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#MarketingTitbits – Google’s Guidelines, Instagram Changes, Original Logos

google-instagram-logos1. 12 practical content tips from Google’s Page Quality guidelines
During November last year, Google released a series of Page Quality rating guidelines for website owners, based on Google’s approximation of the highest and lowest quality content found today.

One particular guideline which caught the attention of entrepreneurs was to improve their 404 (page not found) message, where many website owners now give an explanation to why the page couldn’t be found. Google also suggested that websites shouldn’t be stingy with contact information, providing specific email addresses and phone numbers rather than a contact form.

Click here for the full 12 practical tips from Google’s Page Quality guidelines.

2. Instagram looks to woo small businesses through further Facebook integration

The photo-sharing network is turning its attention to small business owners to boost their advertising offering, as part of its global expansion strategy. Facebook acquired the photography app three years ago for $1bn, and according to Instagram’s chief operating officer, Marne Levine, Instagram have been heavily relying on their parent company’s sales team.

Levine states “I think that what you’ll see in 2016 is small businesses starting to advertise more and take advantage of this platform”. In 2015, research indicated that marketers are rapidly embracing Instagram, are you one of them?

To read more, click here.

3. The original logos of Apple, Amazon and other tech giants

Symbols and colour choices are vital for a brand’s identity, and as trends change, brands change. Often companies go through a strange brand phase, and large organisations, like Apple and Microsoft are no exception.

Apple’s early logo, dedicated to Sir Isaac Newton, is a far cry from the slick, clean, minimalist design now associated with the tech giant. Microsoft experimented with an ‘edgy’ style in 1980 and Amazon’s early logo perhaps indicated the company’s long term designs to extend their offering far beyond books. A book was nowhere to be seen,  despite it being their core product at the time.

Want to see how more big brands have developed their logos? Click here.

#MarketingTitbits – Aldi’s Christmas Campaign, Marketing Moments, Periscope For Business

aldi-marketing-periscope1. Aldi’s ‘agile’ Christmas campaign wins first round of Christmas ad battle
With just 3 weeks to go until Christmas, Aldi has definitely run the most effective festive campaign of 2015, adopting an agile approach and social engagement to defeat their rival retailers. Aldi’s ‘man on the moon’ ad compared two telescopes – one John Lewis and the other Aldi which included Jean the infamous star of Aldi’s previous ads.

Aldi has managed to top a list of 13 retailers; scoring 154 compared to John Lewis’ lower score of 142. WE’s head of digital and insights, Gareth Davies, says “ If there’s one thing that the Aldi advert has shown us it’s that being agile and creating on-the-fly content can be a hugely successful strategy”.

Would you like to see the top 13 Christmas ads of 2015? Click here.

2. The top 10 marketing moments of 2015

With 2015 now coming to an end, us marketers have seen some of the most controversial, ground-breaking and, at times, baffling campaigns of the year. As we recap to some of the top marketing campaigns, Nicola Kemp unveils this year’s biggest marketing stories – enjoy!

There are no surprises here as Google have reached the #1 spot with their rewritten structure of Alphabet – their new holding company! Closely following Google was Apple and their new ‘Apple Watch’, as well as Moneysupermarket.com and their ‘Epic strut’ campaign which featured Sharon Osbourne.

Click here to view the top 10 marketing moments of 2015.

3. What is Periscope and how can you use it for business video streaming?

2016 is approaching and businesses are looking for the next tool to experiment with to advance their business strategy in the new year. For many, the next tool at the top of the list is Periscope – a video streaming/broadcasting service from Twitter which allows businesses to have video conversations through their network!

Anyone who follows your broadcast will be able to see your live video, like it, comment on it and even share it to other followers on Twitter. From a business perspective, Periscope is an excellent way to gain visibility. It’s important for businesses to be active on the platform to create a community with their target audiences – the more interactive, the better.

Want to learn more about Periscope? Click here.

What SMEs need to know for effective marketing in 2016 – seminar summary

Last week, TLC Business held our annual marketing seminar at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, but with a slight twist. We teamed up with Simon Harmer and his company Blown Away to deliver an inspirational session for businesses looking to get their marketing up and running.

This year, the focus was to ‘Get Your Marketing in Order for 2016’, and this blog will outline the main themes explored on the day, just in case you missed it!

Social media

With social media now firmly embedded into all our lives, it is clearly of big importance to us marketers. To help you succeed in your social media exploits, here are some top tips:

  1. Make sure your timing’s are on point. Many businesses fail to engage with their social media audience because they are posting at the wrong times. There are now a variety of scheduling platforms such as Buffer that suggests the best times to post updates for your business – so take advantage!
  2. Get your business on the right platforms. If you’re looking to build meaningful B2B connections and the ability to forge lasting business relationships, then LinkedIn consistently comes out on top as your best bet. In contrast, if you’re a B2C organisation and are looking to drive audience engagement and ultimately sales, then Facebook tops the list.
  3. Ensure that your posts have that ‘visual’ appeal. Posts that contain an image are 94% more likely to be shared than ones that don’t. Many marketers miss out on this simple trick that can increase social media engagement and reach dramatically!
  4. Posting the same content to all channels can become a bit tedious for your audience if they are present on each platform. Take advantage of the respective strengths of each social media platform and post content accordingly.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is still perceived by many as a bit of a dark art. Despite constant algorithm updates, there are still opportunities to play the SEO game effectively and win.

Google is increasingly positioning itself as an ‘answers engine’. The advent of mobile has also put the cats amongst the pigeons (excuse the pun for those SEO geeks out there!) meaning there are even more opportunities to make your local business standout from the crowd.

Tips:

  1. Ensure that Google Analytics and Webmaster tools are installed and active on your website. Combined they will give you all the information you need (and more!) to get your website to be the best it can be. Google Webmaster tools will tell you what terms your site is being found for in Google, as well as identify any aspects of your site that are holding it back.
  2. Take full advantage of Google’s Keyword Planner to help inform the decision making process behind the keywords you choose to optimise your website pages for. And remember, keywords don’t have to be one word; they can effectively be phrases too.
  3. If you only do a few things SEO related on your website, make sure two of them are creating unique meta titles and descriptions optimised for the keyword-focus for each particular page.
  4. Get involved with Google Developer for page speed insights and how accessible on desktop or mobile your website is. Google gives marketers an insight into the loading speeds of their website, and will also give tips on how to increase load speed times. Alongside this, Google Developer provides a mobile-friendly test that will give marketers the tips and improvement suggestions they need to make their site better for mobile users.

PPC

96% of Google’s revenue comes from PPC ads, so clearly PPC is an important tool for them. We are sure you must be aware of the ads that populate Google’s search results pages! Statistics show that the top 3 ads on each search page receive 46% of traffic. PPC click-through rates are also shown to be 10 times higher than organic search clicks.

So what influences a good PPC ad? Each ad on every search page is ranked by Google. One’s ad rank is based on their cost-per-click and quality score. Your ads quality score has the ability to make or break your campaigns success. The quality score is made up of your ads click through rate, alongside your ads relevance to the keyword and your landing page’s relevance to the targeted keyword. The more relevant the better!

Tips:

  1. Make your ad text as relevant as possible to the keyword and ensure your landing page is targeted at that keyword too! Try getting your landing page’s URL to include the keyword in too.
  2. Get retargeting. Retargeting has given us marketers another tool to boost our marketing with. With retargeted visitors 70% more likely to convert, it doesn’t come as a surprise that retargeting is another highly effective marketing technique. To put it in its most simple form, retargeting is the practice of serving display ads to people who have previously engaged with your brand. It is vital for marketers looking to increase marketing results in 2016, helping to drive sales and increase brand awareness.  The numbers are compelling. Statistics have shown that retargeted ads receive a 0.70% click-through rate, compared to just 0.07% for regular display ads. Following this, brand search exposure can increase by over 1000%, just from retargeting. With this in mind, retargeting is a must for 2016!

E-marketing

With 2.6 billion email users worldwide, it doesn’t come as a surprise that e-marketing is still a massive hit with marketers. It is reported that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25, providing yet more reason for you to start thinking about promotion through email if you haven’t done so already.

The popularity of email marketing is continuing to grow, and more email scheduling platforms are being introduced. Platforms such as Campaign Monitor, ReplyApp and MailChimp are great tools for creating, scheduling and managing marketing email campaigns.

Tips:

  1. Use email marketing platforms such as Campaign Monitor to split test each email campaign. This will allow you to identify what content and approach is most effective at meeting your objectives and enables you to continually refine and improve on what works best.
  2. Personalisation is key! Send emails that are personalised to the recipient. Include their name in the subject line, reference topics and include content that they have expressed in interest in. This will not only help build better relationships between your business and consumer, but it will be demonstrable through better engagement and open rates.
  3. Make the email content mobile-friendly, that way the emails can be accessed by a wider audience.

Content Marketing

Creating and sharing content that engages your audience (Content Marketing in a nutshell!) is now a vital component of the marketing mix for marketers. New and fresh content should be published regularly. What regularly looks like depends on your audience. For B2B marketers, 26% post news and updates multiple times a week.

92% of businesses that use social media, use it as a tool to present content. Email is another vital content distribution tool.  LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube make up the top 3 for effectiveness when sharing content, but all have different advantages and disadvantages; therefore it’s important to make sure your content is tailored to your different channels.

Top Tools

With 2016 approaching, what are the top tools for more effective marketing? We have identified Datananas as a potentially effective tool for those looking to build their professional database, with its ability to export LinkedIn users and their contact information from LinkedIn without the need to be connected to them.

Other platforms like Buffer have also popped up on the radar, with its unique imaging software – Pablo! Brands are now able to upload an image of their choice and add text to it, making each social media post unique and eye-catching for their audience.

SumoMe is another top marketing tool for 2016, incorporating a series of apps all designed to get your website and content working. The toolbox includes on page analytics, free traffic for your site, image sharer and a smart bar that will increase your number of email subscribers – amazing!

What else is there to add to the marketing tool list? Google’s Webmaster Tools crops up again! As mentioned before, Google’s Webmaster Tools is a vitally important tool for anyone with a website. With the ability to understand your site’s organic search performance, as well as providing tips and tricks on how to get more traffic, the tool is a must.

One New Year’s resolution for you – download these marketing tools!

So, what matters for SMEs?

We think the top 5 themes that SMEs should consider in 2016 are:

  1. Content is king – still!
  2. Analytics
  3. Personalisation
  4. Online ads
  5. Video

We hope you find this useful and would like to thank everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

#MarketingTitbits – #ManOnTheMoon Launch, Retro Christmas Ads, Google+ Social Publishing

johnlewis-retro-google1. John Lewis sees a significant sales uplift following ‘Man on the Moon’ launch
The latest John Lewis Christmas ad, #ManOnTheMoon, appears to have generated an increase in the most important metric for any marketing campaign – sales. After its first week of release, the department store reported its first weekly sales total to surpass £100m this season – an increase of 1.5% from the previous year.

The much hyped Christmas ad received 22 million views in its first week – a total which makes it on track to become “even more popular” than last year’s ‘Monty the Penguin’. This Christmas, John Lewis teamed up with Age UK to raise awareness of the 1 million elderly people that go for over a month without speaking to anybody over the holiday period and beyond.

To read more on the success of #ManOnTheMoon, click here.

2. Are these the best retro Christmas ads of all time?

According to Anne Carpen, creative director of 18 Feet & Rising, some of the best Christmas ads are from a bygone era. The most challenging part for brands preparing their Christmas ad isn’t wading through numerous clichés, but instead finding the festive cheer during the summer season, when the campaign has to be prepared to get them ready to implement in the run up to Christmas.

One brand that didn’t fail to entertain their audience was OfficeMax with their ElfYourself campaign, and is still extremely popular today. DirecTV also managed to bring out the pleasant side of characters like Darth Vader, Chucky and Hannibal during the festive season with their Silent Night Christmas ad – even this would put a smile on any Scrooges face at Christmas.

Click here for the best retro Christmas ads of all time.

3. The new Google+ seeks the middle ground in social publishing

Many marketers are still confused as to what Google+ actually is; however, a major revamp has occurred in yet another effort to convince its most loyal users to log on. From the new change, Google+ is seeking a middle ground between Twitter and Medium, a place which revolves around an individual’s interests and a desire for micro-blogging.

Collections have been available to users for five months, but are now at the centre of focus on the revised network. The Collections will allow users to group posts together, encouraging users to create and share further content. In much the same was as Medium, Google+ have reinforced Communities on the network to inspire users to get involved through popular groups.

To view other Google+ changes, click here.

#MarketingTitbits – Google AdWords, Marketing Humour, Creepiest Campaigns

adwords-humour-halloween1. Google AdWords at 15: moving beyond the last click
The success of AdWords for Google, launched 15 years ago, is undeniable. Now, the search giant is keen to build on the success and add even more functionality for advertisers and benefits for searchers. Back in 2000 when AdWords first launched, it had just 350 advertisers, now that number is more than 1 million and the success of AdWords shows no signs of abating.

For those marketers who don’t know, AdWords is Google’s paid search service, whereby advertisers can pay to have their ads shown for specific keywords on Google search network, as well as on partner websites, apps and videos.

Click here to find out more information about AdWords plans for the future and developing their service.

2. The dangerous art of using humour in marketing

Content that pulls on the emotional strings is powerful and humour is no different. However, getting it right can be the difference between being derided and loved for a brand. Being funny through social content can be tricky, but get it right and the rewards are compelling. Get it wrong; however, and the awareness it generates will be unwelcoming.

KFC experienced this with their recent reconstruction of pro surfer, Mike Fanning’s, much-publicised shark attack. Fanning’s family took offence and they were forced to take it down. But for every comedic backfire, there is an example of comedy gold.

Take a look at the pros and cons, as well as some great examples of humour in marketing here.

3. Halloween 2015: the creepiest campaigns

Trick or treat? We have TREATED you to the creepiest Halloween marketing campaigns this year, and they didn’t fail to disappoint.

Once again, brands like Tesco have been trying to spook us this Halloween, and they certainly excelled with their ‘Spookermarket’ campaign. Tesco launched their online film set in one of their supermarkets which were given a spooky makeover. Hidden cameras were able to capture the reactions of customers as they encounter a series of scary situations.

Click here to view the results along with some of the other spookiest Halloween campaigns of 2015.

#MarketingTitbits – Instagram Followers, CoolBrands 2015, Google’s 18th Birthday

instagram-coolbrands-google1. Instagram now has 400 million users
It’s been 5 years since Instagram’s release, and the image sharing app’s growth shows no sign of slowing down. Earlier this week Instagram announced that it now has 400 million monthly active users, compared to just 300 million in December last year.

Instagram has now doubled its user base in the short span of just 18 months, which stands in sharp contrast to Twitter, which continues to struggle with user growth. Of course, Instagram still has a long road ahead of them before they catch up with Facebook; however, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom previously credited Facebook for helping the company achieve such a rapid growth.

Click here for more information.

2. Luxury brands lose their ‘cool’ status as digital challengers climb the ranks

Whilst luxury brands appear to be losing their ‘cool status’, digital distributor brands like Netflix and Instagram are moving up the CoolBrands list, according to a survey of 2,500 British consumers and a panel of 36 key influencers.

Apple has managed to retain its position as the UK’s coolest brand for the fourth year running, and Ray-Ban continues to climb high; however, new-comers such as Spotify, Instagram and Netflix are notable inclusions.

To see the top 20 CoolBrands, click here.

3. Celebrating Google’s 18th Birthday

Google’s domain name was first registered in 1997, making this year its 18th birthday. To celebrate this special occasion, Google shows us what each algorithm update was designed to achieve and their influence on content marketing today.

The algorithm updates have been demanding and disruptive to say the least; however, the impact has astounding. In theory, businesses are able to differentiate their brand from the competition, increase traffic to their website and customer loyalty, just by meeting or exceeding Google standards for content quality – it all sounds so easy right?

To see the algorithm updates since 1997 and the impact they have had, click here.

#MarketingTitbits – Facebook’s Dislike Button, Marketing Campaigns, Google’s Q2 Report

dislike-lightbulb-google 21. Why Facebook’s ‘dislike’ button will be both a challenge and opportunity for brands

Facebook features such as ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’ have been very popular with their users, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has now confirmed that a ‘dislike’ button is finally joining the Facebook family. However, brands fear that the new feature could easily create brand embarrassment.

CMO at the Post Office, Peter Markey, believes the ‘dislike’ button could overtake the amount of likes for a brand, causing an uncomfortable situation that needs to be managed carefully. In contrast,  Telefonica’s UK head of strategy, Jonathan Earle, believes the new feature will help engage a new audience and will provide valuable information.

If you ‘like’ the sound of the new feature, click here to read more.

2. 5 of the cleverest marketing campaigns in recent times

In the last few years we have seen some of the memorable marketing campaigns from brands but have they stuck in your mind?

Remember the ‘Dress’ that sparked a lot of attention earlier this year? Dunkin’ Donuts didn’t hesitate to seize the social media moment. They posted a photo of two different donuts – one blue and black, the other white and gold – with the caption, “Doesn’t matter if its blue/black or white/gold, they still taste delicious”.

To see these 5 clever marketing campaigns and draw inspiration, click here.

3. Do your search results stack up against Google’s Q2 report?

Earlier this year, Google published very strong Q2 results, leveraging in particular the continued success of YouTube on mobile devices. However, at the same time they reported a significant decrease in average cost-per-click (CPC).

As many industry observers have already highlighted, the average CPCs are gradually decreasing due to new geographies; however, major markets, such as the UK, are seeing an increase of CPCs on desktops. One major UK retailer reported a 30% increase in their CPCs over the last two years, but will this continue?

Click here for more information.

#MarketingTitbits – Favourite TV Ads, Flash Ads, Visual Evolution

tvads-google-social media1. #60YearsTVAds: vote for your favourite TV ad of all time
The 60th anniversary of the first TV ad shown in the UK is approaching us, and over the past few weeks Marketing Magazine has asked for nominations for the best TV ads of all time. Their social media followers have been suggesting a long list of their favourite ads for weeks, and now it’s been whittled down to just 25.

Iconic adverts from Cadburys, John Lewis and Compare the Market have all been nominated by the public, but what are your thoughts?

To vote for your favourite TV ad of all time, click here.

2. Brands ‘caught by surprise’ as Google turns off Flash ads

Google surprised many brands last week as they decided to turn off Flash ads. This change means interactive digital ads that use Adobe’s Flash technology will no longer play automatically. Google’s alternative to this now features an empty grey box with a “play” button that has to be clicked for the advert to start.

It’s believed that this decision had been made to help speed up web browsing and save battery life. But could the move be linked to security problems? It’s well known that hackers have previously used Flash to create malicious ads to steal data and harm devices, and also follows on from Firefox’s decision to block Flash earlier in the year.

Click here for more information.

3. How the visual evolution of social media has affected brands

With images and videos being posted more and more on social media, brands are trying to find ways to keep up with their visual media. Social media involves a lot of time and money, but with visual content on the rise, brands simply can’t stand out without being creative.

The visual nature of social media has affected brands in many ways. Econsultancy has put together 5 ways brands can improve their awareness through photography, digital technology and creativity, but will this stay the same for the new generation of social media savvy youth?

Click here to see how social media has affected brands.

#MarketingTitbits – General Election, Googling for pizza, spotting fake reviews

election-pizza-reviews-smaller1. The election result: what it means for marketers
Over previous weeks, the general election result has dominated news headlines, as promises were made and the prospect of new legislation loomed. But, what does the new Tory government mean for marketers?

During the election campaign, the Conservative party stated that it was the best choice for marketers, delivering an environment where businesses can thrive, supporting continuous growth through their pledge to continue to remove the ‘red tape’ that surrounds the marketing industry. A Conservative spokesperson told Marketing Week that “marketing is one of Britain’s great creative and economic success stories”, promising to keep it that way as long as they are in government.

To find out more on how the new government could affect marketers, click here.

2. Googling for pizza? You can now order food directly from search results

It can be hard to keep up with Google’s continuously evolving features. From showing song lyrics in search results, to highlighting health-related information in queries, the search engine appears intent on becoming more than a mere signpost to a site.

Google has recently partnered with six food delivery services like Grubhub and Delivery.com, allowing users in the US to search for restaurants and instantly place a delivery. Further brands are set to be added in the future, with the feature possibly going global. Will it hit the UK?

To see how the latest addition works, click here.

3. True or false? How to spot a fake review

The internet has become home to reviews that are used by consumers and businesses alike. They help guide almost any purchase, whether this be for services, restaurants or where to travel.  However, some of these reviews can be fake and therefore misleading, so what sets the true from the false?

There are a number of indicators that you can look out for. These include signs like: the quantity, the more reviews the more realistic the representation; or how up-to-date the reviews are – recent feedback is much more trustworthy. It is important to know that any company that has a set of reviews can expect to have some critical comments, and this can actually reinforce the authenticity of their reviews because after all, no company is perfect – despite what Apple might think…;)

Take a look at some other tips to help spot the fake from the real by clicking here.

#MarketingTitbits – email investment, Google search update, Facebook algorithms

email-google-facebook-smaller1. Why is email investment falling despite high returns?
Marketers tend to be fond of email marketing due to the high return on investment (ROI) that it yields, so why is spending in this channel decreasing?

According to a census of 1,000 marketers published by Econsultancy, email marketing is only second to SEO when it comes to delivering ROI, with 22% rating the benefits of email as excellent. But over recent years, the survey has found that other marketing channels, such as mobile, are of greater focus to marketers.

To find out more about the barriers to email marketing and how to overcome them, click here.

2. Google updates mobile search snippets

Last month, Google announced its plans to change the way URLs are presented in search results and started to use mobile-friendliness as a ranking tool to promote optimised experiences for users.

Currently only available in the US, URLs will be updated as a reflection of site names instead of domains, but available worldwide is the breadcrumbs update that structures data to help users navigate a site. Website owners are being advised to ensure that their site name and breadcrumbs are accurately displayed, and can do so by using schema.org.

For more on Google’s latest updates, click here.

3. Facebook’s algorithm update: what it means for marketers

With the big mobile algorithm updates from Google dominating conversation on the internet, it’s no surprise that the latest change Facebook has made has been overlooked by some.

A blog post from Facebook outlined how the platform will now prioritise content from your friends over brand pages, seemingly in an attempt to widen the use of paid social reaches. Facebook also wants to encourage brands to generate better content for users that they want to see and interact with. If content is liked, more of a brand’s posts will continue to be distributed higher in a particular user’s news feed.

The update is proving for marketers that engaging and relevant content is more important than ever. If you’d like to know more, click here.