Net Media Planet celebrates 7th birthday

Net Media Planet reached the ripe old age of seven last week so we thought “what better way to celebrate” than with another fantastic Net Media Planet Day.

To celebrate, some of the team put together this video telling the story of the last seven years. We thought that it would be nice to share it with you:

The whole team got together at a special location on Oxford Street for an all-day event, looking back at the last seven years and planning ahead to the future. We all had some fun, including a rather exceptional ‘The Apprentice comes to Net Media Planet’ game, followed by an amazing evening at The Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden.

I would just like to take a moment to say thank you to all our clients for a successful seven years. It’s been a truly fun and rewarding experience and the whole team is looking forward to the exciting year ahead.

Five tips for international etailing

With the internet slowly eroding the geographic barriers between customer and retailer, it makes sense for brands to branch out internationally using etailing. From our extensive experience of managing paid search campaigns in multiple geographic markets, we believe there are five key considerations for brands contemplating setting up a (virtual) shop overseas.

1:Analyse your data
Maybe your brand already has some traction in a certain country, so it would make sense to start there.
2:Don’t assume biggest is best
The biggest online market isn’t necessarily the right one for you to expand into. For example although Brazil is widely considered to be the biggest market in South America, it’s Peru which is the fastest-growing.
3:Recognise that fulfilment and partnerships are important
Will you be able to ship products to/within your new target country? Will you have to co-operate with the local government ? For example, in China, a partnership with the government is the only way into the market.
4:Recognise cultural and linguistic nuances
This is especially important when it comes to PPC advertisingas as it can make a huge difference in terms of connecting with your customer. For example, don’t use Castilian Spanish if you’re trying to appeal to a South American consumer. And there are quite significant differences in vocabulary across Spanish speaking South America.
5:Research the online market and pilot your site
Research is important, but it can only take you so far. Piloting your site is paramount, and testing your approach on one channel (for example PPC, as that’s easy to measure), then use the data gathered to build a more robust business case.
New Media Age recently ran a feature on international etailing, which described some of the issues facing brands looking to expand internationally. One of the experts quoted in the article was Emma Bonar, Ecommerce Manager at our client Karen Millen.


Google’s everchanging face

Internet users will no doubt have noticed that something changed in the last week. When logging on to Google, there was just something different about it – but, at first glance, it might have not been obvious what.

Main developments

Those with an eye for design will have noticed that the Google logo now appears a tad smaller and that the buttons underneath the search bar have blended in with the background a bit more. But the main design change is the black colour of the top bar – where it used to be blue font on neutral white background, this new bar draws attention to the main search categories like images and news.
Once the user has entered his search term, the other main development catches the eye: the sidebar’s search options, now displayed in subtle red, nudge the user towards the search tools, such as limiting the search results to those from the last 24 hours (curiously, though, the ‘more search tools’ button is almost hidden away beneath the ‘all results’ heading).
In our last blog post, we talked about the Google ‘+1’ button, which has now been rolled out in the UK and adds a new social aspect to Google’s search function.
In terms of PPC, the two main new changes in our opinion are the new number of maximum site links displayed on the search results pages (SERPs) – six instead of four. An example for one of our clients’ ads below.
Before the update:

After the update:

Another PPC-related change is the shift of the display URL upwards – it now shows up above the site description instead of below.
Right now, we can’t say for certain what effect these two developments will have on CTR and conver, but bear with us – we’ll post a new blog once we’ve collected some data.

Why are Google doing this?

According to Google themselves, it’s all part of their drive to improve the user’s experience. But these changes also have a lot to do with Google’s desire to build an affinity for their brand. They want their users to notice and use their features more, thus increasing the “stickability” of their site.
The search process isn’t over once the user has pressed “enter”: they are now more likely to refine their search, and thus discover more relevant results. This development, together with the launch of Google’s own social network (Google+) is neatly timed to coincide with their competitor Bing’s recent gains in the market share (Microsoft, who own Bing, entered a deal with a Chinese search engine this week to boost their presence in that market) and Facebook’s onward march towards being the go-to platform for both search and social networking.

What does it mean for PPC and SEO clients?

As we mentioned in our last post, brands can now use the ‘+1’ feature as an additional metric to measure their popularity and authority as well as the users’ trust in them, and might even start thinking in more detail about ways with which to increase the number of Google ‘+1’s.
Brands now need to wisen up to the fact that people are potentially more likely to view SEO results according to the timeframe they choose. This means that the SERPs displayed for a search for the term “flowers” will change when the user chooses to only look for results from the last 24 hours/7 days etc (as opposed to, say, “Anytime”). This, in turn, has consequences for the way brands produce and manage their content. They should take care to keep creating new and relevant content on a regular basis. This practise has always been important, but never more so than now.