Weekly Roundup #83 – Site Speed, Ads.txt & Stats

In last weeks blog we took a comprehensive look at AI, and the possible changes it may cause for conversion rates, programmatic buying and Adobe. Once you have caught up on all things AI, we have a new round up of the world of digital marketing covering:


Site Speed Plays a Key Role in SEO


Slow-loading websites are the bane of modern-day life, creating frustration for the user and potentially fewer people making searches, which is bad news for search engines. It is for this reason that site speed has become a vital element in search engine optimisation (SEO) and in improving your search rankings.

Digital marketers may not consider site speed to be in their domain, leaving it to those in the IT department, however the new emphasis that search engines have put on site speed should mean that it becomes part of the marketing strategy also. Small changes can make a noticeable difference, such as having your graphic designer save images in a different format or reducing your content in a few key places.

Google has a tool that will check your current page load time – the PageSpeed Insights tool – which will grade your site, giving you a starting point. With your score in place, you can start to make changes to improve upon it – we list here five elements of any website that, once improved, will greatly influence the score…

  • Poorly optimised images are one of the main culprits when it comes to a slow page speed. Having all images should be formatted to ‘save for the web’, with the image itself re-sized to closely match the size that it will appear on the site. It will only waste valuable loading time to upload a 1800x1800px image when the website will show it as 400x400px.
  • Streamlining your CSS code can affect your page speed, so as a general rule, try to write as little CSS as possible and avoid repeating yourself. Inline critical CSS in theHTML element, and do not use more than one CSS stylesheet as processing multiple stylesheets greatly increases the loading time.
  • Excessive JavaScript tags aren’t necessary and can slow browsers down – to remove the unnecessary tags, look to your social media tracking snippets to find those that aren’t being used, and review the tags on each of your webpages, getting rid of all those that you don’t use.
  • Use static content wherever possible within your pages – meaning that the raw HTML resides within the file that is being uploaded. The advantage of static content over dynamic content is that when the browser loads the page, the static content is already there waiting to be rendered on the page, whereas dynamic content has to be pulled from a database which will cause a slight delay in loading time.
  • Cookieless domains can improve the page loading speed because a browser can connect to more than one at a time. To make use of this system, load your static resources from multiple cookieless domains, which will allow multiple resources to download simultaneously.

Having made the changes according to the recommendations, return to Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to see how your speed grade has increased!

Your Customer Engagement Strategy

Customer engagement is a vital part of your business strategy – it is more than customer experience, it is, in fact, the sum of all of the individual customer experiences that drives customer engagement. Often put to the bottom of the list as it is thought to be too complex a topic to handle, however there are some simple and easy things to do before embarking on a project to improve your customer engagement…

  • In most companies it can seem almost impossible to create a single customer view because the data has been divided between departments and systems. This structure may generally suit your needs, however, for this task it is advised to connect these systems. By using technology and new programmes it is possible to combine all of the separate areas of data, which when combined with real-time insight into the customer’s journey, gives a comprehensive view of your customers and their needs.
  • The perceived complexity of the task is likely to put off many companies from engaging with their customer engagement, but it is important to remember that perfection is not required – but a start is! Begin by doing simple tasks that will point you in the right direction – for example, joining up two customer facing channels can bring real insights that will help you to better understand what your customers are doing. Choose technologies that are easy to use for non-technical teams, and that builds on and scales with the systems that are already in place.
  • As technologies develop at a quicker rate than ever, customer engagement can easily fall behind in the list of priorities – from updating your site and improving your mobile offering, to your CRM system or effectively using AI – there are always many areas that require your attention. Customer engagement should come as a priority because it will help you to understand your customer and their needs – which are insights that will greatly, and positively, affect all further decisions, such as what your business needs to offer in order to fulfil the customers needs.
  • It is often thought that the cost of undertaking a customer engagement project will be high. In the past it very well might have been, however integrating multiple systems and numerous data points can be done more quickly and easily than ever before. Cloud-based technology is both flexible and cost effective, meaning that results will be seen quickly from your efforts. Designed so that you can start small – and still make big gains – make sure to choose a solution that has been designed to grow with you as your customer engagement strategy evolves…


Delivery is an Important Part of Your Customer’s Experience

Delivery customer experience

‘Last mile convenience’ has become an important factor for online stores who are doing all they can to convert a cart into a sale. However, according to research by delivery experience firm Sorted, consumers are disappointed with the delivery options and overall delivery experience.

70% of consumers want more flexible delivery options, and 66% think that retailers and delivery companies should work together in order to include delivery into the overall shopping experience. As convenience and personalisation has become a more and more important factor in consumers buying decisions, it should be alarming that 27% of respondents said that the delivery felt disconnected from the rest of the retail experience.

Deliveries often don’t have the same fast, flexible approach that is becoming the norm online, which shows in the 25% of failed online deliveries that are due to the customer not being able to change the delivery option once the item has been shipped. 23% of respondents thought that more progressive, location-based delivery options could be the key – where an item is delivered using the geo-location on a smartphone.

The CEO of Sorted, David Grimes, noted that,

“For too long, delivery – the last point of interaction with the customer – has been inflexible and provided little value to the shopping experience. By ignoring consumer demands, such as a desire for more delivery options, retailers risk losing customers to competitors who are adapting to the needs connected shoppers.”


Publishers – Adopt Ads.txt Now!

google adverts

Ads.txt is the industry’s anti-fraud initiative, however publishers have been slow to adopt it, much to the chagrin of ad buyers. In order to create some urgency to use Ads.txt, publishers are being threatened with being left out of brands’ programmatic ad buys should they not upload a public list of their programmatic sellers and resellers.

Some advertisers from Q4 of 2017 will implement a rule whereby they will only buy through Ads.txt-enabled publishers, which is expected to push the publishers to get on board. Ad buyers have been keen to adopt Ads.txt as it means that they can avoid fraudulent ads by only buying inventory from the listed supply-side platforms (SSPs).

Ad fraud’s main proponent is domain spoofing, which is a process that avoids the white- and blacklists that advertisers put in place to specify which sites can and cannot feature their ads. Ads.txt was created in order to fight ad fraud, however its success depends entirely on both sides participating equally.

The advertisers and agencies are already prepared to base their programmatic ad buys on publishers’ Ads.txt files, and DSPs have already built tools to check a publisher’s Ads.txt file when placing those buys on a brand’s behalf. They are simply waiting for the publishers to meet them halfway…


The Week in Digital Marketing…

holiday social media

And finally, we bring you a selection of this week’s finest digital marketing stats…

  • The majority of Brits are now using an ad blocker according to a survey of over 2,00 UK adults by Affilinet. 61.5% of respondents stated that they use an ad blocker because they find the online ads annoying, whilst 41.5% stated it was because they found the ads to be intrusive and 33.1% said that the ads were irrelevant.
  • A survey by Forrester Research has found that 39% of teen YouTube users (aged 12-17) think that there are too many ads on YouTube. This compares to just 11% of teens who think that there are too many ads on Instagram and Snapchat, which may point to the conclusion that native ads are less disruptive than pre- or mid-roll ads.
  • Continuing on the theme of annoying online ads, 28% of respondents to a recent study by Inskin Media have cited pop-up ads as the most irritating mobile format. 26% hated ads that sit in the middle of the screen, and 18% were frustrated with ads that delay the page loading. However, the study also found that ads that move down the page alongside the content, or that sits at the top and bottom of the page were much more acceptable. It was noted also that people were 134% more likely to remember ads that sit around content than the average mobile ad…
  • A report by Barclays has revealed that £3.4bn of goods are left in online shopping baskets in the UK every year. However, this huge amount is thought to have been explained away thanks to device switching – where consumers will browse on their mobile for instance, then switching to their laptop to make the purchase. Other than device switching, abandoned carts are due to a lack of discount incentives (38%) and the need for a variety of delivery options, with 56% of respondents saying that free deliveries would incentivise them to buy.
  • Making purchases through a voice-controlled device is set to increase according to a report by Walker Sands. 24% of frequent online shoppers purchase through a voice-controlled device, with 44% of respondents reporting that they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very likely’ to make a purchase in this way in the coming year.
  • In 2014 only 6% of US consumers regularly used their mobile devices to make payments, which is a number that has tripled to 17% this year. Even higher numbers are seen in Europe, with 25% of Spanish consumers, 24% of Italians and 23% of Swedish consumers using their mobile wallet on a frequent basis.
  • Auto-play ads have been reported to be intrusive and annoying by consumers, however, MediaRadar has found that 31% of publishers auto-start the majority of their on-site video ads, and 60% of publishers auto-playing at least half. This trend is most popular among small, regional and B2B publishers, as well as websites that rely on programmatic advertising.
  • Brand activation is set to reach around $357bn in 2017 according to the Association of National Advertisers and PQ Media. Based on the total marketing operator revenues from brand activation in 2016, which rose by 6.7%, further growth is expected. Content marketing revenues grew 11.3% last year, with influencer marketing grew by 8.7% and experiential marketing increasing by 6.7%.


We push these out weekly. Subscribe to keep updated.


Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

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