tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/google Latest Google+ content from Econsultancy 2016-06-22T15:12:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67925 2016-06-22T15:12:00+01:00 2016-06-22T15:12:00+01:00 Social media image guide for brands: June 2016 Andrew Chrysostom <p>It’s always useful to have a reminder, so please use this handy guide to ensure your brand looks spick and span when it comes to posting images.</p> <p>Here are the exact image sizes required by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and, just for laughs, Google+. The sizes are accurate as of June 2016.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6131/size_guide.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6131/size_guide.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="4996"></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67218 2015-11-18T16:36:12+00:00 2015-11-18T16:36:12+00:00 The new Google+ seeks the middle ground in social publishing Ben Davis <h3>Collections</h3> <p>Collections have been available for five months but are now 'front and center' in Google's words, alongside Communities.</p> <p>See the screenshot below and you can see that the footer menu on mobile includes these two buttons (with Home and Notifications completing the set).</p> <p>These Collections allow users to group posts together. Other Google+ users can follow any of your collections at will, receiving updates when new content is published there.</p> <p>Putting the focus on compartmentalising posts is smart. It allows users to create what's closer to their own categorised blog (or photoblog) than a social network.</p> <p>Encouraging users to create and share content is the lifeblood of any social platform.</p> <p>As Medium pulls users away from blogging platforms such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65372-the-complete-guide-to-setting-up-and-running-a-wordpress-site/">WordPress</a>, perhaps Google+ can do the same for people who want a publishing platform more expansive than Twitter, but not quite as longwinded and text focused as Medium.</p> <p>One can easily envisage publishers making better use of Collections, as well as businesses on Google Apps, making use of the ability to share Collections privately.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9178/Screen_Shot_2015-11-18_at_15.33.32.png" alt="google+ collections" width="300"></p> <h3>Communities</h3> <p>In much the same way Medium allows the tagging of posts, Communities streamlines the G+ experience for browsing users and helps to encourage users to get involved though already thriving groups.</p> <p>In practice, a lot of these Communities are redundant, with few members and posts, mostly old, and often including borderline spam.</p> <p>Of course, some Communities are actually thriving with loyal G+ users, so putting the emphasis here should mean Google will eventually provide a better way of sorting the wheat from the chaff when searching Communities.</p> <p>Most commentators have pointed out that groups of users centred around a specific topic represent a great target for advertisers (in partnership with major publishers). </p> <p>There's a way to go yet before Google decides to try this, but as its press release states:</p> <blockquote> <p>...these are the places on Google+ where people around the world are spending their time <strong>discovering</strong> and sharing things they love.</p> </blockquote> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9179/Screen_Shot_2015-11-18_at_15.33.37.png" alt="google+ communities" width="300"></p> <h3>Simplicity for user uptake</h3> <blockquote> <p>Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler. And it’s more mobile-friendly...</p> </blockquote> <p>This is the most important part of the update, streamlining the user experience, making it easier to adopt on a whim.</p> <p>Surely multiple streams will be dropped after a while, in favour of the ubiquitous single stream?</p> <p>Making articles quick to load and simple to share will be the foundation for a better mobile experience.</p> <h3>'Discovery' (or data) is the key word</h3> <p>Wherever you look - Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat - all are prioritising the ability of users to discover new content and share it.</p> <p>Whether Google pursues an advertising model through content discovery on G+, or simply uses the anonymous data for better targeting elsewhere, the mantra for 2016 is 'once more with feeling'.</p> <p>Finishing with a final quote from the announcement:</p> <blockquote> <p>..we look forward to seeing how today’s changes help kickstart even more conversations around everything from Zombie Cats to Vintage Calculators.</p> </blockquote> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66902 2015-09-11T01:50:00+01:00 2015-09-11T01:50:00+01:00 How an Australian retailer drives brand awareness and sales with social media Jeff Rajeck <p>Australia's JB Hi-Fi is an interesting exception. Besides just focusing on sales, it has devised a digital marketing strategy which gets more reach and engagement than it would achieve by blasting out offers on social channels. </p> <p>To explore what it's doing, I'll start with the JB Hi-Fi website and then take a look at its presence on each of the social networks.</p> <h3>Website</h3> <p>JB Hi-Fi's website is a sophisticated ecommerce engine which is designed to make it easy for you to shop, buy things, find stores, and open an account. All of this is fairly standard stuff for an online retailer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6823/1.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="387"></p> <p>But one interesting thing about the site is that it uses a chaotic visual style which is more like a newspaper flyer than a website.</p> <p>Perhaps this is to give you the impression that it is making rash decisions when slashing its prices, which gives you a great deal unavailable elsewhere.</p> <p>Whatever the motivation, the site is visually engaging and highly-branded in a way which could carry over nicely into social media.</p> <h3>Facebook</h3> <p>On the front page, JB Hi-Fi provides links to its social media sites and the first, and clearly most important, link is to Facebook. It has 671,000 likes on Facebook, posts daily and enjoys organic reach in the thousands, even if it doesn't promote the content. </p> <p>JB Hi-Fi does brand its page and posts, but the 'newspaper flyer' branding is difficult to replicate in the more-structured setting of Facebook.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6824/2.jpg" alt="" width="530" height="450"></p> <p>JB Hi-Fi has a few types of posts, one of which is product videos which typically get thousands of views and hundreds of likes.</p> <p>What is more interesting, though, is that the posts also get hundreds of shares. This is great for the brand as <a href="https://www.facebook.com/business/news/update-to-facebook-news-feed">Facebook has made it quite clear</a> that posts with high engagement will be seen in more News Feeds than posts with low engagement.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6825/3.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="409"></p> <p>JB Hi-Fi also gives away stuff in exchange for comments in the post.</p> <p>Again this is now an effective way to increase the engagement on your posts, but I suspect that Facebook will not factor in this sort of engagement in their ranking algorithm in the future.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6826/4.jpg" alt="" width="497" height="223"></p> <p>Interestingly, though, the giveaways in return for comments are relatively low-value. For the big-ticket freebies, you have to sign up to an email list.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6827/5.jpg" alt="" width="348" height="450"></p> <p>The reason for this is that an email address will not only let them email you, but they can also upload it to Facebook, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64980-put-your-email-list-to-work-facebook-custom-audiences/">build a custom audience</a> and then advertise to you on Facebook later at very low cost.</p> <p>And a side note on its email capture... JB Hi-Fi uses the Facebook App framework to collect email addresses so you don't have to leave the platform in order to give your email. Very smart, and I'm surprised we don't see more brands doing this. </p> <p><strong>Lessons from Facebook: </strong>Likes are great, shares are better, but save your most valuable giveaways to get your customers' email address.</p> <h3>Twitter</h3> <p>JB Hi-Fi posts most of the same offers on Twitter, but enjoy far less engagement despite having 24,000 followers. Typically, tweets only get a couple of re-tweets and a few favorites.</p> <p>Of course it's possible that JB Hi-Fi is able to generate some great traffic from Twitter and I'm sure followers like getting deals in their Tweet stream.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6828/6.jpg" alt="" width="485" height="450"></p> <p>But besides just being able to tell people about the products you're selling, Twitter also offers brands a great opportunity to participate in a conversation with fans.</p> <p>Have a look at how Taco Bell (@tacobell) used Twitter recently:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6829/7.jpg" alt="" width="348" height="500"></p> <p>For those who don't know, @JakeFoushee is a famous, young YouTube star with a large Twitter following. Using VMA tickets as a 'hook', Taco Bell was able to start a conversation with him and in the process, reach hundreds if not thousands of his followers and look witty and fun in the process.</p> <p>So by using Twitter as a conversation channel</p> <ul> <li>Taco Bell looks like it knows what's going on</li> <li>Jake Foushee, the celebrity, gets some recognition (and tickets, perhaps)</li> <li>And fans get to see some banter and join in themselves.</li> </ul> <p>Everyone's happy.</p> <p><strong>Lesson from Twitter: </strong>Try using it to engage with fans and see if you can get in a conversation with someone with a large Twitter following for more reach.</p> <h3>YouTube</h3> <p>Perhaps you wouldn't think of YouTube as a natural place for an electronics retailer, but JB Hi-Fi does it very well, despite having a relatively low amount of followers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6830/8.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="433"></p> <p>It has a lot of up-to-date product videos with links back to the ecommerce site. This is a very wise strategy.</p> <p>People search endlessly for products on YouTube to learn about them and how to use them, and so having product videos on your YouTube page can result in valuable ecommerce traffic for the products people are searching for.</p> <p>And with nearly a billion unique visitors every month, YouTube is becoming as important of a search channel as Google for shoppers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6831/9.jpg" alt="" width="511" height="450"></p> <p>But also, JB Hi-Fi is trying out a content marketing strategy. It posts how-to videos on some of its products and shows local artists performing in-store.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6832/10.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="298"></p> <p>These do have lower engagement than the Facebook contest posts, sure, but the video views are great long-form content which will result in higher awareness of what products and services JB has.</p> <p>For example, after seeing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6723bc4i668">How to Tune an Acoustic Guitar</a> viewers not only know that JB has guitars and tuners, but also that it has employees who know a thing or two about musical instruments.</p> <p>And with that knowledge, those few thousand viewers can be brand ambassadors the next time one of their friends is looking for a guitar.</p> <p><strong>Lessons from YouTube: </strong>Learn from JB Hi Fi. Have product content to benefit from video search and long-form content to help develop more loyal customers and brand ambassadors.</p> <h3>Google+</h3> <p>And finally, JB Hi-Fi's quietest social network Google+. Here JB Hi Fi has just over a thousand fans and has only made a minimal effort. It pretty much just reposts videos from YouTube on the page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6833/11.jpg" alt="" width="575" height="450"></p> <p>But nowadays, this is not a bad strategy.</p> <p>There is so little engagement on the channel that it's probably not worth putting much effort in to Google+. But then again,who knows - you may find a person or two who uses it as their go-to social network in which case you will be seen above people who don't post.</p> <p>One interesting thing is that the design here works well with a fashion brand but JB's anarchic visual style is all but lost in the sleek, minimals world of Google+. </p> <p>So one other thing we can learn here is that when you are choosing a social channel, try to find one which reflects your brand's style.</p> <p><strong>Google+ lesson: </strong>Might be worth a minimal amount of effort, just in case.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Overall, JB Hi Fi have a coherent social media strategy which ties in well with the goal of both selling products and building a brand.</p> <p>It uses Facebook and Twitter for distribution of contests, prizes, and product announcements and posts long-form content on YouTube to increase brand engagement.</p> <p>They could probably do more personal engagement in order to benefit from the reach of its networks but in comparison with other electronics retailers though, JB is up there with the best.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66854 2015-08-25T09:20:00+01:00 2015-08-25T09:20:00+01:00 Why you should consider marketing via Google Street View Trusted Farooq Bhatti <p>Utilising the same technology as Street View, the platform allows businesses to show their ambiance, décor and style to online users in a visually engaging manner. </p> <p><strong>The Basics</strong></p> <p>Unlike Street View, the photography is taken by independent local photographers that are trained and certified by Google. The photos are subject to Google quality assurance inspections to verify that the imagery and user experience is of high standard. </p> <p>Street View Trusted is hosted on Google Maps, however it can be accesses through a number of Google products:</p> <p>• Google Knowledge Graph via search</p> <p>• Google Plus </p> <p>• Google Maps</p> <p>Throughout the Google ecosystem, Street View Trusted is presented as “See Inside”.  </p> <p>Dan Root, a Street View Trusted photographer from <a href="http://www.manchesterbusinessview.co.uk/" target="_blank">Manchester Business View</a>, shared with us the work he has done for Rochdale Town Hall.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1440421674200!6m8!1m7!1s1eaHPX9qwvhxvmJFqCXLkw!2m2!1d53.61579114570704!2d-2.159129930731979!3f132.99!4f0!5f0.7820865974627469" width="600" height="450"></iframe></p> <p>Areas in the red box show where Street View Trusted are shown within Google properties. </p> <p><em>Google Knowledge Graph via search</em></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6481/GK_-_rochdale.PNG" alt="google-knowledge-graph" width="442" height="460"></p> <p><em>Google Maps</em></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6482/Google_Maps_-_rochdale.PNG" alt="google-maps-seeinside" width="380" height="431"></p> <p><em>Google Plus</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/6483/google_plus_-_rochdale-blog-flyer.png" alt="google-plus-seeinside" width="470" height="389"></p> <p>Integration within the Google sphere has meant that the increased visibility will lead to improvement in click through rates, increased engagement with clients and even increased footfall. </p> <p>Anecdotal data indicates that there may even be a correlation with <a href="https://moz.com/ugc/google-business-photos-may-correlate-with-higher-local-search-ranking-although-not-a-magic-bullet" target="_blank">higher local search rankings</a>, although Google has not officially confirmed this. </p> <p><strong>Innovative Marketing</strong></p> <p>Irrespective of what products or services you are looking for, people are always interested to know what they are in for. </p> <p>If your business has a nice atmosphere, it will serve as a selling point and you will naturally attract more clients.  Even a rustic and quirky place can have its allure.</p> <p>Street View Trusted reach is greater than just business premises, it has been successfully utilized to showcase planes, trains, cruises and beyond. </p> <p>Emirates Airlines was a pioneer by showcasing an Airbus A380 to the world. This garnered extensive international media coverage as anyone could explore the double-decker plane and steer their way inside the iconic four-aisle jet from the comfort of their home.</p> <p>Japan’s newest high-speed train, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, showcased its plush interiors to the world prior to its official launch.  Tickets sold out for its inaugural launch in a mere 25 seconds. </p> <p>Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Sea, the largest cruise ship in the world, become the first cruise ship to have a virtual tour via Street View Trusted. Royal Caribbean rightfully deduced that clients will be tempted to explore the real thing once they had a chance to virtually wonder around this floating leisure paradise. </p> <p>Even car dealerships have embraced the technology, it is possible to sit inside a vehicle at select dealerships to experience how a particular vehicle feels like from within. </p> <p><strong>Google Cardboard – Bringing Street View Trusted to life</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6479/google-cardboard_-_Copy.png" alt="google-cardboard" width="502" height="324"></strong></p> <p>Google is using inexpensive, corrugated paper to give virtual reality its most affordable and accessible platform by converting every Street View Trusted tour into a 360 degree panorama. </p> <p>Google's Cardboard initiative allows any business to give VR tours with a device that costs under £20, a smartphone and access to the Google Maps application.</p> <p>All of a sudden, if you own a travel agency, you can show your clients what staying in one of the resorts that you offer feels like. In essence, your client can “try before he or she buys”. </p> <p>Some have classified this development as disruptive enough to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66614-will-virtual-reality-revolutionise-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">change the travel industry</a> forever. Just like current day consumers expect to see reviews for a location before they book, in the near future, consumers may demand an immersive tour before they make their next vacation booking. </p> <p>Just as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66587-10-ways-marketers-can-use-virtual-reality-right-now" target="_self">virtual tours</a> have become mainstream in the real estate sector, as sellers quickly realised that the exposure of a virtual tour will help in the sales process, other industries may come to the same realisation.  </p> <p>Clients of fine dining establishment may feel it’s important to virtually sit within a restaurant before making a reservation. </p> <p>What else could this potentially disrupt? Beauty salons, dentist offices, day care facilities, storage warehouses, local supermarkets, etc.? While it’s too early to tell, the potential is limitless.  </p> <p>With the cost of Google Cardboard and Street View Tours low enough for businesses of every size to obtain, the question then becomes, can your business really afford not to have these tools as part of its marketing arsenal?</p> <p>If you want to learn more about VR for marketing, check out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketers-guide-to-virtual-reality" target="_blank">Econsultancy’s Marketer’s Guide to Virtual Reality.</a><em> </em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66728 2015-07-22T14:07:00+01:00 2015-07-22T14:07:00+01:00 Social media and the 2016 US election: can anyone follow Obama? Marcus Tober <p>Over the last two US presidential elections, Barack Obama has shown how politicians can harness the power of social media and content marketing in political campaigning.</p> <p>Described as ‘the first social media president’ Obama used the likes of Facebook and Twitter to engage with voters, with his followers then spreading content to a wider audience of their family and friends.</p> <p>For example, in the 2012 election he logged twice as many Facebook Likes and 20 times as many retweets than Republican candidate Mitt Romney, building on the success he had in the 2008 contest.</p> <p>Using social media is increasingly vital for politicians, particularly those looking to reach younger voters. People are now used to seeing political content in their social media feeds. Indeed, many young people rely on social networks to get their political news, with 61% getting their news via Facebook.</p> <p>Social media users are also more likely to be politically active, and to vote. Pew Research found that 66% of social media users actively engage in political activism online, while researchers at the MacArthur Research Network on Youth &amp; Participatory Politics report that young people who are politically active online are twice as likely to vote than those who are not.</p> <p>As you’d therefore expect, many of the 2016 presidential hopefuls are starting to gear up their online and social media activities ahead of the candidate caucuses.</p> <p>When Searchmetrics analysed online and social activity for some of the main contenders in June 2015 we found that many were already extremely active.</p> <h3><strong>Democrats</strong></h3> <p>Hillary Clinton has 3.73m followers on Twitter and 951,000 on Facebook, along with 5,395 shares and 178,356 Facebook Likes of her specific posts and a combined social visibility score (based on aggregated social shares of their website content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+) of 514,644.</p> <p>This is far higher than her Democratic rivals, although fellow candidate Bernie Sanders is much more active on Twitter, having tweeted 12,100 times against Clinton’s 837. </p> <h3>Republicans</h3> <p>On the Republican side, Jeb Bush has 204,000 Facebook followers, 214,000 on Twitter but a relatively low social visibility score of 4,083.</p> <p>When we investigated we saw that his posts had only being shared 342 times on Facebook and 1,525 times on Twitter so his followers do not appear to be engaging with him.</p> <p>Bush's 1,182 Facebook Likes are dwarfed by the likes of Rand Paul and Donald Trump. Paul has a social visibility score of 401,029 with 9,214 Facebook Shares, 142,049 Likes and 25,485 Comments. Obviously Trump has a strong profile through his business and TV activities, which is reflected by having 3.05m followers on Twitter and 1,900,000 on Facebook.</p> <p>These are less engaged however, with just 757 Twitter shares and 19,968 Facebook likes, all contributing to an overall social visibility score of 59,998.</p> <p>These high profile established figures have a slight head start in social media, while there are many presidential hopefuls who have only just announced their campaigns and launched their websites and social media handles. For example, based on our data, Republican Carly Fiorina, had a social visibility score of 1,260 and no Facebook Likes, Comments or Shares when we looked at her social data, while Democrat Lincoln Chafee, also had negligible engagement and a low social visibility score. It’s early days and we expect to see social numbers increase as these candidates get their campaigns in gear. </p> <h3>Content marketing</h3> <p>It’s worth pointing out that getting lots of followers on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks is one thing. What I’m really interested in following over the course of this campaign is how successful the candidates are at using their websites and social channels to implement content marketing.</p> <p>Are they creating meaningful content (blogs, video, images) focused on their important campaign issues and the US political agenda and successfully driving social shares?</p> <p>As a benchmark it is worth looking at the popularity of content on the White House website. Pages that have been shared widely include the Now is the Time campaign, which has received over 13m social shares.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/preventing-gun-violence"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/5442/Now_is_the_time___The_White_House.png" alt="" width="1117" height="850"></a></p> <p>Looking at the sites of some of the hopefuls, I notice that Trump and Bush are already using a lot of video to talk up the issues on their campaign agendas (with a focus on immigration and their record as Governor of Florida respectively).</p> <p>Clinton is using LinkedIn Pulse for campaign trail updates, while Senator Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush offer website content in Spanish as well as English.</p> <p>However as yet no one is seeing huge levels of engagement when it comes to social shares of their content. Given the importance of social media this will undoubtedly change. As the campaign develops we’ll be tracking social visibility and providing regular updates on the winners and losers.</p> <p><strong><em>A note on the data used in this post:</em></strong></p> <p><em>The Searchmetrics social visibility scores we use in this post are based on the amount of social signals (shares, comments, likes, tweets, plusones, pins etc.) from social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. Social visibility is a useful indicator of how sharable or viral the content on a website is on social media. We crawl the web for publicly available social data and use this to provide social media analytics - such as the social visibility scores - within our software. It is important to note that we can only use publicly available data, so we do not include content that social network users share privately with their friends and followers.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3738 2015-02-26T10:00:00+00:00 2015-02-26T10:00:00+00:00 Marketing Budgets 2015 <h2>Overview</h2> <p>The <strong>Marketing Budgets 2015 Report</strong>, published by Econsultancy in association with <a href="https://cloud.oracle.com/marketing-cloud" target="_self">Oracle Marketing Cloud</a>, is a guide for the health of the marketing industry. It looks at the extent to which companies are increasing their budgets across a range of channels and technologies, comparing online and offline budgets while also looking at the balance between acquisition and retention marketing. The report compares spending trends – and ability to measure ROI – across different 'traditional' and digital channels. </p> <p>Almost 600 companies participated in this research, which took the form of an online survey between December 2014 and January 2015.</p> <h2>What you'll learn from this research </h2> <p>The report reveals marketers’ priorities for the next 12 months, while exploring the extent to which companies are committed to investing in marketing, the channels they are focusing their investment on, and the challenges they face in improving their capabilities in this area.</p> <p><strong>Key findings from the report </strong></p> <ul style="font-weight: normal;"> <li>Digital marketing budgets are set to reach an all-time high</li> <li>Investment in digital marketing technology surges back</li> <li>Marketers look beyond paid media, but ROI measurement issues hold them back</li> <li>Acquisition marketing continues to be front of mind</li> </ul> <h2>Features of the report </h2> <p>This 64-page report looks in detail at how companies are allocating their online and offline marketing budgets in 2015. It explores the following areas:</p> <ul style="font-weight: normal;"> <li>Marketing focus</li> <li>Marketing budgets</li> <li>Investment in technology</li> <li>Marketing effectiveness and ROI</li> <li>Barriers to further investment</li> <li>Most important area of digital focus in 2014</li> </ul> <h2>Who should read this report?</h2> <p>The report is essential reading for both in-house marketers and agency professionals around the world, as well as those outside who want to understand how marketing budgets and investment is evolving within the digital and traditional marketing fields.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/65621 2014-10-21T10:53:27+01:00 2014-10-21T10:53:27+01:00 Penguin 3.0: what's it all about? Graham Charlton <h3>What is Penguin 3.0?  </h3> <p>Automated punishment for companies that do automated link building.</p> <p>Penguin has caught quite a few sites that have backlinks from poor quality blogs and link networks too, and it seems like Penguin 3.0 has much more of a focus on blogs.</p> <p>We’re getting better at algorithmically identifying sites that aren’t genuine, so it’s fair to assume that Google is too.</p> <h3>What is Google aiming to achieve with this update? </h3> <p>Most search results have at least one or two sites on the first two pages that really don’t deserve to be there; often fraudulent businesses using quick and dirty tactics to get search traffic.</p> <p>The aim of Penguin is to take out those sites, and because the effects of Penguin are transferred through redirects, those spam sites can’t come back under another guise (or at least they can’t stay there).</p> <h3>Where are you seeing the biggest changes so far?</h3> <p>The biggest changes have definitely been in the travel sector, with several major travel sites seeing a fall in visibility.</p> <p>The reason for this is the travel industry’s insistence on ‘relevant blogs’ – the problem is that there are very few relevant travel blogs, and there’s no good reason for a backpacker to write about package holidays, so it looks unnatural.</p> <h3>Based on what you have seen so far, has it achieved what Google wanted?</h3> <p>It has, because I think Google wanted to give sites the chance to recover and not wipe out innocent sites.</p> <p>Penguin 3.0 is long overdue because the way that the algorithm works means sites are susceptible to negative <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide">SEO</a>.</p> <p>The chatter in forums like Blackhat World makes it seem like there have been a lot of hits, but SEOs on Twitter are struggling to spot big drops, which is probably the way it should be.</p> <h3>What is your advice for sites hit by penguin 3.0?</h3> <p>Stop link building. After the last couple of Penguin updates it was fairly easy to blame legacy links, but businesses have had a whole year to organise a disavow file, which implies that toxic links might still be being added.</p> <p>The question you need to be asking before you place a link is not 'is this blog relevant?' but 'will this link drive traffic to my website?'</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/65489 2014-09-23T13:41:35+01:00 2014-09-23T13:41:35+01:00 Six Premier League football clubs with innovative digital strategies David Moth <h2>Sunderland</h2> <p>We’re used to seeing statues of famous players outside football stadiums, or walking down roads named after the old club captain.</p> <p>So to drum up season ticket sales for the 2014/15 season Sunderland created a campaign that portrayed fans as club legends.</p> <p>At a match against Crystal Palace towards the end of last season the stadium’s East Stand was renamed The Brian Graham Stand in honour of one fan that had renewed their season ticket.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>A delighted Julia Ward has her very own road sign outside the SoL today after renewing her season card! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SAFCLegends?src=hash">#SAFCLegends</a> <a href="http://t.co/f6lheco5bF">pic.twitter.com/f6lheco5bF</a></p> — Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/SunderlandAFC/status/444831924520235008">March 15, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>Another fan had a road named after them and some season ticket holders received phone calls from players to tell them they are legends.</p> <p>Other activity included print adverts of fans pictured as statues and social media posts featuring the names of fans that had renewed their season tickets.</p> <p>This is a really clever campaign and one that generates excitement among fans about the upcoming season, when perhaps there isn’t much to get excited about on the field.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Cheers <a href="https://twitter.com/SAFCOfficial">@SAFCofficial</a> suppose you'll be naming a stand after me now and a free season ticket for life? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SAFCLegends?src=hash">#SAFCLegends</a> <a href="http://t.co/9zyVG934OT">pic.twitter.com/9zyVG934OT</a></p> — Ross Gowland (@rgowland1991) <a href="https://twitter.com/rgowland1991/status/450671111626162176">March 31, 2014</a> </blockquote> <h2>Manchester United</h2> <p>Ben Davis has previously written an excellent article about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63214-how-manchester-united-uses-facebook-twitter-sina-weibo-and-google">Man United’s social strategy</a>, but it’s worth highlighting one or two recent examples here.</p> <p>The club now has its own <a href="http://social.manutd.com/">social media hub</a> that pulls together all the posts from its official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.</p> <p>It’s available in seven different languages including Spanish, Malaysian and Indonesian.</p> <p>The site is built using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64072-responsive-design-25-of-the-best-sites-from-2013">responsive design</a> so it’s optimised for mobile, but I’d still be interested to see whether it attracts a great deal of traffic.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/3718/man_utd_social-blog-full.jpg" alt="Manchester United social hub" width="615" height="340"></p> <p>Another interesting campaign revolved around the hashtag #MUFrontRow and gave fans around the world the chance to appear on the digital boards at the side of the pitch during United’s game against Liverpool in March.</p> <p>The idea was that it allowed the club’s international fans the chance to actually watch a game at Old Trafford, though in reality they were just appearing via a Google Hangout.</p> <p>United’s players were clearly inspired by the presence of their global fans, as they only lost 3-0 on the day.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eCXA1_h8Dec?rel=0&amp;wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <h2>Arsenal</h2> <p>Replica kits are an important revenue stream for Premier League teams, so clubs try to make a lot of noise when unveiling a new kit.</p> <p>To promote its new kit deal with Puma before the start of this season Arsenal beamed an advert onto the River Thames using a water projection screen.</p> <p>The video was broadcast online to Arsenal fans around the world, and from the window of the club’s Carnaby Street store, where players Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini posed as live mannequins modelling the designs.</p> <p>It’s a great way to make a splash about a new kit launch...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/83xSyBjNYBg?rel=0&amp;wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <h2>Southampton FC</h2> <p>The Super Saints have had a lot of fun trialling new digital marketing and social initiatives.</p> <p>Back in 2012 we spoke to them about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/8586-southampton-s-ar-campaign-is-about-fan-engagement-not-roi">the use of augmented reality in out-of-home adverts</a> placed around the city.</p> <p>Fans were able to use the Blippar app to access the club’s mobile website, team shop and ticket office.</p> <p>Users could also add their face to the Southampton team huddle and share the image using email, Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p>At the beginning of this season Southampton hosted a treasure hunt around the city to give fans the chance to win a new shirt before they went on general sale.</p> <p>Hundreds of footballs were hidden in different locations, details of which were then shared on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.</p> <p>Fans who found one of the balls had to post a selfie using the hashtag #EarnYourStripes to be entered into a prize draw for one of the kits.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>So there we go! Hundreds of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EarnYourStripes?src=hash">#EarnYourStripes</a> balls are hidden around the area. Check our <a href="https://twitter.com/Snapchat">@Snapchat</a> Story for clues! <a href="http://t.co/hmIsuh0MHy">pic.twitter.com/hmIsuh0MHy</a></p> — Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) <a href="https://twitter.com/SouthamptonFC/status/487851746262528000">July 12, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>Some of the players also posted pictures of themselves with the new kit using the hashtag.</p> <p>I think this is a really innovative way of revealing the new kit while keeping the club connected to the local community. </p> <h2>Tottenham</h2> <p>Somehow I ended up supporting Spurs as a kid, so I’m proud to say that they have come up with one of the more bizarre digital campaigns.</p> <p> ‘<a href="http://www.tottenhamturfies.com/turfies">Tottenham Turfies</a>’ is an online game aimed at children that's set in a world beneath the clubs home pitch at White Hart Lane.</p> <p>It allows people to create an avatar and play games to accumulate points. </p> <p>There is also a newsfeed via the club’s main website, and the ability to win, print, and then trade player trading cards.</p> <p>Virtual trophies can be cashed in for things like places at fun days, soccer schools, tours of the stadium, and team merchandise. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/3732/tottenham_turfies-blog-full.jpg" alt="" width="615" height="400"></p> <p>Mobile games and virtual goods are hugely popular with the youth of today, particularly in international markets, so this has the potential to be a really great way of engaging with young fans.</p> <p>Personally I’m not a fan of online games so I’m not really in a position to judge, but it’s great to see a Premier League club attempting to innovate in this space.</p> <h2>Manchester City</h2> <p>There’s a lot of money swilling around up at the Etihad Stadium and it’s good that some of it gets channelled into digital marketing.</p> <p>It places huge emphasis on generating fan engagement <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10367-man-city-s-social-strategy-is-about-engagement-not-traffic">through social channels</a>, and was even one of the first Premier League teams to use Foursquare so fans could check-in at the stadium.</p> <p>We’ve previously written about the club’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63300-why-manchester-city-s-emails-are-premier-league-quality">excellent email creative</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63367-q-a-manchester-city-s-approach-to-digital-marketing">interviewed the digital team</a>. One of the more interesting campaigns they told us about is <a href="http://citystories.mcfc.co.uk/index/index#!/core-discover/timeline">#citystories</a>, which was setup as an “an easy-to-digest history of the club.”</p> <p>It’s basically a crowdsourced timeline that uses images and stories posted online by fans. The UX isn’t great, but it’s neat idea.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/3737/citystories-blog-full.jpg" alt="" width="615" height="387"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/65384 2014-08-29T14:29:00+01:00 2014-08-29T14:29:00+01:00 Google drops authorship markup from search results: reaction Graham Charlton <p>This screenshot, from a few days ago, shows the author name next to results: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/2103/google_links-blog-full.png" alt="" width="615" height="352"></p> <p>Now, the same results, with Chris Lake's name removed: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/2179/authorship-blog-full.png" alt="" width="615" height="323"></p> <p>Thank you to the following panel of experts for their input: </p> <ul> <li>Teddie Cowell, Director of SEO UK and International at <a href="https://twitter.com/weareMBA">mediacom</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://twitter.com/tomanthonyseo">Tom Anthony</a>, Head of R&amp;D at Distilled </li> <li> <a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewGirdwood">Andrew Girdwood</a>, media innovations director at DigitasLBi. </li> <li> <a href="https://twitter.com/kevgibbo">Kevin Gibbons</a> managing director of BlueGlass.</li> <li> <a href="http://magstags.com/">Mags Sikora</a>, an SEO consultant. </li> <li> <a href="https://twitter.com/IrishWonder">Julia Logan</a>, SEO consultant (AKA Irish Wonder).</li> <li> <a href="https://twitter.com/rishil">Rishi Lakhani</a>, SEO consultant. </li> </ul> <h2>Why do you think Google has decided to drop authorship?</h2> <h3>Mags Sikora:</h3> <p>It looks like there might be quite a few reasons behind the removal. In the past Google said that they decided to take the Google Authorship off to clean up the SERP in order to improve mobile experience (what is understanding having in mind their “mobile first”  approach). Yesterday John Mueller stated in his Google+ post that the reasons behind Google Authorship removal are its low adoption rate by webmasters as well as the feedback received that the information isn’t that useful to the users and it can even distract from those results. </p> <p>However, there might be also some other motives behind the authorship drop. Rand Fishkin from MOz tweeted his own theory- that the profile pics distracted too much from ads and lowered amount of clicks on the PPC listings. The truth is, if the CTR increases in SERP on some listing, the CTR somewhere else has to go down. If it harmed the ads, the profile pics had to go down. </p> <h3>Kevin Gibbons: </h3> <p>I think the official reason that "it wasn't as useful as we'd hoped" is probably correct from a user/search experience perspective but I suspect that authorship was very useful to Google from an algorithmic perspective to learn about the people behind content, and begin ranking based on author reputation as opposed to brand trust and domain authority.</p> <p>Interestingly we found was that Google had often got to the point where you didn't need to have authorship markup setup in order to for it to identify the author of a specific post. Perhaps one reason why Google pulled authorship was because they were at the stage where it no longer needed our help in order to make the link as to who the person was behind the content.</p> <h3>Andrew Girdwood: </h3> <p>I think there are a few reasons why Google dropped authorship. The headline speculation is certainly around whether the program had a detrimental effect on clicks for paid ads.</p> <p>There are other reasons. Google noted that the program was not adopted widely enough. That may be true but one of the reasons I encountered for brands and authors not implementing the program was their expectation that Google would eventually drop it.</p> <p>These authors often cited Google Reader and other discontinued projects as evidence to Google’s lack of commitment. This could become an interesting challenge for Google.</p> <p>Finally, I think the authorship representation in results was a significant challenge for mobile interfaces. When space is an absolute premium such as small screen mobile or Android Wear then the addition of supplemental information is rarely worth it.</p> <h3>Julia Logan: </h3> <p>I suspect it has become apparent to Google what has been pretty obvious to at least some of us all the way since it was introduced: that only a small niche will ever see widespead use of authorship.</p> <p>Namely, the online marketing industry and maybe some part of the more 'techy' news publications. For the rest of commercially viable verticals, it's as if authorship never existed.</p> <p>It was either completely ignored or spammed in hopes of getting a ranking benefit, should Google consider it a ranking factor, or just to make a site stand out in the SERPs, much like ratings and other microdata formats.</p> <p>For some 'uncomfortable' verticals that people are reluctant to talk about, it would be safe to say that 100% of implemented authorship was authorship spam with fake personas used for it.</p> <p>Google accounts, Google+ and inherently authorship have been conceived as an identity market, with Google attempting to learn more about content attribution.</p> <p>It might even have been an experiment to try and see how much it can learn about content creators and what they can do with this data - either Google has collected all the data they wanted to collect, or the costs of fighting incorrect implementations (think publisher vs author, etc.) and authorship spam have outweighed the benefits from the experiment.</p> <h2>Was it a useful feature or, as Google has said, did it distract attention from results? </h2> <h3>Mags Sikora:</h3> <p>There were quite a few tests done proving that the listings with authorship results had higher CTR than the ones without authorship snippets. Google also confirmed that on several occasions. I personally found it very useful when searching for posts supporting some of SEO statements- seeing Danny Sullivan’s listing in SERP, of course made me click on it straight away.</p> <p>From the other hand again, I can understand that that feature could be slightly distracting on mobile search and since mobile searches takes over desktop, it makes sense for Google to reprioritize and focus more on mobile SERP. </p> <h3>Kevin Gibbons: </h3> <p>I think it was useful in theory, and I can certainly see the logic behind it, but we ran some tests on the impact of Google+ last year and found that the average CTR for authorship results was much lower than expected vs standard organic listings. </p> <p>This was surprising at the time, but does make sense as Google were often inflating authorship results into a position where they didn't really deserve to be, and were not as relevant as they should have been to a given query. </p> <p>Of course some people will assume authorship must have correlated with a negative impact to paid ad clicks, which may or may not be true,  but I don't think that would be the defining factor here vs the overall search experience.</p> <h3>Tom Anthony: </h3> <p>It seems that it was not performing as a UI change, and Google is historically very data driven with making such decisions, so that makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>However, there is the other side of the equation to consider. It seems that Google was definitely looking to use it as a ranking factor for how it selected and ordered results for users.</p> <p>It filed a patent in 2007 for ‘Agent Rank’, which discussed how authorship ‘can be used to influence the ranking of web search results by indicating the agent responsible for a particular content piece’. Secondly, Eric Schmidt said in his book published early last year that ‘information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification’. </p> <p>So what went wrong? Why did this not happen like Google evidently expected?</p> <p>I think it probably was working, but only for a small fraction of the web. Consider that authorship was a ranking factor was about improving the trust that Google could have in certain links, but that the pages that had authorship markup were likely often those which were easier to verify from other signals; in these instances authorship was not adding a lot of value.</p> <h3>Teddie Cowell:</h3> <p>Personally I’ve never been as much of a fan of ‘authorship’ social annotations in search results, mostly because I’m primarily working on very large corporate brand websites where personal ownership of content had much less value and, was even potentially a bit of a legal liability for our clients in some scenarios.</p> <h3>Andrew Girdwood: </h3> <p>As a blogger I found this a useful feature. When the authorship program was in full swing and it was relatively straight forward scoring an image in the search results the system was a great way to stand out. It was especially useful against slow moving and large publishers. </p> <p>As a digital marketer I found the program useful. It helped track down multi-site bloggers, helped calculate influence and made all sorts of research easier. </p> <p>As a searcher… hmm. I’m not sure.  Previously, I had done some unscientific study into this by asking non-digital marketers in conferences whether they liked the feature. They did. It was “nice”, they said but no one ever could suggest what they would use it for.</p> <p>On small screens the author photos certainly distracted attention.</p> <h3>Julia Logan:</h3> <p>I don't think it really distracted attention from the results but maybe it distracted attention from the ads, and that's where Google is hurt financially, and it might have been another reason for discontinuing authorship.</p> <p>Within verticals like SEO, online marketing or similar, it could be useful to people regularly consuming the content as it showed them whose content they would want to read first of all and trust. For the rest of the internet, I think it hardly mattered though.</p> <h2>Do you see it being used a ranking factor? Will Google bring it back in some form? </h2> <h3>Kevin Gibbons: </h3> <p>Yes - I would expect Google to have learned a great deal from authorship (both good and bad) and I only see the web as a whole becoming more social and personalised - ranking content based on who wrote it, rather than where it was written will still be very important trust factor moving forward. </p> <p>As tweeted by Dejan SEO earlier, the original authorship is still very much alive:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>The original authorship is still very much alive. Here's an example: <a href="http://t.co/XDfS08oUgV">http://t.co/XDfS08oUgV</a> <a href="http://t.co/hDxyohIJ9M">pic.twitter.com/hDxyohIJ9M</a></p> — Dejan SEO (@dejanseo) <a href="https://twitter.com/dejanseo/statuses/505269497675005952">August 29, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>This may be less emphasised in the search results now, but no one is saying that Google has removed the data and information they learned have on authors and personal connections/social relationships.  </p> <p>Let's face it, if you think you've been wasting your time building author authority and trust, you've been doing it wrong all along! Google authorship may have gone, but the value in building a real author profile, reputation and trust was never about that. </p> <h3>Tom Anthony: </h3> <p>I don’t think the principle of using data about authors as a ranking factor is dead. I think Google realised that the Authorship Program of requiring very specific (and fiddly) markup to be in place was not the way to achieve the end goal.</p> <p>Since authorship snippets appeared, we’ve seen that Google has inferred the author of a page without explicit markup in place, and so we know it is capable of doing so. It has been three years since Google started the authorship program and in that time they have likely got a lot better at working out the authorship of a page.</p> <p>Bear in mind that the explicit authorship markup being in place for a large number of pages gave them a great data set to work from whereby they could use other signals to deduce the author of a page and compare it against the explicit markup. It is a great training set for them to learn from.</p> <h3>Rishi Lakhani:</h3> <p>I initially saw some benefit in authorship for ranking, but as time progressed I didn't find significant ranking benefits.</p> <p>However, I think that the learnings from author rank will feature in some way in the algorithm as a trust factor. Apart from that it's anyone's guess. </p> <h3>Teddie Cowell:</h3> <p>So I’m confident that behind the scenes Google is going to continue to use some sort of inferred authorship as a ranking factor. Whether it decides to reflect that in the front end remains to be seen.</p> <p>Apparently ‘author’ markup is not being used at all by Google, so even adding the authorship markup to your website won’t provide any additional esoteric value, as Google isn’t looking for it.</p> <p>In the future I would not be surprised if this comes back again in a better form when Google can find a better mechanism for maintaining authorship data and make the cost/benefit stack up. That aside Google still does some really interesting stuff with authors and citations <a href="http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=B7vSqZsAAAAJ&amp;hl=en&amp;oi=ao">in the Scholars realm</a>.  </p> <p>Note: ‘publisher’ markup is still being used though.</p> <h3>Andrew Girdwood: </h3> <p>Authorship as schema still exists. I won’t be stripping that from my blogs and nor will I be encouraging clients to do so.</p> <p>As Knowledge Base grows it makes sense to ensure you bake in every possible signal and credit you can.</p> <p>There are a number of quality signals you could derive from the “idea of authorship” and Googlers have certainly talked about cases in which it would be theoretically useful for ranking. It seems foolish to dismiss all aspects of authorship as a ranking signal. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/65021 2014-06-18T11:17:00+01:00 2014-06-18T11:17:00+01:00 The A to Z of mobile marketing: 26 trends to inspire you David Skerrett <h2>A: Adaptive Web Design &amp; RESS</h2> <p>Responsive web design (RWD) is popular right now and to some it’s become a silver bullet solution. However,  <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64833-adaptive-web-design-pros-and-cons">adaptive web design (AWD)</a> is the gold standard, if you can afford it. </p> <p>With AWD, layout is determined server side to enable the delivery of the most appropriate version of the site based on the functionality of the device. This means that load times are quick, optimisation is easier, and the site is more appropriate to the device, along with being able to reach non-smartphone users.</p> <p>For brands where context is king, such as in retail and travel, being more device-specific rather than screen-specific is likely to produce bigger returns. Responsive Web Design with Server Side Components (RESS) is a cross between RWD and AWD - a hybrid solution that ensures your solution is more ‘next generation’ by ensuring pages load faster and work on more devices.</p> <p>RESS provides relevant content and call-to-actions specific to the device. In doing so the user benefits from a richer and more engaging experience.</p> <p>I expect to see more brands choosing adaptive and RESS over responsive this year, especially when so many brands are experiencing RWD projects that come in late and over budget. </p> <p><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/kNXVZFkPVmE836iB88KRxsWlXKElhoOqo_rRFWlKwGlmcDtDsTNn4ogkc5mnhQsMWxVRlu75yQqtuPIakQ591k5TxvgN6shOtorUERVCmXNE8ofj9BCKmPUg3zqLLvo7M7w" alt="Lufthansa adaptive web" width="558" height="455"></p> <p>Lufthansa's use of adaptive design shows how experiences can be tailored according to likely user behaviour.  </p> <h2>B: Beta &amp; minimum viable products</h2> <p>Once highly popular, I predict a resurgence in launching in Beta as a way to get minimum viable products on mobile out to market quickly. It helps avoid making big decisions based on what people say versus what people do.</p> <p>Early users help to inform the features, expansion and improvements on the mobile roadmap, with success (or failure) early on helping to dictate future investment. Circa 90-day turnaround minimum viable products will become more popular in getting something feasible out to market.</p> <p>Doing this allows businesses to gain useful feedback early on, enabling you to alter the product to suit customer needs. This method allows you, in some cases, to fail quickly and early, which saves you time and money.</p> <p>Innovation needs to get out of PowerPoint quicker and by making rather than talking, you can build the future, rather than asking your customers to predict it as per the famous Henry Ford quote. </p> <h2>C: Consumer first, mobile first is dead</h2> <p>A Google Executive recently declared ‘mobile first’ dead.</p> <p>Driven by the rise of the smartphone, the principles of ‘mobile first’ are important, but the notion that the consumer is always a mobile consumer, and not a cross channel / device consumer can be dangerous.</p> <p>Today’s consumers switch between devices to achieve tasks and expect brands to keep up. Therefore focusing solely on mobile devices can be a myopic approach.</p> <p>Instead marketers need to adjust their messages to suit consumer’s multi-device behaviour. </p> <h2>D: Drivables</h2> <p>CarPlay, by Apple, enables drivers to use their iPhone apps through their car through a USB connection.</p> <p>Drivers can control CarPlay using voice through Siri; they can request songs, call someone, dictate text messages and ask for directions all through voice control.</p> <p>The benefit of voice control means that drivers are not nearly as distracted as they would be if taking their eyes off the road to fiddle with their iPhone, therefore CarPlay promotes safer driving.</p> <p>Drivers can also control CarPlay using a touchscreen display or using the car’s in-built controls.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/VfXIekN.jpg" alt="carplay" width="443" height="249"></p> <p>Other companies are working on their versions of car systems; these include Microsoft Sync, and Google’s Android-based system, The Open Automotive Alliance.</p> <p>The ‘Drivables’ trend of in-car technology and evolving interface design will be important this year. As penetration increases input techniques such as voice control will become normalised which will have implications on interaction design across all connected devices. </p> <h2>E: Empathy</h2> <p>In mobile it’s easy to get distracted by chasing the new trend.</p> <p>Sometimes we do things because we can, rather than because we should! Empathy for the consumer is key, as is adding value with your mobile proposition: How will your audience during the course of their busy life gain value from the interaction with your brand on their most personal device?</p> <p>Often being useful is a great way to stand out. Get in touch with your inner consumer, or speak to real ones, to avoid being annoying in creating a mobile white elephant.</p> <p>A great way to do just this and get in touch with your consumer, is through user testing. Ask your consumers those all important questions, understand their attitude towards your brand and why they may choose a competitor over you, and most importantly ask what they want and need from you.  </p> <h2>F: Facebook</h2> <p>There is plenty we can learn from Facebook’s mobile journey. Facebook have cracked how to make money from mobile.</p> <p>In Q4 of 2013 Facebook sales reached more than $1bn from mobile advertising alone. The number of mobile Facebook users has also rocketed; at the start of 2013 there were more daily desktop users than mobile, but within just one year there were around 200m more mobile users than desktop.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/9228/facebook_mobile_-blog-full.png" alt="" width="615" height="359"></p> <p>As there are 556m people accessing Facebook on their smartphone or tablet every day, it is imperative that the mobile user experience is optimised.</p> <p>Before Facebook’s huge mobile success, version four of the native app was rated just one-star in the app store by more than half of its users. Facebook listened to the users and redeveloped the native app in 2012, focussing on improving the speed of use and functionality through changing the programming language.</p> <p>Version four was written in HTML5 so that one app could be used across all platforms, but this resulted in a lower quality performance. Version five is written in the native language for iOS, Objective-C, which has drastically improved the user experience, as it’s significantly quicker.</p> <p>Facebook can be used for mobile marketing in a number of ways: to build awareness, views and clicks in news feed; or by using Facebook as a sign-in to your mobile experience to make it more personal and capture data. </p> <h2>G: Great expectations (not good)</h2> <p>Our increased emotional dependency on our mobile devices is raising the bar for brands.</p> <p>Good isn’t good enough anymore! Simply repackaging web content, ignoring the context of mobility and the opportunities of location relevance, as well as other mobile sensors, isn’t good enough anymore.</p> <p>Consumers have great expectations, not good expectations. Are you raising the bar and giving your audience what they want? </p> <h2>H: Heavy</h2> <p>Unfortunately it’s easy to make a responsive site overly heavy in terms of page weight, which may lead to frustrated users.</p> <p>An example of a heavy site is Sony’s ‘Be Moved’ RWD. The landing page is 53 Mb in size and to some is a month’s data allowance in one page - that is not something a consumer is going to thank you for!</p> <p>Due to the size, the page takes forever to load.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/9230/photo__5_-blog-full.png" alt="" width="500"></p> <p>The lesson here is to ensure that you are being responsible with your page weight and QA for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9162-the-importance-of-speed-for-mobile-commerce">speed across 3G or Wi-Fi</a>.</p> <h2>I: iBeacon </h2> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64626-five-examples-of-how-marketers-are-using-ibeacons">iBeacon</a>, part of Apple’s iOS7 but also compatible with Android 4.3 upwards, is a way for brands to engage with their customers once they are in close proximity to a specific location and have downloaded a specific application.</p> <p>There are over 30 beacon hardware vendors already, from Estimote to Swirl, and they transmit data to your mobile based on proximity ranges via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).</p> <p>Marketers are excited about the opportunities, and it’s important that brands use this new technology responsibly, a notable example being Tesco trialling it but not using the technology for marketing messages yet.</p> <p>Outside of retail, the most inspiring iBeacon example I’ve seen so far is the recent “Sweeper” exhibit and installation for the UN at the New Museum in NYC which recreated a deadly minefield, in-order to raise awareness to the threat of landmines around the world.</p> <p>Using iBeacon, the installation recreated this lethal experience via an app people downloaded to their mobile, and as they walked by a beacon, visitors triggered an explosion sound along with hammering home the gory details of the attack. This then led to a donations page.</p> <p>What is impressive here is that they’ve solved the value exchange equation of seeing messages you would want to receive, and managing the barrier to entry of needing an app and Bluetooth turned on, in order to interact.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/qVA9vSL.jpg" alt="ibeacon" width="449" height="284"> </p> <h2>J: jQuery </h2> <p>I’ve mentioned the problem with heavy websites and the benefit of using RESS technology.</p> <p>jQuery mobile is another method of optimising the Web browsing experience for mobile devices.</p> <p><strong>It allows pages to load faster by loading the necessary items on the page straight away</strong> with the rest of the page elements loading as they are needed, which is important for user satisfaction (see ‘Loading times’).</p> <p>jQuery is a framework devised of simpler and shorter codes thus developers can implement jQuery more quickly and robustly.</p> <p>Many companies are increasingly using jQuery or other mobile frameworks such as Backbone and Zepto.js due to their advantages and it is predicted to be a big part of the future of Web development. </p> <h2>K: Killer apps</h2> <p>Killer apps were all the rage during intense platform battles. For example, Halo was Xbox’s killer app.</p> <p>The idea of uniqueness, a first of its kind and a hook that gets you talked about can be used for mobile when thinking about the key feature(s) you will deliver through mobile.</p> <p>So with a native application spend some time thinking about how you would list and PR your app and it’s killer features early in the project, not when it’s too late.  </p> <h2>L: Loading</h2> <p>Whether you are hyper tasking, multi tasking or mono tasking, <strong>the most precious resource to a mobile user in 2014 is time.</strong></p> <p>Many studies have demonstrated the negative impact of slow sites on sales. There are lots of statistics kicking around that claim that load time should not be more than five seconds, or four seconds or even one second.</p> <p>Google states that just a two second load time is disruptive to the user experience and is the maximum a delay can be. Kissmetrics say that if an ecommerce site is making $100,000 per day, then a 1-second delay could cost you $2.5m in lost sales every year.</p> <p>The moral of the story is simple; make sure your load time is as close to instant as possible and your users will be happy, anymore than this and you are increasing the likelihood of users becoming impatient, frustrated, and leaving your site.</p> <h2>M: Multi-screening</h2> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62538-multi-screening-trends-in-the-uk">Multi-screening</a>, when more than one device is used at one time, is a continuing powerful trend due to our increasing need for information immediacy and ever present human interaction.</p> <p><img src="http://www.google.com/think/images/the-new-multi-screen-world-study_research-studies_sm.jpg" alt="multi screen" width="456" height="255"></p> <p>Multi-screening is often used to investigate products, to use social media, and often we start an activity on one device and continue it on another. Research suggests that the majority of consumers using a second screen to look for TV related content are either using ‘search’, or social media.</p> <p>Twitter can actually improve live TV. Fast Web Media found that <strong>out of 10m active UK Twitter users, 60% are tweeting while watching TV, and 40% are tweeting about TV.</strong> This gives the opportunity to engage with thousands of consumers and get a conversation flowing about your brand. </p> <p>Successful campaigns use specific hashtags, for example using the brand name or brand slogan. Three’s #DancePonyDance is an example of a brand successfully engaging with users on a second screen; understanding multi-screening behaviour can allow you to do the same.</p> <p>What’s new this year is the improved ability for our devices to talk to each other.</p> <p>Examples include Apple’s Airplay, and Google Chromecast, which is fundamentally changing our content consumption habits.  </p> <p>There's also Samsung’s Chord (as part of its new mobile SDK), which enables multi-Samsung-device experiences which will open up a world of screen sharing, collaborative shopping and new opportunities with multi-screen gaming.</p> <h2>N:Native</h2> <p>Consumers love Native Apps, and the data backs it up with 86% of time spent on mobiles in Apps (according to Flurry).</p> <p>The challenge of App discovery has not gone away, neither has the need to build reach and engagement with an impressive solution that people love and use. Build it and they may or may not come.</p> <p>Launch planning, app PR, and mobile media are on the rise, as is mobile analytics and the use of social listening tools to track conversations, to ensure the user is listened to, and the experience is constantly improved.</p> <p>The benefits of native apps include the commercial opportunities, use of sensors such as location, potential for habitual use, offline mode, speed, access to camera, and they generally provide a richer and higher-class experience for users.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/gv49tHV.jpg" alt="" width="600"></p> <h2>O: OS Wars </h2> <p>The leading mobile Operating Systems are always evolving and expanding, meaning marketers must keep up-to-date with the latest developments to see how they can utilise them. </p> <p>The versioning evolution across platforms is very different; Apple’s latest iOS7 has a penetration of more than 90% where as Android KitKat has a penetration of around 5%. So OS fragmentation is very real.</p> <p>Brands developing apps for Q4 this year should be mindful of iOS 8 and the phablet user experience problems meaning potential changes ahead to swipes, back buttons and App layout.</p> <p>In terms of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63662-eight-user-experience-improvements-with-ios7">iOS7 major redesign</a> it served to help hide call to actions and interaction near the screen edges on carousels caused problems.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/9212/image__16_-blog-half.png" alt=""></p> <p>In a recent poll investigating which emerging mobile operating system is the likeliest to succeed, the majority voted Ubuntu Touch followed by Sailfish, Tizen, and then Firefox.</p> <p>Keep your eyes on these new players to see how interaction design evolves and exploit new opportunities that open up.  </p> <h2>P: Programmatic ad buying</h2> <p>Programmatic buying allows you to automatically buy the right ad at the best price at the right time on the right device.</p> <p>If you are a marketer that understands and implements automated buying technology then you are actually in the minority, as according to Forrester and the Association of National Advertiser <strong>67% of marketers need to learn more about it, don’t understand it, or are unaware of it entirely.</strong></p> <p>Basically automated ad buying is a way for marketers to place bids for advertising space through an automated technology.</p> <p>‘Programmatic’ ad buying refers to the different ways of doing this, and it’s taking off in mobile. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/programmatic-marketing-beyond-rtb">Programmatic marketing</a> works by a campaign being triggered by a set of rules that are applied by software and algorithms. Marketers establish a strategy and set up these rules, which are then implemented by the software.</p> <p>For example, it can be used to send an automated email campaign to consumers that have abandoned their shopping basket on a website. Programmatic advertising is more efficient and lower in cost than human ad buying, and can be used for mobile advertising and marketing campaigns. </p> <h2>Q: QR Codes</h2> <p>QR codes work by a barcode scanner application on a smartphone processing a code, directing the user to a website or promotion.</p> <p>When used appropriately QR codes can be effective, by increasing consumer engagement with print to enrich the user experience.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/public/imgur/B8eoxn9.jpg" alt="" width="496" height="495"></p> <p>There is wide scepticism on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63437-qr-codes-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-reprise">whether QR codes are ‘dead or alive’</a>, yet it is clear that<strong> in Asia the use of QR codes is still growing.</strong></p> <p>In China, Pernod Ricard is deploying QR codes across all packaging in-order to increase engagement and reduce counterfeiting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/9358/QR-Codes-on-Wine.jpg" alt="qr wine" width="443" height="415"></p> <h2>R: RWD </h2> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64072-responsive-design-25-of-the-best-sites-from-2013">Responsive Web Design (RWD)</a> refers to a website that resizes itself depending on the device it is being accessed from.</p> <p>It works by using fluid grids with page elements sized by proportion. It’s often the first stage on a brand’s mobile journey. The problem is, it’s easy to make a bad RWD site.</p> <p>Using RWD is a step in the right direction, although due to drawbacks such as possible delayed loading times, considering the ‘next generation’ of RWD, known as RESS (see ‘Adaptive and Reiss Technology’) would be advantageous to the marketer and the user. </p> <h2>S: Strategy </h2> <p>2014 is the year to make <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-sophistication-and-strategy">mobile strategy</a> a priority.</p> <p>Mobile strategy is moving up the agenda and informing business and communications strategy. Given the complexity and opportunities of mobile, I find the best way to deal with complexity is through simplicity.</p> <p>So ask the right questions up front by seeking to understand the business and consumer context, along with the capabilities and constraints.</p> <p>Outline the mobile opportunity and then blueprint the solution budget and tactics to help make it happen.  </p> <h2>T: Text</h2> <p>It might be 2014, but don't assume text/SMS is disappearing as a valuable comms tool. It's simple, immediate and effective.</p> <p><strong>Out of all marketing text messages sent to consumers, over 95% are opened and read, with 83% being read within one hour</strong>. Redemption rates for marketing text messages can be relatively high, and due to the low cost of sending an SMS, marketers can attain a high Return on Investment.</p> <p>It’s an impressively versatile tool for global or local campaigns and is not smartphone only. O2 frequently uses this method of connecting with their O2 More customers.  </p> <h2>U: User Testing</h2> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10922-eight-user-testing-case-studies-that-achieved-amazing-results">User testing</a> is more important than ever in 2014 given the costs of creating and promoting mobile experiences.</p> <p>Testing your mobile website and/or app on your current or potential customers is an effective method of ensuring your product provides a positive user experience.</p> <p>User testing involves your typical customers engaging with your mobile website or app, interesting findings and any problems users encounter are noted by expert consultants.</p> <p>Findings often include attitude towards a brand, ease of use, and understanding users’ needs and wants.</p> <p>The consultants recommend how to optimise the user experience based on the findings. The benefits of user testing includes allowing you to fail quickly and cheaply if ideas are not viable, and implementing findings is likely to increase consumer engagement and conversion rates.  </p> <h2>V: Voice Control</h2> <p>Voice input with the likes of Google Now and Siri is becoming better and more mainstream: it’s a game changer for us all. Voice command is convenient and beneficial for drivers, by using voice instead of fiddling around with buttons, there will be a reduction in distraction leading to an improvement in safety and user experience.</p> <p><img src="http://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/4169/voice_search-blog-full.jpg" alt="" width="615" height="309"></p> <p>Voice is now entering mobile advertising to help create cut through and dramatise product features. Toyota implemented voice command in their mobile advert to promote a new in-car entertainment system.</p> <p>The advert mimics the car system by encouraging the individual to use voice command to choose one of two apps that are presented; weather and iHeartradio. Using voice for mobile marketing campaigns is beneficial as it engages the user in the advert giving them a memorable and richer experience. </p> <h2>W: Wallet</h2> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64271-bitcoin-mobile-payments-and-the-future-of-money">Using mobile devices to make payments</a> is a growing trend. Calisle and Gallagher Consulting Group predict that by 2017, half of today’s smartphone users will be using mobile wallets as their preferred payment method. </p> <p>PayPal is working with iBeacon to facilitate hands-free payments (see ‘iBeacon’), whilst many others are developing their own digital wallets including Google, Apple and Amazon.</p> <p>Currently in the U.S. approximately 10m Starbucks customers pay using the mobile app. The success of the app is down to the ease and speed of the service, and the way it enhances the customer’s experience, for example users are exposed to instant discounts and a reward programme.</p> <p>It helps marketers to build relationships with consumers and opens up a direct marketing channel.  </p> <h2>X: X-ray</h2> <p>Mobile is changing the way we view the world thanks to augmented reality and mobile interface design. An example is the 'X is for X-ray' app by Touch Press that is available for iPhone and iPad.</p> <p>It is a highly visual, interactive and educational ebook that shows 26 everyday objects.</p> <p>With the swipe of a finger X-ray photography of these objects are presented giving users the ability to explore the inner structure of objects with a 3D view.</p> <p>‘X is for X-ray’ is a breakthrough in how we can explore the complexity of 3D structures through a smartphone or tablet. This innovative app shows some of the new capabilities that are possible with new devices. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/9359/xray-blog-full.png" alt="xray" width="452" height="296"> </p> <h2>Y: Yoda</h2> <p>The following conversation from Empire Strikes Back can be applied to mobile marketing:</p> <p>Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.</p> <p>Yoda: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.</p> <p>Do mobile or do not do mobile. The latter isn’t really a viable choice any more. So don’t set out and attempt to try and do mobile. Make it a priority and make your customers a priority. Launching with a one star app isn’t really an option is it? </p> <h2>Z: Zzzz</h2> <p>With the rising wearables trend along with Apple’s HealthKit it all points towards even more opportunities to track your quantified self.</p> <p>For example ‘Sleep Cycle’ is an app that senses your body movements when asleep in order to wake you up when you are in the lightest sleep state. A number of other sleep apps have different purposes, such as detecting and recording sounds to identify snoring issues. </p> <p>On the subject of wearables and health, various apps aid the management of fitness and food consumption, such as ‘Runtastic’, ‘Map My Run’ and ‘My Fitness Pal’. ‘Fitbit One’ logs the number of calories burned and can also measure sleep.</p> <p>‘The Lumoback’ is designed to improve posture, it involves a sensor that sends data to a smartphone, which then reminds the individual to sit up straight by displaying a stickman that mimics their current posture. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/9360/lumo-blog-full.jpg" alt="lumoback" width="450" height="299"></p> <p><strong><em>Econsultancy has a range of reports looking at best practice around mobile marketing and commerce: </em></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-web-design-and-development-best-practice-guide">Mobile Web Design and Development Best Practice Guide</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-commerce-compendium">Mobile Commerce Compendium</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-finding-the-path-to-mobile-maturity">Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity</a></strong></p>