9 Trials and triumphs digital marketers will really relate to (with GIFs)

Digital marketing encompasses so many things. There's SEO, paid search, social media, email marketing, content marketing, the list goes on. 

Working in such an expansive and fast-paced industry brings with it a multitude of challenges.

It can also be a lonely place, explaining acronyms to your non-marketer colleagues who quite honestly don't understand (or want to) what you do all day. Are you technical? Are you creative? Or both? Do you even know?

We've put together 9 GIFs that illustrate some of the challenges as well as some wins that us digital marketers face from time-to-time. 

Why not share this article with your followers and the digital marketing community and show that you really do get it. 

1. When you have the best, most innovative idea for a campaign and your boss says there’s no budget

We've all been here. Let's face it, many businesses (even large companies) don't have the marketing budgets they used to. This means marketers have to be seriously creative to come up with new ideas for low-risk activities that will deliver ROI. 

And sometimes you feel like you've struck gold with an idea...and your boss still says "no" #sadface.

2. Joining ‘live’ webinars that are clearly pre-recorded

You know, the ones with the fake questions from 'Barbara in Tennessee'.

You ask a question and no-one replies and you slowly realise it's just you...alone...on the call. You start questioning everything: the number of people on the call, is that even real? When is the sales pitch going to kick in? And as soon as it does, you hang up.

3. When you receive a marketing email with no unsubscribe link

Gasp...this never fails to get your goat. You start typing an angry, Data Protection Act-informed email to the company. Then you realise life is too short. Sometimes you feel like the anti-spam police but that's ok because you know customers should have a choice about how cluttered their inbox becomes. 

4. When a pop-up appears the moment you land on a website

Argh! We all hate this. What is it with companies jumping in with a pop-up box the moment an unsuspecting visitor lands on the site? Pop-ups can be great for collecting data. A good pop-up appears when it's least disturbing, not when a visitor first enters the site.

5. Your blog post makes it to the top of Google

You've done the keyword research, you spent ages planning before you even typed a word, you got some social engagement and for once (and who really knows why?!) your blog made it to position one in Google's organic search results for that super-hot search term you've been after for ages. Who knows how long it will stay there, you don't care, you're just going to bask in this glory for a while...mmm...nice.

6. You decided to specialise in social media in 2006

Back then, people thought you were a bit out there (crazy) and also probably a bit of a cool geek. Whether you had an accurate crystal ball or just decided to do something new that you enjoyed, it paid off. Well done you. 

7. When a website doesn’t render on mobile in 2017

Every year was going to be the 'year of mobile' as though all desktops around the world would explode. What is clear is that mobile usage has been on an upward trajectory and the numbers for mobile usage are too large to ignore. 

8. When a client's 301 redirects all point to the homepage

This is really the 101 of SEO for a website migration. You shouldn't even think about that DNS switch until you've implemented logical redirects. This redirection ensures any existing links out there don't become broken and actually deliver the visitor to the newer version of the same page. Simple stuff, often overlooked.  

9. When your colleague agrees to send the Friday newsletter

You know it should take less than an hour to set up the email newsletter send, but you're waiting for Jon to sign off the design, Amy to approve the copy and your ESP just loves to run updates at the most inconvenient moments. Realistically that email isn't going out until at least 6:30pm, by which point you'll be in the pub. 

Google Analytics Time on Page: a good indicator of engagement?


In the second of our GA engagement metrics blog series, we take a look at Google Analytics Average Time on Page.

Sounds like the holy grail of user engagement metrics doesn’t it?!

Maybe not so….

We’ll look at why this is one of the more disputed metrics in terms of accuracy and usefulness.


How does Google measure Average Time on Page?

To understand Average Time on Page we first need to understand how Time on Page is calculated.

Time on Page = time stamp of the last interaction hit – time stamp of the first hit.

The first hit is recorded when the visitor arrives on the page (pageview hit). If a visitor arrives on your page, does not interact (i.e no last interaction hit) and then leaves your website, time on page cannot be recorded. This is commonly known as a Bounce. If this is the case, time on page is recorded as “0” and it’s important to note, these are not included within aggregated Average Time on Page results, so bounces won’t reduce the Average Time on Page data.

(If you would like to know more about Bounce Rate, refer to our previous post Google Analytics – what is a good bounce rate?

You might be wondering what use Time on Page is for a site with a high proportion single-page visits / bounces.

The good news is Time on Page can be recorded for single-page visits if an interaction hit is recorded during their visit; examples of an interaction hit include:

  • Social plug-in hits (e.g. Facebook “like” or Twitter “tweet”)

  • Event hits (visitor scrolls >50%, plays a video, completes a form): Event hits are only recorded if there is no non-interaction parameter i.e. “noninteraction=false”

  • Ecommerce transaction hits (clicks “buy” button)

Now we understand Time on Page we can look at Average Time on Page.

Average time on page = time on page / (pageviews – exits)

From this we can deduce that the higher the Exit Rate, the less accurate Average Time on Page will be.

Exit rate is the number of visitors exiting a particular page

Earlier in the article we explained that Google can’t track the time a visitor leaves a page. Therefore, the higher the exit rate, the more instances time on page is not recorded. It should be noted that it’s difficult to have confidence in results from a smaller sample size, say a page with very few visits.

Now we understand how Average Time on Page is calculated let’s look at the pro’s and con’s in terms of tracking visitor engagement.

no interaction = no result

If a visitor leaves your page without interacting, Time on Page cannot be recorded. This doesn’t mean they didn’t read your page, it’s just that Google has no way to track when they leave.

Without other on-page interaction events set up to record time spent, you will only get an accurate view of Average Time on Page if they navigate to another page on your website.

Therefore, pages with a high exit rate are unlikely to give you an accurate Average Time on Page result. To put it another way, when a page has a low exit Rate you can be more confident in the Average Time on Page result.

Consider setting up custom scroll depth tracking or user timing hits to ensure Google has a way of measuring the time a visitor is on your page.

Standard GA cannot distinguish tab visibility

If a visitor opens a new tab whilst on the page, the clock continues to run. If they then record an interaction hit later, after they have finished in the new tab, you are likely to get an inflated time on page recording.

If you are technically minded, consider looking into the Page Visibility API and implementing it in Google Tag Manager to resolve this.

Simple Solution

To improve accuracy of Average Time on Page simply we’d recommend having a number of interaction possibilities for readers on your page. You’ll get a much more accurate indication of Time on Page by doing this. After all, you are looking at engaging readers so the longer you can keep your visitors interested the better!

Average Time on Page should not be used as a stand-alone metric to fully understand a visitor’s engagement with your page. Single page visits with no interaction cannot be tracked and standard GA cannot distinguish between a hidden and visible tab.

Consider using Exit Rate as another metric to improve your confidence in the result. Also consider setting up custom events and other possibilities for on page visitor interaction as both of these will give you more confidence in the result.

If you would like more help understanding Google analytics data and improving the effectiveness of your marketing, get in touch.

What is a good bounce rate? Benchmark using Google Analytics data


If, like most businesses you're investing heavily in your website, you may want to think about how to use Google Analytics metrics to measure your visitor engagement effectively. 

The first in our new article series looks at Bounce Rate as one of the key metrics to consider and why.  

What does Google Analytics’ Bounce Rate mean?

The simple definition provided by Google:

The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.
— Google Analytics

What is a good Bounce Rate?

Whilst this varies depending on the nature of your website, we’ve analysed the results for online retail sites over the last 12 months to shed some light and help you benchmark your Bounce Rate.

Bad Bounce Rate

A bad Bounce Rate is generally considered anything over 70%. If this proportion of visitors are entering your website without interacting then you may need to look into the reason. It could be the visitors haven’t found what they’re looking for or didn’t like the look and feel of the page they’ve landed on.

Average Bounce Rate

Our research found the average Bounce Rate for online shops in 2016 was 48%. At this level, over half of your visitors interacted in some way with your website before leaving.  You should be happy with a Bounce Rate between 40% and 60% and depending on the nature of your website… even as high as 65%. For example the average for Blogs in 2016 was 59% and News Content websites 64%.

Good Bounce Rate

If you’ve got Google analytics set up correctly and you’re getting Bounce Rates of 25% - 40% then you’re in a very good place. It could be concluded that visitors are finding what they are looking for and are interested enough to interact with your website further.

Is bounce rate important?

We believe Bounce Rate is a vital and powerful metric that should be monitored closely. Even if you own a content site you still want your visitors to engage. Whether it’s reading another article, watching a video or even purchasing something.

Most, if not all the businesses we’ve worked with have a goal beyond article consumption. Lower Bounce Rates mean more engaged visitors – a positive step towards your business goals.

Like all metrics Bounce Rate should not be considered as a stand-alone metric to measure user engagement. We’d recommend using it along with other metrics to build a complete picture of user behaviour on your website.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you analyse and improve user engagement feel free to contact us.

Black Friday 2016: How e-commerce retailers can maximise sales

Whilst customary in the US, Black Friday is newer to the UK market but is gaining momentum fast. This year it falls on Friday 25th November so there's still time to plan out an e-commerce strategy to compete for your slice of the £1bn spent (2015 Black Friday sales).

What does an effective Black Friday campaign look like?

We came across an article this week by tech experts Alphr guiding shoppers on how to get the best Black Friday deals. It gave us a great opportunity to turn the tables and feed their tips into our own guide on how online retailers can create a successful Black Friday campaign that meets the expectations of online shoppers.

1.       Customers will do their research

Alphr’s article advised customers to do their homework to find the best deals. Online retailers should promote and publicise their Black Friday deals in advance of the big day. You could use a combination of channels to advertise what products will be on offer and what the special deals are. Encourage customers to bookmark your site and come back when the offers are live.

2.       Decisions are made fast

Shoppers are aware that Black Friday deals don’t last long so make it easy for them to buy. Ensure all your deals are featured on one landing page to direct marketing traffic to and make sure some of your advertising includes deeplinks to product pages, so shoppers are just one click away from the checkout.

3.       Shoppers buy early

Many online retailers start running their deals in the week leading up to Black Friday so customers will be looking around – make sure you secure sales from early bird shoppers.

4.       Extra costs could lose you the sale

Shoppers will be expecting the absolute very best deals. Adding on extra costs like delivery and customs charges could mean customers head elsewhere. Make sure your advertised prices are final and promote free delivery if you’re offering it.

5.       Are they Christmas gifts?

Because of the proximity of Black Friday to Christmas, many Black Friday deals will be purchased as gifts. Be clear on your website about delivery timescales and product availability to manage customers’ expectations and avoid disappointment.

6.       Can you offer a voucher code?

Despite Black Friday being about very low prices, shoppers will also be hunting around for additional savings. Promoting a voucher code through affiliates and high-traffic sites like HotUKDeals could provide you with welcome additional traffic and sales. Even an extra 5% off is enough to entice shoppers if your margins and marketing budgets allow.

7.       Shout about secure payment methods

Lesser known e-commerce retailers and start-ups can increase their conversion rates by reassuring customers of their secure payment methods. Shoppers can be wary of entering their details into unknown websites, so if you offer PayPal this will encourage the sale and make it quicker for customers to check-out too.

8.       Offer VIP status

Sites like Amazon often provide exclusive discounts to members. Whether you only include your highest value customers or your entire email subscriber list, think about ways you can provide existing customers or email subscribers with extra value and incentives.

So there you have it, our very own round-up of how to secure those Black Friday sales on your e-commerce site.  

Underpinning our post is the need to understand and respond to customer behaviour and expectations and Alphr's article gives a great insight into what customers may be looking for when buying on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

Why not check out Alphr's full article: 12 tips to find the best Black Friday deals.

Remarketing vs. retargeting: what’s the difference?

Remarketing and retargeting - do you really know the difference between these two popular digital marketing activities?  

If you’re not crystal clear on the nuances of these strategies, how would you know when it’s appropriate to use one, the other or both?

On first hearing these similar-sounding terms, it’s all too easy to think of them as interchangeable.

It’s true that, in terms of objectives, retargeting and remarketing work hand-in-hand to increase conversions.

However, despite the inherent similarities, these two services set their sights on two very different groups of prospects.


Remarketing is aimed at the more motivated of your prospects. These are the people who have stepped into the buying funnel, browsed your site and even gone so far as to add a product to their shopping cart. Unfortunately, before they made the purchase, they disappeared, abandoning their cart and heading off to pastures new.

91% of industry experts think remarketing is an effective strategy
— Search Engine Journal Report 2016

Remarketing initiatives are designed to tempt those prospects back to the deal, usually through personalised email reminders offering further assistance or information to complete their purchase.

The purpose of remarketing is to find out what made your prospect abandon their cart and gently steer them back to your site. And if there was any doubt as to whether remarketing is a strategy worth investing in, the Search Engine Journal Report 2016 can soon remedy this with its revelation that 91% of industry experts think remarketing is an effective strategy. There’s no arguing with such an overwhelming majority.


In comparison, retargeting focuses its efforts on those who are less motivated, the prospects who are just moderately interested in your products. Sure, they might have paid your site a visit and had a browse at what’s on offer, but they haven’t made any solid moves to really show they are committed to a purchase.

Retargeting initiatives such as Google AdWords, allow you to track these prospects by tagging them with a cookie when they visit specific pages on your website and help to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds with adverts that appear whilst they are browsing other websites. The idea is that you can remind them of what made them visit your site in the first place and hopefully tempt them back when they are ready to buy.

You can also take this strategy one step further with dynamic behavioural targeting. This allows advertisers to personalise every ad impression by tracing the prospect’s behaviour to create a bespoke ad. Featuring personalised products or content relevant to the user, such as images of products and prices they have previously browsed, are much more likely to strike a chord and encourage click-through rates compared to static ads.

Whether small or large, there are a number of remarketing and retargeting platforms that can work for your business and help to increase conversions. And when you consider the fact that stats from AdRoll show only 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store, these strategies might be just the thing to work your magic on the other 98%.