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Twitter's Vine launched to much fanfare at the beginning of the year and brands have been quick to experiment with the video sharing tool to both promote their products and generally have a bit of fun.
Unfortunately too many brands seem to think that just because it’s a throwaway six-second clip they don’t have to put much effort into it, so the clips often end up looking quite messy and of poor quality.
Similarly the temptation is often to try and cram as much as you can into the short time frame, which can make it difficult to work out what's going on in the clip.
In my opinion, the best examples use a single continuous clip or motion capture so the viewer doesn't have to try and take in several different camera angles in just six seconds. I would suggest that unless there's a particuarly pressing need, Vines should be limited to around three of four different shots otherwise it can dilute the impact.
Furthermore, it's a good idea to mount the phone on something so that the video doesn't look too shaky.
According to a recent report three quarters of the worlds top brands have Google+ pages, with a combined following of more than 20 million fans.
This is a massive 9,400% increase since December 2011 when only 222,000 people followed them collectively.
But while writing a recent series of posts looking at how some of the world’s top brands use social I noticed that the amount of effort put into their G+ pages massively varies, while user interaction with content and posts is almost non-existent.
So to find out whether this is a common theme, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the UK’s top 20 online retailers use G+ and the levels of engagement that they achieve.
Just to clarify, this post isn’t about the SEO benefits of G+ or the potential for +1s to become more important in future, it’s an evaluation of how brands use G+ and how their fans respond...
Responsive design is a hot topic in web design at the moment, as it allows site owners to tailor content to any sized screen from a single set of code - which is obviously very useful as the mobile web continues to grow in popularity.
Yet it’s still quite difficult to find examples of retailers that have embraced the technology.
This is particularly true among the top retailers that tend cling to their existing mobile sites and apps rather than going responsive.
Though responsive design is an all-encompassing way of building your site rather than a mobile strategy per se, for the purposes of this post I thought it would be interesting to look at which of the top 20 UK retailers use responsive design compared to those who have a separate mobile site.
Here’s what I found out...
It's been a slow week for marketing stats, but even so here are some of the best we've seen.
Stats include Boxing Day ecommerce traffic, mobile sales and conversions from Affiliate Window, a record week for app downloads and sales data from John Lewis, Amazon and Next.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
To coincide with the end of London’s AW12 Fashion Week, Epiphany has released a study that looks at the most visible fashion brands in the UK according to search results.
Using data from five sub-sectors of keywords (fashion, clothing, dresses, jeans and outerwear), the company examined link profiles and tracked which brand appeared in relation to ‘key terms’ for the industry.
When considering PPC, it found clear evidence that fifteen of the thirty-five advertisers featured in the report were running significant campaigns that were regularly running out of budget well before the end of the day.
A number of online (mainly catalogue) retailers offer buy now, pay later credit accounts for shoppers, but these can come with some relatively steep interest charges.
For example, Very.co.uk can charge customers as much as 39.7% interest, making it much more expensive than the average credit card (normally around 17%).
Not that there's anything wrong with offering these accounts, but are customers being made aware of the terms and the potential interest charges when they make their first purchase?
Not many UK retailers have released apps for the iPad so far, but Next has recently released a shopping app.
So how does the Next iPad app compare?
Next has just launched an iPhone app with a large range of stock to browse through, and full mobile commerce functionality.
I've been trying out the new Next app to see how user friendly it is...
Next held a sale over the weekend, but it seems that its website wasn't properly prepared for the extra traffic, and many customers were asked to queue to enter the website.
I tried to access the Next sale a number of times on Saturday morning, and was asked to wait for up to six minutes on various occasions, while for others it was up to 20 minutes. Not good...
With the continued growth of online shopping, and with new pureplay retailers entering the market looking for new opportunities, I would expect that the biggest players would be leading the way in terms of customer experience.
With the upcoming Online Fashion 100 event in London that I'll be attending, I have taken a look at some of the biggest players in the fashion industry, both pureplay retailers and high street retailers.
I was particularly interested to look at key areas of their online customer experience to find out:
1) how well some of these brands are are delivering intelligent and meaningful cross-sell and up-sells to drive higher average order values, and...
2) which retailers are potentially losing sales due to a lack of focus on the full customer experience, right through to the end of the checkout process.
Chris Lake wrote about 50 ways to annoy web users on Monday, which included things like pop-up ads, slow loading pages, unreadable text, and other terrible crimes against usability.
One of the biggest offences for me is the automatic playing of audio when you arrive at a webpage, and I've found a pretty sorry example of this on the Next homepage today.
Some of the UK's leading high street names have been revealing their retail figures for the Christmas period so far this week, and though high street sales have been affected by the credit crunch, e-commerce is still a growth area for these companies.
Today, Next and Debenhams both reported a drop in their like-for-like sales for the period up to and including Christmas, and both reported a rise in online revenues.