The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Three reasons your business needs responsive web design
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Rhys John, digital marketing executive at Thomas Design.

With higher and higher percentages of the population viewing websites and other forms of media on tablets, phones or netbooks, responsive web design is becoming more of a norm for businesses with an online presence. Making it difficult for customers to view your website on different devices could be more costly than you might anticipate – with design costs far less than the potential loss of business.

Here are the three main reasons to get a responsively designed website:


Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Media

03 July 2015 11:47

Creativity, trust and the adoption of programmatic advertising
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Graham Wylie, senior director EMEA & APAC marketing at AppNexus.

I doubt this is the last year that the annual advertising industry gathering in Cannes will be billed as the 'Festival of Creativity'; but with data and technology sharply in focus across the opening days of this year's event, it feels as though creativity is taking on a much broader definition.

Take part in a digital advertising survey from AppNexus, Warc and DDM Alliance, and receive a free pre-publication copy of the final report:

Yet as with all things new, it's hard to get good data about this evolution as it happens. All looks clear in hindsight, but few of us have the luxury of waiting for a few years before deciding how we are going to respond.


Subjects: Advertising, Digital

23 June 2015 15:32

Retailers need to focus on retail technology to drive footfall
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Gavin Ray, SVP of marketing & products at ip.access.

"The high street is dead", the critics proclaim. Mary Portas walks down the empty street like Will Smith in I am legend; a post-apocalyptic nightmare with boarded up shops and tumbleweed drifting slowly along in the wind. There’s no one about.

Depicting the current high street as some sort of ghost town is perhaps slightly disingenuous. If you consider that 94 per cent of global retail is conducted offline (in the real-world of high streets and shopping centres), it puts into perspective the fact that bricks-and-mortar retail is still alive and kicking strongly.

But there is a problem. Retailers are fighting to unify the shopping experience for consumers moving between these worlds. While 76 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in store, 66 per cent of shoppers have said that in-store delivered messages influence their purchasing decision (Popai), and there-in lies the problem. Two thirds of shoppers clearly see that there is high benefit in making informed purchasing decisions, but not enough is being done yet to provide them with useful and relevant information that will better equip them to purchase particular products in-store like they do online.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers, Digital

19 June 2015 17:26

Letting the data tail wag the evaluation dog
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Recently we've been helping some of our clients assess their latest ad campaign. It's a great little campaign, which seems to have helped boost sales and market share, but evaluation is complicated because of the number of media used. The bulk of the budget was spent on traditional media, particularly TV and outdoor, but the remainder was spent on a mix of digital channels, mobile messaging and PR stunts. Working out the contribution of each is a challenge.

At the first meeting, our clients presented a detailed review of each strand. And something immediately struck us as odd. Traditional media, which accounted for almost threequarters of the budget, were dismissed in about 15 minutes. Then nearly two hours was devoted to the smaller, newer media. In fact, it almost seemed that the less money was spent on a channel, the more attention it got.

One reason was that there was simply more data on the newer, digital channels. Slide after slide was presented, crowded with figures on the number of views, clicks, likes, shares, tweets, followers, comments, and uploads. Dwell times and conversion metrics were analysed in exquisite detail. But for TV, only one number was presented: the cost. This is a clear example of the data tail wagging the evaluation dog. Rather than focusing on what was important (i.e. the media where most money was at stake), we found ourselves focusing on what was easy to measure.


Subjects: Data, Digital

16 June 2015 15:39

Warc prize for Social Strategy winners show how social is evolving
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Mobbie Nazir, chief strategy officer at We Are Social.

I recently had the pleasure of being one of the judges for the second ever Warc Prize for Social Strategy, whose winners were announced earlier this morning. The award is focused on recognising social ideas that drive business results and, as such, is a fantastic showcase of best practice within the marketing industry.

It was clear from looking at the 32-strong shortlist just how much social communications have evolved and continue to do so. We're seeing more longer term, strategic use of social to build brands, or create a meaningful role for brands in people's lives. We saw the most effective brands and organisations shift their mindset from focusing on social platforms, to using social insights to create integrated ideas that people naturally want to share, talk about, and get involved with. And, from the more mature, large-scale efforts to the clever, low budget activations – all were working towards delivering real business value, not just likes and shares.


Subjects: Awards, Digital, Media

15 June 2015 15:23

Making a hash of hashtags
Posted by: Darika Ahrens LDN Stock
Darika Ahrens

The other day, I had the rare joy of teaching some friends how to use Twitter. I used to be able to fill an entire day's training session – and entire room – with my thoughts on how to use Twitter for brands. Don't laugh. In a pre-Facebook world there was a lot to discuss.

But I have to confess, I felt a bit fraudulent helping some new folk get into it when I've been a little off Twitter myself in recent years. I used to be on Twitter hourly. Now? Perhaps weekly. I'm not sure exactly why. I know I'm part of a general trend towards user decline on Twitter, but I started to worry my Twitter advice is out of touch.

Take the hashtag for example. My friends asked the usual "Everyone's using them – should we use them? How should we use them?" My rule for Twitter newbies has always been a bit like Mr Miyagi to The Karate Kid – if you're asking me how to use a hashtag, you're not ready to use a hashtag.

"Why? What will happen if we use the wrong hashtag?" my students always ask. Well, of course, nothing. But there's a subtle art to it. Like knowing the difference between what makes a great headline or is just icky click bait. The hashtag used badly, reeks of desperation to me. And cool people don't follow desperate people online.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

09 June 2015 16:29

Programmatic frequency drives brand metrics
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by John Drake, VP of brand planning at Drake Cooper.

Click-through rate is an easy metric to understand. But the value of online advertising extends far beyond this. I've long believed that we travel across the web like we travel across a city, noticing things – like billboards – as we go. And it's in this spirit where a key part of online advertising can often be misunderstood.

For some reason it seems un-popular to talk about web ads as billboard-like. Maybe it seems too pedestrian. Maybe it seems like an excuse for low click rates. I think it makes common sense. It's how advertising has worked throughout history.

To support the idea of online ads as billboard-like, Millward Brown has made data available through Warc surrounding 8,000 online campaigns from their Brand Lift Insight study.


Subjects: Digital, Advertising

05 June 2015 15:25

The changing focus of Facebook
Posted by: MEC

With a decline in active users, Facebook has turned its attention to other areas such as video, messaging and offering internet access to impoverished countries.

This post is by Robbie Edge, social media manager at MEC.

Facebook has been the giant of social media for some time and while that shows no immediate sign of changing, a decline in active users of the site has prompted it to pursue several new avenues.

One of those is video, a content type traditionally viewed as an under performer on the platform in comparison with imagery, but one that is increasingly becoming a core part of Facebook's ad strategy. Currently, Facebook video is reported to get roughly three billion views a day, 65% of which originate from mobile devices, with 53% driven by sharing. While three billion is a big number, YouTube was gaining 4 billion views each day back in 2012, so Facebook still has a way to go if it really wants to become more of a threat. The platform has, however, experienced an increase in video output from its top brands, celebrities and media companies after some big changes made in 2014 – such as newsfeed autoplay as well as deeper analytics. More content marketers have begun uploading video directly to Facebook, particularly for small- to medium-sized enterprises who posted twice the number of videos directly to Facebook in 2014 than they did in 2013.


Subjects: Digital, Media

01 June 2015 09:36

The rise of VoD and concern over content
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Rebecca Newman, research executive at MEC.

As streaming services, such as Netflix, grow in popularity, advertisers should be aware of audience discomfort over what is seen as inappropriate content.

With the continuing rise of consumers taking control over their viewing by streaming video content to watch; whatever and whenever they want, new services are being launched and existing services continuously developed. In March, news emerged that YouTube is allegedly releasing a subscription-based video-on-demand service to bring it in direct competition with other streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and market leader, Netflix. While on 30th March, Channel 4 launched its new digital hub, All 4, which now acts as one digital hub for all of Channel 4's linear channels, digital content and other online services.

With a variety of services, paid and unpaid, now available, VoD is well established as part of the UK consumer's lives – three-quarters of adults claim to have viewed on-demand and online content at least once and this is even higher among 16-24 year olds at 94% (Source: Ofcom, Attitudes to Online and On-demand Content, April 2015).


Subjects: Digital

27 May 2015 09:35

Delivering entertaining and creative content will hit the sweet spot
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

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

More than ever before, consumers are in the driving seat when it comes to brand communications. They are both savvy and cynical, making it ever more challenging to produce content that cuts through. Content can be a fantastic way to build relevance and engagement with your audience, leveraging their interests through credibility and awareness. However, in this day and age, it's essential that brands think beyond the obvious content options and be more creative with how they speak to their audience, while still adding value. To hit the sweet spot, brands must therefore create a balance between their objectives and listening to its audiences' passions - and deliver content when and where they want it.

Adrian Pettett, CEO of Cake, recently made the statement that "There's never been a greater need for boldness and disruption. Ultimately it's about brilliant ideas, now more than ever." Brands need to be more creative and bolder in their approach to content today to stand out and appeal to their audience. More often than not, content is viewed as a sure fire way to deliver messages but brands are not accurately observing how their audience consume content and in what way.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

26 May 2015 11:44


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