With Christmas adverts decking our halls.. not only does it signal the start of the festive season, but also 2015 (woo)! With the New Year comes new things and PPC is not excluded from this trend!
Since the beginning of 2014 there has been a gentle rumble that mobiles will become more important in PPC and advertising. There are over 7 billion people on the Earth and 6.8 billion own mobiles!
An employee from Marin Software predicts that by the end of 2015 50% of paid search budget will be spent on mobile. However, others speculate that with increased privacy settings that PPC may find it harder to target mobiles. Either way, it is clear mobiles will be one of the big changes for 2015, whether they provide more insight into people’s daily shopping, lingering and travel to reach a particular product or whether they become a barrier!
Alongside a change in mobile targeting there has also been speculation of an increase in competition for the Top 2 ad positions. I know it seems as though everyone in PPC would desire to have an ad in a top position, but sometimes this isn’t productive for the campaign, often position 3 or 4 may work well for a company. However, with the Top 2 ads taking up an increased amount of space there is heightened competition! Will 2015 bring an increase in Ad Bid cost or more severe delegation of the Quality Score? Or will it remain the same?
As much as people (like me) can speculate about 2015 changes …. In 2011 (I know, it feels like ages ago!) Google’s official blog made 6 predictions that would occur BY 2015…. As the year quickly draw to an end will we see the 6 predictions come true?
The internet has a plethora of content being published every day which can make coming up ideas difficult, let alone standing out. However, if you get the right type of content it can spread like wildfire and be shared socially across the globe. You just need to know how to come up with the ideas and execute them.
According to Kaiser the sage, content that can ‘effect and challenge its readers’ actions, behaviours, opinion and perceptions is the usual types of content that can really help brands succeed in digital marketing.’ For example content which is;
- Comprehensive guides or tutorials that are really useful and actionable
- Educational, and entertaining at the same time
- Encyclopaedic, evergreen and/or data-driven content that are aligned with business goals and fit with your branding
So how can we come up with some content?
Learn from your competitors
This is the basic approach to generating content ideas. There is no harm is taking a look at what your competitors are doing. From this you can tell what works and what doesn’t. There are a number of web based tools that can help identify what type of content really works in your industry.
Buzz Sumo-this programme allows users to easily see the most popular content on their different social media platforms.
Notable features of the tool:
- Can help track popular content from a specific domain, topic area and publisher/author.
- Can sort and filter results by content type (articles, infographics, videos, guest posts, etc…)
Ahrefs – another web based tool this can help track a sites most linked and social shares. What I like about this programme is you can get look into their keywords/ anchor text.
Elaborate and expand on other ideas.
Social media is an excellent source for generating ideas. You can already see from previous posts what is working and what is not. Not only this, but it can be a good indicator of what is working for your competitors. With this information you can note what holds your target audience’s attention and plan your strategy.
A new trick I’ve learnt, is sending ideas to your inbox through Google Alerts. To be honest, there are more like articles. By setting up a Google Alerts with a set of keywords, you can get some ideas from what is being mentioned online within one or more emails per week. Not only this, you can have a look at what your competitors are up to! Let the ideas come straight to you.
If you’re stuck for words, Übersuggest may be of use to you. Übersuggest takes your base term, and generates keyword ideas from real user queries. With this free tool you can instantly get thousands of key word ideas that will help inspire your next content idea.
Generating content ideas begins with one thing, that light bulb moment. It can come from anywhere; comments you’ve read, something that you saw while out, a newspaper article, or an idea that suddenly wakes you out of your slumber (it can happen). But don’t disregard them, write them down and brainstorm. It can easily lead you to strike content gold.
Although it’s November, Christmas is coming and we all know it. However, it’s not because the calendar months are going incredibly fast, or the weather is getting increasingly colder, it’s all down to those festive Christmas Adverts we see on TV or that are plastered across the internet. This is the time of year for companies to really show what they are made of as they are all in competition with each other for who’s advert stands out the most, or who’s is remembered. They all want to have the Best Christmas advert. For companies, Christmas is not only a time to come up with unique ideas to promote products, but it is a time to communicate with the audience in an attempt to evoke emotion and feeling. For example, in the past, John Lewis’ 2013 The Bear & The Hare advert took the nation by storm. Due to features like the advert’s unique animation and memorable song (sung by Lily Allen), it was by far the most talked about advert on Social media with over 212,000 mentions on twitter between the 4th – 9th December. And this year the ideas have only got better…
Sainsbury’s Christmas Is For Sharing Campaign
For me, this advert stands out a mile from the rest. It does not go with the typical ‘child gets present’ or ‘Santa Claus is here’ scenario, but the heart-warming account of the 1914 First World War Christmas Day truce. The advert, called Christmas Is For Sharing, recounts the day when British and German soldiers laid down their weapons to enjoy time together, sharing greetings, treats and the legendary football game we have all heard of. This particular advert does not only promote Sainsbury’s as a brand but presents their values and support for the Royal British Legion, whom they work closely with, in remembrance of 100 years since the beginning of WW1.
It begins with German Troops singing the classic Christmas carol Silent Night, and when hearing this a young British soldier, Jim, dares to venture into No Man’s Land and greet his rivals. However, though this was a daring risk, the result is surprising as both sides come together to enjoy Christmas Day before returning to their trenches. The most memorable and moving part of the advert though is when a German soldier who had shared a moment with Jim, returns to his trench to find that his British friend has placed a gift of a chocolate bar in his pocket. This promotes the importance of sharing and generosity at Christmas time which was the company’s main aim – “Christmas is a special time of year when people come together to share simple moments and kindness. We wanted to reflect that,” said Mark Given, head of brand communications.
Sainsbury’s then go one step further and are selling the chocolate bar with the same period packaging in stores for a limited time only, giving all proceeds to The Royal British Legion. This is an amazing marketing technique as not only does it provoke emotion in the audience but it also influences their customers when in Sainsbury’s to support the cause building a positive reputation for Sainsbury’s as a brand.
Marks & Spencer’s Magic & Sparkle Campaign
Usually they have an advert packed full of celebrities (like the amazingly attractive David Gandy), however, this year Marks and Spencer have ditched that idea for the two glamorous fairies, Magic & Sparkle. The advert sees the two fairies spreading Christmas cheer over a dull and dark town turning greying washing to glamorous party outfits and a boring alarm clock to a stylish bra – promoting their line of clothing. Nonetheless, Marks and Spencer have done something a bit different this year and decided to spent a lot of budget on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, shown by the hash tag #FollowTheFairies on the TV advert.
Using social media Marks & Spencer’s can not only communicate a message to their audience but interact with them. They have not only been replying to their followers in rhyme, but committing random acts of goodness and granting wishes, such as going outside a primary school in Cornwall and creating real snow or giving gifts to night workers. This has encouraged interaction from the audience and got the whole of social media talking, publicising and promoting Marks and Spencer’s even more than normal. In my opinion, this was a unique marketing idea as it kept in mind the increase in smart phones and tablets and developed an idea based on this. Therefore, the advert is able to target a large audience range not only their typical older audience but the younger generation also.
Boots’ #SpecialBecause Campaign
Boots have gone in a different direction but like Marks and Spencer’s incorporate Social Media into their campaign. The advert tells the story of a family who at the end of Christmas Day are only just beginning to celebrate. It has just gone Midnight and even though for most Christmas is over and boxing day has begun, one family hold out their Christmas to celebrate with a special woman in their life. Family rush to the house so they can be there when she returns. Why isn’t she there? She is on a night shift at the hospital and returns home to what she thinks will be a sleeping household. Instead she is greeted by all her family to celebrate the Christmas she missed. The advert then ends with the strap line Because She’s Special.
This advert then continues on to social media with the hash tag #SpecialBecause. Using this idea Boots, like the family in the advert, is inviting the nation to interact and celebrate all the special people in their lives this Christmas. A spokesman for Boots confirmed ‘This Christmas we want to inspire our customers to celebrate the special people in their lives, not just by giving the perfect gift from Boots, but by sharing the reasons they matter for the whole nation to see’. Thus, it is clear what Boots believes Christmas should be about and their values as a brand. They are using the power of technology to interact with different audiences but have also expressed a thought provoking and emotional message to the nation to reflect the perfect Christmas. This advert is what some would call a ‘tear-jerker’.
Waitrose’s The Gingerbread Campaign
Waitrose have decided to focus on their employee-owned ethos in their advert and instead of using a celebrity to star in it have chosen one of their own employees. The advert is based on the idea of a little girl who has to make gingerbread for the stall at her school fayre but can’t seem to get it right until one of the employees from Waitrose helps her. After the stall is over, she then returns to Waitrose to give some to the worker who helped. The advert then ends with the line ‘When you own something, you care a little more. Everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose, so they care more’ suggesting they give the best customer service and promoting the brand positively.
The music throughout the advert also plays a big party in the advert. Waitrose earlier in the year ran the campaign Donate Your Voice urging singers across the UK to sing the soundtrack for the advert – therefore getting the public involved. The recordings were then remixed to make a virtual choir singing a version of Dolly Parton’s Try. The song is about overcoming adversity and about perseverance tying into the line at the end of the advert. However, not only is there now a lovely song in the advert but it is being released to raise money for three charities with a 100 percent of the profits being donated. Similar to Sainsbury’s, Waitrose makes it an important value to be charitable and uses this feature to help promote themselves as a company. This also raises the idea of the importance of charity at Christmas Time and how us as a consumer should think of others.
John Lewis’ Monty The Penguin Campaign
Last but not least John Lewis’ famous annual Christmas advert that is the talk of the town every year. This year they have decided to go with Monty The Penguin which has already got social media buzzing even though it was released only a week ago. The advert, with music by the haunting voice of Tom Odell, features a little boy and a penguin playing together, going sledging together and more, but the penguin appears unhappy as it sees couples at Christmas time in love. Finally, towards the end of the advert Monty is given a partner by the little boy as a gift – which he appears extremely happy about. The advert then ends with the penguins being revealed as soft toys and the boy happily playing with them under the Christmas tree with the line #MontyThePenguin.
Similar to the other campaigns, this advert uses the idea of love and giving as a strong characteristic, however, John Lewis have then developed this idea further and used the promotion techniques of the other adverts combined and more. For example, it uses social media platforms so people can interact with the company and talk about the advert and like the Sainsbury’s advert it sells the product in the advert – the cuddly penguin (which have sold out). Nevertheless, what John Lewis have done different is they have made a special Monty’s Storytelling App. and have even released a story book, thus getting children involved who more than often influence their parents – a great marketing strategy. What is most impressive though, is how in stores children can bring their toys in for the company then to use special technology to bring the toy to life. To sum it up, John Lewis are always one step ahead and know how to market their company with major results.
Which one do you think is the best?
Google’s algorithm has changed dramatically since 2005, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive study into user behaviour since. Recently, Mediative undertook that task and discovered some important changes to the way that users interact with a SERP which may have a profound impact on the way that Paid Search managers view their ad performance.
In 2005, a study was conducted which tracked the eye movements of users as they made use of search engines. The findings were ground-breaking and set the standards for which ad performance was measured. The two main conclusions of the report included that users interact most with the top left result in a SERP and spent roughly 2 seconds looking at each listing. Furthermore, users scanned horizontally for information before moving vertically.
However, in 2014, the map looks entirely different.
Key findings include the fact that user’s are aware that the top organic listing is no longer in the top right corner of the screen, and look lower down the page for the results they desire. In addition, the exponential growth of mobile browsing has conditioned users to scan vertically down the page.
So what does this mean for PPC advertising?
Yes it’s that time of year again when John Lewis introduces their new Christmas advert! This year however they have taken it a step further. To go alongside their advert, John Lewis have also introduced two new tech innovations.
The first of which is in partnership with Microsoft and is called “Monty’s Magical Toy Machine “, for this John Lewis invites customers children to bring their favourite cuddly toy to their flagship store in Oxford Street. Children will then see their cuddly toy come to life on the big screen, this is done using a mix of high quality DSLR cameras and Microsoft Kinect sensors.
The second partnership comes in the form of Google’s “Cardboard” invention, put simply it’s a cardboard box in the shape of a pair of goggles with a phone placed in the centre. This creates a virtual reality headset which then shows the wearer 360º panoramic world featuring Sam and Monty from the advert. Alongside the tech, they will also be placing an interactive “den” in each of their shops for children to explore. On sale will also be a book and cuddly toy versions of Monty and Mabel.
The way some people avidly follow tabloids – celebrity feuds, inappropriate outfits, and who Kanye has offended recently – that’s the way we at Tug follow Google. Each update sends us off into the blogosphere, as we research the latest and how the intended targets and possible consequences could affect us and (more importantly) our clients.
So when Google released a new and improved sitelinks search box in early September, we started wondering: is this a valuable addition to searching for site-specific content, or is this just a tool that, despite being new and cool, will yield insignificant change in the end?
This version features a larger search box placed below the first search result and above the suggested sitelinks, as you can see with this wine retailer example:
Using schema – pieces of code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results – to markup webpages with the ‘Potential Action’ property to alert Google of the change, you can send users straight from the sitelinks search box to your site’s search results page. The idea is to streamline the whole user search process for a quicker, more accurate experience.
That sounds great, right? We set out to see if this is really the case. Using the same wine retailer example, I typed in ‘pinot grigio’ to see what would happen, and voila! It redirected me to their product page and I was able to see all wines relating to ‘pinot’ and ‘grigio’. Pretty handy if you were looking for the right bottle in a rush.
But this isn’t the case for many sites. Another example of a site testing this new search box is www.coolhunting.com – an ‘inspiration’ site with stories, videos, and interviews that highlight creativity in design, technology, culture, style, food, and travel. But when you type in your search term – say, ‘electric cars’ – you get quite a different result. Instead of taking you straight to the ‘Cool Hunting’ site, up pops another SERP with ads lining the top, posing a potential threat to the site’s traffic as users might instead click on a competing page.
As this update is still in the early stages, there are bound to be some hiccups, or perhaps Cool Hunting didn’t mark their site up correctly. In any case, this example highlights the potential negative effects of the new sitesearch.
But for those sites who feel their own search results page is more intuitive than Google’s, this new tool might be worth installing. It would save your users lots of time and give them a better experience with your brand. Only time will tell…