Tag Archives: Industry

Inbound Marketing presentation delivered at eTail Europe conf

Today I delivered this presentation at eTail Europe conference here in London, UK.

The title is “The future of SEO. Moving to a holistic inbound marketing strategy” with an earned media case-study thrown in for good measure.

I genuinely believe that in the future,  earning peoples attention will be the norm, rather than just pushing your way in front of them. By being, innovative, creative and “remarkable” then you will get more attention and loyalty than you could afford to buy.

In this presentation I try to lay out some history and context to the evolution of SEO and the changing search-scape. I introduce the new world of “inbound marketing” aka “earned media” or “content based marketing”.

Delivering this kind of campaign needs a lot of different skills. So, formulating a plan, organising “all of your brains” may need to organisational shift.  This stuff can be so much fun and hit multiple teams traditional objectives. SEO for links and social citations. For Social Media for Likes, RTs, shares, follows, subscribes. For branding, for PR,  to build loyalty and affinity with your brand. And many others.

The case study refers to My Destination’s Biggest Baddest Bucket list. This is a campaign that SeSoMe delivered as an internal agency. Working with so many throughout the wider business and the franchise network. The 2nd half of the campaign starts in July when the winners travel for a full 6 months living like a local and ticking off their bucket list.

If you want to talk about this presentation or SeSoMe, just let me know.

Thanks to Joao for taking this picture from the audience.


Photo credit Joao da Costa

Photo credit Joao da Costa


How do I find out what is going on in European travel?

Manneken Pis

Are you focusing on the right things or p***ing it away?

I am a search marketer in the travel sector, I have to confess I don’t know as much about travel as I should. I have traveled and I like holidays! I also know how the travel industry infrastructure works and how to make that work on large scale e-commerce sites.

We are all obsessed about improving site conversion. Focusing on qualifying visitors and introducing them to the right landing pages. Then tweaking and MVT’ing those pages to get the conversion/continuance/reduce bounce improvements we seek.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the basics of marketing. You need to have the right PROMOTION, the right PLACE (site), but you need the right PRODUCTs at the right PRICE.

In the last couple of years due to the global macro-economic buying and traveling patterns have changed. So, ensuring you are promoting via marketing through to merchandising on-site the right destinations for the country you are selling in is essential. Then with the right essentials/extras/package at a price that the consumer will pay.

If you are running either a SEM or SEO campaign we too should be promoting the destinations that will actually sell. That is the only way that you will be prioritising your resources and getting those incrementally efficient sales. Being no.1 for a destination nobody is searching for it good, but pointless.

So, how do you find out what those trends are:

  • Your colleagues. There will always be experts. Either other marketers with a passion and/or those who are located in the market
  • Trading trends – watch the growers and the falling stars metrics in your internal data
  • Google – you have to have a suspicion – but you then can confirm it with products like Google Insights
  • Attend Briefings / Conferences & Events from industry experts
  • Official tourist boards and EU data sources
  • Blogs of personalities or figure heads

Here are some of my RSS subscriptions favourites this week

There are plenty others, but here are just the sites that I have read today and worth a note.

My pet hate is when you get so obsessed with a small increment you MAY miss the big picture. Always look for the bigger trends in travel.

UGC deal spotting for travel

besttraveldeals.net logo

The logo of Best Travel Deals dot Net

The web is, im my humble opinon moving to a state of near perfect knowledge. (to final use an economics A-level term correctly!)

Here in the UK we have seen the rise of voucher code and offer sites, generalists and ones that specialise in food/restaurants. And if you believe the stats, and attribute the success of these sites to the state of the economy, are becoming more and more important.

As we, the cynical marketers know, these sites are populated by the general public for their peers, but also ‘leaked’ by companies.  Not that I have ever uploaded a code or tweeted one myself 🙂

I was very pleased to see a mail the other day from Mary Song, a US based serial entrepreneur who I would like to call a friend, who has launched a new site.  I am cheap, but I wouldnt normally write a post about a new site because they just asked.  But I am genuinely interested to see if this works.  With all UGC sites, you need to make your own tipping point to make it work and hopefully this will happen soon.

So, check out BestTravelDeals.net and see for yourself >>

The future of search (well as of today)

I have just read a fascinating article on the Guardian site.  It talk about an event where Google employees explained their latest products.  And Bobbie Johnson gives his thoughts on the future of search.

Johnson illustrates in this extract from the his article on Guardian Blog examples on Google’s latest thinking and products.

– Google search options; a way to drill down or organise Google results more effectively, such as ordering results by time, by type (eg only reviews, only forum posts)

– Mobile search; this is growing fast, and search will soon be synchronised between your desktop computer and your phone, so that it shares queries and data between the two machines (if you are signed in to your Google account)

– More information in the snippet of information displayed in the search result, such as showing you the relevant bits of reviews through ‘sentiment analysis’, and pulling out metadata (eg a star rating) thanks to support for RDFa and Microformats

– The Wonder Wheel; effectively a “related searches” system, but one that’s displayed as an Ajax-driven spider diagram

– Google Squared; a Labs project that creates on-the-fly research spreadsheets. Type in “small dog” (their example) and it builds a table of breeds, pictures, vital statistics and other information automagically.


The single most interesting paragraph for me was this one

At a very high level, the interesting thing with all of these is really watching the directions that Google is pushing search, and what that means about the company’s ideas. It shows that Google sees potential threats not from Yahoo, Microsoft or Ask (which provide some similar capabilities already) but from the likes of Twitter, which looks ready to pounce in real-time search, and from the yet-to-launch Wolfram Alpha, which is a very powerful data munger.

So, all this innovation in the search space, blended or universal search is leading to more and more information organised as quickly as possible.  In recent months, we have seen new search engines dedicated to content.  Clever mash-ups based on RSS / news and blog results.  Combining maps with all kinds of geography based information.

It is sure getting exciting.

Interesting reading 2009-05-01

Books image on adrianland.co.ukOn a new in my reader is Thats SEO.  Today this post about the role of your IP address in your SEO efforts.  It defines the usual why you need to know where you site is going to reside e.g. “bad neighbourhood” etc etc.  But continues with some explanations of what this actually means.  Too many posts these days, including mine are too brief and dont lay out the context!!  A good read, thank you Raghaven. Oh, and if you want to check to see if your IP is blocked on a number of bad site lists check out what  is my IP address.

If you are ever considering going solo, then reading 10 lessions from a failed start up would be negligent.

On SEOMoz there is some detail, although a pseudo sales pitch, but some interesting facts about what they have seen with their crawl of the web.  Some highlight numbers.  That 2.7% of links are NoFollowed, 73% of these were internal, so site scultping is popular.  I do it.  And 16million pages have the new canonical tag. 

On black hat seo, link to a digest page on recent popular articles, such as “why spam works” ; “How to break captchas”, and more. All in very simple to read articles with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

We all like a good list.  On SEO Optimise they have a non-Google focused list of resources for social meda. Worth checking out.

And as mine are all broken (work ones), its good to look at sitemaps. SEL have published a casestudy. See it here.

UK market data – telecomms, advertising, broadband and the Grey market

Its always good to understand the market that we work in and the “Communications Market Report  by OFCOM” is a great piece of research.

Here are some of the key findings.

Adoption rates

Two and a half million DAB digital radio sets were sold in the year to June 2008, taking total cumulative sales to 8.3 million.

The UK is moving towards faster broadband with huge investment in fibre optics. BT (which aims to reach 10 million homes by 2012), and Virgin (which aims to reach 9 million homes by the end of 2008).

Digital television penetration rose by 7.5 percentage points over the year to Q1 2008 to reach 87.1%.Two and a half million DAB digital radio sets were sold in the year to June 2008, taking total cumulative sales to 8.3 million.

Communication services by the Grey market

The adoption of broadband by the over 65 is growing faster than in the <65 yr old category.  So, the gap is narrowing.

Older people spend significantly more time than the UK average using many key media. In 2007 the over-65s spent 83 more minutes a day (38%) watching television and 20 minutes longer (12%) listening to the radio. Those with an internet connection spent 30 minutes longer (50%) online per day than the UK average, although they accounted for just 6% of total UK internet usage because take-up was lower among this group.

The most popular internet activity among older people is ‘communication’ (using email, instant messaging and chat rooms for example); 63% of over-65s say they communicate online, compared to 76% of all adults.

Older people remain much lower users of mobile phones than the general population. 

The Advertising market

The UK’s advertising market grew by 6.3% to £14.9bn in 2007, the largest growth rate for three years and the first year in which growth has outstripped inflation since 2005.  Most of this came from internet advertising, on ave. >70% per year!

Television advertising revenue remained static in 2007, at £3.5bn. 

Television advertising revenues continue to face challenges; 23% of homes now own a digital video recorder (DVR), up from 15% since Q1 2007, and 88% of DVR owners claim that they usually fast-forward through commercial breaks when watching recorded programmes (which currently account for 14% of viewing in DVR-owning homes).

Advertising spend on radio advertising increased during 2007 for the first time in three years, up by £5m (1%) in the year to £442m. However, radio’s share of total advertising revenue continued to fall, from 3.0% in 2006 to 2.9% in 2007 as internet advertisng and broadly onsite grows.

Converging technologies

Overall in 2007 there was a huge movement towards multi devise. Digital television rose from 80% to 87% of households.  MP3 player ownership stood at 45% of individuals (up five percentage points) while consumers with access to a DAB digital radio nearly doubled to 27%.

The internet emerged as a popular platform for broadcasters for the distribution of audio-visual content in 2007/08. Many TV broadcasters started downloads of programmes, live TV, extras and supporting information. 

Twenty-six per cent of those aged 15-24 claim to use the internet for ‘watching TV programmes’ in 2008, up by 16 percentage points in twelve months. Fifty-one per cent used it for ‘watching video clips/webcasts’, also up by 16 percentage points over the same period.

Mobile broadband emerged in 2008 as an increasingly popular means of accessing the internet. The five mobile network operators have all begun to target their mobile broadband offers at residential consumers, and while the subscriber base is relatively low, it is growing fast. There were over 500k new connections in the five months from February 2008, with 133k connections in June 2008. Seventy-five per cent of those with access to mobile broadband use it at home, 18% do so at work and 27% while elsewhere/on the move.

Mobile phones – in 2007, 41% of mobile phone users claiming to use their handset for taking pictures and 15% uploading photos to their PC.

A quarter of people confess to stream, download or copy unauthorised music with the proportions for film and television programmes standing at 15% and 13% respectively. 

40% of households have taken up a media bundle in 2007 and there are more and more competitive packages available in 08.


Total television industry revenue reached nearly £11.2bn in 2007, up 3.8% from 2006. 

The TV industry outputted 2.1 million hours in 2007 (2006: 1.8 million). Channels within the Entertainment, Factual, Children’s, Sport, News, Leisure and Music genres accounted for just over one million of these hours. Original content only made up for <10% of the content.

HD TV has been slow for the uptake.  In the UK the subscribers are less than 1 million.

Telecomms & Broadband

Seventy per cent of people with a mobile and a fixed-line phone use their mobile to make some calls even when they are in the home; ten per cent of people with a fixed line at home never use it, claiming that they always use their mobile.

Although still increasing, the rate of broadband growth is slowing; by the end of 2007, 58% of UK households had a broadband connection, up from 52% a year previously and from 41% two years ago. 

The number of 3G connections (including mobile broadband connections) in the UK increased by 60% during 2007 to reach 12.5 million by the end of the year, amounting to 17% of all mobile connections.

More adults in the UK use text messaging than use the internet: 59 billion SMS messages were sent in 2007, an average of 68 a month sent from each mobile connection (up 28% on 2006).

The majority of children aged 5-7 have access to the internet and most children aged 8-11 have access to a mobile phone. Children are more likely to use the internet for instant messaging than for email.

The best thing to do is read the original report at the OFCOM site >>