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by Nasreen Shaikh | 31 Nov 2017

One of the greatest things about being a student at NZIE is the amount of opportunities we get to take what we’ve learnt in class and apply it to real-life scenarios – essentially taking our learning #beyondthewalls of a classroom!

This week my SEO/Google Analytics class got the chance to conduct client brief meetings with some amazing business owners – thanks to our tutor Jay Best.

NZIE client brief meetings

We had the lovely Wanita Fourie, founder of the Social Media Conference, Trudy Northcott of BioHacker, and NZIE’s very own Thiago Candeu, Marketing Manager at NZIE, as our clients.

Each group was assigned a client to interview and our job was to get all the information we needed from them to create a client brief for their SEO strategy.

It was a great way to give us a taste of what it’s really like to hold client meetings in the real world, and learn the best ways to communicate and engage with our future clients!

Here’s what Nnyl Hubilla thought of the whole experience:

The Social Media Marketing class also got a little taste of real-life client interviews, as they had meetings with a few business owners to create social media campaigns and audits for their clients.

They invited Andy from Banx Systems, Tony from Davis Doherty, Allan from FoodTogether, and Greg and Vincent from Vacuum One as their clients.

NZIE client meetings

The best way to learn is by doing, and NZIE has given us countless opportunities to do just that.

A big thanks to our tutors Jay and Chris for organising meet-ups with these awesome Kiwi businesses and giving us a chance to work with them throughout the term – it’s going to be an exciting one!




by James Anderson | 3 Oct 2017

These days, social media is a daily staple for many or maybe even most of us. While most of us use it socially and for recreation, social media platforms are also buzzing with marketing activity.

Social media is relatively diverse in nature, with the most popular ones generally being those which dominated their respective niche most effectively. For many if us, these are household names: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. There are many more of course, but we only have so much time.

Social media marketing is a hugely effective way of growing your business, but what is it? How do you do it effectively?


What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a technique which involves sharing, creating and engaging with content on social media networks with the goal of growing
your business. This usually happens by increasing traffic to your site, or simply by generating greater brand awareness.

The primary idea when you’re marketing something via a social network, is to get engagement. More engagement means your content reaches more people, which means more potential customers. Different techniques work on different social networks, but there is a common thread throughout: to get people to engage with you and your brand, you need to pay attention to your audience and become very familiar with what they like, and especially what they don’t like.


Social Media 101

Facebook has the most users worldwide, with over 1.8 billion monthly users. However, it’s crucial to remember that Facebook doesn’t have market penetration throughout the world. In China, for example, Facebook is blocked and QZone is the most popular network, with 632 million active users. So if you are marketing in China, leave Facebook out of it and focus on QZone. These regional variances are a good reason why you should always do your research before beginning any social media marketing – what goes for one place or group of people may not be true of others!

Similarly, there are different conventions for different social media platforms – Facebook has a larger scope than most platforms and has more latitude for lighter content than LinkedIn (which is more professionally focused), Twitter only gives you 140 characters to say your piece and Pinterest is all about sharing collections.  Not all of these will be right for your business, but when you find the ones that match with your needs, make sure you know what the relevant conventions are on those networks. If you don’t, you are likely to struggle to get much traction.


What platform is right for me?

There is no easy answer to this, because it depends so much on your specific business. When you’re facing this problem, the best thing to do is to do a little research. Work out who your target market is and then go and find out what platforms they’re using and how they like to be engaged with. Once you’ve found where your market is, it’s time to take the plunge – start engaging!


A few helpful statistics

Before you go, here are some important statistics to bear in mind when starting out. Below that you will also find a cheat-sheet of optimal image sizes and recommended character lengths. Enjoy!


  • 74% of social media marketers find that using visual assets is more effective than writing alone.
  • Infographics are shared 3 times more than any other type of content
  • Adults between the years of 18 and 34 have the highest likelihood of following a brand on social media
  • 2.7 billion people use social media in some form worldwide

For more social media statistics, including those for individual platforms, check out this article from Smart Insights and this article from Hubspot.


Social medias image sizes

Lastly, one of the fundamental truths to remember about social media marketing is that it’s always changing, always evolving. To market via these channels successfully, you need to stay be up-to-date with all latest trends in social, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open!


Blog contributor:

Digital Marketing student testimonial

James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE


 by James Anderson | 21 Sept 2017

Whether you are looking at managing your very own business, or are looking for a job in the business industry, the Business Management Program at NZIE has something for you.

Business class

Learning business is so much more than being taught how an organisation runs; it’s a way of thinking and analysing information in order to make the right choices to help your business prosper. Most people cannot instinctively grasp the macro and micro elements of the ways a business runs, but thankfully these skills can be taught!

The skills and tools needed to succeed in the business industry are all provided to you by NZIE’s Business Management Programme, in supportive and constructive ways which help you reach your full potential.

The best part is – once you’ve graduated, your combination of skills and industry experience will make you a desireable hire for any company!

Internships and job opportunities

One of the advantages NZIE offers is the opportunity to gain internships and even fully fledged work experience as part of your learning. This is a crucial part of the App programme as it means you leave the course with not only an excellent academic understanding of the business world, but with the knowledge, skills and experience one utilises in the industry on a day to day level.  

The internships and work experiences can even lead directly to permanent employment after you have completed the course, and even if they don’t, NZIE’s career services, Think Recruit, are highly proactive and effective at seeking out opportunities for students and graduates.

Course options

The Business Management Program at NZIE can be taken at several different learning levels depending on your stage of study; this includes the Diploma in Applied Business (Level 5), the Diploma in Applied Business (Level 7) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Business (Level 8). For more information about these options, please visit the Business Management Program page.

As pathway to Digital Marketing

If you are fresh out of High School and can’t decide on what to do next, the Diploma in Applied Business (Level 5) at NZIE is a highly preparing for digital marketing recommended option. This is a course which introduces you to business principles across the board. If you are interested in studying Digital Marketing but do not yet have the degree or work experience to qualify for that program, then this is the bridging course for you!  Once you’ve completed the Level 5 course, you will be able to proceed directly into the Digital Marketing Program. Furthermore, this means that once you’ve finished your Digital Marketing diploma, you’ll have a sound knowledge of the business world too – a truly invaluable combination. If you’re unsure whether Digital Marketing is for you, or if you just want to know a bit more about it, have a quick read of my personal experience.




Blog contributor:

Digital Marketing student testimonial

James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE


 by James Anderson | 31 Aug 2017

What is Inbound Marketing?

inbound marketing

Inbound Marketing, or Content Marketing as it is also known, contrasts with traditional marketing methods in that it is focused on earning an audience instead of interrupting them.

This is done by creating content which is of value to your audience, which entices them to your product/service.  Content produced in this way is not advertorial, but instead gives the audience something useful for free – this could be information, advice, resources, captivating content, or most effectively, a combination of these factors. Inbound Marketing is about getting customers and prospective customers to return to your content time and time again because they genuinely value it. An important point here is that, as opposed to traditional interruption based marketing, this is likely to begin your relationship with your audience in a much more positive way, which immediately increases your chances of converting them into customers.

Hubspot describes effective Inbound Marketing as four steps: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.


  1. Attract

inbound marketing

It’s important you create content which is compelling and useful to your target audience – it’s not helpful having huge volumes of traffic to your
website if the visitors are unlikely to want or need your product/service. So before you start creating content, make sure you know exactly who you want to be attracting.

One of the most effective ways of Inbound Marketing is to maintain a blog for your website. You can use this as a platform for most of your compelling content. This has the great advantage of getting people looking at your website and consuming content which they find useful or enjoy – but preferably both!

Having great content is the first step to attracting visitors, but they also need to be able to find you! Making sure your SEO is well handled is an crucial part of this, as it is easy to get lost in the crowd in the online world. In the same vein, it’s important to make sure your user experience is good onsite – your website needs to look great and be intuitive to use, otherwise visitors may be put-off.


  1. Convert

content marketingDrawing people to your website is the first step, but what next?

In order to take the next step, you will need to get some information from your audience. Often, this is simply acquiring their email address, but it is certainly not limited to that – it just depends on what you’re selling and what you think is the most effective way to generate leads for your business. There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the best ways is to give your visitors something for free in exchange for their details. This could be in the form of a newsletter, a once-off informational resource, a useful tool or even a demo of your product/service if applicable. This can and should be optimised by ensuring you have clear calls-to-action and/or relevant landing pages (which would also include clear calls-to-action).  

Once you’ve got leads flowing in, make sure you keep all their details in a database for your use. It’s important that these are all kept on record so that you can chase up leads as necessary.


  1. Close

Call to action
Once you’re generating leads, how do you convert them into customers? There are many answers to that question, but utilising marketing tools like CRM systems, email marketing and automation are some of the big ones. It’s critical that you use and respond to the analytics embedded in many of these tools in order to better target your audience. This allows you to see what people respond well to, and what they don’t. In this way you can adjust your approach in order to optimise your contact with the customer as you funnel them towards being a paying customer.


  1. Delight

The best way to create and maintain customers is to impress them! This starts with creating excellent, relevant content, but it doesn’t stop there. In order to continue gaining new customers and maintain the ones you have, you need to constantly be looking for ways to improve their experience.

Content marketing

Even simply asking customers for feedback on their experience in a thoughtful way is an effective way of delighting your audience. Effectively monitoring and responding to customers on social media in a timely and approachable way is also a relatively easy way of keeping your customers impressed. Other methods include using tools to create experiences tailored to specific customer groups in order to give them the best, most personally relevant experiences possible. Remember, if you really impress your customers, they are likely to become promoters for your business and that is truly invaluable!

If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to effectively using Inbound Marketing to grow your business and cultivate positive, productive relationships with your audience.


Blog contributor:

Digital Marketing student testimonial

James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE


 by James Anderson | 26 Aug 2017

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The practice of SEO is therefore to optimise one’s website to be as appealing as possible to search engines, like Google. This is very important because as everyone knows, the internet is huge and there are many websites competing for people’s attention. SEO is about making sure that you appear in the top-end of the search results when someone is searching for your website, or a product or service you offer.

Now that you broadly understand what SEO is, let’s discuss 7 factors which are fundamental to good SEO.   

fundamentals of SEO


  1. Keywords

The foundation of a good website’s SEO plan will always start with keyword research. Once you’ve decided on your keywords, you can begin creating content around them. The aim is to make search engines recognise that your website ranks highly for certain keywords and should therefore rank your website highly in the search results when someone searches using those terms. Therefore it is important to try and rank for keywords relevant and important to your website.

There is a definite strategic element to this however. For example, if your website sells organic candles, you probably won’t want to make ‘candles’ as one of your keywords, even though it may seem intuitive to do so. This is because you have to think about the intent of someone searching the term ‘candles’ – they may simply be looking for information about different types of candles, or even how to make them! In contrast, using a keyword like ‘buy organic candles’ has a much larger chance of the search converting into a sale, since there is clear purchase intent in the search term.

Creating long-tail keywords is also effective at achieving sales conversions as they are more specific. For example, creating content focused on the long-tail keyword ‘Buy organic candles on a budget’, means that when someone types that term into a search engine, you have a much better chance of ranking highly in the search results, which increases the likelihood of that person clicking through to your website and making a purchase.


  1. Internal Links

Search engines use links to help determine the ranking of your website. Broadly, these links come under two categories: internal links and external links. External links are when other websites link to pages on your website. This can be difficult to achieve as your website will need to add direct value to whomever is linking to your website (or their audience), otherwise they have no reason to link to you. For the most part, this is not something to focus on – if you produce consistently good content and/or provide high quality service, then the external links will come naturally.

Internal links, however, you have more direct control over. Your website gets an overall search ranking from search engines, but your individual pages are ranked as well. This means that if you have certain pages with particularly important content for your audience, it would be good to have those pages ranking well, so that people find them.  This is helped by using links from other content on your website, which refer the readers to your most important content. Search engines recognise this as an indicator that wherever is being linked to is important, which is reflected positively in the page’s rankings. It is important to make these internal links as natural as possible – throwing in lots of internal links out of context will be picked up and viewed negatively by both search engines and your audience, which will not help your overall SEO.


  1. Create unique content

Search engines reward unique content and penalise repeat content. If your content is found to be replicated elsewhere on the web, this can severely affect your website’s search rankings, as the search engines think you are copying content. One should never copy content from elsewhere online either way, because it could violate copyright law and land you in a lot more trouble. Even if you own the other piece of content (for example, if you had multiple websites), it is a good idea to recreate the content on your other sites, if relevant, because replicating it exactly will still be seen poorly in the eyes of search engines.


  1. Onsite audit of SEO

When optimising SEO for your website, it is good to do a general SEO audit to determine what needs to be done. There are lots of details which can contribute positively towards your website’s rankings when addressed properly. These include, but are not limited to length of content and headings, title tags, meta tags, H1 tags, images and links.

Thankfully, there are some tools which make this task much easier. WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO come highly recommended and will walk you through all the elements needed to be optimised on your website and how it is best to do that.


  1. Website Speed

Website speed is also a factor in your website’s SEO, as it is something which search engines take into consideration when ranking your website. Perhaps even more importantly though, is the fact that people are becoming less and less tolerant of slow websites and are increasingly likely to leave out of simple frustration if things are taking too long.

To combat this, it’s advisable to use a tool like Pingdom, which indicates areas which are causing the website to load more slowly.  Once you have identified any problem areas, you can look at addressing them.


  1. Don’t engage in blackhat behaviourblackhat whitehat SEO

One of the cardinal sins of SEO, is engaging in what is known as ‘Blackhat behaviour’. This is a term used to describe actions some people take in order to falsely boost their rankings. The classic example of this is buying links, that is, paying people in exchange for them mass linking to your website in order to boost you in the search rankings. The problem is this tactic focuses on search engines, not human audiences. While legitimate SEO tactics are based on what search engines want to see, the idea is that those are based around creating great content and customer experiences, as opposed to those used by Blackhats, which have the sole intention of generating large volumes of traffic to the website, regardless of the quality it provides for users.

This was fairly effective at one point, but search engines have become much more sophisticated since then, and are very good at detecting when this is done. Engaging in blackhat activities can result in your website being delisted from search engines, which would be devastating to your business.  


  1. SEO maintenance

SEO is as much of an art as it is a science and you will gain a flair for it as you practice it. It’s also good to bear in mind that your SEO for your website is never truly over – it’s something which you need to constantly be working on and improving as necessary.  Many people have a tendency to create content loaded to the brim with SEO keywords and links, which can make content come across as contrived and unrelatable to any audience, so it’s important that all your content is natural and has the customer’s needs in mind.

Remember, the internet is a dynamic place so always keep an eye out for any updates or changes to good SEO methodology and make sure to integrate them into your own practices. If you keep the above factors in mind and apply with them with savvy strategies you are unlikely to go wrong!


Blog contributor:

Digital Marketing student testimonial

James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE


 by James Anderson | 20 Aug 2017

Digital Marketing blog post

When I finished my Bachelor of Arts in English and Politics several years ago, I had to ask myself a fairly serious questions: What next?

I quickly worked out that my abilities lay in the communications and marketing industries, but the more I learnt, the more I realised all these jobs were going ‘digital’ and would require a whole new set of skills, which I did not at that point possess. This created a very real problem for me; I knew what I wanted, but not quite how to get there, since most universities at the time were not offering Digital Marketing as an option.

Thankfully, NZIE came to the rescue as the first NZQA approved Diploma in Digital Marketing in New Zealand. I jumped on that opportunity as soon as it became available and have never looked back!

I’ve written the following to give you a bit of insight into why I chose to study Digital Marketing, and what I still enjoy about it now. Hopefully, this will help you work out if Digital Marketing is right for you too!

Fast Growing Market

The demand for Digital Marketing is growing rapidly. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of how much of a positive impact good Digital Marketing can have on them and so more and more employers are hiring in this area. In fact, since I started and completed my course, available jobs in the digital space have increased quite dramatically.

As time has passed, it has become obvious that Digital Marketing provides great value for money when it comes to contributing to a businesses success, particularly when it comes to the many social media channels we currently have available (and the many more which will inevitably arise as the industry evolves).

Studying Digital Marketing isn’t just about social media though. It extends to all things digital and includes website creation and optimisation, digital content creation and design, marketing analytics and understanding the strategies it takes to execute effective Digital Marketing in a fast-moving online world.

Ever Changing Industry

If you, like myself, are the kind of person who likes being challenged and excited by what they do, then Digital Marketing might be for you.

My highlights of Digital Marketing include how the industry is constantly changing and evolving as technology and our use of it continues to do the same. By studying Digital Marketing, you’ll learn how to make sure you stay on the cutting edge, even in this ever-changing environment.

One of the things which makes me feel so passionately about the Digital Marketing, is that beyond all the practical skills, it’s an incredibly exciting area to be in! The very nature of industry means that you’ll always be in the know with the latest technological advancements and trends – sometimes even before the public catches on to them!


Digital Marketing blog post2While I’ve found that traditional workstyles are far from dead, they certainly are changing. Studying Digital Marketing opens up a bunch of more flexible options for how you manage your

lifestyle; Whether you want to freelance your services to multiple clients you manage yourself or you’re after the classic 9 to 5, Digital Marketing has it all – you could potentially even do both like me!

Furthermore, as a Digital Marketer, you’ll be able to work from anywhere you can take your computer. This opens up huge opportunities for you to explore the world while you work, or even work from home as desired.

It’s Practical

If you think being able to market effectively to an online audience through a variety of means would be highly useful in today’s environment, you’d be right! The internet holds many opportunities for those who are savvy with it and the Digital Marketing course at NZIE are designed to get you to that level so that you can succeed in the online world.

So if this sounds appealing to you, my only advice is to jump in and do it; I’ve gained valuable skills, experience, new friends, employment and the ability to control my own lifestyle – what more could I want?   

NZIE has options for students who have previous work experience or a degree (one year program), as well as options for those who are fresh from High School (two year program). If you’d like to find out more about the courses, please head to the Digital Marketing course page.

Digital Marketing student testimonial

James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE


by Ronny Hossain | 20 June 2017

Digital marketing makes a vast difference as to how far industries and businesses are able to grow. It plays a significant role when it comes to brand establishment and influence of businesses across all industries. Digital marketing is essential for manufacturers releasing new products in order to obtain easy product recognition.

NLearning Digital Marketing owadays many digital marketing programs are offered by professionals from the industry itself. This is done to emphasise the importance and highlight the significant role it plays in the success of promoting a specific product. One does not have to be technically inclined to learn the basics. However, they must be internet savvy to be able to adapt to the said course.

Aside from the theory, you will gain a lot of industry related practical knowledge. In the future, you can create your own online course and teach other people who are willing to learn. In this there is financial reward as well as self satisfaction by educating others and sharing your wealth of knowledge. This is an opportunity towards having a career under negotiated contracts.

Alternatively, upon obtaining the skills of a digital marketer, you may wish to use it towards your own company to develop and improve its marketing strategies, or you may help another company to effectively promote its products and services.

Having digital marketing skills allows you to start a blog anytime so you can make money through advertisements. ‘You can even be an affiliate marketer by making use of your learnings. You can sell products utilising existing online shopping sites or eCommerce sites in the comfort of your home. You can also offer to optimise their websites to improve their rankings or simply promote different products on Social Media and earn a commission on every deal you have closed.

Digital Marketing Principles and Practice tutor

Ronny Hossain – Digital Marketing Principles and Practice tutor

You would never have a slump in your career once you have digital marketing as your platform towards success. Learning is also more affordable compared to other courses. The return of your investment after finishing this course would exceed your expectations. Through digital marketing, one does not have to restrict themselves to a single job. You are able to work in multiple areas as time permits.

This course will give you a variety of career paths for the near future once you receive your certification. There is the added bonus of self business opportunities with this course as discussed previously. This provides a competitive edge over other courses and you would be in high demand from other industries/companies as professionals with this skill set are highly sought after. This institute provides a glorious opportunity for learning digital marketing. You can use your skill set to make profitable financial gains if your have perseverance and are willing to work hard.




by Ronny Hossain | 20 June 2017

The use of technology for marketing purposes is known as digital marketing. Many brands use this as a medium for marketing their products on the internet. For the past twenty years, marketing strategy has changed significantly, for now it uses technology as a source for marketing products. Digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, social media marketing, e- commerce marketing and various other techniques are more common. We are going to take New Zealand as an example to show how digital marketing is helpful for growth of businesses.

How digital marketing benefits New Zealand businesses

On average every person in New Zealand spends approximately 2 hours on the internet. Here lies the perfect opportunity for
marketing through a digital medium.

Increasing brand popularity

By making use of social networking sites brands can be highly popularised. if a product goes viral on social media sites, it results in a type Digital marketing of urgency hence increasing demand for that particular product exponentially. this type of advertising has many advantages over the traditional method of having physical stores. main advantage being this allows the product to be advertised on a much larger scale, often worldwide rather than having a local store which is restricted by it’s location. this is great news for business owners. Facebook is not the only means of popularising products, there is My Google business app which allows businesses to be advertised on Google which easily is the most popular search engine to date. Every business is unique and there are opportunities for almost all products to take advantage of digital marketing.

Interaction with consumers

Consumers can like, comment and share posts which creates heavy demand for a particular product. They can contact businesses directly through social media which works out to be very effective because there are less barriers to this approach than visiting a store directly.

Increase in sales

Digital marketing is fairly new. The return investment on this type of marketing can be very large for businesses and the potential to increase revenue greatly exists if one can smartly utilise this type of advertising.


Feedback is received easier than with the traditional model as this takes only a few clicks of a button rather than physically visiting a store. There is also potential to correct negative feedbacks which allows consumers to feel valued and it also allows businesses to improve customer care in all aspects.

Sharing website content

The content on a business website has vast exposure to the potential consumers. Important events, promotions and the latest news are all shared with the customer’s friends and family. This provides an excellent opportunity for interaction with customers.

Display ads

Once again we are able to market to a wider consumer base by utilising ad display.

Real time results

At the touch of a button, one can know the conversation rates, subscribers, interactions and much more. One does not need to go through the traditional record keeping which is not in real time. Most things are made more simple this way.

Reduced cost

Cost of ownership/ leasing physical premises is reduced. Each businesses can develop its online strategy with very low cost.

Level playing field 

The size doesn’t matter here. Normally the smaller retailer would struggle to match with its larger competition. When things are online, the service provided becomes the main priority, not the size of the retailer in question.

Simple to measure
Digital Marketing Principles and Practice tutor

Ronny Hossain – Digital Marketing Principles and Practice tutor

The online strategy can be measured anytime. One can use Google Analytics to measure specific goals to achieve for a website or blog.

As we can see from the above marketing has now moved one step further by the effective use of a digital medium. This has been possible through the increased internet/web usage and the steady increase of smartphones/tablets/handheld devices across the whole general population.


by Vicki Jeffels | 13 June 2017


Social media marketingAre you afraid of the dark?

Many marketers, even social media marketers are.

I don’t blame you at all, we all fear the unknown, but the wise amongst us will rise above our apprehension and embrace it, ideally as soon as possible, because digital marketing in 2017 is heading along a very dark path.

Before you get carried away thinking about Tor and peer to peer networks and secret internet spaces where you can conduct furtive business I need to step in and say – not that kind of dark!

No, we’re not talking about the dubious internet, we’re talking about the fast-growing practice of dark social media. Various sources say that Dark Social is a rising trend and looks like it will continue to rise rapidly, especially if we look to the East and note its presence in WeChat and other Chinese messaging apps. The East often leads the way in all things digital, and dark social is no exception.

So, what is it?

Dark social refers to social media sharing that is conducted away from the gaze of Google Analytics or the other search engine spiders and robots.

Dark social is a term coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by Web analytics programs. – explains Techopedia.

social media markeingYou can conduct dark social on your WhatsApp, Slack or Facebook messaging applications. You can conduct dark social on private closed forums and groups. In fact, you probably are spending considerable time each day shifting into the dark by copying and pasting links to share with your significant other in emails or by private messaging.

What’s bad about it?

There’s nothing essentially wrong with dark social it’s just that marketers can find it challenging to measure it, outside of the usual analytical gaze of Google, Bing and others. And this is an even bigger problem when you consider that dark social is rapidly increasing. Why? We’ll get onto that shortly.

But firstly, it has been reported that over 84% of all outbound links (currently) are in the dark as Hootsuite’s blog post reveals.

It goes without saying that with percentages that high, digital marketers need to get onboard the dark social bus and start learning how to evaluate and ultimately measure dark social traffic. Whilst that’s not an easy thing to do, there are ways around it. Here are some of the ways that digital marketers need to employ to keep ahead of those who play in the dark.

  1. Consider measuring using Google Analytics or any other analytics programme whenever something changes in your marketing programme, and then apply common sense logic. If you have recently published something on your Facebook wall for example, and there is a huge rise in traffic coming onto that page but not directed by Facebook, it is highly likely the two events are connected. You just need to connect the dots.
  2. Use shortened links like links or These programmes specialize in deeper analysis of where links originate and where they achieve engagement. Not to mention these links just look better in a tweet or on a Facebook page.
  3. Try the psychological approach. If you make it exceptionally easy for people to share your links by clicking on a social sharing button (one click versus copying and pasting) you can easily watch where those links turn up. Don’t forget that there are essentially two kinds of social buttons – Follow Us buttons that direct the user to the company’s social page and Share This buttons – which enables the user to share the link to their own social media pages. The latter is considerably more useful.
  4. Use highly advanced analytic platforms. These types of platforms are increasing and whilst they offer tremendous service and insight into your dark social traffic, they can be a bit pricey. This is a great option for a large organization who really needs to get on top of this traffic.
  5. UTM shorteners and fragments – This is a relatively new area and somewhat complicated to set up as Tagmanager Pro details in this blog post. It’s essential reading! Of course the other thing is that UTMs are hideous, long stings of techy gooblegook which are not terribly useful where space is at a premium. Eg/ Think Twitter


These are just a few of the ways you can get on top of your fear of dark social, and I have no doubt that as it increases and overtakes social traffic, smart digital marketers will devise an easy-to-use programme that can help us to analyse and track this kind of traffic.

Content Marketing Tutor

Vicki Jeffels – entrepreneur and Digital Marketing tutor at NZIE

So why is it increasing? No one knows for certain, but I’m willing to bet that as social networks become more moderated, even censored, users are striving to take back a sense of privacy on the internet. Yes, this privacy can be used in nefarious ways, but in the main, it’s just men and women who wish to share news, jokes, views and ideas between themselves.

Whatever the why, one thing we do know is that digital marketers must embrace ways of managing and analyzing dark social, because if the trend continues the trajectory it’s on, by the end of 2018 we might all be on the dark side.

by Vicki Jeffels | 14 June 2017

At tdevelop the perfect websitehe beginning of the semester I am often asked by web development students ‘how do I develop the perfect website’, to which I reply succinctly. You don’t.

To understand my answer, you need to go right back to the beginning and consider the reason behind your desire to develop a website. For some that reason is because they want a place on the internet to express their story – whether as a company or as an individual – and for many others that reason is to sell something online. Whether that something is a thing or a service, their motivation is to be successful at selling it and to create an online presence. After all, the online streets are paved with gold, aren’t they?

So, the web developer sets about getting together their best ideas, designs and code and they start getting the code down and after some considerable time a website starts to emerge. If that website is built on self-hosted WordPress as over one quarter of all websites worldwide are, then it is highly likely that the website will look attractive and be clearly coded. The use of well-developed plugins (I call them little packages of code) will ensure the website is secure, runs smoothly and presents well. Maybe the website employs a modern theme with all the whizz, bang, dash of modern web dev magic. Gorgeous parallax imagery will woo, social media proof will be easy to acquire with reaction buttons and comment systems, and of course the website itself will be whippet fast.

But will it be perfect?

Er, no.

It’s at this point that the web developer’s confidence falters, they might even look to hanging up their Learner plates for good and decide to never, ever touch a piece of code or plugin ever again. Encouragement is required at this point, so this is when I often give the ‘aim for the moon’ lecture and remind them, albeit gently, why they started developing the site in the first place.

They wanted the site to be seen. Whether blog, corporate site, or ecommerce shop the website is always developed to be seen by as many people as possible. Ideally, by customers or consumers who will start to interact with it and start leaving comments, and reviewing products and sharing the site with their friends and family.

In-order-to-be-seen the website needs to grab the attention of its prospective consumer or customer. It must be designed to ensure that the user’s experience is ideal and that they can easily get the information they require from the website, irrespective of whether they are using a desktop, tablet or are out and about and are using their mobile telephone.

UX user experience User experience (UX) is a practice that is fast-growing and dovetails nicely into the associated area of design thinking and customer journey. It’s for that reason that all our web dev students look at the concept of the website and evaluate the best customer journey and user experience requirements before they even crack a code. They consider colour palettes and corporate ID and create mockups and wireframes as part of their web dev preparation.

And it’s not just the bones of the website that needs attention. What about the flesh? The substance? The content? That is really the reason the website exists. Without content – both written, and visual, perfectly created to entice, delight and inform the customer, the website is superficial.

But our learner developers have covered all of that and here they are with the website almost complete and yet I need to advise them that no their website is not perfect. It is not finished. It may have all of the design that modern page builders can provide, all the content that clever content creators can piece together, all the speed and security and community and SEO a website could ever require, and yet it will not ever be perfect.

It will never be finished.

When I told the current students in our Websites and eCommerce class this truism a few weeks’ ago there was considerable tension and just a little gnashing of teeth. The perfectionists in the room were confounded. What on earth could they do for it to be just right?

The simple answer is really, nothing. They just need to accept that the whole nature of a website is to represent your brand online until the day is done. The very nature of a website is akin to the very nature of all corporate communications. It develops, changes, evolves, and grows just as the relationship with the customer and prospective customer grows. There is always new material to be added to the website – a new blog post, new pages, new product details, new examples of how our customers are using our services and products. It is never done. Website development is an organic somewhat eternal thing. It’s dynamic, it lives and breathes, the very heart of the website itself breathing in tune with the relationship with its customers.

Content Marketing Tutor

Vicki Jeffels – entrepreneur and Digital Marketing tutor at NZIE


Last night we had the first presentations of the websites Class 4 has developed from scratch over the past ten weeks. Wow! I am once again blown away by the skill and style demonstrated by the class. Most of the presenters mentioned that their website was not finished, (though all without exception could be used commercially) and yet I noticed there was no tension when they said that. Over the past ten weeks they’ve learnt how to build a website but more importantly than that, they’ve learnt that when you aim for the moon even if you miss you’ll end up amongst the stars.

And most importantly of all, they have learnt that websites aren’t made to be perfect and complete, they’re created to be real, ever-changing, and alive.

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