tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/digital-strategy Latest Digital Strategy content from Econsultancy 2017-03-21T11:04:14+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3157 2017-03-21T11:04:14+00:00 2017-03-21T11:04:14+00:00 Digital Transformation in Practice <p>Digital Transformation. The buzzword of the moment. Everybody from IBM to the British Government claim to be in the throes of digital transformation. But what is it and what does it mean in practice?</p> <p>This course will cut through the hype and answer a simple question. What does digital mean for how you do business? You will learn how digital has changed consumer behaviour. You will discover what steps you will need to take if your organisation is going to survive in this new business reality.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68885 2017-03-21T09:51:45+00:00 2017-03-21T09:51:45+00:00 SEO ranking factors analysed: The importance of brand relevancy James Perrott <ul> <li>Domain Trust - defined by Majestic </li> <li>Number of referring domains</li> <li>HTTPS vs HTTP</li> <li>Mobile-friendly score</li> <li>Internal links prioritisation</li> <li>Canonical tags</li> <li>Keyword in meta title, h1 and h2 tags</li> <li>Length of on-page content for ranking pages</li> <li>Brand + product term to define relevance for a brand and the product searched for</li> <li>Engagement - average time on site and bounce rate as defined by Alexa.com</li> <li>Engagement of landing pages</li> </ul> <p><strong>The process:</strong> I have collated 100 keywords from five of the most popular online industries to identify which are the best performing websites. Remember, this is only 100 keywords and they are often much broader than this. </p> <p>Once I have identified the top performing websites and have seen what is working at industry level, I am going to dive into the most popular keyword in the industry and run a SERP comparison to identify what splits websites apart in the top 10. Then, in conclusion, we’ll be able to provide some insight as to what you should be focusing on to perform well in your industry.</p> <p>So, to begin...</p> <h3>Insurance</h3> <p>In the insurance sector, if you were to rank in first place for 100 keywords then the maximum traffic would equal 613,874 clicks.</p> <p>This market is now dominated by aggregators due to the nature of people’s searches for insurance related products. Brand loyalty is slowly dwindling within this space, even with brand loyalty being very much at the top of insurance providers’ remarketing. People are after the best price, period. </p> <p>Following a Google Insights report in April 2015 it was concluded that 61% of people perform research before a vehicle insurance purchase, and I think it is fair to roughly extrapolate that across the insurance market as a whole. The report found that only 44% of people bought from the brand they considered initially, but I think this is very apparent in the UK and would be a smaller percentage compared to France where this research was conducted. This helps explain the aggregator dominance and low brand advocacy.</p> <p>The chart below shows how the market looks for this keyword set. To explain the axis:</p> <ul> <li>X = number of ranking keywords</li> <li>Y = estimated monthly clicks</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4641/competitive_landscape_market_leaders.png" alt="" width="700" height="268"></p> <p>A large part of our work when looking at individual markets is to categorise each keyword into a product or offering group. This allows us to then dig into the individual sub-categories and begin to go very granular. </p> <p>Below shows how the 100 keyword set splits into individual categories, the largest clearly being vehicle insurance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4642/click_distribution_for_insurance.png" alt="" width="700" height="226"></p> <p>After segmenting the market into different categories, we’re able to see that vehicle insurance provides the largest return into overall number of clicks. Vehicle is closely followed by holiday, then home, pet, life and so on.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.29.31.png" alt="Keyword Cluster" width="409" height="354"></p> <p>The online insurance market is one of the most hotly contested, and the difference between position one and two for key terms could be worth millions of pounds of revenue. Looking at overall authority within the market share, it’s interesting to see that eight out of the 10 websites have an overall authority above 50.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4643/Domain_Trust_for_insurance.png" alt="" width="700" height="269"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.30.25.png" alt="Domain Trust &amp; Linking Domains" width="500"></p> <p>What is really refreshing in this chart is the fact that GoCompare.com does not have the most referring domains, nor the most authoritative domain, yet it leads the insurance market. It is fantastic news; this SERP is clearly showing a move away from link-based ranking metrics - to an extent. </p> <p>GoCompare.com does lead the engagement metrics chart, with an average time on site of 7mins and 26secs and bounce rate of 39.3%. Its average time on site is 30% higher than that of the nearest competitor.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4644/Bounce_Rate_for_Insurance.png" alt="" width="700" height="204"></p> <p>A standout in this graph must be Tesco Bank with a bounce rate of just 15.2%. This is incredible.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4645/time_on_site_for_insurance.png" alt="" width="500"></p> <p>'Car insurance' is the most popular search term within the insurance market, at 550,000 searches per month on average in the UK. Let’s analyse the top 10 websites and how they compare.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4646/Positioning-Table_for_insurance.png" alt="" width="700" height="179"></p> <p>We identified that as part of the overall market analysis, link authority and number of links were not the deciding factors. It does not appear that HTTPS, page speed, internal links or words on the page are deciding factors either. Interestingly, we’re seeing in this SERP that both engagement and brand relevancy to the product are far superior.</p> <p>Looking at the final column in the table above, GoCompare is far more relevant for car insurance than any other brand in the top 10. That even includes Admiral, which is specifically a car insurance brand.</p> <p>The search term ‘gocompare car insurance’ has 110,000 searches on average per month. How much of that is influenced by the term ‘gocompare’ and ‘go compare’ can’t be accounted for, but this, mixed with great engagement, is certainly at play in this SERP. </p> <h3>Mortgages</h3> <p>In this sector the maximum amount of traffic from ranking first for the 100 keywords is 264,332 clicks.</p> <p>This market is now dominated by mortgage lenders as you would expect. Halifax has been slowly growing its online presence over the last year, so it will be interesting to see where it is overly proficient.</p> <p>After using the same methodology as the previous analysis, we’re able to start digging into the data. Halifax.co.uk is by far the market leader in the mortgages space. It receives an estimated 79,734 more visits than HSBC, the second largest. Halifax receives an estimated 59% of all position one clicks within the keyword set we collated.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4893/mortgage_market_leaders.png" alt="" width="750" height="287"></p> <p>When looking at authority and number of links within this space, we can see that Halifax is outperformed by Barclays with an overall authority of 72 and referring domains total of 16,223. This again puts a solid argument together that links aren’t the number one ranking signal within this space. </p> <p>There are some surprises in the authority sphere with Nationwide only having an overall authority of 37 and TSB at 25.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4894/mortgages_Linking-Domains.png" alt="" width="700" height="295"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.33.40.png" alt="Linking Domains" width="500"></p> <p>The 'calculator' section of the keyword set has by far the most search volume and estimated clicks associated to it. With 176,026 estimated clicks and 31 keywords, it contributes an enormous amount to the overall market within mortgages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4895/Estimated-click-by-category_mortgages.png" alt="" width="700" height="272"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.34.46.png" alt="Keyword Cluster" width="495" height="291"></p> <p>Due to Halifax having the largest market share by far, I wanted to identify the reason for this domination. It appears that the answer is Halifax’s first position ranking for ‘mortgage calculator’. Ranking first for this keyword has led to the brand reaching an estimated 145,654 clicks and 82.7% market share.</p> <p>This traffic will prove invaluable for a brand that also sells mortgages; it is the best lead generation tool out there for both providing invaluable information and qualifying leads/mortgages that you want to follow up.</p> <p>Below is the split of estimated traffic that Halifax captures:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.36.41.png" alt="Category" width="500"></p> <p>It is clear to see that it nearly owns the entirety of the calculator space. However, there are significant gaps in informational content that could also add to Halifax’s purchase funnel. For example, Halifax should provide expert content on the processes for buy-to-let, help-to-buy and first-time-buyer guides. Doing this will eliminate the risk of having all its eggs in one basket with 'mortgage calculator' while providing expert content from a lender, which people reading up on the subject will trust.</p> <p>It currently does this very poorly, but high street lenders such as Nationwide and Natwest do it very well. Having the content very close to the mortgages section has allowed it to rank very well for terms such as ‘first time buyers guide’ etc. This is something Halifax should action sooner rather than later.</p> <p>Having this position one ranking, however, has damaged Halifax’s engagement metrics. The bounce rate for Halifax is 79% and average time on site at a dismal 56 seconds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4896/Time-on-site_mortgages.png" alt="" width="700" height="204"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-12.37.52.png" alt="Time on Site &amp; Bounce Rate" width="500"></p> <p>After looking at the experience of Halifax’s mortgage calculator, which is cannibalising the average time on site and bounce rate, it becomes slightly clearer why this may be the case.</p> <p>The mortgage summary on the right-hand side automatically populates and does not offer a cross link into Halifax’s mortgage offering. A simple cross link may help keep users on the website once they have discovered out how much they can borrow. Also, the online banking portal which most visitors will be going towards goes onto a separate domain - halifax-online.co.uk</p> <p>Consolidating this into Halifax.co.uk may further help in areas of which Halifax is unaware, at present. Improving these engagement metrics could help improve rankings across the board.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4897/Mortgage_calculator_halifax.png" alt="" width="700" height="535"></p> <p>'Mortgage calculator' is the most popular search term within the insurance market at 550,000 searches per month on average in the UK. Let’s analyse the top 10 websites and see how they fare against one another.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4898/Position-and-Brand_mortgages.png" alt="" width="700" height="385"></p> <p>It’s clear to see that authority and links are not the main ranking factors when it comes to mortgages. Neither are HTTPS, page speed or number of words on the page.</p> <p>Halifax is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the UK and, like insurance, its brand relevancy for mortgages and in particular the mortgage calculator surpasses its rivals. With a brand plus keyword search volume total of 27,100, it’s 4,900 higher than the BBC which has an absolutely archaic page for its mortgage calculator that is not mobile-friendly and does not have a self-referring canonical tag.</p> <p>If this BBC page was updated, I would have it as a close contender to Halifax for this key term.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4899/BBC_mortgage.png" alt="" width="448" height="519"></p> <h3>Jewellery</h3> <p>In the jewellery sector, if you were to rank in first place for 100 keywords then the maximum traffic would equal 370,564 clicks. This market is now dominated by bricks and mortar stores as you would expect. </p> <p>However, there was an anomaly present within the data and that was Stevenstone.co.uk. Stevenstone ranks first for ‘engagement rings’, but after the analysis was run I concluded that it was wrongly ranking for this term, and did not want to skew the data or arrive at wrongful conclusions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4902/Market-Leaders_jewellery.png" alt="" width="700" height="268"></p> <p>H Samuel leads the market that is largely dominated by brands on the high street. This is a much more closely contested market than others analysed so far, with the difference in market leader being only 3.9% market share and 25,548 estimated clicks.</p> <p>I believe this is down to H Samuel’s breadth in product and keyword ranking. H Samuel ranks for 97% of the keyword set (97 keywords), whereas the next is Ernest Jones with 71 keywords. With a slightly different keyword set this could be a different outcome, but for this exercise, H Samuel leads the way.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4903/Doman-trust_jewels.png" alt="" width="700" height="269"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-13.21.41.png" alt="Domain Trust &amp; Linking Domains" width="500"></p> <p>At first glance, authority and number of referring domains for each website do not stand out as a definitive ranking signal. </p> <p>Argos has far superior authority and number of domains but it is not jewellery-specific. But from the jewellery-specific websites, H Samuel is further ahead in regards to both.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4906/Time-on-Site_jewels.png" alt="" width="700" height="204"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4907/chart_2.png" alt="" width="500"></p> <p>Engagement is a similar story. Argos performs better than the rest; however H Samuel does so in regards to the jewellers. The average time on site for H Samuel is just under a minute higher than the others, a clear sign of product breadth and website quality as the bounce rate remains low.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4909/CLick-distribution-by-category_jewels.png" alt="" width="700" height="226"></p> <p>Engagement rings is the most popular search term (behind branded Apple watch term at 301,000 searches) within the jewellery market at 201,000 searches per month on average in the UK. Ranking first for this alone can draw in an estimated 48,501 clicks each month.</p> <p>Let’s analyse the top 10 websites and how they fare against one another.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4911/Positioning-3_jewels.png" alt="" width="700" height="312"></p> <p>Ignoring Stevenstone, we can see that H Samuel does not have the largest number of links, nor the strongest authority. There is no HTTPS, it ranks as mediocre in page speed, there is no self-referring canonical and it has a low level of internal links. </p> <p>However, it does have the second highest number of brand plus keyword searches, again proving brand relevancy is playing a factor. We also know of H Samuel as a high street retailer with huge jewellery relevancy, but we cannot place a signal on this.</p> <p>One thing I did notice is that since the launch of the new website Google is struggling with the ranking page as '/diamonds' is ranking but it has set up a canonical to http://www.hsamuel.co.uk/webstore/engagement.cdo</p> <p>Fixing this relevancy issue may help H Samuel overcome the dark horse, Stevenstone.</p> <h3>Fashion</h3> <p>In the fashion sector, if you were to rank in first place for our 100 keywords then the maximum traffic would equal 1,220,592 clicks.</p> <p>This market is by far the largest in this comparison data set. It is dominated by ASOS but significant market share is being taken away by the likes of Boohoo, Missguided and House of Fraser. This keyword set focused across both male (M) and female (W) keywords and if it was to be gender-specific, particular brands would be more prominent over one another.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4913/Fashion-Comptitor-Landscape_fashion.png" alt="" width="700" height="267"></p> <p>Looking at this broad, generic keyword set, we can see that ASOS reigns supreme. However, significant market share is beginning to be taken away by brands such as:</p> <ul> <li>Boohoo</li> <li>Missguided</li> <li>Prettylittlething</li> <li>Zalando</li> </ul> <p>The first three are really rising and progressing with their marketing activities, whilst Zalando is the ASOS of Europe which has come to the UK with a bang. Since launching its site with great SEO optimisation, Zalando has gone from strength-to-strength.</p> <p>ASOS currently captures an estimated 586,719 clicks per month with 48.1% overall market share. ASOS has so many pages ranking for these keywords that the company ranks for 106.1% of the keywords, meaning it double, triple, and quadruples up on ranking URLs for some keywords.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-13.29.38.png" alt="Competitive Landscape Market Leaders Fashion" width="500"></p> <p>Boohoo is second in the market with 327,350 estimated clicks and 26.8% of the market, but only ranks for 75.5% of the keyword set. This suggests the number could be much higher if it ranked for the other 24.5% of the keyword set.</p> <p>When looking at the authority and number of referring domains that go into each of the websites, ASOS leads the market. ASOS has more than three times the number of links of competitors, which is more than contributing to its overall authority of 75. This is the first time I’ve seen this in the analysis so far.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4916/Linking-Domains_fashion.png" alt="" width="700" height="269"></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Screen-Shot-2017-03-08-at-13.31.09.png" alt="Linking Domains" width="500"></p> <p>ASOS excels yet again in engagement; 27% bounce rate with an average time on site of over 10 minutes - that’s some serious browsing and adding-items-to-basket time!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4918/Time-on-site_fashion.png" alt="" width="700" height="204"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4919/fashion_chart.png" alt="" width="500" height="156"></p> <p>After categorising the keyword data, which I split into both men’s and women’s, there was a clear winner for where the most estimated clicks lay; dresses. Due to the vast amount of categories that online fashion retailers have, the chart below represents a shrunken-down number of categories to those that have the most potential.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4920/Click-distribution-by-cat_fashion.png" alt="" width="700" height="391"></p> <p>Dresses is the most popular search term within the fashion market at 201,000 searches per month on average in the UK. It was jointly most popular with prom dresses, which also receives 201,000 searches on average per month. Due to that being an average, which will have a huge seasonal spike when proms happen, let’s analyse the top 10 websites and how they fare against one another.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4921/Positioning-table_fashion.png" alt="" width="700" height="291"></p> <p>After all the market domination by ASOS, it is outperformed by five other brands in this SERP.</p> <p>The top websites have a very similar structure on-page with hyperlinks and internal links pointing you to the other types of dresses, which I find very useful. The one thing that the top websites do have that ASOS doesn’t and the data doesn’t show, is that they are mainly female-specific websites, which may establish a stronger relevancy towards dresses.</p> <p>Prettylittlething purely stocks female clothing and has had a huge push with marketing recently. Boohoo has only just recently launched a male range, Missguided is female only, New Look has a limited male stock, Monsoon is female only - and then you have ASOS.</p> <p>Again, we can’t draw any strong conclusions but it’s interesting to theorise. Perhaps on this occasion ASOS’s breadth of product and parameter/ugly URL has let it down.</p> <h3>Travel</h3> <p>In the travel sector, if you were to rank in first place for our 100 keywords then the maximum traffic would equal 504,247 clicks.</p> <p>The market leader in this space is onthebeach.co.uk with 178,478 estimated clicks and 35.4% market share for the keyword set I collated. Being market leader with only 58% keyword coverage suggests it ranks particularly well for some generic terms.</p> <p>Closely following OnTheBeach are Last Minute and Skyscanner.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4922/Comp-landscape_travel.png" alt="" width="700" height="268"></p> <p>OnTheBeach has really low overall authority and number of referring domains, showing once again that this is not an important ranking factor within this niche. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4923/Linking-Domains_travel.png" alt="" width="700" height="229"></p> <p>It is significantly outperformed by brands such as Lastminute, Skyscanner, Thomson and EasyJet.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4924/travel_chart.png" alt="" width="500" height="158"></p> <p>OnTheBeach has the second highest average time on site at 6mins 20secs with a much smaller product offering than Thomson. All holiday sites within this analysis have good bounce rates, but this may be more down to the nature of the market rather than poor experience. </p> <p>When searching for holidays, we are very patient people. We like to explore what is available to us on each different website to ensure we’re not missing an offer or resort.</p> <p>Due to the rise in mobile, the dwell time is much larger, as people are in the research phase. </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Time-on-site-4.png" alt="Time on Site &amp; Bounce Rate" width="1163" height="322"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4925/travel_chart_2.png" alt="" width="500" height="154"></p> <p>Cheap holidays is the most popular search term within the holiday market at 550,000 searches per month on average in the UK. Let’s analyse the top 10 websites and how they fare against one another.</p> <p>OnTheBeach has the market majority, but Thomson in this case leads on the most searched-for term. When analysing what it excels in, it does not have the largest number of referring domains, authority, internal links or number of words on the page. </p> <p>However, it does lead the market in regards to relevancy with the highest number of searches for ‘brand plus keyword’; in this case being ‘thomson cheap holidays’ with 390 searches on average per month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4926/Pos-Brand_travel.png" alt="" width="700" height="267"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Below are the five brands and URLs that capture the UK’s most competitive search terms in their relevant niche:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4927/overall_summary.png" alt="" width="700" height="169"></p> <p>Below are some averages and key takeaways that this analysis has provided me with:</p> <ul> <li>Authority is not the most important signal - average trust = 40.2</li> <li>Number of referring domains is not the most important signal - average linking root domains of 9,171 per domain.</li> <li>HTTPS is not a definitive ranking signal to push those out of the top positions if they remain on HTTP. I was a firm believer in this and from communication Google has produced, I believe I’m not the only one. However, these websites that remain on HTTP and lead the most competitive SERPs may still excel in other areas that make this small HTTPS ranking signal obsolete. But after looking at this analysis HTTP &gt; HTTPS.</li> <li>You must be mobile-friendly. After running each ranking URL through the test, they were all mobile-friendly. Just being mobile-friendly isn’t enough now, each brand is pushing the limits with ensuring their website is the best mobile site, especially with the looming <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68425-google-to-create-separate-mobile-index-what-you-need-to-know/">mobile-first index</a>. The BBC mortgage calculator page is a great example of a page that has to be made mobile-friendly.</li> <li>Page speed is important, but not a deal breaker unless painfully slow.</li> <li>Average internal links was seven per URL, which isn’t impressive or advisable. I’d strongly recommend that it should be above this.</li> <li>Self-referring canonical on the URLs is a must.</li> <li>Keywords in meta title and following header tags is a must: I did not come across one URL that didn’t follow this practice. </li> <li>On-page content is important, as is faceted navigation. Average word count on page is 471 and the fashion websites were one to follow from an internal linking perspective at category level. </li> </ul> <p>The stand out factor for me throughout this entire piece was the weight that seemed to be conveniently placed on average 'brand plus keyword' search volume. Three out of the five market leaders had weaker metrics across the board, bar this - in which they were the best performers. The average brand plus keyword search volume is 38,478.</p> <p>This shows to me that sometimes you may excel in every ranking signal, but if your brand is not relevant to the product in the customer’s eyes then it isn’t in Google’s. This shows the importance of building brands and not placing sole digital marketing strategies on link and authority acquisition.</p> <p><strong><em>To learn more on this topic, check out these resources:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search Marketing Training</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/"><em>Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68912 2017-03-20T14:23:51+00:00 2017-03-20T14:23:51+00:00 About.com rebrands with new standalone sites to target different interests Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what’s behind the change? Here’s a bit more on the story, as well as why the move has so far proved successful.</p> <h3>New sites for a new user experience</h3> <p>About.com first launched in 1996 as a website featuring expert advice and information on a wide range of topics. While the formula proved to be successful for a number of years, the brand was reportedly floundering in the face of competing lifestyle publishers.</p> <p>Now separating its content into separate verticals, it is aiming to combine the authority of the former site with a more accessible and simple design. In other words, each site is designed to offer a user experience that complements the topic.</p> <p>For example, when it comes to the subject of money, a user might be more likely to search for a specific article rather than browse through categories. This is reflected in the direct nature of <a href="https://www.thebalance.com/">The Balance’s</a> main menu – About.com’s new financial site – which asks the user what exactly it is they’re looking to solve. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4827/The_Balance.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="372"></p> <p>On the other hand, someone interested in lifestyle content such as redecoration or food might be more open to discovery, as well as other mediums like video or photo galleries.</p> <p>The Spruce’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68765-why-brands-should-be-making-more-use-of-pinterest/" target="_blank">Pinterest</a>-like design is highly effective for encouraging this less structured user experience. Content is separated into loosely labelled categories like ‘Must Reads for Pet Owners’ – designed to catch attention more than anything else - while each page contains a multitude of related articles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4826/The_Spruce.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="389"></p> <p>Similarly, it is clear that The Spruce is designed to be inspirational as opposed to merely functional – something that was evidently missing from home articles on About.com.</p> <p>Another aim of the About.com rebrand appears to be to create spaces that users feel comfortable in, and removing the danger of feeling overwhelmed or overloaded with content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4828/About.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="385"></p> <p>With many visitors landing on the site from social media or links on other sites, clarity over subject matter and navigation is also key – factors that each new site clearly strives to offer.</p> <h3>A positive response</h3> <p>So, how have users responded to the new sites? According to reports, The Spruce, The Balance and Lifewire all rank as top 10 websites in their respective sectors, all drawing in between 6m-10m unique users in the US each month. </p> <p>Similarly, Verywell – the new health site -  is seeing a clickthrough rate three times higher than its former incarnation on About.com.</p> <p>While <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65455-why-you-need-an-evergreen-content-strategy/">evergreen content</a> means that the sites are still getting traffic from existing links, the rebrand does appear to encouraging greater traffic. </p> <p>What’s more, it is likely that the new sites will also encourage greater activity on social in the form of shares and user engagement. While About.com had both scope and notoriety, its size was becoming its downfall, with articles becoming lost and users failing to make any real connection to the overall brand.</p> <p>With even more vertical brands to launch soon, the next being travel site TripSavvy, About.com looks set to change its former reputation for good.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63099-five-tips-for-a-successful-rebrand/" target="_blank">Five tips for a successful rebrand</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64991-five-ingenious-marketing-rebrands-that-changed-society/" target="_blank">Five ingenious marketing rebrands that changed society</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:ConferenceEvent/862 2017-03-15T17:12:04+00:00 2017-03-15T17:12:04+00:00 Digital Therapy Live <p><strong>Digital Therapy Live</strong> is our brand new event dedicated to providing a cure for your digital angst. It’s part of our <strong>Digital Therapy</strong> programme for 2017, a mixture of events and webcasts running throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>Digital Therapy Live</strong> will explore topics of concern in the digital space, give you the opportunity to offload and help you seek advice on the best path forward.</p> <p>It’s designed to be a comfortable and confidential setting, so what’s said at <strong>Digital Therapy Live</strong>, stays at <strong>Digital Therapy Live</strong>. This is your chance to rant, jettison, question, dispute, explore and probe in a private forum surrounded by your peers and our experts.</p> <p>This event is exclusive to 120 Econsultancy subscribers who are also senior client-side marketers.</p> <h4><strong>Roundtable topics</strong></h4> <p>At <strong>Digital Therapy Live</strong> you’ll have the opportunity to participate in two roundtable discussions, each focusing on different digital pain points. Upon being allocated a space, you’ll have the chance to choose which discussion tables you would like to take part in the most. Topics on the day will delve into areas including:</p> <ul> <li>Not getting the most out of your data</li> <li>Too much focus on customer acquisition rather than retention </li> <li>Being unable to attract and/or retain digital talent </li> <li>Delivering 'multichannel' marketing</li> <li>Keeping up with marketing technology</li> <li>Mobile progress</li> <li>Personalisation</li> <li>Testing and optimisation</li> <li>Agile adoption</li> <li>Organisational design for digital</li> </ul> <p>We’ll also be dosing you with some knock-out keynote sessions, easing your anxiety and eliminating your digital woes. Details to be announced soon!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4439 2017-03-15T10:10:00+00:00 2017-03-15T10:10:00+00:00 Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in Retail <p>The <strong>2017 Digital Trends in Retail</strong> report explores the effects of digital disruption in the sector, providing guidance to organisations that want to stay ahead of the curve.</p> <p>It highlights the key digital trends, challenges and opportunities which retailers need to be aware of during 2017, covering topics ranging from customer experience and mobile to data-driven marketing and personalisation.</p> <p>The research, conducted by Econsultancy in partnershop <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, is based on a sample of almost 500 retail respondents who were among more than 14,000 digital professionals taking part in the seventh annual Digital Trends survey, carried out in November and December 2016.</p> <h3>The following sections are featured in the report:</h3> <ul> <li>Digital maturity in retail: marketing and beyond</li> <li>Increased availability of data fuels personalisation</li> <li>Focus on mobile continues to bear fruit</li> <li>2020 vision – a technology-driven future with a human touch</li> <li>Actionable tips to help future-proof your retail business</li> </ul> <h3>Findings include:</h3> <ul> <li>Asked about the extent to which digital permeates their marketing activities, 13% of retailers taking part in the survey describe themselves as 'digital-first' (slightly higher than the 10% average across other sectors).</li> <li>More than half (54%) of retailers say that the customer experience is their most important area of strategic focus, way ahead of cross-channel marketing (16%), data-driven marketing (14%), mobile (11%) and programmatic buying / optimisation (4%).</li> <li>Mobile marketing is the area where retail companies are most likely to be increasing investment in the year ahead. Almost two-thirds (62%) of retail respondents say this part of the budget is going up in 2017.</li> <li>Mobile optimisation is a top-three digital tactical priority for 23% of retailers, versus only 14% for non-retail respondents.</li> <li>Out of a range of technologies including artificial intelligence, voice interfaces, the Internet of Things and evolving payment mechanisms such as mobile wallets, 'engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality' is seen as the single most exciting prospect for 2020.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Econsultancy's Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing">here</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68887 2017-03-14T14:56:56+00:00 2017-03-14T14:56:56+00:00 Ethical CRO: The end of dark patterns Paul Randall <p dir="ltr">In an attempt to increase the numbers, psychological tricks which affect user behaviour in a negative way are being used to mislead an unsuspecting audience.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although not technically illegal they are certainly unethical. Businesses need to be aware of the long-term risks posed by knowingly misleading customers for short-term gain, both in terms of UX and brand reputation.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Dark patterns</h4> <p dir="ltr">Harry Brignull coined the phrase in 2010 and ever since has received hundreds of examples with the hashtag #darkpattern. His website: <a href="https://darkpatterns.org/">https://darkpatterns.org/</a> holds a collection of just some of them.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">How can designers sleep at night, when they no longer allow users to say "No"? <a href="https://t.co/R4659wBYyM">pic.twitter.com/R4659wBYyM</a></p> — Micah Scott (@scanlime) <a href="https://twitter.com/scanlime/status/832729043761967104">February 17, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What it looks like when companies are on their way out of business-Legally mandated unsubscribe link colored white <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ux?src=hash">#ux</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/darkpatterns?src=hash">#darkpatterns</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/zynga">@zynga</a> <a href="https://t.co/3XZ04teBK3">pic.twitter.com/3XZ04teBK3</a></p> — Mark Bailey (@themarkbailey) <a href="https://twitter.com/themarkbailey/status/833775152424816642">February 20, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Really, <a href="https://twitter.com/STN_Airport">@STN_Airport</a>, you need to coerce your customers into subscription? <a href="https://t.co/GJ8Y2SLGPt">pic.twitter.com/GJ8Y2SLGPt</a></p> — Sebastian Deterding (@dingstweets) <a href="https://twitter.com/dingstweets/status/833248153507860480">February 19, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4 dir="ltr">Why dark patterns work</h4> <p dir="ltr">It's easy to understand how people can be affected by these.</p> <p dir="ltr">When we are tired, or hungry we pay less attention to our surroundings - it’s almost like being on autopilot. Sites with a high cognitive load require lots of mental effort, so reducing this is a good thing. But when you aren’t giving your total attention you can misinterpret what you see and read.</p> <p dir="ltr">When we are shown a left arrow and a right arrow, in Western cultures we have learnt that the right arrow is the next step. This is learnt at a very early age and has become second nature. This example comes from <a href="https://www.zsl.org/ticket/zsl-london-zoo">ZSL London Zoo</a>:<a title="ZSL London Zoo" href="https://www.zsl.org/ticket/zsl-london-zoo"><br></a></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4652/zsl_blurred.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="428"></p> <p dir="ltr">If the right arrow is also green (another convention for ‘next step’) we automatically assume this is the thing we need to do next. We may not even read the text on it anymore, and this is where designers can exploit our ingrained behaviours.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4654/zsl_focused.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="428"></p> <h4 dir="ltr">The difference between influencing user behaviour and tricking people</h4> <p dir="ltr">The grey area comes when you aren't tricking people into doing something, but using clever psychological nudges to do so. Countdown timers if used appropriately can inform customers that placing an order before 10pm can get Next Day delivery. This is displaying relevant and meaningful information.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Snapchat's <a href="https://t.co/jIJ8qMwKGo">https://t.co/jIJ8qMwKGo</a> has a fake time-pressure countdown in their checkout. It's just a looping animation. <a href="https://t.co/YmWqvQJzt0">pic.twitter.com/YmWqvQJzt0</a></p> — Harry Brignull (@harrybr) <a href="https://twitter.com/harrybr/status/837597399082217472">March 3, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4 dir="ltr">‘Why’ - The missing metric</h4> <p dir="ltr">When you hear of a site with a 2% conversion rate, the natural question is "what happened to the 98%". Numbers only tell you how many people didn't complete a task. Crucially, it won't tell you why they didn't convert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Research needs to be undertaken to uncover and remove fears, uncertainties and doubts that can lead to someone leaving a site before completing a task. It’s easy when you see thousands of visitors to lose sight of their individual needs and think that the same technique will work on all of them.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">You can improve user experiences and conversion rates without misleading visitors</h4> <p dir="ltr">I recently worked on a big redesign for a utilities company where the use of forms was getting out of hand. Forms on the homepage, in popups — all in the aim to generate leads!</p> <p dir="ltr">While gathering some feedback through usability studies it was found that forms everywhere gave the complete wrong impression. People saw the forms, but they just felt the company was too ‘grabby’ in wanting their visitors' details.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, by removing all but one of the forms and creating a simple user journey with compelling content, form submissions went up by 18%.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4655/flogas_screenshot.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="433"></p> <p dir="ltr">Just because you want to improve leads or sales doesn’t mean you have to do it at the expense of your user experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">This wasn’t an easy sell either. Convincing clients to remove things is a rarity but the truth is that adding gimmicks isn’t sustainable in the long term, and the negative press that comes when you get called out on it isn’t worth thinking about.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Where do ethics sit: the company, or the designer?</h4> <p dir="ltr">The User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) has a <a href="http://uxpa.org/resources/uxpa-code-professional-conduct">code of conduct</a> which looks to address professional conduct between a UX designer and their client. There is also <a href="https://ind.ie/ethical-design/">Ethical Design</a> outlined by ind.ie which focuses on the efforts and rights of human beings.</p> <p dir="ltr">But neither of these focus on the responsibility a website has to its audience. These standards are typically held within a company but the truth is that some businesses (i.e. budget airlines) have a reputation for using dark patterns during the payment process, and negative experiences will ultimately not help long-term growth and customer advocacy.</p> <p dir="ltr">Should companies agree to an ethical code of conduct on the web, and support others which do so? Have your say in the comments below.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68886 2017-03-10T14:45:00+00:00 2017-03-10T14:45:00+00:00 10 mega digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>Correlation between spam rates and subscriber engagement</h3> <p>The latest report from Return Path highlights how industries that outperform the average on key email marketing metrics (like read rate, reply rate etc.) also see less email delivered to spam folders.</p> <p>While the <a href="https://returnpath.com/downloads/hidden-metrics-email-deliverability/?sfdc=70137000000MhwH" target="_blank">Hidden Metrics of Email Deliverability</a> shows that overall spam placement has increased slightly year on year  - from 13% in 2016 vs 12% in 2015 - levels of positive engagement have significantly improved.</p> <p>In terms of industries, the banking and finance and distribution and manufacturing categories saw just 6% of email delivered to spam folders, while this figure rose to 28% in the automotive category. </p> <p><em>Chart shows percentage of email delivered to spam folders</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4558/Spam_rate.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="353"></p> <h3>Generation X perform four in 10 family travel searches</h3> <p>New research from Bing Ads has revealed how families are searching for holiday inspiration and services online.</p> <p>The <a href="https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/insights/set-sail-for-family-travel-searches-and-clicks" target="_blank">report</a> shows that 59% of searches for family holidays are undertaken by women compared to 41% by men. Similarly, Generation X (those aged 35 to 59) perform four of every 10 searches.</p> <p>Other highlights from the report include how consumers are more likely to use mobile devices to search for inspiration and PCs or tablet devices to make a final reservation. Meanwhile, it appears consumers dream of visiting the beach all year long, meaning companies need to invest in year-round campaigns to capture this evergreen interest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4559/Bing_Ads.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="221"></p> <h3>Nine in 10 consumers concerned about how companies use personal data</h3> <p><a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170307005123/en/Global-Study-Ten-Consumers-Concerned-Data-Security" target="_blank">New research</a> from Verint has found that while more consumers crave highly personalised customer service, they are also increasingly sceptical about how businesses collect and store personal data. </p> <p>From a study of more than 24,000 consumers, 80% said they like service that is personalised to their needs (which in turn relies on the use of customer data to deliver). </p> <p>However, 89% of consumers also want to know how companies keep their personal information secure, and 86% insist that they should know when their data is passed on to third parties.</p> <h3>Kinetic emails increase unique click rates by 18%</h3> <p>Experian’s Q4 2016 <a href="http://www.experian.com/marketing-services/email-benchmark-q4-2015.html" target="_blank">Email Benchmark Report</a> has revealed that kinetic emails – i.e. those that include interactive content like carousel navigation - see greater levels of engagement than any other kind.</p> <p>From analysis of seven brands in 2016, kinetic emails were found to increase unique click rates by as much as 18.3% and click-to-open rates by more than 10% compared to standard emails.</p> <p>The report also highlights that email volume increased 17.4% year-over-year, while metrics like click and transaction rates, revenue per email and average order volumes all remained relatively stable during the same period.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4557/Kinetic_emails.JPG" alt="" width="609" height="446"></p> <h3>British SMEs grow online exports by more than a third</h3> <p>New data from <a href="https://www.paypal.com/stories/uk/open-for-business-paypal-reveals-online-exports-boom" target="_blank">PayPal</a> has revealed how small and medium-sized businesses benefitted from the record lows of the pound last year. </p> <p>SMEs in the UK saw their rate of growth treble to 34% year-on-year from July to December 2016. Similarly, while there was an uplift in PayPal sales for British businesses overall, the biggest impact was seen on small and medium-sized organisations, with the amount international shoppers spent with UK SMEs rising 13% per transaction in the last six months of 2016. </p> <p>Fashion and sports experienced the highest growth, with a 49% year-on-year increase in goods from these categories sold to international shoppers.</p> <h3>Native video ads boost ROI</h3> <p>Yahoo’s <a href="http://b2bmarketing.yahoo.net/yfp-state-of-native/infographic?utm_source=AYC&amp;utm_campaign=Q12017YFPStateofNative&amp;utm_medium=organic" target="_blank">State of Native</a> report suggests that native advertising continues to reign supreme, with the brand seeing exponential growth of native ad consumption in all regions and across all devices.</p> <p>Data from more than 74.5bn native ad impressions show that publishers have seen a 446.7% lift in eCPMs (effective cost per thousand ad impressions) on native video ad placements compared to display.</p> <p>The report also highlights how consumer engagement for specific apps and devices vary by time of day and location. For example, in the US, users spend the late afternoons and evenings on their smartphones, while their nights are spent on desktop. This is compared to other parts of the world, where nights are typically spent on smartphones. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4561/Yahoo.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="286"></p> <h3>Household gifts drive the biggest basket value for Mother’s Day</h3> <p>According to Criteo, Brits are still lacking in imagination when it comes to buying Mother’s Day gifts online.</p> <p>Data reveals that household gifts such as kitchen, laundry appliances and vacuums drive the biggest basket value for online sales. Similarly, gardening tools typically see a boost in sales with spring just around the corner. Last year, there was a 193% increase in units sold in the two week’s leading up to Mother’s Day.</p> <p>In 2016, it was suggested that we spent a total of <a href="http://www.cityam.com/235965/mothers-day-2016-brits-will-spend-928m-this-year-on-mothers-day-gifts" target="_blank">£928m on the day</a>, with this figure expected to rise even higher this year.</p> <h3>TV accounts for 94% of viewed video ads in the UK</h3> <p>New data from <a href="https://www.thinkbox.tv/News-and-opinion/Newsroom/TV-accounts-for-94-percent-of-video-advertising" target="_blank">Thinkbox</a> has revealed that TV accounted for 93.8% of video ads viewed in the UK in 2016. This is the equivalent of 18 minutes and 53 seconds a day.</p> <p>These figures are slightly down on 2015, when TV saw a share of 94.4%. However, other forms of video advertising saw far less engagement, with YouTube accounting for 0.7% of viewed video ads in 2016, while other online video (including Facebook) collectively accounted for 5.2%.</p> <p>The average person is said to have watched 20 minutes of video ads a day in 2016, while total daily video consumption increased to 4 hours, 37 minutes in 2016.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4562/Thinkbox.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="435"></p> <h3>Wearables now at an all-time high</h3> <p>The International Data Corporation has revealed that the global wearables market reached a new <a href="http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS42342317" target="_blank">all-time high</a> in the fourth quarter of 2016. In this period, 33.9m units were shipped, representing a year-on-year growth of 16.9%.</p> <p>A total of 102.4m wearable devices were shipped in 2016 – a figure up 25% year-on-year. Insight suggests this could be due to single purpose devices evolving into hybrid ones, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities with smartphone technology.</p> <p>In terms of brand dominance, Fitbit continued to reign supreme, with 22.5m shipments being made over the course of the whole year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4560/IDC_wearables.JPG" alt="" width="457" height="396"></p> <h3>64% of decision-makers say sales and marketing teams could be more aligned</h3> <p>According to a YouGov survey of 725 business leaders, commissioned by Huthwaite International, 92% of respondents believe sales and marketing teams should work closely together.</p> <p>Despite this fact, 64% also say that sales and marketing teams need to do more to facilitate this alignment. </p> <p>When it comes to the benefits of working more closely, 52% cited a consistent message delivered to clients and prospects, while 50% said the opportunity to gain new customers. Just 8% of respondents said they didn’t believe there was any benefit.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4433 2017-03-09T10:00:00+00:00 2017-03-09T10:00:00+00:00 Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in Financial Services and Insurance <p>The <strong>2017 Digital Trends in Financial Services and Insurance</strong> report explores the effects of digital disruption in the sector, providing guidance to organisations that want to stay ahead of the curve.</p> <p>It highlights the key digital trends, challenges and opportunities which FSI marketers need to be aware of during 2017, covering topics ranging from customer experience and mobile to data-driven marketing and personalisation.</p> <p>The research, conducted by Econsultancy in partnershop <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, is based on a sample of almost 850 FSI respondents who were among more than 14,000 digital professionals taking part in the seventh annual Digital Trends survey, carried out in November and December 2016.</p> <h3>The following sections are featured in the report:</h3> <ul style="font-weight: normal;"> <li>Fintech is leading the FSI chase</li> <li>Putting the customer first</li> <li>Red-taped data leads to innovation</li> <li>The opportunity and challenge of AI</li> <li>Actionable tips to help future-proof your FSI business</li> </ul> <h3>Findings include:</h3> <ul> <li>The FSI sector has historically lagged slightly behind other sectors in terms of digital capabilities, particularly in insurance. This is still the case; 9% of FSI organisations claim to be digital-first, compared to 11% across all sectors.</li> <li>Targeting, personalisation and customer journey management are the highest priorities for FSI marketers in 2017, and 55% plan to increase investment in personalisation in 2017.</li> <li>FSI companies are 6% more likely to rank data-driven marketing as a top-three priority than their peers in other sectors. More than half (53%) are increasing their investment in marketing analytics in 2017.</li> <li>Digital-first organisations are nearly twice as likely to rank data-driven marketing as a top strategic priority (26% vs. 14%), illustrating the importance of data’s role in digital transformation.</li> <li>Over the past couple of years, the forefront of the industry has been delivering digital-first and mobile-only banking and insurance platforms. In 2017 and onwards, the forerunners are likely to be those utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to further improve the customer experience, such as robo-advisors and chatbots.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Econsultancy's Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing">here</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68866 2017-03-07T09:21:47+00:00 2017-03-07T09:21:47+00:00 Monzo outage: Is it possible to fail in a good way? Ben Davis <p>In some ways, Sunday's events were almost a proof of concept for Monzo. Read any interview with CEO Tom Blomfield or any of the bank's marketing and you'll know that dealing with problems is something that traditional banks haven't always done well, and that Monzo wants to get right. </p> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/24/technology/monzo-mobile-bank-blomfield/index.html">Blomfield tells CNN</a> that overseas fees, overdraft messaging and general communication when things go wrong are the issues that frustrate him most (and that Monzo set out to change).</p> <p>To that end, Monzo includes a whole range of useful features including spending summaries and notifications when purchases are made. Monzo's app UX has quickly garnered much praise, and the bank seems devoted to considering the experience for a wide range of users (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68756-prudent-ux-for-banking-monzo-designs-positive-friction/">see this article about 'positive friction'</a> for customers with mental health issues).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/ianjamescox">@ianjamescox</a> The second <a href="https://twitter.com/monzo">@monzo</a> current accounts become available I'm switching. App, customer support is light years ahead of current banks</p> — Callum Strong (@csscallum) <a href="https://twitter.com/csscallum/status/834682962193047552">February 23, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>When Monzo went down (along with several other challenger brands) after its third-party payment processor failed on Sunday morning, it was relatively speedy (three hours) and pretty comprehensive in its communication with customers. </p> <p>As you can see from our editor David Moth's screenshots below, there was an initial message informing customers of what had happened, reassuring them and advising they take alternative payment with them in the afternoon. This initial message directed users to <a href="https://mondo.statuspage.io/%20">Monzo's status page</a>, which includes a list of incidents and the live status of each service.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4398/another_card.jpg" alt="monzo outage notice" width="400" height="711"> </p> <p>On Monday morning, there followed notification that normal service had resumed. This message included a link to <a href="https://monzo.com/blog/2017/03/05/outage/">a blog post</a> explaining the reasons for the outage, which is striking in its tone and honesty (though completely in-keeping with the brand).</p> <p>Oliver Beattie, head of engineering, writes that Monzo had been working for 12 months on connecting directly to Mastercard in-house, and thereby precluding the need for a third-party payment processor. This in-house solution will go live when Monzo launches its current account product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4400/messages.jpg" alt="monzo inbox" width="250"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4397/success.png" alt="monzo services resumed" width="250"></p> <h3>So what have we learned? </h3> <h4><strong>1. Some of the difficulties inherent for startups</strong></h4> <p>Monzo's agile and modular approach meant using a third-party processor that it completely relied on. Monzo's service was not built entirely for resilience (the cost of processing this in-house was too high), but this will change as its growing customer base and new products dictate that it should.</p> <h4><strong>2. Monzo walked the walk</strong></h4> <p>Monzo communicated well enough to please most of its customers, and also to publicise the work it has been doing on its current accounts to a fairly large audience. Monzo's fans love the usability and approachability of the brand (just look at the <a href="https://twitter.com/MonzoLoveTweets">Monzo Love Twitter account</a>), and Monzo stayed true to this brand during crisis management.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4401/monzo_tweet.jpg" alt="monzo love" width="500" height="169"></p> <p><strong>3. The smartphone is the future of customer service in banking</strong></p> <p>Being able to message every one of its customers pretty quickly, Monzo helped to turn the story of the day into one of general interest ('challenger bank goes down') and not one of consumer outrage.</p> <p>As high street branches become less important to new bank customers, apps and a bank's CRM strategy are more and more important in diverting customers away from phone lines.</p> <h3>In summary</h3> <p>Whilst Monzo would probably rather the outage had never had happened, it showed grace under pressure. That said, there are caveats to consider.</p> <p>It is obviously important to note that Monzo still has a relatively tiny customer base compared to the likes of Barclays and Natwest. Also, at the moment Monzo only offers customers a pre-paid bank card, so users must have another current account through which they manage their funds (e.g. for receiving their salary, paying direct debits, etc.).</p> <p>This meant the startup could advise customers to simply use their other payment methods while it fixed the outage. It would have been a different story if Monzo had restricted access to customers' main current accounts. And as RBS saw with its 2015 outage, the big problems come when hundreds of thousands of customers are failed for the second or third time.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68867 2017-03-06T11:49:00+00:00 2017-03-06T11:49:00+00:00 Q&A: Direct Line’s MD on the marketing team of the future Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4369/Mark_Evans.png" alt="" width="380" height="248"></p> <p>Here’s what he had to say.</p> <h4><strong><em>Econsultancy:</em> What are the main challenges you are facing today in regards to team structure? What keeps you up at night?</strong></h4> <p><em>Mark Evans:</em> The biggest challenge most marketing teams currently face in a fast-changing world is how to structure for success. At Direct Line Group we have very deliberately re-shaped the team in recent years to maintain our edge. The result is a cohesive team of specialists that fully understand the benefits of integration and embrace working across silos.</p> <p>Today more than ever, it’s crucial to have a shared sense of purpose and accountability in order to address marketing challenges. At Direct Line we have fused together teams to bridge typical divides: propositions and communications, customer management and customer experience, social and PR, insight and marketing effectiveness.</p> <p>As a consequence, the heads of each of these four broadened teams have really big strategic roles, which ensures that we can move at greater pace where we previously faced mobilisation and prioritisation issues, ultimately leading to a more dynamic and effective function overall.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> How have you developed your marketing team to make it ready for the changing digital landscape?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> With the majority of our business happening on digital channels, we continue to invest heavily in ensuring everyone in our team (and the wider business) is digitally savvy. Within the marketing team, we’ve already made some significant changes to ensure digital runs through the heart of everything that we do.</p> <p>Consequently, we now run every campaign in a fully integrated way from the outset. An example of this was our recent Emergency Plumber campaign which stretched from traditional TV all the way through to a number of digital firsts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8MMYuGrROao?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> How much as has your org chart changed in the past three years?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> The evolution of the Direct Line marketing team has been extensive over the past three years. We have grown organically into a "full-service" marketing function incorporating accountability for social, PR, customer experience, and proposition development. Digital has also grown in prominence, not least as we have in-sourced some aspects of the model.</p> <p>More broadly though, we have invested in a progressive culture whereby the structure of the team itself becomes less relevant as we form more liquid cross-functional teams to attack specific challenges. For example, the creation, build and launch of the Shotgun brand which aims to save young drivers' lives was run as an agile process from the outset. </p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> What skills do you look for when hiring senior team members and why?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> We are passionate about developing talent from within so the majority of our senior team members come up through promotion rather than being brought in from elsewhere. However, regardless of where our senior talent comes from, the core qualities that we look for are curiosity, collaboration and a desire to take personal accountability.</p> <p>Broadly, this translates into an ability to spot the gap, the conviction to go for it, and the emotional intelligence to do so in the right way.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> Similarly, what skills do you think grads and young marketers should look to acquire?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> From my perspective, the key for graduates and young marketers is to be voracious to learn. At Direct Line we look to fast track learning by putting our grads through rotations to give them the broadest base of business knowledge.</p> <p>This was the process that I benefited from at Mars, moving through different functions, different operating units, and even different countries in the early years in order to maintain the steepest possible learning curve. It was a rude awakening working on a pet food production line for my second rotation but gave me a huge insight into leadership at a very early stage.</p> <p>To state the obvious, having exposure to several areas of the business provides perspective that translates into impact and gravitas. Ultimately if you aspire to move into bigger leadership roles, then you need to build the broadest possible foundations in order to survive inevitable personal earthquakes.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> What is Direct Line’s approach to training and development? How does your team learn new skills and innovate?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> Training and development is a massive focus for us, again a legacy from spending a decade at Mars where personal development was very highly valued. We are committed to long-term development and so are constantly looking for new approaches.</p> <p>An example of this is that for the last three years every employee has had their own personal training budget (total training spend for the team divided by total FTE) to use as they see fit to improve themselves.</p> <p>This empowerment leads to greater personal ownership and as long as the money is spent in a way that is coherent with the individual's personal development plan then it leads to a better outcome for the individual and therefore also for the organisation.</p> <p><em><strong>Don't forget to sign up for <a href="http://www.marketingweeklive.co.uk/">Marketing Week Live</a> on March 8-9 in London.</strong></em></p>