NMPi by Incubeta Launches Trailblazing Amazon Ads Optimisation With Awin.

Read Time: 2 minutes

It’s been a whirlwind start to 2021 for NMPi by Incubeta, and we’re thrilled to announce an exciting development, in the form of an Amazon Ads Optimisation service, through Affiliate Partners, Awin.

NMPi by Incubeta & Awin have worked together to develop a bespoke service offering Amazon Ads optimisation that can be reported and paid for on a CPA basis. This is a partner first for Awin, and NMPi by Incubeta are excited to be using our Amazon Ad’s expertise & knowledge to provide impressive results via this service.

We’ve spoken at length about making the most of Amazon Ads before, and our resident Amazon expert, Senior Performance Manager Peter Munton has expressed his excitement for this new opportunity:

“This offering is an amazing service because it is the first of its kind, integrating paid Amazon advertising into Awin’s reporting system. This new service will enable the client to compare the performance of their Amazon campaigns directly alongside that of their current affiliates. We’re excited to see where this takes us and the success we can bring to clients’ campaigns.”


James Bentley, Awin UK Strategy Director has explained more about this “huge frontier of opportunity and value” in Awin’s Blog about this new offering.

This particular partner-based service is currently being rolled out to Awin clients, but this isn’t the limit to our bespoke Amazon offerings! If you’d like to learn more about how to unlock your Amazon Potential with NMPi by Incubeta, register for a Free Personalised Amazon Report today

Demystifying Google’s Core Web Vitals: First Input Delay (FID)

Read Time: 3 Minutes 10 Seconds

In the second instalment of our SEO: Demystifying Google’s Core Web Vitals series – where we dissect each of the core web vital metrics in an easy and practical manner to prepare you for what lies ahead – we’ll be discussing First Input Delay (FID), the measurement of time between an interaction and a response.

What is First Input Delay (FID)?

First Input Delay (FID) is the second metric of the three Core Web Vitals being introduced by Google. Each of the three metrics focus on different elements of user experience, with FID being the metric used by Google to measure the interactivity of a page. 

“The lights are on but nobody’s home”

Google explains FID as the measurement of time from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction. To put it simply, FID is the delay between when you interact (ie. click or tap) with something like a link or a button, and the time that the browser responds to your action and starts processing it. 

Why is First Input Delay Important for SEO?

It’s important because Google has decided to incorporate it into its algorithm from May, so a poor FID could cause a negative impact to your website as you appear lower down on the search engine results page. 

FID is a measure of how quickly a user can engage with your site and Google wants to make sure that, along with returning the most relevant search results, it’s returning the sites that offer users the best experience as well. FID provides a user-centric metric for measuring load responsiveness – quantifying the experience users feel when trying to interact with unresponsive pages.

How do you measure First Input Delay?

FID is measured in milliseconds and, to receive the highest perceived responsiveness of the page, you want to keep this as low as possible, 

Google classes a good FID scoring as under 100 milliseconds, with a score between 100 and 300 milliseconds requiring improvement. If your FID exceeds 300 milliseconds then this is considered to be poor, and your page experience score, and credibility is jeopardised. If you’re seeing a significant number of your pages fall into this category then you can expect that visitors to your site are receiving a very poor experience.

It’s worth noting that FID measurement can only be calculated using field data and can’t be derived from lab data. This is because it requires visitors to interact with your site and can’t be modelled, much like the other metrics can.

How to Improve your FID

The most common cause of a poor FID is usually down to Javascript, and render blocking resources. Removing 3rd party code, keeping the number of request counts low and reducing JavaScript execution time will all help improve FID.

You can do this by:

  • Breaking up long tasks
  • Merging and minifying
  • Deferring unused JavaScript
  • Using web workers.

There’s also a strong relationship between the time it takes from First Contentful Paint (FCP) to Time to Interactive (TTI), and First Input Delay.

The time between FCP & TTI is the time that it takes the browser to render the page fully. During that time, if a user makes an interaction with a web page, there will most likely be a delay due to network requests blocking the main thread. Advertisers should consider focusing on refining their page rendering if the time between first contentful paint and time to interactive is over a second or so.

Want to learn more? Explore the previous article in the series Demystifying Google’s Core Web Vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Or more information on what the algorithm update will look like, have a read of our previous article Google’s New Search Criteria to familiarize yourself with Page Experience Signals, and what the update will mean for the marketing industry.

This blog was originally posted on Incubeta.

Incubeta UK Welcome Sally Laycock as New CEO

Read Time: 2 Minutes 30 Seconds

We’re thrilled to announce the appointment of Sally Laycock as the new CEO of our parent company, Incubeta UK. Based in London, Sally will succeed Luke Judge, who has headed up the company as US and UK Group CEO for the past 5 years. John Cawdery who was appointed as US CEO in September last year will continue to lead Incubeta in North America. 

Having joined Incubeta in 2008, as Financial Controller, and rising to Chief Financial Officer in 2017, Sally’s constant positivity and rigour has made her an invaluable, and admired member of the Incubeta family. Her operational expertise and intimate knowledge of Incubeta has been instrumental to their success and growth as a business, and we can’t wait to see all that she’ll achieve in her new role as UK CEO. 

In the last twelve months Incubeta has gone from strength to strength, achieving double-digit year-on-year profit growth, and as UK CEO, Sally will continue to drive Incubeta’s growth trajectory through the innovation of services and products. Sally will also join the global Incubeta steering committee to provide active input for the group direction.

Sally, reflecting on her new position, says “Having worked side by side with Luke for many years, I have certainly learnt from the best and I am honoured the baton has been passed on to me. I want to ensure we carry forward the legacy of a strong people culture which has been built up over the years with a particular focus on creating an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves at work. This is something I am absolutely passionate about. Over the past 13 years I have watched employees at Incubeta thrive and progress. I’m so proud of what we have all achieved together and I am excited to be at the helm to ensure this continues.”

Luke Judge, current CEO of UK & US comments, “It’s been a privilege over the last 13 years to be a part of Incubeta’s success and achievements. I am immensely proud and grateful of the amazing team that works incredibly hard to make the company what it is. I know Incubeta UK is in the safe, capable and caring hands of Sally who will continue to do great things and lead the company with positivity and rigour.”

Lars Lehne, Group CEO adds, “Luke has done an amazing job of leading Incubeta to the success it is today in the UK and US markets. He will be sorely missed by all. As the digital landscape continues to evolve and become more mature, Sally’s extensive knowledge and experience will drive Incubeta to achieve its objectives and further its growth. I’m very much looking forward to working with Sally in her new role as UK CEO and witnessing the great things she will achieve as this new chapter begins.”

We are thrilled to have Sally appointed as new UK CEO and we look forward to Incubeta’s continued growth and development as a global brand and beyond!

This blog was originally published on Incubeta.

 

Embracing a Harmonic Relationship between Physical and Digital Retail

Read Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds

From brick and mortar stores and OOH advertising, to online shops, social commerce and multi-media marketing, retailing isn’t what it used to be. The rise in eCommerce and the deprecation of the high street caused by Covid-19 meant the 2020 marketing scene was dominated by the subject of physical and digital retail – with many questioning the future of brick-and-mortar.  

DOWNLOAD FULL WHITEPAPER

There’s no doubt that the devastation reaped by the pandemic was cataclysmic to physical retail, yet it would be naïve to discuss the high street in terms of fragility, and discredit the value that consumers place on brick-and-mortar experiences. Commerce will always exist in a physical sense, and  as we settle into 2021 advertisers should be learning to support physical with digital, and digital with physical – rather than viewing them as separate entities. 

2020 Challenges & Changes for Physical Retail

The pandemic undoubtedly widened the already growing gap between brick-and-mortar and online commerce, and as social restrictions were introduced and shoppers were forced online, physical shopping was rendered near impossible. Retailers had to adapt and overcome – from furloughing staff and rewriting business strategies to shifting to a pure play mindset. Even during the brief lockdown interlude, when shops reopened, the outlook for the socially encompassed high street began to look bleak, as many consumers still opted to order deliveries direct to the comfort of their own home. Many are left wondering if there is a future for physical retail.

The resounding answer is yes, despite the devastating impact Covid-19 had to the high street, commerce will always exist and that means there will always be a level of demand for bricks-and-mortar. Ultimately, it all comes down to consumer experience – shopping will always go beyond simply purchasing products. The industry needs to address the importance of consumer experience in a post-Covid world, and how essential it is for the recovery of brick-and-mortar stores.

How Digital E-Commerce can support Physical Retail

It goes without saying that the brick-and-mortar was struggling pre-Covid, and when the high street did temporarily close, market dominance was all but handed to Search Engines. However, they were not the only digital micro-sector that Google achieved dominance in. Google Maps excelled, introducing Local Ads that rendered the channel competitive. Retailers suddenly had the ability to advertise their physical stores directly on Maps through paid ad spaces – using digital to support their physical store. Facebook wasn’t far behind launching their platform alternative to Google Maps, in the form of Store Traffic campaigns. A channel which again allows retailers to generate store visits and boost physical sales rather than purchasing online.

Using digital e-Commerce to support physical retail can provide significantly more customer insight than offline retail activity in a physical store. Conversely, online marketing and on-site analytics can provide a comprehensive profile of your average new or returning customer. 

After a year where discretionary media budgets were most-definitely on the chopping block for retailers, demonstrating and utilising the maximum capabilities of digital media campaigns will be vital for retailers to rise above an ever-busier online marketplace in 2021.

How Physical Retail can support Digital E-Commerce

The need for digital retail activity to support physical store retail is clear, but the relationship between the two is by no means a one-way street. In-store retail has been supporting online e-commerce for a lot longer than commonly thought, and one clear and often overlooked method of this is through e-receipts; which have been gaining momentum in retail for the best part of a decade. 

In the right hands, the simple e-receipt can be a miracle jump-start for retailers looking to successfully launch their digital presence. Implementing a truly efficient online strategy will incorporate the customer-base into every aspect of one’s digital marketing.  Advertisers should never assume that physical retail is only capable of supporting online retail through front-end activity – the two channels work harmoniously through the entire retail life-cycle.

Looking forward to the year ahead, advertisers need to recognise and reap the benefits associated with embracing an omnichannel approach – realising the value that a harmonic physical/digital relationship has on the retail life-cycle, and capitalizing on it. 

For more information on how physical retail and digital ecommerce can support one another, download our omnichannel whitepaper: The Harmonic Relationship between Physical and Digital Retail. 

 

Is TikTok Here to Stay or is it a Flash in the Pan

Read Time: 4 Minutes 48 Seconds

Following their success – built upon the repercussions of Covid-19 – video-sharing social network, TikTok, took its place in the industry, achieving an estimated 689 million monthly active users (along with 600 million more from Douyin) making it the most popular social media platform behind Facebook and YouTube (according to Hootsuite data Oct 2020). In the UK alone, TikTok monthly ‘active’ users grew from 4.9 million to 7 million in 2019, shooting up to a colossal 18.5 Million users in 2020 – more than doubling in size.

While TikTok’s position in the industry is undeniably strong, will their dominance prevail once lockdown restrictions are lifted, and consumer focus shifts back to physical experiences? In short, what part should TikTok be playing in your 2021 Marketing Strategy?

Why TikTok?

So, how did TikTok double their user base in under a year, achieving unimaginable growth for a seemingly simple ‘video sharing’ concept? Due to the nature of TikTok’s video-only content, it put the platform in a unique position to take advantage of the fast-evolving Augmented Reality technology ahead of other popular platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, who offer a significant volume of static content. Updated technologies made for a more optimised and enhanced customer experience that undoubtedly contributed to their substantial growth.

TikTok’s popularity could also be accredited to more physical features such as their easy to use interface, in-built video editor with multiple features (such as AR Lenses, text, cutting & trimming clips), their user feed algorithm (You Page) and their convenient in-house sound library.

Should you Invest in TikTok Advertising in 2021?

The average TikTok user will use the app for 52 minutes a day – split across numerous short sessions. In a period of time where a large portion of society are stuck indoors, competing for attention has never been easier, and we’re undoubtedly seeing advertisers making the most of this. But will those figures drop when physical experiences are reintroduced into mainstream culture? In short, no.

At the end of 2020 eMarketer released a report stating that, despite societal fluctuations, over 40% of the population (worldwide) will consume digital video content on a daily basis in 2021. Totalling 3.15 billion individuals, that is a 4.6% increase from 2020, and any growth we saw in the last 12 months is set to increase, or be sustained throughout the coming year. 

With 2.6 billion of those users consuming video content on their mobile devices (via apps such as TikTok), TikTok’s user base is undoubtedly set to increase substantially in 2021 – and to optimise their strategy advertisers need to be ready to invest.

Driving a Return

The key appeal for TikTok is its audience demographic. The platform is particularly successful with younger audiences, and by Q3 2020, 24% of all internet users aged 15-25 in the UK were using TikTok. In terms of market penetration for users between ages 26-35, this was only at 9%, therefore the platform has become a key focus for worldwide brands aiming to target Gen Z consumers.

The nature of TikTok’s ad offering (mainly video with sound), creates a unique opportunity for brands to deliver memorable campaigns that are ideal for upper funnel activity. Considering the behavioural aspects of the younger demographic – who have had less time to develop brand loyalty and awareness for legacy brands – it provides an opportunity for new brands to build strong awareness and positive perception. Alternatively larger brands can use the platform to reach these Gen Z users with branding that has seen success already, or innovate in new ways and add alternate dimensions to what they already offer.

For brands that are looking for more than just brand awareness from their paid social activity, the TikTok pixel allows you to run campaigns on the self-serve platform, optimised towards traffic or conversions (similar to what is offered on Facebook). Due to the nature of the in-feed ad placements, a strong creative can have a strong impact on overall performance due to its native appearance, which means you don’t necessarily need a big creative budget as creating a TikTok on a phone can work just as well. Using TikTok with a performance focus will likely require a testing budget to understand what creatives and setup work best for your brand, but there is undeniably room for TikTok in the overall marketing mix to reach those users who aren’t found on other social platforms.

TikTok allows advertisers to tap into the culture of their audience, by engaging with trends in a more genuine way, or using powerful video features to add a new dimension to their brand. 

Final Thoughts

With TikTok user penetration set to increase to 34.2% of social network users in 2021, now is the time, if they haven’t already, for advertisers to use the video-sharing platform as a channel for their organic and paid social activity. Although still behind Facebook Ads Manager, TikTok have shown they are working to improve their service, and this is apparent with the number of updates they’ve rolled out over the past few months. 

They undoubtedly capitalised on the opportunities that were presented throughout 2020 and asserted their dominance in the social media space – particularly among young people. Impressive growth in both user and revenue numbers have been noticed by its older competitors and resulted in imitations of what TikTok offers. Each month more and more brands are taking notice of the platform in new and unique ways. TikTok has brought something fresh to the social media space and if they continue to grow post-Covid, they will be in a strong position to rival the social media titan of Facebook and Instagram in the years to come. 

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Want to learn more about TikTok, and what it could mean for your business? Get in touch today, and see what NMPi by Incubeta can do for you.

 

Brexit & Beyond; The Logistics of a Post-Brexit UK

Read Time: 6 Minutes 30 Seconds

On 31st of December 2020 the Brexit transition period came to an end and to the relief of many, a last minute Trade and Cooperation agreement  (TCA) between the UK and the EU was reached. Actioned from the 1st of January 2021, the ultimate goal of the TCA was to protect a £668 billion trading relationship by maintaining tariff and quota free trade. To put numbers into perspective, in 2019, 52% of all UK imports came from the EU (£374 billion) and 43% of all UK exports went to the EU (£294 billion).

As we settle comfortably into the second week of February, a month and half on, we’re beginning to see the logistics of a post-Brexit world unfurl, with many questioning the impact it’ll have on the industry as we know it.

What We Know So Far

Reaching a TCA means that tariffs and quotas will no longer apply to all goods traded between the UK and EU with the “appropriate rules of origin”, which is the first time the EU has agreed to unprecedented 100% tariff liberalisation with any other trading partner. It is worth noting that the zero-tariff policy is not applicable unconditionally – according to TCA, origin rules apply, meaning a product will not qualify for zero tariffs if more than certain percentage of its pre-finished value is neither of British nor EU origin. In other words, a zero tariff will only continue to apply to items fully or predominantly made in the UK or EU. This proves problematic for resellers of products manufactured outside of Europe as they now have to adhere to a double tariff policy that could impose their bottom line. As a result, many resellers may slow down or halt their trades with the EU whilst they quantify the impact to their business. 

As a result of leaving the EU, the UK has also separated from the 1968 Customs Union that allows custom-free trading.  From the 1st of January the UK are being treated as any other non-EU country with new obligations and processes introduced, such as; filing import or export customs declarations, providing security and safety data, special licence requirements for certain goods (e.g. waste, chemicals etc) and complying with different VAT systems. This also means additional admin costs which will likely affect retail prices and could cause temporary logistics delays disrupting supply chain in both directions.

The UK is also now out of the EU-wide VAT electronic system, meaning any EU businesses that wish to continue selling goods – valued at less than £135 – to UK customers, are now legally required to register for a UK VAT number and start charging VAT on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs. As a result,  businesses are now re-evaluating their approach to cross-border trading, pausing their international ecommerce websites until they get in grips with the new regulations. 

What’s Next?

We’d expect both UK consumers and retailers to shift temporarily from foreign e-commerce and wholesale websites to local businesses – if they have the option to do so – to avoid customs red tape and delays. Additionally, online shoppers will be paying closer attention to delivery/returns information and where their products are shipped from, to make sure they get them as fast as possible. They’ll also want to see the breakdown of end price including any applicable fees before the checkout to avoid later surprises. Resellers sourcing their products in the EU will likely squeeze their margins, or increase their retail prices slightly to accommodate the newly introduced Customs fees. While introducing (temporary) longer delivery times due to increased complexity in logistics.

As a result, consumers will be more conscientious of price fluctuations, asking questions pre-purchase that concern product source, delivery implications and post-Brexit impact to unit costs. Businesses need to communicate any new or relevant updates to their customer base not withholding pertinent or important information that could impact product price or delivery time. Price or delivery fluctuations could impact purchasing decisions, therefore it is crucial to maintain an open and honest conversation with customers throughout their user journey. Providing certainty and transparency in uncertain times is essential for both a seamless shopping experience and building affinity and customer loyalty. 

Post-Brexit Top Tips

To help you navigate the post-Brexit landscape, we’ve compiled a list of top tips to optimise your strategy. 

Communicate

Communicating proactively and openly with your customer base is invaluable. Businesses should be clarifying the impact of Brexit on price, delivery & returns, either directly, via a dedicated “Brexit” page on the website, or via paid media. Brands should also consider introducing live “chat” functionality on their site – enabling users to reach out to sellers directly at any point on the path to conversion. This tool can help build brand and consumer confidence as they are both on the same page pre-purchase. 

It’s crucial that brands take a consistent approach across all assets, communication and advertising channels to prevent confusion, updating order confirmation emails to contain price breakdown, expected shipping, delivery dates and return options, outlining any potential return costs. In case of any unexpected shipping delays, it is important to notify consumers immediately – highlighting updated delivery dates if possible. Maintaining a constant level of communication and honesty fosters a positive and harmonious relationship between yourself and your customers. 

Inform your Campaigns

Advertisers should update the targeting and content of all international paid campaigns to reflect any business trading decisions. It is likely we’ll be seeing changes in trends so it is important advertisers inform their paid media in a smart way –  making the maximum use of automated bidding solutions available. 

Product Price

Retailers need to ensure their product and checkout web-pages have been updated, delivery information is easy to allocate and price/fee/VAT breakdowns are transparent early in the checkout process. The product price shouldn’t increase at checkout as this could result in users abandoning their carts prior to payment. Advertisers should be aware of any price changes and update any manually optimised messaging in their paid campaigns accordingly. 

Stay Competitive

Competitor awareness is more important than ever before. It is essential for both retailers and advertisers to stay on the top of their competitor’s efforts and changes – utilising the market insights and competitor benchmarking tools available. Being on the top of your market industry and key competitor efforts can serve as an inspiration for building a post-brexit strategy, but it can also provide a competitive advantage if brands use the information they gather strategically. 

For some brands it will be important to keep pricing or delivery speed competitive to maintain their market share. In the case of sudden price fluctuations, brands should consider performing market research, reaching out to their loyal customers and identifying how price changes might influence future buying decisions. Brands need to understand customer expectations and identify the most effective USPs that can help shape strategy and deliver expected results. Streamline processes, cut back any silos, reduce unnecessary costs to minimum, automate wherever possible and use data to inform any strategic decisions.

Regulate Your Feed Management

Retailers or advertisers using feeds to manage and advertise their inventory should update their Merchant center data to account for any additional fees or taxes. Depending on how retailers operate, any import or export duties can be added into either the “shipping” or the “price” feed attribute. VAT or Goods and services tax are generally being added into the “price” attribute. Either way, product prices indicated in the feed and on the website need to be identical to prevent product disapprovals due to a price mismatch. Advertisers should be closely monitoring feed diagnostics and any feed-based campaign performance post updates to troubleshoot arising issues immediately.

For more information on how to operate in a post-Brexit world, and to get external insights on your campaign performance, get in touch with the team today.

This blog was originally published on Incubeta.

Where is the Love? Shifting your Strategy to Support a Covid-19 Valentine’s Day

Read Time: 5 Minutes 27 Seconds

February is upon us, and as we settle comfortably into 2021, thoughts turn to the next biggest retail holiday in the calendar; Valentine’s Day. With over $27 billion spent last year in the US alone, Valentine’s Day is the gifting event that the industry feeds upon to rejuvenate and kick-start the economy after the post-Christmas slump. 

As reported by Google, Valentine’s Day involves key terms like flowers, gifts, and restaurants and if you’re one of the lucky ones, maybe ‘weekend break’. And while the search for ‘valentines’ and ‘gifts’ starts in earnest the week prior to February 14th, historically speaking, the hearts and cupids start appearing the moment the tinsel and trees disappear. However, this year questions are being raised on the transformative effects coronavirus is having on shopping habits, and what it’ll mean for the industry.

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the pandemic altered the seasonal dynamics of any festive period, and with hospitality related experiences out-of-the-question this year – due to social restrictions – how will the Valentine’s Day-related shopping landscape fare? In short, what can advertisers do to optimize their strategy and drive success this somewhat digital Valentine’s Day.

What Can We Expect this Valentine’s?

Brits and Americans alike proved their romantic side last year spending close to 30 billion combined on heart-shaped balloons, chocolates and reservations – an 8 billion increase in spend (compared to 2019). Accompanying this, the industry witnessed a shift away from materialistic goods to physical experiences with 71% of Valentine’s Day-related site traffic accredited to restaurant reservations and evenings out – a shift which was only set to increase in following years. That being said, if the Christmas season was anything to go by, we’ll undoubtedly see this year’s Valentine’s Day go off course and shift substantially. 

With no clear indication of lockdown regulations changing, the rise in demand for physical Valentine’s Day experiences – such as hotel reservations, dining and travel – will likely plummet, with investments moving back to materialistic goods. Not to mention the shift we’ll undoubtedly see from offline purchases to online.

January search trends are already reflecting this prediction with a 22% increase in Valentine’s day related terms compared to the same period last year. Directly comparing this year’s Google Trends to 2020, searches relating to physical gifts are significantly up YoY with a 69% increase in ‘valentines gifts’ and a 51% increase in ‘personalised gifts’. Searches relating to experiences/going out are significantly down with a 55% decrease in ‘experience gifts’ and a 66% decrease in ‘valentines dinner’ YoY, as users shift back to purchasing materialistic goods (online) in response to physical restrictions.

Valentines Day Daily Search interest: 2020 vs 2021 (Source = Google Trends)

Top Tips to Win at Valentine’s Day

With two weeks left until the big day, we’ve compiled some of our top tips to optimize your advertising spend and drive performance throughout the love-induced shopping frenzy. From romantic recommendations to orientated creatives here are our Valentine’s Day top tips.

Start Early, Finish Late – Lucy Smith, Senior Account Manager UK

It’s crucial to make the most of the whole Valentine’s Day period. We’re expecting longer research periods this year as more people move their shopping online, and the delivery chaos experienced over Christmas will still be fresh in the minds of many. Start your marketing early and make sure you’re front of mind when the peak (7 days before) of Valentine’s purchasing hits. Likewise, if you are able to offer delivery late in the day, make sure you’re highlighting this and phase your budget so that you can push right up to the 14th. Searches for next day delivery have skyrocketed YoY so if this is a service you can offer, make sure you’re making the most of it.

Open your Campaign Targeting to a Wider Market – Amy Jackson, Business Director

Don’t limit your marketing to traditional cuddly toys and red roses. February isn’t just about Valentine’s Day as the way consumers are purchasing and why they are purchasing has changed. 

With global media phenomena opening up the social calendar to new dates and causes to celebrate, there’s more opportunity to think outside of the box with your audiences. As the effect of the  pandemic continues over the next few months at least,  it won’t be just those in relationships wanting to treat their loved ones this year so the market is more up for grabs than it’s ever been.

Romantic Recommendations – Beth Vaughan, Senior Creative Development Executive

Help people find the perfect Valentine’s gift for their special someone (or for themselves) through product selection creatives. Allowing users to input details within a creative; such as gender, price range, and product type guides them towards finding the perfect gift and creates a more personalised and positive experience. No one wants to spend hours searching for valentine’s gifts and through product recommendations – based on their wants and needs – it not only takes the hassle out of gifting, but creates a more engaging user experience. Through building in trackable interaction points these product selections can then be leveraged across all channels to make the most out of your campaigns.

Push Little Luxuries – Lucy Smith, Senior Account Manager

Most people will have heard of the lipstick effect – when financial times are tough, consumers will still tend to buy small luxury items, even as larger ticket purchases have to be pushed back. If your products fall into this category then make sure you are pushing them in gift guides on site, and in your creative and ad messaging. There can also be a good cross-sell opportunity here for last minute add ons so maximise any opportunities during the checkout process. 

Orientated Creative – Ashley Beaumont, Account Manager

Design is vital when it comes to Valentine’s day, and expressing love and passion through your creatives will definitely grab a hold of your target market. Using psychological ‘colours of love’ such as Pink and Red, will allow the user to know what to expect before even focusing on the ad content. In terms of imagery, using a couple in an ad is an effective way to get the user to resonate with the creative. The imagery should focus on the couple being loving (keep it PG of course) or sharing experiences with one another. Lastly, the CTA is essential for cementing that engagement, referencing the other half of the couple in the creative e.g. “Make them Feel Special”. 

For more information on how to succeed this Valentine’s Day, and to get some external insights into your campaign performance, get in touch with the team today.

This blog was originally published on Incubeta.

Demystifying Google’s Core Web Vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Read Time: 4 Minutes 8 Seconds

As we draw closer to May, and the launch date of Google’s Page Experience algorithm update we’re thrilled to introduce our latest series ‘SEO: Demystifying Google’s Core Web Vitals’. In this three part series we’ll be dissecting each of the core web vital metrics in an easy and practical manner to unpack the technical jargon, and prepare you for what lies ahead. This week we’ll be discussing Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – the measurement of loading performance.

Despite Google shrouding the exact launch date in mystery, the new Page Experience algorithm update should eventually roll into action across the search engine in May. First introduced in spring last year, Google’s update is forcing brands to take Page Experience seriously and ensure they offer users a good mobile experience. Ultimately, Google wants a faster and better web, and will be introducing Core Web Vitals into the search algorithm to achieve this – much in the same way that they rolled out the mobile-friendly update last year. 

What is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

LCP is the one of three Core Web Vitals metrics that Google introduced last year, alongside First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Core Web Vitals signals are aimed at helping brands measure the “experience” of interacting with a website, helping to improve areas that may be frustrating the user – specifically, the loading of the site (speed), interactivity (can the site be used) and the visual stability (do things jump around and move). 

LCP is the speed element of the three metrics and Google defines it as ‘the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport (screen)’.

What this means simply, is how quick does the page load the content. LCP is the measure of how long it takes for the main content of the page to be fully downloaded, and ready to be used. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the site is fully loaded, LCP measurement finishes when the largest content element becomes visible to the user.

There are a number of elements that can qualify as the LCP; such as images, video or a block of text. LCP only includes viewable elements, and anything below the fold or outside of the viewable area doesn’t impact the LCP score.

Why is LCP Important for SEO?

Google’s decision to include Core Web Vitals as part of its algorithm from May means that, if your site suffers from a poor LCP score, you’ll likely see a negative impact on your Google search ranking performance as a result. Especially if your competitors are improving their scores prior to the update.

There are a number of other metrics that exist that can be used to measure page speed, and in the past Google has recommended these – First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Speed Index (SI). These can however be fairly complex and difficult to measure, whereas LCP is a user centric measurement specifically designed by Google. Additionally, the older metrics used to measure page speeds aren’t good indicators of a user centric experience – not necessarily corresponding to what the user was seeing on screen – whereas a fast LCP will reassure the user that the page is useful.

With LCP, Google is going for a simpler approach and, based on their research in conjunction with W3C Performance Working Group, they’ve determined that a more accurate method of measuring when the main content of a page is loaded is to identify when the largest element was rendered.

How do you measure LCP

Largest Contentful Paint has a simple scoring criteria of Good, Needs Improvement, and Poor. Anything under 2.5 seconds is good, while anything over 4 seconds is poor.

There are two ways in which LCP can be measured:

  1. In the lab using tools to simulate a page load in a consistent way
  2. In the field using real users loading and interacting with the page 

There are a number of different tools that you can use to measure LCP both in the Lab and in the Field and Google recommends using a combination of both data types when optimising LCP.

The Field tools you can use are:

  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Search Console (Core Web Vitals report)
  • Chrome User Experience Report (Requires a Google account and a Google Cloud Project)
  • web-vitals JavaScript library

The Lab tools you can use are:

  • Chrome DevTools
  • Lighthouse
  • WebPageTest

How to Improve your LCP

Improving the LCP of your site can be a complex task as the LCP element will likely differ between pages and by device. However there are some common causes of a poor LCP:

  1. Slow server
  2. Resource load times
  3. Client-side rendering
  4. Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS

Google recommends before anything else improving a slow server response time. This one factor will impact every single page-load metric, as a faster server means the browser will receive the content more quickly from the server.

For more information on what the algorithm update will look like, have a read of our previous article Google’s New Search Criteria to familiarize yourself with Page Experience Signals, and what the update will mean for the marketing industry. 

This blog was originally published on Incubeta.

Seamless Search; Your Questions Answered

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Last week we were thrilled to host our second virtual event of 2021 – Seamless Search; Ask Us Anything. Incubeta’s Senior Commercial Manager, Sophie Dixon was joined by our Director of Strategy Damien Bennett, to discuss our new proprietary technology – expanding on the methods by which brands can use Seamless Search to achieve the best results possible for their business.

Since our launch event in September, Seamless Search has been recognised as  “Best Martech Solution” at the Wires, and “Best SEM Solution” at the Martech Breakthrough awards. And we’re grateful for the recognition of the results that Seamless Search drives.

Our ‘Ask Us Anything’ session took a deep-dive into Seamless Search itself, answering a range of questions from the audience, to provide more of an understanding of Seamless Search’s capabilities, and how it can solve key business challenges. 

The Origins of Seamless Search

The concept of Seamless Search is very much an idea that’s always been in the background. For many years we’ve had clients asking how incremental their paid search activity is – particularly focusing on the true incremental value of their search activity once you remove the cannibalization of their organic coverage performance. While the market was somewhat saturated with tests trying to assess this impact, none of the tests were optimal. Most weren’t comprehensive – running on a broad range of keywords, with many keywords within these sets producing remarkably different behaviours, which ultimately impacted the accuracy of the results. We realised that, using advancements in machine learning, we could produce a comprehensive and confident answer to whether or not you should pay to appear for keywords that you already hold a high organic position for. 

Initially Seamless Search started as a project to develop and run an advanced and accurate incrementality test, however, what it ended up becoming was much more comprehensive. As we started building out the test methodology, we considered the benefits of automation – making the insights derived from the test actionable through bid adjustments based on the incrementality of the two channels. 

Seamless & Search Ads 360

It’s important to stress that Seamless Search is an extension of SA360, not a replacement. Platforms such as SA360 are there to manage the scale of paid search activity, whereas Seamless Search is there for specific keywords that have a question mark around the incremental value of paying for them. Seamless Search acts as a complementary platform to the existing paid search software that advertisers are already using. 

Bidding

When one assesses the interplay between paid and organic search, there’s multiple factors that can impact incrementality – which can be split into external and internal:

  • Internal factors are those that you can control, such as; current paid position, current organic position and promotions. 
  • External factors are those outside of your control, such as; competitor paid coverage, competitor organic coverage and wider marketing activity. 

Seamless Search takes all these factors into account, using ML to understand the different combinations which produce an incremental click. Once identifying the optimal position to appear in a paid perspective a bid adjustment is then made. 

Seamless Search & Google Ads

When discussing the difference between Seamless Search and Google Ads/Organic reporting it’s important to remember that Google Ads/Organic Reporting are looking at a single channel, whereas Seamless Search looks at the revenue attributed to that channel, minus the cannibalisation. Seamless Search handles the reporting and actioning on a basis that would not be possible through Google Ads or Search Console.

ROI Uplift

The best way to witness the ROI driven by Seamless Search is to analyse what happens when you add the two channels together. As it stands, using data from existing Seamless Search clients, we’re seeing the best of both worlds. Advertisers are seeing both an increase in revenue and an increase in ROI, as Seamless Search is finding areas where the advertiser can increase their coverage, and also identifying areas where the advertiser can create efficiencies.. 

Forecasting

Aware that Seamless Search is a new platform to market, we’re helping all prospect clients build a business case by providing  them with a projection of the likely impact that Seamless Search will have on their overall search results. This helps businesses decide whether or not the platform is the right fit for them. Click here to request your Incremental Revenue Forecast

During the onboarding process, you will be provided with specialist led guidance which will comprises of two sessions to enable the use of the Platform: i) Session one: A demo covering the platform functionality ii) Session two: An open Q&A session with the team which will be scheduled the following week. Pre Recorded videos providing an overview of the platform and its basic functionalities will also be available to support the users. There is also an option to opt for customised training on the more advanced uses of the platform, although this comes at an additional cost.

Click here to watch the full Seamless Search; Ask Us Anything session, or visit our Seamless Search FAQ page for more information. 

This blog was originally published on Incubeta

Incubeta Welcome Lars Lehne as New Group CEO

Read Time: 1 Minute 45 Seconds

We’re excited to announce the appointment of Lars Lehne as the new Group CEO of our parent company Incubeta. Based out of Hamburg, Germany, Lars will be taking over from founder Alan Lipschitz, who will be moving into the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Incubeta.

Lars has an extensive background in the marketing and digital industry having previously spent four years as Global CEO at SYZYGY, a publicly listed WPP company. Prior to which, he spent seven years at Google as Country Director Agency DACH, paving the way for the tech giant quadrupling revenues in Germany. With over 30 years of industry experience, Lars also held various senior management positions in agencies including Maxus, GroupM, Carat and MEC. 

As Group CEO, Lars will be leading company positioning and growth, including its operations in North America, driving the business strategy and further uniting the group across the globe. In addition to his role as new Group CEO of Incubeta, Lars is a member of the advisory board of Yext, and betterplace.org, a Berlin based NGO. He’s also an Angel Investor in CLAIMINI GmbH.

Lars, reflecting on his new position, says “I’m thrilled and honored to be joining such a forward-thinking and innovative company. Incubeta has continued to grow during one of the most challenging years for the industry which is a testament to the quality and hard work of every team member across the globe. The company has flourished under Alan’s leadership and it’s a great privilege that he’s trusting me to take his dream forward”.

Alan Lipschitz, Founder and Chairperson of the Board, comments “I have the utmost faith Lars is the leader the company needs to take Incubeta forward. He has the expertise to bring the team further together, drive clear strategy, and build on the fantastic foundation I have been able to create with my wonderful team. So it is with great pride and pleasure that I hand the mantle of Chief Executive Officer of the Incubeta Group to Lars Lehne.”

We are thrilled to have Lars onboard and we look forward to our continued growth and development as a global brand and beyond!