E-Commerce Will Only Grow in Importance Post-Covid
The world is in an unprecedented situation that’s affecting most, if not all businesses. We are in uncertain times and no one knows when we can go back to our usual ways pre-Covid.
Businesses are facing a lot of hurdles with some even closing their doors permanently. To survive, companies are going to have to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in. We can hope things get better soon, but for now, they must play the hand they’re dealt until the economy gets back to normal.
The Rise of E-Commerce in 2020
The way consumers have adapted has been turning to e-commerce for their products. At the beginning of the year, a majority of over-60s found that shopping online wasn’t reliable. This has now changed, and many rely solely on e-commerce for groceries and other necessary items.
The trend in online shopping has predictably risen considerably this year – you only need to look at the numbers for evidence of this. In the first quarter of this year, Amazon’s sales in north America increased by 29%, and worldwide they were 18%. Grocery sales were no different and saw a growth of 8% compared to 1% previously.
Businesses should be taking note of this increase and if they are not already in e-commerce, they should be. This is the case in not only direct product sales but all businesses. To take advantage of the online trend, it’s best to use an SEO copywriting agency who are experts in this field. You will see an increase in sales or use of your services as more consumers will view your site.
You need to be ahead of your competition, particularly in times like this. Keeping up with the trends in the market and increasing exposure to your brand is imperative. It could be the difference between keeping the business afloat or going bust.
Overall, it’s important for all businesses to have an online presence, not just e-commerce. In today’s digital age, most people are familiar or at least aware of the concept of online shopping and it would be bad business not to get a slice of that pie.
Adapting to the Market
Businesses big and small have had to adapt to the current situation and make massive changes. This ranges from working at home to completely switching their modus operandi. Small businesses face the biggest threat just now, and those that have adapted are the ones that will survive.
They are still lacking when it comes to e-commerce though. If they are to get through these times, they really should make this their number-one goal. They can then hire an expert in SEO copywriting to help boost traffic to their site, resulting in more sales.
American consumers are no longer spending money the way they used to. This has had an adverse reaction on the retail market and several other industries including health, hotels, entertainment, and hospitality.
Communities have been coming together to help local businesses stay afloat by shopping at their store or using their services. These are the types of businesses that are hardest hit during the pandemic. Other businesses that serve worldwide may feel an adverse reaction to this and lose out as a result.
Keeping Ahead of the Game
From now on, e-commerce businesses will need to keep an eye on the current trends and be careful with their next steps. Implementing strategies to reduce risk while reaching more customers should be a top priority. This includes breaking down their current business model and working out how each sector can be diversified.
Most importantly though, customer needs and demographics must be paid close attention. The great thing about online is that this can be made simple and all this information is at your fingertips. You can then implement the changes you need to make including optimising your site’s search engine results, increase conversion rates, shorter load times, and making your site look more appealing and user friendly. All these factors, if done correctly, will increase the traffic to your site. First-rate news copywriting agencies can help with this – you should use their expertise to do everything your businesses need online.
The future is in your hands and this means taking advantage of the growth in mobile shopping. More and more businesses are catching on with this trend and adjusting their sales plan accordingly. There are advanced optimisation tools that can be used for mobile shopping, giving businesses a head start on the competition.
These days businesses should be focusing on their website, especially with the drop in face to face sales. It’s important to connect the advantages of shopping in person to the online experience. This is done by making your website and products as visually appealing as possible. You also want to offer the consumer the fine details they may only be able to discover in-store. This can be as simple as describing the different comfort levels of a sofa, for example, and how one differs from the other in terms of firmness. Consumers can then make their decision simply and efficiently from their mobile phone.
The Customer Always Comes First
Giving the customer as much information and in detail as possible is only one of the factors you need to implement on your site. You need to do more to meet their needs.
The thing about online shopping is it’s not just as simple as posting something online and hoping to get a sale. You need to make their experience as simple and high quality as possible. Everything from offering free delivery, contactable anytime for any queries, and ‘how to’ manuals can all make the difference from someone just browsing and making a purchase.
Let your customers know any changes or protections you may be putting in place due to Covid. Customers should be made aware of what you’re doing to keep them safe if they shop at your store. Are you open, or have your opening times changed? Let them know by displaying this clearly on your site, perhaps with a banner on your homepage.
Consumers want to know they can trust you before making a purchase. Businesses can make simple adjustments to let them know that this is the case. Not only will you boost loyalty, but also boost conversions and profit.
What Now for Businesses?
We can’t predict the future with the current situation going on. Businesses need to make the required changes to keep up with what’s going on and to deliver great service to their customers. If you see something is affecting your business negatively, then change it. One thing you should be changing, if you haven’t already, is to use e-commerce. The huge spike and no sign of slowing down means you are already missing out on potentially massive profits.
All we can do at the moment is weather the storm and take calculated minimum risks to grow our businesses. Prepare the best you can for the future and stay ahead of the competition.
Content marketing has vastly changed the marketing game in terms of how marketers can access, engage, and transform their leads into paying customers.
SEO writing and copywriting are two branches of content marketing that are rudimentary for every business to succeed. They can overlap at times but it is important to establish the difference between the two if you want an effective content strategy.
This article shall address the difference and how they will affect your integrated marketing strategy. However, let’s first establish what content marketing entails.
Content Marketing Basics
To understand the difference between SEO writing and copywriting, one needs to properly understand content marketing as a whole.
Essentially, content marketing is when content is created and shared for the sole purpose of attracting potential customers. This content can be any form of writing – emails, blogs, press releases, web pages, social media posts, and any other form of messaging where you would communicate your words in a pre-defined way to get a job done.
However, it is important to note that not all deliverables should be written in the same way – it solely depends on the context. This is why SEO writing and copywriting are essentially very different.
Copywriting – A Deeper Look
Copywriting is the process of creating content strategically for building awareness and motivating potential customers to take a certain action – very often, this means convincing them to buy something. It covers numerous projects and takes many forms – it all depends on your particular company and product. The primary concerns of copywriters are web and landing pages, video and audio scripts, email and direct mail, and print media. However, the entire project list is more extensive.
The Fundamentals of Good Copywriting
The following are key elements for a copywriter to produce good copy and leave a lasting impression.
Target Your Audience
Copywriting is all about creating persuasive content for a specific audience. To make the copy effective, a particular problem of that target group has to be addressed where the brand is presented as a solution. As such, a good copywriter needs to understand the psychology of the target audience. You can start by creating buyer personas – identifying particular demographic groups within your target audience. Otherwise, your copy will get buried by a constant overload of messages.
Get the Emotions Going
The second essential aspect of copywriting is being able to elicit an emotional response from the reader by using special vocabulary. Similarly, it’s also important to know which particular words to leave out. This is especially important for content with a low word count such as a headline or email subject headers. Believe it or not, although 80% of visitors will read your headline, only 20% will read the whole article. That’s why it’s vitally important to engage them, because your copy won’t matter if no one reads it.
SEO Writing: What Is It All About?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a mystery for many in the realm of marketing. It entails using the best techniques and tricks to get your article to rank high in Google, Bing, or any other search engine’s ranking pages.
First, you must never neglect the importance of user experience in your pursuit of creating SEO-friendly content. In addition, you should avoid bad, ‘black-hat’ SEO practices such as keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, and providing different information to the SEO bots compared to the actual content (known as cloaking). Don’t do this. Instead, just write with the user in mind – what would they want to see?
Key SEO Components
Some important elements that the writer needs to ensure high-ranking copy are:
This involves researching particular words or phrases that your target audience searches for concerning your service or product. The words should govern your overall content and guide you towards certain words and phrases.
Prioritise your Readers
It should be noted that Google algorithms rank content based on user intent – this is what the user intends to find with their typed search terms. It is important to keep your content relevant. This may get you many backlinks and shares on public online platforms, both of which enable your content to rank higher and thus, become more discoverable.
Keep Upgrading Your Skills
SEO algorithms are ever changing. As such, you must always keep upgrading your SEO practices and skills for the best results.
Copywriting VS SEO Writing
SEO writing and copywriting both have one goal – to drive your business forward. They both aim to reach, draw in, and convert leads. However, they achieve this goal in distinctive ways. Let’s address these differences.
The primary difference between SEO writing and copywriting is the way readers consume the writing. The former is present in more detail and optimised to meet the consumer wherever they already are – a web page. On the other hand, the latter is less detailed and meets the consumers in the form of news copywriting or a TV commercial in a particular brand voice.
SEO writing is primarily for people at the top of the funnel – the first phase of a buyer’s journey. However, it is also used at successive levels of the funnel to keep people engaged. Alternatively, copywriting aims at those who are already leaning towards making a purchase.
Copywriting and SEO writing are two different disciplines that are crucial to every business. Both are pivotal for a business to succeed in the long run. Combining the two will find the right balance between content that persuades and content that ranks. If you’re looking for a good SEO copywriting agency, give WooContent a try!
In an age when technology is constantly shaking things up, keeping up with new ways to market products and services is essential for any industry – and the car-hire sector is no different. The advent of online travel agencies (OTAs) and aggregation sites has changed the game dramatically, and not always positively, while global financial and environmental pressures present a number of issues that stand in the way of progress.
So, while the global car rental industry is predicted to grow to $74.7 billion by 2020, the huge opportunities for companies to get in front of millions of potential car-hire customers have also created a number of other challenges that must be overcome for firms to succeed.
The pros and cons of taking the aggregation route
Sites like Opodo and Kayak are popular with customers because they allow them to see all the options quickly from a number of OTAs and direct car-hire firms, before deciding how to take things further. This is positive in that companies with strong deals, good selections, reviews and locations can attract a lot of potential customers, but it presents a number of issues, too.
The accuracy of the availability needs to be consistent, the prices need to be constantly checked to stay competitive, and excellent customer service has to be a huge focus — a couple of bad reviews can be a deal breaker, even if there are many more good ones. Maintaining the technology required is a time-consuming and costly task, and it's so multifaceted that mistakes are almost inevitable.
Who goes direct these days?
Plenty of people. In fact, millennials, who hold 33% of the travel market share, prefer OTAs thanks to the choice and value on offer. While their rise has been good news for car-hire companies in some ways, with huge visibility on a number of global platforms, the increasingly high commission rates (up to 30%) mean it's more financially beneficial if customers book direct.
Driving traffic to direct sites is therefore imperative, and rental companies can invest in a variety of ways to drive more traffic. One such method is to use an SEO agency that provides carefully targeted copywriting to help direct sites sit higher up the search rankings, which can massively increase exposure. Loyalty programs are also being heavily pushed to motivate buyers to buy direct.
The drive to go green
Investing in green cars is not only better for the environment, it also makes business sense due to the increase in oil prices. This not only pushes up the price of rentals but also impacts on the purchasing power of the travelling public. More stringent emission standards enforced by governments also plays a part, so investing in greener vehicles represents an essential challenge for car-rental companies.
An additional benefit to going green is the brand perception among potential customers, particularly the younger generation, who are conscious of the environmental impact of fossil fuels. They are therefore more likely to look more favourably on companies with more of a conscience.
Customers changing lanes
Sometimes a challenge can also be an opportunity. There's been a large rise in customers changing tack to short-term rentals and car sharing in recent years, all ordered quickly from mobile devices and picked up easily with the minimum of fuss. This cheaper, tech-friendly option is expanding all the time, and becoming very popular, particularly in major developed cities, so the car rental firms have had to react.
Many companies now offer hourly rentals to capitalise on this new trend, and big hitters like Hertz and Avis have started working with Uber and Lyft to offer their expertise. They have also been reducing their fleets to match demand by selling off their superfluous cars and vans, enabling them to run a leaner business and decrease wasted days when cars aren’t on the road earning money.
Not the end of the road
In a constantly evolving rental market,being agile enough to adapt and innovate is very important. The challenges posed by ever-advancing technology, environmental issues, and the race to grab market share in a super-crowded space will need time and money for car-rental companies in the coming years.
But with these challenges come huge opportunities to reach more potential customers. By investing in the latest online marketing and systems, green-and-lean vehicle fleets, and working hard to cultivate exceptional customer service that breeds great reviews and brand loyalty, car-hire companies can achieve exceptional results – for now at least.
The beginning of spring has echoed themes of change and progress throughout the digital sphere. From search engine updates to GDPR preparations, here are some of April’s biggest headlines from SEO, content marketing and digital PR.
Google rolls out updated search algorithm
Mutters of a Google algorithm update have been heard throughout the search and marketing industry this month, and on April 16th we finally got the news we’d been waiting for. Announcing the news via Twitter, Google identified the change as a ‘broad core algorithm update’, the likes of which systematically take place at several points throughout the year. Even so, businesses across the globe have been eager to discover exactly what the update means for them.
The general consensus from Google is that these updates are an integral part of their work. While some users are expected to experience slight drops or gains in visibility during this time, the search engine is keen to reiterate that there is very little sites can do in order to prepare for such updates – aside, of course, from continuing to produce a steady stream of quality content.
“Changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded”, Google SearchLiaison confirmed in a series of tweets last month. “There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well, other than to remain focused on building great content.” More so than ever, it seems that investing in a solid content strategy is vital to securing and maintaining sought-after SERP positions.
Brands and businesses prepare for upcoming GDPR roll-out
If your inbox has been flooded with emails alluding to websites’ updated terms of service this month, you’re not alone. As we ease ever-closer to next month’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launch, brands and social media giants have been scurrying to inform users of ‘important updates’ and secure their continued custom long after the GDPR laws are put in place on May 25th.
Perhaps the biggest change will be the regulation that customers will need to actively opt-in to their data being shared, as opposed to the opt-out system that many market leaders have favoured in the past. As a result, the influx of ‘opt-in’ emails and notifications witnessed over the past few weeks is only expected to grow. For many, however, the introduction of the GDPR brings about serious concerns around the future for businesses and marketing agencies on a worldwide scale.
“The world of digital marketing is increasingly reliant on collecting personal data for ad targeting, and this could severely impact their capacity to do so” highlights the Digital Marketing Institute. Even so, there’s little scope to argue that the regulations are anything but relevant, useful and necessary – particularly in light of recent data protection scandals from the likes of Facebook and Uber. “It’s important that business managers and digital leaders not only abide… but incorporate policies internally that support and sustain the same principles”, the Digital Marketing Institute concludes.
Google Assistant named smartest personal search assistant
A new study from Stone Temple Marketing has unveiled Google Assistant as the ‘smartest’ personal assistant, beating the likes of Alexa, Cortana Invoke and Siri. Results may vary depending on your platform, however, as Google Assistant accessed on a smartphone proved slightly more accurate than the same programme operated on Google Home devices.
While Alexa proved one of the lesser able to deliver full and accurate responses, it took some consolidation in being named the most improved assistant when compared with results of a similar 2017 study. 12 months ago, Alexa attempted answers on just 19.8% of queries – rising to 53% this year. Perhaps surprisingly, it was Apple’s personal assistant, Siri, which proved least competent in both attempting answers (40.7%) and ensuring those answers were full and correct (80%).
The study was conducted on a small sample of devices, with 4,952 individual queries being proposed to each assistant. While the results are far from comprehensive, there are many valuable takeaways from the study – including an insight into the rapid pace at which personal assistants are developing and improving in reliability.
The next couple of months look set to bring a great deal of change within the marketing, search and content sectors. For more information and advice on staying up to date with emerging trends, get in touch with WooContent today.
We’re already a quarter of the way through 2018, and search engine and social media giants are pushing boundaries in the name of improving user experience. From shoppable social media posts to drastically condensed search results, here’s the biggest marketing news from digital and SEO in March.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announces security changes in light of Cambridge Analytica scandal
Facebook’s association with data mining company Cambridge Analytica has made global headlines this month, as it’s been suggested that data gathered through the platform may have been used to influence elections. The news has once again thrown into question just how secure our online data really is.
In light of the scandal, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg this month announced plans to strengthen security and reduce the likelihood of third-party apps being able to access personal data. Key changes include a thorough investigation of both new and existing apps that use the platform, as well as further restrictions on the amount of data developers are able to access.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you”, explained Zuckerberg in a statement posted on the platform this month. Despite this, many have continued to call for a boycott of the social networking site, with ‘#DeleteFacebook’ trending on Twitter throughout the latter half of March.
Google introduces mobile-first indexing to a growing number of sites
As promised, Google’s revised mobile-first algorithm was rolled out to more sites this month, with affected developers and site owners notified of the change via Search Console. Sites that “follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing” are the first to be switched, according to a blog post from Google Software Engineer Fan Zhang. The change follows a long period of testing, as the search engine prioritises mobile users, which currently contribute to the majority of traffic on the platform.
Sites that are affected will begin to see the mobile version of each web page being used for ranking and indexing. Even so, Google is keen to reiterate that mobile-friendliness is just one of a range of ranking factors. Sites that offer users a seamless mobile experience have long been favoured by search engines, yet desktop pages still have the capacity to rank well if they’re filled with useful, relevant information. Check out our guide to mobile optimisation for handy tips when preparing for the full roll-out.
Instagram rolls out shoppable organic posts
Facebook-owned social sharing app, Instagram, this month announced it was bringing its shoppable post feature to the UK. Shoppable posts have been available in the US since 2017 and were this month rolled out to Brazil, Canada, Italy and Spain, among others.
A blog post from Instagram’s Business Team describes the feature as “a visual shopfront [for users] to explore new products from businesses they follow”. The feature is expected to have a positive impact on businesses that use the app as part of their digital marketing strategy. “Tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post. And for shoppers, a shopping post’s tags get rid of the guesswork and allow for easy access to a tagged product’s information”.
This focus on providing users with a seamless e-commerce experience is crucial to Instagram’s growth. US beauty retailer TYME have reported a 44% increase in traffic from the platform since implementing shoppable posts into their feed. And with an estimated 2 million Instagram accounts visiting one or more business profile every day, it’s likely that UK brands will be just as keen to get in on the action.
Google experiments with removing organic search results
Google ran a week-long test this month that saw zero search results being implemented for calculation, conversion and time-related queries. Instead, users were presented with a single answer and the option to ‘Show all results’, without those organic blue search result links we’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the site.
Following a rush of intrigue from users, Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed the test on Twitter, posting “For calculator, unit converter & local time, we’re experimenting with a condensed view to further speed up load time. People who search for these tools rarely use full search results, but the results will remain available for those who want them via the ‘Show all results’ button”.
The experiment didn’t last long, however, with Google pulling the zero results pages a week after they were rolled out. Citing a need to develop the feature further before rolling it out in full, it’s expected that it won’t be the last we hear of Google dropping organic results from specific pages.
For more information on any of the stories discussed, or to discover how Ad-Rank can help your business to stay ahead of the latest trends in search and content, get in touch today.
Thanks to its association with all things romance, brands and businesses have been competing to encourage feelings of love from their users in February – often with mixed results. With some Google updates thrown in for good measure, here’s a run down of February’s biggest headlines in marketing, content and SEO.
Google launches Mobile Scorecard and Impact Calculator
Back in January Google announced plans to make mobile page speed a key ranking factor from July, preparation for which stepped up a gear this month. The search engine recently unveiled two new tools that promise to give brands a better view of their mobile performance.
The first is aptly named the Mobile Scorecard. Here, users are able to gain an insight into their site’s mobile speed, as well as that of their competitors. According to Google, the tool extracts data from the Chrome User Experience Report to provide information on mobile speed for thousands of websites across the world.
Alongside the launch, Google has also announced a new Impact Calculator, which promises a real-world view of how much your bottom line stands to increase should mobile speed be improved on your site. By giving users a clear idea of the kind of revenue impact that mobile performance can have, the search engine can begin to encourage businesses to invest in improving mobile speed ahead of July’s algorithm update.
Search outranks social in referral traffic for the first time since 2014
Search has once again taken the lead as the web’s primary source of referral traffic, outranking social for the first time in three years. According to a recent report from Shareaholic, search was the driving force behind 34.8% of referral visits in 2017, compared to social’s 25.6%.
It’s perhaps unsurprising when you consider the rise of ‘fake news’ that has plagued social media channels over the last 12 months. Shareaholic’s Craig Zevin also points to the growing ability of search engines to include social content within their own rankings, commenting “Instead of searching for news and content on individual social networks, users can increasingly find it aggregated within search engines.”
Multifaceted featured snippets make Google debut
Google has long been associated with a desire to better improve its user experience features, with a commitment to delivering fast, targeted results to common search queries. When the queries are broad or open to interpretation however, the process can become more difficult. It’s just one of the reasons the search engine this month announced the launch of multifaceted featured snippets – providing multiple snippets that relate to the potential interpretations of any one query.
“We’re starting first with ‘multi-intent queries’”, explains Google’s Product Management Director of Search, Emily Moxley. “The query ‘tooth pain after filling’, for example, could be interpreted as ‘Why does my tooth still hurt after filling?’ or ‘How long should a tooth hurt after filling?’… [Then] we aim to expand multifaceted feature snippets to cover a broader set of nuanced queries.”
The results are expected to be rolled out across the platform over the coming months.
KFC ruffles feathers with tongue-in-cheek marketing apology
Fast food chain KFC hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this month, when over 50% of UK branches closed due to a chicken shortage. However, some clever PR tactics helped the brand to make memories for all the right reasons. Less than a week after the shortage, KFC printed a full-page apology in both the Sun and Metro, putting a clever spin on their own brand name.
“FCK. We’re sorry” was the strapline of the campaign, which won critical acclaim from marketing professionals across the country for its timeliness, as well as the brand’s ability to poke fun at itself in the face of criticism. While the chicken shortage is unlikely to be remembered in 12 months time, such a well-known, recognisable brand playing upon the power of profanity promises to stay with audiences for a while yet.
Facebook cuts key business metrics in a bid to improve transparency
Social media giant Facebook has announced plans to remove approximately 20 ad metrics that they perceive to be “redundant, outdated, not actionable or infrequently used”. A full list of those pending removal can be found on the Advertiser Help Centre, with key losses including ‘button clicks’ and ‘social reach’ metrics, both of which Facebook has been quick to suggest alternatives for.
“Removing these types of metrics will make it easier for you to get the most actionable insights to improve your ad performance”, Facebook explained in a blog post this month. It’s just one of the ways that Facebook are showing a commitment to greater ad transparency, both from the perspective of users and the brands themselves.
In just two months, 2018 has already seen huge changes within the search, content and marketing sectors. For more information on how Ad-Rank can help you stay up to date with the latest trends, get in touch today.
We live in an age of equality, or at least it’s easy to believe that until another big business makes an inappropriate ad or a campaign blunder. All too often businesses in the public realm are getting their messages very wrong, without considering the implications for different races, genders and minorities.
These slogans, adverts and generally poor content may have been unintentionally derogatory or offensive, but they came from well-established brands who spend tens of thousands each year on PR and marketing. However, their lack of clear strategy or vetting processes and failure to look at the bigger picture has not only offended potential customers, it’s caused a loss of reputation and potentially had a negative impact on sales for the companies involved.
From a business perspective
Not forgetting the distress these poorly thought out messages can cause for viewers, there are obvious implications for the businesses involved. The fact that mainstream companies are still making these kind of mistakes means that they don’t have the right processes in place to properly screen their content.
Messages must be looked at from every angle and written in a way that cannot be negatively construed. While global compliance might seem like the remit of government agencies, it’s clear that incorporating this kind of scrutiny into content strategies is of the utmost importance for a brand’s reputation and continued success.
The pervasive use of social media means that people have the ability to share mistakes quickly, globally and to great detriment. This isn’t only true of ads shared on social, however, as anything placed online or offline is quick and easy to copy and paste or upload to a social feed, and can be far-reaching even if a company acts to remove the offending material quickly. Mainstream media also commonly uses social as a source for their breaking news, further spreading, and sometimes sensationalising, the inappropriate content.
This kind of bad news can cause offence and a lack of faith in brands that have failed to see the bigger picture. It can also lead to doubt over whether these messages were left to reach the public realm intentionally. Either way, the cases below show how content and ad slip-ups can lead to backlash, loss of collaborations and ultimately fewer customers.
A case in point: H&M
One of the latest, high profile marketing faux pas happened at the start of 2018, when H&M posted a photo of a little black boy on their website in a jumper that said ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’. The fact that this jumper was allowed to be photographed on a black boy, while other clothes in the same category were pictured on white boys, shows the negligence of H&M art directors and website managers.
So the black kid gets to wear the H&M sweater with "Coolest monkey in the jungle" and the white kid with "Survival expert". This is beyond disgusting. It's a projection of your neocolonial thinking. You won't see me anywhere near your shops these days @hm. pic.twitter.com/Gl7OtdVw4p
Causing uproar across the globe, American rappers The Weeknd and G-Eazy both cancelled their partnerships with the brand following the incident. G-Eazy said on his Instagram feed, “Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable.”
H&M reacted by immediately removing the image of the boy from their website, taking the jumpers off sale and promising to recycle them. After apologising publicly, the company posted on its Facebook page that “the recent incident was entirely unintentional”, but “demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand.” They seem to have learned something from their mistake and don’t wish for a repeat, as they’ve recently hired a diversity leader.
A case in point: Dove
In October 2017 Dove produced a 3-second video advert on US Facebook in which a black woman uses their body lotion and removes her T-shirt to become a white woman. The fact that this ad was placed directly on Facebook should have led Dove to think carefully about the potential implications and very immediate ramifications that could occur.
What added fuel to the fire for Dove is that it wasn’t the first time they’ve made this kind of mistake. Back in 2011 Dove produced a before-and-after advert that could be deemed to chart the transition of a black woman to a white woman having used their body wash. What Dove said was that all three women photographed were meant to demonstrate the beautifying after-effects of the body wash. But as they weren’t thorough in their content control processes, either message could be interpreted depending on your viewpoint.
Following Dove’s latest blunder, American makeup artist, Naythemua, shared the ad on Facebook, saying Dove’s marketing team should have known better and that “the tone deafness in these companies makes no sense”. Following the removal of the advert, Dove, which is owned by global conglomerate Unilever, tweeted: “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused.”
A case in point: Co-op
Co-op’s national newspaper advert from April 2017 was supposed to promote buying an Easter egg as a treat for someone. Instead, the ad was construed as sexist, using the tagline “Be a good egg. Treat your daughter for doing the washing up.” The irony of it is that the advert was for a Fairtrade Easter egg, and one of Fairtrade’s principles is gender equality.
It was revealed in July of 2017 that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to extend its remit to include the scrutiny and challenging of male and female stereotyping. This should act as a greater incentive to advertisers to vet their content before they publish it.
It’s clear that having a structured content strategy and incorporating due diligence can help your business to prevent potential inequality pitfalls. In answer to the question ‘Will brands master equality in their 2018 campaigns?’, some brands are certainly doing more than others to avoid offensive content in the first place as well as rectify their mistakes.
What definitely is true is that those who ignore their obligations to their audience run the risk of losing custom very quickly. With the ASA stepping up its game, the hope is that equality in advertising campaigns will be reached in 2018 – but there is a little way to go yet.
For help with formulating a water-tight content marketing strategy get in touch today.
2017 has undeniably been a politically-charged year. Britain has been learning to live again in the aftermath of Brexit. And we had to deal with the shock US presidential outcome, which saw Donald Trump become the 45th president of the United States and one of the most powerful men in the world.
The news stories of 2017 were littered with the repercussions of these decisions, which has led to a resurgence in political interest, particularly among young people in Britain.
The year culminated in ‘youthquake’ being named Oxford Dictionaries’ 2017 Word of the Year. ‘Youthquake’, meaning ‘A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the action or influence of young people’, is only the tip of the iceberg. The political awakening of 2017 continues to be reflected through our changing vocabulary. Several new words in 2017 were of political origin, with many being runners-up for Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year.
Here’s a list of some of our standout political words of 2017:
1. Fake news
Fake news: False, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.
Fake news may have missed out on Oxford Dictionaries’ top spot, but it took The Collins English Dictionary crown. Thanks to its frequent use by President Trump, it became one of the most talked about words of 2017, with lexicographers from Collins English Dictionary reporting a usage increase of 365% since 2016.
Not only has ‘fake news’ been talked about by politicians and covered at length by news outlets, but its constant presence has also led to its absorption into our everyday social interactions. Our use of the word, both online and off, gives it an entirely different meaning in the form of memes and satirical humour.
2. Milifans and the Milifandom
Milifans: Fans of Ed Miliband – leader of the Labour Party between 2010-2015.
Mr Miliband even has his own ‘Milifandom’, something we’re sure no other politician can quite claim.
The ‘Milifandom’ is thought to have been created by 17-year-old student Abby Tomlinson on Twitter, in an attempt to engage young people in politics and react against what she believed was a distorted portrayal of Ed Miliband within British Media.
The hashtag #Milifandom caught on in a big way and has even gained recognition within national newspapers. The trend also went on to encourage several new spin-off words, such as ‘Milibae’ and ‘Milibro’ to refer to Ed Miliband himself.
This demonstrates that the use of social media to interact with British politics and take part in debates is a huge part of today’s political environment – a clear representation of how political engagement is evolving.
Corbynite/Corbynista: A supporter of Jeremy Corbyn – the British socialist politician elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015.
2017 was the year of ‘Corbynmania’. Corbynites are predominantly used to describe young Labour supporters who rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn in the ‘Snap Election’, causing Prime Minister Theresa May to lose her Conservative majority. The Labour party made this possible by targeting the untapped potential of young, first-time voters. Corbyn used social media, popular culture references and later even took to the main stage at Glastonbury music festival to gather support.
The term has been lent upon heavily by British media outlets in particular. Several mainstream news articles published in 2017 featured the term:
1. How to speak to a Corbynite: a helpful guide from The Telegraph
2. Brexit Tories opened the door to revolution. Corbynites walked through from The Guardian
3. Corbynites don’t believe in our democracy from The Times
Mansplaining: The explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising. Often with little or no consideration of the explainee’s level of knowledge or expertise.
The term ‘mansplaining’ was brought to prominence after Rebecca Solnit published her book ‘Men explain things to me’ in 2014, and has grown in prominence since.
Solnit did not explicitly use the term mansplaining in her book but instead spoke frankly of the unnamed phenomenon, giving reassurance to a generation of women who had shared this same experience. After that, it was only a matter of time before a witty social media maverick coined the label ‘mansplaining’ to describe this behaviour.
2017 saw a revival in feminist lingo after several high profile feminist issues came to light. In particular, the story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct towards young and aspiring actresses has earned a lot of press coverage.
The stories inspired the start of the #MeToo movement in October 2017, across multiple social media channels. Millions of women used #Metoo to come forward with their own experiences.
Slacktivism: The practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterised as involving very little effort or commitment.
Slactivists are the activists of the digital age who engage in the ‘feel good’ activities of liking politically charged posts, tweeting their opinions, e-signing online petitions and then sharing their good work with friends.
Slacktivism has been criticised for its lack of deep engagement. However, there are also those who celebrate the ease of access to politics young people have today. This allows those with access to the internet to be more politically diverse, support more causes and make politics work for them.
The political climate around us is constantly changing and shaping our vocabulary, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next round of political buzzwords.
Discussing politics on behalf of your brand can be somewhat of a minefield.
The beginning of a new year brings with it a sense of change – and the marketing industry is no exception. From mobile ranking updates to voice search trends, here's a selection of the biggest headlines from January.
Google to make mobile page speed a ranking factor
Google have announced plans to update their ranking algorithm on mobile, with mobile page speed set to become a key factor from July 2018. For many marketers the decision feels long overdue – page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010.
Google have been quick to clarify that search intent will still be a key factor moving forward, and just because a site is slightly slower, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be penalised so long as the content is valuable to its audience.
“The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content”, write Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan. “We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics.”
Google’s own PageSpeed Insights tool can give an initial view of how your site is performing on mobile, including relevant optimisation suggestions that could help you to improve mobile speed ahead of the update.
Facebook de-emphasises commercial content
Social media giant Facebook has announced plans to better prioritise updates from friends and family on news feeds, placing less emphasis on branded and commercial content.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg identified user feedback as a primary catalyst behind the change, as the platform makes a conscious decision to increase the time users spend on site and deliver a more personal, engaging experience.
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us”, Zuckerberg wrote in a post earlier this month. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media… it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Just a week after the announcement, Facebook introduced additional plans to cut down on the amount of so-called ‘fake news’ being promoted on the platform. Instead, its algorithm will favour sources that users consider trustworthy and informative. It is believed that it will be up to users themselves to rate articles and publishers on their quality and value, improving the chances of the most trustworthy stories being promoted to others. With one of our 2017 surveys revealing that 57% of us use social media as a news source on a daily basis, it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact these changes have on the wider media.
Big brands turn their backs on Super Bowl advertising
America’s annual Super Bowl is renowned for attracting big name brands – the likes of which have been known to spend up to $4.8 million (£3.4 million) for a 30-second match-day advertising slot. This year however, many household names are shunning this more traditional form of advertising ahead of February’s big game.
“It feels very old school for a lot of brands”, explains Jennifer Zimmerman of advertising agency McGarryBowen. “It’s much more about finding new formats, finding fresh ground, finding new experiences.”
KFC, Honda and GoDaddy are among the big names opting out of Super Bowl advertising this year, months after a report revealed that just 10% of consumers can remember both the advert and the brand being advertised after the game. What’s more, as viewing figures for the Super Bowl have increased by 300% since its inception, ad rates have risen by an astonishing 12,000%.
Chrysler’s 2011 ad, ‘Imported from Detroit’, is acknowledged as the most expensive Super Bowl commercial to date. Featuring a brief appearance from musician Eminem, the whole ad cost a cool $12.4 million (£8.7 million) to produce and air.
Voice search users gain confidence using devices in public
A new survey by Stone Temple Consulting suggests that we’re gradually becoming less inhibited about using voice search in public spaces. The study revealed a significant YOY increase in people’s willingness to use voice search in different environments, including in restaurants, at the office and on public transport.
The only environments where voice search use is down YOY are “at home alone” and “at home with friends”. This suggests that people are more comfortable using voice commands in public, and no longer feel the need to limit the use of smart devices to the home.
The data also concludes that men are more likely to use voice search than women in all environments, both private and public.
We hope that these latest updates give you an insight into how to plan your digital marketing for 2018. For more advice, get in touch today.
The modern consumer wants to get to know you before they commit to your brand, making blogs important places for you to woo them with your content. And where best to look for inspiration and to stay up to date with trends than other content marketing blogs?
Showing just how much the content you write online says about your brand, a study by Dragon Search cited 61% of consumers’ purchasing decisions as being influenced by custom content. Even a seasoned content marketer may be surprised by what they don’t know in today’s incredible online marketplace. We suggest following a few key blogs that cover everything you need to know:
WooContent is for the wordsmith in you, with a specific focus on how to write compelling content. Covering all aspects of content writing and content marketing, it’s particularly good for copywriters or those looking for tips on how to write their own content.
One of the best things about the WooContent blog is that there’s something to interest everyone, from beginners just starting out, to more experienced writers. The information is concise, easily digestible and gives helpful links to further reading. It’s clear that the advice comes from an agency of seasoned writers and content marketers.
Convince and Convert is a great all-round blog, covering a broad range of topics. For us however, it’s their social media content that particularly stands out. Luckily, they have a handy little filter to help refine your search.
C&C covers every element of social media you could possibly need, and specifically discusses individual platforms. This gives readers great insight into how to differentiate their content marketing strategy across different social media channels.
They undertake their own research and have social media experts on hand to write about important developments and key events as they happen, as well as give you advice on how to respond.
Marketing Interactions is the blog to follow for those with a B2B content marketing focus. It instructs readers about the dos and don’ts of planning, creating and implementing B2B content marketing. What’s particularly useful about this blog, however, is that it provides you with a background for each topic it discusses. Marketing Interactions places B2B content marketing problems in a real life context, making potentially dry and complicated subjects more interesting and understandable.
Its blog posts also provide helpful suggested improvements for the topic at hand by year. This allows you to see how trends are developing and may even help you formulate your next move.
One of the many things that makes Smart Insights stand out are the infographics. This visual element of the Smart Insights blog not only breaks up blocks of text but makes large amounts of data easily digestible. Their visual representation of numerical information means that Smart Insights can communicate complex messages and trends to their readers, with little effort on the reader’s part.
Following these blogs is sure to help keep your finger on the content marketing pulse. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re making brilliant content that your users will find value in.
Of course, as you’re reading this, then the Ad-Rank blog is hopefully one you follow too. If you like what we say then get in touch to find out how we can help with your content marketing and SEO strategies.