I like mine unblocked…

I like mine unblocked…

One of the major talking points in the industry in 2015 has been the rise of Ad-Blocking software usage by internet users. Ad-Blocking is still not a widely understood issue outside of digital; often people might hear a fleeting mention of it in the media and query it to me as a side note. With the long term concerns still only just a guess, it is difficult to explain how things are going to pan out, especially when we are sitting on this; the alarming growth of Ad Blockers:

Usage 41% up over the last 12 months (nearly 200 million users globally)

18% of UK web-users (1.8 million people)

The question that is somewhat more answerable however, what are we doing about it?



With there being a clear message to advertisers and publishers alike that we are simply not doing enough to show users any benefits to online ads, we are left questioning whether the use of Ad blockers is insult to content, or injury to the industry?

Sarah Clark from ‘Chief Marketer’ makes a perfectly valid argument that storytelling is simply not utilised enough in display and this I agree with, but I do not believe lack of storytelling is the only issue. Storytelling online only plays a part in content and requires a commitment to the campaign. Flexibility to be reactive isn’t always there when a story needs to be told, especially for fast-paced industries. the problem truly lies elsewhere; in relevancy.

With all the ultra-targeted options available in this age, there is no excuse for internet-users to still be seeing irrelevant adverts. Situations do arise where companies boast new propositions that are actually useful for the wider audience of ‘all’; but most ads need not be fired at everyone and should utilise the vast mounds of data we have to ensure ads are only targeted to those that will appreciate them.

Advertisers have an opportunity to do what they can now to encourage internet users to want to see ads or at least not despise them. This means not forcing them onto users (looking at…non-skippable video, pop ups etc) and above all making them relevant.


Emotive displays in the information age

The argument exists as to whether brands should use emotion to connect with consumers or information to understand what they want. Both have their benefits but at the same time, both can be used to completely no avail.

I highlight Sainsbury’s 2014 Christmas Television advert in which they used the famous World War 1 holiday cease fire in 1914; it received acclaim and triggered emotive reactions from people in a way that previously might not have been accepted; yet did it really serve its purpose as an advert? It raised considerable questions as to the use of such an event to market and advertise a supermarket, with my gripe being whether it actually did just that. The emotional impact of the advert might be seen as being so heavy, that people are too occupied with talking/reacting to the event that they fail to acknowledge who the advert was promoting.

How then could a more informative advert have befitted Sainsbury’s? Of course, it is important to remember that throughout the holiday period consumers are likely more open and perceptive to emotional triggers. Could it not represent a change if companies opted for a more informative approach throughout holiday periods. Or maybe an attempt to combine the two and provide the more savvy, information reliant modern day consumer with an equal amount of emotive connection and  product understanding.

SEO, Yes or No? A review of this blogs SEO performance

“As new technologies are assimilated into our daily routines, they stop feeling like contact with an unfamiliar future and start feeling like familiar objects with their own special character

Haile (2014) discusses the impact of digital technologies since the dawn of the first computer in 1948.

As each new digital technology is introduced, it integrates itself into the everyday routines that we experience and slowly becomes a part of our everyday lives. Social Media for example has now seemingly become a necessity in every aspect of not only personal lives, but business, and specifically marketing.

This blog post hopes to provide an overview into aspects of  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that have enabled this blog to generate visits and views. It is also the intention of this post to understand the factors where SEO was not fully utilised and where it might have been possible to improve usage and increase the audience numbers.

The foundations needed to build successful SEO begin with content and an understanding into what not, and what to include on a webpage. Applying this to my first blog post it is visible that having no knowledge of using ‘tags’, ‘categories’, ‘relevant titles’ and ‘keywords’ had an enormous negligible effect on the number of views/visits to the post. Throughout the short lifetime of this blog, an understanding of digital media as a whole has been generated and more importantly, the integration of ALL digital Media. It is surprising to realise the sheer capabilities of digital and the progress that it is set to make.

Referring to the Periodic Table of SEO Success factors (SearchEngineLand, 2014) that was used in a previous SEO post, it is possible to identify areas in which this blog did not succeed within SEO and how it might have been possible to generate more visitors and reduce bounce rates.


In the interest of a limited word count, the focus will be limited to only a few areas of this table that have been identified as underutilised in the process of this blog.

Firstly, ‘Research’- “Research ‘Keywords’ that people may use to find content”. With a weighted ranking of ‘3’ this factor identifies one of the major flaws in the attempt to maximise visitors. An oversight that Ryan (2014 pp.111) also reaffirms saying that “knowing your target audience is a critical component of SEO”. Research into the types of people that might be searching for similar content as that which is in the blog posts might have revealed what prospective readers might be typing into their searches in order to find content. This could have provided better information as to what keywords or phrases to include in the post that might encourage a search engine to provide this blog as a result. It is suggested by Clay (2014) that search engines give more emphasis on the headings found on a webpage. A more careful selection of keywords to include in titles for each post would have possibly yielded better results also.

Whether or not the results of SEO would be noticed in the period of time this blog has been running is not clear; the short period of time it has been running however, could play a factor in the amount of visitors to the website. Berman & Katona (2013) argue that the effects of SEO can take months to materialise. Although the next factor further reveals how this might have been the case.

“History” -“Has the site or domain been around for a long period of time“.- Search Engines keep records of web pages and whether or not they are reputable to recommend to searchers or not. This could indicate two factors that potentially link extremely closely with one another. “History” along with “Reputation” – “which analyses respected web-users use of the content” – in other words, whether it is shared on social networks or not and how much. It is likely not possible for the pages on this blog to have generated any reputability with Google, Bing or other search-engines, with potentially the only way around this being to find a way to include links to the blog on other reputed sites.

This then, poses the question of what could have been better utilised to increase visitors and views. Simply put, a better all round understanding of SEO would have been beneficial to this blog. As Shreeves (2012) states SEO is “a process—a series of planning and execution steps”. With the knowledge that has been gained however, a more proactive approach could have been taken towards content. A consideration to what the audience may be searching for and what they may want to read whilst also ensuring that the links included within posts were of good quality.

Another important factor to consider is Social Media. Anderson (2013) argues that the importance of SEO may be declining and that of ‘Social Media Optimisation’ (SMO) is becoming a much more reliable and better placed form of web-marketing. With SEO requiring websites to follow a set of rules to ensure that its ‘search spiders’ (Ryan, 2014) can roam the pages in order to index the information, websites can lose a certain amount of engaging content for the reader. SMO however, simply encourages better content, whilst also enabling content providers to interact directly with social media users. Anderson (2013) continues to explain that SMO is “about inviting people into conversation rather than merely broadcasting a message”. 

However due to the relative immaturity of this blog, it is recognised that time will be necessary to generate a consistent audience. Considering these factors it might be seen that blogging, specifically in relation to this blog, would benefit from increased efforts on social media optimisation. Whilst efforts on SEO will pay off in the long run, it is important to note that immediate benefits have been reaped from posting on Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.



Anderson, T. (2013). SEO is dead, Long live Social Media Optimisation. The Guardian. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/22/seo-is-dead-long-live-social-media-optimisation [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Berman, R. and Katona, Z. (2013). The Role of Search Engine Optimization in Search Marketing.Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, 32(4), p.645.

Haigh, T. (2014). We have never been digital. Communications of the ACM, 57(9), pp.24-28.

Killoran, J. (2013). How to Use Search Engine Optimization Techniques to Increase Website Visibility. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 56(1), p.51.

Lines, N. (2014). What is SEO and how can it help my website’s Google visibility?. The Guardian. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jan/16/what-is-seo-how-website-google-visibility [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Ryan, D. (2014). Understanding digital marketing. London: Kogan Page.


Order confirmed…

Order confirmed…

We all get excited when that Amazon package arrives at the door, but what if we did not order it? What if Amazon simply predicted that you might want something?

New line … an Amazon package.

It was revealed early in 2014 that Amazon had gained a patent for Anticipatory shipping; a method of shipping that allows the company to ship products to customers even before they know they want it. By analysing the historical buying habits of customers (which potentially might include something so precise as how long you hovered your mouse over an item), the company hopes to cut delivery times dramatically, thus discouraging the need for consumers to visit physical stores and perhaps even cut out the need for you to even press the “buy” button.

Although the exact details of how the process will work are unknown, the idea is sure to provoke a variety of views, namely whether people will be happy with Amazon just assuming  they want something.

One of the plans the patent (below) reveals is the idea that Amazon will look at geographical data links between location and products. If it appears that a certain area are identifying with a particular product, then the company could box and ship products to a local shipping hub or on a truck until an order arrives. 

Amazon patent image 2

The sheer amount of data that Amazon would be gathering through anticipatory shipping is enough to start thinking that perhaps there is something in this patent and Amazon are simply just maintaining their status as being one of the most convenient, consumer friendly methods of shopping. To take this idea further; the data Amazon collects could potentially predict when you will run out  of something and deliver it ready at the door. Imagine  not having to worry about going to the shops to buy Toilet Paper or Milk, that would be impressive.







Word on the Street is…

The audiences are bigger, the response times are quicker. The art of Public Relations has changed dramatically in recent years; previously it was mostly about reacting to bad press and reputation, but now it is more of a proactive tool designed to prevent organisations names entering into a negative light. Organisations have a lot more control now over what appears in the press and when. Carrie Morgan says that Digital PR is about bypassing media and speaking directly to consumers, but surely this means PR is no longer about the idea of controlling media-flow, and more about creating it. The role of PR has completely changed.

The Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR) defines Public Relations as “about reputation- the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you”. Today, PR is less about “permeating the message of clients through Press and TV” and more about self-generating content that interacts with consumers on a direct level.


Social Media for example has given companies the ability to respond and communicate immediately to consumers. The sheer volume of social media and digital platforms available has meant that a single message can be targeted to a much wider, larger and more direct audience. It has also meant small local firms now possess the potential to reach an exponential amount of people, making for slightly fairer competition with more global organisations. It can also go wrong however. If businesses do not manage a complaint or issue from a consumer, it has the adverse affect of potentially reaching millions of people. 

In reality, this is excellent news for us as consumers, not just businesses. We are able to express our distastes and issues efficiently and conveniently and expect replies to be the same.





They’re talking about you behind your back…

Consumers are no longer an audience; they are actively participating in the constantly evolving marketplace through various forms of social media. Social media marketing is “the process of getting traffic or attention through social media”; and the tremendous amount of social media platforms that are available for consumers to connect with businesses is huge, and growing. So what should businesses be focusing on to generate a higher Return on Investment (ROI)?

Create conversations about the business. Just like in the real world, a successful brand prompts people to talk about it with other consumers and this translates directly to social media; the more people are tweeting or posting about your brand, the more successful it may be deemed.

social media ception

Successful social media can not be measured directly through transactions, but it can be measured through interaction. The use of the ‘#’ for example allows consumers to connect directly with campaigns and businesses. This can act as a type of measure to see how many people are willing to connect and discuss the brand online. ‘Mashable’ list 6 of the most successful Twitter # campaigns.

The various forms of social media all have their own ways of allowing consumers to connect and the’#’ is only one. A successful social media campaign will utilise all platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wikis, Blogs, RSS Feeds, Podcasts etc…A successful social media campaign will also bare in mind that social media should only be used as a component for engagement, it must be used in combination with other marketing and not relied on.




Analyse this.

Google Analytics is a brilliant free tool that basically tells us if our websites are popular or not. It’s already a proven leader in website statistics, with 63% of Fortune 500 companies reportedly using it and 49.8% of ALL websites using the tool. It generates detailed statistics about a websites traffic, the sources of that traffic and it can also measure the conversion rate of visits to sales.

Analytics has the ability to track where visitors were referred to your site from. A search engine, social network, referring site; this is where the quality of a websites SEO is gauged. If the website is generating a high number of page visits, maintains a high average time visitors spend on the site and a generates a low number of bounce rates (number of visitors that leave a website after visiting only one page), then it is a good indication that visitors are finding the website useful. It works the other way around too… low number of page views, low average amount of time spent on site and a high bounce rate indicates that visitors are struggling to find your page useful or generally struggling to find it.

bounce rate

Reasons for bounce rates? Perhaps visitors are finding all the information they need on the landing page, or maybe it is the design/usability of the website putting them off. Whatever it is, it probably isn’t beneficial.