While there has been a slight backlash around content marketing, I think mainly due to the hype, brands in general have upped their game this year, and there are some great examples around.
i've asked agency and client side marketers, as well as the Econsultancy editorial team for their favourite examples of content campaigns and strategy from the past 12 months.
During the run-up to Christmas, which companies are bidding on paid search terms for the most popular products, and which have the most effective landing pages?
I took a look at paid search in my beginner’s guide what is paid search (PPC) and why do you need it? last month, and since then I’ve been a lot more attuned to this method of search engine marketing.
However I've also realised that PPC ads are for nothing, and a complete waste of searcher's time and an advertiser’s money, if conversion isn’t happening.
Referral traffic from eBay to Argos increased by almost a third between October and November, thanks in part to a new click-and-collect partnership between the two retailers.
In September eBay signed a deal that enabled its customers to collect purchases from Argos’ UK stores, giving the online retailer a permanent foothold on the high street.
Argos currently achieves around 25% of its overall traffic from referrals, of which eBay now accounts for 11%. This equated to more than 600,000 visits in November.
Responsive email is likely to be a key priority for marketers in 2014 as the consumer shift towards smartphones and tablets continues apace.
It's not uncommon for as much as 50% of marketing email to be opened on a mobile device, so brands need to take action to ensure they are providing a smooth user experience.
The alternative is that recipients have to spend ages pinching and scrolling to read the content, which will inevitably impact on click-throughs and conversions.
To find out a bit more about the process of shifting marketing emails to a responsive template, I spoke to Missguided's affiliate and email marketing manager Cath Higgs.
What do customers want in a multichannel experience and how will technology help deliver it in 2014?
Customers don’t always know what it is they want, but by looking at current habits, themes will undoubtedly emerge.
Walker Sands has recently surveyed 1,000 US consumers on the future of retail. The results are interesting and give some pointers to retailers hoping to stay on consumer trend for buying habits.
Here are the best bits:
Christmas shopping can be a painful experience, particularly when you find yourself in a busy shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon facing huge crowds and massive queues.
So it probably comes as no surprise to hear that levels of satisfaction with online shopping improve slightly during the festive season, while the opposite is true for the in-store experience.
A survey by eDigitalResearch found that a quarter (25%) of shoppers feel that online shopping experiences improve at Christmas, while 42% of respondents stated that their overall in-store experience deteriorated at this time of year.
Improved satisfaction is mainly down to the lack of queues (53%), but price (51%) and the range of products available online (51%) are also seen as key benefits of ecommerce.
Companies that sell their services based on a subscription model have a difficult task on their hands when it comes to designing a simple but persuasive pricing page.
It’s something we’ve tinkered with a great deal here at Econsultancy as the only way to find the most effective balance is by testing different elements and combinations.
To see if there are any best practices or common design elements when creating subscription pages, I visited the sites of four different SaaS (software as a service) vendors.
For many SaaS companies, it’s actually impossible to find out a pricing model without getting in contact with them first.
Topshop is the top UK retailer for tablet user experience, according to the latest research by QUISMA, in which 10 top UK retailers were compared in terms of their tablet sites.
Topshop, Adidas and Nike provide the easiest to use websites for tablet users, whereas Zara and H&M performed poorly when it came to helping consumers navigate their sites.
Shall we blindly take QUISMA's word for it? Nah. Where's the fun in that?
Let’s have a look at some of the individual sites ourselves to see if we agree...
Some time between 2010 and 2011: “We should get a Twitter account!” bellows a CEO in a boardroom after reading the term repeatedly in a broadsheet newspaper over the weekend.
“Everyone’s on Twitter, our customers are on Twitter, we should get a Twitter account, and we should Twit at customers and tell them how great we are. We don’t want to be behind the curve on this one. Not like we were when we didn’t have a website until last year," continues the imaginary ruddy-faced executive as he pontificates to a room full of lap-dogs and sycophants.
"Also we should be on Facebook... Also do people still use MySpace?”
So the company immediately got a Twitter account, and a Facebook page and a [insert name of popular social media channel here] account and it pumped as many press releases, corporate slogans and nakedly brazen ‘buy-me’ marketing bilge down the channel as it possibly could, forgetting a number of key points.
- It’s a channel. Traffic can, and indeed should, move both ways.
- Nobody gives a damn what your company has to say.
- Your company will run out of things to say.
PR and marketing are the most common reasons that UK businesses use social media, according to statistics released by the ONS.
The new Ecommerce and ICT Activity Report, which includes annual data from 2012, also shows that website sales totalled £164bn, representing 6% of total UK business turnover in 2012.
Looking at the use of social, the data shows that a third of companies (33%) that use social do so to develop the business’ image or to market products.
A further 23% use social to respond to customer opinions, reviews or questions, while 12% use it to involve customers in the development or innovation of goods or services.