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Blog

NBC/Fox video site Hulu launches in private beta

NBC and Fox's joint online video venture Hulu has launched today. The site will only be available to a few thousand beta testers initially, but its content will be rolled out to Hulu's distribution partners.

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Retailers look to catalogues for online sales boost

More and more retailers are turning to the humble catalogue to help drive their web businesses, according to stats from e-commerce association Shop.org.

The data (via AdAge) shows catalogues are moving up firms’ to-do lists and are increasingly being judged by the ‘flick-to-click’ sales they manage to generate.

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US e-commerce grows 23% in Q3

The US retail e-commerce market is continuing to grow rapidly, with spending up 23% in Q3 to $23.8bn (£11.6bn).  

Figures from comScore estimate that US e-commerce spending in the first nine months of the year totalled $143bn (£69.6bn) and will reach the $200bn mark for the year.

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Littlewoods hit by latest discount mishap

Littlewoods has become the latest retailer to fall foul of a runaway online voucher campaign.

The home shopping brand, which had distributed a £25-off discount code to “a small group of specific customers”, ended up having to recall cash from thousands of bargain-hunters when the promotion went viral.

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Email ROI still impressive, but falling

Figures released by the US Direct Marketing Association show email marketing is still delivering impressive ROI despite falls over the past two years.

According to the data, marketers will have spent around $500m (£244m) on email marketing to drive $23bn (£11.2bn) in sales by the end of 2007. That equates to $48.56 (£23.60) for every dollar spent.

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High profile sites hit by PageRank fall

A number of popular blogs and news sites have seen a sudden drop in their Google PageRank scores, with speculation suggesting that they are being punished by Google for paid linking.

The drops have hit blogs like Engadget and Search Engine Guide, as well as news sites including Forbes.com and the Washington Post.

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WPP buys another digital agency

WPP Group has acquired Blast Radius, an interactive agency based in Canada, for an undisclosed sum. 

Blast Radius, which employs 400 staff with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Amsterdam and London, has experience in building ad campaigns for social networks. It will be aligned with WPP's Wunderman network. 

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Facebook gets into bed with Microsoft

Microsoft has bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240m - a deal that values the yet-to-be-profitable online hangout at $15bn and will not provide great reading for the founders of YouTube and MySpace.

The move will see an expansion of Microsoft’s existing ad partnership with the social networking site, through which it sells banner ads in the US.

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Google to buy Nielsen data for TV ads

Google has attempted to boost its ability to target TV ads by striking a deal to use detailed demographic data about TV audiences from Nielsen.

Nielsen's data covers TV viewers' ages, gender and marital status, and will be added to the information Google already gleans from set top boxes.

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Guardian launches US offering

The Guardian has launched a US-focused website in a bid to capitalise on the popularity of Guardian Unlimited across the Atlantic.

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Email open rates drop 3%

MailerMailer's latest Email Marketing Metrics Report (pdf) takes a look at open and clickthrough rates, the best days of the week to send emails and how personalisation and subject lines can affect open rates.

It finds that emails with subject lines of 35 characters or less are 28% more likely to be opened, and that open rates have declined overall so far this year.

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Interview with Philips online sales VP Gilles Domartini

Consumer electronics giant Philips has just launched a major redesign of its consumer website to improve usability and help shoppers “fully experience and interact with products as though they were right in front of them.”

The firm says it’s its biggest upgrade for three years. New features include a Google Maps mashup showing the location of retailers' outlets, as well as tools to allow greater interactivity on product pages. Philips also deployed technology to improve communication with retailers about stock availability and lead generation.

We spoke to Gilles Domartini, Philips Consumer Electronics’ VP & GM of online sales and marketing, to find out a bit more about how the company's e-commerce strategy is changing as brands seek to interact more closely with consumers.

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