NMPi Wins ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ at IAB Programmatic Awards

We are thrilled to announce that NMPi has won in the “Innovative Strategy” category at the first IAB Programmatic Awards in The Netherlands. Advertising industry specialists looked forward seeing this year’s groundbreaking entries, and we were excited to be counted among the prestigious nominees for our case study: Real-Time visibility of Snow Heights for Transavia.

The IAB Programmatic Awards are important because they are voted on by industry experts in recognition of agencies that deliver outstanding results.

NMPi Netherland’s Managing Director, Gerard Moussault, commented: “This is a real testament to the excellent work done by the NMPi team. Over the next year, we are going to continue to grow and push the limits of digital innovation.”

Transavia’s Direct Sales Manager, Nick Brandts commented, “Our campaign team is always looking to reach our audience in a better, more relevant way. Together with NMPi, we investigated the (technical) possibilities of creating an innovative campaign. In our partnership we have a shared goal: to challenge each other to create new innovative elements for every campaign. It is wonderful to see this effort pay off with positive campaign results. The Programmatic Award for ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ for our Wintersport Campaign is recognition we are very proud of!”

NMPi Netherland’s Head of Consultancy, Quintijn van Kessel added: “The IAB Award recognizes our work over the last couple of months in close cooperation with our client, Transavia. It’s great to see this acknowledged with this Innovative Strategy win”.

This award comes on the heels of NMPi’s RAR+ (Recommended Agency Register) win for ‘Best Search’.

The second half of 2017 is set to be even more exciting, with this award acting as a springboard to further success!

NMPi Wins Best Search Award at RAR+ Digital Awards

NMPi is delighted to have won in the “Best Search” category at last night’s RAR+ Digital Awards.  The RAR+ award is especially important because it recognises agencies who deliver outstanding results as voted for by clients on a measure of overall satisfaction, rather than being judged for a single campaign case study.

NMPi’s CEO, Luke Judge, commented, “I am immensely proud of our brilliant team at NMPi; their hard work and passion for doing outstanding work with our clients has been deservedly recognised by this important award win. I am also grateful to our clients for their kind survey feedback in supporting us”.

Director of Biddable, Sophie Harkness added, “We have always prided ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients, so it’s great to see this acknowledged with this Best Search win”.

Head of Performance Marketing, Max Flajsner commented, “I believe our client happiness, and therefore this recognition, is a direct consequence of the high levels of innovation that we have brought to our client’s campaigns over the past twelve months”.

This award win follows closely after NMPi was ranked in top place in the Drum’s UK Elite Media Agency rankings. This kicked off an expansive year for the company, which has so far seen the launch of three new NMPi offices in Zurich, Sydney and Cape Town.

The second half of 2017 looks set to be even more exciting, with this award acting as a springboard to further success.

What if You Had to Pay For Google?

Will Google search ever be a paid service?

Google search has been around for nearly 20 years now and plays an important part of our everyday lives.  Many of us could not imagine a day without it – think about the number of times a day you do a Google search.  So what if Google started charging us to use it? Have you ever thought about this? Well, we did.

Let’s start by considering how Google would work if it was a paid service.  We think the most feasible option for payment would be based around a monthly or yearly subscription service, where the user pays a fee for unlimited use of their services.  But why would Google do this? Google earned $57.80 billion in 2016 from advertising and this number has been increasing Year-Over-Year, so surely they would want to stick to their existing (highly successful) business model, but maybe not?…

How much would it cost?

Let’s stick to the idea of a Google search subscription service.  How much do we think Google would charge? We’ve tried to estimate how much we, as the user, would have to pay.  How did we do this? First, we have to understand that Google would only want to switch to a subscription model if this would bring them more revenue.  So, if we use the revenue they generated last year, and divide it by the number of worldwide users, we can calculate the minimum cost per annual subscription.  This is shown below:

We calculated the number of Google users as the number of total internet users in 2016 multiplied by Google’s market share in 2016.  This equation therefore turns into the following:

This really doesn’t seem that much for a service that we use all the time! However, we need to consider the number of Google users who have ad blocking software set up on their devices, since these users will not be clicking on the paid search ads. In 2016, ad blocker use meant that only an estimated 70% of the Google users in 2016 actually saw search ads on their results page.  The calculation above therefore needs be changed to:

As mentioned earlier, Google would only switch to a paid model if it generated more money than it did in the previous year.  They would also have to compensate for sunk costs in setting up this new search engine and the costs of losing existing Google users switching to free alternatives.  So we would expect the subscription would be slightly higher at around $45/year (which still doesn’t seem that much!) to compensate for those factors.  However, we can’t quite imagine that this would be a flat rate around the world considering the variation in average wages globally.

Why would you pay for Google?

It’s all good and well to estimate how much Google would charge users, but we are missing a crucial factor in why users would pay for this service.  There would have to be some sort of additional benefits that come along with paying. What could these benefits be?

Privacy has been a huge topic of debate for years, and many users express concern about how their personal information is used and who has access to it.  The Google subscription service could, therefore, include a full privacy agreement whereby no data about the user is collected.  This could ease privacy concerns, but could also place consumers at a disadvantage as this data is currently used by Google to improve the user experience – they often show you what you want or need before you even know it’s needed!

Additionally, Google may offer their paid service as an ad free search platform.  This could have benefits for the user in terms of streamlining the search results pages, although users would lose valuable price comparison figures that are currently available through Google Shopping. Could this mean the end of paid search on Google?!

If yes, this would have significant implications on other search engines. We would expect average CPC’s would rise as competition for ad space would become even more fierce, because these search engines would gain users switching from the now-paid-for Google service.   There would also be a significant impact on traffic for Google search partners, who could potentially lose their Google search capabilities.

Why wouldn’t Google work as a paid service?

Currently, the Google business model is based on mining data.  It collects and uses information from our browser history, device settings, and locations to show us the most relevant information when we need it, which is ultimately supposed to be beneficial for the user.  If Google were to switch to a paid service model, which includes a privacy agreement, this valuable data would be lost. Google would have no way of tailoring information towards its users, meaning all users would see the same things.  This would be a huge barrier for Google. Why would users pay for a service which offers them less?

Why would Google want to change their entire business setup when it already works so well?  It would be a huge risk and could cause massive losses due to the fact that people are wary and cautious when it comes to change, especially when it comes to paying for something that used to be free.  A great example of this comes from The Times newspaper’s paywall, where they began charging users to view their content.  This resulted in 62% drop in visitors and a 90% fall in page views when it was introduced in 2010, and it took a long time for the user level to pick up again.  These percentage drops were extremely large, so introducing a subscription service could be a huge risk for Google if they were to follow suit.

If we consider the search engine industry as a whole, Google may be the most powerful and popular source of gaining information quickly, but it is not the only way.  Bing now accounts for 21% of the search market share, followed by Yahoo with 12%.  If Google were to switch to a subscription service, there are definitely readily available alternatives that consumers could switch to as a way of obtaining information at no cost.

Conclusion

Even if we don’t pay at the moment in monetary terms, Google in its current form is not completely free. We pay as we go by feeding Google with all the valuable information about us, such as things we are searching for, websites we visit, videos we watch, ads we click or tap on, our location, information about our device, IP address, and cookie data. That’s just the beginning. Google stores our emails, contacts, calendar events, photos, and the videos we upload. Within our Google account, we share our name, email, date of birth, gender, telephone number, and country. Sharing this valuable data is the price we pay, and it seems a price we are prepared to accept. We get more targeted information and Google gets a slice of our privacy pie which earns them so much money!

The question remains: How long would it take for Google to reach a big enough volume of paying users to hit, or even exceed the current profit made by charging advertisers? Google would have to come up with a value proposition enough users would happily pay for.

One way or another, paying to use Google search would mean a fundamental change not only to user behaviour and the advertising industry as a whole, but also to the way Google operates. Would Google risk losing more than it gains? Only time will tell, but we would be surprised if this happened anytime soon!

Election Day Prediction Update

Election day is finally upon us and as the nation goes to the polls we thought we’d revisit our initial analysis and see the impact trends within the last week have had on our predicted results…

It’s been a turbulent week. Perhaps the most turbulent in the history of electoral campaigning. From the terrible events in London Bridge, which led to ferocious exchanges on policing numbers, all the way through to the increased scrutiny on the ‘Special Relationship’ after Trump’s remarks on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. It’s clear the battlefield has changed, and drastically at that.

As such, we decided to publish an update on our prediction.

Some slight changes have been made to the formula given how close we are to the deadline. The weighting for undecided voters has been reduced, reflecting the fact that many will have settled for a side, with greater importance instead being attributed towards the last seven days of search behavior.

Based on current search data here’s what we are now predicting will be the final results of the General Election:

Conservative: 337
Labour: 228
Liberal Democrats: 17
SNP: 42
UKIP: 4
Other: 22

So there you have it, on election day search data is telling us that the Conservatives will retain their majority. Whatever the result, make sure you have your say and get out and vote!

Where Are We Now? A Year on From the Brexit Vote; What are the Opportunities for Digital marketing in the UK?

A year ago, marketers across the land were faced with the question of how Brexit was going to impact them; their activities, their budgets, their customer-base… pretty much their entire world. And so, I wrote a piece about what Brexit would mean for digital marketing activity.

Its almost 52 weeks later, and to be honest, we’re still asking the same questions. Though Article 50 was “invoked” on the 29th of March, there have been next to no details about what Brexit will means for the UK or, by association, for the rest of the EU. And with yet another election looming over us, things are as unclear as ever.

What does this mean for digital marketers – including those at agencies and their clients? What could happen? What definitely will happen?

FX Risks and Rewards

Immediately after the Brexit referendum, exchange rates shifted and the pound took a tumble. Instantly this was an opportunity for brands to sell more of their product aboard where their prices suddenly became much more attractive.

For many brands, this is still a massive opportunity with untapped markets out there – and there is no reason they shouldn’t be moving to seize that opportunity for all it’s worth.

However, there is a flip-side; many brands who buy their products from other markets are suddenly finding their imports are costing significantly more. For these brands, simply driving international revenue may not be enough to plug the profit gap.

Data Privacy – An Opportunity for Change?

Current data protection laws come from the European Data Protection Act. This governs how data can be transferred, used, and ultimately collected. In a post-Brexit world, a government serious about helping businesses could make the sharing and use of data easier.

This might not be popular with the public, but if changes were phased in gradually and ultimately this lead to ‘Joe Public’ having a more personalised online experience, it could become the new normal without too much fuss.

The Rise of the Silicon Kingdom?

If a government were to make the UK a more “desirable” base for international companies, then we could see the UK become the global hub of international digital marketing.

Not only would traditional client-side businesses be persuaded to move here but there would also be major benefits for tech companies to locate in the UK. The Silicon Kingdom could eclipse Silicon Valley.

And this could only be a positive for driving creative thinking in digital marketing.

Cutting Ourselves Off from International Talent

To continue to grow, the UK’s digital marketing sector needs the best and brightest minds, and in recent years, we’ve had the pick of not only the EU but of the world.

Though if work visas and international recruitment become issues, the UK may struggle to acquire the talent it needs. However, that’s not necessarily a dead end. In today’s digital/gig economy, your team does not have to sit in your office. Remote working and even project-based employment/contracting could be the answer.

The Known Unknowns

Until we know, one way or another, whether Brexit will turn the UK into an economic wonder or wasteland, there will be caution at all levels.

Consumers and brands will hold off on big projects requiring heavy investment – whether that be installing a new home bathroom, or launching new products and services.

And everyone will be guarding against a potential cataclysm by saving and cutting back as much as possible – both at home and the office. As agencies, we need to make sure we continue to make sensible marketing decisions on behalf of clients and focus on driving efficiency as we always have done.

The Importance of the Basics

With efficiency being increasingly important, it’s vital for digital marketers to hold true to the core principles of efficiency, flexibility, and transparency.

Producing best-in-class work remains the objective of any good agency and that doesn’t just mean sexy new projects, it also means remembering to cover the basics from the bottom up to make sure that every pound and penny is pulling its weight.

 

I leave you now with the closing statement from the article I wrote last year on this subject as, even though we’re 12 months closer to Brexit, we’re still a long way off:

“Ultimately, we won’t know a lot about what the future holds for a post-Brexit Britain until it’s upon us. But if the digital marketing industry holds true to its core concepts of flexibility, efficiency and transparency then we should be able to ride out any storm and continue to drive success for our clients.”

Using Digital to Win Votes

The challenge of elections

Digital marketing is becoming more important than ever in modern elections as it allows political campaigns to precisely target key voters without wasting resources. The nature of the political system in the UK means that a relatively small amount of the population has a voice that counts. In certain “swing seats” across the country voters have a greater influence in the national result due to the tight election races taking place. For instance, the smallest parliamentary majority in the 2015 election was 27 votes in the seat of Gower. This means that just 14 voters switching their party allegiance would have yielded a different result.

Political parties in the UK fiercely contest these “swing seats” in their bids to win parliamentary majorities, deploying their full resources to win these competitive races.

How can you win votes?

When it comes down to it, the challenge of winning an election is quite straightforward. You must convince the right people living in the areas that matter to vote for you. Here are 5 steps to beat out the competition and win votes:

  1. Define your target audience – As “swing seats” are specific areas of voters across the country, strict location targeting is crucial when creating ad campaigns on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Targeting a defined location ensures that only users in that constituency would see the ads. Additional targeting such as ages 18+ can then be overlaid to ensure that you are only reaching those eligible to vote. Depending on your messaging you may then want to overlay further targeting information. For instance, if you want to promote your policy on pensions you may want to target those who are retired or close to retiring. This can also be enhanced by the use of third party or CRM data.
  2. Deliver the right ads  Ad imagery and messaging needs to be engaging to capture user attention. A political party can have the best policies, but if the ad campaign is poorly thought out or is not engaging, people won’t pay attention. Ads on YouTube; and video and Canvas ads on Facebook are among the most engaging formats. From our experience, trying to track user intention can be difficult. Consider a call-to-action such as “sign up to support us,” which will help to give an indicator to how people are responding to the campaign.
  3. Retarget, retarget, retarget – Differentiating ad messaging to voters based on their previous online behaviour is incredibly effective. Let’s take these three video ad interaction as an example: an individual who has watched the entirety of the video, someone who initially skipped the ad, and another who has only watched the first few seconds. These interations tell us a bit about how engaged the user is with the content. Creating audiences based on these interaction achieves a greater level of granularity, allowing us to target users with personal messaging. You should also exclude users who have committed to your campaign, this is done by suppressing a CRM audience, or excluding users who have clicked through a “sign up” link.
  4. Remind people to vote – You can’t win an election if people don’t vote for you! When election week rolls around, retarget those who have shown support and remind them to get out and vote.
  5. Win

Using digital in this way could have a decisive impact on the outcome of an election.

NMPi Predicts a Hung Parliament Using Search Data

To say we have witnessed some of the most surprising outcomes in politics over the past 12 months could potentially qualify for understatement of the year. Mr D.J. Trump and Brexit can certainly attest to that.

For many, this surprise was coupled with a complete sense of disbelief. A disbelief that choices, which were initially deemed marginal in their popularity, and utterly inconceivable in their application, eventually waltzed their way to victory.

Atop the lofty throne of hindsight, it’s clear that an all-too alarming level of complacency had captured and consumed the liberal masses. A complacency fed by two simple words: “Surely not”.

And yet, fingers cannot be pointed at the man in the mirror alone. Along the way, the confidence of the ‘surely nots’ was massaged by the reassuring presence of a long-established tradition: the election opinion poll.

In both cases, the end result fell the way of the underdogs. Whilst the red of the Republican Party now prowls the corridors of the White House, the blue of the European Union is starting to come tumbling down.

Interestingly, throughout the campaign season, opinion polls proclaimed the exact opposite. Perhaps influenced by the liberal glare of the interviewer, those internally espousing more right-wing views, appear to have often declared their backing for the ‘nicer’ option.

So, the question that falls at our doorstep today is: How do we address the inaccuracies of a method that provides genuinely valuable insights, and in the process, pull the heads of the ‘surely nots’ out of the sand?

As it happens, there’s a man out there who has taken up the challenge already.

Gupta’s Approach

Using Google Trends, and taking the US Presidential Election of 2016 as his example, Rahul Gupta published an article online claiming the following graph proved that Trump was always going to win.

Google Trends

Gupta’s analysis shows the level of search interest on Google for the terms ‘Donald Trump’ and ‘Hillary Clinton’ over the 12 months prior to the election.

His hypothesis rests solely on the idea that the search term leading in the weeks prior to election day typically ended up the victor.

In this instance, Donald Trump clearly outstrips Clinton when it comes to volume of searches, not only during the final throws but for the entire period. Despite what the polls may have said, a Trump win, according to Gupta’s method, was inevitable.

He quotes ‘Marketing Master’ Philip Kotler when theorising why this occurs, “prior to capturing market share, companies need to capture mind share”.

In Gupta’s opinion, Google Trends offers a bird’s eye-view of a region’s mindshare, from which we can apply his logic.

We found this interesting, and with the UK election only a week away we thought we’d have a go!

Gupta’s Approach Applied to UK Election

As we approach the final week of battle, our very own election shares many similar characteristics to those witnessed across the Atlantic.

  • A perceived-to-be unelectable mainstream candidate
  • A politically-motivated and agenda-driven press
  • Vast swathes of “surely nots” littering street corners
  • And most notably, opinion polls unanimous in their conclusion that there will be a Tory majority.

And yet, by Gupta’s reasoning, in just a few days’ time, Jeremy Corbyn will rise like a phoenix and settle into his seat at Number 10.

Google Trends

In summary, we don’t like it (Gupta’s approach, not Jezza’s victory – NMPi remains politically agnostic).

Whilst correct in the case of the US, and many others if you read his article, his theory is too simplistic, and doesn’t take into account a whole range of additional factors.

  • How do we know the searches being conducted are positive in their sentiment?
  • Does this really give a true reflection of our entire population?
  • What about the people (of which there are many) who don’t know who they’re voting for yet?

In true NMPi style, we decided to dig deeper. Applying three techniques of increasing complexity, and in doing so, devised a single formula designed for maximum accuracy. We are not only going to predict who will win the UK General Election, but we will forecast the number of seats won by each party.

Grab a coffee, sit tight, and strap in, there is some maths approaching.

Our Approach

To begin with, we improved Gupta’s approach by layering on some additional, (buzzword alarm), granularity. Rather than running our analysis at the national level, we assessed the search data over the last twelve months across seventy-eight different regions, whilst at the same time accounting for the population of that region, and how many seats that population is worth.

I give you version one:

The results were as follows:

Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats UKIP Plaid Cymru Scottish National Party
436 145 0 0 0

50

‘Well that’s not very accurate,’ I hear you cry. Wait. There’s more.

Whilst hypothetically more accurate in its design, this formula falls short in one crucial aspect – it gives equal weighting to search data across the entire twelve months.

Consequently, it neglects the shorter-term impact of interest in the smaller parties around campaign season, and also overstates the dominance of Theresa May. Her rise to power in the first half of 2016 undoubtedly has an impact on search volumes – at no point has the original method been applied to someone already in power.

And so, as Gupta himself suggested, we repeated the initial formula, but instead gave increased importance to the more recent elements:

Results:

Conservative

Labour Liberal Democrats UKIP Plaid Cymru Scottish National Party
381 182 22 10 2

35

Almost there.

The final piece of the jigsaw lay with addressing how we could incorporate the politically indecisive masses – the ‘which wayers’ as we have termed them. According to Yougov.com, this sits at around 20% of the voting population

For this, we used a tool called Hitwise to understand the flow of online traffic to certain sites following the search term ‘who should I vote for?’ Depending upon which campaign’s content they then consumed, we were able to proportionally attribute a value to each party.

And now, behold. The final fame-inducing formula:

WW = ‘which wayers’ – proportion of users visiting campaign sites following search term

TWW = ‘total which wayers’ – total amount of people categorized as ‘which wayers’

Our Prediction

So here you have it. The moment you’ve all been waiting/persevering for. On the 8th June 2017, news stations across the planet will announce the following results: Hung Parliament

Seats Split:

  • Conservative Party – 313
  • Labour Party – 232
  • Lib Dems – 20
  • SNP – 58
  • UKIP – 6
  • Others – 21

Welcome to a bright new era of election polling. Analysis conducted through genuinely decipherable and accessible data, rather than through rushed interviews influenced by the notion of ‘I can’t say that, what would they think of me’.

For you ‘surely nots’ out there, keep hold of that sand for now. But beware. The looming landslide is not quite as looming as you think.

 

*DISCLAIMER – whilst we’re hopeful of being correct, thus acquiring fortune and numerous appearances on breakfast television, this is mainly in jest. Please read with a pinch of salt.

NMPi Shortlisted for 4 RAR Awards!

We’re extremely excited to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for a record 4 categories in this year’s The Drum RAR Digital Awards! Online Advertising, On Budget, Online Media Buying, and Search. The awards ceremony will take place on June 14th at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane hotel.

What makes these awards special for us is that we’ve been nominated by our clients based on their reviews of our work. It’s always an honour to be recognized for our quality work and efforts by industry peers, but it’s especially nice to get that vote of confidence, and be held in such high regard, by the people who we work for every single day. A big thank you to everyone who helped gather recommendations.

View the shortlist here

The NMPi Brand Expands to South Africa

NMPi is excited to announce the rebrand of its fourth international office in the space of 6 months. As of today, we are expanding our brand to Cape Town, South Africa.

We are pleased to be partnering once again with our sister company, Clicks2Customers, to bring our agency services together under the same brand.

The South African Agency team will be lead by Adriaan Strydom,  Managing Director of Clicks2Customers. Strydom has an extensive background in digital performance marketing and joined incuBeta’s executive team in 2005.

“The rebrand is a culmination of months of planning to align our service offering and company into a global outfit which is able to provide the very best insight, strategy and delivery to South African companies. Our clients can expect the same business and technical support, with the added benefit of all the knowledge and deep insight from our global team,” comments Adriaan Strydom, Managing Director of NMPi South Africa.

Strydom added, “The South African market is showing a growing sophistication as our local marketing professionals embrace new technology and its ability to deliver meaningful business benefits. NMPi South Africa is ideally positioned to help clients deliver campaigns which can easily measure up to the best in the world,”

CEO of NMPi UK, Luke Judge, was pleased to see the agency on track with its plans for global expansion. “We had planned extensive global expansion this year and I’m thrilled to see that we’re on track with realising those goals” stated Judge, “The rebranding of the South African office is not the end of the road for NMPi this year, we still have plans of reaching across to the US. This has been an exciting, and big year for our agency, and I’m extremely proud of our efforts.”

 

NMPi Launches DQ&A Brand in the UK

We are excited to announce that as of today, NMPI will be rebranding our DoubleClick Technology Partners division to DQ&A UK and Ireland.

The launch of DQ&A in the UK is part of our commitment to clearly align our advertising management services and advertising technology services with two distinct brands. DQ&A is well known and respected across Europe as a leader in media technology services, and will be a strong strategic partner.

The DQ&A team consists of over 200 specialists across the world, and by merging our technology services with DQ&A, we will gain a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise. Furthermore, we will be able to enhance our current service offering with additional support and training.

The new brand will be headed by former NMPi Head of Performance Marketing, James Sleaford, who assumes the role of Managing Director of DQ&A UK & Ireland:

“This is a huge step on a journey which began with us becoming a DoubleClick Certified Marketing Partner for Technology. The needs and wants of clients have changed, and the enhanced solutions and services we will now be able to offer through DQ&A will really speak to the changing market. This is an incredibly exciting time for us and I’m looking forward to working more closely with our EMEA partners to deliver this market leading proposition to our clients.”  

If you would like to learn more about DoubleClick technology, check out our new DQ&A website, www.dqna.com.