Homeowners intend on spending less this Easter


easter bunny thumb Homeowners intend on spending less this Easter

Undeterred by a steady cash rate, abundant retail store sales and holiday destination discounts, many Australian borrowers are determined to save these Easter holidays.

A national survey by Australia’s largest independently-owned mortgage broker of first homeowners who purchased in the last two years found 32% will spend less during the Easter holiday period compared to last year. 54% will spend the same and only 14% will spend more*.

Spokesperson for Mortgage Choice, Kristy Sheppard, said, “Taking a battering from the November rate rises and recent hikes to other living costs while witnessing, and in some cases experiencing, the destruction of natural disasters means a leaner, more conservative Easter for many Australians.”

“Our 2011 Recent First Homeowner Survey found almost one third will spend less this Easter and only one in seven will spend more, despite five months of steady interest rates. Borrowers are determined to either put money back in their hip pockets or make sure their outgoing cashflow doesn’t increase.

“Astute mortgage holders are spending less to repay their debts sooner and create a savings buffer. Some of these and other borrowers may be unaware there are repayment strategies that reduce the overall interest owed on their home loan by utilising their savings, knocking time off the loan term.”

Borrowers looking to save more on their home loan this Easter can adopt these three steps:

1. Double your savings. An offset account or redraw facility puts regular savings to good use. Adding extra funds into an offset account reduces the interest owed and the loan term. Plus, funds are not taxable whereas interest earned from an ordinary savings account is. Alternatively, if your loan has a redraw facility you can reduce your interest owed and loan term by paying extra into your loan account and redrawing this if necessary. Keep in mind some lenders request a minimum redraw amount and/or charge a fee per withdrawal whereas others may have unlimited redraw. Consider the outcome if you contributed savings (big or small) via a lump sum deposit into your offset or loan account after each holiday.

2. Save on the extras. Review your loan’s features and fees to see if you are paying a higher price for things you don’t need. For example, many professional packages give you access to a wide range of loan features, which is great if you use each of them to your advantage. However, it may be that a more basic loan suits your needs and reduces your costs. Be sure to weigh up the expense of switching home loans with the rewards.

3. Dare to compare. Possible savings made by switching to a loan with fewer features isn’t the only reason to review your home loan regularly. Utilising loan comparison websites such as HelpMeChoose.com.au can help you determine if a cheaper and better suited loan exists. When doing so, remember to compare the features, interest rate and fees of each loan plus the cost of switching lender and/or loan. Your comparison needs to ensure the long term savings and benefits outweigh the expense of moving.

Call Mortgage Choice on 13 MORTGAGE. Or, visit MortgageChoice.com.au, Facebook.com/MortgageChoice or Twitter.com/MortgageChoice.

*Unreleased statistics from the Mortgage Choice 2011 Recent First Homeowner Survey, which asked a range of questions to 803 Australians who purchased their first home in the two years prior to February.

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The Advertiser-Agency Gap in Digital Spending Priorities


There’s no question that the vast majority of marketers are shifting more spending to digital, and a combination of tried-and-true tactics with newer online options will benefit from increasing budgets. But advertisers and their agencies are not yet on the same page when it comes to the details of many of those changes.

According to a report on 2011 marketing budgets from Econsultancy and SAS, agencies worldwide are more eager than their clients to increase spending on newer digital marketing tactics, while advertisers show a greater interest in upping budgets for the time-tested. For example, agencies were 13 percentage points more likely than advertisers to say their clients would be increasing mobile marketing spending. Advertisers were out in front of their agencies with reports of spending increases for email marketing, corporate websites, paid search and display ads.

US-based research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found similar patterns. Marketers were more likely than agencies to say they always or often used online tactics like emails, paid search, SEO and display. Agencies, as in the Econsultancy data, placed a significantly greater emphasis on mobile; they were 7 percentage points more likely than marketers to be familiar with it, and more than twice as likely to use it frequently.

The Econsultancy study also found agencies and their clients disagreed about their ability to measure the return on investment from many digital channels. Advertisers were more optimistic than agencies about how well they could assess the success of their efforts with paid search, email, corporate websites, display and mobile.

Whether advertisers are overconfident or agencies too tough on their clients’ capabilities, the perceptual gap could be significant in determining which channels see more of clients’ dollars.

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Facebook Drives US Social Network Ad Spending Past $3 Billion in 2011


US marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year, eMarketer predicts. Spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010 and will rise by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.

This year’s dramatic growth in spending will bring social media ad dollars to 10.8% of the total spent online in the US. Worldwide, where social network ad spending will rise 71.6% to $5.97 billion, that proportion will be somewhat lower, at 8.7%.

The 2011 forecast for US spending is $1 billion higher than eMarketer’s last estimate of US social network ad spending, made in August 2010. The primary driver of the change in projected spending is greater ad spending on Facebook, by far the biggest player in the space.

”2010 was the year that Facebook firmly established itself as a major force not only in social network advertising but all of online advertising,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson, author of the upcoming report “Worldwide Social Network Ad Spending: 2011 Outlook.” “In 2011, its global presence is something multinational advertisers can’t ignore.”

eMarketer predicts ad spending on the world’s top social network will reach $2.19 billion in the US this year and just over $4 billion worldwide—both more than double last year’s figure.

“If Facebook can continue to increase its global user base and boost the amount of revenue it generates per user, it could even surpass these forecasts,” Williamson said. “Facebook must continue to innovate its user experience and its ad platform.”

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SocNet Marketing Spending to Reach $38B by 2015


advertising thumb SocNet Marketing Spending to Reach $38B by 2015Combined advertising and promotional spending will hit $38 billion by 2015, roughly 440% more than the $7 billion projected for 2010, according to a new white paper from Borrell Associates.

 SocNet Marketing Spending to Reach $38B by 2015
Breaking the combined social network marketing spending stream into advertising and promotional streams, “The Social Networking Explosion: Ad Revenue Outlook” projects that $5 billion of total $7 billion (about 71%) social network marketing spending in 2010 will consist of promotional expenditures.

From 2010 to 2015, social network promotional spending will grow about 380%. In 2011, it will grow 40% to $7 billion, and then slow down to about 14% growth in 2012, totaling $8 billion, However, social network promotional spending will then double to $16 billion in 2013, and continue rapid growth the next year, increasing 31% to $21 billion before slowing again with 12.5% growth to $24 billion in 2015.

Although Borrell data shows social network advertising spending will remain at lower levels than promotional spending through the next five years, the total growth rate will be an even higher 600%.

In 2011, social network ad spending will grow 200%, from $2 billion to $6 billion, putting it on close to an even keel with promotional spending. Ad spending will remain close to promotional spending in 2012, rising almost 17% to $7 billion.

However, in 2013, ad spending will once again lag behind promotional spending, growing a very healthy 43% to $10 billion. Growth will then continue at a still impressive 20% pace to $12 billion in 2014 and 17% pace to $14 billion in 2015.

Borrell analysis indicates the rapidly growing marketing spend in social networking is fueled by wildly climbing consumer use of social networking services. The paper cites data from comScore which says Facebook alone had more than 100 million unique visitors in the US last December, out of 400 million registered users worldwide.

The average Facebook visitor came to the site 27 times during that month, almost once a day. As of the end of 2009, one hour in every nine spent online was spent on a social network site. More than two-thirds of the nation’s largest businesses recruit new employees through social networks, and 13% more plan to start this year.

Asked to rate various technology tools on a scale of 1 to 7 (7 meaning extremely important and 1 not important at all), the average respondent to a recent Gartner study rated social networking tools at slightly more than 4. Social networking only ranked ahead of four other tools, all of which have a social media aspect: wikis, social tagging/bookmarking, web feeds and blogs.

Email was clearly ranked as most important, with an average score near 7. The only other tool to receive an average score of more than 6 was group calendars/scheduling. The top five tools were rounded out by web conferencing, team workspaces, and simple end-user tools.

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In Mobile Content World, Men Lead in Spending


The model of the young male early adopter seems to have fallen by the wayside with the rise of digital phenomena like social media, but according to research from Adobe Systems Inc., men were ahead in mobile.

In a few content activities, women led. They were 10 percentage points more likely than men to access social media via mobile, and about equal when it came to searching for local information, reading or posting to blogs, and playing games. But men’s hunger for content put them ahead in more than just sports; video, music and news were all primarily male-conducted activities.

Men and women were in a statistical dead heat in usage of maps and directions via mobile, but men dominated in all other travel-related activities, including research, price comparison and booking. The same was true in the financial services sector: Men were more likely to do every type of financial activity on their phones, whether it was simple stuff like checking bank-account balances or more complex transactions like buying and selling stocks and mutual funds.

Men weren’t just using more content—they were more willing to pay for it too. Adobe found that men were more likely than women to purchase every category of mobile media and entertainment content studied, including games, video, news and, of course, sports content. Overall, 53% of women said they had never paid for mobile entertainment content, compared with just 38% of men.

Mobile-commerce is also a male-dominated area. Women held their own in categories like clothing, shoes and jewelry—as well as toys, babies and kids—but men were never far behind and in many areas dramatically outpaced women’s purchase habits.

Overall, females were 11 percentage points more likely to say they had not made any mobile purchases in the past six months. Men also spent more on their mobile purchases, with 60% spending at least $250 in the past year, compared with less than half of women who reported the same.

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