232 Quarterly Update - October

Kia Ora 👋

Welcome to the October edition of 232; Aro’s quarterly update on all things digital marketing in NZ.

We’ve had a massive quarter at Aro, but one of our favourite parts has been the work we’ve been doing on providing transparency on the digital marketing used for New Zealand's 2020 election.

We’ve kept tabs on how much each party is spending, and found that Judith Collins spent ~$30,000 on Facebook likes. Tim even ended up on the AM show chatting about the cannabis referendum.  

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1. New Facebook UX

You may have noticed Facebook has gone through a massive update recently.

Along with the roll-out of dark mode, the new update brings WAY more attention to the 5 things in the header. Each of these gives us a crystal ball to see Facebook's future plays & strategies.

Our breakdown of the latest Facebook UX update.

2. The Social Dilemma

By now, you’ve probably seen the Social Dilemma on Netflix. If you haven’t, it’s a documentary exploring the negative impacts of social media. Ultimately, I think that many of the concepts they bought up were legitimate. Eg: Dopamine addiction / filter bubbles / polarisation / potential impacts on democracy.

As an agency that engages in paid social media advertising on behalf of our clients, this has always been & always will be a dicey moral dilemma.

Here’s where we stand:

Social media is a tool, and just like any tool it can be used for good, or for evil.

We’re committed to using it as a tool for good. Helping charities fundraise, growing positive-impact initiatives, providing transparency on political parties actions, and supporting local businesses.

Realistically, social media is not going away. So we need to learn how to address it’s negative side effects, while embracing & extending the positive impacts.

I reckon there’s two pieces to this puzzle: Education and regulation.

  1. Educating users on the impacts of these platforms - and how to reduce those (eg: turning off / auditing your notifications).
  2. Regulating (& taxing) these platforms - to put restrictions on what companies can & can’t do. The law really needs to play catch up with the digital world.

We’ve got a lot of thoughts about the above - and want to help move platforms into a better state - so if anyone’s involved with either any wants to hear from us, let us know 😀.


1. Block Site

One way you can challenge your dopamine addiction to highly engaging websites is to literally block yourself from them.

Block Site is a Chrome extension that lets you select your most addicting websites (reddit - I’m looking at you) - and prevent you from accessing it.

What’s particularly helpful about this tool is it allows you to block out hours that you’re not allowed to visit your selected websites. It also has Work Mode - that allows you to input the amount of time you want to focus, and then blocks you from visiting those sites during that time.

Overall it’s a handy tool for helping balance usage with value on these platforms.

An example of trying to access reddit during working hours.

2. Exploding Topics

Exploding Topics is a very handy and user-friendly tool for identifying growing topics - before they get mainstream. Ideal for any e-commerce entrepreneur, or anyone who’s interested in exploring big trends.

There are some really interesting insights into topics like the Vanlife movement, which has boosted off over the last 5 years. You can check out Exploding Topics here.

Look at that 5 year growth!

3. Landingfolio

Thinking about updating your website? Or building a new one?

Starting from scratch can be super hard. That’s where Landingfolio comes in. This features a collection of some of the best landing pages on the internet. There’s a paid version - but the free version is good enough to generate some inspiration for your next website.


1. Find Your Colour

I had the most amazing ad experience the other day. While I was parked up watching the world go by near Princess Bay, I started reading an article. Then I noticed a Dulux ad that caught my attention.

As you can see, the image in the background was the exact same as the one that was right in front of me. Super weird!

Naturally this is just a coincidence - but I love the connection of location targeting to imagery to provide a kind of custom ad experience.

2. Make it Legal

We’ve been really impressed with the quality and diversity of adverts Make It Legal have been doing in the lead up to the cannabis referendum. At the time of writing this, Make It Legal has spent $56,687 on the Facebook ads platform.

We love the fact that they’ve been able to use such a wide range of ad approaches. Incorporating simple messaging, quotes, videos, perspective on current events & heaps more in their social media approach.

Just a snapshot of Make It Legal's Facebook Ads

Check out the Facebook ad library for more examples of what they’ve been advertising.

Aro Updates

New Clients!

Wowee - it’s been a big old quarter for Aro.

We’ve signed & re-signed a heap of amazing new clients!

Welcome to the Aro fam! We are excited to work with you all.

MOD Week!

We’re super stoked to be hosting an event for Mindset of Design Week this year. Our Kōrero on digital marketing is an awesome event that brings breakfast, marketers, and entrepreneurs together. We’ll be providing an exclusive insight into the concepts and advice we give to our clients. 

This morning event is held on the 13th of October, so if this sounds like a piece of you, register your interest here!

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

Thanks for reading,
Tim, Jonty & The Aro Digital Team 🤙

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Tim Dorrian
Managing Director / Founder

Tim kicked off Aro Digital from his flat back in 2017. Seeing digital campaigns go live and driving results for purpose-driven businesses is what makes him front flip out of bed in the morning. A parkour master, WWII bunker expert, and SEO whiz, Tim is as adventurous as he is passionate about all things digital. He’s on a mission to do every nature walk in Wellington, so if you know any hidden gems - let him know!