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All posts by Jonathan Houston

  • The art and science of experiential marketing

    People are pretty fickle. Don’t try and deny it; we are. It’s a fact that marketers and advertising execs the world over have been battling with for ages now. We get bored very quickly and move our attention to the next best thing to come along. We are spoilt for choice now and marketers are forced to get more and more creative about how they engage with us, cue: experential marketing. Essentially this is an immersive way of getting more one of a person’s senses to engage with a marketing intervention. Take for example what Intel (together with Ogilvy...

  • Real-time bidding: changing the way digital video ads are served

    We are all familiar with the advert that pops up on YouTube while we are salivating over the latest viral video. The ad is either a small “lower third” style advert that pops up during playback or the equally annoying pre-video ad. But what makes those ads appear? Traditionally those ads were shown because of the keywords that you typed which matched the criteria in Google AdWords set by the vendor which in turn triggered the ad. The adverts were keyword driven, much the same way as traditional PPC ads on a Search Engine Results Page were driven. That,...

  • What is the big deal about Big Data in marketing?

    Big Data. The term that everyone seems to be throwing around at the moment. CIOs are using it, COOs are using it, even the CEO is getting involved. But the real area of the business where Big Data is exceptionally useful is in the CMO's arena. The question has to be asked though, what Big Data are those in marketing after and what are they going to do with it once they have it? The answer is actually quite simple: predictive analytics on a customers' lifetime value. In English, that means that people want to be able to predict...

  • Local mobile search is on the up, so what’s everyone looking for?

    More and more users are reaching for the mobile devices way before they even switch on their desktops and laptops. Mobile users are looking for everything from restaurant reviews to the fastest route home, banking solutions and nearby exclusive offers and promotions. In turn this means that those mobile searches, mobile apps and mobile websites are all getting that much more traffic. In a really interesting study conducted between April and December 2012 by comScore, mobile users were asked to identify at which stage of their local business search they would use which device (mobile, tablet, PC). And of...

  • Pay TV and tablet ownership: how many people really want TV anywhere?

    The question here is not whether owners of tablets are more likely to have a paid for television subscription, but rather how many of those tablet owners are ready and willing to include their tablets to their subscription service? In other words how many tablet owners really want "TV Anywhere"? Across the world there are Pay TV channels who have pushed their development might behind the tablet or smartphone with the opinion that users will want to consume their TV on the move as they do with other platforms like social media and email. But is the logic employed by...

  • No ROI doesn’t mean digital marketing spend is falling

    The ever illusive Return on Investment figure for digital marketing and in particular social media marketing is not slowing down the trend of companies throwing even more buckets full of cash at the digital marketing channel. Is this the realization of the post-digital era? Is it because there is now an agreed upon ROI conversion? I personally think it is more the former; but let’s see how the numbers look. Across the board this year marketing budgets appear to be on the increase when compared to 2012. True this is spurred on by a slightly more positive economic outlook; but...

  • Think email’s dead when it comes to marketing? Think again

    Email marketing can arguably be seen as the great grandfather of internet marketing or at the very least the great grandchild of the knock-and-drop mass produced leaflet depending on your point of view of course. No matter your point of view though, email marketing is still one of the strongest forms of B2B marketing today. eMarketer recently released its email benchmarking survey of 2012 and there are some very interesting conclusions to draw from their data. First let’s look at the open rate; clickthrough and non-bounce rates for emails in the US over the last nine quarters. The thing to note...

  • Hey big retailers, the way you’re using Big Data is starting to get creepy

    The data grab is underway at every retailer in the world at the moment, not to mention large enterprises and your favourite social networking platform. But it is beginning to get a little too creepy for my liking. The first thing I want to get out of the way is that I am all for the personalisation of marketing material, promotions and coupons. I do not mind being targeted for certain promotions as long as there is some level or relevance there based on my demographics as well as my purchase history. Basically every time that you go shopping and...

  • Ecommerce is now a trillion dollar industry: here’s how it happened

    Buying airplane tickets, the odd concert ticket, movie ticket and books online is pretty much where most of us feel comfortable when we talk ecommerce. We generally like to touch and feel things when we are looking at buying tangible goods. But while we have been looking and touching; the rest of the world has taken to ecommerce like a humpback whale to krill. A recently released eMarketer report estimates that Business 2 Consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales rose 21.1% in 2012 to a stunning one trillion US dollars. This all-time high figure is predicted to increase a further 18.3% to...

  • Marketing to other businesses? Here’s where your digital priorities should lie

    Marketing budgets the world over have been squashed and marginalized, forcing people to focus their efforts on those areas which are going to give them the greatest return on their investments. So what should you be focusing on in 2013 -- and more specifically and how does this filter down to you if you're talking to other businesses? The first amazing thing to note is that email marketing is, according to a recent eMarketer survey, a higher spending priority than social media and search marketing. This is however not an indication that the social media bubble is bursting – what...

  • How Google’s Penguin update is changing publishing… for the better

    Both updates to Google’s algorithm in the recent past (Panda and Penguin) are going to have a profound effect on not only SEO but also the publishing industry, although the heavy emphasis on content and quality copywriting mean that the two are rapidly becoming one and the same. So how are the updates going to shake it all up? Let’s look back a few months before these updates were released into the world. The content that was being churned out as a result of SEO efforts was at best “lackluster”. Website visitors would have to sit through content that read...

  • The social media records that took a tumble in 2012

    As more and more companies and individuals take to social media as it gets integrated and entrenched deeper and deeper in to our daily lives -- it is quite inevitable that social media records are going to be set and then broken at a rather quick pace. Let’s take a look at a few that made headlines in 2012. A lot can be said about the way that US President Barack Obama has led and won his last two electoral campaigns. There was thought, diligent planning and careful data analysis of the US social graph that arguably led him to...

  • 3 of the top social media campaigns of 2012

    We all love social media and we use it to share elements of our lives on a daily basis. Oft times we share a thought or a sentiment that seems to resonate with the general public and our social post goes viral. It gets picked up and shared by random strangers – and we feel pretty damn important for about three seconds. Then there are those social campaigns that are intentionally designed to “get famous”. Here are a few that did exceptionally well in 2012. Nike #MakeItCount This Nike campaign, which was launched in January of 2012, was succinct and to...

  • Where are you going to buy and what will influence you in 2013?

    It’s no real surprise to anyone that people still spend more time shopping in the real world at the moment; but could we see a shift start to happen in 2013? Will more people recognise the benefits of buying online and what will their major influences be? Another angle that we need to start paying attention to when we talk ecommerce is that of mobile ecommerce -- or mcommerce (if we really have to!). People are becoming more and more comfortable buying things online, but that’s with their desktops and laptops; what we are also seeing is an increase in...

  • 5 aspects of digital marketing you should be thinking about in 2013

    Can you believe we have come to that part of the year already?! The bit where everyone is evaluating what has happened over the last 11 to 12 months and is making predictions for the coming year… Well we are; and with that in mind let’s look at some of the things that we are going to be looking for in the coming 12 months. In the last 12 months; people were generally focused on the following trends: Budget Emerging Markets Social media (finally) growing up Mobile marketing being taken seriously Email marketing Reputation management (social media) Content is king Gamification Bar codes (QR codes) Interactive TV To the...