what we’ve been doing, thinking and observing
Social media has become commoditised. It’s not just for fashion or FMCGs, but for B2B, finance and really any brand that puts efforts into marketing. Where previously, digital marketing in the forms of PPC, SEO and display stood on its own, siloed from social, the relatively recent necessity to buy reach on social has blurred the lines between PR/content and digital paid media.
Earlier this week Google started including Twitter results in search results pages. This latest inclusion features the most recent posts on a carousel as well as the date posted, further negating the need to leave the Google search results page. This is not an unexpected addition, as it was public knowledge when in February Google reached an agreement with Twitter to grant access to it’s ‘firehose’ data stream.
The impact of this is likely to be positive for both Google Twitter and searchers.
It will send more traffic to Twitter and likely increase its number of users whilst providing added value to Google’s search results. It will also increase the reach of tweets substantially.
From a social media perspective, this partnership benefits Twitter massively as it adds to potential for platform discovery, and shows off what the platform does best – show real-time results for queries. Most importantly, this has the potential to benefit to brands significantly, as their tweets will show up in search results and grant additional exposure to their content on the most popular website on the planet.
With social and search becoming increasingly linked in digital marketing, this latest change is paving the way for further integration in the future. With Facebook being the most visited website after Google, the amount of data that Google can glean from Facebook would be astronomical and would add an entire social layer to Google’s search algorithm. That being said, they are in direct competition with each other and a deal may not be struck any time soon.
And further enhancements to Google search, including the rumoured addition of video ads, shows that Google is continuing to adapt its hero product to the trends in digital content and advertising – keeping the pressure on its competitors and digital marketers to ensure they’re keeping up on the cutting edge.
Pay per Click (PPC) continues to be a strong performing channel for many of our clients so it’s hugely important to be constantly ensuring it is delivering results in the most efficient way possible.
PPC is also becoming more complex, so with that in mind, we have created our top tips for ensuring PPC success:
1. Review your search queries
The Google Search Query reports are an invaluable tool for discovering new keywords and enhancing negative keyword lists. Regularly keyword re-cycling ensures continually improvement of the range of exact match campaigns and improving the efficiency of broad match campaigns.
2. Keyword cannibalisation
We often see keywords triggering bids in the wrong campaigns as the campaign structure isn’t right. It is vital to ensure broad match campaigns are setting bids below exact match campaigns and through the process of reviewing search queries ensure that there are no overlaps in keywords to aggregate information into the right places.
3. Mobile Ad extensions
Google has specific ad extensions for mobile devices. Correct usage of these to enhance local information will ensure that the ad is mobile specific, which will improve performance.
4. Variable bid elements
There are a number of variable bid elements beyond the bid price of a keyword. It’s essential to use both AdWords and analytics data to understand which variables, such as days, times, devices and locations work best. Be careful though, as adding multiple bids multipliers has the effect of doing just what it sounds like – multiplying them rather than adding!
5. Maximise Ad space
Ensure you maximise the use of ad space through site links and callout extensions. Improving your Click Through Rate (CTR) with maximum utilisation of all the ad space available, will improve the performance of campaigns
6. Product Listing Ads (PLA’s)
Ensure PLA is structured to allow effective optimisation and understand that negatives and cannibalisation happens the same as on keywords. By breaking down campaigns by brand and generic like keywords, it can have a positive effect on driving campaigns, especially if the main goal is to drive new customer acquisition
7. AdWords Scripts
AdWords has plenty of easy script capabilities that allow automation of a number of processes. For example, use AdWords scripts to control for stock or out of office hours – or any other variables that are important to your business for that matter.
8. Always be testing
Analyse your account against ongoing performance for Quality Score, CTR and other variables and build out tests on an ongoing basis to improve performance. To really understand what impacts performance, test one variable at a time to see what makes a difference. Landing page and ad copy are usually the best places to start.
9. Budget control
Understand delivery settings to ensure that the best campaigns run on accelerated delivery.
10. When in doubt get some expert advice!
When in doubt – ask! PPC is becoming increasingly complex with multiple devices, a multitude of optimisation options and areas for improvement and growth such as PLA and Remarketing List For Search Ads (RLSA’s).
Live sporting events have gone through some major changes in recent years in the way consumers choose to watch their favourite events and how they buy tickets.
Threepipe have been working closely with a number of sporting clients, helping them to sell more tickets. Clients such as the ECB, RFL, Great British Racing, Lord’s, Barbarians and the Brazil National Football team have approached Threepipe to help them understand this change and sell more tickets.
Data and insight is at the heart of every campaign as this allows Threepipe to gain a clear understanding of the consumer and market we’re working in. By mapping out the user journey and tracking each touchpoint (whether that be the website, social channel, banner ad or video content), Threepipe are able to build a picture of a client’s current customer base even before going live.
With a large proportion of client’s wanting to attract new customers, Threepipe look to highlight the vital role that social and content play. The more (high quality) content available, the more opportunities Threepipe will have to catch a user’s interest and bring them into the purchase funnel.
Short form video content has proven effective for the ECB who approached Threepipe to relaunch T20 cricket, generating awareness and ticket sales. Threepipe executed an integrated approach across earned, owned, paid and social channels to hit these objectives.
Threepipe created engaging content such as launching a cricket ball into space (world first) to signal that the competition had ‘blasted off’.
By retargeting video viewers with display ads, Threepipe were able to convert these eyeballs into ticket sales at a cost-efficient rate. This strategy was part of a wider digital campaign that resulted in a 13% increase in tickets sold year on year and a 29% increase in 18-30 year olds purchasing tickets in advance.
Rugby Football League
The RFL commissioned Threepipe to promote the Super League Grand Final in 2014, where we utilised social channels to build awareness and conversation amongst new and existing audiences. This was then combined with performance channels (paid search and display) to capture this interest and drive ticket sales.
Being the first digital campaign for the RFL, Threepipe were keen to make this work and show the value and efficiency of digital marketing. The campaign was a success, far exceeding ROI expectations and influenced over £170k in revenue. More importantly it provided the RFL with insight into their online audience and gave them the confidence to work with Threepipe on more projects this year including Super League Season Openers, World Club Series, Magic weekend and the Challenge Cup Final amongst others.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) – Lord’s
Lord’s, a PR and digital client of Threepipe tasked us with increasing attendance for their international test match against New Zealand. As Threepipe work across all of Lord’s business units (tours, academy, ticket sales etc.) Threepipe were able to use our detailed insights into customer buying habits to drive online sales.
In order to target the different types of customers (cricket fans, corporates, families) Threepipe launched a campaign across social and display advertising. Facebook was used to harness the excitement for the upcoming Ashes series and persuade users to also buy for the imminent New Zealand match. Display advertising was used to reach out across the web and capture users at the right moment, whilst also converting the interest from social.
Despite a poor ICC World Cup performance earlier in the year, Threepipe managed to generate a strong return on investment and helped thousands of fans to see England win the first big test match of the summer.
Brazil National Football Team
Brazil were playing at the Emirates as part of their worldwide tour and wanted to attract the London sports crowd. Threepipe utilised the big names of Neymar and Sanchez and channelled this international interest into online traffic and sales.
In order to reach a variety of audiences in a cost effective manner, Threepipe engaged in a display outreach campaign, segmenting audiences based on their browsing interest such as football, rugby, parent sites for the family audience etc. Using our previous experience in marketing to sporting fans, Threepipe were able to hit the ground running and generate high interest from day one with engagements rates 5 times the average.
The market response was high, leading to the client up weighting spend mid campaign and a sell-out crowd at the Emirates.
There is no escaping the negative publicity that has come the way of Adobe Flash in recent months. It seems as if there are companies queuing up to throw their hat into the ring and try and take Flash down.
Browsers have very much been at the forefront of this drive with Mozilla Firefox moving to block flash as a default setting within the browser due to security concerns around people exploiting the plugin.
This was only a temporary measure until Adobe performed an update to rectify these concerns but non-the-less added fuel to a fire that was already burning strong.
To compound the misery the latest upgrade of Chrome, due on September 1st, is going to automatically block flash from auto playing.
To put that into a digital advertising context, any flash rich media executions will look as follows:
This means users will have to activate it themselves, which isn’t ideal.
Google give the reason behind this move as reducing power consumption and so prolonging battery life on lap-tops.
Given these two browsers account for roughly 40% market share (Chrome 27.66%, Firefox 12%) that does not bode well for Flash.
If all of this was not bad enough there is an increasing movement (and when I say movement I mean a properly organised movement, check out the website http://occupyflash.org/) to rid the internet of what is seen as an archaic plugin, for good. Names such as Steve Jobs have put their voice behind this as long ago as 2010.
This is not about questioning the ability of Flash to produce slick creative executions rather its seeming inability to evolve across time as changing industry patterns demand.
In a world where internet consumption is ever shifting the way of mobile, the fact that it doesn’t actually work on most mobile devices can’t be seen as anything other than a gaping sore in its capabilities and one that is certain to fester.
So when it comes to display creative, the question arises of what is one to do. There is always the option of making use of gifs and jpegs, but this doesn’t really cut it when it comes to a rich creative experience.
Step forward HTML5.
Firstly it is entirely possible to produce the same kind of user experience through this medium as it is in flash. It also requires no plugins to be installed in on the system, is easier to construct in smaller file sizes and thus adhere to ad specs, but the real winner is the mobile compatibility. Given the shift towards mobiles as a main source of browsing, this is a huge advantage.
The barriers to adoption seem to be formed from a legacy of experience with flash and a slight fear and perhaps unwillingness to move away from something well established. It surely makes sense for creative to follow the general trends into the new world order. To be left behind would be to lose out.
At Threepipe we strongly encourage all clients to build creative within an HTML5 format in order to take full advantage of the opportunities that this brings, and our in-house studio here can create these efficiently for you if needed. It is important to offer up the most effective user experience and with the changes that are imminent, this requires moving away from flash.
This may all seem quite overwhelming, especially if HTML5 build skills it not something that is readily available as a resource. However, there are some tools which try and help make this transition a little easier, for example check out this link to Swiffy, a neat little tool that allows you to convert Flash creative into HTML5 https://developers.google.com/swiffy/?hl=en.
These should not be seen as a permanent solution however, rather a bridging measure, until creative teams are skilled up enough to produce HTML5 as standard output, as we can do, and help you execute, at Threepipe.
This transition has now become an inevitability so it is vital to take steps to take this into account now and minimise any negative effect by not doing so. You can guarantee not everybody will be quick on the uptake here, so this represents an opportunity to gain an advantage over other brands in the interim.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, has appointed Threepipe to increase brand awareness, creating a pull for the CIMA qualification (CGMA).
CIMA was founded in 1919 and has over 227,000 members and students, operating in 179 countries. It works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.
Threepipe will be using a combination of organic and paid social media with a variety of interactive content to increase audience engagement and grow social community populations.
“We are delighted to be part of this project with CIMA,” said Jim Hawker, Co-Founder, Threepipe. “It is rare to receive a brief for such an advanced approach to content marketing, so we were thrilled to be selected. CIMA is an exceptionally forward-looking organisation and this win brings a visionary and highly integrated brand into our portfolio.”
“Working with Threepipe has given us the opportunity to try many new forms of content to help engage with our audience,” said Ana Barco, Head of Content Marketing, CIMA. “We’re looking forward to this project, which will not only increase the relevance of Management Accountancy and drive brand awareness, but also help us to innovate and stay at the forefront of the industry.”