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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Posts Tagged ‘websites’

Why micro videos are the hottest trend in 2014

Posted Friday, August 15th, 2014

If 2014 is the year of anything, it’ll be the year of micro-video. The rise of the ultra short form film in 2013 might have surprised many – after all what can you say in a few seconds – but already smart brands are starting to master this medium.

Promise of engagement

Micro-video offers the promise of more engagement than traditional online video, with branded Vines four times more likely to be shared than traditional online video.

Added to this, the mobile-based nature of micro-video and its expansion onto sites like YouTube, means that micro-video may have the potential to further increase a brand’s reach by providing additional touch points within the digital space.

The plus points for consumers is that the time commitment is small, making them more willing to watch, but brands still need to be aware of the following:

  • Micro-video films need to be entertaining, informative or intriguing. This is currently a push medium so entertainment value is critical.
  • Typically, consumer films are shot on a mobile and the lo-tech aesthetic is important; quick rather than slick should be the watch-word.
  • Micro-videos are short and thus brands need to adopt simple visual cues that make the brand clear right from the start. Audi and Samsung place the products they produce at the core of their micro-video, making them a key part of the action.

Will your business be producing micro-videos and for which apps/websites?


Is Facebook taking over the world?

Posted Thursday, April 21st, 2011

According to Terminator lore Skynet was implemented on April 19, 2011 and will begin its attack against humanity on April 21- today! Skynet is obviously the ‘baddy’ in Terminator when it becomes self-aware and launches an attack on humanity. Laughable fiction obviously? Or is it when we’ve got Facebook around? Facebook is growing as a company, as an entity, as a social platform that has aided revolutions and supported the election of presidents. Is Facebook all that different to Skynet after all?

First of all, we would hope that Facebook isn’t able to infiltrate the MOD and launch nuclear weapons. Nonetheless it seems Facebook is everywhere these days. It wasn’t that long ago that companies were reluctant to join social networking sites in fear it would degrade the image of their company and now suddenly, everyone is diving in as though you’re perceived as ‘behind the times’ if you’re not actively involved.

Fan page links and Twitter icons seem to be everywhere, TV adverts no longer direct people to their website but instead advertise their Facebook and twitter IDs. Almost as though a light has switched, companies have finally accepted the use and benefit of social media and how it is an indispensible tool in modern business. Could we go so far as to say….social media has changed the way we do business?

Take Coca Cola for example who have seen their Facebook fan page reach an incredible 25 million fans. The flip side of this is that websites are becoming ‘old fashioned’. They’re stagnant, often boring and in many occasions have no means to interact. Coke’s website traffic has dropped by 40% in one year! Will the website soon become obsolete? If so, Facebook will become incredibly more powerful than it already is.

Recent research shows that 23% of consumers prefer to receive information from brands via Facebook, with 21% preferring a brand’s website and 3% from a company blog. Ben&Jerry have gone so far to announce that they won’t be emailing customers with newsletters anymore because they feel it is ineffective, (who reads newsletters anymore- don’t they just get flagged and forgotten?) and will be using Facebook instead.

So Facebook is taking over the world then? Whilst it might not be pointing nuclear weapons at your home as Skynet did, it is fast becoming an entity, or a mind, of its own.

Is it time to worry then? Not at all. Facebook has yet to pass the ultimate challenge- the test of time. In terms of a major historical household brand, it’s still in play school. Think friends reunited, where is it now? Nonetheless there’s no denying that Facebook is emerging as a leading brand, but it’s rise to fame could be as easily followed by a slide to obscurity.

Do we need to take shelter and buy up supplies as Facebook gathers momentum?  I like to believe its intentions aren’t as destructive as Skynet’s. However, there’s no denying that Facebook has already ‘changed the world’ but how long until it ‘rules the world’?

Blog inspired by @spreadingjam who tweeted yesterday about the importanc of the date- thanks!


Social networking is now Britain’s favourite pastime

Posted Friday, March 18th, 2011

Facebook and Twitter have overtaken popular sites such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Sky Sports.com.

Whilst probably not surprising, Experian Hitwise have made it official. At the start of 2011, Facebook consumed 12.46% of all internet activity, compared the entertainment sites which had 12.18%.

The figures are huge considering in 2008 social networking accounted for 8%.

In January 2011 alone, 2.4 billion visits were made to social networking sites. Facebook topped the charts whilst YouTube and Twitter came second and third.

Importantly, users don’t just use Facebook and then log off, in most cases, users then logged on to other social sites such as Twitter and foursquare.

Robin Goad, research director at the online intelligence firm, said businesses need to embrace the move toward social media- and fast!

‘Successful websites will be those that learn to harness the power of social networks, driving traffic to their own websites’.


Newspapers: the future

Posted Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The way out of the paywall debate is for newspapers to become the online authority on what to buy and what to do

guardian.co.uk, April 12th 2010

Take a look at Google‘s homepage and compare it with any newspaper’s homepage. One difference is striking: www.google.com, the most viewed media output on the planet, contains no ads. And, unlike the newspaper industry, Google doesn’t have any financial problems.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Google understood that blindly converting its users’ eyeballs into money is not enough. The key is to develop a revenue model that makes the most of its unique advantage online. That advantage is being an online search platform, and the system it has developed integrates perfectly into that, by displaying relevant text ads for each search. Newspapers, by contrast, have tried importing the old media‘s ad revenue model to the web – and failed.

Online display ads don’t have enough impact on users to be attractive for advertisers, and therefore don’t generate enough income for publishers to sustain the newsrooms. This problem worsens as the print news industry generates less and less income, while people’s attention shifts more and more online.

In their despair, newspapers are now trying to copy another income model from old media – subscriptions. News Corp and the New York Times, for example, are at different stages of erecting paywalls around their sites. But it is not clear if users will be ready to pay for online news they are used to getting free. And this strategy will clearly reduce newspapers’ visibility on the web, both on search engines and on social media – while cutting revenues from the ad model.

The solution is that, just like Google, newspapers should invent a revenue model that utilises their unique advantage on the web: their credibility. So how can they make money from trust? From a reader’s point of view, the first step before buying a product or a service is deciding what to buy. The best agents to answer such questions online should be newspaper websites, as they have both the knowledge and the credibility.

Newspapers should be the online authority on what to buy and what to do. Not only is this their duty in our age of information overload, it can easily be converted into revenue. The first step, then, is to anticipate the user’s quest. Reviewing “best cameras under £300” is a good example. So is comparing coffee makers or reviewing the movies on release now. The second step is to create the copy and the web page that provides answers to the reader’s question. The third and last step is to link to product or service providers. The newspaper generates revenue when the reader clicks on these links (if using the pay-per-click model) or when the deal is completed (if using the pay-per-action model).

In this system every actionable article (a book review, a travel guide) should have links to enable relevant action. By clicking on them, the reader turns into a potential customer. This may be a new model for newspapers, but it isn’t one on the web. Sites such as cnet.com (technology) or tripadvisor.com (travel) have been doing it for a while with great success.

While newspapers have at most £10-£20 average RPMs (revenue per 1,000 pageviews), these sites enjoy £25-£40 RPMs or higher. And the advertisers love them. As they are heavily optimised for search engines, they are among the first results users see when searching for products. So these “vertical” sites enjoy a significant number of visitors from search. The first result when typing “best laptop” on Google, for example, is laptopreviews.org.uk – which then leads the user to retailers’ sites stocking the products they recommend.

Indeed, this model creates perfect synergy with the search engines. The roles are clear: the newspaper creates the credible research or review, the search engine sends the visitors, a contextual advertising program matches relevant providers/advertisers to the content, and all parties share the revenue. Readers are exposed to the relevant text ads as they pass through the newspaper‘s credibility filter, and are ready to make a purchase.

When searching for “best laptop” on Google, no newspaper is present in the first few results pages. Newspapers have the reviews, the writers, the credibility, the potential to rank high on search results – but they are not there. Too bad, because that’s exactly where the money is.


10 Branding and Marketing Trends for 2010

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Niels Bohr once noted that “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” but then he didn’t have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy.

BrandingStrategy, October 01 2009

Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success – or failure – of next year’s branding and marketing efforts.

1) Value is the new black

Consumer spending, even on sale items, will continue to be replaced by a reason-to-buy at all. This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low.

2) Brands increasingly a surrogate for “value”

What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be what’s wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap? J Crew stands for a new era in careful chic –being smart and stylish. The first family’s support of the brand doesn’t hurt either.

3) Brand differentiation is Brand Value

The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Awareness as a meaningful market force has long been obsolete, and differentiation will be critical for success –meaning sales and profitability.

4) “Because I Said So” is so over

Brand values can be established as a brand identity, but they must believably exist in the mind of the consumer. A brand can’t just say it stands for something and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement.

5) Consumer expectations are growing

Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now. Every day consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smarter marketers will identify and capitalize on unmet expectations. Those brands that understand where the strongest expectations exist will be the brands that survive – and prosper.

6) Old tricks don’t work/won’t work anymore

In case your brand didn’t get the memo here it is -consumers are on to brands trying to play their emotions for profit. In the wake of the financial debacle of this past year, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim “we’re all in this together” when those same banks have rescinded their credit and turned their retirement plan into case studies. The same is true for insincere celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick. Celebrity values and brand values need to be in concert, like Tiger Woods & Accenture. That’s authenticity.

7) They won’t need to know you to love you

As the buying space becomes even more online-driven and international (and uncontrolled by brands and corporations), front-end awareness will become less important. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, with awareness following, not leading, the conversation. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody’s buying their cars.

8) It’s not just buzz

Conversation and community is all; ebay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.

9) They’re talking to each other before talking to the brand

Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase. Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linkedin. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don’t tweet.

10) Engagement is not a fad; It’s the way today’s consumers do business

Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.

Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it’s going to spend the rest of its life. How long that life lasts is up to the brand, determined by how it responds to today’s reality.


Facebook The Most-Visited Site on Christmas

Posted Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Mashable, December 29th 2009

When you look at a list of top 10 websites in the world, or the U.S., which site do you expect to see on top? Google. Although Google still dominates the list most of the time, with 6.7 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2009, on Christmas day another site was on top: Facebook.

According to Hitwise, this was the first time that Facebook was the most-visited U.S. site. It’s logical: On Christmas day, everyone wanted to connect with their friends and family, which pushed the largest social networking site to the top.

But it’s still a testament to how huge Facebook really is; and it’s still growing. Add to that the fact that “Facebook” was the top search term in 2009, and its 350 million users, and it’s clear that Facebook is dominating the web in a way very few web services have done before.


 
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