The UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7th December 2013, following in the footsteps of the United States who began the initiative in 2010, generating $5.5bn in its first year.
Supported by the UK government, it is hoped that success will follow into the UK and generate support for the 4.9m SMEs currently located here.
As well as some well-meaning tips on digitally showcasing and preparing for the big day, the blog begins with some lovely stats that should hit home on how important it is to participate.
I mean, if the idea of competing with 4.7m business of the same size doesn’t daunt you, then perhaps you should participate for the fun part, or indeed to support other local businesses.
It’s late November, so we’re comfortably past the point where people are no longer agitated that ‘best of the year’ lists are starting to appear already.
In fact I’ve already got my 'Best Korean Pop Albums' and 'Favourite Men’s Health Straplines (abs category)' lists all lined up and ready to go. In a listicle heavy year, this Winter will be the ultimate in year-end countdown meltdown, or Listageddon as I’m pushing for the late November period to be renamed.
Hot off the presses today (I'm sure there's a more up-to-date cliche then that) and towering above the rest is Unruly with its Top 20 most shared ads of 2013.
This one’s good because it’s based on fact, not the opinion of some feckless pundit.
This week, the irascible and increasingly innovative Mr Robert Allen Zimmerman (that's Bob Dylan to you and me) unveiled a music video the world has been waiting 48 years to see.
'Like a Rolling Stone', the opening track from Highway 61 Revisted and to date the most successful single of Dylan's career, has been reinvented as a brilliantly satirical and cunningly re-watchable interactive music video.
Using a television set featuring 16 channels worth of programming that you can flick through, all containing various television presenters, soap opera actors, reality TV stars, game show hosts and even rapper Danny Brown, all lip syncing along to Dylan's original track.
It's not only a fitting tribute to the song in its bitter incongruity but also quite a seamless technological marvel.
Click on the image below to hear The Price is Right's co-presenter telling you how you now don't seem so proud about 'scrounging for your next meal'...
Only 74 of the top 5,000 YouTube channels are from brands.
This research comes from Touchstorm’s latest study, The Touchstorm Video Index, covering Q3 2013 and concentrating on the 'YouTube 5,000', an elite group of channels with at least 43m views each.
Of those 5,000 channels, only 2% are owned by brands. That means there are 4,926 teenagers with webcams, older people with camcorders, vloggers with flipcams, bedroom animators with smartphones and various other fashionistas, musicians, close-up magicians, action figure critics and amateur film-makers who are completely dominating the platform and squeezing out the big companies.
What can brands do about this? Is there any hope for them?
Here are some key findings from the report, along with our own insight, ideas for strategy and a look at the brands who are using YouTube successfully.
Poorly placed ads are spoiling the internet for millions of UK consumers, with 87% saying these messages regularly get in the way of what they are trying to view online.
The survey of 1,900 UK web users was sponsored by AdPlus, a browser plugin which allows customers to only see ads from brands and markets that interest them.
Obviously there is an agenda here, but it's hard to deny that ads can be intrusive and annoying, and I do wonder whether such plugins and ad blockers are just the natural response to bad UX.
On the other hand, publishers offering free content need to pay the bills somehow, and perhaps more web users need to understand that.
Are you an advertiser running a PPC campaign? Is there something not quite right with your paid search costs? Does your performance data contain unexplained anomalies?
Have you heard the term ‘click fraud’ bandied around the internet and think that you could be its next victim?
I realise that while writing this introduction I was beginning to sound like a fear-mongering, consumer-based TV show that makes even the most rational people think twice about leaving the house after dark, so I'll stop here.
Is click fraud something you should be aware of, and if so, to what extent does it affect your PPC campaign?
At the beginning of September 2013, Shazam announced a huge milestone: the 10 billionth use of the music identifying app.
The song: Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’. The man: some guy in New Jersey who was officially the last human being in the Western world not to recognise Lady Gaga.
If you’re unaware of Shazam, quite simply it’s an app that you can use to identify a song you don’t know the name of that’s playing in any location (as long as it’s audible) in a matter of seconds. The process is called ‘tagging’.
Shazam currently processes more than 100m tags a week, this is 150% more than a year ago, and currently has more than 80m global users.
This year we hosted our second Digital Cream in Shanghai, and because we liked the venue so much from last year, we decided to hold it again at exactly the same place.
There’s something quite enthralling to be running our Digital Cream senior marketers’ roundtable gathering at one of the top night spots in town, especially when it’s located in mainland China.
There’s the stunning skyline view of downtown Shanghai, the Huangpu tributary of the Yangtze river running through the vibrant metropolis, and the feeling that you’re somewhere incredibly special and, dare I say it, more than a little auspicious.
There’s a smattering of complacency about content marketing.
Many brands are spending a great deal of money on content creation, and then just tagging a few keywords, sticking it up on their site’s blog, repeatedly posting it on Twitter for a few weeks and calling it a day: job done. Quality content needn’t have such a finite shelf-life.
With a little creativity content can be re-used and promoted more regularly, for example by creating seasonal content which can be easily repurposed each year. Neither should marketers be solely dependent on SEO and social shares to get the content seen.
It's not just casual Pinterest users making their own boards and pinning images, brands are fast discovering that sharing and adding pins to their own products can be an effective way to drive users to their ecommerce sites.
As of September 2013, the three year-old social channel has over 70m users, and according to a recent study Pinterest is driving more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
Pinterest's aesthetic style is also seeping into most corners of ecommerce. From eBay's recent homepage overhaul, to Etsy's vintage, bespoke world of homemade trinkets.
It's this visual style that brands are realising is the key attraction for users on Pinterest. So how do brands let consumers know about their own presence on this burgeoning and increasingly integral channel?
Sony has recently began sending out dedicated emails highlighting Pinterest; integrating its own boards and pins into the email and driving traffic to its Pinterest page. Integrating Pinterest has led to a 70% higher average open rate for Sony, and an average 18% higher click-through rate.
How are other brands integrating Pinterest with their emails? Here are 20 examples: