Archive for November, 2010
Online marketing experts may wish to take a peek at the findings of a new study carried out for the travel industry by the Total Media agency.
The agency spend a year surveying the British public’s attitudes to booking holidays and found that more and more people are using mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads to make their holiday arrangements.
The company urged travel operators to do more to make their websites mobile browing-friendly and to develop their own travel apps – or at least to throw their weight behind the more successful apps on the market.
Its researchers found that 18 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds wished to look up flight times on their phones, while 15 per cent wanted to book hotel rooms via their mobile devices and 15 per cent of 16 to 44-year-olds were already using their phones to get as much information as possible about their holiday destinations. Online advertising campaigns need to be aware of this growing trend and bear it in mind when focusing their online marketing strategies, such as making more use of such local advertising features as Google Maps.
With the growing popularity of travel apps, Total Media discovered that a hefty 44 per cent of consumers would prefer to download a free travel app sponsored by a travel company than buy a non-sponsored equivalent.
The report said: “The huge demand for sponsored apps provides a massive opportunity for brands. Free to the user, perhaps, but it is an excellent way for established brands to both cement their position in the market and engage with new customers in a fresh manner.”
Total Media managing director Nick Oram commented: “Destination companies of all types – hotels, restaurants, museums – must start to engage with real time and geographic mobile services.”
Search engine giant Google has been at the forefront of many developments in online marketing, such as Ad Sitelinks and Google Place Search – but it is also anxious to extend a helping hand to those hard-pressed fashionistas, intent on tracking down the latest bargain.
Google’s stylish geeks have been working hard to use their skills to improve the way computer users browse the internet and shop for clothes and accessories online. Marketing is a big part of the initial lure for online purchases, and Google hopes to build upon this by recommending certain items to go with others, helping the fashion-conscious Googler to put together an outfit online and simply “add to basket.”
This is taking place through Google’s new Boutiques.com site, which it hopes will ultimately become the first choice for online clothes shoppers.
There are already fashion sites out there promising much the same thing, such as Asos, Polyvore and ShopStyle, so it will be interesting to see how Google plans to distinguish itself from the herd – unless it is simply relying on its massive reputation.
Since Google’s great selling point is the refinement of its search engine, hopes are high that it will raise the bar for pinpointing exactly what shoppers are after, and this ought to prove a godsend to online marketing experts, who will be able to tailor their campaigns even more closely to their target audience.
So far, Boutiques.com is only available in the USA, targeting solely women’s fashions. If it pays off, however, then it will either be rolled out across the globe – or its competitors will take the initiative themselves and raise their own game.
A new study this week by the international Boston Consulting Group urged companies to make greater efforts to harmonise their online marketing efforts and their strategies for online sales.
The research warned that although many brands have woken up to the possibilities of promoting their products and services through such global phenomena as Twitter and Facebook, but have not ensured that this follows on to an easy way for interested computer users to purchase the products or services online.
In many cases, Boston Consulting said that potential customers were forced to hunt down the providers offline – sometimes even on the high street – in order to avail themselves of their products.
In the course of the study, researchers found that some 65 per cent of firms with an online marketing presence had invested time and money in developing natural search techniques, and 62 per cent were heavily funding internet advertising.
Despite this though, only 40 per cent of firms surveyed said that their customer base was able to order their products and services online.
Earlier in the year, figures published by the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed that there had been an impressive year-on-year increase in online retail selling – and with Christmas just around the corner, the smarter businesses are already gearing up to make online shopping as easy as possible for customers.
Companies that have yet to marry their online marketing and online sales should take note of the way the wind is blowing and seek to bring the hordes of Facebook and Twitter users on board.
Online marketing professionals may need to get used to yet another game changing development on the internet soon, if reports of Facebook’s latest cunning plan turn out to be true.
Sources have revealed that the social networking phenomenon is busy on a new feature, grandly codenamed Project Titan. This is nothing less than a comprehensive email service aimed at eclipsing such established contenders as Googlemail, Yahoo and Microsoft’s venerable Hotmail.
According to the reports, Facebook will be an entirely web-based email service, operating within the social networking program itself and users will be offered a “facebook.com” email address. But what sets this plan apart is the ambitious message filing system.
Sources say that the application will analyse events, photos and friends on Facebook proper and use the information to sort emails by what it believes are the highest priority.
Facebook has tentatively announced that it will be staging a “major press event” on Monday in San Francisco, with the invitations strongly hinting that it will concern messaging and emails.
The new email service should prove a boon to online marketing campaigns, with another set of targets for online advertising and commercial mailouts. Companies such as Google are likely to feel threatened by the development – Google has already had a public spat with Facebook over the sharing of data – and online marketing experts are predicting a response from the search engine giant – expect to hear of new applications and features on Google soon.
Until Monday’s grand unveiling by Facebook, that classic dictum applies – watch this space.
New figures published yesterday revealed that Facebook is the single largest platform for online advertising in the UK.
The data, by analysts comScore, showed that the market share of display advertising controlled by the social networking phenomenon had soared since 2009 to nearly a third of Britain’s online advertising sector.
Researchers estimated that UK internet users were exposed to almost 221.1 billion display ads in the third quarter of this year, representing a 34 per cent year-on-year increase.
They then subdivided these into a top ten – some 68.7 billion were on Facebook, well ahead of the 13.7 billion placed on various sites under the Microsoft umbrella, the 8.8 billion on eBay and the 8.2 billion via Google. There were 7.7 billion display adverts on Yahoo, an increase which was more than twice those seen on lesser platforms such as Glam Media, Trader Media Group, AOL, Bebo and Amazon.
The largest number of these ads were provided by large companies who have been swift to embrace the possibilities of online marketing, such as the Virgin Group, which was responsible for 4.4 billion adverts concerning its broadband, mobile and TV services – topping the comScore list of brands.
It was followed by the O2 group’s owner Telefónica, with 2.9 billion ads, and broadcasting company BSkyB, with 2.6 billion.
In fourth place was telecoms giant BT, with 2.3 billion ads, followed by eBay, Microsoft and Google itself, with 1.2 billion, 1 billion and 814 million ads respectively.
ComScore Europe managing director Mike Read noted that many companies were responding to the global economic downturn by placing more of an emphasis on online marketing.
“Following the ad recession that occurred from late 2008 through most of 2009, we are now seeing a strong resurgence in the online display ad market,” he said.
Mr Read predicted that the market would expand even further in the final quarter of the year.
“In the run up to Christmas with consumers searching for gifts, the growth in online advertising is likely to continue its ascent,” he added.
Google created a new opportunity for local businesses hoping to boost their online marketing efforts this week – Google Place Search.
The feature is intended to offer users of the search engine more and better organised local information on businesses and services, including photographs of the business premises themselves and reviews.
From the Google users’ point of view, the new feature is a great way of exploring a neighbourhood, from the best restaurants and bars to museums and galleries. Place Search organises all this information around the location itself, rather than the category of business or amenity itself.
The local search results are marked out on Google Maps with red pins and come complete with any relevant info – such as whether a bar features live music – and web links to reviews from the likes of citysearch and tripadvisor. Previously, searches of this kind would provide the links and information in different parts of the results page, rather than conveniently grouped for easy digestion and comparison.
The feature looks set to be a boon for local businesses looking to raise their online marketing profile and attract extra custom from their catchment areas. It is likely that online advertising campaigns will be quick to pick up on the possibilities and tweak their marketing efforts accordingly.
Writing on the Google blog, product manager Jackie Bavaro said: “We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places.”
“With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”