Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 30, 2013 2:52 pm

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Back in May 2012 when Google dropped the bombshell that its Product Search would become Google Shopping, many an online retailer was annoyed that they would no longer be able to enjoy the free extra traffic that the platform provided.

Google describes the move as an attempt to encourage merchants to make shopping results more effective for consumers through providing more up to date and relevant information on their products, like accurate pricing, recent photos and availability data.

With the transition from a free to a paid service taking place in just a couple of weeks, on 13th February, we’ve taken a look at how marketers on the other side of the pond have dealt with the change.

Research from Marin Software suggests that actually, those who have adopted Google Shopping in the U.S. appear to be achieving a great deal of success, especially over the festive season. More than 100,000 retailers now use the platform in the States and with click shares now increasing from 2.1% to 6.6% it’s not hard to see why.

This also suggests that shoppers are finding the ads increasingly relevant to their search queries. Better still, product listing ads ended the year with a higher click through rate and lower average clicks than text ads. However, as we are dealing with the Christmas period here, this success could be attributed to an increase in product related searches.

Either way it will be interesting to see how the transition is received over here, and whether paid search marketers will allocate part of their budget to Google Shopping.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: January 30, 2013 10:09 am

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Last week Twitter released its very own video sharing app named Vine. The new concept allows Twitters 500 million plus users to share six second long videos across the micro blogging site.  Although owned and linked directly to Twitter it is not yet possible to Vine straight from Twitter, currently users must use the dedicated Vine app to upload videos to their account. The app is also only available on iOS operating systems such as iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Vice President of product, Michael Sippey explained the app in a recent blog post, ‘Vine is a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos. Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine inspires creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound, we look forward to seeing what you create.’

So if the app is owned and promoted by one of, if not, the largest social network site the impact of the app is expected to be large. The app also encourages everyone to be back on Twitter and begin connecting and sharing content again. Good news for Twitter – bad news for Facebook!

The app is also a new viable alternative to Instagram. Six second videos can be informative, fun or even just thought provoking and are an innovative and fresh way of creating content. Instagram simply shows an image – Vine allows video and sound and is therefore a great way to show a brands personality, creativity and style.

The app has however been met with some raised eyebrows and a few red faces after failing to filter and remove porn clips from its site. Even more embarrassing was the porn video that appeared in the Editor’s pick – blamed on human error and quickly deleted after many complaints.

Nevertheless Vine, with or without controversy was always going to cause a stir and we believe will continue to, especially in the content marketing world.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: January 28, 2013 9:41 am

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Recent research released by Covario has revealed that investment in PPC is increasing. The research looked at fourth quarter global paid search analysis and reported the spending on PPC advertising by businesses throughout the world.

In the fourth quarter, paid search was fifteen per cent higher in 2012 compared to the same time in 2011 and on top of that overall annual spending on paid search last year was eighteen per cent higher than in 2011.

Europe’s search spend grew by ten per cent year-on-year during the final quarter of last year, while the America’s increased twenty-one per cent and the Asia-Pacific increased by thirteen per cent.

This adds to mobile PPC’s spectacular increase in the paid search market, that rose by thirty per cent in the fourth quarter, year-on-year.

Part of PPC’s meteoric rise could be attributed to its instant impact, helping sites get noticed above the competition. By paying for your search advertising, you eliminate the time and patience associated with natural SEO, obtaining top positions almost instantly. Not to mention no pesky algorithms to watch out for!

In a culture when time is limited and people want instant results, it is no surprise paid search is enjoying success. Marketers want instant success and consumers want to find what they’re looking for fast.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: January 22, 2013 11:44 am

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Last week saw the launch of the new Graph Search from Facebook – a function that allows users to socially search for common interests such as restaurants, music and movies. Although currently it doesn’t seem to rival Google (although Zuckerberg admitted it is work in progress) it does still raise some concerns for businesses and marketers.

Hailed as a ‘game changer’ by digital agency Revolution Digital and a ‘huge deal’ by SiteVisibility it is set to shake up social media. For example if you are looking for a Curryhouse in Chelmsford liked by people in Chelmsford, then Facebook Graph Search can help. Or if you met somebody at a party named Hannah, who attended Westminster University and is a friend of your Friend Stacey, then you can use Facebook Graph Search to track her down.

To put it simply – it allows you to search on a more detailed, in-depth scale – something that is alarming both users on a personal and business level.

Up until now Facebook has allowed marketers information that most common users of the social media platform have no idea exists. As Graph Search launches more and more information will be freely available to all, including typical users and skilled marketers which will result in some rethinking the amount of information they share with Facebook. This is of course something that the site and marketers do not want to occur.

Obviously there have been various calls of Facebook dying out over the last decade, of which none have been fully correct. Today there are over 1 billion active users on the site, a figure that regularly increases.

Only time will tell of the effect that Facebook Graph Search will have on both searching – and the amount of information that users will share with the social networking site.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: January 17, 2013 4:14 pm

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It seems as though we are a nation of keen tablet and mobile users, even on Christmas day!

A recent study has revealed that 46% of Christmas Day traffic was on tablets and mobile phones. The results seem to back up a theory that Christmas day e-commerce is increasing each year as a result of the ever increasing popularity of digital gifts like smartphones and tablets for Christmas.

Findings also showed that traffic via mobile on the 25th of December actually exceeded that of an average shopping day in December apart from that of December the 1st. Retailers saw 44% more traffic from tablets and 25% more traffic from smartphones on Christmas day. Findings are even more interesting when Christmas Eve and Christmas day is compared, showing a 40% increase in tablet traffic and a 14% increase in smartphone usage on Christmas day.

2012 was undoubtedly the year of the tablet take over – with the launch of various devices such as the Kindle Fire, the iPad mini and the Google Nexus. The increase in site traffic is undoubtedly due to them being purchased as gifts but may also be due to a change in retailer’s tactics. Many began their sales on Christmas day slashing large amounts of money off items that were full priced less than 24 hours earlier.

This also raises interest about PPC advertising and the best times to begin and end your campaign. Cost per click on tablets has risen by 90% for tablet and 65% on mobile – an indication of the huge popularity of the devices and audience an advert has the potential to reach. Throughout the year tablet and mobile click through rates are always significantly higher than desktop and as predicted followed trend at Christmas with a huge spike in numbers.

Such research leaves marketers, SEO experts and researchers with the necessity to widen and develop adverts and websites in a mobile and tablet friendly way. It seems that more and more of us are relying on mobile internet access as a way to shop – even on the most unusual days.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 14, 2013 2:06 pm

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It appears as though internet giants like Facebook and Google may be forced in future to ask permission to use personal data.

The news comes just as uproar following the recent Instagram controversy has died down. The company dropped a decision to sell their users’ photos to advertisers after losing more than a quarter of its customers in one week alone.

Now it appears as though Facebook and Google may find themselves backed into a similar corner. As two firms that profit particularly well from user data, the new EU proposal for tougher consumer protection must have come as something of a shock. Particularly so for Facebook, which has come under close scrutiny for some of its slightly disappointing revenue reports of late.

EU lawmakers are planning to limit companies’ ability to use and sell data to advertisers by stating that users must have the opportunity to consciously agree to data processing, or reject it. This kind of data can include internet browsing habits. Those who use Facebook regularly may have noticed adverts tailored to their individual interests or general internet activity.

Needless to say, Facebook and Google are planning to fight back against the curbs. The story is likely to be more popular amongst consumers however, with online forums becoming increasingly filled with people irritated by this kind of behaviour.

However, before panic sets in, it is worth noting that there are exceptions to the new proposed rules. For example, a firm would still be allowed to send junk mail to a user based on data it had gathered itself.

On Wednesday, a plan is expected to be announced to ensure that search engines and social network users are in control of how much of their data is sold to advertisers.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: January 8, 2013 4:25 pm

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Televisions and mobile phones have become an integral part of everybody’s lives. We spend hours each day making calls, interacting online, sending text messages and browsing the web all on our mobiles. The other screen we spend a lot of time looking at is that of the television. Whether it is unwinding after work, embracing sport or catching up with the latest popular programs, the television makes up a large proportion of the UK’s popular culture.

So what happens when the two collide? The merging of social media and television is a phenomenon that has occurred over the last few years. Until recently the use of hashtags and trending was not commonly connected with television programs, yet now it is a regular, mundane feature. Television programs even create and visibly display them throughout the show encouraging the use and discussion of the show on social media sites like Twitter.

This type of ‘social TV’ also exists on Facebook where it is possible to view opinions and remarks about shows that are commonly watched such as the likes of X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother. This means that if the user logs on at a certain time whilst the program is on television it is highly likely that they will see many related posts. Sean W. Bohan Co-Founder of Decahedralist Strategic Consulting explained, ‘The user doesn’t call this social TV – they call it their normal behavior  Apps that create more enhanced experiences like syncing to the audio from the TV, timed with the show, encouraging interaction etc…will create new opportunities for sponsorship and revenue. ‘

Mike Knowlton, from Murmur added, ‘I expect to see a continued growth in ‘Second Screen Viewing’, we’ll see a new move to better integration social activity into TV content.’

So what does this mean for TV in the future? Many feel a large emphasis will be placed on the encouragement of social interaction and creating a buzz about a television program through the use of social media platforms.

Overall, the move towards social media and the acceptance of it in everyday life displays how it is a platform that will not be going away.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 8, 2013 12:48 pm

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Do you work in the digital marketing sector? Have you been putting in longer hours? Gone that extra mile to satisfy your clients? All without feeling like you’re enjoying the benefits? If so, you’re not alone.

A new study has shown that almost 90% of digital and design agencies believe their clients now expect more work for less money. The design Industry Voices Report interviewed 500 agency staff, finding that 80% of participants claim their clients’ budgets have been reduced and more than two thirds said clients expect more work in pitches for free.

So what impact does this have on those affected? Whilst clients need to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth in order to balance their finances, it is equally important for digital marketing agencies to make sure they are turning over enough profit to survive.

The answer appears to lie in compromise. Demonstrating to clients that you are more than capable of achieving tangible results within a reasonable timescale, as well as going out of your way to meet demands should be enough to convince them to stay. Any further, unreasonable requests are unlikely to be met by another company that is as successful at what they do, which should persuade clients that they are in the right hands.

What’s also interesting is that the same report also suggests that agencies are experiencing a huge turnover in staff and relying heavily on freelancers. 61 % of those surveyed said they are employing less permanent staff. This in itself could be contributing to the problem. A significant lack of staff will always make it appear that more work is mounting up and non-permanent staff and freelancers will naturally take longer to complete work as they will be less familiar with the clients and tasks in hand.

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