Category Archives: Think Digital

Must be fashionable and code….

Top Trend overclaim NO’ 1: Marketers will become coders…

 

The other day I stumbled across an infographic which claimed that one of the Top 10 trends for 2015 would be marketers becoming coders…

Seriously.

Admittedly my personal ability to learn coding is probably more likely than becoming a designer (drawing was never my forte) but equally the entire make-up of a person who is driven by marketing, and a person driven by code is entirely different. You only have to stumble through any agency and you can easily transition from design studio, to development studio, to marketing team and instantly see the difference in ambitions and personality by the desk space alone…!

In my mind the trend we will see over the next 10 years (so lets not jump the gun here) is that coding was always seen as a bit of a dark art. The creative you can judge, the marketing plan you can query but the code… Well god knows until you’re testing it and jumping up and down when you realise functions are missing.

The education sector is driving a new generation growing up constantly plugged in to understand and know the basics – this will be the biggest drivers of change. Companies like Barclays with their code playground look a darn site more interesting than the Amstrad blinking green-screen I once tried to create basic code for at the grand age of 10. Kids will feel more compelled to learn as its a faster, more immediate output suiting their “want it now” demands,  and equally their peers will be able to do it. Who wants to have the latest social page if it hasn’t been customized and you’ve had to resort to (shock horror) default settings. elephant

As these kids come through the system they will be more critical of coding decisions and more able to contribute to the debate, in the same way the average “marketer” can critique a design approach).  The pressure of this on management will be to learn and understand more to kep up with the new generation rather than it being something left for other people to understand. And yes – there will be the marketers who dabble in code, WordPress blogs, even manage to build the odd page template or code up an email but by no means do I think these disciplines will converge in the same way. There is a clear line between marketing and design, there will be a line between marketers and code.

2015 wont be the year that  marketers become coders. It will be the year that they start to place more importance in understanding itand start to decipher what’s involved. Coding for brands will be left to the experts and if a marketer can add value to discussion and have an understanding of what’s involved with “code” then that will be a big enough leap for me in 2015.

 

Google + – brand pages have arrived

Penetrations at 40 million (worldwide) and with Google+ still being pushed at us with a pretty hefty PR campaign and an assault from some celebs (Britney Spears and Will.i.am), and now from brands, it appears that this social network from Google is here for at least the short term when consumers will ultimately decide who survives.

The brand pages posed an opportunity for Google to give a superior offering to Facebook. At first glance they’ve failed to deliver with no unique functionality that a brand couldn’t be leveraging in another social channel.

So what can a brand do. …

The same as the rest of us. They can upload photos, videos, status updates, start a hangout (The muppets launched one at 4:30PST today) but the issue still is the lack of consumer penetration which means the numbers just aren’t there. All of this is evident from the small followings that brands are picking up, with even Kermit the frog failing to achieve big numbers!

There is also the key issue that any brand needs to consider ” How does a consumer truly see me”.

The whole premise of Google is based on circles. You HAVE to place anyone you want to follow into a circle.  Consider this…

Your mum joins – you add her to your family circle. Your Best mate joins – you add her to friends. A one night stand joins – you create and add them to a circle called “Ex-boyfs”. You see Toyota and create a circle called…. “Brands”.

In no way will brands be able to connect in the same emotive way because consumers will simply put you in a sales / marketing / product / brand bucket. It’s auto-pilot and that’s the whole point of circles. You don’t have to think to use it, it’s intuitive. And intuitive isn’t great when you’re trying to be disruptive or get under the skin of the consumer who’s given you a “marketing shit” label. Yes – until people have organised their feeds you will show up in their central thread but, after then, you are unlikely even to get exposed to your consumers updates and, be honest, how interesting is that? (I’m sure Toyota isn’t interested that I’m drinking a cuppa and eating a hobnob? Nor can glean any insight from it) Where as Facebook clearly got consumer penetration and it then took a while for brands to get on board, brands and consumers are adopting + in tandem and, as yet, the benefit (or opportunity) for brands seems to be limited.

So what should brands consider as useful for Google+ right now….

– Inexpensive market research. The ability to recruit individuals for online, Live streamed, focus groups using hangouts – despite only 9 people being able to interact at any one time, this free service definately has value for quick and fast research.

– Advocacy programmes: Being able to classify, and then market to consumers, based on actions you want them to perform and even talk directly to them – truly being able to differentiate your brand fans from brand consumers. Only snag is you have to know who they are and then create the relevent circles!

– YouTube: It’s massive and it’s inevitably going to have to be THE channel for Google getting this to all work. Video content (and capabilities) are far superior to Facebook’s offering and, as Google+ continues to evolve, and becomes integrated into YouTube’s service, it will become critical to how consumers adopt and use the service.

– Watch and learn: Yes, it’s going to get press but, at the moment it hasn’t got the numbers or reach. A bit of “watch and learn” and a slice of budget pushed aside for if it does hit mass in 2012 is the cautious marketers option….

Facebook Interaction: When’s best to post?

One thing clients have always asked us is “How can I optimize Facebook to my advantage?” and, until recently, it has been really nigh on impossible, without dedicating a full team to manually trawl external brands Facebook pages, to sucessfully find the right information.
Today someone pointed me in the direction of a study done by a company called Momentus Media based in San Francisco. Yes it has it flaws, and admittedly is out of the US but definately provides more food for thought.

From a methodology point of view the study was done by compiling a list of 20k top pages and then looking at 15k individual posts (Phew). Based on this they were then able to develop some key learnings (distilled into a whitepaper that is accessible here).
Check out some of the key findings below!

1. What is the best time to post?
a. Weekends and off-peak hours.

2. How many times should I post
per day?
b. As many times as you want.

3. What type of content elicits the
most interaction?
c. #1 Photos, #2 Statuses

4. Should I ask fans to Like and
Comment on my posts?
d. Yes! Asking to Like increases interaction 216%

5. Should I ask my fans
questions?
e. Questions don’t increase interaction rate, but they
do increase commenting rate. Make sure to ask
fans to answer your questions with a comment.

6. How long should my status
messages be?
f. Long or short, we found no correlation between
length and interaction rate.

7. How long do my posts last in
the Newsfeed?
g. 50% of clicks happen within 1 hour, 90% happen
within 9 hours.

I think whilst this can provide some great cues to point brands in a direction that could be more effective this should by no means be taking as red. Take, for example, the comment that photos then status’ work best for interactions. Their methodology is based on total numbers of likes and comments / number of lifetime fans – argely because imps isn’t an available metric if you’re not a page admin. In addition (and perhaps this is a UK specific trend) our experiences on some of the leading brands we work with shows that it’s actually polls that generate the highest interaction rate, whilst status’ win every time if you’re wanting written feedback.

Another note worth remembering is that Impressions can play a vital part in formulating when’s best to post. Not only should you consider your interaction rate but also your reach – at first glance the recommendation is that off peak hours cause the highest interaction rate. Yes – this makes sense. Think of your own facebook feed. You personally will see a dip in the volume of items from your friends, and brands as it gets later in the evening or early hours in the morning. You have less to compete with at this time and, as a brand, can benefit from more interactions but an issue with this is that the impressions will be a lot lower. Is it interactions or Opportunities to see that are more important to your brand or your message as this should also play a vital part in informing when you’re posting.

Optimum time of day for Facebook post interactions

Frijj – incredibles campaign

Whilst doing the mundane weekly shop in Tesco this week I stumbled across the new range from Frijj – 3 brand new milkshakes that had absoultely no appeal to me but, at a guess, I’d say I’m not the target audience for these raspberry jam, honeycomb choc or Sticky coffee range! Admittedly I stumbled across them as they had taken off the whole of the reduced items section (something that might not suggest positive sales or poor over-ordering by the Tesco buyers) but this isn’t a critique of stock replenishment at my local store…

New Toffee frijj milkshake flavour

Toffee frijj - not my cup of tea!

Having a snoop around online when I got back I soon found this is a new brand launch and has been supported by a digital campaign to embrace the unexpected – with an initial digital game of “You LOL you lose” which will be followed in September with a pet translator app…

The game sees you confronted with multiple YouTube clips and using webcam technology you have to keep a straight face.

Unfortunately the technology is hyper sensitive and is a very false environment. The slightest twitch of the head, sticking your tongue out or even fast blinking (yes I tried all of the above) causes you to lose even if you stay firmly straight faced. The video clip I stumbled across promoting the game equally shows individuals with such an exagerated laugh I was begining to wonder if I simply dont find YouTube funny as I’ve certainly never found anything as amusing to justify a head back gaffaw – a gentle giggle and a share maybe…
With the predictable share functionality to beat and share your scores amongst your Facebook or Twitter clan this campaign feels like it could have done something much bigger, or cleverer. The concept of using facial recognition for scoring is great but due to its hyper-sensitive and false environment it really feels this is a try it once gimmick – maybe like the milkshakes….

Social specialists (Arghhhhhh……!!!!)

No really.

I get that when new channels emerge new specialists spring up. Mobile = mobile agencies. AR = AR agencies. Apps = Application agencies I agree with this, I’d use these agencies and I understand the logic that not all agencies have all the skills (nor should have the skills to do everything under one roof) but what I am getting increasingly frustrated with is agencies that call themselves “social”.

Social agencies, as they call themselves, are positioning themselves as the future of digital. Clients, whom previously have never seen senior support are suddenly being asked “how will this campaign work on Twitter/Facebook” and, in response, we’re seeing new agencies being added to rosters as the social specialists.

Okay – I work at 20:20, a full service digital agency and yes, I’m responsible for social media so perhaps I am bias BUT I dont believe the future of social is going to be maintaning a brands Facebook Page or Twitter account. Give it 18 months and consumers (and brands) will be sick of receiving status updates from brands asking them what they are up to this weekend and, yes, yet again, we will be back full circle to it being about content. Yes social agencies can create applications (or at least have the ability to outsource them) but it’s back to the age old problem. Digital is constantly changing. A good full service agency will evolve to take into consideration these skills because, of course, they are VITAL to the success of the brand and use these, along with the skills and experience it’s learnt over the last 10 – 15 years to understand it’s role in the digital strategy.

Facebook isn’t a strategy – just like ITV isn’t a strategy. It’s a tool. There are lots of them about. Understanding what’s in that toolbox and using everything to the best of the ability is what makes great digital campaigns and for the future creating meaningful connections via social channels is key in that success.

The banner ad….

I rarely spend time in my role thinking about the humble banner ad – they’re something that comes through as a given request on a media plan and sort of just gets done by the studio.

Earlier on I saw a study by Google that spoke of a fall in CTR year on year (0.09% down from 0.1%). Whilst only 1 click in every 1000 feels extremely low when you compare that to that age old, did they actually read our magazine ad (let alone bother to action anything on the back of it) it suddenly feels slightly more positive.

 

CTR by media typeIt does make you wonder though whether creativity has gone out of the display ads. I remember  would labour over a display creative brief and agonise over whether this is the right ad for the target audience, the brand and the website. Now, more often than not, these briefs go straight over my head. Seen as production jobs not as a creative, or consumer challenge. Is this really the case? Should we not be nailing creativity in each and everything we do?

Interestingly I think it was the arrival of social and the focus more on getting the content right that saw this shift. Suddenly the destination has become more important than the journey to get there because, if the interaction is right, they’ll tell their mates and you wont have to spend a penny more on the ads…

This is a naive approach and, if anything, this article serves as a reminder to me that each and every stage of the journey needs to be as important – how to weave it into the thinking at the start needs to become critical so it doesn’t become that forgotten craft and CTR continue to plummet as creativity, and consumer apathy, increases to our faithful internet wallpaper friends – All hail the banner!!

I talk, I watch, I tweet…

I was looking into some stats the other day around the usage of social media and how it’s shaping how we use (and discuss) the big events in the news.

If you start off and use the latest Kate / William Royal wedding saga it’s evident how much digital chat it got purely from looking at your own social media pages but, in actual fact it score 74 updates  per second (facebook) and 68 updates per second (Twitter) – Unbelievable numbers but still only rated as Number 6 in the top 10 web events of all time. 

Kate and WIlliam Royal wedding balcony kiss

Royal wedding: 2011.

So what was the top 3 (according to Akami)

  1. World cup qualifiers/Wimbledon match   (June 24th) :   10m vpm (meaning 10 million page views per minute: to the web)
  2. Champions league / European cup   (Nov 3rd):                     6m vpm
  3. Wold cup championships   (June 3rd):                                       6m vpm

Interestingly again is that this trend appears to only be going from strength to strength as all of the top 10 happened in the last 12 months (suggesting ongoing growth or accessibility of WWW) but also 4 were current affairs driven and 6 were sport driven.

Even when we can’t be out of home, involved in the action be it with mates or in the local – we’re still craving opinon, debate and banter – and logging in is giving us the ability to do just that.

For brands the impact of real time advertising to move to the next level is immense (for brands brave enough to take that leap) and, for people, we continue to shun real world and become more involved than ever in relationship with our brightly lit, temptingly tappable, laptop friends.

Social media rage…

So, I was on Facebook again (that default activity when you’re up at 6am, a little bit bored and you find yourself on Facebook without consciously even navigating your way there) and got rage at yet another brand, giving me yet another pointless update.

Yes I’m enjoying the sunshine, having a good easter, the bunny has got me eggs, I’ve had a roast dinner and the BBQ has been on which I enjoyed with chicken and a glass of Jacques cider (seeing as you asked) but for the love of god why does a brandreally care…

You don’t.

AND more importantly (as your digital agency should be pointing out)  you shouldn’t.

I think there is a big piece of education work here for brands… Would you have sent out an email everyday asking people how they are? (NO) would you have posted a constant stream on your website for people to read what they already know is happening? (NO) Would you talk in you TV advert about the fact it’s BBQ time even though you’re a healthcare brand? (NO)

so please STOP doing it in social media. It’s not big and, although someone has probably told you it is, it isn’t clever.

I don’t want to harp on about content is king and relevancy is queen (see other posts!) but go back to the basics (please!!) social media isn’t a stream of status updates, nor is it a competitions application. It should be part of your digital strategy not a stand alone broadcast .

Right that’s more than enough Facebook anger for one day. Back to the sunshine….

The death of books?

I love books. I like choosing a book by its, spine, a cover, a good review and I love picking it up and turning the pages.

I’ve always said I can’t imagine reading a book on an eReader but recently I’ve started to question how long I will resist getting one. I’m now used to reading news on my laptop, opting for paperless comms from brands and browsing pretty much anything on my iPhone.

Looking at a recent statement from amazon they stated that their US book business saw

Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books.

Does that make paperback readers a minority or simply mean those owning an eReader buy more books?

Although the UK is by no means seeing penetration at this level, Chris North, managing director of Amazon, said that the Uk was heading in the same direction…

So, how long till I get a kindle… I reckon by 2012 I’ll have succumbed!

Another terrible campaign… this time its No7

So after I declared my hatred of the irritating pantene/cat deeley/swissh campaign I was upset this morning to see another ad that appears to be a direct copy.

Dont upload a swish, upload a wink….. *yawn*

– these ads are so similar I’m sure the same concept boards could have almost been used.

That said Boots have at least made some positive changes within their exquisite curl campaign…

  • The campaign URL is more memorable
  • They allow video and photo uploads
  • The campaign sits within Facebook allowing user interaction with the brand, and the brand is responding quickly
  • The prizes, although low value, are encouraging trial by proving lots of product winners

And No7, despite your terrible advertising, I’ll still buy your mascara – because it’s good, not because of a wink, and an exquisite curl sample would be lovely 😉