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14 02, 2019

Guest blog: Valentine’s day flirty four

By |2019-02-28T10:45:04+01:00February 14th, 2019|Blog, Branding|0 Comments

Struggling to get click-through? Bamboozled by what your digital marketing gurus are saying? And dearly hoping you’ll never be asked what the buzzwords they bandy about actually mean? We’ll look at four: smart audio, brand safety, voice search and AI which is artificial intelligence and basically means machine learning.

Well this Valentines, to show we care, Digital Web World are demystifying 2019’s ‘Flirty Four’ i.e. the digital marketing foursome making all sorts of promises for the year ahead.

1. Smart Audio

WHAT IT IS: You telling tech what to do and it doing it.

WHERE IT’S AT : If you feel like you’ve seen Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ advert a lot – (the one with the father curious about who his pasta-boiling, tomato sauce-burning daughter has got coming to dinner), then it’s probably because you have. It hit the humble TV screen back in November 2018 but it’s still regularly beaming into our living rooms every night. And it’s now February 14th 2019. It’s the Echo Show; with a four-month echo it seems.

The point is this. The likes of Amazon’s Echo Show (a ‘smart-speaker’) are apparently selling like hot cakes. At a closing down sale. Where everything’s free. And Amazon’s Echo Show is also an example of machine learning: using a machine, Alexa to communicate virtually.

In fact, in the US alone, the equivalent of almost the entire UK population now owns one (that is 56 million adults – or one in five Americans, according to the Smart Audio Report by Edison and NPR). Usage has ballooned from the speaker’s ‘assistant’ taking care of home security and the controls of other household devices, to traffic reports, shopping, and product research. This quarter, Amazon confirmed it’s doing rather well (even if their repeated advert is making you feel a little unwell): it has shipped more than 100 million devices with showpiece assistant ‘Alexa’ on board.

WHO SAYS SO: Digital marketing visionary Mitch Joel, the former president of WPP-owned Mirum, told Digital Web World that Smart Audio is one of his top two digital marketing trends of 2019.

Mr Joel has said, citing his blog: “Audio is the best user interface. It’s the way humans communicate. We will, in the not-too-distant future, communicate with and through technology with voice, and voice only.”

Mr Joel, named by Strategy Magazine as a “Rockstar of Digital Marketing” (doubters of ‘Smart Audio’ take note), has also been named one of the top 100 online marketers in the world.

Neil Watson, Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland at luxe headphones-maker Sennheiser agrees with Mr Joel, he said: “In an effort to counter the corporate and digital delivery of products and services, brands will look to humanise their message, and what better way to humanise than talking to customers? So ‘voice’ is going to become vogue again.”

He also told Digital Web World: “Digital always promised the potential of personalisation, but it turns out that unless there is some human authenticity to the execution then it doesn’t matter how good the data is, customer’s don’t buy it as a personal experience. To get personal means to listen, and talk.”

2. Brand Safety

smart audio

WHAT IT IS: Your company’s ads being safe from popping up next to nasty content.

WHERE IT’S AT: The tragic death of Molly Russell in 2017 still has painful reverberations today. A 2019 investigation by the BBC, conducted in the wake of the teenager killing herself after viewing self-harming images on Instagram, found that UK high street brands were plugging themselves next to the sort of awful images that Ms Russell’s father says made his then-14-year-old daughter take her own life.

While Instagram made some changes last month, advertising groups have been forced to state that their clients did not opt to be associated with content showing suicide, self-harm and depression.

Brand Safety got going as an issue in 2017 too. Back then, YouTube saw a slew of advertisers pull their content because their genuine commercial messages were showing next to extremist terror videos. Those pulling out included The Cabinet Office and The Guardian newspaper. Oh, and some 248 additional advertisers.

WHO SAYS SO: “Today, advertising in the news feed is targeted to the individual and there is no control over what else appears with it,” said advertising industry body ISBA (responding at the time to the BBC investigation.)

“We encourage Facebook and the wider industry to work together to avoid pushing this problem from one platform to another… [but]we recognise the importance of Instagram as a marketing tool to members operating in competitive markets.”

To Mitch Joel, founder of Six Pixels Group, Brand Safety is his other big digital marketing buzzword of 2019 (alongside Smart Audio.)

“A brand can choose where the ads are placed. Do not kid yourself into thinking that this is not possible,” he insisted.

“Brands spend tons of money on the mission and on the message, and then became very loose on where that message gets placed. Programmatic systems haven’t helped this problem, either.”

Writing in The Thing about Brand Safety, the veteran marketer concludes: “Of course, the full responsibility for brand safety has to be a partnership between the brand, media company/agency and publisher.”

3. Voice Search

voice search

WHAT IT IS: Speaking the query you once Asked Jeeves (remember him?) Plus details.

WHERE IT’S AT: As we’ve said before, Voice Search (unlike old skool Google Search on your desktop) is not just about stating aloud ‘keywords’ – it’s about meaning, content and intent. It’s about you or your customers speaking up to pose specific, full length questions.

To give you a sense of the sheer about-turn Voice Search has created, we need to give you some numbers. Some 75% of CMOs recently admitted to QueryClick that their brands will do nothing short of CHANGING their entire SEO strategy to ensure it appears in voice-led search results! While arresting, that finding is almost one year old (published March 2018.)

But there’s a reason we’re telling you at the moment, and it’s this: a big chunk of those SEO-revamping, voice search-conscious CMOs are actually prepping that SEO revamp to pop up in voice-led search results right now. Indeed, one-third said they’d do their overhaul in at least 12 months’ time. So this April, May and June 2019, don’t expect SEO consultants specialising in voice-search to be available. Or cheap. But do expect marketers to be changing their online game. Massively.

WHO SAYS SO: “We believe that voice is like Apple’s AppStore,” the Bristol-based research company ReThink Research has put it nicely. “It acts as a route to market for services, and those services will pay a percentage of revenue to be brought to market via voice.”

Mark Wild, digital strategist for Begbies Traynor, the UK’s largest professional services consultancy told Digital Web World: “2019 is already shaping up to be the year for voice search.

“With Echo device sales [at Amazon] in the millions, the barrier to target has got significantly lower. And with convenience and ease at the heart of voice search, marketers in 2019 can expect to see more opportunities to target their audience even better.

4. AI or Artificial Intelligence

WHAT IT IS: Better exploiting what machines learn or can do for us and our clients.

WHERE IT’S AT: AI (aka Artificial Intelligeneveryday, in the everyday of most of the connected world in fact, without lots of people necessarily realising it. Left to its own devices, AI or machine learning is always learning and customising the more its users (hapless or not) continue to use it. Just go online for a search or three of almost any product – ‘a dozen red roses’ for today’s Valentine’s Day, for example. A chatbot will pick up on this and lay on products that match your preference alongside the best deals as soon as you’re on many a landing page. Search a lot, and your penchant for romance will be visible to anyone who glances at your monitor!

As a specific technology to invest in however, Chatbots got the thumbs-down from marketers in a QueryClick report, albeit following significant investment in recent years. Other digital marketers foresee the use of chatbots and automated responses as heading for full maturity this year, especially within popular messenger apps.

As a whole, AI or machine learning is in such rude health that it was last month hailed as “the world’s greatest natural resource” by IBM.Vested interest? Perhaps. But speaking at CES in Las Vegas, Big Blue said AI would soon enable revolutions from smart cities and healthcare, to transportation and robotics.

WHO SAYS SO: “As technology continues to evolve at an astronomical pace, so do the opportunities,” said Begbies Traynor’s digital strategist Mark Wild.

“Artificial Intelligence offers an increased capability to store intelligent details about your audience. AI enhances personalisation and automation giving you the ability to bridge an emotional connection between brand and consumer.”

23 12, 2018

Top six PPC trends we expect in 2019

By |2019-01-30T21:20:46+01:00December 23rd, 2018|AdWords, Blog, Keyword Research, PPC|0 Comments

2018 was an exciting year in PPC advertising writes Digital Web World’s PPC Manager, Arun. We saw Amazon rise as the first place audiences search for products, AdWords rebrand to Google Ads and Bing launch a huge range of new advert features.

So, will 2019 have as many developments? In this blog we’ll explore some of the new features & trends that might come to PPC in 2019. If you are a PPC agency or want help with PPC marketing, read on.

Audiences rising in prevalence for PPC

Next year we expect to see that keywords will become less important to PPC as the primary focus to trigger delivery of adverts. We expect to see audiences becoming more and more important, quite simply if you’re not using them, you need to start now.

This development will go hand in hand with a move towards greater personalisation in the delivery of Adverts which will entail using other Data Collecting products on PPC channels. These Audience Networks will aid delivery Adverts to individuals that have previously shown an interest in your website or products that are similar to yours.

Automation not keywords

Audience

In 2018, we saw a move from many search engines towards Automation, this was key in Google’s Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) and in changes to Exact Match Keywords, symbolising a move away from the traditional manual management of PPC Campaigns.

We expect to see Bid Management & Keyword Variables become managed by the platform you are using for delivering campaigns. We’ll have to be keeping a closer eye on that Negative Keyword List!

Alternative Advertising Platforms for PPC – maximise visibility of your adverts

If you are a PPC agency, you know that traditionally Google is king for PPC. It still is, but we might see alternatives rise in popularity. A good example of this would be Amazon’s “Sponsored Product Ads” in 2018 it emerged as not only a viable platform but an essential one, especially for our B2C clients.

However, other platforms are realising updates that potentially might be just as game-changing.

  • Bing: Currently in beta, Bing Ads is testing local inventory adverts that display product stock availability nearby. (Currently in the US, but we expect to see this soon in the UK)
  • Facebook: Improved adverts to include a new instant storefront template format that can automatically generate a video with products personalised to users.
  • The return of Pinterest: New features allow users to buy directly from a product pin with price and inventory availability. Not only that, but they will also be able to make personalised product recommendations to users.
  • Google: Putting mobile first, Google’s local catalogue adverts feature local in-store availability and pricing in an easy scrollable mobile layout.

Credit for these insights (Lisa Raehsler, 2018)

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

So, this one is also referenced in my second entry, but it’s very important to mention. 2019 will be the year where we see roles change in PPC. AI is allowing any PPC marketer in a PPC agency to become more and more efficient. It means we can spend more time where we really need to drill down into the Performance Data we see from our campaigns. Allowing us to Leverage Automation for us to use new markets and Cross-Channel Strategies.

I personally think we are a quite a long way off from a completely automated AI advertising process, but it’s a key step in this direction. Maybe this will come in the future.

Cross-Channel advertising is the way forward for PPC

We expect to see more Cross Channel Advertising. Platforms are more aware than ever that we don’t just use Google or Facebook, we use them all, so delivering on multiple channels will be essential to successful advertising in the future.

We might see this through a tighter blend of social, search and e-commerce, which will deliver a more complete and engaging process. So using and delivering a coherent campaign will become essential.

New Adverts & Extensions

In 2018 we saw game-changing innovations in PPC. As a PPC agency, the announcement of RSA’s and other Ad types allowed us to target audiences in a completely different way. Using Googles’ AI, gave us an opportunity to identify which adverts were the most engaging with our target markets. In 2019, we expect to see these evolve, we anticipate it will include many other products within the Google marketplace. A current trial to keep a close eye on will be the rollout of “Local Services Ads” which has been gathering a lot of traction in the US.

PPC

For a PPC Manager in a PPC agency, these developments are gold dust, but it will ultimately mean that we have to create better and better copy for our campaigns. The insights that a client can provide are more important than ever as they are the experts and they have unique requirements about how we have to approach and satisfy their needs.

If you want to find out more about PPC and the trends we expect to see, subscribe to Digital Web World’s, newsletter below and we’ll send you an update from time to time. Otherwise, if you want to maximise your PPC in light of any of these trends, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your PPC agency.

This article was written by Arun who manages PPC for Digital Web World.

1 11, 2018

Kick-start your Christmas marketing campaign before it’s too late

By |2019-01-30T21:20:46+01:00November 1st, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Every business needs a marketing plan and marketing campaign to maximise sales over Christmas. Typically during the festive period sales are up 50 to 100 percent. In British stores last Christmas £41 billion was spent according to ONS figures. A coherent marketing plan will help you make the most of the festive period and it’s not too late to start.

You need to plan your marketing campaign around a timeline.

  • Black Friday — Friday 23rd November 2018
  • Small Business Saturday — Saturday 24th November 2018
  • Cyber Monday — Monday 26th November 2018
  • Winter Solstice — Friday 21st December 2018
  • Christmas Eve — Monday 24th December 2018
  • Christmas Day —Tuesday 25th December 2018
  • Boxing Day — Wednesday 26th December 2018
  • New Year’s Eve — Monday 31st December 2018
  • New Year’s Day — Tuesday 1st January 2018

Marketing campaign

To reach your target audience, you need to understand who the various groups are. Go through the demographic and behavioural data you have on your customers to see if any new behavioural trends have emerged.

Then break down your target customer personas and identify what products each persona would like. You can personalise your email marketing campaign based on customers’ previous purchases and order history and make sure the adverts they see are relevant.

It is important to capture any changes in customer behaviour and update your personas accordingly. Accurate personas help you target customers powerfully with your messaging.

When planning and writing your Christmas message, you need to consider:

  • the needs of your audience
  • your mission
  • your brand values
  • how you differ from competitors
  • how you deliver value to customers
  • what you want to make customers think, feel, and do

Your task is to find an overarching narrative that communicates these elements in a way that drives customers to conversion. You need to be clear about what you do, what you stand for, how you are different and what value you bring to your customers.

Christmas

After you’ve planned your message, you need to develop a theme which should be simple and memorable. It needs to work well across multiple channels including social media.

Some companies drive sales through promotions and discounts. Other companies, really embrace the spirit of Christmas and the incredible opportunity it affords. They create marketing campaigns that drive customer delight, deliver incredible results and their brand is remembered for years to come.

When you’re creating content, consider whether there is any supporting content on your website that needs optimising.

Think about which pages your campaign directs people to for additional information. Your aim is to make sure your customers’ experience is consistent throughout their journey.

It’s very important because failing to update supporting content could lead to a disjointed experience that blocks conversion.

Before you launch your campaign, consider whether any of your automated emails including thank you for your order emails need tweaking to include a festive theme. Small details like this enhance the overall customer experience your campaign delivers.

Assign a manager to project manage the Christmas marketing campaign, with a cross-functional team that includes representatives from marketing, sales and customer services. Communicate your key festive messages and campaign milestones to staff, so that they are all on board and committed to running a seamless marketing campaign.

customer

When you have planned your campaign ideas and allocated resources, make sure you also have KPIs and objectives in place, so that you can measure your return on investment (ROI) for your activity. This will also provide important benchmark data for the following year and help you to identify the activities that brought the most return and those which are less lucrative that need to be reshaped in a new way for any future marketing campaign.

January is the best time to get ahead of the game and assess the results of your marketing campaign over the Christmas period. You’ll need to review the analytics, gather information on sales, profitability and customer satisfaction. Analyse which emails resulted in the most sales and when conversions peaked.

5 04, 2018

Voice search is the future: embrace it cautiously

By |2019-01-30T21:20:47+01:00April 5th, 2018|Blog, Content|0 Comments

Voice searches using voice recognition software such as Google virtual assistant tend to be more conversational, even starting with a greeting: “Hey Cortana” and signing off: “Thank you Siri.” Voice searchers use specific, full length questions not keywords. Siri, Google assistant, Alexa and Cortana are different to text searches so a different approach with more long tail keywords is needed to rank highly in their search engine results pages (SERPS.)

Questions and voice search are a powerful new phenomenon that can inform marketers of content gaps and engagement opportunities. It’s very important that the search results are relevant because voice searchers often select the first search result unlike text searchers.

For example, a visitor may ask Google Assistant or Siri: “Where can I have a family meal for four for £80 up to a maximum of £100? If they are given a choice, the tourist may then ask: “Which restaurant has the best reviews?” As you can see location is very important with voice search engines able to rank their results according to opening hours, expertise and customer service ratings.

Google Assistant

Voice searches are about meaning, context and intent not just keywords and this change needs to be reflected in marketers’ SEO strategies that must now cater for voice and text searches.

For voice searchers the customer journey is very important and should encourage searchers to look around if they are using Amazon’s Alexa UK, for example. Marketing and advertising needs to be discreet and personalised. Voice search also needs to be a strategic part of any campaign, not just an afterthought added on at the end. A customer must be able to switch effortlessly between voice and visual text based searching using complementary not competing technologies.

Siri

Astute marketers will identify and harness the opportunity provided by voice search to reveal what customers want and need. It’s a growing field, particularly among young people and mobile phone users. According to Google, 20% of mobile searches are already voice searches. Comscore, a marketing analytics company, estimates that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches so it is essential that businesses learn how to be found by voice search engines.

Google released its guidelines for voice search four months ago, you can read them here. Marketers should seize the opportunity to engage with this new platform early making search more relevant and specific to their customers’ needs which will bring in new business for their clients.

However, everyone should take a careful look at the privacy policies of each voice assistant so that marketers can advise clients and customers of the type and amount of data stored and how to delete or disable it.

A note of caution for voice searchers

Both marketers and users of voice search must be aware that their devices are recording conversations and collecting data. Apple appears to be the best currently by anonymising information Siri transmits and deleting it when the voice search user turns Siri off.

Google assistant provides access to contacts, calendar, name, search history, voice and audio activity in order to deliver targeted advertising (which helps keep services free) and it stores conversations. It does not sell personal information to anyone but it admits to sharing information with affiliates and partners such as restaurants or airlines. It is up to the Google user to delete stored information.Amazon Alexa UK

Cortana listens in and provides access to calendar, email, messages and other content in the background even when the device is locked by default, although the feature can be disabled.

Amazon Alexa UK similarly collects a lot of information as outlined in its privacy policy. That data can include a name, email address, country of origin, nickname, telephone number, website, company and title for example, as well as browsing history, information about your operating system and a unique identifier enabling Alexa to identify the user’s device, and the date and time the information was logged. However, Amazon insists it does not actively try to determine the identity of any Alexa user.

One problem with most of these voice assistants is, with the exception of Siri, the user needs to remember to disable them if they don’t want them listening in. Anyone can access the assistant from your home without passing through voice identification which is a form of security used by mobiles.

Voice search is a growing phenomenon  and here to stay so marketers, businesses and users need to learn how to harness its potential while protecting their privacy.

 

20 02, 2018

GDPR is changing e-privacy and electronic marketing – stay on the right side of the law

By |2019-01-30T21:20:47+01:00February 20th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Email marketing regulations state that you can only carry out unsolicited electronic marketing if the person you’re targeting has given you their consent. This guiding principle is not expected to change. However, the scope of privacy regulations is likely to extend to include Business 2 Business (B2C) as well as Business 2 Consumer (B2C) because of changes to the definition of personal data.

This is because Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) that govern electronic marketing are in the process of being updated in line with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.)

Before GDPR the rules about emails for individuals didn’t apply to emails sent to organisations. In May next year GDPR’s wider definition of personal data will include data relating to a person at their business. This means there will be no distinction between B2B personal data and B2C data. When sending marketing emails to businesses you will now need to use the consent principle or ‘soft opt in’ principle in the same way that you do with individuals. Giving businesses an ‘opt out’ option will no longer be sufficient.

Everyone sending marketing communications needs to understand the rules around consent which are stricter in line with GDPR. You will need to provide comprehensive information (specific, informed) about what the person is consenting to, as well as ensuring they wouldn’t be disadvantaged if they didn’t consent (freely given). There must also be no doubt as to what they are consenting to (unambiguous) and no doubt as to whether they have actually given consent (clear affirmative action.)

Exceptions to the consent rule still fall under the ‘soft opt in’ which means sending an opt in email. It is allowed if the following three conditions are met: 1) when the buyer gives you contact details while making a purchase or negotiating a sale, 2) you are marketing a similar product or service and 3) there is a simple unsubscribe option at the bottom of each email so that a potential buyer can refuse marketing at any point.

consent

GDPR regards opt in emails or other soft opt in measures as a legitimate interest which is the legal basis for sending direct marketing electronically. It covers email, SMS, social media and instant messaging apps. But you need to be clear from the start when collecting personal data which electronic channel you will be using and make sure your marketing communications are relevant.

Legitimate interest may arise where consent is not viable or not preferred, although the organisations will still need to show that there is a balance of interests – their own and those of the person receiving the marketing. With electronic communications an unsubscribe link is simple to implement in cases of soft opt in by known customers.

When you send an electronic marketing message, you must identify yourself and provide a valid contact address. You must also have a complaints process in place.

If you are uncertain about how to make sure you have got valid consent, use an opt-in box on the email rather than an opt-out one.

You must then keep a list of people who have opted-out and screen lists to make sure you do not email them in future.

At the moment the Information Commissioner’s Office will consider issuing a fine of up to £500,000, where an organisation persistently ignores individuals’ objections to marketing.

However breaches of the new e-Privacy Regulation may attract fines of up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover, just like GDPR. It is not clear when the new regulation will take effect: a target date was set of May 2018 in line with GDPR but this is likely to slip into early 2019, giving you a little more time to prepare.

opt in email

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