Digital Marketing News #93

Weekly Roundup #93 – Black Friday Blues, Shopify & SEO

This week we bring some post-Black Friday analyses, however before reading on you can catch up on last weeks digital marketing round up, where we discussed how to drive more Christmas bookings, the rise of programmatic advertising, and what you could do to improve your site for the Black Friday rush… Once you’re all caught up, on to this weeks news:


Black Friday: The UK Prefers Personalisation to Promotions

Black Friday has been and gone, and it seems that the UK does not feel the same frenzy that our American counterparts do. Research from Harris Interactive, commissioned by Sizmek, found that 40% of UK consumers surveyed were not planning to take part in Black Friday. One reason for this could be the UK consumer’s preference for personalisation rather than one off discounts or promotions.

“Consumers have no time and limited patience for irrelevant advertising these days,”

according to Andrew Morsey, MD UK at Sizmek, which is reflected in the statistic that 49% of respondents would engage with an ad that was personalised – showing them the brands or products that they are likely to be interested in. Personalisation was even more popular for the millennials, with 73% of consumers saying that they would seriously consider engaging with an ad that is aligned to their buying preferences.

Morsey notes that those retailers who, “can personalise and optimise ads effectively in shoppers’ preferred formats using predictive, AI-powered tech, then they should reap the rewards.” Personalised ads can be further improved with geo-location – with 70% of millennials saying that they would be more likely to engage with an ad that is based on their current location (and 48% of 35 – 54 year olds).

To create the most detailed and full picture of your customers, make sure to combine all of the data from across different platforms, as this will ensure that you are personalising with the most up-to-date and relevant information. Lucia Juliano, Head of CPG and Retail Research, Harris Interactive, noted that,

“Brands and retailers need to respond intelligently to today’s tech-savvy shoppers through their advertising strategies.” Juliano warned that, “Relying on a ‘one message fits all’ approach belongs firmly in the archives, and brands must demonstrate they understand consumers, or they will switch off.”


Black Friday 2016 v. Black Friday 2017

Black Friday 2017 Stats
Source: Marketing Land

Sales on Black Friday reached $5.03 billion, which was an increase of 16.9% compared with 2016, and in the period between November 1st – 24th, online shopping revenue totalled $38.3 billion – a 17.8% increase from the same period last year. According to Adobe, 54.3% of retail website visits and 36.9% of online revenue was performed on a mobile device, and conversion rates for both tablets and smartphones had significant increases when compared to 2016 (13% and 16.5% respectively).

Adobe believe the average order value (AOV) to be $135 on Black Friday, whilst Monetate valued the AOV at $142.86, with an even higher price for desktop AOV’s, averaging at $173.92. Although people may be more likely to purchases more expensive items on their desktops, according to Salesforce, “42% of Black Friday orders were placed from a phone.”

Shopify, an eCommerce platform, reported that, “More than $1,000,000 in sales went through the platform per minute at the peak, beating last year’s high of $555,716,” for the Black Friday sales. Shopify also noted that 66% of their orders were made on a mobile device, which was an increase on last years figure of 58%.

Rakuten looked at click-through rates and ad engagement in the Black Friday period, noting that both activities surged during the week prior to the holiday, with click-through rates up 154% and ad engagement up 111%. “Consumers were researching products for their holiday shopping gift list in advance of the peak shopping days,” according to Rakuten.


Augmented Reality and the Publishing Industry

Source: Blippar

Augmented reality (AR) is coming, and so it is up to the brands, businesses and companies to think of interesting, innovative and useful ways to include AR into their strategy. Publishers are interested in creating AR books, so we take a look at what this could mean for the publishing industry.

The pop group Black-Eyed Peas has teamed up with Marvel to create a graphic novel, Masters of the Sun, which also has an AR app to use alongside it. The app allows readers to delve deeper into the story thanks to its animated graphics and text, narration by some well-known celebrities, and it also features a musical score by and the Oscar-winning composer, Hans Zimmer. The app came up against some criticism as it must be bought separate to the book, however, the app is a natural fit for a graphic novel as it enhances and exaggerates the already visual nature of the book.

A book that is more appropriate to a younger audience Supersaurs, by Jay Burridge, uses AR to envisage and explore a world where dinosaurs never went extinct. Supersaurs is the first of a 6-part series, and the app requires its young users to participate in a 50-mission game that requires lateral thinking – meaning that the AR will aid learning and education as well as creating an exciting and contemporary read. As a free app, it provide the publisher and author with the email address of those who buy and use the book and app, which is valuable information for both parties.

Touch Press has partnered with StoryToys to turn the beloved children’s book, ‘My Very Hungry Caterpillar’ into an AR app. Unlike Masters of the Sun and Supersaurs, My Very Hungry Caterpillar is not linked to the book, rather, it has taken its lead character and created a standalone AR app for young children. The app is most similar to Pokemon Go, allowing the user to see and interact with the caterpillar in any environment – feeding him, tucking him into bed and helping him to avoid obstacles.

Further to the My Very Hungry Caterpillar app, we can expect to see more well-known and well-loved books turned into an AR app. Niantic Labs, the creators of Pokemon Go, are currently developing the Harry Potter books into an AR app. So watch this space…


Shopify and ‘Called Intelligence’

Shopify is a platform that makes it easy for small companies to sell in the digital space, as well as in person – creating the potential for retailers to merge the online and offline experiences into an omnichannel version of commerce. As eCommerce is set to generate almost $2 trillion globally, there has never been a better time to up your game to combine your in-store and online experiences…

ECommerce has developed over time, and has spawned two variants: mCommerce, the mobile version that has expanded thanks to larger screens, responsive design and the proliferation of mobile devices, and sCommerce, social commerce which describes the large numbers (75%) of consumers using social networks to inform their purchases. Shopify has embraced each of these changes to eCommerce, integrating channels for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon etc.

Shopify is also aware that in-store sales still outstrip online sales, and so they also support offline transactions, offer in-store POS solutions and card readers for businesses of all sizes. Shopify’s attitude of combining on- and offline experiences taps into the customer’s habits – where many customers look online and then buy in-store or vice versa.

Shopify has done, and continues to do a great job in joining online and offline experiences, however ‘called intelligence’ seemed to be the missing piece. As more and more people own a mobile device, data suggests that for certain companies their inbound calls are 10 times more likely to convert than other channels, and Google has reported that up to 62% of customers prefer click-to-call options over ad clicks.

Correctly reporting and integrating this ‘called intelligence’ is the final piece of the puzzle in creating an ‘omnichannel experience’ that provides a seamless customer journey on any platform. CallTrackingMetrics has recently released the first Shopify integration that tracks and responds to inbound customer calls, meaning that Shopify can create a full and correct picture of each consumer…


How RankBrain is Changing Content Creation and SEO

Source: LSEO

With the introduction of machine learning, with systems such as Google’s RankBrain, the role and techniques for SEO are changing. Whilst relevant, high quality content always performs better in search, there are some more specific things that can be done to improve performance in the age of RankBrain.

HTTPS and Security

Back in 2014, Google announced that it was pushing HTTPS as a ranking signal, however, the uptake of HTTPS was not significant across the board. The reason for this is that secure data transfer is more important in some industries, for example, more than half of finance pages in the top position in the SERPs use HTTPS, compared to just 23% of the top results in the travel industry. This shows Google’s attempt to match its results to the user’s intent: those who are looking for financial information are likely to have to enter their personal details, whereas those looking for their next holiday destination are naturally less concerned about the security of that information.

Word Count

A rule of thumb in SERP has been that the longer the content, the better. This is so because a longer text has a higher chance of being more comprehensive, however, many questions that get typed into a search engine are short and perfunctory. These sorts of direct questions should be responded to with a direct answer, in order to give the user the exact information that they are looking for. By answering these types of questions in under 500 words and stick closely to the topic, you stand a higher chance of entering ‘position zero’, where your site is quoted in Google’s answer box.
To work out the optimal length and form for your content, look to your high ranking competitors. Different industries require different types of content, so make sure to do your research.


Text is not the only way to communicate with users, images, video and interactive graphics are an engaging and concise way to pass on a message – but how many images should you include in an article?
Much like the length of your content, the images should be selected according to the users intent. For example, a search for ‘top XYZ team players’ would do well to include plenty of large images in the result, however ‘top XYZ team stats’ would be much better suited to a table or graph with lots of numbers. Retail is naturally image heavy, whereas a financial site does not necessarily benefit from a large number of images.


It has been widely covered that content should be relevant, but what, exactly, does relevant mean? Relevance depends on context that is specific to your industry, your audience and the device that they are using. Google is applying this level of detail to their SERPs, so sites must also apply this level of detail and relevance to their SEO.


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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

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