launched. With that said, the complexity and depth of what needs to be taught have grown over the years; to the point where if you haven’t been in the industry since the start, you’ll be so far behind others. That’s not to say anyone can’t learn all there is to know about marketing, but that the difference comes in experience, of knowing what NOT to do, and what works in certain pillars and what doesn’t in others.

The speed at which the industry is evolving is also putting pressure on marketers to keep up with the ever-changing landscape, making it more difficult to stay at the head of your field. Platforms, algorithms, trends and client needs change. And if marketers don’t keep up? Well, they’ll be left in the dust.

Industry Growth

Are agencies still growing? Well, that depends on the quality of work, and the agency type. Certain agency types such as creative agencies, poorly run digital agencies, and dev shops have begun to slow down due to several factors. First things first: great marketers aren’t always great business owners. That’s a separate skill in itself, and sometimes you either have it or you don’t. We find many agencies shut down or let staff go as their founders aren’t capable of managing operations, finances and growth effectively – despite their excellent digital marketing efforts.

Competition between boutique / small and medium enterprise (SME) and large agencies is also intensifying. While larger agencies have the advantage of having greater access to resources and a broader client base, boutique and SME agencies are currently able to offer a more personalised service. This strikes an advantage to attracting clients who may distrust larger companies or prefer tailored digital marketing solutions.

Then there’s also the competition between on-shore and off-shore agencies. This adds another layer of complexity to the growth of the industry. Thanks to the global market, it’s easier for businesses (including digital marketing companies) to outsource certain services to off-shore agencies for a significantly lower price. While this arrangement is beneficial from an economic perspective, there are still issues surrounding time zones, output quality and cultural misunderstandings. Outsourcing from on-shore agencies, while not as low a price as off-shore, offers better local marketing alignments and easier collaboration between businesses.

Even the top digital marketing agencies that are well-run and have an authentic culture of delivering transparent work are still growing. BFJ Digital is in that cohort, and our growth continues at an impressive rate even with turbulent market conditions.

Navigating an Overcrowded Digital Marketing Landscape

Unfortunately, the ease of access for freelancers and micro agencies to provide digital marketing services is causing significant problems across the industry. According to IBIS World, there are 9568 businesses registered as advertising agencies, which doesn’t stack up for our population. In other words, the quality of work coming out of those businesses cannot perform in what is a highly complex marketplace.

As a result, we’re seeing issues around pricing, quality, reputational damage, results inconsistencies and general client confusion. In an ever-increasingly crowded marketplace, it’s crucial for businesses to conduct due diligence when choosing a digital marketing agency, and it’s essential for agencies to be as transparent as possible. 

Conclusion

Brisbane’s digital marketing landscape is becoming increasingly more competitive and complex to navigate. New challenges, trends and technologies are constantly forming, and it’s up to digital marketers to start thinking on their feet about solutions that meet the needs of their clients and also keep them ahead of the curve. 

BFJ Digital manages to do both of those – constantly thriving in the face of uncertainty. We continue to adapt and change, while still successfully supporting Australian businesses in connecting with their target audience and boosting revenue. Our team continue to deliver high-quality results through clear communication, utilising the latest marketing technology and refining our media strategies.

As we reflect on how times have changed and what the future holds for us and the Brisbane digital marketing industry as a whole, BFJ Digital remains committed to its growth trajectory and our promise of delivering exceptional, personalised services to all clients. 

If you want to work with a digital marketing agency Brisbane trusts, get in touch with us today.