Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com or follow at @herrhuld.

Are apps the future of the British Museum?

The British Museum has released a decent app that showcases the current ‘Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’ exhibition.

Hopes are that people who can’t get to the museum will download the app and experience the exhibition at home.

I discuss the app (made by Apadmi) below in the context of the British Museum's digital stock.

Testing the market and getting experience with an exhibition app build is undoubtedly a smart move, and a tricky undertaking.

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Good and bad design from PR agency websites

PR and marketing agencies don't have it easy. This crowded B2B market means agencies have to crow loudest, longest and with most meaning.

This is a simple little post marking a few things I've liked looking at on agency websites, and some things I haven't. There's likely a whole host of posts to write on copy alone, web design alone, and content alone, but this is just a snippet to start.

I would be very glad to hear pet hates about agency websites in the comments below (keep it friendly:-).

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Five demoralising Google Trends

Google Trends is a time vacuum. Many a time I’ve been lost, exploring abstruse, spurious and tantalising connections between search terms, instead of doing actual work.

Below, with more than a hint of my own tastes, I’ve screenshot some of what I consider to be dispiriting Google Trends (one of the more fun uses of Trends).

See if you agree with my pseudo-pop-culture laments. Yes, this is a pre-UK holiday post, a bit of fun, but, with the inclusion of YouTube search data in Google Trends as of this week, now is a great time to get stuck in yourselves.

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A bookmarkable guide for digital marketing newbies

The list below includes links to useful resources that you or new staffers can read in month one of a career in marketing. The list is my idea of what is most important or most eye-opening for those beginning their careers.

I’ve been working at Econsultancy London for three years. When I started I didn’t know what the acronym ‘SEO’ stood for. Our recruitment policy has since been firmed up, but the complexity of working online has increased.

Hopefully, whatever your industry or business size, you can read and bookmark this post, or pass on to new colleagues.

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How big data is changing outdoor media

Seeing an ad outdoors has a greater impact on us than one served to our laptop or phone. We come across it, 'discover it' if you want to be properly cheesy, we trust it more, and the creative is tied to a more unique and memorable set of circumstances. 

This is of course debatable; there are lots of caveats, but I believe it to be true.

Bear with me on this post, there is going to be some pontificating on a Brian Cox-esque scale (for non UK readers, he's a TV broadcaster who gets very reflective about the universe).

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Obvious and inspired features to improve your press room

Look at Johannes Gutenberg. His eyes seem to say 'can your press or media room be improved?'.

Here's a list of some obvious stuff to include in your press pages, and some more left-of-field options. I've taken many of the examples from the leisure and heritage sectors, but I think you can adapt them all.

Please let me know of any cool stuff you've seen on your web travels.

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Five reasons why QR and AR won’t take off on the London Underground

This is Sartre.

This is me scratching an itch.

Although there are plenty of statistics that suggest people have scanned QR codes out and about, used Blippar watching television and Aurasma whilst reading their sportsday match programmes, I’m a bit of a sceptic.

Virgin’s provision of free WiFi on the London Underground, the service notably being free to use on Vodafone and EE, has led many to ponder how this will impact on marketing and advertising in the subterranean rat race.

Some have claimed augmented reality (AR) will start to take off as the technology matures along with marketers, and there’s a signal to enable web content for QR codes/ RFID and the like.

However, unless scanning is heavily incentivised, I’m of the opinion there are at least five reasons why this isn’t going to be heavily adopted, and you can agree or disagree in our comments section below.

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Whoopsy daisy log-ins: a further look at good and bad micro-copywriting

I wrote a piece about micro-copywriting earlier this year, and in my ignorance thought this was a new concept, and that I may even have coined the term.

Shows you what I know. It’s a term that’s been used for a number of years, and great examples have been collected already, e.g. this Flickr Microcopy Group (thanks to Doug Kessler for pointing to this).

As the last post was popular I thought I’d bring together some more examples. So here’s a look at some micro-copy from the log-in error messages of four big players in the tech world.

These were easy to collect as I didn’t have to remember my passwords. In the end I found that although this could be an area where it’s not worth trifling with a user’s frustration, there’s still a lot to be improved upon.

And although looking at some of these fine-grained areas could be seen as the pedantry of a dilettante, I like to think of these little things as a microcosm of brand identity.

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Site review: the new RoyalMail.com delivers on customer experience

E.M. Forster, great Victorian-born champion of the internet, sorry, humanism, once wrote this:

"Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient".

The Royal Mail's revamped website is the latest in a string of big organisations meeting new and improved standards in customer experience.

The aesthetic of the site accounts largely for its improvements, and the site as it stands can be seen, excuse me Edward, to express more of the Royal Mail's personality as well as those of its various audiences.

First, I'll look at some interesting little here's and there's from around the site before panning out.

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Q&A: Minter Dial on the sales organization of the future

Minter Dial is co-author of a new report published by Econsultancy entitled The Sales Organization of the Future.

The report, which is free to registered Econsultancy users, explores how product-oriented companies need to evolve into value-added services organizations to meet the changing expectations of customers in a business environment which is fundamentally changing. 

I asked Minter some questions about the report and the imperative for business change.  

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Why I like the new Timeout.com: a high watermark for listings

Over the past decade, it’s plain to see the change in what users term ‘good’ websites. Often, websites of the past were not intuitive; a certain nous or understanding of their flaws was needed to extract information swiftly.

Now good websites are built with our gentlest sensibilities in mind. The beauty of a listings site like Timeout is that getting the architecture right, and the aesthetics, and every fillip of design, is directly linked to monetisation.

Here are a few of what I deem to be Timeout’s objectives, with some little snapshots of how they’ve been achieved.

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Micro-copywriting: the good, the bad and the cheesy pictures

Words are the most important tool marketers and ad men have. To prove it, I’ll show you a picture.

The chart beneath the Bee Gees shows that 60% of people prefer a ‘print experience’ to something ‘whizzy’, on a tablet app.

Obviously, 'print-like' doesn't just mean words, it also refers to typography and, to some extent, pictures. However, in this post I'll be focusing on copywriting, on an achingly small scale.

I'll be highlighting titbits of copy that are done well, in keeping with a company's brand, and make a web experience enjoyable, as well as some that aren't so good.

In the spirit of new media, I’m calling this ‘micro-copy’. And, to the dismay of the A/B testers, I’ll posit that some of my examples are qualitatively ‘better’ than others.

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