Web browser update: the march of mobile searching continues

Tuesday 20th December 2016   by Stuart Bickerton

which browsers people use in 2016
As the year draws to a close, we thought we’d revisit our regular web browser stats infographic and see how the battle of the browsers is doing.

Once again, the figures, for the end of November 2016, show the march of Chrome here in the UK, at the expense of both  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.

However, as before, Windows maintains a grip on computer operating systems – Over 75% of people use Windows (that’s an awful lot of blue screens of death!).

We’ve highlighted the importance of mobile and mobile search in recent years. This insistence that mobile cannot be ignored is once again reflected in the web statistics.

The share of market for mobile operating systems has risen over 17% in 12 months, as more people find smart phones and tablets indespendible for an increasing number of activities, including shopping, ordering meals, getting about, and gaming.

 

mobile-browsing-statistics-nov-2016
Don’t forget you can check if Google thinks your website is mobile friendly here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ . Simply paste your web address in the link box provided.

Google creates a separate mobile index – what does it mean for you?

Thursday 8th December 2016   by Jake Tilsley Curtis

Google webmaster and trends analyst Gary Illyes has said Google is going to split its search index in two. In future, it will have a rapidly updated mobile index and a less frequently updated desktop one.

This could have potentially big implications for your website, if it isn’t optimised for mobile searches.

Mobile web traffic is on the rise. More and more people are switching from searching using a desktop computer to using mobile devices. It’s a leap made a lot easier with the widespread adoption of smartphones.

According to Statista, there are 4.61 billion mobile phone users across the globe. In a blog post, Google has said that the number of searches on mobile devices has now overtaken those from desktops.

A clear shift is happening in how people are using the internet, and how Google wants to optimise the experience of browsing the content they see.

 

What does this mean for you?

It means that you could potentially lose a lot of traffic to your website if it’s not optimised for mobile viewers. Your ranking in the Google search results for people searching with a desktop shouldn’t be affected. But, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile visitors, you’re positions in the mobile index will slip.

With more than half Google searches now carried out on mobile devices, that adds up to a lot of potential visitors you would be missing out on. There are two ways to optimise your site for mobile visitors.

 

A separate mobile site

You can have a separate mobile website, with the same content, but optimised for mobile searches. There are a number of ways this can be done. One way is to reduce the number of images and videos on the page, so it loads quicker and doesn’t take up as much data.

A responsive website

Or, you can make your website responsive. This is the more popular option. You create one site, which changes according to the screen size, so the content looks good at any size.

With a responsive website, you don’t have to maintain two websites. Also, you don’t have to worry about duplicate content.

A responsive website on a mobile

However, this change doesn’t mean you should shift your focus solely to mobile and forget about desktop. Mobile traffic has only just started to overtake desktop traffic. There is still a very large user base searching Google on their desktops.

A healthy balance of search engine optimisation (SEO) is needed to keep both mobile and desktop users visiting your website.

 

Don’t worry, there’s still time

Google hasn’t given a solid timeframe on this split. It says it will be rolled out in ‘a matter of months’.

But you should change the way your website is indexed as soon as possible, to reap the full benefits of Google’s plans. Also, when it comes to SEO, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive.

If you want to check your site’s mobile compatibility, or want to know what needs to be done to improve it, talk the team at MATM today or view our SEO Price List.

6 marketing communications lessons from Rio

Tuesday 23rd August 2016   by Andy Comber

Olympic return

The GB Olympics 2016 team returned from Rio to the UK today – welcomed with the enthusiasm of Caeser entering Rome in triumph. Whole libraries of articles and books will be published about the signficance of their success, for them and for us, as adoring citizens.

So here’s a few of my undeveloped thoughts about communication and the Olympics. They are just the undeveloped inklings of what have popped into my head while negotiating the chaos that is the A5 through the West Midlands.

I would have to embark on a four-year programme of arduous mental exercise and scientifically-proven brain nutrician to flesh them out into lycra-ripping medal-winning brilliance. So I won’t try.

 1. The story makes the difference

Most of us love a winner. But a winner who has a back-story, that’s something even better. Story telling was at the heart of Olympic media coverage. So British cyclist Becky James who was badly injured and ill before riding to Olympic glory (well, silver medal) sticks in the mind. Laura Trott and Jason Kenny being engaged is big news. Nick Skelton breaking his neck and climbing back on to his horse: the personal, physical and emotional journey that athletes have been on really capture the imagination. It is what moves us that counts. It’s what myth is made of.

 2. People need heroes

Sports men and women are outsiders. They are not normal. They achieve the superhuman feats for us. In the past they would be warriors, even political leaders. Now, it’s sports stars. Communications from them affect us more powerfully. Businesses sponsor sports stars to share their glory. Business people can do this more directly. Think of Richard Branson the risk-taking adventurer. Bill Gates the philanthropist. Steve Jobs the innovator. John Timpson the decent employer. Being a hero, in even the smallest way, can win new fans.

 3.  The search for meaning is relentless

Driven by the media, once an event has occured, or a story has been told, we all start asking: what does it mean? And if we don’t, the media will. The obsession with the medal table and Great Britain coming second, above the Chinese, is part of this. The Olympics was once conceived as an event where people can take part together. Not much more. Now, it’s an expession of national psche and success that can propel a whole nation forward to glory. Or not, depending on your point of view.

 4. Great achievements can be easily undermined

The US swimming team achieved great Olympic deeds. Then four of them conspired in a moment of foolishness to undo much of the positive effect by clumsily trying to cover up the fact that they broke a toilet. From podium-topping victory is snatched defeat. Secondly, the Brazilian nation should be celebrating the games’ success. But when asked what comes to mind when they think of Brazilians and the Olympics, many people could well say booing. That’s not a good impression.

5. The winners take it all

The Olympics suggested we’re becoming ever more obsessed with winners. The opportunities presented to the successful few who won medals will be significant, but will come with risks. Their share of market and share of voice in the sports marketing world will be disproportionately large. While those who did their very best, probably sacrified just as much, but did not get medals will struggle on pretty much unseen. It will remain tough out there for the 84% of UK athletes who came home with no medal.

6. It’s the start of a journey

Many of the medal winners will have to learn quickly the significance of what’s happened to them. They have a right to reap the longer term rewards. It would be a good idea to think seriously about how to do this. A moment of magic in Rio could be the start of a very positive journey if they optimise their personal marketing strategy, with PR and social media at the forefront. That might be to get as much exposure as possible, or as much privacy, while achieving post-Olympic goals.

Coldplay @ Glastonbury – the content marketing concert

Monday 27th June 2016   by Andy Comber

In the world of music and performance, Coldplay appearing at Glastonbury is a big deal. But with clever use of digital marketing, it can become a global phenomenon.

Last night’s performance by the band was a case in point, and can be defined as a content marketing concert. The whole show was clearly carefully choreographed to create the biggest possible impact at the event, in front of 80,000 fans, on TV screens – BBC for one was broadcasting the show live – and online.

 

Content marketing, digital marketing, Coldplay, Glastonbury

Coldplay take their bow in front of their loyal global fans, and many new ones, on Instagram after their Content Marketing Concert at Glastonbury

View twitter comments, and music fans of all persuasions – and not just traditional Coldplay ones – were universally positive about what they were witnessing. Anyone who has been following the Twitter storm about BBC’s Top Gear will know what it looks like when things go wrong.

But Coldplay, who have in the past been a Marmite experience, loved and hated, had got it right. Boy, did they get it right!

Coldplay content

In doing so, they will reap global rewards for putting on a good show that is loved, appreciated and respected by most. The media plaudits soon afterwards, with claims that social media had them as the best band in the world, proved that point.

It may well have looks effortless, but clearly a lot of thought had gone into planning all the elements of the show. And a lot of deft skill, mostly shown by Chris Martin, was used to pull all the strings on stage to make it work.

In effect, apart from putting on a stunning musical and stage performance, there were many other key elements designed to create magical moments, stories, blogging comment, reviewing and social media opportunities – content marketing – that will give the event strong and positive life long after it had ended.

These concert content moments spanned generations, they demonstrated positive and attractive values, made use of the latest technology, and left an indelible emotional impact on literally millions of global viewers. Here are just a few of them:

1. A tribute to Viola Beach – the UK band whose careers were cut short in a terrible road accident while touring – was greeted rapturously and helped to connect Coldplay to a whole new generation of younger audiences.

2. Guest apperance by Barry Gibb – seamlessly moving on to having pop legend Gibb from the Bee Gees on stage for a sing-along, to tackle, this time, the grey market, and position Coldplay closely with a musical legend.

3. Karaoke performance of My Way by Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis – Coldplay have probably sealed their reputation as one of the Glasto legends themselves.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin’s ex-wife, and kids – acting as backing singers on stage for one song, giving the celebrity gossip and lifestyle writers plenty to write about for weeks.

5. Flashing wristbands – not new technology, but well received, and gives each fan something to talk about among friends and on social media for years to come.

6. Audience chat – Chris Martin followed Adele from Saturday night in spending a lot of time chatting with the audience, as much as you can chat with 80,000 people at once, talking with band members, stopping songs and starting again. An approach that reminds all that they are human, normal and fallable. It also gives music bloggers lots go chew over.

It was a bravura performance. It will help define Coldplay for the next 5 years. The band will draw marketing benefit, not least financially, from this one night for years and years to come.

Well done them. They have embraced fully the digital generation. Their own – probably vast – backroom team are pulling all their own digital marketing levers through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and many more channels. It’s not all spontaneous and effortless. But then success and longevity in the music industry never has been.

Leicester City – the power of storytelling

Monday 11th April 2016   by Andy Comber

The strong possibility that Leicester City will win the English Premier League title is one of the biggest stories in world sport.

Around the globe, journalists and sports fans are marvelling at the team’s achievements.

The furore around their success is also a lesson in the power of storytelling – and how people and organisations can gain much more recognition if they can tell stories about their achievments.

This hit home for me reading an article about the interest the club has generated around the world in the Sunday Times sports pages yesterday.

Power of storytelling Leicester City

As the Sunday Times reported, people respond positively to good stories!

Dan Masonson, vice president for communications at NBC Sports in USA, was quoted saying: “Having compelling games and great stories is what draws people in. That’s what Leicester provides.”

Okay, Leicester City’s rise is so extraordinary, that there is no real problem finding a story.

From last year’s near relegation failures to this year’s near champions successes.  The lower league also-ran running rings around his opponents, James Vardy. The reject becoming a giant rock, Robert Huth. The goalkeeping son, emulating his more famous father. The rebirth of the ‘Tinkerman’ Claudio Ranieri. The previous manager who built the team, sacked in the summer, and watching them beat all-comers. The Thai club owner buying lunch for all travellling fans. The team of minnows thrashing Europe’s greats. It goes on and on.

Everyday business life is much more mundane. But there are still business storytelling lessons to learn. Here are just three of them:

1. People process information in stories. When you pitch at a sales meeting you tell a story. When you want to influence people you try to convince them with the story. So, how can you talk about your business activity in stories?

2. People are impressed by other people. Who in your team goes above and beyond, with Premier League winning service? Who are the people in your organisation who would make great subjects for stories about your service?

3. People are moved by stories they can relate to. So, how can you define what you do in a way that, as Dan Masonson says, is compelling? The key, I believe, is to start to define your activities and acheivements from your customers’ point of view.

For Leicester City, the fairy tale that might come true – and the stories it is generating – could have a positive impact on the club for decades to come. More fans world-wide, more revenue, more success. It’s by no means certain. The club could be relegated next season. But it could happen.

In business, the good thing is that effective storytelling can have more predictable results. More engaged customers. A better defined brand. A more motivated workforce. A more clearly-defined marketing strategy.

In my view, that’s well worth the price of the season ticket.

4 reasons why some CEOs communicate like 16-year-olds

Friday 18th March 2016   by Andy Comber

My son has put himself forward to be a senior school prefect. It impressed me greatly. When I was his age, I had no chance even of being a prefect, let alone a senior one. Despite my adolescent bravado, I would have been just too frightened to chuck my hat into the ring.

To pass the first hurdle, he had to prepare a two minute speech, explaining to his peers why he deserved to be selected. They would then vote. The most popular candidates would then be interviewed to decide who’d be selected as senior prefects.

Speech writing - 4 mistakes by CEOs

So, here’s my point. I did my bit to help my son prepare his speech, and it got me thinking that when 16-year-olds decide they want to impress their peers with a presentation, they start to behave a bit like some company CEOs I’ve known. Here’s why:

They use long words and complicated language. My son prepared a speech that used quite a lot of long words and intricate sentences. He might have been doing it to try to impress. But I think there is also a natural tendency to feel you must up your game when presenting to others. Without really thinking, language becomes more dense. Sentences get longer. Real meaning, simply put, gets lost.

This is a real risk for business leaders too. If it’s not long, clever words, it’s jargon. You start to say what you think is expected of you, not what you really think and feel. A little bit of show-off might creep in as well. Why use a one syllable word, when a four syllable one is available?

They feel they need to be profound. My son had clearly thought a lot about why he wanted to be a senior prefect. It felt like he was stretching past the obvious and simple to find something to say that was truly profound. In my view, it’s better to do the opposite. When you have two minutes to impress, what you say must be compelling, for sure, but it must be quick and easy to digest as well. CEOs can make the same mistake. If you don’t put yourself in the minds of your audience, you can very easily talk right over their heads.

They don’t involve the audience. Want people to vote for you, you have to justify yourself, right? Well, wrong. You have to be confident enough to talk about your achievements. But to impress others, you have to show more how you understand them, and care about their interests. The best business leaders draw in their audiences, involve them in the story, and get them on side, not play the big I am.

They don’t listen to advice. Grumpy old man time here. My son didn’t think straight away to ask me for advice about his speech, even though I’ve spent pretty much my whole working life as a communication professional of one sort or another. There are plently of company directors who think they know best, too.

Anyway, I did get to give my son some advice. The night before he was due to give his speech. And, I’m sure he took a bit of it. As I write, he has yet to find out if he’s been selected to be a senior prefect, but I hope he will be. Then again, there can be nothing worse than an overly proud dad.

PDF newsletters hit the mark

Monday 22nd February 2016   by Andy Comber

Building relationships with customers is essential in business, and devices for doing that include eshots, or PDF newsletters.

Winning a new customer can take a good deal of energy, so it stands to reason that you’d want the customer to like you, understand fully what services you can offer, and to recommend you to their contacts.

One way to do that is to keep them up to date with your latest news. It’s not about the hard sell, but being noticed at the right times, using the right communication channels.

We’ve developed eshots and newsletters for many clients. One of the most recent is a PDF newsletter for Lanes Group, the UK’s leading independent specialist drainage, utilities and asset maintenance company.

They wanted to share what they do in an informative and engaging way that reflects the value and quality of their services and the teams that deliver them.

We created a quarterly PDF newsletter which has clickable links to take readers through to longer news items, if they want to read them, and to service pages.

PDF newsletters

It’s designed to be scrolled through, dipped in and out of, read in minutes. Using clickable tags, each story reflects the geographical and sector reach of the Lanes operation.

In its current format, the PDF newsletter is four pages, but more could be added. If need be, a digitally printed version could be created quickly and cheaply.

Lanes Group’s key USPs are highlighted – including innovation, health and safety and comprehensive service mix.

The newsletter has a templated design so it can be created quickly and with minimum cost, though can be easily adapted to different needs.

The same content could also be presented in an html e-shot. Some customers prefer that option. We have our own e-shot system called Coffeemail that allows us to create templated or bespoke e-shots for customers.

If you want to know more about the positive impact of customer PDF newsletters or eshots, get in touch. We’re here to help. Email: ideas@matm.co.uk. Phone: 01952 883526.

Posters that are out of this world

Friday 19th February 2016   by Neil Dicken

We’re loving these great posters. As a British astronaut hurtles around the Earth at a speed of 17,150 miles per hour (that’s about 5 miles every second!), our interest has been Tim Peake-d by all things celestial.

This week, we’ve been wowed by NASA’s beautifully-designed series of travel posters entitled “Imagination is our window into the future”.

They were produced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and hark back to travel posters of a bygone age when seaside resorts, airlines, cruise liners and trains vied for attention with stunning renderings of landmarks and vistas.

This set of travel posters, which managed to be both retro and futuristic, feature the planets Mars, Venus and Jupiter, and the moons Enceladus (described by JPL as Saturn’s vapour-spewing moon) and Titan (another of Saturn’s moons, and about 50% larger than our Moon).

Europa, one of Jupiter’s staggering 62 known moons, is one of the more interesting destinations. Discovered by Galileo in 1610, its thick icy surface is thought to hide a subsurface ocean that bears similar characteristics with geological features on our own planet. This has led to NASA considering Europa as a potential target for setting up a space colony, and could be a target of a deep space mission, rather than the closer, red planet, Mars.

The posters certainly proved hit here at our offices – they are a great example of NASA understanding and communicating  its place in history, whilst giving us a gentle push into accepting that travel within our solar system may well be science fact rather than science fiction in the future.

The full set of posters can be seen at the Jet Propulsion Labaratory site here.

Travel Posters from NASA. We’re loving that!

Ps we were going to do a post explaining the discovery of Einstein’s Gravitational Waves but we found poster design a little easier to explain.

More information about JPL is at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov