w00tonomy speaks!

David Petherick has done an interview with our very own Tony Purcell. In it you can hear Tony’s soothing Irish brogue explain how our content marketing approach increases traffic for our clients online messages. David has a number of other very interesting interviews, including one with Werner Vogels (or is it Verner Wogels) of Amazon.

Listen in, and find out a little more about content marketing in the social media sphere.

w00tonomy director relentlessly delivers nauseating self promotion

Stewart Kirkpatrick, our Content Marketing Director, has induced a bout of vomiting at w00tonomy with this self-serving communique:

“I have been elected to the New Media Industry Council of the National Union of Journalists (in a jobshare with Euan Williamson of Imagineering). Like nearly every large body, the NUJ has struggled with what the web means for today and tomorrow. I am delighted to have this opportunity to help guide its thinking.”

Stewart will also be speaking at the Sunday Herald’s Shaping Scotland’s Digital Future event – at 9am on 24 April at The Teacher Building, St Enoch Square, Glasgow – where he will be tarred and feathered by the rest of w00tonomy if he comes out with anything similar in tone to the above statement.

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
  • The 10/90 rule still applies
  • Good marketing is about using the insight tools provide us to drive decisions and actions that effect business bottom lines
  • And finally: You live or die by the quality of your content. No matter what business you are in you are in the content business.

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.

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.

The w00tonomy kit wish list

One of the great joys of starting a new agency is the task of drawing up the list of equipment you will need. Some make the mistake of getting bogged down in cul de sacs like printers, chairs and lighting. At w00tonomy we are different so – sod Microsoft Word and carpets – here’s the list of toys vital technology for which we have … ahem … a business need.flat lust

The iPhone
Two of us held off buying iPhones – deterred by the cost and by the fact that Apple’s gadget is not 3G. We said that, while Apple’s marketing would revolutionise the mobile market, the iPhone was a flawed device. Fools! We were fools. It’s not only gorgeous, it’s a joy to use and puts our clunky Nokia E61s to shame. When you’re browsing the web you can turn the iPhone sideways and the page turns with it. You can zoom into text just by brushing your fingers across the screen in a gesture that’s halfway between the Great Lafayette and Gipsy Rose Lee. As well as being enormously sensual this demonstrates our dictum that only the content matters – the website’s design is swept away by the fingertips.

The Flip
Posting video online is easy. Shooting it sometimes isn’t, especially if you want good quality, access to editing and the ability to email or post it easily. This is why we want a Flip. It offers all that in one package for $149.

In terms of computing technology, our Content Marketing Director has identified the system he requires for reading his emails and browsing the web. He apparently requires a fully specced Alienware Area 51 laptop. While it’s a bit steep at 4,074.90 it’s a bargain compared to the Area 51 ALX CrossFire he wants for his desktop:Alienware Area 51
  • Intel® Core 2™ Extreme-Quad Core Overclocked
  • ATI® Radeon™ HD Crossfire Graphics
    • DirectX 10.1 Support
    • PCI-Express 2.0 Technology
  • Standard High Performance RAID
  • Standard 802.11n/g/b Wreless
  • ALX Ownership Exclusives
Total cost of that little baby? £7,744.42.

This reminds us of the time he tried to persuade us that he needed a Lamborghini Countach to help carry his work home. And we hope he won’t be too disappointed when he gets the much more Web 2.0 Asus Minibook instead. It’s Linux-based and is packed with these features:Asus Minibook

  • With a 7″ screen and weighing less than 1Kg, it’s smaller and lighter than many textbooks.
  • Robust solid-state hard drive provides fast boot-up / shut-down and preserves pupils’ files.
  • Integrated webcam (4G model only), microphone and speakers for easy web video-conferencing.
  • Integrated 802.11b/g wireless and optional 3G module provide great connectivity.
  • Integrated card-reader and three USB 2.0 ports provide a simple way to add additional storage and easy connection for peripherals.
  • Full-size VGA-out for connection to projectors or monitors

Best of all it costs around £170!

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

We’re bored – bored I tell you – of lugging around keyboards. Bah to their QWERTY awkwardness and pocket-unfriendly rectangularity. Two of us bought Nokia E61s because they had an integral keyboard (see “fools, fools” above). If only we’d known about the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard. It’s the size of a matchbox yet projects a QWERTY layout onto any flat surface and then – thanks to magical creatures that live inside its small yet monolithic form (or something like that) – it follows your fingers as you type.

It even makes clicking noises as you thump away at the “keys”. We wantssss it, my precioussss. We wantssss it now. Even if it does cost $149 (or £3.79 at the current exchange rate). One of these wee fellas will keep us happy until we can buy neuroheadsets that are sophisticate enough to read your thoughts and transfer them into a computer.

Remote control blimp
Of course, we can’t be a proper agency without some kind of wacky gimmick. Instead of amusing graffiti or an eccentric retainer or an amusingly incongruous array of objets, we want one of these: