Aro's 232 - July 2021: The State Of NZ's Digital Marketing

Discover the most popular digital platforms in New Zealand, according to Aro Digital's latest survey. Find out which social media channels and website platforms SMEs prefer, and learn the top-performing ads. Plus, get tips on simplifying your tracking and avoid common digital marketing pitfalls.

Tim Dorrian
July 30, 2021

232 Quarterly Update - July

It's been another big quarter for the team at Aro Digital! We’re now all moved into our second office - Aro 236 - where we’ll be hosting the majority of our client meetings moving forward. Awesome to see the business continuing to grow, as we hit our 4th birthday 🥳.

We’ve also been deep in some fantastic work with a range of clients. A couple of projects of note are Small Steps, Karawhiua and the Civil Aviation Authority where we’re creating an impact across mental health, Covid vaccination efforts, and reducing the number of relinquished items at airport security.

Small Steps Ad


1. What are the most popular digital platforms in NZ?

We ran NZ’s SME & Startup Digital Marketing Survey to understand the biggest trends and challenges for New Zealand’s Startup & SMEs. Firstly, we wanted to identify the popularity of different social and website platforms.

In terms of social platforms, we found that:

  • 92% of SMEs have a Facebook page
  • 72% have an Instagram account
  • 65% are on LinkedIn
  • Only 7% have a TikTok

Interesting to see Facebook & Instagram’s dominance here - but also the growth of TikTok, already at 7% of businesses.

In terms of performance, the top 3 were:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Display Ads

While digital ads on NZ Herald and Stuff performed the worst, with a large number of people also being uncertain about how well these placements perform.

It’s clear from this that LinkedIn ads still have a long way to go as a platform. While it’s got a captive audience, Microsoft’s got to do a lot of work on improving this advertising network. We’d love to see it perform better in terms of cost, and ability to drive results.

When it comes to website platforms, we found that the majority of respondents have their website setup on a common platform:

  1. Wordpress - 35% of businesses
  2. Shopify - 18% of businesses
  3. Squarespace - 14% of businesses

Very few businesses are going for custom built sites these days (only 7%) - which makes sense considering how easy those top 3 platforms make setting up & managing a website.

2. How does NZ use Digital Marketing?

We also asked about how NZ’s implementing digital marketing in their businesses, and what they struggle with.

We found that:

  • 65% of businesses are using digital marketing to build their brand awareness.
  • Only 43% of businesses use digital marketing to drive purchases.
  • 50% of businesses found their digital marketing performance met their expectations

One of the most common challenges mentioned were:

“We can’t tell if our ads are achieving tangible results.” 

In fact, we found that 38% can’t easily report on the results of their digital marketing. With all of the different platforms out there, tracking gets complicated. There’s a constant battle between privacy and data - and we’ve heard from many businesses that this is a huge pain point for them.

Our advice? Keep things simple. Focus on one key metric that drives real business outcomes for you. Eg: how many phone calls did your marketing generate this month From there you can start diving into where those calls came from, and what digital marketing approaches are working best.

If you want to read the full findings, check out our 9 NZ Digital Marketing Trends blog post.


This quarter, we wanted to share some resources that you might be able to use in your day to day digital marketing.

1. Wellington NZ Resources

For any Wellington based business, this is a great resource for finding royalty free local images. And boy oh boy, there’s some good ones in there.

2. NZ Story Toolkit

If you’re looking for images from around NZ - check out the NZ Story toolkit. In here you can find images, videos, infographics, market insights, and more - that’ll take your marketing campaigns and presentations to the next level.

3. Google Earth Studio

Aro’s fantastic designer Miles - has recently become incredibly stoked with a new tool he’s discovered. It’s called Google Earth Studio - and it’s all about making snazzy videos using Google Earth.

The best part? It’s a free tool - you just need to fill out an application form.


1. Meaningful Mahi website

We absolutely love the creativity and concepts involved in the Meaningful Mahi website. In particular, it’s awesome how they’ve chosen to answer some of their FAQs with video answers. Very cool!

2. Natural Paint Co

The Natural Paint co. is not just an epic business, but an amazing website. Very clear value proposition, quality photography, great palettes chosen. Check it out for some website inspo!

That’s it from us! Want more? Sign up for more updates delivered to your inbox 4 times a year 👇

Subscribe to 232

* indicates required

Thanks for reading,

Tim, Jonty & The Aro Digital Team 🤙

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Let's catch up

Ready for a chat? Book a discovery meeting

If you're doing awesome mahi - let's kōrero about how we might be able to support with your digital marketing.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.