Category Archives: Digital Advertising

How to recover from bad PR with digital marketing

Digital Marketing

In a mobile society filled with social media and instant communication, a good reputation can be hard to maintain. Every business makes mistakes, whether it’s an employee, an unhappy customer or just a bad decision – it’s unavoidable. In the digital age, those mistakes can gain traction online and have long lasting consequences.

If you’re suffering from some bad online PR, there are five digital marketing activities that can be done to counteract bad press:

  1. Don’t click on a bad link! We know how tempting it is to read anything written about your company online, but if it’s bad – resist temptation and don’t click on it! The more you and others click on this link, the more relevant it becomes to search engines. Google and other search engines’ algorithms rank search results which are popular, so stop clicking and start producing new stories to provide search engine bots with newer and more relevant content.
  2. Produce digital PR. Counteract your bad PR with some good PR! Create your own new and relevant stories – they can be about anything from a new recruit, deal or product offering. Just get your stories out there and provide search engines with more up-to-date content.
  3. Get social. If you don’t already have social media profiles, set these up. If you have them and don’t use them frequently, start using them! Being active on social media will give your brand a stronger online presence, and if you do it well, your social media profiles will start to appear on the first page of search engine results when a user searches for your brand name. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are obvious choices, but also make sure you have Google Plus – since it is a Google property, this will always rank highly on Google.
  4. Acquire domains. Each domain acts as another potential result in the organic rankings. Start acquiring new domains with unique content associated with your brand. Get these domains optimised with brand keywords, quality links, and quality content. Once search engines index the new websites, they’ll start to rank them within the search results. This will enable to push down bad PR stories online as the new domains will start to feature at the top and your website can and should link to these new domains.
  5. Start blogging. A great way to increase your ranking and overcome bad online PR is to start blogging. Search engines love websites which frequently produce new content and a blog is the best way to achieve this. By creating a blog on a new domain, which can easily be linked to from your main website you are able to ensure that the bad PR links are being pushed down the pages.

Although it can take months to get a negative story off the first page, it is possible! The key is to keep creating new content which will feed search engines and users timely information and reduce the relevancy of the bad article, but it will also increase your online equity and brand presence!

News Corp Reports Revenue Decline

News Corp, the publisher of newspapers including The Times and The Sun, has reported a 2.8% decline in revenues for the quarter ending 30th September 2013 with a decline in advertising being blamed for the decrease.

In the first quarter since News Corp was split into a highly successful entertainment company and a less profitable publishing business earlier this year, the latter’s net income rose from a loss of $83 million last year to a profit of $38 million. However, year-on-year annual sales actually fell from $2.13 billion to $2.07 billion, falling short of the $2.18 billion total predicted by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Source: www.advanced-television.com/

The news division, whose portfolio includes titles in the US, the UK and Australia, saw advertising fall 12 percent and revenues from circulation and subscription decrease by 6 percent with the Australian papers accounting for the largest decline (a 22% drop in sales).

In response to the results, Robert Thompson, News Corp’s chief executive, was keen to highlight that the company is in a period of transition with the brands’ evolution into digital content providers key to its future: “Our first quarter as the new News was the beginning of a journey in the digital development of the company. We […] are transforming our publishing operations longer-term into multi-platform businesses [and] we are even more convinced the company will thrive as the company becomes more digital.”

Paid websites represent a key part of this strategy – it is now three years since The Times and Sunday Times websites went behind a paywall with The Sun following suit earlier this year. While it has been a controversial approach at odds with that of the highly successful Guardian and Daily Mail sites, News UK argue that the indisputable reduction in visitors is compensated for by the quality of the data they have on their subscribers and, therefore, the level of targeting which they can offer advertisers. However, from Four’s point-of-view, this reduced traffic makes it difficult to reach a sufficient number of people on more niche areas of the site relevant to our clients, such as the Property section.

In addition, News UK has identified the iPad and tablet apps as central to a strong digital offering, with increased functionality and a wider range of creative advertising solutions being planned for 2014. With Tesco’s £119 Hudl tablet tipped to be a strong seller this Christmas, we believe that a presence on apps will become increasingly important to many of our clients in the coming months.

Can Twitter Work as an Ad Medium?

On its first day as a public company Twitter was valued at £19bn. Following its successful stock market launch, Twitter now needs to prove to investors that it can effectively grow its revenue; one medium through which it would do this is advertising.

Source: www.mediatel.co.uk

There are 230 million users globally on Twitter, 76% of which access Twitter on a mobile device. Therefore advertisers are extremely interested in utilising mobile ads. In response to this, Twitter is introducing a new set of targeting capabilities for mobile devices.  Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. This helps advertisers reach the users most important to them, for example mobile app developers can target users with the necessary operating systems, prompting a new download or re-engagement through an app card. This is something that has previously been successfully operated by Facebook, the main rival of Twitter.

Telco companies can now also promote loyalty and rewards to users on their specific devices. All marketers can focus campaigns on users with device models that are indicative of demographics which align to their campaign goals.

Furthermore there is now the self-serve ad platform to be used by small businesses across the UK. Anyone with a Twitter account and a credit card can now buy promoted tweets and promote accounts; targeted through keywords or interests and followers.

In addition to this, the new segmentation reporting gives advertisers better insights in to the OS versions and specific devices of users engaging with their general campaigns.

Source: www.theguardian.com

So will Twitter be an effective advertising platform? Despite the many advantages of using advertising on social media, the juxtaposed dangers were suitably demonstrated last month on Facebook, when a video showing a human decapitation appeared without warning. This was a disaster for advertisers sharing this content on the same page. Clearly, regulation of content is a difficult and controversial issue to tackle. Twitter has its own pitfalls for companies, for example companies are being warned about Twitter ‘trolls’; who can harm the company’s reputation with unprovoked criticism.

Now that images are allowed, ads appearing in Twitter are much more prominent. This does change the experience for the user. As Twitter pushes for more advertising there is the potential for a backlash from users as they are inundated with adverts. Plans were revealed to widen its advertising to target “every business on the planet”. Although this is brilliant news for small/medium businesses, this may not sit well with some users. Therefore a fine balance needs to be reached to avoid the over-saturation of adverts, on Twitter feeds, driving its users away.

Tackling Tablet Advertising [Guest Blog]

Source: www.iabuk.net

Giles Milner, PR and Marketing Manager at estate agents Chesterton Humberts, offers some learnings from a project to bring the benefits of tablet advertising to the process of selling houses.

I think it is fair to say that the UK property industry, estate agencies included, cannot be considered ‘early adopters’ when it comes to new technology and are very rarely seen at the forefront of cutting-edge marketing.

I have always found this slightly odd, given that the industry has one of the most widely talked about, highly coveted, well publicised, emotive and expensive products on the market: homes. With the majority of the adult population owning one or having aspirations to own a property, the opportunity for online engagement new media in the industry is huge and yet surprisingly untapped.

As print readership continues to decline whilst tablet penetration rockets, with an estimated 30% of the UK population now using one, there is an opportunity to engage with the lost print readership that has migrated to digital versions via tablet versions of those print publications.

Despite the almost unbelievable growth of tablets since the launch of the iPad in 2010, when I took over the marketing team at Chesterton Humberts in 2012 I was struck by how slow both traditional media owners and our competitors seem to have been at embracing the level of interactivity that this platform can offer.

Currently, many media owners’ own technological limitations allow only very limited scope for innovation and interactive elements on their tablet editions and most of our competitors use a relatively flat advert or seem satisfied with ticking the ‘interactive’ box with a basic picture gallery.

Although it was clear that Chesterton Humberts needed to be advertising on this platform, I was reluctant to enter the tablet advertising arena with a ‘standard’ advert and was determined to create something more innovative, more engaging and more fun for readers – demonstrating the extent to which we embrace new technology for the benefit of our clients and setting the bar for other advertisers.

From experience, we know that the majority of people that read the property pages are more interested in the human-interest side of property and looking at pictures of beautiful homes than they are in market comment and traditional corporate advertising. With this knowledge, we decided to create a ‘native’ advert that would fit almost seamlessly within the media content and give readers what they would expect from the editorial element of the publication – the opportunity to explore someone else’s beautiful home, hear directly from the people selling the home (as opposed to the estate agent), learn the history of the property and enjoy some editorial-style, ‘not-on-the-brochure’ bits of information.

With the help of our media buyers, Four Communications, and the digital team at Adnostic, as long as you are on an iPad or using the CHROME browser, you can see the fruit of our efforts here.

Although of course slightly biased, Adnostic consider this one of the best ads they have ever done with Matt White, Creative Director, praising the way “it demonstrates tablet advertising’s capacity for advanced HTML animation and interaction and presents multi-pane content in an intuitive and premium manner”.

The feedback from our clients and the engagement statistics from the advert have so far been very positive, easily out-performing the average ‘flat’ advert, and this has encouraged us to start working on our next advert. Perhaps even more flattering is the fantastic feedback that we have had from the publications themselves, who seem just as excited as us to see this sort of innovation coming through.

For example, Lee Fels, Head of Mobile at The Guardian, notes that the campaign has twice as long an average dwell time as any other interstitial run in November. He went on to praise the way that the app seamlessly included multiple calls to action, noting that “it is easy to include a lot of CTAs into an iPad app, but the skill is to do so without cluttering the beauty of a full page advert delivered on tablet”.

I would love to say that we got everything right first time, but if I did, I would be lying. In reality, there are a few things that we did that we won’t do next time, but these all form a valuable lesson, the learnings from which we will incorporate into our next effort, along with some features and ideas that we didn’t manage to include the first time around so watch this space!

Digital Ad Spend at an All-Time High

According to the latest IAB Digital Adspend report, advertisers have spent a record six-month high of £3.04 billion online. British consumers spend a staggering one in every 12 minutes online, equating to 43 hours a month!

Fuelled by smartphone ownership reaching 68% of the population in June 2013, mobile advertising now accounts for 14% of all digital ad spend, which grew like-for-like by 127% to £429.2 million in the first half of the year, almost double that for the same period in 2012.

Total mobile display advertising, which includes video, increased like-for-like by 195% to £105.5 million in the first half of 2013 and for the first time, consumer goods has doubled its share in a year to 26.8%.

Another online first, the consumer goods sector overtook entertainment and media, as the biggest spender as a mobile display advertiser, and finance as the biggest spender on the digital display advertising platform.

Research also shows that the tablet ad spend for the first half of 2013 was around the £10.5 million mark, up from approximately £2.4 million for the first half of 2012. This increase in ad spend could be a result of the increase in tablet users – almost one in three consumers in the UK will be using a tablet this year, according to research from eMarketer.

By 2017, the eMarketer estimates that more than half of the UK population will use a tablet device regularly.

One explanation for such a radical increase is the increasing availability of low-end tablet alternatives. Last month, Tesco announced the launch of its own brand tablet, called Hudl, which will retail at £119, a mere quarter of the cost of Apple’s iPad!

Another reason for such an increase could be that as audiences are more accustomed with going online via mobile devices, they are becoming more ‘adjusted’ to using tablets, with the majority of tablet owners still in the 25-54 age range.

UK Tablet Users

Source: www.emarketer.com

Commercial Radio’s Mid-Life Crisis?

Radio

Source: www.mediaweek.co.uk

Commercial radio recently celebrated its 40th birthday – time for a mid-life crisis?

Launched on Monday 8th October 1973, the first legally authorised commercial radio station was LBC, the London Broadcasting Company. After a slow start, commercial radio swiftly picked up with the launch of a number of local radio stations and eventually, national stations, providing new and exciting opportunities for advertisers to reach their consumers.

Over the last decade, there has been a lot of speculation over the future of radio, and whether it can survive amongst the iPods and Spotifys of the 21st Century. The latest Rajar data shows that while weekly reach doesn’t seem to be suffering, users are listening for fewer hours on average per week across almost all commercial stations. This is obviously not great news for the advertiser, as listeners are now exposed to fewer adverts.

But right on cue, radio appears to be going through a mid-life crisis of sorts, with a number of new music streaming services popping up to join the ranks of Spotify and Napster.

Apple Ads

Source: advertising.apple.com

One of the most hotly anticipated is Apple’s new iTunes Radio, which is set to launch in the UK in early 2014, offering a whole new radio experience to listeners. With more than 200 stations to choose from, listeners will be able to skip tracks, purchase songs and even customise stations around their favourite artists, songs and genres.
iTunes Radio is likely to prove attractive not only to consumers, but also to advertisers, allowing creativity and interactivity in ad formats and, most crucially, providing exceptional targeting tools. With registration and media consumption data, advertisers can use insights about listeners’ lifestyle and purchase habits to target with a precision previously unavailable to radio advertising.

Another way iTunes radio is setting itself apart from traditional radio is the frequency of ad breaks. With audio adverts only once every 15 minutes and a video spot every hour, this is fairly minimal compared to other stations; rival streaming services currently play around 8-12 ads per hour, whilst on traditional stations this number rises to 25.

It is currently unknown how much one of these coveted ad spots will cost, but for its recent US launch, the minimum buy-in was reputedly $1m worth of spots, with Apple forming partnerships with McDonald’s, Nissan, Procter & Gamble and Pepsi, giving them exclusivity within their respective industries until the end of 2013.

With the UK launch set for early 2014, brands don’t have long to wait before they can get onto the iTunes airwaves.

It remains to be seen whether iTunes Radio and other music streaming services are set to revolutionise radio advertising, but with year-on-year figures for online and mobile radio listening up 31% and 34% respectively, our radio consumption is clearly moving with the times. As advertising everywhere becomes increasingly digital, it would be a mistake to ignore the new possibilities offered by radio today.

Apple Ads

Source: advertising.apple.com

Mini gets up close and personal with new outdoor campaign

Mini has recently launched a new outdoor campaign to increase brand awareness, which reaches out to its customers in a fun and innovative way, and has got people talking about its brand.

Over the last few weeks, as Mini drivers have travelled between Earl’s Court and West Kensington, they have been greeted by messages such as “Hey cream Mini, what’s your secret?” and “Hello blue Mini driver”, flashing up on giant digital screens. This involves a team of ‘spotters’ stationed at the end of the road, whose job it is to spot Minis driving by, and to trigger a personalised message to appear on the screen.

Mini drivers

Source: adage.com

The screens in question are known as the Cromwell Road Digital Gateway. The series of 9 screens, each of varying sizes, must all be bought together, and cost £200,000 for two weeks.

Mini’s screens form part of their new 8-week integrated campaign, aimed to celebrate and thank their customers. They are also rewarding their drivers with freebies at service stations along the road, including bacon sandwiches or smoothies on the way to work and a tank of fuel or bunch of flowers in the evening. Drivers are also encouraged to upload photos showing ways they have customised their Mini, with the chance to have them displayed on the screens.

The personalisation of marketing messages is becoming increasingly important in today’s economic climate, as advertisers seek to maximise their reach of target audience. Advertisers have long been aware of the increased engagement that message personalisation brings, and technologies such as behavioural tracking and targeting form the lifeblood of most digital campaigns today.

The Mini campaign takes a range of familiar marketing concepts – digital and outdoor, behavioural tracking, targeting and personalisation – and combines them in a new and interesting way to create a really fun brand campaign.

While this combination of technology and techniques may be out of reach for most campaigns today, it’s an exciting glimpse into what we could be seeing regularly in a few years, as the future of personalised marketing really takes off. It will be interesting to see whether (and which) brands are open to taking a risk with new concepts such as these, and exactly what benefits they can bring to a campaign.

The ‘Rising Stars’ of digital media?

At Four we are always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of our campaigns.

Visually creative new ideas that encourage audience interactions are being dubbed the ‘the canvasses of the future’ for brand advertising on digital platforms. Needless to say, it is a great way to run a branding campaign that drives user engagement.

As you can see from the chart below, the statistics demonstrate that the click-through rate (CTR) for these rich media banners tends to be significantly higher than standard banners:

Rich Media Banners

Source:http://blog.adform.com/rich-media/is-rich-media-the-key-to-better-engagement/

Some examples of these banners and how they work:

  • Dynamic skins that offer a stimulating background to a webpage.
  • Product carousels that allow the user to scroll through an ad and navigating further accordingly.
  • 3D MPUs literally jump out of the page at you, a sure way to catch the eye of the audience.
  • Gliders that present a floating ad in front of the original article, which can be navigated accordingly by the user.
  • Shutters that play a video advert when a user clicks or hovers over the ad that contain product images and further calls to action, such as ‘view further images’, ‘register now’, ‘click to purchase’ or ‘view more information

Not only do users tend to spend more time engaging with these ad formats, research also shows that users liked the ads more, saying that they improved their impression of the website more than standard banners.

The great advantage of using these ads is that they are deliberately interactive; they are designed to make it as easy as possible to instantly engage with a brand or product. This gives the audience the freedom to interact and explore the advert within a pop-up microsite, without being pulled away from their original article.

Below is an annotated example of an ‘open door’ format created by Adform:

Open Door Ad format

Source: www.adform.com/site/help-and-resources/

Out Of Home Advertising coincides with the 21st Century

Out-of-home advertising is being radically transformed by the arrival of new technology including – Internet connectivity, real-time content, cloud based distribution software, cutting edge display and digital office communication, all of these are helping to reshape how the world’s oldest media has traditionally engaged with audiences, into a new hybrid medium.

Internet connectivity no longer requires the use of a telephone line and router in order to connect, with companies such as EE launching the new 4G, a system which provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access. Conceivable applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, 3D television and cloud computing. EE used 40 London taxis to advertise and launch this new form of internet connectivity. All 40 taxis which took part, had 4G installed meaning all customers could connect to this new style of internet free of charge once inside the taxi, this out-of-home campaign saw digital domination over the course of 3 months, which helped entice consumers to switch providers to EE.

Taxi Advertising

Source: ZONE 2013

Digital posters have enabled advertisers to engage audiences by using real-time and up to date content. Latest figures from the Outdoor Media Centre have revealed that digital revenues for Q1 2013 and were £43.1 million, up 21% year on year and accounts for a fifth of total outdoor revenue.

New technology means that consumers can now be more accurately targeted with content which is much more pertinent and compelling.

JCDecaux has seen the benefits for targeting consumers using digital technology and are now launching 400 new digital screens outside Tesco. Advertisers will soon be able to target shoppers by day of the week and time of day, through new digital screens being erected outside 400 Tesco stores.

This will enable advertisers to target specific dayparts to optimise their ad campaigns by four parts of the week – morning, afternoon, evening and night time, enabling brands to optimise their ad campaign.

Digital Billboards

Source: outputmagazing.com

This network of new digital screens will be made even more appealing for advertisers due to its ability to fuse data from the outdoor industry’s £19 billion Route research, with Tesco’s acclaimed Dunnhumby retail sales data, responsible for the data crunching behind Tesco Clubcard.

Andrew Mortimer, director of brand and media at the UK’s largest outdoor advertiser, BSkyB, announced, “It is time to move away from judging plans on metrics that are out of date. To move away from traditional measures like number of panels or cost-per-thousand to metrics of greater value to advertisers.”

Interactivity advertising

Source: jcdecaux.co.uk

The future of digital-out-of-home advertising will be driven by interactivity. Digital signage applications are likely to engage consumers on a more personal level by enabling them to interact using their smart phones via Bluetooth, text messaging and the many apps which are now available to scan QR codes. The opportunity to transmit live messaging provides a dynamic new dimension to out-of-home advertising, as well as offering the flexibility to engage with consumers in real-time.

Jaguar is going digital

Jaguar has put digital advertising at the forefront of its efforts to target a younger, more vibrant audience. The creation and use of viral movies and other mobile media platforms are at the centre of this campaign to target the ‘enlightened elite’.

The new activity forms a part of the campaign to promote Jaguar’s new sports car, the F-Type. The F-Type is Jaguar’s first two-seater vehicle since the iconic E-Type of the 1960’s. As with the E-Type, Jaguar is looking to promote its reincarnation to a younger well healed audience.

Jaguar is Going Digital

Source: marketingweek.co.uk

Promotional activity for the F-Type will focus around a short 12-minute movie featuring Homeland star Damian Lewis, the short movie called Desire was created by Brooklyn Brothers and Ridley Scott Associates. Desire will prominently feature the F-Type being driven by Damien Lewis throughout in various action scenes.

The video content will form a large part of the campaign to position the F-Type range and the Jaguar brand as a purchase consideration to a younger audience than it has traditionally had in the past.

Further digital elements are to be introduced to the F-Type campaign following the culmination of the Sundance Film Festival in April, where Jaguar will be screening Desire. These elements will include TV adverts that can be scanned using the mobile app Shazam as well as activities that utilise AR (augmented reality).

Jaguar’s utilisation of digital activity shows that even well established luxury brands still see the potential in using social networking and viral videos to target a relevant audience.

With the F-Type ranging from £60,000 to £80,000, it remains to be seen whether a social media campaign such as Jaguar’s Facebook activity will increase sales of the vehicle, when one considers that 49% of social network users are aged 15-34.

The term ‘enlightened elite’ would suggest that Jaguar is trying to target a specific group of social media users who are young aspirational businessmen and women and have the means to purchase a product such as the Jaguar F-Type.

Although these individuals are a small percentage of social media users, they are well connected with other like minded individuals, therefore the ability to share videos and posts with friends could lead to a very effective targeting campaign for Jaguar.