Archive for December 2015

Latest Internet User Statistics for Sri Lanka - 2015

UPDATED: 2016 Statistics are in this latest post. has published the latest figures for internet users worldwide and according to them the latest internet penetration figure for Sri Lanka is 25.8%.

This is a total of 5,689,800 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2014. Mind you, we are in the December of 2015 and these numbers are already one year old. If we apply a modest 20% year over year growth rate (YoY growth rate for Sri Lanka was always higher than 25% in past five years), we can expect this number to stand at 6,827,760 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2015, which will be a penetration of 32% of the total population.

For last three years, I have been publishing an analysis about Sri Lanka internet penetration figures on my blog. Previously, I’ve blogged about when Sri Lanka reached double digit mark in internet penetration, and then I wrote this blog when we reached 3 million internet users in SriLanka. Last year I published a blog when Sri Lanka reached the 4 millioninternet users.

Here's the latest. Sri Lanka has officially crossed 5.5 million internet users as per International Telecommunications Union.

In all my previous analysis, I took and International Telecom Union (ITU) as my source of data. However the credibility of these sources was challenged by some people.
We live in a country where there is no proper institute carrying out research and surveys on internet usage. We don’t have ComScore reports for Sri Lanka, we don’t have eMarketer reports, no BuzzMonitor or anything reliable as an information source. Whatever the local initiatives we have here are far less credible and reliable than ITU and

Central Bank of Sri Lanka reported, that the number of internetconnections in Sri Lanka counts to about 2 million end of 2014. If we apply an average of 3 people using one fixed line connection that will be roughly about 6 Million internet users.

According to Google Adwords Display Ads Planner tool, advertisers can target 5.5 Million to 10 Million unique cookies (a cookie is assumed to represent one person, but there can be duplication).
Facebook reports 3.5 million monthly active Facebook users in Sri Lanka. If apply the global Facebook penetration (to internet users) figure of 50%, we can forecast roughly about 7 Million internet users in Sri Lanka.

If we put all these sources of information on the table and take a look, we are seeing a number in the range of 6.5 Million to 8 Million as the total internet user base in Sri Lanka.

Where there is no absolutely accurate source, people may still argue the credibility of the estimations we come up with available sources of data. But, we cannot wait until all the systems become perfect to keep up with the rest of the world.

Implications for Marketers

In my 2014 post about this topic, I mentioned it’s not going to be easy for any newcomer to compete on Digital Advertising platforms. This will remain to be true for 2016 as well. Already we see the CPM rates are increasing on most digital advertising platforms, even though it’s still not as expensive as TV or Print. Engagement rates and organic reach rates on branded Facebook pages keep dropping; meaning just having a Facebook page for your brand is not going to count as a proper digital advertising tactic.

These changes call for one thing; that is better expertise in digitally lead advertising and marketing strategies and tactics. Your company cannot afford to leave the digital marketing decisions of your brands to a set of interns with IT degrees. It requires better expertise, strategic thinking and common sense. 2016 is going to be a complete red ocean in Digital Marketing job market. Companies will try to headhunt expertise from other companies aggressively, creating more and more demand for Digital Marketers in the job market. As a buddying marketer, are you geared to cater this demand? 
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Have You Found Your Digital Nirvana?

When prince Siddhartha walked out of that royal mansion in Kapilvastu, in search of inner peace and a path to Nirvana, there were many teachers and schools of thoughts in ancient India about finding the noble path to Nirvana. Each teacher had their own way of defining Nirvana, and they practiced different rituals as methods of getting there.
Siddhartha explored all these alternate paths and realized most of those schools of thoughts about Nirvana were flawed in one way or another. He then realized finding his own path to Nirvana was the solution. He eventually found the path he was looking for as he enlightened to be the Gautama Buddha, and became the founder of the world’s oldest religion based on a philosophy preached by a human being.
Today, the field of Digital Marketing for me is somewhat similar to what it looked like in 600 BC India where many false thoughts and rituals about path to Nirvana was embraced as the absolute truth. Today we see similar confusion among people about what ‘Digital’ can do for their business, although hardly most these people understand a difference between ‘Social’ and ‘Digital’. In all honesty, I believe the phrase ‘Digital Marketing’ itself is flawed. Long before the traditional admen created the word ‘digital marketing/media’ to categorize all the things that they don’t understand and put them into one basket, we used to call this ‘e-Marketing’ or simply ‘internet marketing’. There again we had so many confusions. For some people, e-Marketing was electronic marketing, while for others it was email marketing.
There is no better example to show how confused the marketing fraternity is about the definitions of these words than how veteran Digital Marketing guru Dave Chaffey explains how he changed the titles of his famous text books on Digital Marketing.
“The books I've written have actually had three different titles, updated with the times. I started with Internet Marketing, then Emarketing and in 2012 renamed the original Internet Marketing book to Digital Marketing, about time too since I was involved in developing the syllabus as an examiner for the IDM Diploma in Digital Marketing back in 2004-5 when the term was hardly used at all - so it's been great to see 'Digital Marketing' adopted as the 'de facto' term!” (Source)
Now that the term ‘Digital Marketing’ is accepted as a legit sub-discipline in Marketing (Well, CIM offers courses in Digital Marketing, so there’s no reason to doubt it) let’s try to understand how it differs from Marketing.
The official definition of Marketing according to The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is: “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” (I love this definition! It’s the best definition of Marketing for me).
Now the question is how digital marketing differs from marketing? Dave Chaffey in his book defines digital marketing as ‘achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies’. Perfect. In the end, it’s just about the application of a technology to achieve your marketing objectives.
It was long time back (in 2003) when Nicholas Carr wrote to HBR that “IT Doesn’t Matter” in business anymore, so why do we believe that technology really does matter in marketing anymore?
Yes, I use ‘Digital Marketing Professional’ as my LinkedIn title, but that’s just to differentiate myself as a personal brand among many other marketing professionals. But, prefixing ‘Digital’ to everything won’t necessarily help you to differentiate from your competition in your category, because there’s no competitive edge in using technology in business or in marketing anymore. 
I think it’s now the right time for people to stop thinking ‘Digital’ as a magic pill which solves all your marketing problems and focus more on improving the essence of your marketing strategy; that is to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements in a profitable manner for your business.
There’s no Nirvana in digital, so don’t waste your time finding an end in merely a means. Stop being over obsessed with a ‘digital strategy’, but broadly be in focus on your ‘marketing strategy’ and seize the opportunities you see emerging in these digital platforms around you.
Originally posted on LinkedIn on this link. Please join the conversation on LinkedIn if you have opinions to share.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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