Digital marketing in Malta, just like everywhere else, is a complex affair. You can even make the argument that it’s a little more challenging than in larger countries, purely because it’s a fact that there’s a smaller volume of potential clients or customers. That makes it more difficult to actually pinpoint these individuals and figure out the best ways to reach them effectively.
As a nation, historically we’ve looked at global trends and decided they can wait a few years before we collectively relent and begrudgingly adopt it. This has happened with most major technologies, pop-culture fads, working techniques, and cultural norms.
However, over the last few years, we seem to be a little quicker on our feet when it comes to adopting technological innovations.
Just Google ‘the Blockchain island’ and you’ll get where I’m coming from.
Digital marketing has a similar story. Local marketers held off on adopting digital advertising for as long as possible. We were mostly comfortable with our traditional media and weren’t looking for an industry disrupter.
The problem with disruptors is that they happen whether or not you want them to.
That marketing disruptor in Malta? Social media. Maltese residents love social media. That’s forced marketing to evolve and evolve quickly into the digital-first landscape we have today. So here are 8 things you need to know as a business leader or marketer operating in Malta when it comes to digital marketing.
Boosting Posts on Facebook is not enough
Disclaimer: Boosting posts on Facebook isn’t a bad thing. But most people tend to misuse it. Whenever you place ad spend behind a post on Facebook, you’re asked to choose what objective you have, such as engagement, reach, or website traffic. Each of these sound relatively good for any brand to gain, but they provide significantly different results. For example, boosting a post to gain post engagement will place your ad in front of people who tend to comment or like things often, and not necessarily the people you actually want to influence.
Placing ad spend behind social media content should be one of the last things you consider. Start with your brand, your audience, and the goal you want to achieve with the content you’re creating. There’s no one perfect way to spend money on Facebook. Spending money to get likes & comments might make it seem like you’re doing well, but you can likely do better with a more rounded approach.
Google Search is underused
A huge number of consumer journeys start with research. This is especially true for products that are either too expensive or complex for impulse buying to be common. The go-to platform for said research is Google Search. For most websites, in fact, traffic from Google is their most valuable source of traffic for a simple reason. Those who arrive at a website from a search engine have a very specific intent. They know exactly what they’re looking for and will know they’ve found it when they see it.
Locally, it’s surprising to see just how many valuable search terms are non-competitive. When we say valuable, we mean that those using that search term are likely to be individuals who are looking to purchase something. When we say non-competitive, it means there are not a lot of brands vying for the top results for those search terms.
If you’re not sure whether to delve into SEO (search engine optimisation), we wrote a quick guide to figure out whether it would be worth it to you or not. And here’s a useful tool you can use to figure out what kind of volume and competitiveness the search terms in your industry have. You might be surprised.
TikTok Ads are coming
If you’re over the age of 30, you’ve likely been trying to ignore TikTok and convince yourself that Instagram is still the trendy platform to be on.
You might even think the word trendy is still used.
Well, the reality is that TikTok is here to stay for the time being. Even some unexpected organisations are taking the leap. Whether it’s the right move or not, we’re not entirely sure.
Not too long ago, TikTok launched its ads platform, just like Facebook and Instagram did a few years back. However, it’s yet to reach Malta. For now. That doesn’t mean your brand shouldn’t already be there. If your audience is predominantly below the age of 25, it’s definitely worth taking a strong look at what content production capabilities you have, because one thing’s for sure – standard brand-focused content doesn’t fly on TikTok.
Once ads make their way to Malta, it will become the hottest platform in the local industry.
Don’t think of influencers as just celebrities
At Switch we’ve been working with influencers for years, and if there’s one thing they always are happy about when they work with us it’s this – we don’t use them as celebrities.
Traditionally, getting a big name associated with your brand is seen as a clever tool to get fans of that celebrity aware of your brand.
And that’s all well and good.
But the influencer scene in Malta is a little different, purely because of the very first point I mentioned – there aren’t a lot of us on this island.
That means that the same handful of big-name influencers have hugely overlapping local audiences and they tend to get overused by brands who want to reach that audience. That’s not the worst of it though – a lot of brands approach influencers with very little in the way of direction. They expect them to come up with the strategy, content, and execution on their own, which is especially egregious when they’re not given that much information to work with.
Before even making a list of influencers you want to work with, you need to:
- Pinpoint your audience.
- Analyse influencer collaborations in your industry.
- Make a list of both big-name influencers and micro-influencers.
- Write a detailed brief.
- Have a two-way conversation with potential influencers to figure out whether your brands are a match.
Only with all that done can you begin to discuss the actual content.
LinkedIn is not just for recruitment
If you’re a business that relies on B2B sales and word-of-mouth for business development, then LinkedIn is essential. For years, LinkedIn has been regarded as the platform to find a new job on. While it still fulfils that purpose, it has evolved into a space where professionals build their personal brands, and by extension, their company’s brand while widening their network.
While we definitely encourage brands to use it, don’t treat it like Facebook. The content that works on Facebook doesn’t have the same effect on LinkedIn. What works are thoughtful business-related posts that have humans in mind. Spend 5 minutes scrolling though – you’ll notice that the posts that do well are those coming from individuals talking about their experiences, not about companies talking about their products.
YouTube is the new TV
As a kid, I grew up watching cartoons on a foreign TV station. I was subjected to countless ads for toys that were only available in strange, distant places.
I probably saw thousands of life insurance and debt consolidation ads from UK companies that were meant for whichever adult was around me.
This is probably a pretty relatable scenario those of us who grew up before the content on the internet had really caught up with TV.
A lot of time has passed since then.
Kids who weren’t yet born when Ira Losco first stole our collective heart with “7th Wonder” are now driving around and going to university. That means these adults who are already making major purchase decisions were 5 years old when YouTube began, and have grown up finding most of their personal entertainment online and will likely continue to do so.
Setting up YouTube ads is more flexible than ever, with a variety of different goals and distribution techniques available. Make sure you have a strategy for it.
Your website is your most valuable asset
Going back to what I said at the beginning, targeting the right audience in Malta isn’t easy – we’re just too small. The targeting tools available to marketers on the ad platforms can help, but those have been designed for countries with tens of millions of residents, not a measly half million. That means that those who are interested enough in what you have to offer to visit your website after you communicate with them are extremely valuable.
To do that, you need a website that’s configured and designed to drive as much traffic to it organically as possible, while also making it possible to retarget individuals who visit on digital ad platforms. If your website isn’t up to scratch, and not well-optimised for this, we guarantee you’re missing out on business.
Get inspiration from…Twitter?
That’s right. Twitter. While the relationship between Maltese residents and Twitter is usually limited to a screenshot of a politician’s statement being shared on Facebook, the platform is extremely useful for marketers. Brands that have been around on Twitter globally for a while have figured out that Twitter is the perfect place to have live conversations with their audience.
Take a look at the interactions between big brands and individuals, and even between the brands themselves. Most of the time they’re informal, off-the-cuff conversations. The success of these interactions has now led to a lot of brands doing the same thing on other social media platforms as they’ve realised that people tend to respond more to content that isn’t corporate.
If you want to see where social media in Malta (and the world) is going over the next few years, take a look at what’s going on on Twitter. The first local brands that try to emulate the informal tone will be taking a risk, but they also stand the most to gain by being first-movers.
Not sure about something in particular?
Obviously local digital marketing goes beyond the 8 points mentioned above, and each of them have more nuance than anything we could explain in a single article. So if you’re running a business (be it Malta, or anywhere else) and want to have a chat about something you’re unsure of, just drop us a line – no strings attached.