Monthly Archives: October 2012

Four Hires One Hyde Park Branding Expert

Source: Four M&M

Luxury branding expert Alex De Blonay, the creative force behind the One Hyde Park brand for Candy & Candy, has joined the marketing and media division at Four Communications, the award-winning independent agency.

Alex has been appointed Creative Director, reporting to Andrew Jack, MD of Four Marketing & Media. Alex has 12 years experience in the luxury and property sector –  six years as Head of Branding for Candy & Candy, and as Brand Director at 1508 London, a luxury design house.

At Candy & Candy, Alex created the globally renowned One Hyde Park brand and was responsible for all elements of the marketing strategy for the UK’s most famous new development, which attracted ultra high net worth buyers from around the world and set new levels for prices in prime central London.

Alex will bring her creative flair and vision to add value to Four’s work with leading developers and agents, both in the UK and internationally. Four Communications is based in London and the Gulf, with an international network of offices, and offers truly integrated communications service, with a specialist property offering across  marketing and media, PR, public affairs and digital services.

Andrew Jack said: “Alex is exceptionally talented and has an outstanding track record in the luxury sector. Her ability to create real stand-out in a highly competitive marketplace will enhance Four’s position as the leading experts in property marketing and media.”

Alex De Blonay said: “Four has an amazing reputation and I am looking forward to working with Andrew and the team to create marketing strategies that break  boundaries, capture the imagination of the audience and deliver results for new and existing clients.”

The iPhone 5 – What does it mean for Advertisers?

September 19th 2012 saw the release of the much anticipated iPhone 5, leading to thousands of people queuing outside stores around the world to be the first to own one of these new devices.  After just three days Apple announced they had sold 5 million iPhone 5 handsets.

Apple’s iPhone’s are often seen as the market leading innovator; developing phones with all new mobile technologies included and at times the development of brand new systems.  As such rumours were wide spread in anticipation of which features the iPhone 5 would include.

When it arrived the features included in the iPhone 5 made mixed reading for advertisers.  The phone, as had been expected, contains the ability to operate on a 4G network, representing the next step in telecommunications networks.

‘4G is built specifically to handle mobile internet and data more efficiently, allowing faster and more reliable mobile connectivity’ (Olaf Swantree, CEO Everything Everywhere, 2012).  This is great news for mobile advertisers, allowing for the development of greatly improved advertising platforms within mobile devices, apps and on mobile internet.

Advertisers have long been shouting about the virtues of mobile advertising and with data usage on mobile phones increasing by 250% year on year, the development of the 4G network and the introduction of a market leader in to the 4G handset market will ensure the possibilities of mobile advertising continue to develop.

Forty countries around the world currently have an operational 4G network, including possibly surprising developing states such as Angola.  Everything Everywhere are the only company to hold any 4G network spectrum at present in the UK, with an auction of further space to occur later this year.

Mobile online advertising in the UK may therefore find itself in a certain degree of flux for the last months of 2012, as companies weigh up the benefit of developing their message to higher quality output when the potential audience may remain relatively low.  This though will change following the expansion of 4G distribution.

A similar story is also true for traditional internet systems.  The UK Government have announced that it will invest £114Million into introducing ultra-fast broadband to 10 cities across the UK.  This will also lead to the development of wonderful new ways for companies to get their message to potential customers, but the fragmented distribution of this high quality internet may mean at first that the development of ads to compliment it may be lost on a wider audience without the ability to view things at such high speeds or in as clear an image.

The iPhone 5’s inclusion of 4G technology was a boost then to the advertising industry, however Apple’s failure to include another widely expected feature, NFC technology was a major blow to some advertising platforms.

The outdoor advertising market in the UK especially had placed a great deal of confidence on the newest round of mobile phones including this touch in mobile payment system.  The technology can also be used by advertisers to drive the audience to touch-in to an advert, in a similar manner to that of QR codes.

Like QR codes, NFC technology is added to individual advertising campaigns, rather than to the outdoor site itself, meaning that no investment was required by outdoor media owners in preparation for the technology.  However, a great deal of these media owners had hoped that the development of the technology and the hoped for inclusion of such technology on new mobile phones may drive more investment to outdoor advertising.

Such technologies can be seen as a fad within advertising, but the fact that the iPhone 5 did not include the technology will have come as a blow to outdoor media owners and aspects of the media industry looking to exploit the technology.

The iPhone 5 as such offered a mixed bag for the media and advertising world in terms of its features.

YouTube Announces Expansion of Original Channels

Source: YouTube

YouTube has announced a major expansion of its international original channels. The Google owned video website has linked up with big media companies such as the Jamie Oliver food channel featuring an array of recipes and tips from the chef as well as BBC Worldwide Earth channel that will offer a range of natural world videos. There will be an extensive collection of channels launched but a few will have a larger and more established fan base. The BBC and Jamie Oliver channels will be among the first that people will look to in terms of brand recognition.

As well as the launch in the UK the new generation of channels will be launched across several other European countries such as Germany and France and will eventually make its way to Asia.

On the You tube blog spot last week Robert kyncl Vice president and global head of content said ‘From local cuisine, Health and wellness and parenting to sport, music comedy animation and news, this new line up of original channels will have something for everyone’.

The decision to expand comes from the success of the original channels project which launched in the U.S last October. This was a $100 million Dollar program funded by Google to bring original content to YouTube. It included channels from top media firms such as The Wall Street Journal and a Number of popular recording artists such as Jay-Z and Madonna.

Kyncl Said, ‘Expanding its original channels initiative, will provide funding for producers, brands and individuals to help them launch high quality channels of original videos on the service’.

YouTube stated last month that 25 of the channels that were launched last year now generate more than 1 million views each week. The number of people subscribing to the channels has doubled and more than 800 million of us are tuning in to watch 4 billion hours of video content every month, this going up from 3 billion hours earlier in the year. The vast number of people viewing the video website for a vast number of hours comes down to YouTube and its awareness of its rapidly changing audiences, Kyncl said ‘if you want to keep up with them you have to programme on YouTube’.

Advertising plays a huge role on YouTube and will continue to do so. Due to the ever changing dynamic of the broadcasting website advertising has moved along with it. According to YouTube, advertisers now only pay when ads are actually watched and the viewers are watching only ads they care about. Advertisers pay more for this and have no problem in doing so. Kyncl says’ ‘This means content creators are making more, everybody wins.

Our system is starting to work, we are making as much revenue per hour as ads on cable TV’.

Although there is no editorial control over the channels, Anna Bateson, Marketing Director for YouTube said ‘the scheme enables the site to unlock bigger advertising budgets and bring more money on to the platform.’

This may be ‘wishful’ thinking but it is an aspiration they must seek in order to continue to monetise this popular site.

Advertisers may well be delighted with the potential to advertise more on the broadcasting website but how will the viewers react? One blogger on the official YouTube website said ‘I foresee further deterioration of the medium, with advertising overpowering the screen, to the likes of which can only be imagined. If you find the current watermarks and pop-ups on cable TV annoying, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The big advertising companies will ruin YouTube unless Google sets some guidelines. Unfortunately, their management of Android has been pretty lacking, and I don’t see YouTube being any better’.

It will be reactions like this that could surround Google’s major investment with some danger and create problems for advertisers. Although the expansion of the channels could attract more attention this could be short term if users are losing interest due to a high volume of advertising. If this potentially becomes reality perhaps Google will perhaps need to find a happy medium

Search Engines Role in Travel Purchases

Over the last decade business Internet usage has grown rapidly. If your business doesn’t have an online presence then you are missing out on a prosperous market. However, having a website is not always enough. You need to ensure that your website can be easily found by your customers. Search is the first point of online research for 93% of consumers; therefore, it is crucial for your website to rank on the top search engine result pages.

A recent study by Google and Neilsen shows that 70% of consumers who purchase a product online usesearch engines at least once. For consumers of travel that number rises to 92% using  search engines at least once before making a purchase.

Travel consumers tend to use search engines often as a source of information. On average they use search engines 20 times – researching recommendations, reviews, destinations, maps, ways of travel and comparing packages – before their research leads to making a purchase.

The illustration below portrays the 28-day user behaviour of a travel consumer. This consumer has initially researched “Corfu holidays” on Google search. The consumer used Google several times during the research journey before finally making the decision to book a holiday.

Illustrtaion of a Travel user journey online

Google and Neilsen Research (2012)

The chart below illustrates how travel consumers continue to consult a wide range of sources including search engines during the time spent online just prior to booking.

Illustration: Travel user decision making journey

Google and Neilsen Research (2012)

The Google and Nielson study also shows that travel consumers use both generic and brand terms when researching their travel plans. 13% of consumers used generic terms only, 10% used brand terms only and 77% used both generic and brand terms during their research period.

It is evident that a search engine is the first place consumers will look for travel information which will help them to make a purchase. Therefore, if you own a travel business or are looking to promote a destination or travel related product, your website has to be accessible and visible to your consumers. The only proven way to achieve this is through developing a search engine optimisation strategy to ensure that your website reaches the relevant consumers.

Google Wants Keyword Metatags on News Websites

Major travel brands and organisations with authoritative news services such as tourist boards, airlines and major hotel groups should be paying particular attention to their news sites this month.

Google has now introduced a new search engine optimisation (SEO) technique to categorise news websites. This technique is a way of tagging news website so that Google can classify them accurately. This is an old technique that Google have decided to revisit as part of its new updates.

The Google News blog has announced that with Panda 3.92 changes it will begin to index “news_keywords” metatags when ‘crawling’ news websites. News_keywords metatags are HTML programming codes inserted in the background of a webpages and not visible to ordinary Internet users.

Beforehand, Google had ignored meta_keyword tags due to the fact that it was often used as SEO spam techniques. Google’s Matt Cutts who had previously posted a YouTube video entitled “Google does not use the keywords meta tag in ranking.” has now taken to Twitter to announce that Google News will start using news_keywords metatags. However, Cutts states that Google will not be looking at news_keyword metatags on every website but only on news sites.


Indexing news_keyword metatags on news websites will be only used to categories news articles accurately. Therefore, it is not necessary for the content of this metatag to be included in the headline or the content of the news article page. This will prevent it from being prone to spamming. Google only indexes news from reputable websites and therefore people are less likely to abuse the usage of this metatag.

The news_keywords metatag will be used by Google News to help classify news articles by topic. There aren’t a maximum number of keywords to add per article. However, Google suggests no more than a dozen keywords per article.

Google defines news websites as sites that provide updates and current reports on issues that its audience have a genuine interest in. How-to articles, advice columns and job advertisements will be discounted, as well as general information such as weather forecasts. So tourist boards with regular news about activity in their countries, airlines reporting on new routes or delays should all be taking this into account.

Website owners and SEO agencies alike should recognise that, although news_keywords metatags will now be an important feature of news articles, it is just one aspect of how Google can categorise your site. Google has provided guidelines and categories that you should pay attention to when creating Meta Tags for your news page.

The decision from Google to consider new_keywords metatags could be a beneficial development for many websites with a news pages. As mentioned before, although, this is just one way for a website to be categorised, it is better to implement than not. Google is constantly changing and updating so it is better to refresh your website gradually to avoid extensive maintenance at a later stage.

Changes at Google Create the Need to Re-think Online Marketing Strategies

Over the last 16 months Google has been making significant changes to their ranking algorithm. It started with the release of the “Panda” update in February 2011, which resulted in a decrease in search engine traffic and affected many online businesses. It was then followed by the “Penguin” update in April 2012, which is aimed at decreasing the search engine ranking of websites that do not follow Google’s best practices.

The “Penguin” update has impacted a large number of websites, including travel affiliate websites that had one thing in common; SEO strategy that depended on seeding a high number of links from low quality websites with over-optimised content.

These websites will not recover their organic search traffic and ranking unless they revisit their digital marketing strategy and make some major adjustments to their SEO strategy.

Travel websites now need to focus on the quality of their inbound links and the authority of the linking websites. They also need to re-evaluate their keyword strategy. With “Penguin” in place, top search engine result pages (SERPs) are dominated by big travel brands for highly competitive keywords. Smaller travel websites need to start focusing on lower-competition keywords, exact match domains and pursuing narrow niches.

Social Media is another area travel websites should focus on. Google’s search engine in particular is now implementing their own social network (Google Plus) into the way results are ranked on their SERPs. To make search results more relevant to users, Google favour links that are recommended by the user’s Google Plus network and rank it higher than other websites. Similarly, Bing and Yahoo favour links that are recommended by other social networks.

Overall, travel sites will perform well if their digital marketing strategy has an emphasis on inbound marketing such as content, SEO, social media, conversation and user experience.

Therefore, “Penguin” has created the perfect opportunity for those in the travel industry to ensure that their online marketing strategy is current and their site is optimised to its full potential. Only by aligning with “Penguin” guidelines can a site compete with similar services on search engines.

The rapid spread of social video

The digital landscape has fundamentally changed; media platforms have evolved, and user behaviour has been transformed. The internet is simply not the same as it was this time last year.

One of the more defining trends in the digital marketplace has been the rapid spread of social video consumption, which has been largely stimulated by the explosion of smartphone and tablet usage. We are therefore entering an age where we need to understand and appeal to every consumer individually and ensure that our strategies which were previously robust in an era of mass media remain relevant in the age of personal media which inevitably includes social video.

Targeted and personalised brand experiences can be achieved with social video companies which encourage organic advocacy and distribution of brand messages. Travel companies stand to benefit from this by taking more of a ‘right brain’ approach to their messaging and shifting their thinking from product (commodity) to place (experience) through the development of video content. Videos can help to make the travel planning and booking process a more integral part of the overall holiday experience, and the use of video imagery strategically placed on websites can give consumers an immersive experience of place, taking customers on a journey before their real adventures begin.

An Unruly Media Whitepaper published in January 2012 demonstrated social video to directly increase brand recall and association as well as video enjoyment. A snapshot of the results are below:

But how does this compare to traditional video format consumption via Television advertising? The results are encouraging.

The above results are not surprising given the latest insight from Kantar Media’s TGI survey, which revealed that 11 million adults (aged 15+) in Britain visit social networking sites more than once a day – which is where video is largely consumed online. Indeed Millennials (those aged between 18 and 34), are twice as likely to use video to determine which company to make a purchase from.

As consumers seek simpler ways of visualising and consuming a wealth of data that we come into contact with daily, could video content provide a healthier future for advertisers? We believe that it most certainly can and therefore should be integral to any marketing strategy.

Contact us today regarding your video strategy.

REF 1: What is social video?

Non-interruptive, user-initiated video format sold on a cost per engagement/view basis. The social video format launches only when the viewer actively chooses to watch the content. The content is delivered within a fully functional video player, giving the user total control of the viewing experience, including the ability to comment, share, re-post, pause and replay.

Plays can be delivered across a range of media (in-page, in-stream, in-text, in-game, in-app) and on multiple devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs, connected TVs).

Social video is all about engagement. Users are 40 times more likely to click a social video than a display banner. Social video also delivers an 8 times higher CTR than traditional pre-roll.

With social video, users choose to engage and share, and with no content limit or wastage it is no surprise that social video is currently delivering world leading CTRs.