Tag Archives: Social Media

Is Google Taking Over Social Media?

Google social media fastwebmediaHaving tried and largely failed to take on Facebook and Twitter with Google+, Google is now looking for a new way to integrate social into search. Rather than producing its own network, it’s incorporating an existing channel into its search results, namely Twitter, in an attempt to produce richer and more real time rankings. The partnership was announced in March this year, and the results (Twitter feeds neatly integrated into the Search results) started rolling out in May in the United States.

The rollout still seems to be in a beta testing phase, so it’s a good opportunity to analyse the new functionality and work out how brands can take advantage.

What’s happening?

paul-bullock-fastwebmediaIf you search for a brand, person, or hashtag in Google on your mobile, you’re likely to find a new addition to the results. Now, rather than just feeding back webpages, images, and news stories, Google has started showing Tweets.  The location of the box is changeable (depending on popularity, it appears at either the top or middle of the page), but the format’s always the same. Packaged in a small rectangle, the feed features the tweeter’s last five tweets which the user can scroll through, and the feed’s avatar and name, which can be clicked to take the user through to Twitter itself.

Early in its rollout, the functionality seemed limited to the super brands (Coca-Cola, Google itself) and the very famous (Barack Obama, Taylor Swift), but it’s now started rolling out to smaller brands and non-famous people (including me!).  Hashtags are also included, though currently only the very popular ones. For example, if you search Google for a hashtag related to a brand or campaign, it’s unlikely to appear unless it’s been adopted by a huge number of people. But more generic tags, such as #motivationmonday, are appearing at the very top of the results.

Why is this important?

Google has been trying to tap into the power of social media for years. This development is a small step, but it could lead to much bigger things, and it’s already been suggested that there’s a potential Google buyout of Twitter in the offing. Such deal may ultimately be too costly for Google, but it would bring numerous benefits, including a mobile-optimised advertising platform and a firm foot in the social sphere.

It’s the access to newer, more granular, and sentiment-driven data that would be the biggest boon though. Twitter data could tell Google’s algorithms what the search engine alone can’t: not just what people like, but why they like it. This has been an aim of Google’s since 2009, when then Head of Search Marissa Mayer said: “You can ask: ‘Is this conference today any good? Is it warmer in San Francisco than it is in Silicon Valley?’ You can actually look at tweets and see those sorts of patterns, so there’s a lot of useful information about real time and your actions that we think will ultimately reinvent search.”

That this suggestion remains prominent in Google’s mind six years later proves just how important it is, and just how great the potential benefits to both Google and brands could be.

What does it mean for brands?

Social and Search have been slowly merging for a number of years, and this is yet another step in that direction. The impact will be slow to begin with, but could be significant in the long term. Too often, brands think of the two as separate spheres, and that social media offers engagement value that websites simply can’t. This has led to a fragmented approach that’s likely to come to an end if the partnership between Google and Twitter gains traction.

For example, if a brand sets up a Twitter-only competition that makes heavy use of a hashtag, there’s now the potential to get that hashtag ranking in Google. However, it’s likely that this couldn’t be achieved through Twitter alone. Google will be looking at a number of signals, and one of those is likely to be what it reads from a brand’s site. By bringing the site into the fold, a brand will increase chances of ranking well and therefore enhancing awareness. It’ll be slow at first, but potentially could dramatically alter the way digital activities are organised.

What do brands need to do?

At the moment, it’s unclear exactly how both Google and Twitter are approaching this. Since the early days of rollout, more feeds are appearing, with a number of brands’ feeds now appearing when their name is searched for. It’s all speculation, but it’s a safe bet that number of followers and whether or not an account is verified are key signals Google is using to determine quality and relevance. Equally, the frequency of posts and level of engagement those posts receive will likely feed into the overall judgement.

This is less certain, but Google could also be using a brand’s website as a key indicator; how though is difficult to say. As feeds are currently only appearing on mobile, a site’s responsiveness is likely to play a part. After all, if a brand’s site is mobile unfriendly, Google may deem the brand as a whole to be likewise. It’s also possible that the number of views a site receives on mobile devices will play a part, with Google taking that as an indicator of the brand’s relevance in the mobile experience. Beyond that, a link between a brand’s site and its Twitter feed would also be beneficial, as this will help Google build an association.


This is very much an open playing field at the moment and there’s little solid information on where the Twitter-Google partnership will lead, and what technical and optimisation actions brands need to take to take advantage. What is clear though is that Google will continue to place strong emphasis on the link between Social and Search, and that a holistic approach is the best way to succeed going forwards.



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If you found this article interesting, why not take a look at our post about Google’s latest algorithm update regarding taking mobile usability as a ranking factor. Simply click on the image below: 



EasyJet’s App, Kit Kat’s rebrand and Domino’s emoji order service

This week in Digital Bytes: EasyJet launches its Mobile Host app that guides passengers through the airport via Google Maps, ‘YouTube break’ replaces the Kit Kat logo on limited edition wrappers, and Domino’s launches an emoji pizza ordering service.

EasyJet launches Mobile Host iOS app to guide passengers

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

EasyJet has launched the Mobile Host app, which guides passengers through the airport process (click to Tweet). EasyJet already has a mobile app that has many significant features. Beyond storing electronic boarding passes, the app lets you manage bookings, track flights and even check in using a photo of your passport.

The app tells travellers via their smartphone where to drop off their baggage, which gate to board their flight from and, upon arrival, which conveyor belt to pick up their bags from.

Once it sees you’ve arrived, a push notification will tell you where to dump your bag, and direct you there using indoor maps courtesy of Google. If you’re just taking carry-on, then it’ll point you towards the departures area instead, and once through security, you don’t need to keep checking the information screens, since it’ll let you know when your gate opens and how to get there.

After the flight, Mobile Host will notify the travellers and tell them what baggage carousel they need to head to.

For now the app will use live data collected from London Gatwick Airport’s database to present passengers with flight itinerary information and maps of the airport using Google Maps’ indoor plans.

Kit Kat rebranded as ’YouTube Break’

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

‘YouTube break’ replaced the Kit Kat logo on over 600,000 limited edition wrappers. (click to Tweet) This forms one of 72 different types of “breaks” that feature on more than 400 limited edition designs across two and four finger variants as well as Chunky bars.

Fans can also use Google’s Voice Search feature. Those who speak “YouTube my break” into their phones will be served a Kit Kat video as well as the top four trending YouTube videos anytime, anywhere worldwide.

Lisa May, Head of Kit Kat at Nestlé UK and Ireland, explained it would use the data collected from the campaign to help attain a better understanding of how people consume video content.

“The way people take their breaks today is very different to how they took them in the past”, she continued. “We want consumers to know that Kit Kat is still the perfect accompaniment for their break, however they want to have it. YouTube is an extremely common platform that consumers use to have a break. We want to ensure Kit Kat remains relevant and is present where our consumers are.”


Domino’s lets customers order pizza through emoji

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Domino’s is introducing a service in the US through which you can make an order by a simple tweet that includes a pizza slice emoji (click to Tweet) to the chain’s Twitter handle.

Regular Domino’s customers will not even have to type in their pizza choice once they have entered their ‘easy pizza’ preference on their Domino’s Pizza Profile, which is linked to their Twitter account. To take advantage of the new service, pizza-seekers will need to have set up both an online Domino’s Pizza Profile and an Easy Order pizza choice.

The Domino’s app already makes it as simple as a few taps to order a preferred pizza or repeat a previous order, and sending a tweet with an emoji is probably about as easy as it gets. Domino’s is planning to launch it in other counties, including the UK, as well.

Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s the epitome of convenience. We’ve got this down to a five-second exchange.’’

Domino’s is embracing technology, launching many innovations including being able to order pizza through an Xbox gaming console; allowing people to use their smartwatch to order.

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Coca-Cola’s website, Ikea’s service and the Tube’s screens

This week in Digital Bytes: Coca-Cola launches a new website that looks like a ‘digital magazine’, Ikea launches an online wedding service, and new digital screens are launched in London Tube stations.

Coca-Cola revamps website to make it look like a ‘digital magazine’

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Coca-Cola has launched a new website which aims to appear more like a ‘digital magazine’ than a corporate site. (click to tweet)

The new site is called Coca-Cola journey and will have a greater multimedia and storytelling focus in a bid to drive brand engagement by making the site more socially enabled, Coke said.

It will feature both branded and non-branded content in an “editorial style” and an interactive Q&A section.

“The launch of Journey gives us the opportunity to shift the way we communicate online,” said Stanislas Magniant, Digital Communications Director for Coca-Cola North West Europe.

“Through Journey we want to bring to life the stories about our company, our brands, our employees and our actions around the world. We also want to make our stories more appealing, relevant and engaging to people by using the right multimedia content to bring them to life.”

Ikea launches Google Hangout-like weddings service

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Ikea has launched a new service called ‘Wedding Online’ (click to Tweet) that allows couples to get married via a digital ceremony.

The Swedish retailer enables couples to invite guests to a virtual wedding room, which locates their faces on a page that is fully customisable by the couple. Settings include a farm, rooftop, beach or white hall. Each wedding venue is full of pieces that also happen to be available at Ikea, so in a couple of clicks you can find out more details about a particular product and even enter its online store to buy it.

Social media users can be invited to join the live-streamed event via Facebook where their faces will be transplanted onto the page for all to see.

Despite the service enabling users to marry via webcam, the couple, the marriage officiator, and two witnesses must be in the same room during the ceremony for it to be legally binding.


London Tube’s HD screens: a new platform for digital ads

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

A new generation of bigger and brighter digital screens are set to produce a ‘premium visual experience’ for London Tube commuters. (click to Tweet)

As well as being able to display high quality moving images on huge 11 square-metre screens, the new DX3 technology features state of the art media players that offer live feeds, video content and daily features.

Jason Cotterrell, Managing Director at Exterion Media, said: “Our next-generation DX3 screens signify a new chapter for digital out of home (DOOH), enabling targeted advertising and engaging content across the London Underground network.

The number of DOOH units in the UK is set to grow by more than 40 per cent with DX3 also allowing advertisers to tailor content to audiences based on different times of the day and location.


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McVitie’s baby alpaca ad and Hellman’s response to Facebook comment

This week in Digital Bytes: McVitie’s ‘Sweeet’ ad series for new biscuit brand DeliChoc features  a baby alpaca, Hellmann’s is launching a global  campaign in response to a Facebook comment, and Robinsons’ new ad focuses on health and a balanced diet.

New McVitie’s campaign featuring baby alpaca

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

United Biscuits launched McVitie’s ‘Sweeet’ ad series (click to tweet) for new biscuit brand DeliChoc featuring a baby alpaca.

It’s the latest execution in the overarching ‘Sweeet’ campaign. The spot is set in a library where students are engrossed in books. One cracks open a box of DeliChoc, a crunchy Belgian chocolate-topped biscuit, and a baby alpaca emerges.

The ad forms a key part of a campaign plan similar to the one McVitie’s employed last year which has seen a total investment of over £17m in a bid to modernise and drive fame for the brand. In 2014 the masterbrand campaign boosted sales by three per cent and accounted for a 26 per cent rise in the McVitie’s value share of the total biscuit market.

United Biscuits Sweet Biscuits Marketing Director, Sarah Heynen said: “We’ve decided to introduce the alpaca in to the fold, as the star of the new McVitie’s DeliChoc advert, to represent the overwhelming delight consumers feel when they bite in to this intensely crunchy, chocolatey biscuit. The launch of new McVitie’s DeliChoc in to the UK will provide a great alternative sweet treat to many traditional products available. We hope that the launch of DeliChoc marks the beginning of another fantastic year for McVitie’s.”

Hellmann’s responds to Facebook post with a global campaign

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Hellmann’s is launching a campaign in response to a Facebook comment (click to Tweet) from a fan who described the mayonnaise as “one of the greatest things ever created”.

With a global media spend of £15m, the campaign is Hellmann’s biggest investment in over a decade and marks the start of an ongoing strategy to create a unified global voice for the brand.

The TV ad shows the Facebook post which sparked the activity before asking if it is really better than the lightbulb, rollercoaster, or the internet.

It ends on the tagline: “The greatest thing ever created. Apparently”

Responses to social media comments on the brand are set to appear in multiple media across multiple markets, including cinema and online, throughout this year. Julian Nichols, Senior Global Brand Director for the Unilever-owned brand, said: “It’s humbling to see the many amazing things that people all over the world say about Hellmann’s. Sharing the love people express in a humble and playful way is at the heart of our new global campaign idea and we are excited to watch it develop”.

Robinsons focuses on health in the newest ad campaign

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Robinsons is launching a new campaign that aims to reflect the brand’s focus on health and a balanced diet. (click to tweet)

With its ‘Play Thirsty’ strapline, the campaign is underpinned by a 60 second TV ad, which promotes new flavours to the Robinson’s squash range.

Robinsons hopes the new campaign will deliver more shoppers to the category by creating new consumption behaviours. Last year, the total squash and cordial category fell by 3.8 per cent year-on-year in 2014 to £514.2m. 

Helen Gorman, Kids and Family Brand Director at Britvic Soft Drinks said:  “Our investment in media and innovation ensures that our brands continue to satisfy consumers’ ever-changing tastes and preferences. We are extremely proud of the new brand positioning and packaging because it helps to communicate the high quality of Robinsons, reaffirming its position as the UK’s number one squash offering the best taste.”

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Instagram ads, Unilever’s iBeacons, and Virgin Atlantic’s Wearables

This week in Digital Bytes:  Instagram introduces new option for multi-page ad campaigns; Unilever embraces iBeacon trials extension across its brand portfolio, and Virgin Atlantic takes Sony SmartWear to the skies in pilot partnership.

Instagram boosts ad storytelling with clickable ‘Carousel’ links

Source from Flickr

Instagram has changed how ads are presented on the platform, now making the links clickable (click to tweet)

The firm has introduced ‘Carousel’ ads which enables brands to generate additional information with a left swipe, increasing the interactive nature of their posts.

An Instagram statement said: “We’ve received feedback from the Instagram community that they are interested in learning more about a brand or product after they have been inspired by a sponsored photo or video.

The social network said the new ad format gives brands the chance to bring multi-page print campaigns to mobile phones with the additional benefit of a clickable website link.

At the same time, the question remains whether this product could make it more difficult for brands that use Instagram but don’t buy ads on it, to get noticed. A similar tension arose when Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, began tweaking its News Feed algorithms in a way that seemed to prioritise advertisements over regular posts from brands and businesses.

Unilever extends iBeacon trials across its brand portfolio

Source from Flickr

After successful Knorr brand campaign in Sweden, Unilever takes a step further and extents it’s use of iBeacons  beyond the campaign. (click to tweet)

Unilever’s VP of Global Media for Europe and Americas, Sarah Mansfield said iBeacons have become an interesting part of its marketing mix given their ability to tie together offline and online customer journeys.

“Giving intuitive customer journeys is what consumers want from brands. They want brands that understand them and know them as individuals. iBeacons allow you to target consumers around time and place, which are key lenses that allow you to deliver relevant content to users,” she said.
The FMCG giant has run a beta test in Sweden for its Knorrr soup brand, which saw it deploy branded food vans from which people could sample the soups. When people were within ten metres of the vans their phone IDs were collected and the following day they were sent a tailored message about their sample test with a discount voucher for them to redeem in-store.

Virgin Atlantic to take Sony SmartWear to the skies in pilot partnership

Source from Flickr

Virgin Atlantic engineers are set to trial Sony SmartWear to see if the tech will help boost the communication capabilities of workers. (click to tweet)

Staff at Heathrow Airport will use Sony’s SmartWear in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet to provide real time communication and support in a bid to cut down on maintenance times by ensuring engineers can remain on the aircraft during turnarounds.

Phil Maher, Director of Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony to trial wearable technology within our engineering team.

“We are proud of our recent innovation work to provide the best possible experience for our customer facing roles and we’re pleased to now be exploring how new technology can contribute towards our essential operations procedures.

“It’s a great way to empower our people by providing instant access to the information they need to be more effective in their roles.”


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#HolidaySpam and Oculus Rift Roadshow

This week in Digital Bytes: CNN and McLaren ink their content and branding partnership, Three extends its #HolidaySpam campaign, and The Army launches its latest campaign with an Oculus Rift roadshow.

CNN and McLaren ink content and branding partnership

Source from Flickr

CNN International and McLaren Technology Group have struck a multi-year partnership, which includes the production of a number of programmes to air across the CNN network. (click to tweet)

The news network will act as the new McLaren-Honda partner for the 2015 Formula 1 season, with CNN’s branding set to appear on the front-wing endplates of the new car, which will be unveiled in an online launch on 29 January.

Rani Raad, Chief Commercial officer at CNN International, said: “The added exposure CNN International will gain through our association with McLaren is part of an expansive consumer engagement initiative to capitalise on the power of our brand and consolidate our position as the world’s biggest international news brand.

“The additional business, broadcasting and cross-marketing opportunities made possible by this multi-year deal will forge a close relationship between two companies on the world stage. In CNN International’s 30th anniversary year, I will be incredibly proud to see the CNN brand on the new McLaren-Honda car when it lines up on the starting grid in Melbourne.”

Three extends #HolidaySpam campaign

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

Three has launched the latest ad in its #HolidaySpam series, showcasing the mobile operator’s feature that allows customers to use their phones abroad at no extra cost. (click to tweet)

The 60-second ad shows three Welshmen regaling the viewer with tales of surfing in Byron Bay, Australia.

The first in the series featured an apology to those receiving holiday snaps and Tweets from friends and family in sunny places.

As with the previous ad, this new work warns the viewer to expect plenty more snaps from Three customers abroad.

Tom Malleschitz, Director of Marketing at Three, said: “Our campaign is inspired by a genuine insight into people’s behaviour while they’re on holiday. ‘’

“We’ve tapped into this and created an ad that prepares the UK for the onslaught of holiday spam generated by Three customers using their phones abroad at no extra cost.’’

Army launches latest campaign with Oculus Rift roadshow

Source from Flickr
Source from Flickr

The Army will be taking an Oculus Rift roadshow around the country (click to tweet)  so people can see what life is like in the Army Reserve as part of its “more than meets the eye” series.

The TV ad features slow motion shots of soldiers at work, firing weapons, in a fast-moving boat, repairing equipment underwater and, finally, jumping into a jungle pool.

Neil Godber, Head of Planning at JWT, said: “This activity encapsulates what’s unique about the Army Reserve. It gives motivated people the chance to experience the adventure, challenge and camaraderie of Army life within their current career and home life.”

The campaign is supported by video-on-demand, radio, digital outdoor, social media and digital display, and a roadshow featuring 360-degree 3D Oculus Rift presentations.

Major General Chris Tickell, Director General of Army Recruiting and Training, said: “People feel their jobs are lacking a challenge, excitement, the opportunity to travel and a decent salary – all of which are available at a world-class standard with the Army Reserve, which this campaign aims to showcase.”

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3D printing and Book sales via Twitter

This week in Digital Bytes: Royal Mail embraces the future of product delivery with iMakr 3D printing trial, Hachette pens a Twitter book sale trial to bypass feuding Amazon, and Expedia encourages fans to share their special festive experiences on social media.

Royal Mail embraces future of product delivery with iMakr 3D printing trial

royal mailRoyal Mail has embraced 3D printing, offering consumers the chance to customise and print a series of goods at its central London delivery office (click to Tweet).

As a result of the delivery firm’s partnership with 3D printing group iMakr, print enthusiasts can choose from a range of products or submit their own designs to be manufactured at the Royal Mail’s New Cavendish Street delivery office in London.

Available items include a ‘Machin Stamp Magnet’, a ‘Royal Mail Gold Postbox Container’ and customisable name plates and keyrings.

Mike Newnham, Chief Customer Officer of Royal Mail, said: “3D printing is an emerging technology that has many applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or personalised objects.

“It can be prohibitively expensive for consumers or small businesses to invest in a 3D printer, so we are launching a pilot to gauge interest in 3D printing to sit alongside Royal Mail’s e-commerce and delivery capability.”

Hachette enables purchases of book via Twitter

buy books via twitterHachette Book Group has partnered with Gumroad, a social media sales platform, to enable purchases of books through Twitter. (click to Tweet)

Initially, books from Amanda Palmer, Chris Hadfield, and the Onion will be promoted and sold through the social network with consumers able to make purchases directly. Those who buy the ebooks will also be gifted exclusive bonus items as further incentive.

Authors will post promotions of their books on Twitter with the tweets containing an all-new ‘Buy’ option from 11 December.

Michael Pietsch, Chief Executive of Hachette Book Group, said, “With so much of our book marketing done socially now, in-stream Twitter purchasing is a natural next step. Gumroad’s success working with music labels and artists to enable sales to fans, and their partnership with Twitter, put them at the forefront of social media commerce.

Expedia’s campaign to promote winter travel

expedia-winter-travelExpedia has encouraged fans to share their special festive experiences on social media, posting images on Twitter and Instagram of their #WinterAtHome or #WinterAway. (click to Tweet)

The campaign looks to raise awareness of the variety of winter travel destinations available in Europe, as well as reinforcing the ‘Travel Yourself Interesting’ proposition which was extended in July this year.

Sophie Crossley, Senior Account Director at We Are Social, who created the campaign, explained: “At Christmas social media is full of travel plans and photos documenting festive moments. By asking people to share images both from their home country as well as their travels, we’re showcasing even more great destinations; one person’s home is another’s holiday. We’re hoping to ignite a travel bug amongst the social media community as they see all the different destinations out there, and reinforce Expedia’s ethos of Travel Yourself Interesting.”

James Davies, Senior Manager Social Media at Expedia said: “Europe is a colourful continent in the winter, with each country celebrating Christmas in their own different, traditional way. The campaign reflects the festive buzz in Europe while showcasing all the fantastic destinations people can visit, so there’s food for thought on where future excursions could take you.”

The most original entries will be collated into a photo album by Expedia, with each photographer credited, and shared across the travel brand’s social channels.


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Retailers embrace the Christmas season

This week in Digital Bytes: Game furthers its ‘Game Season’ Christmas campaign by releasing its own computer game, British Airways’ ‘Thank-you’ social media campaign for Christmas is underway and Currys PC World creates a social Christmas campaign starring Nick Christmas.

Game launches ‘Christmas Shopper Simulator’

christmas gamesGame has furthered its ‘Game Season’ Christmas campaign by releasing its own computer game. (click to Tweet)

The ‘Christmas Shopper Simulator’ is a tongue-in-cheek, chaotic adventure game in which players take on the role of a Christmas shopper, exploring stores such as Amazombie.com and Heads-R-Us, where they can buy gifts, throw gifts, ride escalators and knock over anything that isn’t nailed down in a timed mission to find and buy presents.

Fred Prego, Game Insight and Marketing Director, commented: “Our customers love gaming of all kinds. This is our way to reward them. A fun, light-hearted simulator which lets you enjoy Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own armchair.”

The release is supported by a Twitch partnership, including a 30-second trailer and pre-roll videos, as well as live gameplay streaming. Daily game challenges have been included in order to fuel conversation. ‘Christmas Shopper Simulator’ is available to download from the Game website with limited edition copies hidden in selected high street stores, those who find a copy will win exclusive prizes in store.

British Airways’ ‘Thank-you’ social media campaign for Christmas

british airways christmas campaignBritish Airways has created a campaign with a ‘thank-you’ message to passengers this Christmas (click to tweet) by way of a two-way conversation on social media in which the airline will express its gratitude to customers for choosing their services.

Incorporating a 70-second video clip, the campaign features images sent in by travellers and will be distributed across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + as well as the airliner’s in-flight entertainment system.

Abigail Comber, British Airways’ Head of Global Marketing, said: “Our customers are some of the world’s greatest travellers and explorers, and featuring them at the heart of this campaign is just our way of saying a really big thank-you for sharing those experiences with us this year.

Currys PC World creates social Christmas campaign starring Nick Christmas

santaNick Christmas, Chief Executive of Santa Tech Inc, is the star of Currys PC World’s social Christmas campaign. (click to Tweet)

Created with 1000heads, the series of short films sees Nick Christmas use technology and magic to hunt down the perfect solutions for three struggling gift givers.

Bridget Meiring, Social Media Marketing manager at Currys PC World, commented: “We’re really excited to introduce our social communities to Tech Santa. This campaign embodies our We Start With You philosophy, demonstrating the importance we place on getting to know our customers in order to help them make the right product choices.

Aaron Garside, Account Director at 1000heads, added: “The films are an unusual and offbeat take on the traditional story of Santa, without straying from its core ideals. Word of mouth is a significant driver of purchase decisions in this industry and we believe that these powerful yet light hearted films have the potential to reach new audiences and customers. ‘’

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Sofa Sunday 2014: The Trends



The shopping marathon has already taken over as Christmas is just around the corner.  For marketers, especially those that work in the retail sector, Christmas is a vital time of the year, as consumers are feeling spendy and retailers need to serve their needs and wants at the right place and at the right time.

You might be asking, when is the best time to serve consumer demand? Your best bet is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Source from Experian


Black Friday is the name given to the last Friday in November that has become one of the busiest retail days of the year. Black Friday originated in the US but in the past few years it has increased in popularity across our side of the Atlantic. Last year in the final week of November, one out of every 550 searches in the UK concerned Black Friday and in-store sales were booming in the UK in stores like Asda.  This year, according to Kantar UK poll below,  26% of shoppers will be looking online, compared to just 5% that are intending to head to the shops. 

Source from Kantar UK
Source from Kantar UK


Also, one interesting piece of research by Nielsen highlights that more men are expected to shop in-store this coming Black Friday (28 November) while most consumers are expected to hold off and shop on Cyber Monday this year, which shows a shift in consumer shopping habits.

Cyber Monday refers to the Monday after Black Friday. Last year UK consumers logged over 115 million visits to retail websites – a 9% increase from 2012. This time last year we suggested a few tips and tricks that you could use for your business to take advantage of these days, but this time we would like to take a look at some innovative Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing approaches we’ve seen that might inspire you when it comes to your festive marketing activities.  One thing to remember, although this may just seem like a topical festive themed post, the lessons here are applicable all year round. So let’s get started:

1.  Craft Lifecycle Emails

net a porterLifecycle emails build a road between your products and those consumers that are interested in your brand. Bombarding customers with Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals on the day won’t get you far as the emails might get deleted on the spot. Instead, start building consumer trust weeks or even months before the date.  Before writing the email, make sure you’re not only clear on the action it will be triggering, but the benefit the user will gain by taking that action. Too often, companies write from a self-centred perspective that commands the user, rather than entices them.  Instead of instructing, try luring the customer to your site.

So when it comes to Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals look at your customers’ behaviour, what products they put in their basket but never bought, what people are buying in bulk, could you offer personalised deals in you emails? A great example that illustrates how you can build relationship with the customer by showcasing what is trending is this Net-a- Porter email. Sure, it’s obviously a way to generate sales, but its focus is on little snippets of useful, educational information, as opposed to last minute deals and discounts.

2. Offer Shopping Ease

Over the last few years, people have started feeling confident that they can leave their online shopping until quite late in December and retailers will still be able to deliver gifts before Christmas. With some retailers guaranteeing delivery of orders placed as late as 23rd December, consumers have much less pressure than in previous years to get their online orders in early.  This offers a convenient approach to online shopping as consumers are not under pressure to buy and are aware about their options.  For retailers this means a few things: (1) they have to be alert during the whole festive season, (2) it’s more difficult to stand out as the larger brands will have time and budget for large scale Christmas campaigns. However, on the positive side there are plenty of opportunities to improve the shopping experience:

  • blackfridaysmallbagExclusive deals – Make deals available to your CRM lists, followers and fans. Put those special offers right in their email messages and Facebook feeds. Don’t forget the exclusive offers in-store as well. Asda became the first major retailer to offer in-store only discounts on Black Friday last year. It said the reaction to the promotion was “phenomenal” and this was demonstrated in the extraordinary sales figures. It sold a month’s worth of televisions in 45 minutes, 16,000 tablets in an hour, and 60% of its entire Black Friday stock was cleared out in two hours!
  • Reward the users that engage with your brand on social. Give your brand’s customers a chance to win it before they buy it in a simple giveaway. They are buying these products and services anyway, so incentivize them to enter your sweepstakes for a chance to win that item instead.
  • Shoppers have the freedom to shop when it suits them, and this is reflected in the continued spikes of online activity, which businesseses fully expect to continue in the run up to Christmas. So be ready, be mobile! Mobile traffic grew to 39.7 percent of all online traffic on Black Friday 2013, up 34% year on year. So offer the best on the go shopping experience. Great shopping via mobile devices or tablets plays a significant role on 30th November during “Sofa Sunday”. Jon Owen, Retail Director at Shop Direct, Owner of brands such as co.uk and Littlewoods, said: “Sofa Sunday is when they browse from home. It’s a moment for online retailers to take back share from stores.’’ It’s important to remember that as technology has made it easier for consumers to shop on the go, new shopping trends emerge which reflect the flexibility of consumers being able to shop, where, when and how they want.

3. Tie in with Social

A lot of brands have had success in the past with social campaigns around the holidays. For example, last year, popular retailer Topshop conducted a successful social campaign. Its holiday campaign, “Dear Topshop”, ran across all the brand’s platforms and provided personalised holiday gift guides for every type of recipient via the popular social media site, Pinterest.

This created a perfect personalised platform that encourages buying. Another great example of a simple but effective campaign is when Amazon partnered with Twitter to allow shoppers to add items to their online wish lists by replying to tweets with the hashtag #AmazonWishList.

Although this may just seem like a topical festive themed post, the lessons here are applicable all year round. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday marathon is not to be missed by retailers and there is a lot to learn in the process.


What are your favourite festive campaigns?  What would you add to our list of tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments section below or by tweeting @fastwebmedia.

Digital Wristband and Offshore Lego Playrooms

This week in Digital Bytes:  Microsoft launches a digital wristband focused on tracking health and fitness, Lego partners with MSC Cruises to design and equip the world’s first offshore Lego-themed playroom, and Twitter and IBM announce a new partnership that will combine data collection.

Microsoft launches digital wristband

wearable techMicrosoft has jumped aboard the crowded fitness bandwagon with the launch of its own digital wristband. (click to Tweet)

The imaginatively titled ‘Microsoft Band’ carves a niche for itself in a crowded market by dint of its cross compatibility with all three smartphone operating systems, ensuring it isn’t boxed into any one ecosystem.

Retailing at £125 on Microsoft’s website, the gadget is being sold as a one-stop solution for even the biggest hypochondriacs, maintaining a constant watch over the wearer’s vital statistics including heart rate, UV exposure, calorie intake and even stress.

In a statement, Microsoft said: “This is just the beginning of a multi-year vision for Microsoft in the health and fitness and wearables category. We want to enter this space in a deliberate and measured fashion and as such are launching first in the United States.”

Lego partners with MSC Cruises to design offshore playrooms

legoDanish toy giant Lego has partnered with MSC Cruises to design and equip the world’s first offshore Lego-themed playroom. (click to Tweet)

Built within MSC Armonia as part of a wider refit of the vessel, the scheme will presage delivery of a further two larger play areas planned for two new ships currently under construction.

All three boats will feature two kids clubs kitted out in the colourful plastic and follows part of a wider brand licensing push which Italian childcare brand Chicco brought on board previously.

MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato said: “The Lego Group and MSC Cruises are both family businesses recognised the world over, so our two companies are a great match.

Twitter and IBM come together in landmark business boosting data deal

microsoft and twitter dataTwitter and IBM have announced a new partnership which will see the firms combine their data collection capabilities (click to Tweet) to provide more insightful marketing information to businesses.

As a result of the deal, IBM will offer Twitter the use of its cloud-based tools including IBM Watson Analytics. Furthermore, the companies will collaborate on a set of apps to aid businesses in the marketing, finance and sales industries.

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive of IBM, said: “Twitter provides a powerful new lens through which to look at the world – as both a platform for hundreds of millions of consumers and business professionals, and as a synthesiser of trends.

Dick Costolo, Chief Executive of Twitter, added: “When it comes to enterprise transformation, IBM is an undisputed global leader in enabling companies to take advantage of emerging technologies and platforms.

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