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.

The Importance of A/B Testing Social Media Formats

Why A/B test social media platforms? Why not just use the latest social media innovation for your next campaign? The answer is simple: Social media has evolved. If social media isn’t static, why should your advertising be?

Social media advertising is showing increasingly clever and complex creatives to viewers. In this sudden format influx, how does an advertiser, or brand, know which version will interest their intended audience? Just because a new format has hit the scene, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for your brand or relevant to your message. A/B Testing allows advertisers to wade through the clutter to determine the best format, and course of action, for that brand. A/B testing isn’t flashy, it is simple, unbiased, empirical evidence of what works (and what doesn’t) for your audience, giving you the best possible ROI.

The Domino Effect: Campaign Success Through A/B Testing

A/B testing ensures you’re using the creative that gets the best interaction with your service or product, vastly improving your campaign performance.

  • Better Interaction: You’re presenting the customer with what they want to see, not what you think they want to see.
  • Reduced Bounce Rates: Better interaction reduces bounce rates, and increases conversion rates, because people are staying on your page longer.
  • Reduced Cart Abandonment: A/B testing can also significantly reduce instances of cart abandonment, which continue to plague eCommerce retailers. A/B testing helps determine the underlying causes, and shows brands how to reconfigure their sites to improve the chance of purchase follow through.
  • Risk Reduction: A/B Testing also reduces risk to your brand by allowing you to test out a new landing page or website overhaul safely before committing time and money to something that isn’t responding well with users.
  • Education: A/B testing educates brands about their end users. They learn, and then understand, what visitors really need and want from brands. It takes the guesswork out of offering a better experience to them.
  • Experience Improvement: It improves the user experience by adapting to changes, such as adding in a certain function to make navigation easier, or removing an extra step that was a barrier to purchase. Problems that aren’t always evident can be revealed by A/B testing.

How to Make it Less Confusing

A/B testing can be a bit overwhelming with so many options available. How do you get accurate test results when faced with so much data, and so much to choose from?

The key is to not test too much at once. Think about what you want to achieve, and the messaging you want to get across and go from there. For example, focus on your call to action button, so that you aren’t overwhelmed by other external factors that could potentially skew results. Focusing on fewer variables also allows you to easily pinpoint what’s not working. If necessary, run more tests to check other areas, but work in batches, focusing on one or two things at a time. You can run tests on anything, from images, text, videos, to dynamic creatives to see what works and what needs tweaking.

Using A/B Testing for Charlotte Tilbury

We recently helped UK makeup retailer, Charlotte Tilbury to better understand how ad formats were affecting their overall KPI’s on Facebook.

Using A/B testing we were able to prove the value of different formats to Charlotte Tilbury’s bottom line. We tested traditional link ads against Facebook’s Offer Ad format, which instills a sense of urgency using a timer countdown to the offer expiry date. It also dynamically populates the ad with the number of customers who have already claimed the offer.

The A/B testing revealed that Charlotte Tilbury’s audience responded with a 20% higher CTR to the Offer Ad over other formats. The Offer Ad drove 48% greater revenue than traditional link ads, and was 30% more efficient.

This is just one example of how brands can leverage A/B testing to get the best possible insights as to where to put their time and money when it comes to creatives that offer the greatest ROI.

Learn more about our social media capabilities here

Can You Teach Creativity?

Creativity is one of these words that gets thrown around a lot in the advertising sphere. As an agency, we advise our clients to be innovative and creative with their ad formats, messaging, and imagry to better attract consumers.

But what does “be creative” actually mean? Is creativity something that can be taught?

Well, let’s start from the beginning…

What is creativity?

Ultimately, creativity is subjective – it can mean different things to different people. Some define it as a characteristic that allows a person to ‘think outside the box’. Others define it as an activity where something new and valuable is formed. According to Stanford University professor, Tina Seeling, there are six characteristics that are shared by people who are viewed as traditionally creative.

  1. Imagination – thinking beyond boundaries
  2. Knowledge – your creativity toolbox
  3. Attitude – the confidence to solve a problem
  4. Environment – your stage
  5. Resources – outside of money: people, community etc.
  6. Culture – they ways in which your culture celebrates or punishes experimentation

Is it Possible to Learn creativity?

Brands often pay lip service to the idea that they are surrounded with creative people, yet, when you look around, there is a strong level of pushback towards brands for getting the message wrong, like Pepsi’s recent gaffe for producing a completely tone-deaf, offensive ad featuring socialite celeb, Kylie Jenner.

While personality, environment, and other factors all play into the limits of one’s initial level of creativity, brands can still nurture the trait in their organisations and teach people to think outside the proverbial box.

Benefits of Creativity

  • Problem-solving: Creativity teaches you to think in new and innovative ways, improving your problem-solving skills. It forces you to be resourceful, and investigate new solutions to old problems.
  • Creativity is disruptive: It challenges the way you think, shakes things up, and forces you out of your comfort zone. Creativity is the enemy of complacency, and complacency is the harbinger of brand death. Any brand that wants to stay ahead of the competition needs to stay creative. So stop what you’re doing, and bring on the big ideas.
  • Builds Better Relationships: Creative environments increase internal morale and engagement. To produce all those great things for your clients, you need to have an engaged, excited, and motivated team. Brands that foster creativity see an uptick in internal collaboration, resulting in higher levels of productivity, and retention. The ability to see things in new ways enhances product and consumer understanding and creates a better overall workspace. Creativity also builds better external relationships; thinking creatively allows you to see things you might normally miss, and also get inside the customer’s perspective.
  • Stand Out: If you can nurture creativity, it can propel you past the competition with minimal effort. Employees enjoy the opportunity to express their creativity. In addition, positive experiences from your creative endeavours will speak volumes for your brand. It will keep you at the forefront of client and consumer minds – and also do the heavy lifting for you. A clever campaign that stands out is far better for brand awareness and recognition than several mediocre, safe campaigns that have been repeatedly parroted.

The are many benefits to fostering creativity. These are just the tip of the iceberg, but they are good examples of how cultivating creativity can help brands, both internally and externally.

How can brands be more creative?

So now that we know you can teach creativity, how do we do it?

Old Foundations, New Twist
You can build on ideas already out there – this isn’t like repeating the same tired trope ad nauseam. Everything that’s new and trendy now once stemmed from an original source with an added twist. Collaborate with your team to find that twist and go from there.

Changing of the Guard
Bring in people from teams and departments you normally wouldn’t consider for a particular campaign. You don’t need to look externally for ‘a new pair of eyes’, they’re already in your office, just sitting on other teams. Shake it up, change it up. Ask the questions people want to ask but are afraid to, challenge your co-workers to get outside their comfort zones, and provide a culture and environment where creativity is welcomed, not shot down.

Mistakes = Creative Take-Aways

Finally, remember, as clichéd as it might sound, embrace failures as learning experiences. See them as sign posts to point your brand in the right direction. If you didn’t fail, you’d never see the path you were intended to take. Failure can set you on the right path by challenging assumptions and forcing you to think creatively to come up with a better solution. It can help your brand grow by taking a negative result or experience and turning it into a positive. Build on mistakes as a better way to do things.


This is not an overnight fix, this is something that needs to become a core part of your company culture in order to inspire the change needed to build and sustain a creative environment.

In times of  uncertainty, with Brexit, brand safety , privacy concerns, and other issues looming over marketers, standing apart from the competition is vital. It may seem safer to stick with what you know, but being risk averse is not an effective strategy. Creativity forces you to evolve, and always stay one step ahead. If your safety net disappears, you will, at the very least, have the tools to rebuild and adapt quickly. Creativity won’t just help you survive, it will help you thrive.

 

 

#5MinuteDigital: 5 Minutes, 5 Questions, All Digital with Craig Trower

Current Occupation?
Senior Business Development Executive.

Favourite thing about digital marketing?
I’m fascinated by the potential size of the audience, and the ability to measure your work in real time. It is also a growing sector, the world becomes more digital everyday.

Favourite aspect of your job?
As it is the beginning of a new career for me, being a sponge and learning a new industry.

Why did you choose NMPi?
It’s an ambitious company with lots of scope for the future

What projects are you working on now?
Gaining springs to my digital bow, learning, and passing it onto prospects