As we bid farewell to the glorious 35-degree-days of summer, and brace ourselves for the inevitable autumn chill, here’s a look back at the creative content that tickled us this summer.
One of the reasons why I love writing these posts each quarter is because, if nothing else, it helps me and the creative team here at Distilled broaden the ways in which we think; and it inspires us to consider the more-varied, perhaps less-expected executions, that we could try.
After a successful run with the same topics and execution style, ideas can become formulaic, and can soon become dull and uninspiring for us and those experiencing our content. So it’s all the more important that turn to others for inspiration, and keep ourselves open to new ways of seeing and representing the stories we tell.
Concepts that leave a lasting impression are often those that illustrate something we know well in an alternative way. Each of these campaigns reimagine everyday images differently, whether it’s in a comical or shocking way.
This ad for KFC certainly makes you look twice. Fire has been replaced with fried chicken. It’s that simple. The organic patterns of the deep fat fried batter really do take on the life of expanding balls of exploding exhaust fire. Cars backfiring, or rockets launching into space – this image ad replacement hits the smart and succinct notes perfectly.
Communicating safe sex to younger people can seem dull, awkward or just something the target audience do not want to think about. This aptly-named ‘Unprotected Text’ campaign, however, cleverly taps into how young people communicate, using the not-so-secret alternative emoji meanings. Emoji are innately light-hearted, accessible and simple, and so allowing the NHS to talk about a slightly embarrassing topic in an eye-catching and memorable way, specifically targeting the 16-24 age range where STIs have been on the rise.
This campaign left me really concerned – is that really how many gorillas are left in the wild?! Campaigns about near-extinction and the depressing statistics that face some of the world’s greatest creatures are often not the most creative. They can be quite scarring and off-putting, shocking but not necessarily compelling people to donate. Instead of using gore tactics, this campaign simply shows the number of animals left in a certain species by the number of pixels used to depict them – the more pixelated an animal is, the more endangered. The mechanism is simple, but the impact is everlasting.
It turns out most people don’t know what a bike looks like… Something we see every day, but for some reason we can’t remember how those tubes of metal connect to make the frame. Using this method of collecting what one item looks like and crowdsourcing drawings of it, means that the variety of executions far exceeds what one person could imagine. With the highly polished graphics and computer renders we are used to, seeing an amateur’s naïve drawing has a charm of its own. This artist turned these quick sketches into realistic images of bikes, immediately highlighting how flawed they were in their design.
This visualisation shows the touring routes of famous musicians on a map shown on a gig ticket. Different music genres are more prevalent in certain locations and fan bases are not always the same, so the routes on the maps vary wildly. There’s also a noticeable difference in patterns when comparing the route that tour buses take versus cross-state flyers.
Tube maps on satellite images – Various digital artists
We are so used to going underground in cities and popping up in new neighbourhoods, we often give little thought to the ground covered. Tube maps are simplified for easy navigation so usually, don’t represent the actual routes. These visualisations, show us exactly where these lines go, passing over iconic monuments that help us navigate our cites.
This scrolling data visualisation manages to simplify how the US uses its land, only 3.6% being used for urban areas and a massive 55% being used to feed the country with crops and pasture land. Having watched Cowspiracy recently the piece later goes on to highlight what this documentary tries to hammer home in that cows and cow feed production takes over a disproportionate amount of the country. Perhaps it’s time to finally give up those beef burgers! The data was gathered using surveys, satellite images and categorisations from various government agencies.
For April Fools Day this year, Google hid Wally (or Waldo, depending on where you are from) in Google maps. You are taken to an area where he is hidden and you are then zoomed into one of the famous Where’s Wally illustrations to begin your search.
Social Media and Mental Health
Mental health company Sanctus have created a tongue-in-cheek page and video that aims to highlight the effect social media has on our mental health. People are often trying to one-up each other by showing the glamorous holidays they have been on, or delicious meals they are eating, this often leaves people feeling inadequate if they are not able to keep up. Life faker makes a point by offering a library of images, so you can fake the life that everyone seems to want to show. My favourite quote from the video is ‘I have never seemed happier’ which really highlights the irony of it all.
Real World Visualisation
Living in such a digital landscape I always get excited when people create physical data visualisations. We all know the length of terms and conditions can be a joke, and this piece highlights the actual length and comparison between the T’s and C’s of different apps. If you’re interested, Instagram takes the lead, closely followed by Snapchat.
What content have you enjoyed lately? Let us know in the comments.
What’s up with Google AMP? That’s what a room full of marketers were determined to find out on Thursday’s Pubcon Pro session with Google’s Developer Advocate, Ben Morss. In his session, Ben outlined the current state of Google AMP, why marketers should care, and how it can work along with PWAs (progressive web apps) to deliver a seamless, fast and immersive experience.
Below are four top takeaways from Ben’s session:
1. Speed = Money
There are real world consequences for bad user experience on your website. Some of the stats Ben included to illustrate exactly how include:
- 53% of users abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load according to a Doubleclick study of Google Analytics Data.
- One additional second of load time can lead to a 3.5% decrease in conversion rate and a 2.1% decrease in cart size according to a Radware report.
The message is clear — people will leave your site if it’s slow, which leads to fewer conversions. And of course, Google uses loading time as a ranking factor. It’s in the best interest of your business to focus on page speed as a key objective, if not for your rankings than certainly for your customers and prospects.
2. You can use Google AMP to help speed things up
Google AMP can help you speed up your site by:
- Discouraging or banning things that will slow down your site
- Removing or banning distracting ads
- Waiting to load elements until they’re needed
Ben also emphasized that AMP was created to help improve the look and feel of surfing the mobile web. Sure, you can create a dull, featureless website through AMP, but it’s not recommended. The sites that have the best success using AMP are ones that utilize AMP HTML, AMP JS and AMP Cache. This allows for exciting, interactive design experiences that load quickly.
3. PWAs and AMP make a great team
A PWA is a progressive web app – it provides an app-like experience on the web. It should be fast, integrated with the device, reliable, and engaging. Like the mobile web, PWAs have a lot of reach and are discoverable anywhere. And like an app, PWAs have a lot of power, and are a user friendly experience. If you do a PWA the right way, Ben says, you get the best of both worlds.
So, what are the benefits of PWAs?
- You can use an app shell for fast transitions. The shell loads before the content, and dynamic content then populates the view.
- Users have the power to add the PWA to their home screen like an app for easy access, without having to download an app.
- PWAs can provide a full screen experience on mobile and on desktop, similar to an app interface for a more immersive experience.
- Users can access content within a PWA offline through caching
- Users can opt-in to push notifications, though Ben cautions that we should use those notifications wisely.
4. AMP and PWAs can be used together for the best of both worlds – speed and experience
Using AMP helps users discover the content through AMP search results, and have a seamless page loading experience. The content is delivered quickly. Then, when they click in to additional pages, they’re upgraded to the PWA experience to continue to browse.
This helps not only deliver content quickly, but provide an engaging experience throughout the browsing process.
Can this be done without AMP? Certainly, according to Ben. Does that happen often? Definitely not. The reason being that it’s common for developers to inadvertently slow loading time by adding additional script elements or files that aren’t optimized – he even admitted that it happens at Google. AMP helps reduce that risk.
You can go to amp.cards to see a demo of the AMP to PWA experience. It’s worth a look! Note – it works best in mobile.
Did you miss Pubcon Pro this year? Or just want to revel in the glory of what was? Check out the rest of our Pubcon Pro live blogs here.
Did you know, only 5% of our brain’s decision making is conscious? Leaving 95% for decisions made on a nonconscious level. As marketers, charged with increasing the quality and quantity of conversions (i.e. decisions), how do we address the 95%?
Roger Dooley, speaker and author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing, the popular blog Neuromarketing, and Brainy Marketing at Forbes, addressed this in his session at Pubcon pro.
Here are the top three takeaways to help you increase your conversions without much more than common sense — and a little user data.
1. Friction changes behavior
Momentum is what causes us to keep moving, like sliding down a slide. Friction is what stops us from completing that motion. When it comes to your digital properties, like your website, you likely have specific actions you want prospects and visitors to take.
In some cases, motivation can overcome friction. As an example, Roger told the story of how his dog (like most) is extremely motivated by food. He uses many ways to try to increase his dog’s friction while snarfing down his tasty dog food, but none have slowed him down to the point where he gives up. In this case, his motivation trumps friction.
However, as Roger points out, ‘your customers aren’t dogs.’ And according to Gartner, almost 98% of leads on site don’t convert. This means there is a significant amount of friction to overcome.
2. Lowering friction increases conversion
If you want your prospects to take action on your website, you must reduce friction. Since they’re not singularly motivated to convert on your site, you have to make the experience as easy and seamless as possible to help encourage the behavior you want. This friction can come in many ways, for example:
- Do your prospects have to fill out a crazy-long form before they convert?
- Is the CAPTCHA you’re using too hard to complete?
- Do your auto-fill settings routinely malfunction or fill in the wrong information?
- Does the actual information on your site take a long time to load, especially on mobile?
Roger encourages us to take a few steps to help increase conversions by reducing friction:
- Test everything, as though you’ve never been to your own website – this is where you’ll find out if something is broken, providing a strange user experience, or unnecessary all together.
- Reduce the complexity of your checkout or form fill process – Think critically about the data you’re collecting. If you don’t need to know that information immediately, don’t ask for it.
- Evaluate whether or not it makes sense for users to need to register to check out – does that make sense for each interaction? Or is this something that can be circumvented and later replaced with a loyalty program, for example.
- Look at user data – are your website users taking a long, winding path toward conversion? Are they giving up halfway, and usually around the same point? Use that data to investigate, evaluate, and fix the friction they’re encountering.
3. Low friction experiences increase loyalty
Loyalty programs, special deals and discounts, or even advanced benefits don’t increase loyalty in and of themselves. In fact, according to Accenture, 71% of loyalty programs do not increase loyalty. If someone shops with you or routinely visits your blog, that behavior can be stemming from convenience or habit.
Loyalty is emotional, not transactional. It’s the customer’s experience with your brand that encourages their loyalty. How easy can you make it for them to convert?
He used Amazon as an example here – their one-click buying option that shows shoppers exactly how and when they’ll receive their package, doesn’t require additional information, and can be completed in seconds. That’s the ultimate reduction in friction — and one of the reasons why in 2018 Amazon is projected to own 49% of online sales.
His advice is to focus on the outcome that’s most desired, and find out what the quickest and easiest approach is to taking that action. Make it easy for users to convert, and they’ll continue to return and do so. After all, according to Gartner, 94% of users that reported needing low effort to purchase repeated that behavior, compared to 4% with high effort.
For more insights from Pubcon, follow the TopRank Marketing team on the ground: @LaneREllis, @LeeOdden and @Tiffani_Allen. And, stay tuned for more insights over the next week on the TopRank Marketing blog.
Research has shown: consumers don’t trust the companies they buy from. They don’t trust ads. And they definitely don’t trust marketers. Trust in marketing is on a decline – between internal stakeholders and customers. In fact, according to a study by Fournaise Group, 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all.
Trust is the gateway to influence.
Influence plays a major role in the marketing that moves customers to make purchases. That’s why Lee Odden (our fearless leader and CEO of TopRank Marketing) is challenging marketers to take a step back from the day-to-day of marketing and recognize the trend of reduced trust and influence in marketing.
To help marketers make the shift towards greater credibility and trust, Lee came to Pubcon prepared with five secrets for increasing your level of influence – both internally and externally – plus four key takeaways.
Five Secrets for Growing Marketing Influence
Secret 1: Accelerate Internal/External Credibility
For your marketing to be successful, you have to sell it (actually market your marketing). To accomplish this internally, identify the primary business problems your management team faces and connect your marketing to help solve those problems. Your marketing goals should come from top down, start at the organizational level and determine how marketing can support those goals.
Don’t forget to promote wins to your internal stakeholders. Did your campaign blow business goals out of the water? Tell your team, tell management, and make sure you’re engaging stakeholders with how these results contribute to the bottom line.
To accomplish this externally, you need to become the best answer for your customers with personalized, compelling content experiences that include authentic, influential voices. Meet them where they are with the right information, at the right time.
Secret 2: Double Down on Activating Customers
Double down on activating customers to create more trust and influence. Ask them for reviews and take action based on their feedback. Feature their insights and thoughts in your content. Show them that you’re trustworthy by delivering consistent quality, being reliable, and working to improve continuously.
Secret 3: Work with Influencers to Become Influential
Each brand has stories to tell – and marketers are the storytellers. Collaborate with influencers to tell that story, but it needs to be relevant to their audience as well. To do this, Lee outlined a few steps:
- Identify: Connect with qualified, relevant influencers and find ways to collaborate on customer-focused content.
- Qualify: Validate influencers and their audiences on a regular basis to ensure quality experiences. Lee reminded us that influence is temporal and popularity can be faked, so always verify, validate, and check back frequently with influencers you’ve identified.
- Engage: Employ always on listening and social engagements to keep the love alive with a VIP influencer community of collaborators and advocates.
Finding the right voices and outside perspective lends credibility to your message, and provides additional reach and visibility to prospects looking for the answers you can provide.
Secret 4: Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem
Once you’ve identified influencers to engage, the next step is to start to create. As Lee said, “Help others become influential and it will grow brand influence.” Start to follow and engage with them on social media. Share opportunities to make things together as a company and you’ll be able to scale quality content. This helps your brand and the contributing influencers become influential by way of mutual exposure.
Secret 5: Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI
If you want to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and how it impacts your bottom line improvement, you have to change the ruler. When it comes to building trust, the metrics are simple: map to the funnel:
- Attract: Is your marketing reaching the right audience in the channels they’re actually influenced by?
- Engage: Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences? Are you creating raving fans?
- Convert: Is what you’re doing actually inspiring action? Is it delivering business impact or not?
After Lee shared his top secrets for building trust and influence, he bridged into key takeaways for marketers inspired to begin the journey toward building trust. The following four traits are what brands must have to build that trust – and survive in a consumer-focused landscape.
- Purpose – “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability.” Richard Edelman. How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do? How does that narrative translate into your marketing?
- Relevance – Use data to understand your internal/external customer and create compelling, useful content experiences that matter. Leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust to help add credibility and context to your message.
- Reach – Become “the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.
- Resonance – Understand audience motivations through the buyer journey to inform messaging that “clicks” and inspires action and makes real, measurable business impact.
For more tips from Pubcon and the brilliant marketers who speak and attend, follow the TopRank Marketing team on the ground: @TopRank, @LeeOdden, @Tiffani_Allen and @LaneREllis. And, stay tuned for more insights over the next week on the TopRank Marketing blog.