The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Programmatic marketing is the key to reaching millennials
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Marie Dalton, marketing director at Connexity.

Brand managers ask if it's possible to launch branding initiatives programmatically but for many companies that's the wrong question. What they need to ask is: 'How quickly can I get good at it?'

Why the urgency? Look no further than the newest employees joining our companies; in the majority of cases they'll be millennials.

The seismic shift rivals the rise of the Boomers

We are living through a seismic shift in demographics. Millennials – the 20 million people who were born sometime in the early 1980's to the early 2000s – are one of the largest generations in the history of the UK. Indeed by 2030, there will be more Millennials than all other generations combined in the US, and the UK won't be far behind. Remember when the Boomers dominated consumer culture? They are now making way for their grandchildren.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

21 April 2015 15:22

Social media: Out with the old, in with the new?
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Edward Kitchingman.

Despite the strong performance of rivals such as Instagram, whatsapp and Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are fighting back in the social war.

Social is becoming a more visual medium full of images, gifs and emojis. The growing strength of these image based platforms was highlighted in the recent GWI 2014 Social Report, which found that Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram were the fastest-growing platforms in 2014 and Snapchat the fastest growing social messaging app in 2014.

Facebook, of the eight main networks, was the only platform that had a decline in active usage (a 9% decline globally; 7% UK decline) and that growth has stagnated to 1%. Of course, Facebook has got so big and all-encompassing that it was bound to reach a plateau – and it is still miles ahead of its rivals in terms of active users (1.39 billion to be exact, compared with rivals who can muster 300m at best) and members. With numbers like that, it will remain the biggest platform for years to come, but the grip of Facebook on our daily lives is loosening.


Subjects: Digital

17 April 2015 08:21

In Vloggers We Trust
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Ian Samuel, Managing Director Brand Solutions at Rightster.

In its tenth anniversary year, the reach and popularity of YouTube as a media channel has arguably never been greater. The channel has matured considerably in this time and even created its own stars: vloggers with subscriber bases whose circulation figures exceed established daily newspapers. These viewers are highly engaged and tend to consist of millennials, digital natives and many brands' core youth target audiences. It's no surprise then, that many brands have followed these audiences to YouTube and engaged with popular vloggers to collaborate on branded campaigns.

However, a small number of these have not been conducted with the kind of transparency expected in branded promotions. In turn, this has caught the attention of the ASA which has called for more regulation of this energetic and exciting channel, and led to an industry debate around this emerging and powerful engagement method.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

15 April 2015 09:29

Beware bad SEO 'services'
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

"I know they're not a 'big fan' of my blogs. That article they tell me they enjoyed? They probably never even read it." I'm speaking with friend, and blogger, Gemma Cartwright. Cartwright has been blogging both personally and professionally since 2002. She's currently the editor at Popsugar UK, but she's completely fed up with poor approaches from SEO agencies. "It's formulaic and dishonest. Don't fool yourselves – we recognise a template email. Lay out from day one what you're looking for. And know that I'm under no obligation to help you."

Search Engine Marketing is fundamental to digital marketing. I often adapt the old Bill Gates on PR quote saying: 'If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on SEO. And probably the other on pay-perclick (PPC).' But I'm hearing a lot of stories – from brands and agencies – suffering the consequences of poor-quality SEO.

Gareth Morgan, MD of UK-based Liberty Marketing, told me: "Many of the smaller agencies outsource or automate the work they do, so they can charge a lot less." This gains short-term results now, but risks an expensive rankings penalty further down the line. And a quick rankings boost is not what modern SEO is all about.


Subjects: Digital

06 April 2015 11:23

Applauding sleight of hand
Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
Faris Yakob

"The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius." (Julius 'Big Julie' Weintraub)

The old saying that 'cash burns a hole in your pocket' needs updating, because cash is actually the thing we are least likely to spend. A study from 2001 called 'Always leave home without it' substantiated an idea that had been fomenting since the 1970s – that credit cards encourage spending. The study, involving actual transactions of value, showed that the 'willingness-to-pay' is increased when people use credit cards – and, in certain contexts, they are willing to pay more, in some cases up to 100% more, for the same goods. It's not dependent on liquidity either: the effect is the same whether or not you have the money.

This has been followed by various supporting studies that suggest the more abstract and frictionless the payment system, and thus the further removed the purchase is from actually handing over money, the higher the propensity to buy and the more we are willing to spend. Indeed, using credit changes how we even evaluate products. A 2011 study from the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that when using credit cards, a shopper tends to weigh the product benefits more highly, whereas cash shoppers weigh cost more highly.


Subjects: Consumers, Digital

02 April 2015 14:45

The development of tablet devices
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Jo Coombes, Senior Research Executive at MEC.

Despite slowing sales, tablet devices will continue to increase penetration and with more models emerging, the iPad's dominance will be challenged.

the UK is the largest tablet audience in Europe with approximately 30 million people using a tablet device regularly in 2014, an increase of 33.2% from 2013 (eMarketer, 2014). YouGov's tablet tracker research found that 44% of tablet owners have two or more of the devices, so it is no surprise that iPad sales were down in 2014 after three years of explosive growth (Time, 2014). Despite some predictions of the global tablet market continuing to slow down in 2015 with just an 8% increase in sales from 2014 (Gartner, 2015), the emergence of an upgrade cycle coming to fruition has been observed in recent months, as people look to replace their current devices with newer models.


Subjects: Digital

24 March 2015 10:28

We need to talk about Edward
Posted by: Neil Dawson, Chief Strategy Officer, Europe, SapientNitro
Neil Dawson

In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations, the debate about mass surveillance, government secrecy and the appropriate balance between national security and information privacy raged on at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

"Hiding In Plain Sight: Anonymizing the Internet" was one such discussion – and the alluring title, combined with promotional imagery featuring the iconic "V for Vendetta" mask, attracted a full house.

The conversation was both lively and wide-ranging. Everybody has opinions and nobody has answers, making it a perfect intellectual storm. Host Ian MacDowell, a creative technologist at argodesign – and, more intriguingly, a former bouncer – began by wondering whether proposing this topic could make him the subject of unwanted NSA attention.


Subjects: Digital, Consumers

20 March 2015 20:08

YouTube: Popularity does not equal Profitability
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Paul Kasamias, Head of Biddable Media at Starcom MediaVest Group.

After Google acquired YouTube in 2006, the world's foremost video site has gone from strength to strength, bringing in $4b in revenue in 2014. With numbers like these, it may be a surprise to learn the video site has always been a loss-making business for Google.

A staggering 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The cost of the streaming infrastructure to cope with this demand exceeds the revenue YouTube generates.

It is also worth considering how users access YouTube. It has been reported that 50% of YouTube's views come from embedded videos on third party sites. This includes portals, news sites and social media. If a large portion of traffic is not entering the site at the YouTube homepage, this impacts Google's ability to monetise homepage formats and other deals contingent on visitors. Users viewing videos outside of the YouTube platform are also less likely to watch and discover additional videos, giving a further threat to monetisation. Furthermore, recent research has shown that 9% of viewers watch 85% of online videos. This suggests that the viewing audience on YouTube is in fact quite niche and therefore harder to monetise than may first appear.


Subjects: Digital

18 March 2015 09:24

The rise of the online video stars
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Millie Thakker, a graduate at MEC.

As more of us carry the technology to create videos wherever we go, it is no surprise that online video will become the fastest-growing form of advertising.

Smartphones, iPads, Google Glass… nowadays it is easy to make a video and almost all of us carry the capability with us wherever we go. Online video advertising has grown 86% this year (The Guardian, 2014) with over 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube a minute and 6 billion hours of video being watched a month (YouTube, 2014). It is no surprise that people and brands alike are increasingly turning to video content to promote themselves.


Subjects: Digital

11 March 2015 11:53

Four reasons why the audience journey must be the beating heart of your content strategy
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Sandra Peat, Strategy Director at ONE TWO FOUR.

With the explosion of content, consumers are exposed to more and more messaging from brands, and in their ears, much of it is probably white noise. The ever present challenge is to produce and place powerful content that people want to watch and share, while also delivering on business and marketing objectives. To create memorable moments with consumers and truly springboard the effectiveness of content activity to the next level, there are four key considerations why the audience journey should be at the heart of your content strategy.

Use the audience journey to understand when content is the right solution

The audience journey is a fantastic tool to understand how and where content can be most effective. It is made up of many interactions and experiences, with each one having a different and sometimes a small yet significant impact on an audience's journey.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

06 March 2015 14:09


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