The future of the iPhone for Advertisers

At the time of its launch Steve Jobs described it as “a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device”.

Apple claimed it would completely redefine consumers relationships a mobile phone. And they weren’t wrong. The iPhone is arguably the device that kick-started the smartphone market, and put smart devices in everyone’s pocket – which in turn has revolutionised the jobs of marketers.

However, following the release of the iPhone X and the year the iPhone turned 10, rather than look back, it feels like a good moment to look ahead to the challenges and opportunities facing Apple’s business. And crucially, what this means for the advertising industry.

Switching focus from hardware to apps and services

Let’s be clear, Apple is still one of the world’s most profitable businesses. But its recent bonus cuts owed to it not having met annual sales targets in 2016 pointed to a trend in the industry. Despite Apple’s huge announcement last week, overall there has been a lot less of a focus on hardware.

Instead, Apple has been increasingly focusing on services and apps, and it looks to be working. New Year’s Day 2017 saw the app store clocking up its biggest sales figure ever, with the most  downloaded app on the day being Mario Run.

As connected health wear becomes more popular there will also be a real opportunity to draw this kind of insight together and offer more personalised services, through devices including the AppleWatch.

Similarly as connected home devices also develop and become widely adopted, it’s likely that Apple will play a role in connecting these devices and making them easy to control through an Apple interface. Much like Apple is doing for entertainment via Apple’s new 4K TV.

Speaking of entertainment, exclusive content is being developed for iTunes such as Car Pool Karaoke and Planet of The Apps. Apple clearly sees TV-style content playing a role as consumers watch more video on the go.

This should provide marketers with an opportunity to develop higher quality ads for mobile, utilising innovative video ad formats such as 360 degree video, and moving away from the pop-ups often associated with online advertising.

Overcoming cookie-targeting issues on iOS

All of this increased focus on mobile apps, services and content will bring consumers online on mobile for longer. This should point to big opportunities for brands. Mobile is highly personalised and offers a highly engaged audience, with iOS users in particular often representing a lucrative market for brands running targeted campaigns.

However, targeted mobile campaigns are often still driven by cookie syncing, which isn’t supported on iOS.

At risk of getting highly technical, cookie syncing simply means matching the cookie from the supply side with that of the buy side. It means that the brand can be sure it’s buying the audience it wants, and that the publisher can be sure it is selling the right impression to the advertiser.

As a result, cookie syncing only really works in the Android web environment as targeted mobile campaigns are prevented from being delivered across iOS and apps, and are reaching relatively narrow audiences.

However prediction algorithms are combating this syncing issue by finding twins or lookalikes of audiences across iOS and apps through other parameters such as previous ad interest, significantly extending the reach of campaigns.

What’s more, focusing less on the demographic profile of an audience and more on the type of person that buys a product negates the issue of online advertising being ‘too narrow’ – something that P&G recently bemoaned about Facebook.

So, while the opportunities of mobile continue to accelerate as innovative businesses such as Apple work on new ways to engage consumers with their products and services we as an industry need to continue to innovate as the same pace – doing away with tired technologies that undermine the potential in front of us.

The focus for the industry should be on harnessing technology to find audiences across iOS, Android, apps and mobile web to ensure the opportunity of increased usage of mobile services is capitalised on.

– by Patrik Fagerlund

Reader/publisher relationship has ‘catalytic’ effect on ad effectiveness

Conventional wisdom says that if the editorial content around an online ad is good quality, then the effectiveness of the ad is increased. While there is certainly some truth to this, a new study purports to show that the issue is far more complicated the many in the industry think.

Inskin Media compared the conscious and subconscious reactions of 4,370 people who were served online ads on websites either with or without publisher branding.

The results indicate that the publisher branding on some of the sites increased ad effectiveness (measured as “increased consideration”) by 60% as compared to those without. So, in other words, the reader’s perception of the publisher may have just as significant an effect on how well an ad does as the content that surrounds it.

If the ‘relationship’ between the reader and the publisher is a close one, i.e. the reader has a high opinion of the site, the effects are even more pronounced. If the reader liked the publisher, consideration for the ads was 152% higher than those sites without publishing branding.

“The relationship a publisher has with a user can have a catalytic effect in terms of boosting the effectiveness of the ads it displays, which reveals an important lesson,” said Steve Doyle, CCO at Inskin Media.

“It shows that if online publishers pay more consideration to the reader experience, the ads will be more effective, so they can optimise yield while carrying more selective types of advertising.”

Brand safety

The study didn’t seem to reveal any systematic pattern that would suggest that editorial content and the impact of the ad. This applied to whether the article was negative or positive, or whether it shared a similar theme with the ad.

For example, an ad for a supermarket displaying food discount next to an article about obesity did not have major effects on brand metrics.

“Brand safety is considerably more complex than the industry might like to admit,” says Doyle.

“For example, we know brand safety is a “PR” issue but what effect does it actually have on readers’ brand perception? More research in this area is required to help marketers devise meaningful and effective brand safety policies, as the area is still a relative unknown.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

The state of ad blocking

The state of ad blocking is a much-discussed topic in the digital advertising industry with some reports suggesting ad blocker use isstagnating, or at least adoption is slowing, while others speculate it willaccelerate as mobile ad blocking becomes more prevalent.

Google’s controversial decision to enable an ad-blocker by default in the version of Chrome went live last week, and inevitably reignited the conversation.

In fact, the new Chrome ad blocker is a positive step for the industry. Unlike previous ad blockers that – once installed – block ad content across all sites, Google’s Chrome will only block ads on sites that consistently violate the Better Ads Standards.

This means it should only impact the small minority of poor-quality publishers who overload their sites with intrusive ads – and are likely to be responsible for the rise of ad blocking in the first place – and not more discerning publishers who respect the user experience.

In the meantime, less discriminating ad blocking remains an issue the industry needs to face up to, rather than just talk about. Buyers may be able to reduce future growth of ad blockers by taking continuing to take a firm stance on ad overload and content quality, ensuring their budgets aren’t inadvertently funding poor-quality sites that lead users to block ads.

But what are the options available to publishers to tackle ad blocking, monetise the blocked web, and recoup some of their lost revenue?

Serving ads to the blocked web

One method for monetising the blocked web is messaging visitors that have an ad blocker installed, asking or insisting they whitelist the website so content can be accessed and ads can be delivered.

The success of this tactic varies by publisher. Users may be willing to whitelist a site they visit every day but not those used only occasionally.

There are also two ways publishers can bypass ad blockers. The first is ad recovery, which hides the publishers’ ad stack from browsers allowing them to serve the ads they were planning to deploy.

The second is ad insertion which is similar to ad recovery, except it uses specifically sourced demand that is targeted to blocked web users.

Finally, publishers can explore alternative formats such as native or affiliate advertising which are integrated into content and are therefore difficult for ad blockers to identify and filter out. The performance of these alternative ads is questionable, however, both in and outside the blocked web.

All the above options share two main drawbacks. First, they involve serving ads to users who have explicitly stated they don’t want to see them, which does not deliver a good user experience and presents a risk for both publisher and advertiser.

Second, buyers get very little user data as the tools used to collect it simply don’t work within the blocked web. Without data buyers can’t determine the true value of ad placements and publishers can’t generate the same revenue they would without ad blockers.

Diversifying revenue streams

As well as serving ads within the blocked web, publishers could look to diversify revenue streams, possibly through paywalls, subscriptions, or micropayments.

While it is currently unclear whether users are willing to pay for online content in the same way as entertainment media, or whether the fragmented nature of the open web lends itself to such a payment model, there are positive signs.

For instance, research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism indicates consumers are more likely to pay for news content that is specialist and exclusive, evergreen, or inclusive of multiple views and perspectives. Publishers could also look for other revenue opportunities that serve their unique audiences, such as ecommerce or joint ventures with related businesses.

Improving the user experience

There is – as yet – no one-size-fits-all approach to monetising the blocked web. Publishers may need to take a multi-pronged approach, combining the methods outlined above according to the unique needs of their audiences.

But, there is one approach all publishers can take to put themselves in a strong position as the ad blocking landscape evolves, and that is improving the quality of the ads on their websites and focussing on the user experience.

Ideally publishers would have less ads on the page, and consider ad placement carefully, avoiding the top of the page where ads interrupt the user experience, and proactively loading ads on-view at bottom of the page where ads are viewed by highly engaged visitors ready to move onto something new.

Publishers may also want to review the ad formats they use, avoiding those considered intrusive by the Coalition for Better Ads such as auto-playing video ads with sound and prestitial ads with countdown.

While indiscriminate ad blocking continues to impact revenues, publishers can combine multiple tactics for monetising the blocked web with a focus on improving the user experience. The impact of Chrome’s new ad blocker remains to be seen but in only blocking ads on sites that offer a poor user experience Google is moving the ad blocking landscape in the right direction which may ultimately result in a better, fairer online environment for all.

– by Jack Downey

Using social to measure content strategy success

Social media use has grown by more than 20% year on year, and it’s no secret that it has a true capability of engaging with consumers and influencers, and driving sales.

In 2016, almost half a billion people signed up to a new social media account. That is a lot of opportunities for marketers looking to engage, and a lot of pressure to drive results.

Marketers are increasingly being asked not only to justify their spend, but also prove their worth and deliver results to the board. With expectations that social media spending will nearly double in the next five years, only 11.5% of marketers can currently prove the quantitative impact of social media.

A mention of your brand by the likes of vlogger Zoella, and your product is likely to sell out – but do you have the measurement tools to demonstrate it?


With social platforms constantly adapting and evolving customer demands, maintaining an effective social strategy across channels is a challenge for marketers – particularly those with time constraints and a budget that’s being stretched further and further.

It’s about much more than a mention from a YouTube celebrity; content should add value. Social isn’t a place to plug sales – for the average person scrolling through timelines for a total of five years and four months of their lives, seeing a repeated post about a half price sale isn’t going to cut it. The ruthless ‘unfollow’ thumb takes no prisoners.

Seventy per cent of marketers still lack a consistent, integrated content strategy and struggle to deliver high-quality content. Even accessing and editing content materials isn’t always as simple as it should be, let alone gaining insights on which audiences it should be pushed out to. On top of that, marketers are finding it difficult to prove social ROI – especially without the relevant measurement tools.

By setting out objectives, timely goals and choosing the metrics to measure the impact of your content, marketers can create a solid strategy to help them identify the many other ways their investment in social is paying off. The best place to start is by developing your strategy tailored to your business needs.

Compose message

Whether it’s to build an authentic audience, gain traffic to your website or seek potential customers, knowing what you want to achieve and starting with a goal in mind is essential to documenting your growth.

Building your strategy is easier when using a social marketing tool, especially when it comes to implementing it into your current marketing plan. So what should the plan look like?

Creating a visual content calendar is a great way to map out your approach. It’s a shareable resource that you can use to plan all content marketing activity across the year, and means all relevant parties can see where and when content will be distributed.

This can be planned around important dates throughout the year, and having input from others means you can get buy-in from different parts of the business. As soon as people see what messages can be pushed out to their target audiences, you may see more resource coming your way.

Post video

Researching the kind of content that resonates with target audiences is the best place to start. Eighty per cent of all consumer internet traffic will be video by 2020, Cisco estimates, so when producing visual content, think about the spider’s web of connectivity. If you publish high-quality visual content, followers will more likely to organically share it to their followers. Those followers then share it with their followers and… you get the idea.

It’s better to specialise than to be a jack-of-all-trades. A highly-focused social content marketing strategy intended to build a strong brand has a better chance of success than a broader plan that tries to please everyone. People want to be part of a specific community, so you can afford to keep things a little niche


In six months’ time, you’ll want to look back to see how far you’ve come. And it’s not just for nostalgic reasons; you’ll want to prove all that work has paid off, and hopefully secure more budget.

Take a snapshot of where you started, and document your progress in numbers throughout your campaign through monthly reports. Invest in tools that help you track the campaign against your business metrics to prove ROI.

Ultimately, your social channels are there to give the brand a competitive edge. By simplifying the content process, gaining insight and using data to inform the next best action, you’ll increase the chances of finding that holy grail of marketing: brand loyalty.

– by Adrian Cockle

What does 2018 have in store for marketers: Industry predictions

As 2017 comes to an end, it is time for those involved in the marketing industry to look forward to what the next 12 months could hold.

From the growing ubiquity of AI and machine learning to the game-changing GDPR, 2018 promises to be just as eventful as its predecessor.

We asked a range of industry professionals to gaze into their crystal balls and give us their predictions for what the new year has in store for marketers and brands.

AI and machine learning

Oliver Bronner, Founder of Berlin-based brand consultancy,

“In 2018, I believe mankind and machine will reach a symbiotic relationship courtesy of Artificial Intelligence. Through the continued usage of our devices for instance, AI will be able to absorb details of our day to day lives – from the news we read, the music we listen to and the content we watch and take these key learnings in order to provide a more personalised experience. As AI continues to become integral to our lives, the technology will not only advise us on news feeds, playlists and TV shows – the things that we enjoy – it will have a say on the things that matter, leading us on a path of self-betterment, whether that’s kicking a bad habit, or fulfilling a life ambition.”


Steve Bartlett, founder and CEO of influencer marketing consultancy,Social Chain:

“Social media will move from being one-dimensional, to an entirely immersive experience that users can engage with beyond a ‘like’ or ‘retweet’. 360degree content will grow, enabling consumers to share content for people to explore at their own will. Social feeds will be overlaid onto reality, whether that’s through AR-enabled apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, VR headsets, or even via a contact lens.”

Aurelien Simon, Head of Immersive at Digital Catapult:

“We expect 2018 to be a big year for the development and roll-out of second generation hardware for VR/AR – set to be better, lighter and cheaper than ever before. We’re anticipating the first headsets from Magic Leap for example – the secretive company is expected to finally unveil its much-awaited hardware. Oculus is also set to rollout Oculus Go, a standalone headset that could drive further consumer adoption in 2018, which will add further variety and sophistication to the market.

“In terms of the creative industries, we’ve seen huge strides in creative content over 2017 and I expect this push for quality over quantity to continue next year. Big production studios are likely to increase their interest and presence in the VR space, while VR games production looks to take a step forward with hotly anticipated games like Doom and Fallout 4 released in VR.

“Finally, in the enterprise space, I expect a transition from prototyping to mass roll-out. Multinational retailing giant, Walmart, is leading the way in this. Having successfully used VR to train employees in 31 of its academies, it plans to roll the programme out to 200 academies by the end of this year. We’re likely to see a similar expansion of programmes in the automotive industry, where VR has been used effectively to show potential customers the look of their vehicle in the showroom.”


Richard Kidd, VP head of business development, EMEA, at independent ad exchange OpenX:

“For programmatic advertising to continue its exponential growth next year, we need to foster greater trust. The way to achieve this is straightforward: increased transparency in all aspects of programmatic.

“Opaque processes that do not disclose which auction type is used, or obscure the true price of inventory, will no longer be tolerated as we move into 2018.

“While the industry continues to ‘clean up’, there are clear steps advertisers can take to protect themselves from being victims of opaque processes. They should only work with providers using the strictest quality and anti-fraud measures – using third party validations such as TAG certification to help identify these – and insist upon only the highest levels of transparency.”

Stuart Flint, Head of EMEA at digital content platform Oath:

“Programmatic is still not going to ‘come over here and steal all our jobs’. More and more agencies and brands are upskilling their staff across all teams and disciplines in ‘programmatic’ as most businesses see the benefits of the efficiencies it brings, despite high-profile stories in the media about its pitfalls. 2018 will see media owners, agencies and brands adopting programmatic buying and selling at higher ratios across their businesses as they hone in on more sophisticated ways of automated campaigns and more people drop the “spray and pray” approach.”

Video content

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, co-founder & CEO of video marketing company TwentyThree:

Features like Facebook live has made livestreaming easy and accessible for marketers around the world. And livestreaming on a native website where marketers can control the user experience will continue to grow in 2018. Live video is 3 times more engaging than pre-recorded video. So how will this change in 2018? Other than more brands experimenting with the tool, live streaming is predicted to become more interactive. For example, Amstel Radler hosted a customer-led live stream, where viewers controlled the content based on how they were engaging with the video.

“Personalized video content: The greatest advantage of using video content is its ability to feel human and connect with your audience. In 2018, we’ll see this taken further, with brands using personalized marketing, sales, and customer service videos to help build relationships and gain customer trust.

“Video marketing automation will move further towards the mainstream. Moving prospects down the funnel has been accelerated through video – especially with the emergence of Video Marketing Platforms that convert users and syncs data with existing marketing automation softwares. In 2018, video will become more integrated into all areas of the marketing funnel. In fact, it’s been proven that emails with video have a 63% higher click through rate and landing pages with video can increase conversions by 80% or higher.”

Stuart Flint, Head of EMEA, Oath:

“Mobile video will continue to be leading growth driver in digital ad spend as more brands experiment with AR and mixed reality Mobile video has seen the most growth in digital advertising this year and that trend is set to continue in 2018 as more brands invest in AV as a route to connect with consumers.

“We expect to see brand experimenting with how best to use this technology to reach consumers through audio visual and utility experiences. 2018 will see AR no longer relegated to just the “10%” of marketing budgets as adoption grows.”


Tom Goodmanson, president and CEO of customer engagement and analytics software company Calabrio:

“We can expect even more communication channels to emerge in 2018, adding to the complexity of how brands serve their customers. A breaking point is imminent for the front-line employees who are on the receiving end of increasingly complicated customer issues. New research shows that 56 percent of customer service agents are already challenged with complex issues. What’s more, 60 percent of these employees say that their companies don’t provide adequate technology to handle these problems, leaving them stressed out and increasingly unengaged.

“In order to continue to deliver on the promise of a great customer experience, brands must refocus on their people and technology integrations. In doing so, employees become empowered to quickly make informed decisions and deliver on the service modern consumers expect.”

Mark Smith, President of customer journey analytics company Kitewheel:

“Customer experience will shift from the problem-solving crises mode seen over the past 10 years to a proactive process.There’s already growth here, which will continue into 2018. Kitewheel’s data shows that customer interactions in the growth stage – where companies focus on growing and deriving more value from customers – grew 400% in 2016. 75% of these growth interactions dealt with customer service, customer satisfaction or customer loyalty meaning that companies are already starting to recognize the need to shift CX strategy.

“Customer journeys will become longer and more complex. In 2017, the average customer journey length for customers that have already been acquired reached an average of 20 months, versus 10 for an acquisition journey. This means that while a customer can be won or lost quickly, retaining and growing a customer relationship takes time and cross-channel effort. With the rise of new technologies and channels, 2018 will see even more complex journeys and longer journey times.”

Patrick Tripp, VP of Product Strategy at customer engagement technology company RedPoint Global:

“2018 will mark the death of segment-marketing. In the coming year, success for brands hinges on zero-segment marketing. The reality is, using traditional methods, marketers will never be able to come up with the number of segments to execute against that satisfy today’s consumer’s need for granularly personalized interactions. As customers hop in and out of channels, machine learning and AI are the only means for creating all the possible scenarios of next-best-interaction and personalizing at scale.”


Scott Meyer, founder of privacy compliance tech company Evidon:

“The beginning of 2018 will see the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) be the catalyst of big change in how data is collected and used. As we hit the five-month mark until implementation the sense of urgency around the GDPR is already growing – our recent study shows 36% of companies believe privacy will be central to their culture after the May 2018 deadline, and 67% believe budgets for spending on privacy will increase after the deadline. May will see companies rethink their relationships with data and put together the last piece to the GDPR puzzle: how to easily and effectively communicate their data practices to customers and employees in clear language while also giving control over personal data.

“A major part of the new regulation is that all data practices must be transparent, so an individual can make an informed decision about their own personal data. Consent management tools, while already on the market, will increase in 2018 and more will begin to use Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will help companies meet this requirement. E-Privacy has been overlooked to a degree this year but will become an important consideration in 2018.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

The thrilling highs and chilling lows of piggyback content

Piggybacking is an old staple in a content marketer’s toolkit. I’m sure most of us can think of some truly inspired, ingenious and downright hilarious examples of brands tying their names to events, popular culture or trends to ‘piggyback’ on their popularity.

When a brand gets it right, it can work brilliantly, showing your business is topical and relevant and bringing out your personality and sense of humour. But when a brand gets it wrong, it can be absolutely woeful…we’re talking tasteless, alienating or just plain lame.

Here are some examples and tips to help you stay out of the piggybacking ‘Hall of Shame’.

A bridge too far

Popular culture is a great hunting ground for piggybacking opportunities, and there are some brilliant examples of brands getting it right.

Few television series can claim the loyal and passionate fanbase of Game of Thrones, making it a popular target for piggyback marketing. When it was discovered that Jon Snow’s winter cloaks were made from IKEA’s sheepskin rugs, IKEA cleverly capitalised by creating one of its signature set of instructions to transform its rugs into a Night’s Watch cloak. Genius.

Unfortunately, not all attempts to co-opt the popularity of Game of Thrones have been so successful. In fact, this article was inspired by a particularly woeful attempt to take lessons from the most recent season of Game of Thrones and translate them to the world of credit checking and debt collection…yes, really.

To give you a taste, this article provides a golden piece of advice: “Now we are not saying to attack your late payers with fire breathing dragons (if you had any), instead use the tools you have to show that late payments are unacceptable.” *cringe*

The Star Wars franchise is another frequent victim of piggybacking, highlights include Spotify’s on point character playlists, while lowlights include any and all attempts by politicians to make ‘cool’ Star Wars references. I’m looking at you, Hillary.

Piggybacking on (social) purpose

Politically, 2016 and 2017 have been characterised by deep and obvious divisions within societies, prompting several brands to jump on the social purpose bandwagon…with varying results.

Online fashion retailer, Jigsaw, made a strong showing in this category this year with its ‘Love Immigration’ campaign. The powerful ads make the point that Jigsaw could not do what it does without materials, designers and fabrics from all over the world.

Tying the message so clearly to its products makes the ads relevant and tangible and, importantly, obviously aligned to Jigsaw’s core values.

A campaign which missed the mark on this front is Pepsi’s tone-deaf ad mirroring the Black Lives Matter movement. The ad was summarily condemned on social media for trivialising and cynically co-opting the global protest movement.

But why does Jigsaw’s campaign work, while Pepsi’s fails so miserably? It comes down to one word: relevance. The Jigsaw ad tied its message beautifully to its brand and its products, while it remains unclear what message you can take from Kendall Jenner vacuously handing a can of Pepsi to a policeman.

Newsjacking – winners and losers

Finding ways to insert your brand into the day’s news is also a popular piggybacking tactic, but one that should be approached with caution and (crucially) tact.

A great example remains Oreo’s spectacularly poised response to the Super Bowl power outage in 2013. Unfortunately, our research uncovered many more questionable efforts than shining examples of newsjacking.

You’d think an obvious rule would be to steer clear of death and disaster, when newsjacking, but that does not seem to be the case.

When in doubt…

So, to make sure you don’t end up as a cautionary tale rather than a good example, here are some simple rules to keep in mind when piggyback marketing:

Keep it relevant and credible – translate it to your brand in a way that makes sense and aligns with your values or product.

Avoid blatant selling – it turns people off (actually this rule applies to all content, not just piggybacking).

Keep it focused – choose opportunities to piggyback based on what’s relevant to YOUR followers and audience.

Humour is subjective – one person’s black humour is another person’s grievous offense. If you have doubts about whether you’ve crossed any lines, get a second opinion.

And finally, if you haven’t nailed it, don’t chance it. Piggybacking (like karaoke) shouldn’t be done half-heartedly.

– by Claire Wilson

Third of Winter Olympics viewers watching online

A global survey of over 30,000 Winter Olympics fans has found that 35% are now consuming the sports extravaganza online.

The data was compiled by tech company GlobalWebIndex, who is calling the findings a “huge opportunity” for online advertisers. The company polled people who identified as Winter Olympics fans by the fact that they watch the event either on TV or online. These fans spend an average of two hours and 24 minutes a day on social media.

Amongst online viewers, it is YouTube, perhaps unsurprisingly, dominates proceedings with a massive 89% of online viewers visisting the site. Facebook follows close behind with 83% reporting watching Winter Olympics-related content on the site.

Monthly, almost a quarter of respondents had watched a sports video or clip on YouTube, while 20% had watched something on Facebook Live.

TV is still the king

GlobalWebIndex also polled 89,000 internet users (not specifically fans of the Winter Olympics) to see how they get their quadrennial fix of skeleton and speed skating. TV came out on top, particularly among older viewers. 45% of 55-64 year olds watch it on TV, with only 7% doing so online.

But even among the younger age groups, TV still reigns as the favoured medium. 19% of 16-24 year olds reported watching the Olympics online, while 30% they mainly watch on TV.

The company has specifically identified the practice of second screening as an opportunity for advertisers. 90% of Winter Olympics fans said that they use another device while they watch the TV, and 13% they comment about sports events monthly.

28% of the fans surveyed said they browse products for potential purchase while they are second screening, while 50% chat with their friends.

“Regardless of budget to directly advertise on TV, brands should be taking advantage of the multi-screen moment to create immersive experiences that drive conversations and conversations,” a company spokesperson said.

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

Google introduces AdSense Auto Ads

Google is bringing more AI into its ad business with the introduction of a new ad unit for AdSense. The new release aims to use the power of machine learning to try and optimise ad placement.

The new Auto Ads uses machine learning to “read” webpages and work out what the most appropriate places to put ads might be, and how many ads should be run. Publishers can activate the feature by adding a single line of code to their pages.

The service first appeared in a quiet, limited beta in in the second quarter of 2017. Google claims that publishers taking part in the beta saw an average revenue lift of 10%, and revenue increases ranging from 5% to 15%.


AdSense is already a fairly automated service, but so far it has been up to web publishers where they want ads to be placed. Google has then selected the ads based on analysis of the page that matches the content to relevant ads.

The service is incredibly important to Google’s parent Alphabet, accounting for a whopping $27 billion of its $32 billion ad revenue in Q4 2017.

Auto Ads takes the responsibility for ad placement away from web publishers. Google claims that the service will only show ads when they are likely to perform well and provide a good user experience. The use of AI to work out where to place ads based on how they are likely to perform is an interesting development.

AI will also estimate how many ads should be on your page to increase revenue. Whether this leads to web publishers logging on to site to find it filled with ads. This post seems to indicate to that some beta testers were not exactly elated at the number of ads that appeared on their sites. It will be interesting to see if the AI can balance revenue with user experience.

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

Twitter suspends some its most popular accounts for rules violations

Over the weekend, Twitter suspended a number of accounts to a violation of its spam rules and for copyright issues. Some of the accounts, which included @GirlPosts, @SoDamnTrue and @commonwhitegiri, were hugely popular.

GirlPosts, for example, had 9.8 million followers and was listed byStatweestics as the sixth most popular account of 2017, beating out such notables as CNN, Fox News and  Harry Styles. The account was pulling in around 20 million likes and six million retweets a month.

The suspensions are a result of twitter trying to crack down on various practices that it believes hurts the credibility of the site. The accounts had long been accused of copying tweets from other users without giving credit. Twitter has also recently declared war on the practice of ‘tweetdecking’ in which accounts group together in exclusive Tweetdeck groups and mass-retweet each other’s content, as well as those of paying customers.

In February 2018, the company issued a notice in which it outlined its views on keeping the platform free from spam:

“As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from. This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted…”

Stacking the deck

“This is hugely disappointing for me. It has taken eight years of my life to build a following of nearly 10 million fans,” Niki Helings, the student who created GirlPosts, said.

“I comply with Twitter’s rules and feel that this suspension is so unfair.”

Twitter’s spam policy expressly forbids the selling, purchasing of account interactions or any measures to try and artificially inflate those numbers. According to the policy, violations can result in permanent suspension.

The accounts were popular for a very simple reason. With such a vast userbase, it can be a difficult task trying to root out the best content on Twitter. Accounts such as those that are suspended make this task much simpler and allow people to quickly get their daily dose of memes before getting on with their lives.

GirlPosts denies the Tweetdecking and copyright breach allegations. GirlPosts representative Jack Irvine, Chairman of Media House International, said:

“There appears to be no system within Twitter to establish due process. From what I can see, Twitter is acting as an unregulated monopoly, arguably exclusively in its own interest.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

The importance of quality score in paid search

Paid search, or pay per click (PPC), often used in conjunction with SEO, remains an essential marketing element for many businesses, most notably those that want an online presence.

But we are still seeing businesses not effectively implementing PPC campaigns successfully. One of the biggest areas that businesses are failing to address is a low AdWords quality score. In short, if you’re trying to master PPC, you need to understand quality score.

According to Google, “quality score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.” It is determined at the keyword level and is represented as a number between one and 10, and the higher your quality score, the better your ads will perform.

An increase in quality score can lead to better ad rank, higher click through rates (CTR), and ultimately cheaper clicks. The big advantage to increasing your keyword quality score is that you pay less per click.

Google determines quality score by evaluating three main factors:

  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Relevancy
  • Landing page

These three factors are rated either below average, average, or above average, and you are able to manipulate these factors.

So how do you increase your quality score?

It’s important to start by saying that CTR is, without doubt, one of the most important aspects of quality score. No matter how relevant your ads are, if people fail to click on them, your quality score will take a hit.

Firstly, ad relevanceplays a huge part. Make sure you keep your ads relevant to the search term. If you’re running multiple search terms, then run a specific ad that’s relevant to each one. Since quality score determines where and how often your ads appear, it’s important to boost your ratings by working consistently on your account. This can be achieved by focusing your efforts on several key areas:

Keyword research is vital to a successful campaign and quality score. You should discover new, highly relevant keywords to add to your campaigns, not forgetting to include those long-tail opportunities that can contribute to the bulk of your overall traffic.

But just the right keywords aren’t enough; they need to be organised correctly. Split your keywords into tight and organised groups. This way they can be tied to individual ad campaigns easier. We should all practice ongoing keyword grouping, as this can be crucial for successful PPC and will greatly increase your chances of achieving high keyword quality scores.

(Top tip: You should run ads with branded keywords even if you already show in the first organic position for those keywords. You may well find that branded keywords give you the highest CTRs of all your ads.)

Don’t forget to add negative keywords: you should be continuously researching, and excluding irrelevant search terms that are wasting your budget.

Then ad text comes into play. You should test out PPC ad copy that is more targeted to your individual ad groups, and keep refining those. Compelling and relevant ad text translates to higher click-through rates, which in turn translates to a better-quality score.

It’s always a good strategy to have multiple text ads with different messaging, so you can test what works and what doesn’t.

Then, why not use expanded text ads? It is a great way to include more longtail keywords, and if you can fit longtail keywords into your ad, then your ad is more likely to be relevant to the keyword. This will improve your quality score.

Generating clicks alone isn’t enough: you should endeavour to optimise landing pages. Your landing page needs to be relevant and have a direct connection with your ad groups. You need to provide a consistent experience for visitors, from keyword to conversion.

Essentially, the content needs to reflect the ad. Ensure that you use keywords in the title and meta description parts of the page. They should also appear in your content and subheadings as well.

(Top tip: Decrease your landing page load times. Landing page load time has become an important consideration in calculating quality score. You can use Webmaster Tools or Page Speed to test your landing pages and check their speed. Here is a list of best practices for speeding up your website.)


Hopefully these tips will help you streamline your campaigns, and increase your quality score. If you aren’t doing it, your competitors certainly will be. Higher placement of ad will lead to higher CTRs and lower minimum bids for keywords, therefore your campaigns costs will reduce.

It’s also important to note that improving your quality score should not be the sole objective of any changes to your campaigns. You shouldn’t set out to make changes just to improve your quality score. You should make changes to your campaigns to improve the campaign performance and if done correctly this will naturally increase your quality score.

– by Will Haswell

TLK Fusion

4605 Lankershim Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA, 91602,
United States

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