It's 'make or break' time for digital marketing. The stories we've
tracked as the year kicks off show the focus switching to ROI and
getting digital marketing to drive real business results. Out goes
'reach', in comes 'engagement'; out goes 'buzz' and back comes
'conversion'; out goes 'last-click' thinking and in its place is
'lifetime value'. The recession has clearly forced through smarter
This should come as a great relief, because it wipes away the 'shiny
object' obsession over the latest social media or iPhone app, and
replaces it with a dose of sound business logic. Behind the scenes we're
finding this in the digital marketing effectiveness audits we run for
large brands. Often only small changes in process are needed to unlock
much bigger shifts in results.
The Digital Training Academy team are seeing the same trends, but also
removing ROI risks by getting the right capability in place. Their focus
is giving teams the edge with competitive training that targets weakness
in a rival's strategy.
And in terms of channels, mobile marketing and engagement is finally
everywhere; it will dominate our digests this year.
Click through headlines for more, and on key issues simply reply to this
mail (it's routed to my private account).
Wishing you a great 2010 from all @ Digital
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting
Data and statistics
Here are the latest stats and figures from the
Time per person for top 10 parent companies, UK,
Largest UK internet sites
UK audience reach for top 10 parent companies, December 2009
Consumer internet behaviour: UK
Monthly internet use: key indicators for UK web users, December 2009
government data: Open access for developers at data.gov.uk
The government is today launching data.gov.uk,
a website it hopes will enable developers to create new applications
by offering free access to data collected by public bodies. The site
will offer reams of public sector data, ranging from traffic
statistics to crime figures, for private or commercial use.
UK's first file sharing trial: mixed messages from copyright court
The former founder of file-sharing site OiNK
was last week found not guilty of "conspiracy to defraud" by the
Teesside Crown Court. Alan Ellis, aged 26, was the defendant in the
UK's first file sharing trial. He set up Oink in 2004 as a BitTorrent
(P2P) file sharing tracker website that hosted links to copyright
content such as music and films.
in 10 Brits tick third party opt out box for emails
Nine in ten (90%) of Brits always tick the opt
out box on marketing communications to prevent their data from being
passed to third party, according to a new survey. The study, from the
Direct Marketing Association (DMA), shows that marketers are
continuing to underestimate the percentage of consumers who readily
welcome items of direct marketing.
income families to get free computer and internet
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Schools
Secretary Ed Balls have announced that 270,000 low income families are
to get free computers and broadband access. The £300 million
investment in the 'Home Access' programme is designed to give young
people access to a computer and internet at home for their education,
and help get parents better involved and keep in touch with their
France plans 'Google tax' on internet searches
France is planning a tax on search engine ad
revenue to raise money to invest into creative industries weakened by
the digital revolution. Besides Google, the tax would target other
large operators in Europe such as Microsoft and Yahoo! whether or not
their offices are in France. Google's European headquarters are in
Ireland, but under the proposal, the operator would pay a levy every
time a French internet user clicks on an advertising banner or
sponsored link on its sites. The proposal is outlined in a
government-commissioned survey, and forms part of the counties latest
drive to regulate the internet, which has seen it enact some of the
world's toughest anti-piracy legislation.
YouTube tests online video rental market
YouTube is launching a video rental service,
initially featuring five movies shown at this year's Sundance
Festival, with plans to expand later in the year. The first five films
for rent are "The Cove," "Bass Ackwards," "One Too Many Mornings," "Homewrecker"
and "Children of Invention." The service will go live on 22 January
and will only be available in the US.
YouTube seeks sponsor for first live sports coverage
YouTube is to begin streaming live cricket from
India's premier league, seeking sponsors in the process. The move
marks the video sharing site's first foray into live sport streaming,
and is the result of a partnership between Google and Cricket's IPL
(India Premier League).
Habbo Hotels syncs users up with Facebook
Habbo Hotel, a virtual world for teens, has
signed up to Facebook's Connect service to bring users of both
services together. Sulake's 15 million regular unique users of Habbo
Hotel can now use Facebook Connect to find their Facebook friends in
Established in 31 countries and generally popular with a teenage
audience, Habbo Hotel offers a more gaming orientated environment than
Facebook, and encourages users to customise rooms, train pets and even
invent social games. Founded in Finland, Sulake has also been
exceedingly successful in courting big brands, which regularly invest
in a virtual presence in Habbo Hotel.
Ford launches first 'Twitter car' with web apps
Ford has unveiled new technology that could
allow drivers to use Twitter, stream online radio and search the web
from behind the wheel. The technology, Called MyFord Touch, the system
is powered by Ford's SYNC technology and has been designed with
Microsoft. It was revealed last week by Ford's chief executive Alan
Mulally at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Facebook enlists users for 'online safety council'
Facebook is testing a new application that
allows its users to moderate content posted by others on the social
network. The Facebook Community Council application is currently being
tested with a very small number of users, selected on an invite-only
basis. An FCC member can check items published on Facebook for
offensiveness along the lines of personal attacks, violence, drug
abuse and so on. FCC members are only allowed to click on one of the
following alert flags inside a special FCC members-only app if they
find something objectionable: Spam, Acceptable, Not English, Nudity,
Drugs, Attacking, Violence.
YouTube debuts own short URL service
YouTube has launched a new URL shortening
service, putting the video sharing platform in direct competition with
market leaders bit.ly and TinyURL. In a blog posting, Google
engineering manager Vijay Karunamurthy announced youtu.be as a
shortener for all YouTube video links, and nothing but YouTube links.
Internet advertising trends: Bellwether shows how recession drove
switch to web
Marketing budgets at UK companies were cut for
the ninth quarter running at the end of 2009, but the rate of decline
was the slowest for two years as marketers switched their budgets to
the web, according to a new report. The latest Bellwether Report,
released by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and
accountancy group BDO, also found that companies were at their most
optimistic for five years. The report said 25 per cent of companies
reported a fall in total spending, while 18 per cent reported an
increase. The balance of -7 is a marked improvement from the -15 the
previous quarter and was "the highest since the first quarter of 2008,
and well above the record lows seen in late 2008 and early 2009".
CompareTheMarket: Upbeat findings for TV ad campaigns
The huge success of comparethemarket.com's ad
campaign featuring meerkat character Aleksandr Orlov has given a boost
to the TV ad sector, according to a news report.
Speaking to the Guardian this weekend, Ian Millner, co-founder of ad
agency Iris, said price comparison websites are "ploughing money into
TV advertising, where agencies can make their name with creative
ideas, because with no real-world presence these websites win or lose
on their brand marketing".
subscription revenues 'to overtake ad income for first time'
The FT expects the revenue from subscriptions
to overtake the money it makes from print ads for the first time this
year. FT Group chief executive, John Ridding attributed the growth to
cover price rises, online charging and a rising number of corporate
Ecommerce and online
Online retail sales up 14% in 2009
UK shoppers spent £5.46 billion online in December -
an equivalent of £88.93 per person, 17% up on December 2008, according
to new research from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Sales
rose by 3.8% compared to November 2009, demonstrating typical growth
for the month of December.
The peak week for online Christmas shopping was the second week in
December. This was one week later than in 2008, as a combination of
November postal strikes; shoppers holding out for bargains; increased
confidence in delivery services; and Christmas falling on a Friday
delayed the annual spending spree.
Country focus: Spain
Largest internet sites: Spain
Spanish audience reach for top 10 parent companies, December 2009
Internet audience: Spain
Time per person for top 10 parent companies, Spain, December 2009
Consumer internet behaviour:
Monthly internet use: key indicators for Spanish web users, December
Global smartphone handset use: Apple and Nokia lead in different
Mobile ad network AdMob has released its
December 2009 AdMob Mobile Metrics Report, looking at regional changes
in manufacturer and smartphone Operating System (OS) share. The report
found that Apple and the iPhone OS leads in Western Europe, North
America, Latin American and Oceania behind strength of millions of
iPhones and iPod touches sold this year and heavy application usage.
Apple to make Bing default search engine for iPhone?
Apple is reportedly in talks with Microsoft to
turn Bing into the default search engine on the iPhone, as the
company's rivalry with Google deepens.
Google is currently the default search engine on the iPhone. A deal
between Apple and Microsoft may mean iPhone owners would automatically
get Microsoft's Bing as the main search engine, possibly requiring
users to actively change phone settings if they want to search via
Google. BusinessWeek magazine reports that the talks between Apple and
Microsoft have been underway for weeks, citing 'two people familiar
with the matter'.
Apple buys mobile ad network
Apple has acquired Quattro Wireless for a
reported $275m, as the iPhone maker looks to challenge Google in the
mobile advertising arena. Quattro announced the deal in a blog posting
Tuesday by Andy Miller, now vice president of mobile advertising at
Apple. "We are thrilled to let you know that Apple has acquired
Quattro," Miller wrote. "We want to share with you our excitement
about this news and what it means for our customers.
Google starts selling first-ever mobile handset 'Nexus One'
Google has finally launched its
much-anticipated smartphone, Nexus One, which aims to rival Apple's
iPhone. The device, made by Taiwanese company HTC, will be sold
through Google's website from today and initially be available on
T-mobile in the US followed by Vodafone in the UK in the first quarter
BBC allowed to take part in internet TV service 'Project Canvas'
The BBC Trust has provisionally approved the
BBC's involvement in Project Canvas, a service that will allow UK
viewers to watch free-to-air broadcasts and Internet content on
The trust, an independent body that oversees the license-fee funded
BBC, said that "the likely public value of the proposal justifies any
potential negative market impact," after it faced criticism from
pay-TV companies, in particular British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSY.LN).
Companies making the news
Google in China: Hackers, politics, strategy and new security patches
for Internet Explorer
Google has stressed it wants to continue to
have a strong presence in the Chinese market, following its threats
last week to pull out of the country altogether, amid security
concerns and a sweeping cyber attack. CEO Eric Schmidt spoke to
analysts after the Q4 results were announced, saying Google remains
"quite committed to being in China." But he reiterated that it would
stop censoring its search results there, in "a reasonably short time
from now. We like the Chinese people and our Chinese employees. We
like the business opportunities there and we'd like to do that on
somewhat different terms than we have."
iTunes planning Spotify-style streaming service?
Apple is reportedly planning a subscription
style music streaming service for iTunes, offering a rival to
Spotify's business model. The Wall Street Journal reports that the
rumoured move would follow Apple's $85m acquisition of music streaming
site LaLa in December.
Amazon drops payments to affiliates using search ads
Amazon is to stop paying commission to UK
affiliates using paid and natural search techniques to drive customers
to the retailer's website. The move follows similar action taken on
the retail giants US affiliates several months ago. Amazon has sent an
email to their UK affiliates preventing them from using certain paid
search techniques and search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to
drive sales to Amazon.
Search privacy: Microsoft cuts IP address storage to 6 months
Microsoft is to shorten the time it stores
users' addresses from its Bing search queries from 18 months to six
months, following a request from a European Union data privacy panel.
It said the change would make its Bing search a better choice for
privacy-conscious users than the world's leading search engine Google
Inc., because Microsoft will delete the entire Internet Protocol
address from search queries - the string of numbers that shows a
Yahoo under fire from own Chinese affiliate network after cyber attack
Yahoo has claimed to become another victim of
cyber-attacks in China, losing support from its own affiliate network
Alibaba in the process. Last week Google issued a surprise challenge
to the government in Beijing, threatening to pull out of China, after
it suffered sophisticated cyber attacks on its network. Now its US
rival, Yahoo, has been pulled into the dispute. Yahoo said that like
Google, it too, had been a target of similar attacks in China.
Google and China: Hackers, government and a stormy 2010
Google plans to submit a formal request to the
Chinese government "in the coming days" for information about the
hacking attacks launched from the country. The world's most popular
search engine said last week it was thinking of pulling out of China
after a "sophisticated" attack on its network that resulted in theft
of its intellectual property.
Google threatens to quit China over censorship rules
Google has announced that it will no longer
abide by China's censorship laws, and may shut it's 'google.cn'
website altogether, following a cyber attack aimed at gathering
information on human rights activists.
In a company statement, David Drummond, Google senior v.p., corporate
development and chief legal officer, said: "We have decided we are no
longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so
over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese
government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search
engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean
having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China."
The search giant attributed its change in stance to cyber attacks from
China on dissidents using its Gmail service and on companies.
to cut more UK jobs as German and French offices close
AOL plans to slash a third of its workforce
will lead to a significant reduction in UK jobs, as the Internet media
giant looks to cut 1,200 jobs worldwide. AOL, which spun of from Time
Warner last month, announced in November it would be cutting 2,300
jobs around the world.
Since then, 1,100 employees have taken voluntary redundancies. AOL
still needs to cut some 1,200 jobs to reach its goal of slashing its
workforce by a third. In a statement, AOL said it would be announcing
redundancies in the US tomorrow, and had begun meeting with European
Latitude jobs safe after MBO
Digital marketing group Latitude has been
bought out of administration by its management team, following funding
issues dating back to its acquisition in 2007. The Daily Telegraph
reports that the move will write off millions of pounds in loans from
Barclays as part of the 'pre-pack deal' to Latitude. The bank provided
a £10m loan to Vitruvian in 2007 to aid the acquisition of the
company. Latitude management has team has now increased its stake in
the company and has raised additional capital to accelerate the growth
of the business.
Carphone Warehouse phases out Tiscali brand name in UK
Carphone Warehouse is to drop the Tiscali name
for its broadband service following its purchase of the company back
in may last year. The move will see Carphone's Talk Talk brand replace
all Tiscali services. Carphone Warehouse paid £236m for Tiscali UK,
making TalkTalk the largest ISP in the country, with 4.25 million
residential customers. Tiscali UK's business customers are now
subscribers to Opal, Carphone Warehouse's business ISP.
Disney to launch online storage scheme 'KeyChest' by end of year
Disney has unveiled plans for its online
storage service, called 'Keychest', that will give users access to the
studio's movies and TV shows online, offering an alternative to DVDs
and Blu-rays. Using Keychest, consumers would purchase access rights
to a film or TV show, rather than have physical ownership of material
on a disc.
Coming to a TV near you: Skype goes high definition
Skype is now offering video calls on PCs in
720p high definition (HD), as well as Skype software embedded into
Internet-connected widescreen televisions from its consumer
electronics manufacturer partners. The latest version of Skype for
Windows can deliver up to 720p HD-quality video calling at 1280 x 720
resolution, at up to 30 frames per second.
Tories to offer web developers £1m prize for user-generated policy
The Conservatives are planning on running a
competition for web developers to create a website that would allow
large groups of people to help shape new policies- provided they win
the next general election. The £1m taxpayer-funded prize would be
rewarded to the online platform deemed by the Tories to best harness
'the collective wisdom of the British people'.
Google Chrome now third most popular browser
Google's Chrome web browser has overtaken
Apple's Safari to become the third most popular web browser, according
to new research. The data, from Net Applications, puts Chrome in third
place with 4.63% of the market, ahead of safari with 4.46%. Google's
browser, which launched just over a year ago, still has a lot of
ground to make up to match market leaders Microsoft's Internet
Explorer (63%) and Mozilla's Firefox (25%). Chrome's 0.7 percent jump
from November to December can partly be attributed to the beta launch
versions of the Chrome Web browser for Mac OS X and Linux.
Watchdog slams Ryanair over 'puerile' internet charges
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has criticised
Ryanair for introducing a new online fee on its customers, calling it
"quite puerile," according to a newspaper report. The low-cost airline
last month started charging the five-pound (5.6 euro) fee per
passenger for a ticket bought using a commonly-used Electron card,
which had previously been free.