tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/content Latest Content content from Econsultancy 2016-05-04T11:25:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4125 2016-05-04T11:25:00+01:00 2016-05-04T11:25:00+01:00 Social Quarterly Q2 2016 <p>Social media is evolving rapidly, and the Social Quarterly provides an overview of the latest trends in the industry. It contains information which can be translated into your own documents, allowing you to prepare a pitch or use internally at a moment's notice.</p> <p>The Social Quarterly examines the current social media landscape, trends and updates on various social platforms and considers what will happen next. Updated four times per year, it will help to quickly surface statistics and trends you can use and react to immediately.</p> <p>This time, the second edition of the Social Quarterly looks at developments on Instagram and Snapchat, includes statistics on private messaging apps, takes a closer look at the roles of both millennials and parents and includes the regular updates on user numbers and mobile social media usage.</p> <p>Bringing to life data from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> and the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/">Econsultancy blog</a>, the Social Quarterly is the best of social in an easy-to-digest format.</p> <p>The Social Quarterly will allow you to:</p> <ul> <li>Stay up to date with regular developments across multiple social media platforms.</li> <li>Present and pitch at short notice with clear and effective data.</li> <li>Pinpoint areas in which you want to find out more and use the linked Econsultancy resources and blog posts to do this.</li> <li>Spot potential ways your company could be using social media but is not currently.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67748 2016-04-28T11:00:42+01:00 2016-04-28T11:00:42+01:00 Three ways marketers can benefit from the drone revolution Patricio Robles <h3>1. Drones allow marketers to provide new perspectives</h3> <p>Drone technology literally gives marketers the ability to create compelling audiovisual content that offers perspectives never before possible, or only possible at significant cost and thus only available to marketers with significant budgets. </p> <p>The ability for even the smallest of businesses to take advantage of drone imagery is exemplified by Captain Dave Anderson, who runs Capt. Dave's Dolphin &amp; Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California.</p> <p>One of his drone videos of dolphins has racked up nearly 12m views on YouTube.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Bo_f8mV5khg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>While drones are becoming both more affordable and usable, even marketers without drones of their own can incorporate drone content into their campaigns as drone-captured photos and videos can increasingly be found on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/2515-stock-photography-resources-and-tips">stock photo</a> and video services.</p> <h3>2. They speed time-to-market </h3> <p>Because drones are now widely available and can be put to use with little hassle, marketers are able to add new perspectives to their campaigns without suffering long delays.</p> <p>Increasingly, specialist skills aren't even required for certain applications.</p> <p>"Recently some of the sophisticated capabilities have gotten cheap and easy to use,"  Timothy Reuter, founder of the largest drone club in the US, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/22/tech/innovation/drone-uav-photography/">told CNN</a> in 2014.</p> <blockquote> <p>The difference between the professional and hobbyist tools isn't that big anymore - that's part of the revolution.</p> </blockquote> <h3>3. The sky is now the limit when it comes to creativity</h3> <p>The new perspectives marketers can take advantage of coupled with quick time-to-market means that rapid experimentation is possible.</p> <p>Marketers can now exercise a great deal of creativity when employing drones to create content.</p> <p>But the most creative marketing-related drone applications aren't about content.</p> <p>Some trailblazing marketers are also putting drones to use in more cutting-edge ways. Drones are being used to deliver aerial advertising in a new, less costly fashion.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0rUVmAbc4jw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>And Camisaria Colombo, a Colombian clothier, even used drones to fly mannequins alongside buildings in Vila Olimpia, Sao Paulo's business district, to market its wares to businessmen.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QeU4rlgmV8M?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>There are creative non-consumer-facing applications for drones too.</p> <p>Just as brick and mortar businesses are increasingly adopting technologies <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64277-how-to-use-free-wi-fi-for-social-marketing-and-analytics/">like WiFi tracking to monitor customers in-store</a>, drones can be used to gather data that marketers can analyze to develop actionable business insights.  </p> <p>Obviously, regulation of how drones are used could add red tape that makes it more difficult for marketers to use drones across all of these applications.</p> <p>But the general consensus is that drones are here to stay, so in the coming year expect to see more marketers flying high.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67774 2016-04-25T10:24:00+01:00 2016-04-25T10:24:00+01:00 Seven ways to humanise your brand through content marketing Anna Francis <p>Behind every brand is a human being that is passionate about the industry they work in and is driven by their area of expertise.</p> <p>But how do we make the human side of a brand come across? Being authentic in your content marketing efforts is key.</p> <p>If your audience doesn’t feel like they are talking to and engaging with a real human being, they will likely lose any connection they have with your brand and start to look elsewhere for a brand they can relate to.</p> <p>If your social media accounts look robotic, and the content you post becomes repetitive, you will start to lose your fans and followers and may even drive customers away.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">Content marketing</a> provides the perfect way to humanise your brand, so here are a few ways to get you started:</p> <h3>1. Use buyer personas</h3> <p>A humanised approach to content marketing means focusing on the behaviours, goals, and needs of your target audience first and foremost.</p> <p>Content marketing that is solely focused on sales and conversions takes any human connection away, resulting in corporate-based processes and communication.</p> <p>You need to know who your audience is in order to create content that meets their goals and needs.</p> <p><a href="https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/" target="_blank">YouGov’s Profiler</a> and Google Analytics are great places to discover more about your audience.</p> <p>For more on this, read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66976-are-your-audience-personas-really-helping-to-inform-your-content-strategy/">Are your audience personas really helping to inform your content strategy?</a></li> </ul> <h3>2. Write for people, not bots</h3> <p>The easiest way to humanise your brand is to talk to your audience whenever you get the chance.</p> <p>Remember that you are writing for people, not search engines, and while optimising your content for search is important, you don’t want to detract from your brand’s personality with keyword stuffing, misleading headlines, and bland topics.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4229/robot.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="632"></p> <p>Make sure your readers’ interests and requirements are always at the front of your mind when you publish content.</p> <p>You are writing for another human and therefore their experience of your content and site is important.</p> <p>You want them to see your content as helpful and informative, and come back to your site time and time again, with the end goal of a conversion.</p> <h3>3. Tell a story</h3> <p>With so many forms of communication available online, it’s important for brands to tell a meaningful story through a clearly thought-out content marketing strategy.</p> <p>What started out in TV and print adverts has now evolved online to include a wealth of social media marketing, with brands focusing on the people who use their products, rather than simply the products themselves.</p> <p>Dove has a really good example of this with its ‘Real Beauty’ sketches video.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XpaOjMXyJGk?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>Using blog posts, pictures, videos and live engagement, brands can tell a story and show their human side through the content that they produce.</p> <p>The stories that are the most successful are those that generate emotion and social engagement and help the audience to feel closer and more connected to the brand.</p> <h3>4. Keep up Your Engagement</h3> <p>Many brands see social media as a platform on which they can promote their products and services to a relevant audience.</p> <p>While this can be a good place for self-promotion, it’s best to keep the 80/20 rule in mind and try not to drive followers away with constant promotional noise.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4228/80_20.jpg" alt="" width="240" height="177"></p> <p>Social media should be used to build relationships with your target audience, and the easiest way to do that is to show them your brand’s human side by connecting with them in a real, meaningful way.</p> <p>Different customers will engage with your brand through different social media channels, so it is important to remain consistent with how and when you interact with your audience.</p> <h3>5. Think like a journalist</h3> <p>The best thing about content marketing is that it allows thought-leaders within different industries to demonstrate their expertise by communicating directly with readers.</p> <p>This gives the reader more value than a traditional news outlet, as content comes from a more authoritative source and is therefore more likely to provide detailed insight into a specific area or topic.</p> <p>By writing about current trends and news that relate to your brand, you are automatically encouraging natural engagement from a large audience and presenting yourself as a personable, knowledgeable business that people can turn to for advice.</p> <h3>6. Create experiences</h3> <p>It’s good to provide your audience with information that is of use to them, but it’s even better to entertain your audience, connect with them, and keep them coming back for more.</p> <p>Use videos and pictures to keep them up to date and share funny, serious, and interesting moments with them as they happen.</p> <p>By creating an experience around your brand, you are showing your customers that you want to involve them in your business and increasing your brand awareness.</p> <p>By using the human aspects of your brand and showing your humorous/emotional/personable side, you are drawing in your audience and providing them with entertaining or interactive content.</p> <p>This encourages them to connect with the people behind the business, not just the external face of the brand.</p> <p>For inspiration, check out these posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66793-19-tasty-examples-of-content-marketing-from-the-fast-food-industry/">19 tasty examples of content marketing from the fast food industry</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65518-six-examples-of-interesting-content-from-boring-businesses/">Six examples of interesting content from ‘boring’ businesses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66620-10-inspiring-content-marketing-examples-from-charities/">10 inspiring content marketing examples from charities</a></li> </ul> <h3>7. Listen &amp; respond</h3> <p>One of the best things about online marketing is that your audience has a platform on which they can comment, reply to, and share your content.</p> <p>It’s one thing to listen to what they have to say, and a whole other ball game to actually show you have listened by responding to them with an action.</p> <p>When you take what someone has said on board, you gain their trust and respect, and, most importantly, build brand loyalty.</p> <p>You could be responding to them by answering questions as quickly as possible or fully reacting to customer feedback by introducing a new loyalty scheme.</p> <p>Just the fact that you have taken on board what your customers have said to you on a human level will make them like you, stay with you, and tell all their friends and family about you.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>In a busy world of digital marketing, you need to stand out from your competitors, and shouting the loudest isn’t always the best way to do that.</p> <p>It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it and who’s listening.</p> <p>Think about who your audience is and talk to them as you would a friend.</p> <p>A little can go a long way when it comes to human interaction and regular engagement – just keep your tone and content consistent, and try to be reactive online.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67769 2016-04-21T15:19:06+01:00 2016-04-21T15:19:06+01:00 The rise of Amazon's private labels shows the perils of not owning your data & customers Patricio Robles <p>As <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-20/got-a-hot-seller-on-amazon-prepare-for-e-tailer-to-make-one-too">detailed by</a> Bloomberg's Spencer Soper, Amazon's private label brand, AmazonBasics, has grown to more 900 products.</p> <p>And its expansion appears to be driven by insights the mega-retailer has gleaned from its troves of sales data:</p> <blockquote> <p>At first, AmazonBasics - launched in 2009 - focused on batteries, recordable DVDs and such. Then for several years, the house brand 'slept quietly as it retained data about other sellers’ successes', according to the report.</p> <p>But in the past couple of years, AmazonBasics has stepped up the pace, rolling out a range of products that seem perfectly tailored to customer demand.</p> </blockquote> <p>Soper points to Rain Design, maker of a best-selling laptop stand, as an example of Amazon's strategy.</p> <p>Last year, AmazonBasics began selling a similar laptop stand, but at half the price, cutting into Rain Design's sales.</p> <p>Unfortunately for Rain Design, because Amazon's stand doesn't infringe on the company's patent, there isn't much it can do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4156/laptopstand.png" alt="" width="861" height="493"></p> <p>According to Chad Rubin, who runs ecommerce firm Skubana, Amazon "know[s] what people want and they're going to mop it up."</p> <p>By Skubana's count, Amazon is increasingly doing just that, and added nearly 300 products to its AmazonBasics portfolio last year alone.</p> <p>Beyond AmazonBasics, the 800-pound gorilla of online retail has launched a number of private label apparel brands, including Lark &amp; Ro, Scout + Ro, Franklin &amp; Freeman and Franklin Tailored.</p> <p>These are now estimated to sell more tham 1,800 different products, putting Amazon directly in competition with former partners like Gap and Eddie Bauer.</p> <h3>Amazon's advantages</h3> <p>While sellers like Rain Design hope that customer loyalty will help them weather the competition from AmazonBasics, Amazon has a number of major advantages.</p> <p>The biggest: it owns the data.</p> <p>That gives Amazon the ability to identify the ripest opportunities, including those that others don't even know about, and attack them with a level of insight that competitors don't have access to.</p> <p>Amazon also owns the customers and customer experience, making it more difficult for sellers like Rain Design to build the kind of loyalty that might encourage customers to pay significantly more for a product.</p> <p>Finally, Amazon has the wherewithal to experiment and fail quickly. As Soper notes:</p> <blockquote> <p>Amazon's size gives it an advantage over so-called direct-to-consumer startups such as mattress seller Casper and eyewear merchant Warby Parker because Amazon can experiment with one product rather than having to build out an entire line. If an item flops, it's no big deal.</p> </blockquote> <h3>It's not just ecommerce</h3> <p>Of course, Amazon isn't the only company that's seeking to take advantage of ownership and control of data and customers.</p> <p>Publishers are increasingly being pushed to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67691-content-creators-it-s-time-to-abandon-yourself-to-facebook">abandon themselves to Facebook</a>, which is working to get more and more publishers to publish their content directly on Facebook using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know">Instant Articles</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67603-what-marketers-need-to-know-about-facebook-s-livestreaming-push">Facebook Live</a>. </p> <p>Other popular social platforms, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67686-is-pinterest-using-how-to-pins-to-exploit-third-party-content-for-seo-benefit">like Pinterest</a>, are also taking advantage of the willingness of third parties to publish content outside of the channels they own and control.</p> <p>Obviously there's no guarantee that platforms will eventually look to cut out these publishers – Snapchat's <a href="http://digiday.com/publishers/lessons-snapchats-retreat-editorial-content/">retreat from original content</a> reveals numerous challenges in doing this.</p> <p>But the rise of Amazon's private labels and the impact it is having on Amazon sellers like Rain Design serves as a powerful reminder to <em>all</em> companies: if you don't control your data and customers, you can't really control your future.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67766 2016-04-21T12:26:00+01:00 2016-04-21T12:26:00+01:00 10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns Ben Davis <h3>1. The Airbnb Guidebooks</h3> <p>Let's start with something new. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65322-how-to-rebrand-airbnb/">Airbnb</a> launched guidebooks on its website and app this week, as part of its 'Live there' campaign.</p> <p>This fresh content shows Airbnb is keen to expand the knowledge and advice available through its network, competing with longer-established websites such as TripAdvisor.</p> <p>What's great about them is that every host can create one, meaning there are thousands of personal tour guides across Airbnb's network, and anyone who has signed up can access each of these guides.</p> <p>So, guests can easily view a host's local highlights, with a very handy map and some summary cards.</p> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.co.uk/things-to-do/rooms/230839"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4146/Screen_Shot_2016-04-20_at_14.28.02.png" alt="kiki's guidebook" width="615" height="337"></a></p> <p>Airbnb has also produced some city guidebooks, which are aggregated highlights from hosts' personal guides.</p> <p>I found these to be a more interesting mix than the standard TimeOut or TripAdvisor top ten listings. However, I was amused to see how certain boroughs are over-represented.</p> <p>Take London for example. A lot of Airbnb hosts reside in East London (where a lot of young creatives live).</p> <p>That means that Hackney is fairly prominent in the London recommendations.</p> <p>Six of the 10 things to do are in Hackney, including the top three (Columbia Road Flower Market, Broadway Market, London Fields Lido).</p> <p>This is a minor gripe. The bottom line is these guidebooks are authentic, easy-to-use, and a wonderful way to increase customer satisfaction and engagement.</p> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.co.uk/things-to-do/london"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4147/Screen_Shot_2016-04-20_at_14.45.52.png" alt="city guidebook from airbnb" width="615" height="300"></a></p> <h3>2. HostelWorld's Alan Partridge tribute</h3> <p>Next I'm choosing an Anglocentric campaign.</p> <p>For anyone who has never watched Alan Partridge, there was a particularly famous scene where Steve Coogan's character was pitching ideas for new TV shows.</p> <p>Of all the ideas (Monkey Tennis, Cooking in Prison etc.), Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank was one of the most absurd.</p> <p>For years, Chris Eubank didn't really understand why the public kept asking him about this. The boxer <a href="http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-08-10/chris-eubank-doesnt-get-youth-hosteling-with-chris-eubank">often sounded bemused on Twitter</a>.</p> <p>But then, 18 years later, <a href="http://www.hostelworld.com/">HostelWorld</a> decided to create this show as a marketing exercise.</p> <p>Fans of Partridge were delighted and the campaign generated lots of PR and, presumably, links.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iGG5OhEcpOQ?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>3. This Southwest Airlines flight attendant</h3> <p>Okay, she's not a campaign, but this video does have 22m views at time of writing and must have done a fair bit for the perception of enthusiastic and unique service from Southwest.</p> <p>The airline regularly ranks highly (as far as airlines go) in brand reputation rankings and sees a high level of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65544-10-loyalty-building-strategies-for-customer-retention">customer loyalty</a>. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/07LFBydGjaM?wmode=transparent" width="420" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>4. SNCF Europe - it's just next door </h3> <p>Some solid <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65230-10-very-cool-examples-of-experiential-marketing/">experiential marketing</a> next.</p> <p>In 2013, SNCF wanted to promote its rail services between European countries, highlighting the proximity of many destinations on the mainland.</p> <p>It did this with doorways that revealed LED screens broadcasting another major European city, allowing people to envisage stepping into another country.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GGW6Rm437tE?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>5. LateRooms Magic Makers</h3> <p>LateRooms shows how easy it is with a modest budget to bribe/delight customers enough that they make a lot of noise on social media.</p> <p>The campaign was very simple. Choose some customers and surprise them with a tailored gift, either after their trip or when they reach their destination.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqHWAE8GDEk">KLM did something similar way back in 2010</a>, finding customers on FourSquare, doing some detective work and then delivering them a personalised gift at the airport gate.</p> <p>The beauty of LateRooms' approach in 2015 is that the blogging community is so vast, the company could bank on more than just a Facebook post or Tweet (and duly got it).</p> <p>Here's an example of love that came the brand's way.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/LateRooms">@LateRooms</a> AMAZING unexpected thoughtful gift just arrived- so impressed and thrilled thank you magic makers <a href="https://t.co/iexM1xhlSZ">pic.twitter.com/iexM1xhlSZ</a></p> — Sarah Redmond (@SarahARedmond) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahARedmond/status/715498730200375296">March 31, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>6. HomeAway's anti-Airbnb TV spot</h3> <p>Airbnb is the elephant in the room when it comes to marketing most hoteliers and competing services.</p> <p>It certainly is (intentionally so) for HomeAway in the TV spot below. HomeAway is similar to Airbnb, except guests rent entire homes (without a host in sight).</p> <p>The company wanted to make a virtue of this difference, and it does so in a humorous way (far from the piety of the Airbnb message of joining communities).</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ylil-RlERSs?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>7. Virgin America's playful website</h3> <p>Okay, this isn't really a campaign, but Virgin America's website was so universally well-received that it felt like a campaign.</p> <p>I wrote a long blog post about how much fun it is to use. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65065-30-little-things-i-love-about-the-new-virgin-america-website/">Go check it out</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/9575/fix_phone-blog-full.png" alt="virgin america website" width="615" height="546"></p> <h3>8. Visit Britain's GREAT campaign</h3> <p>The GREAT campaign has to be included here for simple yet bold creative and stunning results.</p> <p>The four-year, £100m campaign has focused on culture, heritage, sport, music, countryside, food and shopping, as well as tying in with the Bond movie, Skyfall.</p> <p>A pre- and post-2012 Olympics push was also key to the ongoing campaign. The video below shows some of the many highlights.</p> <p>Topline results as follows:</p> <ul> <li>At least £2.5bn in additional visitor spend.</li> <li>£8.9bn in advertising equivalent value.</li> <li>£52.5m in partner funding (cash and in kind).</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4166/skyfall.gif" alt="skyfall" width="605" height="279"></p> <h3><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/06NDKa_8OSY?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></h3> <h3>9. Airbnb's Hollywood Vine</h3> <p>Yet more Airbnb and another blast from the past. The tech/travel giant jumped aboard Vine pretty quickly, using it to engage and incentivise, creating user-generated content in the process.</p> <p>A competition offered a trip to the Sundance Film Festival for lucky Viners who sent in something creative about their trip.</p> <p>Airbnb then created a feature length Vine with many of the entries. The joy of Vine in 2013 was its low-fi, DIY nature, and the feature captures this well.</p> <p>All in all, it was this kind of activity that set Airbnb apart as an engaged, thoughtful brand, not just a great platform.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/laCLVzWpS0I?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe> </p> <h3>10. Thomas Cook uses virtual reality</h3> <p>It's not just Thomas Cook, but British airways, too, that have <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67078-three-examples-of-brands-experimenting-with-virtual-reality/">trialled virtual reality</a> to give prospective customers a taste of a destination.</p> <p>Of course, it's not the 1930s any more, we see exotic locations and aeroplanes on the television all the time, but using VR to engage and upsell could be a powerful tool.</p> <p>At the moment, of course, PR is the name of the game. Surely, the brand has reaped the reward already.</p> <p>Next step is the development of 12 360-degree films showcasing various cities <a href="http://visualise.com/case-study/thomas-cook-virtual-holiday">by Visualise</a>, to expand the experience and offer customers a taste of a range of destinations.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8203/thomas_cook.jpeg" alt="thomas cook vr" width="275" height="183"></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TotoIZdle3c?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67686 2016-04-01T09:59:23+01:00 2016-04-01T09:59:23+01:00 Is Pinterest using ‘how-to Pins’ to exploit third-party content for SEO benefit? Patricio Robles <p>But Pinterest's latest offering, how-to Pins, highlights the fact that social platforms are increasingly gaining more than they're giving, particularly when it comes to SEO.</p> <p>How-to Pins, which <a href="https://blog.pinterest.com/en/introducing-how-to-pins">were announced</a> on Tuesday, allow users to interact with instructional content in a more efficient way...</p> <blockquote> <p>The next time you find an interesting project or idea on Pinterest, you’ll see a snapshot of the steps right below the Pin image. You can also click or tap on any of the steps to get the full instructions and a list of supplies - without ever leaving Pinterest.</p> </blockquote> <p>Pinterest has teamed up with a number of content brands, including Cosmopolitan, Martha Stewart Living, Food.com and Marie Claire, as well as retailer The Home Depot, to launch how-to Pins.</p> <p>The new Pin format is a no-brainer for Pinterest. </p> <p>As Pinterest's Jason Costa notes, "One of the main reasons people come to Pinterest is to find ideas they’re excited to try for the first time," so a Pin format that delivers how-to content in a delightful manner should benefit the overall Pinterest experience.</p> <h3>But what's in it for brands?</h3> <p>For a retailer like The Home Depot, which isn't in the content business, how-to Pins could potentially be a good way to promote its wares to the Pinterest audience.</p> <p>But how-to Pins are a more complicated proposition for the content brands.</p> <p>That's because while it might be easy to use existing content to create how-to Pins, the new format represents yet another push on the part of a popular social platform to deliver valuable third-party content without giving up control or ownership of users and experience. </p> <p>Like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know/">Facebook's Instant Articles</a>,<strong> it's not that there's nothing in it for the brands behind the content. There is. </strong></p> <p>But there's a strong argument to be made that the brands are getting the very short end of the stick, especially when it comes to SEO.</p> <p>Case in point: Brit &amp; Co., a digital publisher that is an early adopter of how-to Pins.</p> <p>One of its how-to Pins, <em>How to Make Easy, Cheesy Pizza Pull-Apart Bread</em>, is based on an article it published on its own site under the same title in 2014.</p> <p>The how-to Pin, which is of course hosted on pinterest.com, appears on the first page of a Google search for the title while the article on the Brit &amp; Co. appears near the bottom of the second page of Google's search results.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3456/pinterestgoogle1.jpg" alt="" width="982" height="158"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3457/pinterestgoogle2.jpg" alt="" width="759" height="139"></p> <p><strong>This demonstrates the potential of how-to Pins based on third-party content to provide a significant SEO benefit to Pinterest at the expense of the third-party which owns the content.</strong></p> <p>Obviously, how-to Pins have the potential to drive referral traffic to brands like Brit &amp; Co., and it's possible that Pinterest could one day provide a means for content owners to share in monetization of the content they post to Pinterest.</p> <p>But it's still questionable that brands will ultimately come out ahead by ceding control of user experience and ownership of audience to social channels that are increasingly asking for unfettered access to and use of their most valuable assets, and gaining a free SEO benefit in the process.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67691 2016-03-31T14:34:52+01:00 2016-03-31T14:34:52+01:00 Content creators, it's time to abandon yourself to Facebook Ben Davis <h3>Facebook forges ahead in 2016</h3> <p>There are several features that Facebook is currently prioritising that promise value for publishers. Here's a quick summary.</p> <p><strong>Facebook Live</strong></p> <p>Facebook's live streaming feature was made available to all users in January of 2016, initially for iOS but now also on Android. </p> <p>There's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/business/media/facebooks-live-video-effort-entices-media-companies.html?_r=0">a lovely article in the New York Times</a> discussing the potential of Facebook Live, including WSB TV's recent use of the functionality during a weather forecast.</p> <p>The broadcaster saw nearly 9,000 live viewers with nearly 80,000 views since (a big increase on typical online viewing figures).</p> <p>It's clear that Facebook Live, which may be spun out into its own app, could increase engagement with live video.</p> <p>Currently, many companies are dipping their toes in the water using Periscope and finding users difficult to find, or are put off by the investment (time, tech and resource) needed to host live video on their own websites.</p> <p>Facebook looks set to push live video high up user timelines giving further incentive to publishers.</p> <p><strong>Instant Articles</strong></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know">Instant Articles is opened up in April</a>, allowing publishers' content to load quickly in the Facebook app.</p> <p>The quick loading articles are likely to give publishers favourable view figures as Facebook prioritises this improved user experience.</p> <p>Traffic from Facebook to media sites is <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/08/18/facebook-google/">already more than that from Google</a>. If publishers want even more eyeballs, they should focus on serving these users in-situ.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/2095/facebook_instant_articles-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="instant articles" width="470" height="249"></p> <p><strong>Messenger for Brands</strong></p> <p>Though at face value Messenger for brands was seen as a channel for retailers and service deliverers to update customers, publishers have been experimenting, too.</p> <p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/bild.ticker">Bild has already used Messenger</a> to update users on football transfers and reality TV news (just the important stuff, then).</p> <p>Alongside improved functionality within Pages for Business (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67343-do-new-features-make-facebook-a-viable-customer-service-platform">response times, changed inbox and commenting</a>), Messenger makes Facebook a personalised comms tool, rather than simply a network to broadcast over.</p> <p>Perhaps Facebook may eventually be an important platform for publishers to serve paid subscribers.</p> <p><strong>VR</strong></p> <p>360 video is supported in the Facebook Timeline. With its hegemony on mobile and ownership of Oculus, Facebook seems supremely well positioned to become de-facto <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketers-guide-to-virtual-reality/">VR partner for brands and publishers</a>.</p> <p>Yes, Google and YouTube are in this space, too, but with standard video views on Facebook far outstripping YouTube, isn't Facebook the video platform du jour?</p> <p>However, some people point to an unrealistic definition of a video view (three seconds) and much 'stolen' content on Facebook (often from YouTube) as issues that need addressing.</p> <h3>The social monetisation battle has been fought</h3> <p>One advantage for publishers on Facebook is, I believe, that the monetisation battle has already been fought on social.</p> <p>As publishers are mired in the debate about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67076-the-rise-and-rise-of-ad-blockers-stats/">ad blocking</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67659-three-things-that-show-the-scale-of-the-ad-fraud-challenge/">ad fraud</a> and user experience on their own websites, social media users are, on the other hand, resigned to monetised platforms.</p> <p>The control that Facebook has over its walled garden helps to ensure that the ad experience <a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/gawker-ceo-nick-denton-on-the-ad-tech-mess-2016-1?r=US&amp;IR=T">doesn't get bloated</a> by the involvement of too many parties.</p> <p>Instant Articles is held in front of publishers with the promise of a share in advertising revenue. </p> <p>Facebook has only recently announced that video ads will be appended to Instant Articles, too, increasing further the opportunity for those that open up their content.</p> <p>Whilst the results (revenue-wise) for Instant Article publishers are yet to come out in the wash, the opportunity for ads within Facebook may be an additional revenue stream for big publishers (rather than simply cannabilisation of on-site success).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2381/ad_blocking.png" alt="ad blocking growth" width="615"></p> <h3>It's still that user base</h3> <p>The bottom line is that Facebook has 1bn daily users and is continuing to learn more about them and expand the very idea of a social profile online.</p> <p>For all the uncertainty for content creators, getting in front of these users, learning what works and what doesn't, alongside Facebook, feels like the only safe option.</p> <p>Friend or enemy, brands know they must keep Facebook close. </p> <h3>Simplifying marketing infrastructure</h3> <p>The last point I want to make is a comparison between Google and Facebook.</p> <p>As Google expanded its ecosystem, many companies found life in bed with Google a lot simpler. Using Gmail, Google Apps, AdWords, Analytics etc. suddenly meant that infrastructure could be streamlined.</p> <p>The journey with Facebook is no different; it wants to make its own products easier to use and more effective than alternative routes to market.</p> <p>Ultimately, the rewards for brands and content creators should outweigh the costs.</p> <h3>So, it's all rosy?</h3> <p>Of course, this is just a skip through the current state of Facebook for publishers. While I'm arguing that it's a promising picture, there are still many concerns.</p> <ul> <li>Will Facebook's algorithm mean quality articles lose out at the expense of clickbait?</li> <li>Will all publishers be allowed in? How democratic can a walled garden be?</li> <li>How transparent will Facebook be with its audience data?</li> </ul> <p><em>Let us know your own thoughts below.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67653 2016-03-21T15:43:00+00:00 2016-03-21T15:43:00+00:00 Millennials open to pharma ads, but pharma not delivering on UX Patricio Robles <p>That's a significantly higher percentage than Gen X and Baby Boomers, only 36% and 26%, respectively, of whom said they'd be similarly motivated.</p> <p>What's more: when performing online research, millennials were twice as likely as their older siblings and parents to click on the first link in the SERPs, "demonstrating the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65439-five-highly-effective-search-marketing-campaigns-from-the-digitals/">effectiveness of paid search</a> with this generation." </p> <h3>User experience, trust crucial to digital success</h3> <p>While millennials appear to be more easily swayed through advertising, when it comes to the effectiveness of online resources, pharma companies are not well-positioned to capitalize because they're not delivering on user experience.</p> <p>According to Makovsky Health and Kelton, "consumers are increasingly leveraging online resources to both prepare for appointments and validate physician recommendations," and not surprisingly, user experience is correlated with usage.</p> <p>The most popular single resource, WebMD, was visited by 53% of survey respondents seeking health information online. It received the highest marks from consumers for ease-of-use despite lagging in trustworthiness.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3047/healthstudy.jpg" alt="" width="356" height="153"></p> <p>Meanwhile, online resources provided by advocacy groups received the highest marks for trustworthiness but were among the least used, perhaps because they were ranked lower for ease-of-use.</p> <p>Pharma websites were the least used. They received the second lowest ranking for trustworthiness and lagged WebMD by more than 20% in the ease-of-use category.</p> <h3>It doesn't have to be this way</h3> <p>With deep pockets and proprietary content, pharma companies should be in a position to deliver high-quality digital experiences that offer consumers real value.</p> <p>As Deloitte Consulting and the Gerson Lehrman Group noted last year when looking at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67131-pharma-s-mobile-social-efforts-aren-t-as-healthy-as-they-should-be">pharma's mobile and social efforts targeted at physicians</a>, pharma companies have clinical data and insights that few others have. While this content is obviously of great value to physician marketing, some of it can also be put to good use in developing experiences for consumers.</p> <p>Given that the pharma industry is spending $4.5bn a year on ads, a figure that has increased by 30% in the past two years, and appears to have a particularly receptive millennial audience, pharma companies are clearly missing out on the opportunity to play a larger role in the market for digital health information – an opportunity that would probably bolster the effectiveness of their heavy ad spending.</p> <p>This could be a costly mistake that only gets costlier if the American Medical Association (AMA) has its way and regulators <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67227-ban-on-consumer-ads-could-make-pharma-s-digital-shortcomings-more-costly">restrict or ban direct-to-consumer pharma ads</a>.</p> <p><em>For more on healthcare, read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/organizing-marketing-in-the-digital-age">Organizing Marketing in the Digital Age (Healthcare)</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67622 2016-03-15T15:37:00+00:00 2016-03-15T15:37:00+00:00 What does content strategy mean at The Economist? Ben Davis <h4><strong>What does content strategy at The Economist entail? And is it easier or harder doing it within an organisation so well known for great content?</strong></h4> <p>I work on the Content Solutions side of the business so I create content programs for our sponsors.</p> <p>It’s just as important for me to understand how our audience consumes The Economist as it is for the editorial side.</p> <p>I'm looking for what content and ideas have most value to our readers, while creating value for the brands we’re working with.</p> <p>I’m really lucky to be working at a brand like The Economist. We have editorial guidelines and standards that help us maintain a trusted relationship with our readers, and allow us to maintain the quality of content our brand is known for.</p> <p>That’s why brands and agencies want to work with us. We value transparency.</p> <p>Our relationship with our readers comes first - and that ends up serving our clients very well.</p> <p>I think in this age of sponsored, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67083-is-native-advertising-sustainable/">native</a> and branded content, publishers still must stay true to themselves. If you erode your brand, you lose your value and the trust readers have in it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2727/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_09.48.33.png" alt="the economist" width="615"></p> <h4><strong>To what extent is personalization a priority, across the website and your contact strategy?</strong></h4> <p>Personalization is important, but not at the price of showing an entire story.</p> <p>On the ad side, we have cookie-based targeting that allows us to show content to readers based on their interests and what they’ve read.</p> <p>We also create program pages that surface content based on a user's entry point or base it on what content they tend to consume more of.</p> <p>So for example, if they keep watching video, we’ll surface more video content in the mix, or if they come from a social channel, we may surface shorter-form content to start.</p> <p>At all points, we’ll allow them to go deeper into stories but help bring to light the content topics and types they engage with more.</p> <p>But technology is just a set of tactics. From a strategic point of view, we need a deep understanding of our audience in order to serve them.</p> <p>Personalization is just one way we can do so, but we have to create the right content in the first place for that approach to even happen.</p> <h4><strong>What's The Economist view on ad blockers?</strong></h4> <p>Let me give you <em>my</em> take on ad blockers. People are going to block ads. They have been doing that for a very long time. </p> <p>But <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67508-10-publishers-that-want-you-to-disable-your-ad-blocker/">people block ads</a> because the targeting isn’t right, the frequency of placement is intrusive, and the ad gives no value.</p> <p>The programs we do with clients are about digging into new research, new POVs and new results that can actually help our readers with their day-to-day business decisions.</p> <p>We make any portal into those programs be something engaging and enlightening, so even if that idea isn’t applicable, our readers are not thrown off by it, or think it’s out of place.</p> <h4><strong>How important is video in your content strategy?</strong></h4> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65957-video-content-strategy-why-do-it-will-anyone-watch-it/">Videos used the <em>right</em> way</a> are very key. We are visual creatures. I think videos can help us get a quick understanding of a topic or it can be used to move us.</p> <p>Videos that go viral tend to have <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67638-seven-tips-for-driving-an-emotional-response-to-video-marketing/">an emotional hook</a>, because people like to get that thing that makes them feel good and to share it so others can feel the same way.</p> <p>Also some topics and ideas lend themselves better to video, especially those that help make better sense of complex issues.</p> <p>But video isn’t the be all and end all. I think video is a part of a bigger world of content - especially when your audience has specific needs.</p> <p>When we conducted our <a href="http://www.missingthemark.ads.economist.com/">Missing the Mark research</a> we actually found a high percentage of business leaders looked more to long form text when researching a business idea, or looking further into a business-related matter.</p> <p>Video is a great way to grab attention and pull people into deeper content, but you still need a healthy mix, especially when you’re looking to communicate more than a sound bite.</p> <p><em>Part of The Economist's Missing the Mark research</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2725/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_09.40.15.png" alt="missing the mark research" width="615"></p> <h4><strong>We've seen The Economist experimenting with a variety of social platforms. Do you foresee content being consumed more &amp; more away from economist.com?</strong></h4> <p>Yes. But that’s what’s happening across the entire industry.</p> <p>More and more, individuals are using social channels as their portal to the internet so they look to consume everything there.</p> <p>It’s about being where the readers are, and understanding that it’s not about page views on one site, but the consumption and engagement of content everywhere across the web.</p> <p>We know how to communicate especially well with people who like The Economist. We can find people like that everywhere.</p> <h4><strong>How much testing do you do around subscription selling on site? How do you hold back &amp; not make the site too distracting while maximising conversion?</strong></h4> <p>This is not specifically <em>my</em> area but I know that we do a tremendous amount of testing and have learned that engagement with our content is the key to selling subscriptions.</p> <p>Our marketing is true content marketing in that the content is both our marketing and our product.</p> <p><em>For more on The Economist, why not read the following:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67447-the-economist-finding-new-readers-with-creative-programmatic-display/">Finding new readers with creative programmatic display</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67192-how-the-economist-injected-digital-into-a-172-year-old-magazine/">How The Economist injected digital into a 172 year old magazine</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67623 2016-03-09T14:22:42+00:00 2016-03-09T14:22:42+00:00 Ecommerce product descriptions: Are they always necessary? Ben Davis <h3><strong>1. Badly written product descriptions will devalue products &amp; websites</strong></h3> <p>You might think it's hardly an argument against using product descriptions, to say that they are unhelpful when not done well. That could be said of any feature, surely?</p> <p>Possibly, but I'm inclined to believe that the subjectivity involved in writing and reading a product description makes them dangerous.</p> <p>I'm not talking about functional descriptions which, much like product specifications, are often necessary.</p> <p>I'm thinking more of things like style advice, or usage scenarios or just a description that's supposed to be classy not hyperbolic.</p> <p>Here's an example from the travel industry, a hotel room provided by W Hotels. The enormous description makes the page less user friendly (blocky text) but it's also just bad.</p> <p>Click through if you can't read it easily (maybe this product description is a genius ploy for backlinks?).</p> <p><a href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/rooms/room_class_detail.html?propertyID=1234&amp;roomClassId=1000486889"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2760/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_15.25.24.png" alt="w hotels product description" width="615"></a> </p> <h3><strong>2. High-street fashion retailers don't seem bothered about product descriptions</strong></h3> <p>I went to the three biggest fashion retailers and clicked on the first men's jacket for sale.</p> <p>Below you can see the extent of the product descriptions. They don't really say more than a specification would.</p> <p>Only Gap uses a full sentence (with subject and verb), though arguably has the most dated website of the three.</p> <p>Ecommerce functionality now often includes up-sell ('style with'), so there's no need for extra copy for this purpose. See Zara for a good example.</p> <p><strong><em>Zara</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zara.com/uk/en/man/jackets/view-all/bomber-jacket-c798001p3184698.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2753/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_14.43.44.png" alt="zara" width="615"></a></p> <p><strong><em>H&amp;M</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2754/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_14.56.37.png" alt="h&amp;m product page" width="615"></p> <p><strong><em>Gap</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2755/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_15.04.45.png" alt="gap product page" width="615"> </p> <h3><strong>3. SEO has moved on</strong></h3> <p>Can we truly say product descriptions are important for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">SEO</a>?</p> <p>Keywords, we are told, just aren't as important any more, at least from Google's point of view.</p> <p>Yes, they may help with internal search, and page titles and page descriptions should still be optimised, but much more important is being mobile-ready and easy to use.</p> <p>That means fast, simple and enjoyable.</p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67600-missguided-launches-tinder-inspired-app-experience-review">Tinderisation of fashion ecommerce</a> shows how superfluous text is to the enjoyment of the browser. Users want to look at products then approve or dismiss them, not read about how the products will make them feel.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2584/IMG_2663.PNG" alt="swipe to hype" width="300"></p> <h3><strong>4. International visitors don't care</strong></h3> <p>Perhaps a tenuous point this one, but it's fair to say that images are universal and copy is not.</p> <h3><strong>5. Text clutters and distracts</strong></h3> <p>Look at most best practice advice for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why/">product pages</a> and bullet points are championed as the most salient method of presenting information.</p> <p>Web users simply don't have the concentration required to read paragraphs of text. </p> <h3><strong>So, are product descriptions a waste of time?</strong></h3> <p>I have worked clientside and written product descriptions in fashion. It took up a chunk of time and I'm not entirely convinced it was worth it. Content execs can spend too long doing this kind of work.</p> <p>I've also known agencies spend time rewriting descriptive copy, saying it was important for SEO, but in fact it felt more like it was something tangible/easy the agency could delegate to less experienced staff, and that didn't have all that great an impact.</p> <p>Automation of product descriptions is now seen through companies such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67256-should-writers-be-worried-about-automated-copywriting/">Wordsmith</a>, which can turn CSVs of product specs into prose.</p> <p><strong><em>Wordsmith</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2776/wsmith.png" alt="wordsmith" width="615"></p> <h3><strong>Seriously?</strong></h3> <p>Despite my repeated attempts at playing devil's advocate, it would be bonkers to dismiss product descriptions (after all, I've previously written <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions">guides for product descriptions</a>).</p> <p>But I suppose I wanted to start a discussion about web design and about skills - are some sites (SMEs? Brands with legacy infrastructure?) concentrating on features such as product descriptions because they don't have facility to go after priorities such as better imagery, layout testing and UX innovation?</p> <p>I think it's undoubtedly the case that as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67305-three-key-charts-from-the-digital-skills-gap-in-government-report/">the skills gap</a> is filled, the role of content management will change for many, moving from SEO and writing towards human-centred design and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64474-ecommerce-information-architecture-the-devil-in-the-detail/">information architecture</a>.</p> <p>On a mobile device text has to be spot on. Any extraneous waffle (irony alert) is a conversion barrier.</p> <p>As an addendum let me add that I'm aware that description is vital for considered purchases - I've include a few below.</p> <p>Ultimately, copy creates trust when used well. This trust might be secondary to style in fast fashion but it's vitally important for houses, cars, professional services, new brands or those seeking to make an impact (and the list no doubt continues).</p> <p><strong><em>Some context is more important in the product description of a pricey designer item (for life, not Christmas).</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2762/Screen_Shot_2016-03-08_at_15.36.54.png" alt="net-a-porter" width="615"> </p> <p><strong><em>Runners need to trust that their shoe offers them benefits. Their health is potentially at stake.</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2779/nike_product.png" alt="nike product" width="615"></p> <p><strong><em>Do I really need a Land Rover? Yes, says the product copy, this is why this £80,000 car is better than all the others.</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2781/land_rover.gif" alt="landrover product page" width="512" height="304"></p> <p><em>If you’re unconvinced by Ben’s arguments, check out Econsultancy’s range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content/">Copywriting &amp; Content Marketing Training Courses.</a></em></p>