Weekly Roundup #65 – Second Newsfeed, Proximity & Ethical Fashion

You can find last week’s roundup right here. For now though…


  • – Facebook may well be introducing a second news feed in order to combat a decrease in personal Facebook status updates and as an effort to push marketing through its platform further. 
  • – Measuring sentiment really is a matter of ‘who you ask’ and not ‘what you ask’ we discuss the case study of Starbucks and think about the best approach to measuring customer perception. 
  • – We discuss the ways ethical fashion brands are making eco-fashion cool with a couple of examples. Sustainable fashion isn’t just for hippies…
  • – Get yourself clued up on the latest P of the marketing mix – Proximity. We discuss how important it is in the marketing mix and give you tips on how to become a part of proximity marketing. 
  • – The brands who are doing email marketing right. We observe columnist Len Shneyder who shows us what brands are using email to their advantage and how we can use the same tactics. 

Social Media Marketing

Is a Second Facebook News Feed in the Works?


TechCrunch has outlined that users of Facebook’s iOS and Android apps have reported seeing a rocket ship icon, under which content Facebook thinks might be of interest is displayed. It all sounds a bit vague, but here’s what you need to know:

Facebook acknowledged that it’s testing a new feature and in their own words, “We are testing a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, customised for each person based on content that might be interesting to them. We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore new content they haven’t connected with yet.” The main rationale behind a second news feed is to keep user engagement high. According to internal documents leaked last year, the company is concerned that its users are sharing fewer personal updates. Facebook then announced algorithm updates to prioritise updates from family and friends in response to this. A second news feed could be their way of upping engagement again.

Organic reach for posts by Facebook Pages have been dire for years, we all know that. Facebook could just tweak the algorithm to boost organic reach but it would definitely come at a price with business ads being its bread and butter. A second news feed on the other hand would give brands a way to get greater reach without Facebook having to mess with the primary feed, sort of like a win-win situation.

At the same time however, it could help with Facebook’s ad load challenge. It would allow brands to get greater reach without increasing New Feed organic reach, and the second one could also help Facebook deal with the fact it has been warning people about critical advertisement mass for the last year. While Facebook hasn’t revealed any plans for ads in the experimental New Feed, there’s no reason to think Facebook won’t monetise the new one if it’s rolled out globally.

Then we have the cancer of social media that is fake news. Facebook came under fire for its role in spreading fake news during last years presidential election and so Facebook announced numerous initiatives to fight the fake news that is infecting its network. It’s a huge challenge for a bunch of political and technical reasons. Facebook’s second feed is designed, in part, to promote popular content, so it’s possible that parties trying to game the system could succeed using the tool meaning even more fake news is released.

Oh and the other thing is – Facebook users might just blatantly hate it and stop using the app because of it. We’ll keep you updated.




Sentiment Depends on Who You Ask

measuring sentiment


Using Starbucks as a case study, we can see that when it comes to primary research or generally keeping track of consumer perception, it really does depend on who you ask. We’ll bullet point it for you:

  • – Starbucks announce their plans to hire 10,000 refugees following the temporary travel ban
  • – This sparked a #BoycottStarbucks twitter trend
  • – According to YouGov BrandIndex, Starbuck’s reputation took a big hit following the announcement.
  • – Prior to the announcement YouGov’s data indicated that a third of consumers would consider making their next coffee a Starbucks one, and after the announcement this dropped to 24%. Additionally their BrandIndex Buzz score lowered from 12 to 4.
  • – Starbucks released a press release that outlined the fact there was actually no evidence to support the claim that their reputation had been hurt since the announcement.

So Starbucks decided to comment back on the apparent change in consumer perception and Brian James, Kantar Millward Brown’s Brand and Communications Practice President stated,


“Following the recent release of results from a YouGov Brand Index Survey, several news organisations have reported that Starbucks is suffering from consumer backlash related to its announcement to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years….Such backlash or declines are not substantiated in our own measurement of Starbucks Brand Health and Consumer Sentiment.”


Kantar Millward Brown has conducted ongoing monthly measurement of Starbucks Brand Perceptions and saw no impact. He continues:


“In fact, in February 2017 — after the announcement — we did not observe any substantive impact on Customer Consideration, Future Visitation Intent or Brand Perceptions or any other key performance metrics for the Starbucks brand.”


So who do we actually believe? We know it’s understandable to be apprehensive about Brown’s findings especially since they work for Starbucks but it’s interesting nonetheless to note there’s no actual figures to back up a change in perception.

In conclusion the case study of Starbucks perfectly sums up just how difficult it can be to measure the sentiment of consumers. That’s not to say sentiment analysis is useless, but it does mean that the answers you’re seeking will vary depending on who you ask. As more and more businesses are encouraged to invest in sentiment analysis companies need to remember that ultimately there’s no substitute for keeping a close eye on store traffic, revenue and other similar KPIs.



How Ethical Fashion Brands Are Marketing to Conscious Consumers

ethical fashion


Eco-friendly fashion comes with a stereotype. We think of patched up garments fit for hippies only, but the vision of eco fashion seems to be changing. Unilever has reported in a recent study that sustainability issues are increasingly affecting shopping decisions – 21% of people are saying they’d support brands that clearly convey sustainability through their packaging and marketing. This extends beyond everyday goods into fashion too, and now a multitude of fashion brands are taking ethical and environmental factors into consideration during their processes.

A Verdict study found that 20.2% of consumers refuse to pay more for sustainable clothing while 17.5% of consumers cite that there’s a lack of choice, and 18.8% of people say it’s difficult to even find eco-friendly fashion as a reason for not buying it. So how are fashion brands convincing people it’s the right way to go? Here are a couple of brands doing it right:



Helpsy is an ethical commerce brand that serves up items that are as cool as they are sustainable. And it even uses this as the basis of its marketing messaging with the aim of offering to consumers ‘design-forward, cutting-edge fashion’ that just so happens to have a positive social impact. Its tagline is ‘ethical fashion that’s dope’ suggests its messages are focused towards the younger consumers, which we all know are more inclined to care for the environment.



This brand was borne out of resistance to fast fashion and the retailers that prioritise speed over quality production, and in turn contribute to forced labour and environmental damage. Zady positions itself as a brand that prioritises ‘style over trends’ and can therefore keep a stamp of quality across the board consistently. While not as ‘youthful’ as Helpsy, its concept of ‘timeless’ garments that ignore trends make it possible for it to be the next ‘staples’ retailer. And, recently, it has gained the support of UN ambassador and actress Emma Watson who collaborated with them on a range of bespoke clothing.




The New Marketing P – Proximity


So unless you were asleep, or skipping the lessons on the ‘4 Ps of marketing’ in the Marketing 101 class, you’ll know the rest stand for Product, Price, Promotion and Place. But there’s a new kid on the block ladies and gentlemen, and that P is for Proximity. The older pillars marketing Ps don’t quite align with the way the world works today so it’s time we added ‘Proximity’ into the equation.

Gone are the days of picking out a paper map and unfolding it and only being able to see a certain amount of an area at a time.These days you are limited only by the amount you can be bothered zooming in or out. By default you yourself are often the centre of the map and everything else revolves around you depending on how much you’re willing to search. Proximity – the distance from the user to any location – is a heavily weighted SEO ranking factor for all ‘near me’ searches. It’s only when you specifically move the focal point from yourself to another area without you in it does proximity seem to loosen its grip on rankings.

It makes sense that digital maps should be organised this way. Something closer to where you are just seems like the better option out of pure convenience. For marketers, the further away a potential customer is from a store, the less likely it is that they’ll visit. But since most of people find businesses through digital maps and local search, proximity must be added into the marketing mix. If you get everything else right but don’t keep some sort of focus on proximity, you’ll have a really hard time leading consumers to your door.

You can’t control where your customers are when they search, but you can put a finger on the scale of proximity to help you rank above other similarly distanced businesses in your category. There’s two ways to do this. You can either purchase a high rank with PPC or you can optimise for organic and hope to the high heavens the user is searching in a wide enough area to see you. Google is making it harder to hustle more organic results every single year but you can still do bits and bobs here and there to try stay above water.

Let’s break it down. A way of giving yourself a chance of showing up in local search results is by doing the basics. Make sure your location information is accurate and properly distributed to all the major location aggregators. Your NAP need to be accurate and your geo-coordinates for each location should lead consumers to the right place.

Andrew Shotland and Dan Liebson gave a presentation on local search ranking factors that Search Engine Land summed up in a decent nutshell below:


“Some of the most important factors they uncovered outside of proximity were local citations, reviews and optimizing for Google My Business (GMB). Local citations are important in that they give Google a strong indication that your location is where you say it is and that you have enough clout to attract backlinks.

Meanwhile, reviews help establish the local authority of your brand. The more people vouch for your location with positive reviews, the more comfortable Google feels about sending customers your way.

Finally, Google My Business is critical for helping your cause in local search. This is especially true for filling out your GMB attributes. We’ve begun to see the proliferation of Google My Business fields for each business type. For example, a restaurant will have the opportunity to fill in fields ranging from payment options, takeout, delivery, patio seating and anything else you’d want to know about a location.

You can expect GMB attributes to become a significant ranking signal going forward, thanks to digital assistants and voice search. Why? Because digital assistants and voice search are allowing for much more discerning answers when it comes to helping us find locations.”


Some great advice there.



The Brands Doing Email Marketing Right


Columnist Len Shneyder has taken a look at some email marketing tactics that have worked for REI, eBay and Uber, and gives key takeaways on how you can apply them to your own marketing strategy.


Most of their email traffic is transactional and their emails serve to close a loop on a ride. You step out of your Uber and within a few seconds you get an email that informs you how much your ride cost and it reminds you to review your driver. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Business travellers can screenshot these emails and use them as receipts. Riders know exactly what they paid and can be rest assured no other charges were incurred. Transactional messaging has the high click through and open rates of all. Because transactional email is only send in response to a user initiated reaction it’s always contextualised and therefore quickly understood and overall received.


Another effective form of email is triggered messaging based upon recent site activity – for example the abandoned shopping cart emails. eBay has something for everyone with its billions of listings on its site. What happens when most of your offering is time sensitive? Or when listings and deals expire, or even limited inventory? You’re then faced with reinventing the abandoned cart email in such a way that it makes sense for a rapidly evolving and changing inventory.

eBay seems to do an excellent job because it has been creating open-time rendering and personalisation capabilities that update the content of the email when the recipient opens it. Since everything in the eBay inventory expires, a static email promotion is only useful for so many hours.

This sophisticated real time changing of email content is down to a complex business model. Alex Weinstein, director of Marketing Technologies at eBay, explains:


“One-on-one personalisation is key to our CRM  strategy. We aim to deliver the most relevant offer to each customer based on our up-to-the-minute understanding of their intent. Real-time activity processing and open-time rendering are the enablers that allow us to take this personalization even further.”


Another advantage of using open-time rendering is being able to decrease the number of emails you send to a person therefore avoiding any potential irritation.


REI’s #OptOutside campaign started in 2015 and encouraged customers to ‘opt outside’ by ignoring Black Friday completely and going outside to enjoy nature instead. Sure this is a bit of a radical departure from what could be considered sane marketing but you have to hand it to them – they understand their recipients. It’s a sporting goods retailer – they exist for outdoor enthusiasts. Not every brand can be as bold and urge their users through emails etc to ignore a major holiday but it’s something that every company should be as enthusiastic about when it comes to messaging your list. If you’re passionate and have enough conviction – you might just get away with it. As long as you know your recipients inside out, you could try it – but don’t risk it if you’re unsure.

In conclusion Len Shneyder says, “relevancy and content are intimately connected to inbox behaviour. And brands that are thinking about their unique market segments, focusing their calls to action on discrete outcomes with very specific actions, are helping their users by delivering value through email.” Which is a very good point indeed.

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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.