Social Media, Technology

Personalisation: The good, the bad and the ugly

Personalisation should be relevant, unique and convenient and it’s proven to be mutually beneficial for customers and businesses. Nevertheless, issues such as users’ privacy or data concerns and companies’ lack of experience and knowledge constitute the main barriers to executing personalisation effectively.

And as Blondie might say: “In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend”…Those with a clear personalisation strategy and those who have no idea how to do it. Which kind are you?

The Good

An astonishing 94% of companies agree that personalisation is critical to current and future success but unfortunately just half of them are personalising the web experience for visitors.

The benefits are clear: companies who are personalising web experiences are seeing, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. Some companies are stating that they’re seeing up to a 25% uplift. And customers seem to be more than happy to share data if that means targeted offers and a better experience for them; 63% even say they would spend more money with a company that uses their data to create relevant offers and a good shopping experience.

Here some other stats for different digital channels:

– Personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%
– Campaigns that used location targeting are twice as effective, with 80% of mobile internet users preferring ads relevant to them locally
– Social retargeting gets 21x higher CTR over web retargeting and CPC reduced 79%
– 32% reduction in channel tune away at ad breaks when people were shown addressable TV advertising

The Bad

Worryingly, 75% of marketers say personalisation across all channels in the organisation is still in the planning stages and it faces several barriers; the main ones being:

– Lack of knowledge (54%)
– Inability to translate data into action (51%)
– Lack of budget (44%)
– Lack of staff (44%)

In conclusion, there is still a skill gap within the companies to carry out effective personalisation across all channels and even in some cases e.g. TV, there is not enough market base to profitable targetable ads campaigns (there are not enough households that are enabled with Addressable TV, then companies won’t be able to make much of an impact).

The Ugly

Targetable ads imply big data and data is a sensitive subject. Consumer online privacy concerns are growing with six in ten internet users more concerned about their privacy online. 69% consider it creepy the way brands use their personal data and 36% would prefer it if their website activity wasn’t tracked.

61% of consumers say that if a company they deal with continually sends them irrelevant communications that do not take into account information that it should have, they would probably stop purchasing from that firm.

Moreover, nearly two-thirds of online consumers in the U.K. feel that they are targeted by excessive digital advertising and promotions, bringing a big challenge for marketers who understand the importance of personalisation but who really need to find a clever way to do it across all channels without being impertinent, stalking and making the customer experience another creepy unavoidable process.

Since the mainstream popularity of the internet at the turn of the century, it’s become inextricably linked with advertising and year on year a higher percentage of companies’ advertising budgets are spent on digital media, last year in the UK £6bn were spent on digital media advertising, where more than £1 in £4 of ad budgets were spent online. The Good of personalisation embraces this inevitability and helps ensure content is relevant to us all. The Bad of personalisation means that because it’s a still-developing tool, it may be some time before people really see consistently relevant content and companies may spend billions in a scattergun approach before getting it right. The Ugly of personalisation still leaves people unsettled as it’s one step a bit too closer to an Orwellian state of consumerism where privacy is no longer sacred.

So for you, today, is personalisation Good, Bad or just a bit Ugly?

CV evolution
Social Media, Technology

How is technology changing the way we get a job?

Well, from LinkedIn recommendations, infographic-CVs, QR Codes as Business cards, MeVies, video interviews and Social media job ads, the Recruitment industry is evolving within digital marketing.

There are even several sites that will help you to build a dynamic, digital and stand-out-from-the-crowd CV or video. Some recruitment agencies specialised in marketing won’t even look at your CV unless you attach a link with your video presentation. The world is changing and the Millennials are happy, comfortable and excited about it! What better time to show your future employer your skills at posting, editing and blogging than from the very beginning?

In general, all sectors are including digital tools when recruiting. According to Video Interviewing Market Trends 2013, 38% of companies had used some form of video in the hiring process (that number jumped to 42% for senior executives, management and entry level job functions in 2011). Moreover, the use of video interviewing has risen 49% since 2011 with a staggering 6 out of 10 HR managers using it.

And Mobile?

According to Matt Alder, Digital Social and Mobile Strategist at MetaShift, 63% of candidates have searched for a job and 48% had applied for a job on their mobile. carried out a survey in August 2013 and found that Mobile users not only click on 60% more job postings, but also they spend 27% longer looking at those jobs, 25% longer on the site and view 25% more jobs.

Also, 40% of mobile candidates abandon non-mobile application forms and surprisingly the quality of mobile applications is actually higher with a larger proportion making it through to interview.

Some examples that show the importance of mobile traffic for job sites are:
• Jobsite’s traffic is 10% from mobile
• Indeed’s mobile device traffic has more than doubled over the past year and a third of its searches are coming via mobile
• Simply Hired reported 30% of its job search traffic came from mobile devices and it expects this number to rise to 50% by the end of 2015.


The main areas in this field are social advertising, social job distribution, referrals, communities and brand reputation. Although is not extensively used, a study carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies found out that 45% of HR decision makers said they were already using social media tools in recruitment.

A clear example of how social media can leverage recruitment is UPS, which made 14,000 trackable hires using their social media channels.


Last but not least, we have Search with an outstanding 37,200,000 monthly searches in Google and search partners for the term “Jobs”, 12,100 for “digital marketing job” and 49,500 for “social media jobs”. What more can you say?!

This statistic is so striking that some scholars in the US have suggested using an internet job search indicator (Google Index, GI) to predict the US unemployment rate.

So what’s next?

What else could we expect to influence the recruitment landscape? Here are some ideas:

• Wearable technology like Google Glass: alerting you of new jobs when you are next to them and making application by just saying “OK glass, apply for the job”
• Pay-per-appointment model for Search ads: with the recruiter paying only when a person is actually appointed from the jobs board

What do you think? How do you see tech and digital tools changing the tech-shy world of recruitment?

Digital Detox
Social Media, Uncategorized

Are you detoxing in January?

The Holiday season is definitely over and for many it was not just a period for seeing family, friends and presents but also the time for “Digital Detox”.

In my case, although it wasn’t my choice, the experience of being in a hotel in Cuba can mean being completely “unplugged”. I must say, it was very enjoyable missing out on Tweets, Likes and emails for four days! It’s what some call “JOMO” (Joy Of Missing Out).

On the way home, I found a nice article in Wired magazine entitled “Wired World in 2014” and what a surprise! Digital Detox is categorized as one of the 52 need-to-know trends:

Anti-digital addiction apps like Pause, Human Mode will help Digital Detoxers kick their social media habit and “Nomophobia” (no mobile phone phobia).

I echo the question from last years Wired’ article “Is it Time for a Digital Detox?”.

Jeff Barak proposed that the Digital Detox bandwagon is beginning to roll and perhaps marketing-savvy service providers should find ways to jump onboard and turn it to their advantage.

What a great idea! What if mobile providers offer you a Detox Day free of charge! Well, it could be mutually beneficial in a way: people will have their lives back for 24 hours, unwind from repetitive emails and checking feeds. Companies could pride themselves on being socially responsible and why not? It could seem like a special offer for holiday seasons, allowing people to save some cash from their days off. It could also give them a competitive advantage as it can be seen by customers as a form of cash back which they can collect on days that suit them.

Finally, here I leave some tips from different magazines I’ve been reading for this research:
1. Detox together (do it with your partner, colleagues or closest friends in order to work)
2. Do it at least once a year
3. Switch off mode one hour before bed (helping you to get sleep quality)
4. Set free-devices zones at home or when socializing (like at meal times)

Try it out! Even if your mobile phone provider doesn’t give you cash back on it, the rewards are obvious!

Selfie 2013
Social Media, Technology

Evolving Language

According to the Oxford Dictionaries Online quarterly update, “Technology remains a catalyst for emerging words and is reflected in new entries”. Over the last five years, there has undoubtedly been a strong social media influence on today’s social lexicon.

New acronyms like BYOD (”bring your own device”) and FOMO (“fear of missing out”: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere) are examples of how we have change the way we define our environments, daily activities an even ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a big buzz about the word “selfie” being named the word of 2013. The word Selfie in fact can be traced back to 2002 when someone on an Australian online forum posted: “Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped over and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

But regardless of the big media coverage about selfies being the word of the year, I wanted to know which other new words related to social media and digital marketing were added to the Oxford Dictionary this year.
Here are the ones I’ve found more closely related to the field:
bitcoin – a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank
click and collect – a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store’s website and collect them from a local branch
digital detox – a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world
emoji – a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication
flash mob – a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organized by means of the Internet or social media
Internet of things – a development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity
live-blog – a blog providing a commentary on an event while it takes place, typically in the form of frequent short updates
MOOC – ‘massive open online course’: a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people
Mouseover – a computer function in which an image or hyperlink can be generated by moving a cursor over a specific point on a web page
Phablet – a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer
Selfie – a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website
Unlike – withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked)

I strongly believe the word of the year in 2014 is going to be tech-related and I will be following the new entrances for now on, maybe because of my FOMO? Who knows! 😛

Social Media, Technology

My takings from the Digital Marketing Show 2013

Failing to listen to the conversations in the crowded Content Theatre, I managed to listen to the talk by Kimberley Brind from Oracle: “My Social Journey: The great, the bad and the ugly” in the Social Media Theatre. It was really interesting and therefore I’d like to share the highlights and the key learning bytes:

1. Main challenges for Digital Marketing as a vital division within the companies:

a. Prove ROI: although this has been discussed at length, we know that as marketers this is the weakest link in the area. Also working alongside the sales department in order to probe real added value in each campaign has become the main challenge for all digital marketers in terms of conversions and cash flow for the company.
b. Work in silos: how digital marketing activities can empower the rest of the organisation and boost results is always an underlying question for Marketing managers. Very much related to the previous point, digital marketing cannot and should not work independently but should support all divisions and get ideas from other areas of the company.
c. Culture: according to recent research by Livingsocial, 68% of small businesses are failing to make the most of social media missing out on £554 million each year by not using social media tools fully. Call it a managerial gap, resistance to change or lack of digital skills.
d. Narcissism: corporate narcissism is not only a challenge but a trait that could leave companies out of the game, especially with a constantly changing technological landscape that not only generates opportunities for companies and brands but also threatens some industries and marketing strategies.
e. Content: much has been said this year about how important Content is. Nevertheless, in the most recent research from the Content Marketing institute, only 44% of marketers have a documented content strategy.
f. Skill set: undoubtedly there is a huge skill gap in digital marketing. LinkedIn first suggested that 85% of people who work in social media have been in the industry for less than two years! This alone clearly illustrates the challenge.
g. Change: on a daily basis, digital marketing platforms are evolving; new technologies, tools and even new needs shape the way marketers should solve problems and turn simple reach into profits.

2. Ten key pieces of advice:

a. Key metrics: as studied before in the Google Squared course, focus on Analytics not on reporting. Find the main KPIs and track the performance getting valuable insights to take clever actions from it.
b. Be sales-oriented and know your ROI: put the benefits in numbers and be clear with the financial benefits for the company.
c. Emotional storytelling: everyone knows how powerful a nice story in the media can be. Linking that story to all your marketing touch points is a news story on steroids.
d. Image-Centric Content: A picture is worth a thousand words and I’ll put my neck in the line to say that very soon a video will be worth a million images.
e. Demand generation tactics: for brands seeking to boost sales, receiving mentions and likes isn’t enough; how do you turn good comments into cash flow? Managing the conversion funnel, remarketing and CRM are some useful tactics.
f. Test-refine-Test AGAIN: with the digital evolution and what it implies, testing and refining are constants in the industry. Also the ability to be agile and as seen in Google Squared “Fail fast”, succeed faster.
g. Think mobile: according to the latest statistics, we spend 26% of our time on Facebook on our mobile devices. The multi-screen, multi-channel world has reshaped the way companies communicate and engage.
h. Social relation management: again, likes and follows are just scratching the surface of social media’s potential as a sales vehicle. The key is to develop pertinent content and build relationships with top influencers.
i. Humanising the brand: People like connecting with individuals, not faceless organisations. All this allows the creation of emotional connections or “lovemarks” (emotional attachment with a brand, coined by Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts); undoubtedly great campaigns are built on emotion.
j. Social is organic: business is inherently social and social technologies accelerate this nature and emphasise the need to communicate and express. The question is not “to use or not to use social”, but how to probe the positive effects these activities are having and providing credibility and trust for the industry.

Social Media

Showing up is 80% of life

During the last week, I’ve given myself the task of researching my friends’ behaviour in Social Media (Facebook posts) with the purpose of understanding what motivates their social media postings. To sum up, I’ve come up with five distinct categories:

• Selfies
• Entertainment e.g. Food/Restaurants, Clubs and Parties
• Mood e.g. Quotes, Memes, shared blogs/news or links
• Causes e.g. charity supports, support a cause
• Group pics

According to Paul Fennemore, there are six key drivers of human behaviour: altruism, hedonism, homophily, memetics, narcissism and tribalism. In order to understand each of them, the definitions are below:

• Altruism is defined as the unselfish devotion to the welfare of others
• Hedonism refers to the belief that pleasure is the only or main thing good in life
• Homophily is the tendency of human beings to associate with others similar to them
• Memetics the replication of ideas, habits and beliefs across individuals
• Narcissism is the Excessive fascination with oneself
• Tribalism is a person’s strong feeling of identity and loyalty towards a specific group

In order to make my research simpler, I have grouped together Homophily and Tribalism due to them pertaining to being part of a group. So, for Altruism, I’ll take into account all the causes posts, for Hedonism it’s the Entertainment posts, for Memetics the quotes, for Narcissism the selfies and finally for Tribalism/ Homophily the group pictures.

After checking my Facebook wall and record my friends’ posts during a week, among the five categories, these are the figures:

Research: main drivers social media behaviour

Research: main drivers social media behavior

If we add up the figures for narcissism, hedonism and tribalism/homophily (all related to how good I am, how good I look with others and how much fun I have), it adds up for more than 70%. So, is it all about “me” and my appearance? It could be the case that my circle of friends is a bit narcissistic or maybe can I use this data as a sample to show that we all care much more about how people see us that what we really care about (our beliefs, opinions, causes and interests)?. For brands, this could be a good piece of information when developing a brand positioning or defining a message, our need for social acceptance and our narcissistic nature will define the tone of communication and the selling proposition, but in personal terms do we really care that much about how good we look in front of others? Is it just a western cultural thing? Or is it the modern nature of humans?

The discussion could turn a bit philosophical but this is just up to you. Meanwhile, I’ll think twice when I post in social media 🙂

Social Media, Uncategorized

Are You Paying Attention?!

Is social media reducing our attention spans? Well, I’ve probably lost half of you already! According to a study by Buddy Media, Facebook posts with 80 characters or less had 27% higher engagement rates and according to Twitter Insights, tweets that contained less than 100 characters received 17% higher engagement. We also add apps such as Instagram and Vine with videos just six seconds in length. Moreover, most of Pinterest pins lack of description or even a title – just a J can say it all! And let’s not forget the use of text speak like LOL, NM, B4, and the other 92 most popular text terms!

In three words, we could summarise this new trend as creating quickly digestible content and you’ll win the battle to attract the attention span that may be as short as eight seconds!

But our attention span is less EVERYWHERE! The Retrevo Gadgetology Report examined data from a thousand Facebook and Twitter users and found that 27% allow social media updates to interrupt meals, 12% allow “electronic messages” to interrupt them while they’re in the bathroom, and shockingly 11% admit to checking updates during sex!

I think the worst part is the fact that we are becoming too lazy to read! We want to find the “catch” or “saucy bit” of the story immediately; usually accommodated by a “tl;dr” section at the bottom. So my question is: is social media changing the way we communicate, consume information and how we interact with each other?

Here are some crazy stats that back up my theory:

– 16 million fewer letters are now posted through Royal Mail every day compared to five years ago.

– sales of traditional greeting cards have fallen by roughly 60% over the past decade

– 23% read printed newspapers; down by about half since 2000 (47%).

– 32% of respondents in a American survey said they’d rather communicate by text than phone

– we receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.

What do you think of it all? Have you noticed your own attention span declining in recent years? If you’ve managed to make it this far, I’ll thank you for your persistence and invite you to raise the debate with your friends. Assuming they’re paying attention.