Every time we search, we give away something else about ourselves. Whether it’s to Google, via the ubiquitous search assistant, or industry sites like Amazon, Facebook, or Skyscanner. You might be lusting after a holiday to Las Vegas while your other half is none the wiser, but the chances are Google, Twitter, and AirBnB have already clocked it and have a legion of ads waiting to send your way.
User intent, and predicting the likelihood of users converting is big business. It’s the evolution of these algorithms that continues to drive digital ad spend’s annual increase, from PPC campaigns through to broadcaster VOD. But what about non-commercial searches? How can publishers and webmasters create content that will appeal to the ultra-generic query?
It’s simple really: remember that the user is a person (even if that person is one of thousands of ambiguous search impressions).
Protip: Image Filters in Image Search
What do Kate Spade, Lily Pulitzer, Disney, Marvel, and owls have in common?
They are all modifiers to the generic ‘desktop wallpaper query’ that other users are applying to refine their search. Keyword research tools also show that other common modifiers are ‘cool’, ‘free’ (did anyone ever pay for these?), and ‘nature’.
So our users are telling us that, when people are looking for specific wallpapers, they like them to contain these items, designs, and people. This is certainly something of a none-point, but what else does it say tell us about people, and their search habits?
It tells us that people are a bit unsure of themselves – they set their desktop wallpapers not just for their own satisfaction, but to tell others about their interests, what makes them unique. They have to have cool device wallpapers, showing their interest in art, comics, and cinema. This is great if people volunteer this information to Google when they search, but what about when you look for something that is unbelievably generic.
What if you ask Google to provide a ‘desktop wallpaper’? Well, these search terms tell us that when people ask for a ‘desktop wallpaper’, these are all the things that users are NOT looking for.
Ranking for ‘Desktop Wallpaper’
If you’re searching for ‘desktop wallpaper’, you’re out of ideas. You don’t want a Disney wallpaper, or you’d have asked for it, and that Obama Yes We Can wallpaper no longer fits the bill. You want Google to pre-empt what will work for you, and the search engine needs to do this on the assumption that if you had a specific subject in mind you’d have made it clear.
But without anything to go off, Google hedges its bets. The algorithm can only present high-quality wallpapers that are going to appeal to the widest possible audience. It also has to do this in a way that offers better results than any other search engine can, or it risks losing even more ground to Bing.
Google is being asked to provide the most acceptably average desktop wallpapers imaginable – the Lighthouse Family of image results pages.
Ranking for Ultra-Generic Queries
While SEO, reputation, and UX will all be vital here, this query is all about content. While it will be tough to rank if you can’t get the basics of a good website in place, you have to offer the goods. Without an achingly generic wallpaper to offer, you have no chance.
So if we want to create this content, we need to understand what makes the best, average wallpaper. But how do you know what to offer people who don’t know what they want, let alone tell you what they’re after? You look to see what Google is already suggesting.
Generic Content for Image Search
Returning to our SERP, a subjective categorisation of the top 125 results by subject matter shows that 30% of these results are landscapes or images of the skyline, while 25% of images prominently feature water, and another 25% focus on plants.
The biggest losers are technology (The Matrix wallpapers are a thing of the past guys, sorry) and images of people are clearly too divisive. Only 0.8% of ‘desktop wallpaper’ results include people, and you can never see their faces clearly.
So we can reason that if you’ve ever searched ‘desktop wallpaper’, the chances are you ended up setting a leafy landscape with a lake in it as your background.
The Perfect Colour for a Desktop Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gillman can rest easy: the desktop wallpaper is not yellow. In fact, using an image colour summarizer on our SERP reveals three colours dominate: a muted cerulean, olive, and indigo. These align well with water, foliage, and blue sky respectively: they even occur in representative quantities.
Our perfectly generic wallpaper would therefore be approximately 7% water, 12% greenery, and 28% sky blue. The sky blue is slightly purple, so you probably want to take your photo at twilight to recreate the perfect shade, and edit your image to mute the colours a little.
Creating the Ultimate Desktop Image
The perfect image for a desktop wallpaper is a wet landscape that uses a muted palette. Never include human faces and stay away from technology, although an animal is allowed (make sure it’s a popular one: puppies, kittens, tigers, and mystical dolphins all do well).
This points to a fairly typical landscape, so it’s hardly surprising to find that this isn’t without precedent. Microsoft already cemented its place in desktop wallpaper history when it set the photograph ‘Bliss’ as the default wallpaper in Windows XP.
While too bright to perform well now (notably, Bliss ranked 267th in our sample SERP), the iconic wallpaper is 34% sky blue, and 20% sap green. All that’s missing is our 7% water. So if anyone at Microsoft is reading this, add in a lake and reduce the saturation, and desktop wallpaper domination can be yours once again.
Google has been planning and implementing some revolutionary updates to its Mapping service in Rio for 2 years in preparation for the Olympics and many think the technology on show is only the tip of the iceberg of what is to come before the 2020 games in Tokyo.
With many of us glued to this year’s Olympics in Rio on the television, Google took a step closer to offering us an immersive view of coverage from our phones and computers to make you feel like you have actually been.
Just before the opening ceremony Google sent in its crack team to each of the 12 outdoor venues and the 25 indoor ones used to host this year’s games.
The team were armed with the Google Street View Trekker; this amazing piece of equipment is a backpack with a top-mounted camera system that captures 3D images as the person wearing it walks around. Here it is in action:
As the Trekker is wearable it can go where other Google mapping devices can’t, giving a completely different perspective.
The resulting coverage from inside the venues is impressive to say the least – you can really get a feel of the size and scale of all the venues and what it must be like for the competitors. Click here to view the Maracanã stadium.
By the time the 2020 Olympics come around in Tokyo we fully expect this technology to have moved forward another step again with fully augmented and virtual mapping. Although nothing has been officially announced by Google, who knows, we could all be watching the next Olympics in Virtual Reality!
In addition to getting a view inside the venues, Google has also tried to make commuting around the Rio area easier over the Olympic period. They have implemented real-time bus information along with detailed information of all the bike routes throughout the city. Google is also working alongside the city of Rio to ensure that Google Maps has the most up to date traffic information with appropriate detours if things become too congested.
Google has also pushed the boundaries much further in Rio this year by mapping the Favelas, which aren’t often visited by outsiders due to their being little information available about them. The task of mapping them was always going to be difficult so Google trained 150 residents from the Favelas on digital mapping skills. These individuals have mapped 26 Favelas in total and 3,000 businesses from within them now feature on Google Maps – isn’t that incredible?!
One of the most amazing facts to come out of the project is that there are now thousands of people who have been given a mailing address for the very first time – up until their streets being mapped they didn’t even have a name, leaving a legacy that most from the Favelas will not forget.
Find out here where the Google Street View Trekker is headed next.
Summer is (sort of) here, which seems to be a popular time for businesses to expand their offering and branch out into appointing an agency to assist with their digital strategy. Choosing an agency is a bit like choosing the right pair of shoes… when you find the perfect fit, you’re proud to be seen in them, confidence shines off of you and you’re comfortable in the knowledge the shoes will take you where you need to go! (Without causing any pain…)
Here at We Are Boutique, we strongly believe that there are certain agencies for certain businesses and it’s important you find a right fit in order to encourage a positive working relationship and, above all else, those all-important results. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide for things to consider when looking for, and appointing, a digital agency.
Why use a Digital Marketing Agency in the first place?
First of all, it’s important that you consider why it is you are looking for a digital agency. The answer to this core question will help you narrow down your search in the sea of agencies fighting for your business.
Your business is pretty unique, meaning you need to ensure that your campaign and the channels used are based around a water-tight strategy which has been compiled by a team of professionals who have the in-depth understanding of what works… and when.
Using an agency means that you don’t just have the eyes of one person in-house looking after your campaign; you have a whole team of individuals with time to spend driving great results. Digital marketing can be a time-consuming task, so an agency will call on those appropriate individuals to give their insight and time.
In a good digital agency, you will meet a team which carefully meshes a mixture of knowledge and previous experience of all channels and industries.
A dedicated digital agency won’t just ring-fence the work you’ve instructed them to do. They keep an eye on the market and will give their two-pence on business development if you’re happy for them to do so…
Recommendations and referral
Word of mouth is a persuasive way to choose your agency and demonstrates the agency’s ethos on client intimacy, strength of knowledge and implementation skills.
Looking further than that, awards such as the RAR (Recommended Agency Register) is a great way to find recognised agencies who are great at what they do! Another telling factor is whether an agency works well with other agencies. Your digital agency might not be au fait with creative design, for example, so it’s important you can trust your agencies to work collaboratively for the benefit of your business. It’s also a great testament to see that other agencies enjoy working with your chosen agency – it shows they really are leaders in the industry!
What do you want to achieve from the campaign?
Some agencies will thrive off particular types of businesses. It’s important to lay out some goals you’re hoping to achieve through your comms activity, whether that’s sign ups, sales or something else. Here at Boutique, we like to work with transformational businesses and ‘challenger brands’ who are new to market. It allows for ground-breaking strategy and the opportunity to offer real growth to our clients through our chosen channels.
Start by considering these points and you should be well on your way to finding an agency that is the perfect fit for you and your business. After all, if the shoe fits…
When we log onto Google every day and search everything from shopping to the weather to what shampoo stops baldness, we can be forgiven for not noticing the blue, red, yellow and green logo anymore. After all, the whole process of searching for something is so simple and straightforward it’s like we’re on autopilot and just ‘Google it’, hence its extreme popularity.
Many people may not realise that the word ‘Google’ is a play on the word ‘googol’ which is a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The connection between this and what Google has become is that the founders wanted to organise all of the information that was available on the web.
When the search engine was first developed it had one mission – to take the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and few will argue that this isn’t exactly what they’ve done. The main reason for its success has to be the simplicity of being able to use it and the quality of the results you get back from your search.
Google has always strived to be the “perfect search engine” by delivering the results that people want to see each and every time they search. Google understands what you mean and immediately delivers back exactly what you want and need.
To ensure it keeps its domination, Google has spearheaded technology to allow searches to return even faster and with mobile development, operate the same whether on a smart phone or on a desktop.
Google has a number of other products that are available to its users, some less well known than others…
Google Images is something we’re all overly familiar with – a collection of images that are searchable and shown in a similar format to the normal Google searches we do every day. They operate the same high quality results, delivered quickly and accurately.
Chrome is Google’s very own web browser and now commonplace on many desktop computers and mobiles, offering great functionality with Google search and an incredibly user-friendly platform.
One of the less well known products is Google Books. This is a wide collection of books that you can store in your library and read at your leisure. The books are stored digitally and can be read on whichever device you have paired with your account.
Google News is a very useful medium for keeping updated with the latest news from around the globe. It brings together international and local news stories in a format that is easily personalised and enables you to quickly navigate the stories of interest.
Those mentioned above are perhaps the more obvious Google tools and the ones we use on a daily basis. The really interesting part though, and that which is catapulting Google to the forefront of innovation, is Google X or SolveForX, as it has been renamed recently. This is a collection of projects that Google push themselves to create something that is seemingly unachievable. The biggest of their current projects is the self-driving car which may come to fruition one day in the not-so-distant-future.
Another is Project Loon which is working to provide internet to the two thirds of the population that currently don’t have access. They are planning on doing this with hydrogen-filled balloons which will float high up in the stratosphere. These will carry cellular transmission devices that will broadcast signals back to earth, keeping us all connected. Exciting times ahead!
Google has started rolling out a change to Google AdWords that sees 4 ads at the top of the search results, none on the sidebar at all, and an additional 3 ads at the bottom of the search results. So what does that look like on the SERP? (These are just examples):
So what does this mean for our account?
As it stands there is no official word from Google and the rollout will continue throughout February globally. It is very much early days and there is no indication on what impact this will have but we predict the following could potentially happen:
1 Positions one and four have now become prime real estate and enter a new level of competitiveness, which in turn could cause a spike in the cost per click, cost and cost per conversions.
2 We expect to see cost being very sporadic for a while, or at least until the dust settles.
3 Any adverts that serve at positions five and lower will see a drop in clicks and interactions, however the CPC should remain the same if not cheaper.
4 Google Shopping will remain at the top of the results pages, which should then mean a spike in interactions with shopping campaigns.
5 Short term, there will probably be a drop off in traffic if your market is reliant on desktop search.
6 Expect increased use of bidding on competitor brand names in the search for replacement traffic.
Why have Google made this change?
As stated there has been no official announcement from Google, but it’s clear that this change has been made to fit with Google’s big push towards the “mobile experience”! The new SERP reflects what you would expect to see on a mobile phone SERP and the numbers speak for themselves:
“On average 100 billion searches occur every month. Mobile overtook the desktop as the number one source of traffic this summer” October 2015, Amit Singhal (Google Search chief)
Mobile has been at the forefront of what Google have been talking about for a few months now and this change only falls in line with consumer behaviour. The modern day web consumer will have a smart phone and conduct the majority of their searches via this medium.
What does this mean for natural search?
There is no way of avoiding the elephant in the room, SEO will also be affected by this recent update. If Google are showing four PPC ads with ad extensions and potentially moving shopping results below the PPC ads, it clearly doesn’t leave much room for natural results. Is this a massive oversight on behalf of Google or is it another clever move by the search giants?
Seeing opportunities where others see obstacles
The team at We Are Boutique see this new change as an opportunity and not an obstacle! Our paid search foundations have always been placed in building accounts around a high quality score and we truly believe that the key to using this update is going to be quality score and a better consumer experience!
You don’t need to throw money at your account, you just need to ensure that your account is refined, well-structured with relevant ad-copy, contains the keywords you’re targeting and the landing page needs to contain engaging content. By using this approach, you will naturally see a lower CPC, a better consumer engagement (CTR) and a better stream of quality traffic to your site.
If you do have any questions about the latest change and want some more insight, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout… The team are always happy to help!
With summer coming to an end and winter approaching, there’s no better time to discuss seasonal trends and the impact they might have on a PPC account.
The beauty of PPC is it can be chopped and changed depending on performance, and optimised according to trends in consumer behaviour, therefore strategy and timing can be crucial to the success and efficiency of any PPC account. Are you continually adapting your PPC account to suit the current trends in the market? Or are you satisfied with allowing it to tick over at a steady pace day to day? Could you be investing more money during certain periods and maximising your ROI? Or equally reducing budget at certain times to protect your ROI?
The Summer Season (briefly!)
When it comes to the summer season, you might find days that a big chunk of your market is outside enjoying the rare spell of decent weather we get in the UK, instead of being on their laptops scouring the World Wide Web for their next online purchase. If searches/clicks tend to drop on days like this then it might be an idea to move some of that budget from desktop to mobile, with the assumption being if they’re not on their laptops then they’ll be on their phones. With the days being longer and nights shorter, people will be outdoors later in the evening – so it might be worth keeping those bid modifiers in place for a bit longer!
Example 1 – Conservatory Market
If we take the keyword ‘conservatories’ and look at Google trends, the last 12 months we can see a clear drop in search volume from the end of summer leading into Autumn/Winter. I suppose it would make sense that installing a conservatory isn’t your first thought as the weather begins to get wetter and colder.
Searches then spike when the weather begins to improve in the New Year and then remains fairly steady leading into the Spring/Summer months (peaking in June) – an optimal time for having a nice open conservatory wouldn’t you agree?
After this, searches begin to tail off and then remain steady until September/October time. With still a lot of steady traffic coming through in those periods it’s important to analyse and optimise WoW, looking as granular as the best time of time to increase/decrease your bids.
You might find after looking through previous data in analytics that between 11am – 2pm and 6pm – 10pm you get your lowest spend but highest conversion rate, but most of your budget is being spent in the morning and just after lunch by ‘browsers’. Adapting to these little changes during those periods will keep you ahead of the game and ensure you’re always getting the most out of your budget.
Example 2 – Gas/Electric Market
Another example could be people looking to change their gas/electric provider and searching for ‘Gas prices’ or ‘Fuel prices’. Both fairly generic terms that generate about 13,000 impressions a month (on average).
Now what you can see here is very interesting. As you’d expect you have your strong months leading up to Christmas when the cold starts to really creep in and everyone starts to be more aware of their ever increasing energy bills. The above graph clearly shows consumer behaviour radically changing in the space of only three weeks occurring mid-late December and reaching its peak a couple of weeks into January.
After that period searches do drop but then we have a random spike occurring in February which lasts only two weeks and then falls and stays at a fairly low level until August. From a PPC point of view, these are the best times to increase bids and get your ads to the top of Google! Essentially you’ve got five key weeks in the year to optimise bids and really get the most out of your budget. If you’re not quick to react to changes like this then you could be missing out on valuable sales – which in that line of business could potentially be lifelong customers.
Having a look at Google trends can really help plan the strategic side of your PPC accounts and help keep you up to date with those ever changing seasonal market trends.
A couple of other things to consider
Recently, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be introducing a whole new dimension to voicing an opinion on Facebook…a dislike button.
My initial reaction- ‘what real effect will this have on Facebook users…will people actually use this as genuine display of opinion as opposed to sarcasm or empathy?’
The like button has been with us for years. Since 2009, we were blessed with the option to show our appreciation for posts we considered like-worthy. A best friend’s profile picture perhaps or an interesting article- but what about being able to dislike?
Although YouTube has had this option for years, we’ve never been exposed to this on a more social platform like Facebook. As YouTube’s likes appear as a number and, in most cases, on a much larger scale, it feels less personal- less opinionated. We usually like something on Facebook with the intention that the ‘poster’ of the post will acknowledge our appreciation- so what will happen when it’s a dislike?
*Love my new shoes* well I don’t actually like them, or you so….dislike.
It seems strange to openly express a dislike something doesn’t it? Especially when it’s a personal post. Ouch.
So what will happen to businesses with a constant social presence? Will this allow them to engage with their consumers more, or have a broader understanding of the success of new products for example? After all, there are two sides to every story and a dislike is an easier and quicker way of expressing disapproval than a comment. Surely in terms of improving customer service this could only be seen as an advantage?
Some have suspected it’ll be used only to express ‘mild’ disapproval, or to express solidarity when someone posts about a negative event, a death or a loss. Some have assumed it will do nothing other than attract trolls to dislike almost everything.
However, regardless of the controversy this little thumb may cause, for advertisers this could be a huge chance to analyse consumer responses to Facebook ads. We may have the analytics reports, but we don’t have the overall voice of the consumer. It’d be incredibly helpful for advertisers to understand and manipulate various factors, what product set works best, if the creative needs tweaking and so on.
What better way to understand your target audience- than to ask them if they like what you’re showing them?
In the world of advertising, Facebook data capture and perhaps politics, the dislike button could be a pretty good gauge of the opinion of the vast majority, therefore the best thing since sliced bread.
For Claire and her new shoes that her husband Paul bought her because he’s ‘the best hubby ever’…maybe not so much.
This week Instagram, owned by Facebook, announced that it would be opening its advertising platform up to all advertisers by the end of the month.
Capitalising on the 300 million global users in an attempt to double current global revenues to $1.5ish billion has been forecast, but how will advertisers and everyday Instagram users react to this?
Working within a full–service comms agency, we find ourselves constantly analysing ads and monitoring targeting methods’ implementation. Yesterday I was on the receiving end of the ad below (debt relief isn’t something I’m looking into or require), sandwiched between a picture of WBA boxing bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell celebrating a recent defence of his title, and a waterfall in the Philippines. I was underwhelmed by the placement as it negates from any content of interest to me, and also from the statement below.
“People come to Instagram for visual inspiration, and advertising has the power to touch, inspire and move people,” James Quarles head of business and brand development at Instagram
In terms of usability and engagement with the platform, it is as a huge opportunity for advertisers to get in front of their target demographics with engaging ad formats. Landscape photos and videos (up to 30 seconds), and Marquee ads which provide a premium formats to drive mass awareness, provide additional capabilities to give advertisers opportunities to do more on the platform.
It is too easy for agencies to simply push the power of search, but for niche markets and products which can be visualised in the Instagram space, this method (when implemented correctly) should bring with it consumers who are geared for your brand and ready to engage and convert.
Adwords is an ever growing landscape; enhanced campaigns, close match variants, keywords classified as low search volumes and audience layering are now all key components, and must be considered when structuring an account.
Ensuring you get the right structure in place is fundamental to the success and management of any Adwords account. It might seem like a fairly obvious statement to some, but the amount of accounts that we come in contact with lack in best practice and the ability to manage effectively.
So what should you be considering?
Has the account got every keyword available to them? Do we, or have we, had coverage on all keyword concatenations, themes and products?
Are each of the keywords in the account being given a chance to prove their worth?
Where are the different match types living in the account?
Very often we see accounts that don’t have all the generic keywords available to them: this could be right down to the colour and size of a product, to the location, or the type of service they offer. The level of granularity is key to the success of any account and including those keywords with low search volume could make all the difference. After all, a person that types in a long tailed keyword like ‘digital agency based in leeds’ and gets presented with ‘We Are Boutique’ has more chance of converting because they’re getting served with an ad that is entirely relevant to what they’re searching for.
Ensuring each of the keywords in the account are being given a chance to prove their worth seems like a given, right? But more often than not, keywords can get lost amongst other high volume keywords throughout the account. For example, you might have a campaign with:
£100 daily budget
10 different ad groups
10 keywords living in each of those ad groups
This is fine, but if there are 2/3/4 keywords in that campaign that are using 30% of that £100 daily budget, then the other keywords could be losing out on valuable impression share to prove their worth. It’s important to know that you can never have enough campaigns with their own individual budgets, housing as little as 5 keywords in them (especially if there is a lot of search volume around those keywords). By structuring accounts in this way you are allowing all of the keywords in the account to show what they can do and use what budget is allocated to them in an efficient way.
When it comes to structuring the different keyword match types in an account, it can be done in many different ways. But in terms of organising and understanding at a glance how campaigns are working and what keywords live where, we feel the best way to structure them is to have campaigns specifically for Exact, Phrase and Broad match keywords. Exact match keywords will tend to have less search volume as people are searching for that exact keyword e.g. [Digital Agency Leeds] and broad will tend to have the most because it’s also searching for keywords relevant to that keyword e.g. Digital Agency In Yorkshire.
Separating those keywords from one another is crucial to spending efficiently, improving click through rates and overall quality score. The same could be applied to shopping campaigns, which can be split up by different ad groups and product categories, giving that granular detail when making any changes.
Negative keywords are also essential to the success of a campaign and it allows you to organise and structure them in a manageable way.
All agencies are different in the way they’ll structure accounts but here at We Are Boutique we believe in efficiency, manageability and cleanness… And the results speak for themselves.
Twitter is the ‘big dog’ within the constantly evolving social media world, and these days you can search for almost any celeb or business and find their Twitter account. Whether it be breaking news, opinions on a TV show or social competitions, Twitter is the first point of call for many consumers- so it’s incredibly important for brands to stay active and ‘ahead of the game’.
In saying that, tweets about ‘niche’ products or services will, understandably, require more thought and ‘thinking-outside-of-the-box’. No one likes sales tweet, after sales tweet, after sale – you get where I’m going with this.
So I’ve decided to compile a list of brands that, I think, are killing it on Twitter.
Who said toilet roll was boring? With a following of 67k and engagement on every tweet, Charmin take toilet roll to another level.
The likes of leeks, sausages and other groceries could prove difficult to tweet about- but Tesco goes about this problem perfectly.
Who said aeroplanes don’t have a sense of humour?
This American sandwich chain knows how to throw humour into their posts while also spreading brand and product awareness.
1) Taco Bell
And finally, my winner. With 1.57m followers you know these guys are doing something right. Oh and their followers have become so loyal over the years, a three word tweet can rake up 4.3k favourites. The screenshots say it all…
At Boutique we strongly believe a little humour gets you a long way. Where it’s possible to instil this into social, it goes along way to people engaging with your brand. The above examples all portray how important social engagement is to a business, whether it be loo roll or tacos!
If you want media advice, we’ve an office full of comms champions bursting with ideas. Drop in for a cuppa and we’ll happily share our thoughts!