Oct. 13, 2010 | by Gregory Damas Bon APPétit

No, this isn’t the brand new piece of software which will identify the closest place to eat the best Boeuf Bourguignon in town. It’s actually a rather easy blog title. However, not as easy as apps progression to invaded our everyday life; apps for Androids, apps for iPhones/iPads, apps to locate your train platform or apps to boil your eggs. You still own a Cretaceous Nokia 3310 and think you’ve never used an app? I presume you must be part of that 500 million users social network and once played that popular game about harvesting virtual crops and raising livestock… Well this game is…an app!

How do we know that apps aren’t hype ?

This can be done in 3 steps :

  1. By reading that Mobile apps will worth $17.5 bln by 2012
  2. By having a look at Google trends stats
  3. By finding out the first ever mobile application exhibition is taking place next month in London

According to GetJar, an independent mobile phone application store, 50 billion downloads will occur in 2012.  Nevertheless how can I ensure my app will be part of the that figure knowing that everyone is screaming for attention ?

How To Market Your Mobile Application

Continue reading…

Oct. 07, 2010 | by Simon Mustoe I want what I don’t know I want: why attention markets are a threat to new ideas

“You can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved”
(Don Draper, Mad Men)

“You can’t make any sense of the facts until you’ve had an idea”
(Stephen King, A Masterclass in Brand Planning)

“Journalists have to balance their role in responding to events with their role as an active seeker of stories”
(Paul Bradshaw, The Guardian)

For ten years, from my mid-teens to mid-twentysomethings I had a monthly appointment that I never ever missed. It was with the nearest newsagent so that I could buy the latest copy of The Face magazine. As a pop-culture obsessive I loved The Face. I loved it because it introduced me to new people, ideas, labels, fashion, movies and music. It kept my world moving forwards by giving me new information that led to new experiences. I loved it so much that I ended up working there – my first proper job out of university. And I still have all my copies stacked together at home as a compendium of times past, the new has become the old. So now I am a curator, a caretaker, of a decade of pop culture, of things I once liked.

The Face is sadly long-gone but the social need it tapped into – the provision of new information and experiences – remains as relevant and necessary today as it has always been. But we are in a dangerous place where the value of taking people somewhere new is in danger of becoming undervalued and, worst case, forgotten completely.

In media and marketing we talk a lot about competing in attention markets – by this we mean the ebb and flow of information that the online ‘crowd’ is interested in at any given time. We believe that the best way to be noticed is to appeal to people based on what they are currently interested in. This is because the internet has created an environment where near-real-time data about people’s likes and dislikes is at our fingertips. Of course, if you are interested in something, it means you already know about it.

The increasing centrality of attention markets in business strategy affects two established professional disciplines – journalism and marketing. For both, the internet is changing how we think about the content we produce. But we have a choice to make. Should we really be writing about and creating things based predominantly on what we know people already like, or should we be giving people new ideas and experiences?

The route we choose has repercussions at a more profound level than the media or marketing industries. It’s an issue for society. New information, ideas and experiences are the very things that have always powered human progress. But how do we move the world on if we are only interested in what people liked yesterday?

Continue reading…

Oct. 05, 2010 | by laura.wilkins Google’s ‘blue arrow’ and what it means for PPC

Google’s introduction of the ‘blue arrow’ to its Google Instant SERPs has raised questions over the effect this new keyboard navigational system may have on search tactics, particularly PPC.

This new set-up allows searchers to manoeuvre quickly through search results using just the keyboard arrow keys. When the arrow is highlighting the desired result, hitting return will take the user directly to that page.

What could this mean for paid search?

Whilst this system allows for easy navigation and eliminates the need to use the mouse or touchpad, it may result in a higher quantity of false clicks on PPC ads through users accidentally hitting the return key. The blue arrow also clearly highlights the first option as the immediate choice result, an area that is often dominated by PPC results.

Continue reading…

Sep. 30, 2010 | by Dennis Volkmann Where is Digital Marketing going?

Many people seem concerned with where marketing is going, what is the impact of digital, and which are the trends to follow. Last week at IPA’s Club 44, Dan Cobley – Senior Marketing Director of Google, gave his opinion of where he (and Google) sees the world of marketing going in the next 5-10 years. Cobley believes Digital Marketing will be a $500 billion market in 2015, representing 50% of total worldwide advertising. Also, he pointed out that by then, more people will be connected to the internet through mobile devices than ‘regular’ computers. Cobley believes there are three pillars that will sustain and determine Marketing’s evolution: Technology, Economy, and Society. 

  1. Technology
    Evolution will be fuelled by cloud computing and ever increasing Wi-Fi broadband connection and will be able to provide addressable, interactive services (and ads) to everyone, everywhere, anywhere. We already have image and sound recognition tools available and this is only the beginning.
  2. Economy
    This part can be summarized with the equation ‘value > cost’. In other words, technology breakthroughs and evolutions happen once it’s “worth it” for companies to invest in new solutions which are being demanded by the people. Cobley also mentioned the shift in marketing, where we cannot push content to customers, but pull them instead with relevant content (this is already happening, but it is essential to highlight it’s ever increasing importance). The important role metrics play within digital marketing was also highlighted.
  3. Society
    Finally, there is Society, concerning mainly privacy matters. Google defends that information will only be used to make services more efficient and relevant to everyone. Actions like face recognition are completely possible, but may suffer from restrictions due to privacy matters.

Continue reading…

Sep. 17, 2010 | by Gregory Lyons When is the sexiest time of year?

Recently we conducted a bit of research around one the nation’s favourite pastimes, sex. Specifically we looked at tips, information and positions, the results were quite interesting so we thought we’d share them.

The graph above shows search seasonality around ‘sex positions’. Valentine’s day, unsurprisingly is a popular time with UK searchers, not as popular however as Easter which is trumped again by Christmas and New Year.  It seems people are looking for something to do in their time off  : )  The most popular time overall however are the summer months May-Aug, it would seem that summer really is the sexiest time of year. Unfortunately for us as it’s now September we’re now moving into the low point of the year so if you’re not getting any, blame it on the season  : )

So who’s doing all the searching, is it the red blooded males or the ladies among us? Overall there are 25% more women than men searching for tips, ideas and positions to get things going in the bedroom. It’s the younger among us that are more interested (do the older generation know it all or are they simply less interested?), with women preferring to search for tips, positions and foreplay and men preferring to search for Kama Sutra.

So next time you’re looking for a little inspiration in the bedroom and decide to turn to the internet don’t worry you’re not alone, you’ll be one of over a 1/4 of a million UK adults who search online every month.

Sep. 09, 2010 | by Gregory Lyons Google Instant: What does it mean for you?

By now I’m sure you’re aware of the new updates Google has made to the way it displays search results. If not our own Doug Platts has written a post breaking it down. But what will it mean with respects to user behaviour and ultimately the click through’s to your site.

To begin with there will undoubtedly be quite a high novelty factor with the new way results are displayed and it will take people a bit of time to get used to the new way it works, but after people get used to the new interface I believe search behaviour will change in the following way.

1) More search will happen in the long tail and less in the head

As users can now see the search results (SERPs) change as they type, over time they will be more likely to continue refining their searches until they see the results that they are looking for. In the past if you were looking for car insurance you might have searched on that term, looked at the results, reaslised that in fact you were looking for ‘car insurance in Ireland’, done another search, looked at the results, decided to refine further to ‘car insurance in Ireland for women’ looked again at the results and then make one final refinement to ‘car insurance in Ireland for women over 50’. Due to the instant nature of the new SERPs it is likely that more people will continue to refine their search until they see exactly what they are looking for. Therefore the proportion of head (short searches) traffic will decrease and long tail (longer searches) will increase. This will obviously benefit sites that are well optimised for longer tail search queries and hurt sites that only focus on the head.

2) Being above the fold will become even more important

Continue reading…

Sep. 09, 2010 | by Doug Platts Google Instant: the ‘Marmite’ of Search

As I’m sure most are aware, and for those who are not, Google released Google Instant last night to the world.

Where is it available?

I say the world, actually it seems to be rolled out across the US, i.e. on – although you can use that from any location – but for ‘regional Googles’ you still need to be signed into a Google account to experience it in a select batch of countries:

Google Instant is starting to roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8.

However it is also worth noting that Google Instant won’t work if you try to use it:

  • from your browser’s search box
  • from the Google Toolbar
  • from iGoogle
  • from other places that access a Google search
  • if you’ve previously disabled Google’s autocomplete feature
  • if you’re using Google SSL search
  • if you’ve disabled Instant (Just hit the toggle link in the upper right hand corner of the page next to the search button)

So how does Google Instant work?

Continue reading…

Sep. 07, 2010 | by Tamsin Hemingray Why it might be time to stop “writing for the web”

My colleague Ifraz Mughal (user experience architect here at iCrossing) and I had a funny conversation this morning that I thought I might share. He’d been sent a recommendation to a training course called “writing for the web” and wondered whether I thought it would be any good. His timing was impeccable as I’d just been thinking about a request from a client of ours to provide them with some training on this subject. To cut a long thought process short, I’d come to the conclusion that the idea of “writing for the web” was pretty much defunct – and that training sessions with this title need to be handled with extreme caution. Ifraz was surprised to hear this, especially from me, someone who bangs on about the need for the highest quality writing being a non-negotiable element of online content delivery.

But the more I think about it, the more I think that there’s no such thing as a single, coherent entity that is “the web” any more. So how can you possibly “write for” it?

Continue reading…

Sep. 07, 2010 | by Gregory Lyons Travel Insurance Research Report


There have been some major world events this year that have impacted our ability to travel, from of the eruption of the Icelandic volcano to the political unrest in Thailand.

The Research & Insight team at iCrossing thought it would be interesting to investigate whether these events had an impact on the Travel Insurance category and take a look at the wider category as a whole. These kinds of events have meant that travellers’ interest in their travel insurance policy has increased as uncertainty around their trips has grown. Many passengers have been left stranded abroad forced to make their own way home at their own expense.

This report covers the travel insurance sector and aims to identify the main categories within that space, who the top competitors are, the demographics of travel insurance, search linguistics, mobile search and any seasonal and event driven trends.

Continue reading…

Sep. 02, 2010 | by Philip Buxton UK IAB to ‘guestimate’ Facebook revenues for next online adspend study

The UK Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is to guestimate the advertising revenues of Facebook for its next online adspend figures.

The trade body and its research partner on the study, PricewaterhouseCoopers, are working with digital media agencies including Isobar and Group M to model the social network’s ad revenues so it can present as accurate a picture as possible of digital ad spend in the first half of 2010, due in October.

Facebook is known to account for a large portion of display spending in the UK (and elsewhere) but it is not currently one of the more than 300 media owners that supply its revenues to the IAB to compile the study.

The IAB is keen to beef up the amount of display spend represented in the figures since it is paid search that continues to account for both the bulk of total spend and growth in the sector. Display advertising is seen as the area ripest for new growth as long as advertisers can be persuaded to use it as something other than a direct-response mechanism.

Speaking at a recent Guardian digital event for client advertisers, IAB head of research Tim Elkington said it lamented the degree to which display was not given due credit for its role in delivering online sales higher up in users’ routes to purchase.

The role of display for traditional brand awareness and perception has long been a key issue for the IAB to tackle since the format has become commoditised thanks to comparison with more successful channels for direct, sales-focused advertising, primarily paid search.

A recent study by the IAB examined the campaigns of three airlines to discover that display ads do increase the likelihood of conversion through ‘last-click’ routes like paid and natural search.

Elkington said discussions with Facebook about contributing formally to the study were ongoing and positive and agreed that modelling its revenues might help persuade the company to participate.

He added there had been discussion with the media agencies helping in the task about whether Facebook ads actually constituted search advertising since they are targeted against keywords in users’ profiles. However, it is most likely they will be treated as display due to the format of the ads.