Author: Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher was the Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He runs pop culture site Methods Unsound and you can hound him on Twitter @Christophe_Rock.

How London’s favourite restaurants are performing on mobile

Last month I wrote a comparison of how the UK’s favourite restaurants are performing on mobile, this month I’m going to take the same test to the streets of London.

Having a mobile optimised site is an absolute must for driving the peckish smartphone wielding pedestrian through your doors.

Whether it’s a separate mobile-site, a responsively designed site or an adaptive one, if you want to capture the attention of the empty stomach as it angrily roams the streets in need of an empty table, then you have to provide a decent mobile presence. 

Other restaurants may not necessarily be better than yours, but will they will beat you in the dinner rush if your website remains in its desktop form.

You don’t need a fully featured work of creative genius, just a simple, functional, easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate site that puts the most vital information to the fore.

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14 glorious distractions we found on the internet this week

Welcome to our very own version of the Reader’s Digest. Only with much less to read and more to watch, play and occasionally go 'huh' too.  

This week your venerable captain (me) will be saying a temporary goodbye, as he goes off and gets himself married and disappears on honeymoon for a few weeks.

Fear not though readers, loyal second-banana Matt Owen will be taking over skipper duty from next week, so stupid things from the internet will be fired at your face with just as much vigour while I'm away.

Here’s the round-up.

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10 trends that will impact your mobile commerce strategy

Finally, mobile devices are at a stage where technology meets and occasionally exceeds the expectations of the consumer.

Although not every retailer is offering a flawless and perfectly persuasive conversion bonanza when it comes to a mobile commerce experience, but most are now beginning to at least think ‘mobile first’ when it comes to ecommerce design.  

Obviously the arguments for responsive or adaptive design can hardly be considered a trend as it’s a conversation that's been raging for a long while.

So let's tale a look at some other recent trends that may impact an ecommerce team’s mobile strategy.


Does PPC have any effect on SEO? The expert view

I’ve recently been making a point of plunging myself deeper and deeper into the murky depths of SEO. 

It’s a fascinating place that can be filled with deeply satisfying victories, bafflingly contradictory advice, black and white hat gunslingers and requires dogged determination, nerves of steel and a strong sense of routine discipline.

While writing various beginner’s guides to SEO and paid search over the last year, I realised that I still had many more questions to ask, in particular how these two disciplines relate to each other.

And what’s the best way to seek enlightenment? Ask a bunch of experts that know way more than you, and pass off their advice as your own!


What KPIs are you using to measure the impact of content marketing?

Engagement or revenue? Conversion or visits?

To help answer the  above question, I’ll be taking a look at our latest report Where Content and Commerce Collide written by James Gurd and commissioned by EPiServer.

The report provides insight and recommendations for how content can be combined with ecommerce as well as examples of what ecommerce practitioners are currently doing and the role they are setting for content marketing within the overall digital strategy. 

Interviews were conducted with leading ecommerce professionals in B2B and B2C organisations, both UK and international. The aim of the interviews was to explore how leading brands are integrating content into ecommerce journeys and what the future strategy of the business looks like, with the output being qualitative data and indicative charts based on the responses of interviewees.

10 key questions were asked, including “who has ownership of your content?” “What tools do you use to help plan and deliver?” and “Do you produce content guidelines?”

These questions and more are answered in the report, but for now we’ll be looking at content marketing KPIs.


How brands can be brilliant at Vine

Last week I wrote about how brands can be brilliant at Instagram Video, the social video platform offering an extra nine seconds more per video than its rival.

On the surface, you’d think that there’s not a lot to separate the formats. Both offer a similar mobile-first UX, easy interactivity with followers and an increasing array of tools to edit and filter your videos.

The ease with which you can share to other social channels certainly depends on which format you’re sharing to which platform. Twitter, as the owner of Vine, is far better optimised for sharing Vines than Facebook. Vice versa for the Facebook owned Instagram video.

Scratch a little deeper, and the differences between the formats and the way they are used by brands soon becomes clear.

Beyond the differences in length and available tools, Vine and Instagram video remain able to operate in the same space, whilst remaining unique in their own way, with brands tending to choose one or the other platform based on its own audience, content and tone of voice.

I’ve been doing a monthly round-up of the best branded Vines and Instagram videos for the last year and in that time I’ve learnt a thing or two about what makes for a great super-miniature video.

So, based on the above shaky qualifications, I present my tips for making brilliant branded Vine videos.


Why you should be monitoring your brand on Twitter

66.7% of all public brand mentions on social media happen on Twitter.

Twitter is the key battleground on which your social reputation is won or lost.

This may sound overly dramatic, but you just have to look at the positivity around Oreo or Paddy Power since they entered social media compared to the highly publicised meltdowns of Ryanair or British Gas to understand that it’s a channel you have to tread carefully on.

Thankfully with a good social strategy and a fully trained social team or manager, potential Twitter storms can easily be avoided and positive engagement amplified to drive improvements in your brand perception.

To aid your team there are also various social media management tools that can help you monitor any mention of your brand, therefore allowing you to engage with followers and non-followers in real-time.

In this article I’ll be taking a look at five stats from the latest research from Mention, in which 35.7m company mentions were analysed, to show just how important it is to monitor your brand on Twitter


11 distractions to keep you from that other thing you’re meant to be doing online

If there’s one thing I know, it’s a good distraction when I see it.

What are the best types of distractions? Flare guns are pretty good. Fireworks also provide a similar service. Rearranging your desk? That’s more in the procrastination category but at least easier to organise than obtaining fireworks outside of November or a flare gun outside of a boat.

So what’s the easiest and quickest way to distract yourself right now? Well being as you’re here already, these will do nicely.

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10 most shared ads of 2014, so far

Now seems an appropriate time to see which ads have generated the most amount of shares so far in 2014, what with it being past the half-way mark now. 

In not all that unsurprising news, four of the ads are related to the World Cup, although it will be interesting to see whether any of these make it to the end of year list due to their short shelf life. After all, only one video remains in the top 10 after the Super Bowl in February.

It’s also notable to point out that of the World Cup videos, only one of them is from an actual sponsor. In fact 71% of online shares for World Cup ads have come from non-sponsors.

Here’s the top 10, which is as varied as it is impossible to predict. Thank you to Unruly for the numbers.


How brands can be brilliant at Instagram video

The very first article I wrote for Econsultancy was a comparison of Vine with Instagram’s then newly adopted video functionality. 

Instagram added an extra nine whole seconds to Vine’s bordering on the absurd six. In the year since its introduction and the writing of that article, expectations that Instagram, with its incumbent 200m users and massive wealth of brands already using the format, would crush the fledgling Vine have ranged from the sensible to the hysterical.

Thankfully right now things are looking a lot more positive. With just nine extra seconds and its various filter settings, Instagram video has managed to separate itself from Vine and surprisingly each remains unique in its own way, with brands tending to choose one or the other platform based on its own audience, content and tone of voice.

I’ve been doing a monthly round-up of the best branded Vines and Instagram videos for the last year and in that time I’ve learnt a thing or two about what makes for a great super-miniature video. Plus I’m an overly critical curmudgeon with an extensive background in no-budget filmmaking so basically I’m all over this.

So based on the above shaky qualifications, I present my tips for making brilliant branded Instagram videos.

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courtesy of Beatbox Kitchen

10 brands leading the way with mobile commerce design

It’s not just about driving footfall to an offline store anymore, when it comes to mobile commerce the big winners are the brands achieving conversions there and then on a mobile device.

Here we’ll be presenting a selection of ecommerce stores excelling at the mobile experience and ensuring a frustration free shopping experience on the small screen.

What will we be looking out for?

As our own Ben Davis discussed in 14 features of great mobile commerce design, here are some of the tools and features that can best aid mobile shoppers: 


How can marketers increase CTR from organic search?

With a playing field increasingly dominated with paid search advertising and local SEO boosted listings, the search engine results pages (SERPS) are becoming a meaner territory for more traditional organic links.

Of course one of the key ways to increase your chances of ranking above the competition is through a comprehensive SEO strategy.

However, just because your webpage has clawed its way closer to the all important first SERP, through a focused and technically proficient adhering to good SEO standards, it doesn’t necessarily mean that searchers are going to click on your link in mighty droves.

Thankfully there are ways and means of making your result stand out from the rest. All it takes is the smallest of visual discrepancies to catch the browsing eye and hopefully increase the click-through-rate (CTR) of your listing.