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Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

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

hive offices

Hive: A startup culture in a corporate behemoth

The team at Hive have an interesting story to tell.

Iterating a new product in a nascent part of an old industry, doing this within an enormous organisation like British Gas, while maintaining an independent, startup culture.

There's a lesson in there for anybody.

Here's what I learnt about Hive by listening to Tom Guy, product and commercial director, at #canvasconf, organised by 383.


How Birchbox engages customers with ‘personalisation that disappears’

I went to #canvasconf recently (organised by 383) and listened to Liz Crawford, CTO of Birchbox.

Liz had some deceptively simple insights into the concept of personalisation in ecommerce today.

Here are some of the things I took away.

native oyster

Is native advertising sustainable?

There are many articles out there defining what native advertising is and what it should look like.

There are native formats (simply in-stream ads, like expanding video), sponsored content (shaped by the publisher), content syndication (related content promoted through platforms such as Outbrain) and advertorials (often written by the advertiser).

There are blurred lines between some of these formats but what they have in common is a terribly misleading descriptor. This sort of advertising is anything but native, it is invasive, lurid, and can only survive as such.

google logo

What could the Google-Yahoo AdSense partnership mean for marketers?

You may have seen the news that Google plans to provide web search results and search ads for an unspecified number of Yahoo user queries. 

See the SEC filing here. So, what does that mean for marketers?


What's next for customer experience in retail stores?

No wonder customer experience is such a hot topic - we all shop and we all know when we don't like a store.

But customer experience in retail can be a catwalk for the emperor's new clothes.

Remember how many people talked about the ability to use social media on an interactive terminal in store? To perhaps 'Like' a product or upload some ropey augmented reality selfie to Twitter?


Three ranking factors SEOs cannot agree on

I apologise for lumping all SEOs together in the headline, some are good and some are still bad, but as the layman or 'content person' knows, there are a lot of opinions out there.

If you came via the blog homepage, the header image on this post showed Jupiter, Mercury and Io from Roman myth. 

Myth is a word that crops up a fair bit in SEO, such is the knowledge of the 'inner workings' of the Google 'algorithm'.

black friday

Black Friday: US sites ranking well in Google UK results

Search for 'Black Friday' and related terms in Google UK and you'll likely be returned a host of US websites in the results.

Below is page one of the UK SERPs (search engine results pages). As you can see, six out of the nine results are US sites.

cx report

What's so challenging about improving the customer experience?

Customer experience is a popular topic in digital because it's a term that distills down every marketing channel and customer interaction into one simple concept.

That's the beauty of a great customer experience; creating simple solutions for complex problems. (For more of that, join me at #FoM15).

The challenges companies face in creating credible and competitive customer experiences is the topic of the latest Econsultancy Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing in association with Adobe.

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Three examples of brands experimenting with virtual reality

Sure, we're all talking about VR, but which brands are already using it?

Here are three examples of early adopters, from publishing, travel and fashion.

And for more on VR, see A Marketer's Guide to Virtual Reality.


Data hoarding & consumer trust: are they mutually exclusive?

Remember all those 'data is the new oil' articles?

Well, to continue the tawdry analogy, is that oil burning with a clean flame?

Are companies using data to improve services for customers, or is it merely about advertising to them? And how will data brokerage and sharing need to change in the coming years?

black friday

SEO & Black Friday: How are brands preparing their landing pages?

We've been looking at some analysis of search performance in the lead up to Black Friday.

Electrical retailer Currys has had its strategy licked for some time, whereas Amazon has the odd improvement it could make to its usually omnipresent site.

Both sites show a consistent (and year-round) landing page is important for brands capitalising on annual events.

nfl players

NFL video content: Should brands police Twitter?

Last week two Twitter accounts, Deadspin and SBNationGif, were taken down after the NFL reported them for sharing its footage.

The footage was, of course, in the form of Vine video, that most popular format for 'real-time' sports clips.

With many sports fans now accustomed to searching Twitter for 'Vine Rooney goal' or similar (insert joke here, UK soccer fans), these DMCA takedown notices are a big deal.