James and Chelsea take a look back on everything that happened in 2020! From agency life and how it changed to the drastic increase in digital services. Join in the conversation on social media with us or visit us at www.somarketing.com for more information
Podcast 2020 review
Hi, and welcome to this episode of so what’s up, I’m here with James and today we are taking a look back on everything that happened in 2020.
So looking back on 2020, I think a lot of people want to forget this year ever happened. And actually a lot of a lot of key things did happen in the industry that I think are worth remembering because of everything that happened with regards to the lock downs that were on and how many businesses had to pivot. So many things happened in the digital space that just really blew up and change the way that we’re gonna live, I think forever. So, James, what’s the best thing that you think has happened in 2020?
I don’t know if you call it the best thing. But I think if you look at 2020, in terms of the outcomes it’s generated, and like you said the word pivots a good one. I think the change in E commerce was just massive. Yeah, there’s various stats that have been banded around now, which is, I think, last year moved ecommerce on five or 10 years in the space of six months. And I think that’s probably true. I mean, you can look at it now. And in early 2021, this, there’s just no laptop in that, obviously not held by the lockdown situation. But these things aren’t going back now. Yeah, I think only yesterday, you know, Debenhams have said that they’re closing all their retail stores now and a website’s been sold for. And so that was the valuable asset in that business. And I think we’re just going to see more and more of that go on. And people just need to realise that we’re not going to go back to what it was like in 2019. And say, 2020 20 was the year where it really was the death knell for things that were going to go anyway. But it just made it happen a bit sooner. And I think, you know, in terms of channels and the way people communicate, social media became sort of more important from a community point of view. So keeping in touch with friends and family, and potentially some of its original purpose, was sort of reinstated, really, especially in communities where you have a high prevalence of COVID. And people were trying to stick to the rules. And this became an area where the only way to share things with grandparents was via it was via social media. And obviously, from our, I suppose the biggest impact from our point of view is the massive rise of the remote meeting, which is seeing absolutely no laptop at the moment. And actually, it’s it’s creating almost a bit of an overworked situation, because people are fitting into their day more meetings than they ever would have done in person. And so you end up just having back to back zoom in teams meetings. Whereas actually, I think in the past, you had a lot more sort of time between those meetings. And I think there’s an element to consider their workload and mental health with that.
I think that is a big topic that is worth discussing, and how people are now trying to orchestrate the water cooler chat. I know of companies that are kind of orchestrating these really forcing them. They’re like putting half an hour in people’s diaries and making them talk to like a random one of their colleagues that they wouldn’t necessarily talk to that’s like not on their team. Just on a zoom call. And I don’t know if this is a unpopular opinion, but I honestly could not think of anything worse, like if I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. And someone just like randomly puts a zoom invite into my inbox as a water cooler chatter. I think that go down to well with me.
No, I agree. I mean, we’ve seen ourselves though, haven’t been without with our team. Yeah, I think last year when the lockdown things first happened, it was all quite a novelty, the whole working from home, everyone was quite enthusiastic about it. And you know, very quickly, people to sort of miss the meeting people in the office, seeing people’s day to day collaborating. And you know, no matter what anyone says the technology tools do not replace doing it in person. And I think it’s difficult for companies that are still predominantly based that way to sort of instigate those moments. Yeah, I was speaking to a client an hour ago. And he was saying that he’s not been back into his office for 18 months now. And his whole team haven’t because they were already doing some working from home before the pandemic. I think that’s a really long time to not see the people you’re working with in person. And yeah, I think yeah, there is going to be knock on effects on this that people either become more insular or more, as Knossos less socially aware, let’s say when they’re not seeing people day to
day, a little bit more reclusive. Maybe Yeah, 100%. Yeah,
I think it’s yeah, it’s okay for some people. Yeah, yeah, we all know that sort of techies and developer people are kind of reclusive people anyway, and I quite like that and, but yeah, people that are more social and designers, creatives, even sort of just Office admin staff who Yeah, just come to work to, to be near people and have a nice day. They’re the ones that are gonna suffer from this. And I think there will be a big clamour to get back to the office once all the restrictions have gone. And I don’t I kind of don’t believe that the prophecies of doom and gloom being on their commercial office sector, because I think I think they will come back, to be honest,
I think one of the things that has struck me from talking to a lot of people that I know of in the industry, and a lot of the words that they have, is that if while we have a lot of agencies now going completely remote, and not actually having offices, a lot of the people that are working in those more kind of like creative roles, or developer roles are actually thinking to themselves like, right, well, I don’t have the benefit of the culture of working within an agency now that actually has an office, there’s no sociability really within it, all I do is get past work from say, like an account manager or, or a marketing manager. And I could actually go out and join certain freelancing platforms and do the same amount of work, but charge my own rates and probably make two or three times as much. So one thing that I really worried about is how are we, as an industry going to keep people attracted to the industry? Because if there’s no if there’s no culture, if there’s no, kind of if there’s no real benefit, really to actually having that? How will remote agencies keep up?
Yeah, I think in our industry, culture tends to be the thing that people come into it for. Yeah, without being rude to certain other professions. But let’s say I don’t think you go, you become an accountant for the culture in that particular company. But you know, in our sort of creative world, culture is a big part of it, you only have to look at agency websites, and I say, half the half agency’s websites probably dedicated to talking about what a great place is to work and what the perks are, and all that kind of stuff. And I think, yeah, it’s like you say, if you haven’t got that culture piece anymore, and what is the point in working age, see, if people got an option where they can work, potentially less time for more money, freelance, then does that create a bit of a skills drain available for agencies to use? Yeah, obviously, there’s issues where I think certain clients will always need a larger agency with all of its account management and admin function around that to make sure that jobs go properly. But I think especially in the lower end of the business, where, you know, it’s potentially to smaller business for a sizable agencies to work with anyway, there’s sort of a big area there for these sort of freelancers to pop up and sort of work in their own way. And you see that as well that people sort of have taken the opportunity to move abroad during the pandemic and work from remote islands under sort of yo Nomad visa schemes where they can just sort of hang out in Barbados for six months and do a bit of work and come back and get to Dubai for six months. And I think actually, some of that might continue, really,
yeah. And I think a lot of places are actually now starting to pop up like virtual workplace villages on these remote islands, which is just absolutely insane.
I mean, completely. But I think it’s just the way things are going. And it’s almost like people have reevaluated the nine to five in light of the fact that they’re not been going to an office. And yeah, I think it’ll depend on the particular company subculture, I think in terms of effects of it, some more than others. But we I think it’s an interesting topic, really, when you look at what opportunities are there for people if they’re just willing to sort of maybe expand their horizons a little
bit? Yeah, and I think we’ve everything been a lot more flexible now. And people spending a lot more time online, it would be silly for us not to even touch upon just how much social media usage rose just exponentially in 2020. Some of the stats are ridiculous, like people who are like aged, under 19 are spending up to 60% more time online, and they were already spending like, around five hours a day on their, like, I’d hate to see their screen report time on the phones.
Yeah, and I think you know, the younger age group who haven’t been going to school, let’s say or ones that maybe haven’t had really consistent online schooling. I mean, what they’ve been doing at the time, I mean, if sending them and my daughter she has been asleep to be perfectly honest. But yeah, it certainly increased that’s I mean, that’s never a great thing. I think everyone wildly acknowledges that too much screen time is not a good thing for you especially at night. And I think this whole thing that leads into almost bit of a device addiction, which is being he sort of enhanced really by just the the nationwide situation by giving people nothing else to do I think is the long short of it. I think you can you can be lucky in one way that this pandemic didn’t happen 3040 years ago when you had four TV channels and no internet and no phone because I know I personally find that quite difficult.
Yeah, I mean, like a morphing I found difficult, especially with all of the tech that we now have available and also because of the industry that I’m in, I just have this incessant feeling to feel like always on all the time. And things happen. So much like social media platforms are updating every single day. Google is always iterating, its platforms and it’s offering. And because you kind of have clients that rely on you to be the font of all things digital, all the time, it can, can create this pressure, I guess, to really make you feel like you have to keep up with all of the updates and just basically be there as soon as it happens, so that you can spin it away, and you can talk about it, which led me to have some pretty bad screen time myself. I was talking to the guys in the office about how I’ve bought one of those phone lock boxes, and my phone now has to go in at eight o’clock every single night. And I lock it away for a few hours. So I don’t go on it before bed.
I especially a harsh solution to the problem. But no, you are right, though. It’s you know, it’s getting worse and worse for everybody. You know, I think the screen time reports on the iPhone particularly is quite interesting, actually, when you look at it week to week, and obviously tells you which apps you’ve been using. Mine’s pretty much always the Daily Mail. Actually, I don’t know why I think it’s just the most active background app actually on the phone. But yeah, it’s interesting, where people do feel the obligation to be working all the time to be on it to be constantly connected to people. And I think you know, there’s there’s probably some benefits from pulling away from that, to be honest. But I mean, it’s been interesting seeing some of the social media networks that have done particularly well in the last year. So you’ve got the platforms like tick tock, which obviously has been around a little while now, but continue to grow quite a lot. But also, I’d say, you know, Facebook was popular as ever, I think people are getting a bit fed up of it.
I think the reason for that is Facebook is trying to be everything to everyone. So if we compare it to Twitter, because I guess those two have been around for very similar times, Twitter has always in my eyes stayed relatively true to what they’re offering is. And if they’ve ever strayed from that, and they’ve had bad feedback from their customers, they’ve been very quick to rectify it and revert back to the original offering, which is essentially putting, like kind of a place for you to just like tweet your thoughts. I mean, it’s not always a great thing to kind of fire your thoughts out there without really sense checking them. But I mean, some people it’s a really great platform for keeping up with the news. Whereas Facebook now you’ve got Facebook, for jobs, Facebook, for advertising, Facebook, for your business page, Facebook, for content creation, I mean, anything that you’d ever need from a business sense Facebook offers and then as soon as you get things like clubhouse, for example, Facebook now introduces rooms.
Yeah, I mean, Facebook are always trying to keep up to be the number one, aren’t they? I think they’re probably still the number one I’m I don’t know, the numbers top my head. But I suspect that by in by user base, they’re still by far the biggest social network.
Yeah, we’ve all of them combined, like across Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. Yeah,
yeah. 100%. I think I think you know, Facebook are always trying to keep that market leading position. But I think in terms of their offering to businesses, it’s just getting increasingly confusing. I mean, if anybody about helping a client out actually, a few weeks ago, and we had to have a zoom call with four different people to try and sort of make sense of the complicated setup between Facebook business pages and ad manager and how to and who had the right permissions for what, and it just didn’t make it easy to work with. And I think as a sort of a small business, that’s just looking to Facebook as a, as a local platform to use. It’s just getting complicated. It’s not, it’s not easy to understand anymore. It used to be.
And I think their customer service is really lacking. So for example, like dealing with clients quite frequently, and if they have a problem with like Google, like Google My Business, I knew that I can reach out to Google and I’ll relatively like, get it sorted within maybe three to five business days, give or take with the pandemic. But with Facebook, if a client comes to me and they have a problem with something about the page and anything else, really, it’s really hard for us to actually sort it out for them because their customer service is just non existent.
Yeah, I had a customer Christmas, who had posted something on the page, and somebody had reported it as a copyright issue to Facebook. And Facebook then issued a takedown request to them and said they’re going to turn the page off anyway, the customer was absolutely dead. Right. And certainly the what they posted on there wasn’t an issue, but there was absolutely no way to get hold of Facebook is to say it’s non existent would be an overstatement. If there is no customer support with Facebook, I mean, you barely get support when you pay them for something. And I think it’s just becoming a added day. I think they’re just seen as an enormous joy. Ain’t company that potentially doesn’t really care. I think, you know, additional things around privacy concerns with the linking with WhatsApp. I don’t know, I just don’t think they’re doing themselves any favours really
no other thing that was shown as well with what they were doing on Instagram. So on Instagram during the last lockdown, I’d say probably between the months of like August to November, they started this support small business thing where they kind of had like stickers and things that you could just like put on your post to support a small business. And they actually got so much backlash from people just saying, like, Well, why don’t you give us like the swipe up feature on our stories without needing like 10 20,000 followers or whatever it was at the time. And it’s kind of like the being seen now as a company that’s making all of this noise about these causes. But actually, like, when you actually get down to it, the only thing they want to do, seemingly from small businesses is take their money.
Yeah, I mean, it’s actually, a few years ago, I was talking to the team and saying, actually, you know what, in 2020s, I wonder if there would even be a need for businesses to have a website anymore, because they can potentially rely on things like Facebook, actually are there, I’m probably backtracking off that opinion now, because I think people are starting to want to be less reliant on two or three enormous tech companies to be the in control of everything for their business. You know, just seeing things like Facebook can put their own conditions on things that all change how you know, that client interacts with it, or they’ve got to meet X, Y, and Zed condition before you can have this feature. It’s quite prescriptive. And I think people are going to start to look at trying to take, let’s say, take back control to, to coin, someone else’s phrase, and over their their data and how and how they work and website. So I actually think that websites will almost sort of see a resurgence in terms of why they’re so important to businesses, because as people start to want to pull away from the dominance of the social media giants. I think it’s very interesting what you said earlier about sort of clubhouse, which is obviously a bit of a young upstart to social media, which has been around for a little while this sort of really taking prevalence as Iris added in the last month and a half, sort of January 2021. And sort of back end 2020. Because it’s just, it’s new, it’s probably where Facebook was, when it first came out. It doesn’t seem to want to know everything about you. It’s got a cool purpose. And I think that’s almost taking social media back to the roots of what it was supposed to be therefore,
yeah, and I can’t agree more. And I think that’s why tick tock as well, just to, just to like in that with, they don’t really want to get a lot of your details. And I don’t really know what the algorithms like and how much data they capture from how you actually use the platform. And that’s currently being debated quite widely. But all of the help that they offer you to try and get you to use a platform. And they’re kind of like content creator, kind of schools that they’ve got running. So they’ve
actually just launched a business team as well, don’t they? So they were reaching out to businesses to use tick tock, second half of last year. And they’d launched their own web dedicated sort of textile business website where they were sort of doing some tutorials and sort of how tos on you know, what the benefits to a business being on tick tock would be yeah,
definitely in the definitely trying to get the big brands on there. And I think we’ve what we can say from tick tock is just how the user generated content that they’re getting on there. And I think we’ve all heard now about the, the Ocean Spray cranberry juice advert and the guy who was like, going to work on his skateboard drinking, the cranberry juice just absolutely blew up. Because it was raw, it was honest. It was just a real person actually having the product. And if we think about, like, the kind of demographic that Ocean Spray would use for their marketing, they never, ever try and target someone from that demographic. So they’ve actually managed to capture an audience that they had no new foothold with.
Yeah, um, I think, you know, that user generated content, and it goes further than just the social networks, per se, as well. I mean, if you think about YouTube, which is, for example, still the second most popular search engine in the world, obviously, owned by Google, but I actually, I mean, personally, I actually watch more YouTube than I watch TV. And the people that I watch on YouTube are almost like TV presenters, and there’s all just, you know, standard people and their own lives creating content. And yeah, it’s interesting how they, they essentially, while some of them tried to become influencers and try and monetize themselves to death. Yeah, actually, it’s what people genuinely are interested in watching, especially if you if there is sort of hobby areas or just sort of topics you’re interested in. And obviously YouTube and Google can power their content suggestions to you based on what he thinks you might like, based on all his mining of your cookies forever. And But it’s interesting how that’s, you know, it sort of really has grown in this last year. I mean, the amount of content being uploaded onto YouTube is just insane. And I think yeah, it’s just giving people another outlet, isn’t it if someone were to share content, so much content and view it and, and just sort of just because people would have sat at home watching things, so everyone needs a constant supply of things to keep them entertained now?
Yeah, definitely. And I think can we can see that with like the rise of video and be that short form, or long form. So Instagram actually put something out quite recently saying that, basically, to help you get better off in their algorithm and to get your content seen, they’re really starting to try and push reels, obviously, with that reels is their kind of tick tock version. So naturally, they will be saying that to try and get people to switch over to them from tick tock, but I think it’s just, it’s just actually going to prove that Facebook are really kind of, on the, on the backfoot. Really, when it comes to video, which is why they’re trying to monetize those platforms,
I always got the impression with Facebook that they, they were good to start with, because they were really quite innovative early on, then as and when people have bought in features, I think they’ve stolen quite a few features from Twitter to be fair over the years, they they’d sort of retrofit them into their application as as they see it working for other people. This means kind of what Apple do, let’s be honest, yeah, Apple don’t really invent things, they go into a market that exists. They look at what other people have done and do a better job of doing it. And that’s kind of how they’ve always worked. I think Facebook are in that sort of place where they just trying to see what’s sticking by other people doing it, and then trying to bring it into Facebook to then pull those users from those platforms into the Facebook owned platform. So it’s a constant battle between all these networks to try and pull users off each other. And I think you know, the user gets stuck in the middle of this. And I don’t know about you, but you get fed up of checking 15 apps all the time.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, but one of those things I would say is, Facebook is something that I’ve never really been very big, like big into anyway, apart from Facebook Messenger app. I’ve always preferred I’d say I’ve always preferred WhatsApp. Anyway. Instagram, I quite liked Facebook has always been something that like your mom wants to be your friend on. And
yeah, it’s an age thing. Because obviously, for me, Facebook was like, Yeah, I remember how old I was on my 20s. When I find now 2005, six when I first went on Facebook, so some while ago, 15 years ago, so yeah, I would have been Yeah, 20s. Let’s say
I old enough for a cat. And back then.
For me, that was kind of like, as interesting as because everyone that I’m connected to is probably the same kind of age group. But actually, my daughter has no interest in having a Facebook page. Now. So So I said to her before, I said, Yeah, some of your friends are on Facebook. Obviously we are Do you want one? And she’s like, No. Why would I want a Facebook page? Yeah, she’s got a tick tock account or an Instagram account. Snapchats probably a big one for that thing. She uses Snapchat, I couldn’t entirely tell you. But yeah, but she’s got no interest into into Facebook. So So I think it’s becoming like you say slightly older demographic. And the newer ones are just looking a little more interesting and fresh. I think now, but I think we could we’ll probably see that continue through 2021 as you ask them quite unique tools and different networks coming around. And I say we I mean, I think we’ll cover it on another on another podcast. But clubhouse has been really interesting. Personally, I found.
Yeah, I think clubhouse it’s, I think it’s just something that’s completely new. I guess it’s kind of like bringing radio to everybody making live podcasts, I guess. And making it collaborative. One thing I would say as well in regards to social media and LinkedIn is actually really kind of made me think about this. Basically, no one really, no one really gives a shit about business pages anymore. And I think when you actually see how people are kind of strategizing to get their company seen. It’s all about the people that work in their company, using their employees as like brand advocates and getting them to talk about things and just like network and use a platform for this actually about instead of pushing content out on a business page that no one really looks at anymore.
Yeah, I think we probably will do a future podcast actually around LinkedIn business versus personal would be an interesting topic to cover. Yeah, because I still come across businesses every day that think that LinkedIn is all about the business page. And actually a you and I well know that there’s no traction difference between something that I would post on my personal LinkedIn profile versus what we were posting our company pages miles apart.
I can actually I’ve got stats actually on this. So obviously we’re hiring for someone at the moment and I posted the job on the on the company And I also posted the job as a separate job on my LinkedIn page. On my LinkedIn page, the job that we posted yesterday, has got over 1000, kind of impressions on there on the company page. It’s got something like 200.
Yeah, it’s good. I just think, I mean, it’s all about algorithms, isn’t it with the search for these things. And I think that people engage with people. LinkedIn is very, it was always a person to person. thing. Yeah. And sort of business, business agnostic and a lot of ways. And they tacked on the company page is just a way to sort of register where you work. And then they sort of started to social feed it a bit. And it’s just yeah, yeah, it’s almost the point where I genuinely say that most people could ignore it. Really, it just doesn’t add any value to your business unless it Yeah, just make sure it doesn’t look like the last thing you posted on there. Four years ago, Christmas opening hours. But apart from that, it just doesn’t serve an awful lot of purpose.
No, definitely not. And I think the way it’s been used in the past as well, people just treat it as like their social poster basically billboard ads that project at you that they’re not there to get you to kind of like interact with them from a business page as well. People don’t necessarily want to be seen to be interacting with a business page. But if you’re actually doing it as person, they’re happy to join in a conversation. Like you post comment. I don’t know answer your poll, whatever it is that you thrown up there.
Yeah. 100%, I think yeah, it is. So we’ll definitely cover it. I think some more corporate topics. I think going forward, I think we’ll do some personal branding podcast talks as well. Just about Yeah, why it is important to connect. And if I just just on a final thought that I had a customer the other day, I sort of was asking, you know, where to get a business from and they said LinkedIn, and I said, Are you sure about that? And they said, Yeah, cuz we really well connected. And they said, Oh, yeah, so who’s connected on the MDS where you are connected? And turned out, you didn’t have a LinkedIn page. So there’s no way that we’re getting a business from LinkedIn, because if he was that well connected, I think you would have had a page for a start. But it’s interesting, if you are, if you are well known in a particular industry, and you’ve got a LinkedIn page, that actually as a business, that person is your best route to those LinkedIn contacts, because it’s just the way it would work in terms of the algorithms. But yeah, so we’ll cover another point. I think. So yeah. So just to wrap up, really, I think 2020 Whilst, you know, horrendous for some people, I think, in our as a media agency world, was really interesting in terms of how it was changing trends and changing tools that people use and sort of just adjusting the way of life really, I think, yeah, our next podcast, which will be on the predictions for 2021 will probably look at how will how they have those things that we’re starting how they’ll further develop.
Yeah, I can’t agree more. So yeah, hopefully, hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this little reminiscing look back on 2020. And it might have shown you some of the positives that have actually come out of the year as well. So if you’ve got any thoughts get in touch with us at Hello at so marketing.com