We make your online spend work harder. We deliver higher returns on your online investment through consultancy, strategy, analysis, social networking, online marketing, web redesigns and targeted, quality content to build a lasting relationship with your target audiences
April 2020
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w00tonomy is one year old

Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday, dear agency with the slightly peculiar name. Yes indeed. w00tonomy is one year old. (Though, strictly speaking, as it was formed on 29 February its next birthday is not until 2012.) It has been a very successful 12 months for us. We have won clients from the Scottish public sector and from the personal finance, IT and media sectors in the UK and abroad. And we have made it onto the Scottish Government’s digital roster. Our clients have been attracted by our ability to make the web work for them – whether it be through social networking, improved content, strategic consultancy, analysis or web redesigns.

Is online market research worth the bother?

Before the online age, advertisers placed great store on customer demographics, opinions and attitudes, behavior, geography, media consumption and the like. Advertising agencies created advertising campaigns to target particular audience groups for their clients – often with considerable success.

Now we have online marketing, content marketing, digital marketing and mobile marketing. But it would seem that advertisers know less about their online audience than they do of their offline audience.

It is not uncommon for example for media buying agencies to place online ads in Print Media newspaper websites based on the offline audience readership metrics – the assumption being that the online and offline audience must be similar.

Well, what do you know; it looks like it pays to research your online audience.

It turns out The Telegraph and Guardian Unlimited websites do indeed attract the same readers online and offline, however The Sun, The Times and the Daily Mail attract a much broader online audience. Heather Hopkins of Hitwise brought this to our attention in 2007 – yes, I know, it’s old news, but I rediscovered it yesterday whilst I was doing some research for one of our clients. We often talk about the value of providing access to your archive of “old news”, its one of the principles of content marketing, if it’s online someone will find it and find it useful.


RIP the page view: not so sadly missed

Those who have worked in evaluating the success of online marketing campaigns will not be surprised to hear of the death of the page view – after a long illness. After its final death throes, the page view’s demise was confirmed by Nielsen/NetRatings in an announcement in July 2007, where it said that it was no longer using the page impression as the primary metric for comparing websites. Culprits in the shuffling off of the PV’s mortal coil include:
  • The increasing use of AJAX which can refresh content without a page reload
  • The increasing use of video.
Nielsen believes that these trends will continue with technology supporting more in-page viewing. This has led to them to use time on site as the comparison metric since it at least demonstrates the value to the customer of on-site content. The reality is that this reflects a deeper shift in the world of online measurement, as analysts try to get to grips with the impact of Web 2.0 technology such as blogging, user generated content, social networks and widgets. Page views clearly do not give insight into the level of audience engagement and although time on site is a step in the right direction, we don’t believe you can rely on it as a single site metric. What you want to know is whether your content engaged with the audience or not. No one single metric will ever satisfy that question. Comparison decisions will be hard particularly for advertisers. New metrics must be considered such as the number of ratings, number of comments, which parts of videos people watched/shared. And to give you a fuller picture of your audience motives qualitative collection through surveys is also required to support the decision making process. Whichever way Web Analytics 2.0 goes certain rules will still apply
  • It’s about intelligence not data

Analytics guru on intelligence, not numbers

Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik describes how companies large and small can get the most value from web analytics. And it is all about intelligence rather than rows and rows of numbers. [youtube CH6V0wfT6PA]

Online marketing and the shakedown 2.0

It looks as if the financial services market is about to go through a major recession. But within every recession the seeds of recovery are always sown and the commercial realism for the economic failing is brought to light. The result is always a shakedown and a more realistic realignment of the industry. For instance, it now seems patently obvious that house prices can’t indefinitely increase at 20-30 per cent a year. You may remember going through a similar phenomenon in the dotcom crash. At the time we were all excited about the birth of a new economy that didn’t obey traditional financial rules. However, the hard logic of return on investment and profitability exposed the flaws in boo.com and the like. The shakedown came and the internet industry grew up and started to act like a proper business. On a smaller scale there is a shakedown and realignment taking place in our internet marketing industry now. For many years we have read about the impending demise of the advertising and marketing agencies, the decline of the newspaper and PR industries because of the new logic inherent in the internet as a communication channel. The realignment and shakedown is actually coming for the online agencies who hold on to the illusion that the most valuable asset to their clients is website design and build. The real value to your customer lies – as it always has done – in the content and the people who understand how to use it to to influence and engage.

Seth Godin: ‘Ideas that spread, win’

The ever excellent TED Talks gives us this video of marketing guru Seth Godin holding forth on: “Sliced bread and other marketing delights”.

The key message is that interesting stuff grabs attention and conveys messages better than stuff which ain’t. (Oh and look out for the way that the TED video lets you skip to the sections you want rather than having to watch the whole thing. This gives a time-poor audience the ability to manipulate the content to make it more effective at reaching them. Smart.)

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. And early adopters, not the mainstream’s bell curve, are the new sweet spot of the market.

[youtube xBIVlM435Zg]

Content marketing: a visualisation exercise

Imagine you’re a marketeer who has gone through all the difficult work of getting your content online. You will probably have done your audience segmentation and usability testing, designed your information architecture, created your taxonomies, produced creatives in line with corporate guidelines, selected your CMS, posted and reworked all those volumes of content and then gone through the agony of testing and change management. Phew. Finally, it is accomplished. You have a site designed on sound principles compliant with all online standards. Surely such a well engineered solution must achieve the purpose it was set out to do. And to some extent it has – it has distributed your information in a structured format ready for your segmented audience to view. Now how do you justify all that expenditure to senior management? You supply monthly web statistics on page views, search terms and referring links – possibly, if you’re really sophisticated, broken down by audience segment. And this is the evolutionary point where the best sites are today. “So,” you may ask, “what is problem Mr Content Marketing?” The answer is that after all this good work you need to start thinking about customer engagement and delivering value. In handling all those engineering and standard compliance problems, the actual marketing objective of engaging in a dialogue that delivers values got put to one side. Why? Because it’s outside the expertise of many online agencies. And few agencies really want their performance tied to client business objectives. It’s far easier to deliver a website and job done. Content marketing is the next step for anyone getting a message to an audience. It’s about putting the future of your site in the hands of marketers who think and act like publishers. To illustrate this point: many health sector websites are the equivalent of a medical journal or text book. The information is well structured and all the information is there. But it’s static, sometimes hard to uncover and there is very little scope for change after publication. But if you marketed your organisation through online stories in a health, fitness and lifestyle magazine you would have something that was refreshed regularly and caught the attention and interest of your audience. That’s content marketing.

Online: why the public sector wins

For eight years I plied my trade as an online journalist. My mission, should I have no choice but to accept it, was to attract readers to pages where adverts were served. For every 1,000 page impression a piece of content received we could expect something like £10 (plus any sponsorship for the relevant section). That’s a lot of work to get a lot of traffic for not much cash. That’s a key problem for commercial publishers online. Another key problem is the way that online has moved in the past two years or so. Thanks to the phenomenon known as Web 2.0, the focus has shifted to individual items of content not to where they are displayed. Blogs, RSS feeds, widgets, wikis, social network and umpteen other phenomena take content out of its context and share, manipulate and distribute it in more ways than seem possible. If the content is interesting enough, that is. This presents a bijout problemette for commercial content producers. While it’s great to have lots of people reading their stories or watching their videos it’s hard to generate revenue unless you can drag those users under an advertising banner or beside a sponsor’s logo. This mission is not impossible but it is damn hard. But this is all great news if your aim is not to make money from attracting people but to demonstrate value for money and getting the right message out there. And this is where the public sector wins big, especially when it comes to delivering public service messages. Online is now about distribution and content. If you can embed your message in interesting content then the natural flow of the web will take it to the people for you.

Do do do the PQQ

Along with seemingly every other agency in Scotland we at w00tonomy have just completed the pre-qualification questionnaire, the first stage in the process of trying to become one of the companies that supplies digital marketing services to the Scottish Government. It’s a massive contract so the PQQ is a big deal. Of course, we weren’t phased by the “no win, no job” nature of the task, nor were we at all perturbed by the “spend the next three years feeding your family out of discarded takeaway boxes” ramifications of failure. From a position of Zen-like calm we have come up with our definitive guide to a crucial aspect of this very serious process. So we humbly present: Ten things not to do when filling out the PQQ
  • Respond using someone else’s text creation facility.
  • Refer to the Scottish “Executive” at any point.
  • Supply copies of your audited accounts written in green crayon with smiley faces drawn in all the zeros.
  • Attach “candid” photographs of the bid team as if they had been “surprised in the shower”.
  • Quote heavily from N.W.A.’s ground-breaking album Straight Outta Compton.
  • Make any reference whatsoever to Yes, Minister. The Department of Comment and Satirical Oversight in the Juxtapositional Observation Directorate has ruled that, following a 17-month review period, such portayals of the Civil Service as bureaucratic are “not amusing, humourous, diverting, entertaining, mirthful, droll or similarly deemed to be suitable for positive reference”. So suck on that, agency boy.

What is content marketing?

At w00tonomy we don’t half bang on about this “content marketing” stuff. So what exactly is it? Content marketing was born out the changes and experiences of the online industry over the past few years. Its core principle is that people will engage with your organisation if you provide them with content that delivers them value, be it monetary benefit, entertainment or targeted information. And according to Seth Godin it is the only marketing left Of course, content marketing has been around for years but was not clearly differentiated because the marketing channels were interruptive and one-way. The internet, particularly web 2.0, has caused the paradigm shift. It is the customer who now selects the nature and time of engagement not the distributor. This has changed the marketing dynamics – it is the relevance of your content and the relationship that it establishes that determines your ability communicate with your customer From our experience we have developed seven principles for content marketing:
  • Think and act like a publisher: If you are online then you are a publisher and an editor. This means you have to plan a content strategy and schedule. You have to know your readers and their interests.
  • Be marketing-led: Your content planing and strategy must driven by the business objectives, market research and audience profiling.
  • Online marketing: SEM and usability are an integral part of your Content Marketing strategy. They improve the audience experience and support the development of customer focussed content.