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.
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.
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.
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.
The start of the festive season is an inherently busy time for the digital marketing industry. From Snapchat updates to controversial Christmas ads, here’s a look at the biggest news in SEO, content marketing and digital PR this November.
Google have this month announced new mobile features in a bid to help users nail their Christmas shopping. The aim is to enhance the overall shopping experience for mobile users – bringing the most essential product information to the forefront of SERPs. "We recently redesigned mobile shopping on Google" writes Jenneifer Liu, Product Management Director of Google Shopping. "Click the "Quick View" button in the Google Shopping ad to preview details like a bigger image, product description, reviews and seller rating".
Detailed buying guides and improved related search results are just some of the other ways the search engine is helping mobile users to shop smarter this festive season. Users will also be alerted when newer models are available for specific products, taking some of the guesswork out of shopping for the latest tech.
Snapchat is the latest platform to capitalise on promoted content, giving business users the chance to advertise products and services using the 'story' format. ASOS is among the first to sign up for the feature in the UK, which will allow advertisers to create three to ten individual 'snaps', to be promoted to users across the platform.
Promoted stories combine the enhanced reach enjoyed by Snapchat business users with all the benefits of the Snapchat story feature. Stories can be viewed any number of times over a 24 hour period – a premise that Snapchat hopes will once again engage big-name advertisers with the brand.
The battle for top Christmas ad has become as traditional as pigs in blankets, and 2017’s offerings have certainly delivered by way of talking points. Sainsbury’s, Debenhams and Pandora are among the brands using big-budget Christmas ads to compete for our custom, with the combined production spend expected to reach the £6bn mark this year.
Digital advertising is big business – and never more so than around the festive period. The brand often accredited with starting the big-money campaign trend is John Lewis, which this year introduced consumers to Moz; an unthreatening monster who lives underneath children’s beds.
The ad has been at the centre of numerous controversies since its release, including an accusation of plagiarism from Chris Ridden, author of 80’s children’s book Mr Underbed. It’s perhaps just one of the reasons behind the £1m festive campaign being voted the least memorable John Lewis ad in five years. 2016’s offering, Buster the Boxer, remains the most popular.
It’s better news for competing retailers however. Recent figures from Realeyes rank Gogglebox Meets Coca-Cola as the ad that viewers felt the strongest connection with. Also ranking in the top 4 are Vodafone, McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer, whose collaboration with Paddington Bear appears to be thrilling young and old viewers alike.
Facebook’s venture into all things VR is nothing new, in fact the search engine giant has been investing in 360° video functionality since summer 2016. This month however, things were taken up a notch with the testing of VR experiences that can be accessed directly from standard news feeds without the need for a specialised headset.
The first content of its kind is an interactive 360° video scavenger hunt, created with Sony to celebrate the upcoming cinema release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. “We were blown away with the technology and the fact that it could be easily accessed on a platform people use every day”, explains Elias Phiser, Sony Pictures’ Vice President of Digital Marketing.
Co-developed by Avatar Labs and the Facebook Creative Shop, the experience has been designed with the aim of making interactive virtual reality accessible for everyone – simplifying the VR process with the aim of building a fully immersive experience moving forward.
Google is leading a crackdown on brands and publishers using event markup in a way that may be misleading to consumers, in turn negatively impacting user experience. The search engine is threatening manual action against any company seen not to comply with present guidelines. Forecasters suggest penalties may include suspending a website's ability to show up in rich snippets moving forward.
Examples of misleading event markup include websites promoting deals and discounts as an event. Within Google's guidelines, the company states that event markup should only be used for events which meet their requirements, excluding short-term promotions, coupons and vouchers. For more information on the do's and don't's of event markup, check out Google's guidelines.
To find out what other areas of digital marketing could impact on your business, get in touch today.
We’re passionate about interactive magazines and believe that they have the potential to be the next big thing in content marketing.
We’ve already discussed their benefits in comparison to page-turning PDF’s, with interactive magazines offering brands the chance to make use of full screen images, pop up copy and a great range of digital elements including video and clickable links.
Interactive magazines are a great way to connect content with commerce, too. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the web to find 11 examples of interactive magazines that combine stunning visuals with a truly rewarding user experience.
Time Out have brilliantly harnessed the power of interactive magazines over the years. Their Eating and Drinking in Edinburgh issue is perhaps one of the most visually striking, with a table of contents that links users to pages on everything from the best breakfasts to a list of post-work bars and boozers.
With the option to include pop-up copy and additional text boxes, interactive magazines are a great way to host a large amount of content without bombarding users with information that isn’t relevant to them. Time Out gives each reader the option to read more about the topics that strike their interest, with the handy text boxes also including the address and contact details of each bar and restaurant.
We’ve already discussed how fashion brands can benefit from using interactive magazines. Perhaps the most important role that they play is by seamlessly connecting content with e-commerce - a trick that retail giant Net-A-Porter were quick to capitalise on. The Edit contains a wide range of features that include items sold on site. Click on products that interest you, and you’ll be instantly transported to Net-A-Porter’s shoppable product page.
By giving readers the chance to click straight from magazines to retail sites, fashion brands are able to drive a high amount of clicks without the need for a middleman. E.commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, and for an aspirational brand such as Net-A-Porter, making glossy magazine pages instantly shoppable has the potential to make a real impact on sales.
The Watch Magazine is as luxurious feeling as you’d expect, offering a wholly interactive experience. Users can find out where items are from by clicking on the + signs, discover more about product specification through maximising pop ups, or instantly share articles with friends by using the handy social icons.
Unlike traditional, page-turning PDF magazines, interactive editorials allow for the seamless stimulation of social engagement, in turn introducing your brand to a wider audience without the need for paid advertising. What’s more, by hosting the magazine on your existing domain, you can make sure that every click via social media is a click that counts towards your website tracking metrics. The Watch Magazine makes the best use of both functions, by ensuring that links and share buttons are easily accessible on each and every page.
The business sector can also benefit from the use of interactive magazines, as showcased by leadership events organiser Top Banana. Each page focuses on a different area of Top Banana’s business strategy, while the videos hosted within the magazine help to clearly demonstrate their company ethos.
Unlike PDFs, interactive magazines are fully functioning web pages with the potential to be fully indexed by search engines. This style of keyword driven content boosts SEO and has the power to move your company up in the search rankings, driving a higher level of engagement from those interested in your services. The more visible your business is to potential clients, the more likely you are to close deals that are the right fit for you.
Topman prove that going with a theme can work in their Denim Issue. The strong use of blue is not only representative of the topic, but also brings the whole edition together in a way that builds a strong visual identity. Users are able to click through to relevant product pages, as well as watch pop-up YouTube videos without being directed off site.
For many brands, one of the most appealing aspects of interactive magazines is the ability to be free and creative with the design. Without the layout constraints commonly associated with traditional CMS platforms, interactive magazines make it possible to fully utilise content in a way that promotes a strong and consistent brand identity. For a fashion brand like Topman, appearance can mean everything, and sticking to branding that makes them instantly recognisable to consumers is one way that they can aim to drive more interest.
The Slovenian Tourist Board are proof that the travel industry can also benefit from this style of digital content. Not only do interactive magazines allow for the use of spectacular imagery on the full screen, they also give users the opportunity to engage actively with content and find out more about the destinations that meet their interests. This all adds up to a user experience that feels more personalised and dynamic, something that 75% of consumers deem to be highly important.
A Slovenian Love Story is packed with interactive image galleries, making the most of Slovenia’s whimsical setting to drive clicks directly to specific destination guides. For travel brands that are keen to promote the aspirational lifestyle that their destinations offer, being able to fully utilise the use of high resolution images has the potential to hugely benefit sales.
UK travel retailer CruiseDeals.co.uk launched the first edition of their Sea Life Magazine earlier this year. Compiled of the latest cruise news, celebrity interviews and exclusive offers, the magazine aims to be a portable, visual extension of the brand. It gives users an insight into the deals and service that CruiseDeals.co.uk offer, while still managing to be an entertaining and engaging read.
While interactive magazines offer a wide range of benefits to brands and businesses, it’s important to remember that many readers will open the issue in the hope of being both informed and entertained. Content is of the highest importance within an interactive magazine - it needs to be concise and to the point, while still managing to give readers all the information they need. In Sea Life, CruiseDeals.co.uk strike a balance that offers users high quality, informative content that is still engaging for readers that may not have an extensive knowledge of the industry.
You wouldn’t expect an interactive magazine that showcases the work of one of history’s finest artists to be anything less than striking. The Van Gogh Museum’s online publication is vibrant and rich in colour, featuring plenty of details on events, tours and workshops. The copy also includes a high amount of internal links to other pages of the magazine, making it an engaging reader experience and encouraging users to remain on site for longer.
Interactive magazines have the potential to offer users a complete package, hosting everything from lengthy articles to bitesize snippets all in one place. In fact, users recently gave scrollable content a 68% rating of importance in relation to digital magazine content. Building a rich network of internal links is a great way to reduce bounce rates, as the attention of the reader is consistently drawn from one page to the next. By including such a diverse range of content within their magazine, The Van Gogh Museum can afford to be creative when linking pages together.
High street retailer Boots releases an interactive version of its Health and Beauty magazine every month, packed with articles that encourage readers to actively engage with its content. Interactive quizzes are a common feature, alongside image sliders and fillable content forms. This level of interactivity is a great way to keep readers on site for longer, which could in turn appeal to advertisers and sponsors that are willing to pay big money for a share in your engagement levels.
What’s more, the brand have gone one step further with the placement of ‘add to basket’ buttons next to key products. Once you’ve finished reading, click the basket icon in the top right hand corner and head straight to the checkout without ever clicking off site. From a retail perspective, Boots have harnessed the power to turn initial consumer interest into sales.
The Unlimited Mag provides users with an eclectic mix of art, music and lifestyle content in a digital magazine that is shrouded with interactive features. Make your way through the endless pages of visual content and click through to shop directly for featured items. There’s also the option of sharing particularly interesting articles across your social networking profiles, all at the click of a button.
Like many interactive magazines, issues have a tendency to look best when viewed on iPads and tablets. One of the benefits of this type of media is their responsiveness and ability to seamlessly adapt to being shown across a range of devices. Readers of Unlimited Magazine are able to access the magazine on any mobile device, ensuring that content is readily available dependant on the individual preferences of the user.
Shuffle is a local magazine for residents in the city of Alkmaar, Holland. There are handy icons dotted around each image that open to reveal pop-up text boxes. These are packed full of relevant information, such as snippets from interviews with local creatives.
Interactive magazines are a great way to share your audience with key influencers. Interviews, reviews and guest articles from relevant sources can ensure that your content is visible to as large an audience as possible, giving content the potential to be distributed amongst their fanbase as well as yours.
To discover how an interactive magazine could be of benefit to your business or for more information on how we can help you create one, contact us today.