My First Week at NMPi

William Alexander, Junior Insight AnalystWilliam Alexander
Junior Insight Analyst

When I graduated from Leicester with a Masters in Geology back in 2015, frankly, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew it probably didn’t lie in Geology. To be honest, I just fell into my first job with little real world experience. I learned about the dynamic and exciting world of digital marketing running in-house PPC search advertising campaigns. The job wasn’t for me because I wasn’t given enough freedom to do the analysis and research at work that I loved doing during my uni years. When I saw the “Junior Insight Analyst” position at NMPi, I thought it seemed too good to be true; a digital marketing analytical role in the heart of London. It was pretty much everything I wanted, after realizing how much I enjoyed digital marketing.

During my first week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Scottish Highlands for a team weekend away. The trip events included skiing, whiskey tasting, a spa day, capped off by a fancy dress party. It was a really great way to meet everyone, and get to know the members of my team. I also learned more about whiskey than I ever thought possible!

After the weekend away, everyone seemed eager to get back to business on Monday morning. My first day was full of Google Analytics training and meeting teams to learn where everyone fit into the company. The rest of the week was similar, but coming from a digital marketing background, training and team explanations have gone quickly.

I’ve already had the opportunity to start mixing in a bit of client analytics work and meetings, while earning my Google Analytics and DoubleClick certifications. My first Friday afternoon I was able to attend the company “Knowledge Share,” these meetings are held every week and each team gets the opportunity to share the work they have been doing. The week ends with highlights including client wins, presentations, and events.

Joining NMPi’s newly formed Analytics division is what excites me the most about working at NMPi. The potential for growth and to better myself is huge. NMPi puts a heavy emphasis on making the most out of their employees. This is not only great for the individual, but great for the client and company as well. If your workforce is well trained, and recognized amongst the elite, you get excellent results and go beyond expectations. All in all, a very good first week and I look forward to many more to come.

The Power of Voice…Search

This year, home voice assistants have created a stir amongst technology enthusiasts. Voice search, the main feature behind home voice assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, is poised to be the technology of the year.

Technically, voice search isn’t “new”. Apple’s Siri was introduced on the iPhone in October 2011, though initial responses were lukewarm. Users found the system clunky and difficult to navigate without screaming into their phones like lunatics. Fast forward five years, and voice search has vastly improved. Far more sophisticated than the original versions, you are no longer confined to weather updates, or finding the nearest Starbucks.  

Language naturalisation is now an integral component of voice search, making everyday speech patterns easily understandable. It’s come such a long way from Siri’s heyday. Now there are devices that can recognise snippets of lyrics to find the song you want to hear, order your favourite takeaway, or control the lights in your house, and in the case of the Amazon Echo, it will even play rock, paper, scissors with you.

The latest voice search devices are inserting themselves into daily activities in useful and meaningful ways. But will they ever move from ‘nice-to-haves’ to ‘must-have’ devices? What are the challenges they pose not only for the digital industry, but for brands?

The Unknown

It is predicted that by 2018, 30% of all interactions with devices will be voice based. This is partly due to the continued improvements in quality that will make it easier for users to voice search, taking full advantage of being able to speak four times faster than they can type.

Marketers have a challenge ahead of them, as voice search continues to enhance the way users interact with the everyday world. There are so many unknowns for how this technology will unfold, but one thing is certain, this is far more than a passing fad. Whilst it may not happen in 2017, it is only a matter of time before Google, Amazon, and Apple find a way to monetise their voice search technologies.

So, what will that look like?

Websites are already seeing a shift towards longer tail keywords, as users speak more words than they would type into a search bar. For website owners, this means SEO will need to be adjusted to these changes.

But in today’s push for mobile-first digital advertising strategies, we need to ask ourselves if we will see a time when voice-first strategies dominate boardroom conversations. Will bid modifiers for voice sit beside those of desktop, tablet and mobile in our paid search activity?

In a world of monetised voice search, the industry will have to evolve quickly to keep up. Search query analysis will pose an interesting challenge as we try to make sense of the data from an array of dialects, and languages. How will we be able to measure results? Will we need to hire CRO specialists specifically for voice searches?

There are far more questions than answers at the moment, but if Amazon Echo shows us anything, it is that there is a future for voice search purchasing, and with purchasing capabilities comes the desire to advertise and get ahead of the competition.

The Future

Within the last six months alone, voice search use has increased by 41%.   Whilst at the moment users tend to be older adopters, men between age 36-66 with a median household income of over $100,000 we can expect to see this continue to grow over the next year. Due to the fact that voice search devices are still relatively new to the market, it is hard to say what the long term implications for marketing will be. But, I think it is safe to say that there is a future for voice search advertising.

 

Google to Improve YouTube’s Cross-Device Metrics and Satisfy User Privacy Concerns

Google recently announced that it will take steps to improve YouTube metrics reporting for its advertisers, while addressing privacy concerns for users. It will rely less on pixel and cookie data to give advertisers an idea of how their video campaigns are faring, and focus on developing better mobile video tracking tools. On the user side, viewers will be able to mute advertisers that track them with irrelevant ads. Google is trying to strike a balance between transparency and control for viewers, and better, highly refined metrics for advertisers.

Why the sudden move away from pixels and cookies?

Google’s blog, Inside AdWords, indicated that 50% of all YouTube video viewing now happens on mobile. Traditional desktop tracking tools don’t provide an accurate overview for mobile based video campaigns because pixels and cookies were not designed for the way users interact with YouTube on mobile. This means measurement can be skewed. Google is developing a new way of measuring viewership to rectify this discrepancy.

How is this a win for advertisers?

In addition to a clearer view of campaign dynamics, it allows advertisers to reach the right audience. The new tool will provide accurate metrics to advertisers across devices. Information from a user’s Google account, such as past searches and Customer Match, can be used to suggest the ads they see on YouTube. In addition to this, Google will also allow advertisers to use their own data to target high value YouTube shoppers.

For viewers, Google will put the control back in their hands by allowing them to mute a particular advertiser across multiple platforms. For example, if a user has purchased a gym membership and is still being tracked with gym promotions, they can mute that advertiser.

According to AdExchanger, the new system will be cloud based with Google collaborating with several Media Rating Council third party vendors. This initiative was recently rolled out to a few select advertisers.

The Top 3 Metrics for Tracking Video Success

Video became popular in 2015, but truly exploded in 2016.  By including a video on a landing page, you can increase conversion rates by 80%. In addition, after watching a video, 64% of viewers are more likely to buy a product online, with 90% of users saying that product videos are helpful during the decision process. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now, video is crucial to your marketing strategy.

In light of the recent Facebook video metrics scandal, it’s more important than ever for marketers to repair the damage to advertiser’s reputations by ensuring that metrics are correctly tracked and accurately measured. Although Facebook issued an apology, and marketers tried to downplay this gaffe, with 85% of digital ad spend going to giants like Facebook and Google, their actions can have a serious impact on future marketing practices and affect trust within the industry.

So what metrics matter when tracking video? We’ve listed some suggestions to get you started tracking correctly, and accurately for your next video campaigns.

Beyond “Views”

Many marketers rely on this metric as the end all be all of their video measurement strategy, yet it tells you nothing if you can’t demonstrate that the views are driving traffic to your website or concrete conversions.  If the viewers aren’t your target market, then it really doesn’t matter if you receive a million views because they won’t be purchasing your products or services.
If you really want to accurately assess whether your campaign is working, you need to dig deeper and look at measurement values from play rates, completion rate, and lead generation.

Play Rate

The “play rate”, i.e., the percentage of people who click on your video divided by the total number who access the page where your video is embedded, is a better measurement for ROI versus “views”. A play rate above 50% is considered ideal. What does that mean exactly? Play rate tells you whether you’ve done a good job of presenting engaging video content, by letting you know if your video was appealing and grabbed viewer attention.  If you discover your play rate is low, it means that you need to make some changes such as making your video more interactive and interesting to capture, and more importantly, retain your audience’s attention.

Completion Rate

How long are people staying tuned into your video?  By looking at completion rates, you can get a sense of the impact your video has had. The amount of time they are actually engaged with your content and what they do with it is a much better marker of success that just “views”. This is a good metric to use when judging the effectiveness of branding campaigns.

If you are using the skippable ads format on YouTube consider how many people skip the ad after 5 seconds. This is a good indication as to whether your video is compelling enough or perhaps you are not reaching the right audience.

Lead Generation

Video advertising is an excellent means of attracting attention and initial interest in your product or services. Video tends to do better than other forms of lead generation for garnering conversions and currently accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Beyond click and convesion statistics, there are a few other metrics to look at to judge campaign performance including post view website visits and prompted searches.

How can marketers capitalise on video for viable leads?

  • Create “how-to” videos, and offer tips and assistance. Show that you have something valuable and unique to offer them.
  • Include a strong CTA at the end of the video to draw viewers to download an app, fill out a form, or visit your website to get more information
  • Be authentic by creating videos that showcase the people behind your brand to get viewer buy-in. Concretely explain what you do and how you can help your viewers.
  • Take advantage of formats where you can insert lead generation forms directly in the video. While this form of gatekeeping may turn some viewers away, the ones you do capture have a much higher likelihood of converting because they have demonstrated a genuine interest in the product or service your video is offering.
  • If you’re using YouTube, you can add CTAs via YouTube Annotations  to drive desired viewers back to your landing page

Video is here to stay will continue to grow exponentially in 2017 and beyond. It’s now a vital part of marketing campaigns, no longer the afterthought it was a scant three or four years ago. Marketers need to look beyond how many “views” they’re receiving to get an accurate picture of what is and isn’t working in video campaigns, and how they can best incorporate other metrics into their future strategies.

To learn more about top advertising platforms for video, download our latest whitepaper: The Importance of Video Advertising in a Digital World.

In-House or Outsourced? Answering the Age Old Question

When it comes to deciding between building an in-house digital team or outsourcing activity to an agency the question remains; is there really a best practice? While there are no hard-and-fast rules, we’ve included some suggestions that can help you decide where you want to invest your resources.

Some industry experts suggest that whether you outsource or keep work in-house depends on specialisation – the more specialised the work, the better it is to outsource. The logic behind this stems from the high costs – or more accurately, the hidden costs, associated with hiring full-time staff: benefits, training, pension, and paid vacation. Outsourced agencies are often cheaper – they might charge more upfront, but they are not as costly as on boarding a new full-time employee. There is little overhead involved in terms of provisions.  Another added benefit: the results are highly focused to get the job done.

The downside to outsourcing? Agencies can have many clients and you might be on the bottom of their food chain when it comes to prioritising who gets the most attention. This is why choosing the correct agency is fundamental to success. Internal teams can generally be cobbled together quicker and pulled off other projects to resolve an urgent problem immediately. But ultimately outsourcing is a great idea when you require a  definitive and specialised strategy.

Let’s break it down by category:

PPC – Both

When looking to run PPC activity it depends upon the life stage of your business and campaign size. Most companies start small, with in-house PPC activity but when it comes to trying to scale business growth campaigns begin to get too large and costly. At this stage, the company may be in a better position to afford outside agencies that can conduct efficient and cutting edge campaigns. A good outsourced agency will also develop close-knit relationships with their clients, becoming a veritable extension of the team and it only feels “out of house” by virtue of their location.

Once a company is significantly mid-sized, it’s often better to outsource to a digital specialist, since they often have expertise that multi-channel marketers are lacking and don’t have the time to invest in. Large companies often split efforts between in-house PPC for smaller campaigns while passing off the heavy lifting and high-end campaigns to outside agencies. Sometimes in-house can run spend into the ground because they don’t have the in-depth knowledge or scope to absorb new technologies or techniques as efficiently as possible.

Display – Outsource

The general consensus is that Display activity is better outsourced than held in-house. Why? It’s too specialised and would require a trained individual, fully immersed in Display activity for it to be viable, as they need to provide accurate attribution, and assessment activities. Most small companies rely on having a ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ marketing person dabbling in PPC, Social, SEO and Display. For bigger campaigns, it’s best to spend the money and get a specialist who really knows what they’re doing, has the time to run campaigns across several channels, and the time to devote to using a multitude of tools.

Paid Social – Outsource

Social is like PPC in that, depending on your situation, the pendulum can swing both ways. The basic break down is this: Paid Social should be outsourced, Organic social, kept in-house. If the company is relatively small it’s best to save money and keep activity in-house. Paid Social has moved well beyond just occasionally “boosting” posts. It now has a vast array of complex, time-intensive, targeting techniques that might be best handled by specialists who won’t waste precious ad-spend targeting the wrong group of people, and who can also quickly, and correctly analyse data for the next campaign.

Integrating Your Digital Strategy

Lastly, a benefit that cannot be overlooked is an outsourced digital agency’s ability to deliver a fully integrated approach. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be siloed into just one area. In fact, a cross-channel digital strategy is far more effective. Integrating your strategy means that campaigns results can be deduped for higher accuracy, advertisers gain a better understanding of the customer journey, audience lists can be built and used in retargeting across channels, and it is easier to deliver a full-funnel approach.

If you’re looking to scale business growth and run integrated digital activity in a  quick, efficient and cost-effective manner, a digital agency already has the capacity to hit the ground running with a workhorse of a team behind them.

VOTE for our Rising Star!

We are excited to announce that Campaign Manager, Anna Jorysz, has been nominated for the Performance Marketing Award’s Industry Rising Star! The prize is awarded to the best and brightest in Performance Marketing. We are very proud of her hard work and efforts! Get involved and cast your vote!

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Anna joined NMPi as an Analyst in 2014 after travelling through Thailand for a year where she helped develop the website and social activity for a charity organisation.

Anna quickly progressed to Campaign Manager and became an integral part of the performance team. She began her career in Paid Search, and over the past year has helped shape the development of NMPi’s Performance Display solution with not only her strategies and optimisations but with the help of a customisable, dynamic creative she built.

Anna is a passionate problem solver and her dedication to her team in evident in her work every day. Her strength as a Campaign Manager lies in her unique ability to look at platforms from a tech and strategic perspective, enabling her to find new and innovative approaches to problems and deliver the desired outcomes for her clients. Her rapid progression is a testament to her commitment not only to her career but to her co-workers and clients.

Make Sure to Cast Your Vote: Vote Here

Video Branding: Tell Your Story

According to a Cisco study, 80% of information consumed on the internet will be via video by 2019. Video is swiftly overtaking written content as the go-to means of sharing vital information about brands, products, and services. It is vital marketers add this format to their marketing strategy. The question is: How can you successfully integrate video into your brand’s vision in 2017?

  1. Telling Your Story – Video gives brands the ability to share their unique vision with potential clients and consumers. A well-crafted video detailing your mission, purpose, and goals, while showing a glimpse of your company behind the scenes, is a fantastic way to share important information in an engaging way. Companies are now using video to replace dated and boring ‘About Us’ pages to give viewers a vibrant picture of their brand. This type of video doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to effectively communicate your brand to existing consumers.
  2. Combining Existing Marketing Strategies – Video can be used to complement existing marketing content. A two-minute video can engage and share pertinent information quickly for viewers who don’t have time to read a white paper, case study, or blog, extolling the virtues of your product or services. While certainly not a replacement for these formats, video can give viewers the initial most important takeaways, with written content providing further, in-depth information.
  3. Hiring – Video is an excellent way to attract new talent in your recruitment strategy. Millennials and Generation Z are drawn to video content. A snappy video showcasing things such as a day-in-the-life, what your company offers, employee interviews, and company culture, is a great way to get new hires excited to work for you. Read our case study ‘Driving Instant Results with Video Advertising for Exact‘ to find out how we used video advertising to promote Exact as an employer in NL and increase candidate submissions.
  4. Announcements – How many people really read their company newsletter or a press release? Most people hit delete and move on. Video can turn blasé press releases and internal newsletters about company events and important announcements into engaging news pieces. Viewers can get the gist of your message without being bored to tears. If you have something important to get across, a brief video outlining those points might just do the trick and get your employees and potential consumers to tune in, instead of tune out.
  5. Social Media – Video enables brands to engage a wider audience than ever before with the popularity of live video streaming on channels such as Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. Currently, the opportunity to monetize live video is in the works, but with the help of paid ads on social channels, video content can reach relevant audiences quickly. There is little need to build a viewer base from the ground up for video marketing because large platforms such as Facebook have these users already in place. Successfully engaging viewers via social media can help drive traffic and build brand loyalty.

Incorporating video strategies into the marketing mix can help brands convey their vision, promote hiring drives, and share announcements with the potential for extensive reach and increased engagement. It can complement existing marketing initiatives by giving users the ability to access important information quickly, and cement brand loyalty by tapping into video’s massive social media appeal.

#12DaysofStrategy: What to Expect from the Post Christmas Sale Period

While you read this, hopefully you are already reveling in what a successful festive period you’re having and looking forward to maximizing a very significant sales period, even with the rise of Black Friday. For industries outside of retail such as travel and home, this also indicates the peak of the year increasing in wider online prevalence.

So what can we expect from the Boxing Day/January sale?

Sales to be spread over a wider period due to where Christmas falls
With the 27th also a bank holiday in the UK, it’s likely we may see a slightly quieter day than normal due to consumers also having the 27th to shop. This is a trend that we saw reflected by many of our clients last year, and is something to keep in mind.

With the first Sunday of the year being the 1st it will significantly change the buying patterns of customers. We’d normally see a very strong first Sunday, especially in the home and travel sectors, but with this being the 1st we expect to see sales more evenly distributed.

Home & Travel sector changes

This will still be a strong period for both sectors, but there will need to be flexibility in the way you work, as what we’re currently seeing in buying patterns and product choices from customers may vary.

A change in store behavior?

Could this be the end of the mad Boxing Day rush in-store? With parliament discussing whether stores should be forced to close on Boxing Day, this could see massive gains for online retailers, with more customers shopping from a mobile device or desktop in the comfort of their own homes, and a potential shift in how companies split their sales items between store and online.

Similarly to the run up to Christmas being impacted by Black Friday, there are a lot of external factors in when public holidays fall, the state of the market, and how this will impact consumer behaviours. Expect to see the sales trends from last year vary both in when they fall, but also in the products ranges being purchased.

#12DaysofStrategy: How does Christmas on Sunday Effect Shopping Behaviours?

Christmas falling on a Sunday leaves an entire day free for last minute shopping, sometimes referred to as “Panic Saturday”. In addition to this retailers may also see instances of showrooming, whereby a consumer sees an item in-store but completes their purchase online, sometimes at a lower price.

A typical consumer experiences a digital touch at some point along their journey to an in-store conversion. Hence, to make the most of this year’s Panic Saturday on Christmas Eve, retailers should consider how they can best leverage their digital channels to drive in-store conversions for last minute shoppers, and also ensure that they are prepared for showrooming consumers to make their purchases online following an in-store visit.

For last minute buyers in the run-up to Panic Saturday, information such as click & collect deadlines, and store information such as locations and opening times are necessary. Both sitelinks and location ad extensions can help with this and drive a consumer from visiting your retailer online to in-store. On Panic Saturday itself, local inventory ads will be imperative in creating a digital storefront and enabling a user to find the exact item they want, and then driving them to your store. Again, location extensions are important; search queries involving “near me” have historically peaked over the Christmas period, and so the easier a consumer can find your store, the better.

For showrooming consumers it is the use of singular marketing messaging across your channels which will create a consistent user journey. Being the opposite of in-store last minute buyers, this presents an opportunity to use sequential messaging for showrooming consumers to increase brand affinity and conversion rates.

Even with two categories of consumers that we can potentially expect on Christmas Eve, the common thread between these consumers is the importance of mobile devices. Last minute shoppers will be using their phones to find stores which stock the items they want, or store information such as directions. Showrooming consumers can be conducting their online research on the go using their mobile devices and may make their online purchases on the spot.

Ensuring mobile websites are fully optimised to capture this traffic and serve the user the most relevant information will be important in order to make the most of this peak for retailers during the festive season.

Hopefully these tips and insights from cross-device performance and cross-channel attribution post-Panic Saturday can enable retailers to make the most of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, and increase revenue between offline and online activities.

Stay tuned to more from our ‘12 Days of Christmas Strategy‘ blog series.