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Last year I watched a panel debate on the following question: “Is it content, or is it an advertisement?” The panelists went round and round in circles for an hour, and there was no conclusion. My own thinking is along the lines of “it doesn’t really matter, and it’s probably both.”
I happen to think that we have entered a new golden age for advertising. The very best ads are conceived as shareable content experiences, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.
Unfortunately most TV and radio ads are still utterly intolerable, but I feel that the bar has been raised in recent years, driven by YouTube, social media, audience participation, and aspirations to be more creative. The best ads are anchored around compelling content. Execution, as with most things, is paramount. Combine the two and you might have a big hit on your hands.
There is a flipside: a lousy idea executed brilliantly is still a lousy idea. If the content is underwhelming then you will have to pay to gain reach. So much for earned media. If you are paying a small fortune to seed your content then you’re very much in the realms of paid media. I call this ‘the shareability gap’, and I believe that brands should invest in creativity, not media.
If a brand has paid for the content, then it pretty much wants you to buy something, or at the very least like it a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean that the content has to suck.
Here are some non-sucky content marketing campaigns that I’ve seen recently. I’ve taken quite a broad brush approach here with regards to formats: there are ads, pop-up installations, photographic collections, blogs, and helpful guides. I like the ideas and the execution. Have a look and do let me know what you think...
Over the past week, I have received a couple of pieces of email marketing that just didn’t read very well and it got me thinking about copywriting, and how vital it is to be done correctly.
Now please don’t take this the wrong way. There was nothing exactly wrong with this particular email's copy per-se, nothing that I could put my finger on exactly.
But they just didn’t read very well and to be honest, that made me doubt the credibility of the business, let alone the marketing campaign.
I do realize that I may be quite unique in these instances, as many people who are not interested in the industry, or indeed writing, may not notice.
To be honest, I blame my hatred of terrible spelling and grammar on Facebook and other social media platforms, where I am forced to look at it every day. It’s a shame.
However, I thought I would share my thoughts on the blog just in case anyone else agrees. And by ‘my’ thoughts, I mean some great tips taken from our Email Marketing Best Practice Guide, which has just been released today.
In February 2011 the first Panda Google algorithm update affected search results and changed the way SEO professionals and webmasters needed to think about optimizing websites.
The goal of Google Panda was to lower the rank of 'low-quality' websites that had thin content and increase rankings of higher quality and more authoritative websites. It was the beginning of the end of 'SEO content'.
Since then, and after more than a dozen updates to the Google Panda algorithm, websites have exponentially had to improve the quality of their content. There are various ways people speculate Google deems a website quality including the depth of the content, engagement metrics on pages, social sharing and the quality of websites linking.
While content creation might be the marketing strategy du jour, creating unique and creative stories is just half the battle.
Getting people to actually read and engage with your content is the most important - and difficult – task.
With the popularity content marketing is seeing, brands risk creating a tide of ‘content congestion’, an overload of content that leads many to ignore it altogether.
Even the most engaging stories can get lost in the flurry of newsletters and social updates that are pumped out daily from brands.
So how can you make sure that your content doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?
We recently held another one of our regular roundtables in New York.
Once again it was a lively discussion with senior execs from travel, retail, B2B, publishing and financial services attending and contributing
Occasionally you see an incredulous question posted to reddit, along these lines: “What job do you have that allows you to browse reddit?”
I happen to think that all kinds of professionals should keep a close eye on reddit, as it is an ever-changing repository of the best content and discussion on the internet. Yes, there are too many cat gifs, but scratch below the surface and it is a fantastic place to find inspiration, examples, insight and expertise.
I thought I’d provide an overview of some of the categories (aka ‘subreddits’) that are worth subscribing to. Each of these subreddits has plenty to offer, especially for those of you - like me - who work in the digital industry. Creative and marketing folk would do well to tune in.
For the uninitiated, The Observer's Tom Lamont recently published an insightful feature on reddit, which covers a lot of ground. Be sure to install the Reddit Enhancement Suite and download Alien Blue for your smartphone. Both are world class examples of apps that help extend and improve on the overall experience of a website (in terms of usability, and content access / discovery / bookmarking).
Right then, where shall we start?
Southeast Asia's (SEA) 155m internet users are the next goldmine for digital marketing. The region contains a young base of internet users whose time spent online is significantly above the global average, and where social networking dominates.
The online population grew at a healthy 9% last year, and is expected to continue at a similar rate in 2014. Added to this, it has one of the highest levels of mobile adoption in the world.
So, are you ready to take advantage of these opportunities presented by the SEA digital market?
UK based publisher DK has seen huge growth across all of its social channels thanks to its partnership with LEGO.
LEGO is of course one of the most beloved brands on the planet. This month has seen it completely dominate the marketing world with The LEGO Movie, a triumph of content marketing, and its current success is certainly due to its many licences and partnerships.
What success can your brand or company expect to achieve by aligning with the Danish toy company responsible for producing the largest population (albeit plastic) on Earth?
DK has revealed its before & after social media numbers from its campaign with LEGO from September 2013.
Companies are giving increasing support to content marketing for a number of good reasons.
Many companies, however, are not getting nearly the return on their content marketing efforts that they could.
Here are five keys to a successful content marketing program.
Our SEO Best Practice Guide is always one of the most popular reports on Econsultancy, and last month we posted a significant update to the guide.
To keep our guides the best they can be, we go to those working at the coalface of search marketing to get their contributions so they are relevant and up-to-date.
Following on from our blog posts on mobile SEO and on-page optimisation, I caught up with one of our contributors Nichola Stott from theMediaFlow to ask her about link building today. Her thoughts are below…
It's a storm in a coke can.
The 2014 Super Bowl achieved a record breaking 111.5m viewers, making it the most watched event in USA history, just scraping past the 111.3m who watched the Super Bowl two years ago.
Of course the Super Bowl isn’t just about the football, it’s about the adverts. In fact much of what we read relating to the big game in the UK is mostly about the marketing: ‘it costs $4m per advertising slot’, ‘Scarlett Johansson and Soda Stream banned’, 'David Beckham and H&M gamble with t-commerce’ and one story involving Coca-Cola that you can’t have failed to notice…
Coca-Cola’s unveiling of the controversial ‘Big Game’ commercial that carries the hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful, in which the traditional American song ‘America the Beautiful’ is sung in nine different languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, French and Arabic.
A predictable storm of protest followed from the Conservative quarters of the USA, with many right-wing pundits and politicians choosing to take the ad as a provocative blow to their ideals and all the things they perceive to be ‘American’.
Albeit one from the most famous, American corporation on the planet.
How has this controversy affected the brand? How does the advert itself stack up against the competition in terms of online sharing; a barometer of general opinion away from the political world?
Touchstorm has sent us over some data from its Super Bowl Video Scoreboard that tracks the #AmericaIsBeautiful controversy over YouTube, in terms of post-Super Bowl shares, comments and likes. But first, a little insight into the controversy...
You really don’t need me to tell you that there’s a LEGO movie out right now. It’s impossible to ignore.
Heck, even as I write this there’s a Culture Show special on BBC2 right now about how LEGO has influenced architecture. Funnily enough, when constructing our house, the builders ran out of red bricks halfway up and had to finish with yellows and greens.
Warner Bros. began the marketing push seven months ago in June 2013 with a rapturously received teaser trailer and continued with a solid social marketing strategy, which saw very close engagement on social channels that continues through to this week of release.
ITV even turned over an entire advert break during its Sunday night edition of Dancing on Ice to LEGO, during which adverts from BT, Confused.com and Premier Inn were remade with LEGO models.