Aug. 15, 2014 | by Lauretta Wood The viewable impression

Viewability is widely becoming a hot topic within display advertising. ComScore released figures from their 2013 real-world digital campaign, stating that, ‘on average 54% of display ads are not seen’, suggesting that display advertising is not having the desired effect on users that it should, consequently wasting media spend on impressions that have actually not even been seen. However viewability provides marketers with a mean of buying ads in a much more efficient and reliable way, optimising ad spend and maximising campaign performance.

The IAB defines a viewable impression as, ‘50 per cent of pixels in view for a minimum of 1 second’ for a standard display ad. As a result, viewability standards have been launched to provide guidance on greater accountability for brands, giving marketers the ability to start bidding and optimising against viewability metrics such as vCPM, to evaluate and compare the viewability of impressions across the web.

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest advantages this brings to the industry is the potential for better campaign measurement, whether being based on improved engagement, reach, frequency or sales uplift. The move to a world where marketers only pay for display ad impressions that are actually seen by users promises a dramatic and positive change within the industry for 2 main reasons:
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Aug. 07, 2014 | by Mike Fawcett Yet another list of really useful SEO plugins and bookmarklets

So, like an impatient teenager shivering in the queue outside a full club, iCrossing sees an opportunity and quietly slips past the bouncer to join the heaving mass of sweat-sodden socialites gyrating on the dance floor. “I’m finally in the club” it thinks to itself, a club restricted to those who’ve published a “top seo-plugins” article. That’s right, we’re finally doing it!

Anyway, tenuous metaphors aside, here’s a brief list of my most used SEO plug-ins and bookmarklets, along with a couple of productivity tools I find useful. As a Chrome user, it’s admittedly a little biased, but I’ve tried to make it as concise and useful as possible. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything.

Web Developer

Firefox and ChromeWebDeveloper

A toolbar containing loads of web developer focussed features, a few of which are really helpful for seo, such as the ‘disable javascript’ functionality and the various other CSS, image, cookie and informational tools. You can use the ‘outline’ feature to easily display problem elements, such as images with empty alt tags, external links or whatever you want. This is the go-to extension for any curious SEO wanting to fiddle with a page.

User-Agent Switcher for Chrome


Spoofs and mimics user-agent strings so you can view a web page, for example, how a Google-bot views it. Note – you’ll have to manually add crawler user-agent strings yourself. Just go to the extension options and use the interface for adding new user-agents: it’s really easy e.g. just add Googlebot 2.1 into the “new user-agent name” field, then insert Googlebot/2.1 (+ into the “new user-agent string” field, select “replace” from the “Append?” field and give it a nice little abbreviated indicator such as “GB2″ so you’ll know which user-agent you’re currently spoofing.
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Jul. 31, 2014 | by Joe Webster Keeping paid social advertising social

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide a wealth of targeting options and ad formats for advertisers, with a captive and highly engaged audience. However, beyond the targeting what can be done to ensure maximum engagement? The simple answer; keep it social!

Too many brands fall into the trap of viewing these outlets as simply another platform for posting their ads, often re-purposing creative imagery from display and print advertising to serve as images in their audience’s newsfeeds. There’s nothing wrong with this, and if the aim of your campaign is purely brand exposure, then with the right budget, bids and targeting to secure an effective number of impressions, you’re sure to make an impact.

But what if you want more than that? It’s not always enough to expose yourself to an audience, what if your aim is for brand engagement, or even conversions?

Social media is a prime platform to involve and engage your audience; it’s not purely a message board, it’s not even a two way conversation, it’s an open discussion with unlimited participants. We all do this regularly on our personal accounts, so why isn’t this at the forefront of the thought process for paid social advertising?
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Jul. 17, 2014 | by Alex Shilton ‘Subscribe is the new shop.’ – Are subscription business models taking over?

There was once a time when subscriptions and magazines were an established and monogamous pair. But now, the subscription plague is quickly spreading between industries. The modern day consumer wants on-going, easy access to their everyday products and commodities. As such, the one-time purchase may not be as appealing anymore, but instead, a flexible service that can last a lifetime may be.

A subscription service could be anything from the perks of your Amazon Prime, to a monthly visit from your window cleaner. A subscription is a type of billing option, which charges an account on an annual, monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. With this model, companies instantly look to gain a subscribed consumer who offers the business a possible lifetime loyalty. This can therefore improve their revenue on a long-term basis. For consumers, they may find that a subscription saves them money on a product they buy regularly and could avoid that daunting trip to the shops. The most significant factor for the success of a subscription model is outstanding value – if the consumer does not believe they’ll receive this, then there will be no subscription in the first place.

Subscription businesses are nothing new. We have seen them bravely enter the Dragons Den, pitching for investment in a company that constructs a quarterly bill for ‘members’ who sign up for having their olive oil delivered to them. Yes…olive oil. Although that may not have worked out, you’ll be more familiar with companies such as Netflix and Graze. Who’d have thought healthy snacks being put through the letterbox could be the next big thing? Jamie Oliver missed out on that one. A common submodel of subscription is ‘Freemium’ – a term that sounds galactic! Spotify embraces this model, as they provide users free music content but restrict access to their premium features to paying subscribers. Last year, Spotify reached over 24 million users, including 6 million paying the subscription fee. Their philosophy is that once they get you hooked on their service, you’ll be crying out for more.
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Jul. 09, 2014 | by Sharna Waid Personal development at iCrossing – aiming to be a learning organisation

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the digital skills gap in marketing.  Econsultancy released a report in May 2014 (skills of the modern marketer) about how marketers need to be more technically adept and data focused, but most importantly it reveals how traditional soft skills like empathy, collaboration and lateral thinking are as important as ever – if not more so.

In light of this, Rachel Collier, Chief Talent Officer at iCrossing discusses why personal development is such a vital ingredient of a digital marketing agency and how iCrossing has encouraged people to continuously learn and develop across both technical and soft skills…

Why is personal development important?

Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist, and personally, a long-time role model and inspiration for me, answers this question; “When you know better, you do better.”

Personal development is what you consciously do to grow as a person.  Being motivated to develop your skills in a way that embraces change without fear of failure is what Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset.’ Not everyone is wired that way, but everyone wants to be valued – by their peers, communities and contexts. The ability to adapt and develop your skills is a valuable one to maintain throughout your career. 
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Jul. 03, 2014 | by James Mortimer Twitter app promotion

Earlier this week Twitter introduced its latest new advertising products for mobile app promotion and we’re quite excited about them here in the paid social team at iCrossing.

The new product will allow advertisers to target users with a card that they can use to download their app from directly in their timeline. In the past advertisers have been able to include links in tweets that would take users straight to the app store of their choice but this new product should make the process more efficient and improve download rates.

To ensure that advertisers are meeting their cost per install goals Twitter has put analytics tools in place that will allow advertisers to optimise download costs to match their specific requirements and goals. Before this product was introduced this is something that advertisers weren’t able to do directly in Twitter so this should make the process a lot more efficient.

These new app promotion tools combined with Twitter’s existing targeting options open new opportunities for advertisers to reach very specific audiences with their apps. Moving forward we’re really looking forward to trialing this new product to improve our client’s campaigns.

Jul. 01, 2014 | by Sam Vining The changing face of Facebook

Latest research from Forrester shows that Facebook still dominates teens’ social media usage, but this doesn’t mean it can sit back and relax.  The challenge now for Facebook is to remain relevant to younger audiences as smaller competitors continue to innovate at a blistering pace. So far they have achieved this by tactically acquiring other technology firms – nearly 50 to date – once they’ve demonstrated the ability to attract and retain an audience.

Although this has been successful to date, given the eye-watering costs ($1bn for Instagram, $19bn for WhatsApp, $2bn for Oculus VR), it remains to be seen whether this strategy is sustainable.

Whether or not Facebook is currently the social network of choice for most young adults is a moot point (although the data is fairly clear that it is). Facebook is constantly under threat that an upstart will emerge that won’t sell, and whose product is strong enough to lure away Facebook’s core demographics.

So far new competitors seem to be operating in tandem with Facebook rather than competing for the same attention. Snapchat and Twitter have grown meteorically in the last few years , although Facebook has weathered this as the average time adults spend using digital media has continued to increase (up to nearly 50% of time spent with major media in the U.S.), allowing room for more than one social network in most users’ lives.

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Jun. 30, 2014 | by Sharna Waid A day in the life of an Account Manager

What’s it really like to work in the world of digital marketing?

This series of blog posts will show the variation of roles we have at iCrossing and will give an insight into what happens on a daily basis including commuting journeys, social activities, lunch time food spots as well as the best and most challenging aspects of the job. This post introduces Bianca from the client services team based in Brighton.

Background – what did you do before iCrossing?

Bianca MayI spent the first part of my career working in finance, although it wasn’t for me, it did subsidise some hilarious nights out whilst at university. On a more serious note, working in finance taught me some invaluable skills about credit control, risk and negotiation which all helped when it came to my next role in purchasing at Virgin Holidays. I’ve always been passionate about travel, so studied a BA Hons in International Tourism Management and Spanish. During my three years in the travel industry I started to work closely with the marketing team at Virgin which fuelled my passion to work in digital marketing. I’m a bit of a data geek at heart so loved that I could measure the effects of online campaigns – this passion helped me move into an account management role agency side. I approached iCrossing because of what the agency could offer me in terms of long term career progression, exposure to big brands and above all a better work-life balance.
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Jun. 27, 2014 | by chris.woodham 11 deep crawling problems you probably haven’t thought of


In the product development team we develop tools that the rest of the agency uses to do all sorts of cool things for our clients.

One of the biggest projects we’ve been working on for a while is a deep crawler to help analyse client websites. Deep crawling is the process of crawling through as much of the site as possible, as fast as possible, and extracting as much information as possible. On the face of it, this doesn’t sound like the hardest thing in the world. Get start page, analyse, find all links on page, repeat, right?

Well, no, not by a long way as the internet is a barely held together collection of hacks and tricks that, more often than not, only adheres to a few basic standards or logical set of rules. Everything on the internet is an edge case. The biggest wonder is that any of it actually works and, frankly, often it doesn’t.

What follows is the collection of odd, nonsensical and downright weird problems that we have encountered over the years whilst trying to perform the simple task of crawling websites, maybe it’ll make someone think twice about trying to create their own deep crawler, and spare them the headaches.
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Jun. 25, 2014 | by Sean Mazur Will Google Glass be everywhere at Glastonbury 2015?

glasto2True story: I was at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival waiting for the headliner Arcade Fire to start. The crowd was 70,000 strong, and I managed to be about 5 rows back. My eyes were glued to the stage waiting anxiously for the moment the band would come out.

Next to me, somebody else’s eyes were glued to the stage as well – well 4 eyes I guess… he was wearing Google Glass for the entire two hour show! A Glasser if you will…Either he was very sensitive to the Coachella sun (even at 11pm at night!) or more likely he was recording the show via his wearable device. This struck me as slightly bizarre – that it was somehow getting in the way of this persons’ true enjoyment of the spectacle itself in real time, but maybe this is how live gigs will be viewed through wearable devices moving forward.
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