Google uses ‘bots’ (programmes) to ‘crawl’ (scan), web content so that they can show search results to their users.  As the net has evolved, they have diversified what they let their users search for – videos, image, scholarly texts – but in the last few years they started to prioritise how people can easily access…

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Tracking Your Emails

Marketing is a great tool to stay in touch with current/potential customers and reach your target audience but more importantly you can track your campaigns in great detail. From seeing how many people are opening your email to where they are opening it from, the possibilities and choices of traceable data are endless.

Here are the main things you should be looking for and what they mean.

Open Rate

Usually displayed as a percentage, this specifies exactly who and who hasn’t opened your email. You should aim to keep your open rate above 20%. Check your average industry open rates here: http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks/ 

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the amount of emails that did not reach your recipients. This could be because the email address no longer exists or is not legitimate, or, because the email was sent back from a spam filter.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

This is the rate in which people are clicking the links within the email body. It’s great that people are opening your emails but it’s obviously even greater if they are then clicking through to your website or external links as you know they are engaged.


Unfortunately, spam emails are a common occurrence for anyone with an email account – you need to ensure that your emails are not being treated in the same way. Have a look at our previous blog that went into detail about how to create the perfect email subject line to avoid being marked as spam.


It is even possible to see where your emails have been opened. This is particularly useful when using location based news and when A/B split testing your campaign. 


Users can now access emails from a number of different devices. It’s handy to know what device your audience is using because it helps you to pick out trends and build a clearer user profile.

So, having gathered your evidence and noted what works and what doesn’t, you are all set up to create an excellent email marketing campaign. Get in touch on 01392 667766 or use our Project Planner if you would like more information and good luck!

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Is Your Website Ready For Google’s Big Mobile Update?

Usually when Google announces an update it comes with little, if any, warning at all. However, Google recently announced, "Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results." Whilst Google have been telling Webmaster’s for years to prepare for Mobile, this is the most significant mobile-related announcement they have released to date, and it’s clear that this time, Google mean business.

It’s Time For Action…

If you don’t already have a Mobile-Friendly website then you need to get the ball-rolling, and quickly. You have probably heard the terms “Responsive Site” and “Mobile Site” repeatedly across the web, so we are going to start by briefly defining what each of these mean.

Responsive Site – A Responsive Site takes a standard website and instructs it to fit the display size that it is being viewed on. This allows your website to fit precisely on any device in any resolution. An example of a Responsive Site is the Porsche website http://www.porsche.com/uk/. You can see the change in website size if you slowly drag the bottom right hand corner of your browser inward to make it smaller.

Mobile Site – This is a completely separate site that has been designed and built purely for mobile users. It may sit on a sub domain such as m.domain.com. An example of a Mobile-Specific Site is the BBC Sports website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/. You can see the difference by bringing up the website on a mobile and desktop device and comparing the two.

Responsive vs. Mobile Sites – What Is Better? Mobile Sites:

The Pros

  • Better mobile experience for users (may lead to higher conversions)
  • Cheaper upfront costs

The Cons

  • Recurring maintenance
  • High costs for updating multiple websites
  • May need to be upgraded in future to work on new browsers
  • Issues with optimal display on different resolutions

  Responsive Site:

The Pros

  • One website works on multiple devices
  • Only needs to be updated once as only one site
  • Recommended by Google
  • Better ROI in the long term as it won’t need much maintenance to work on future browsers

The Cons

  • More expensive upfront

A Quick Note On Search Engine Optimisation…

If Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) forms a core part of your business then this must also be taken into consideration at this point. When it comes to link building and spending time optimising a site, you need to consider the fact that updating multiple sites will be far more costly and time consuming, than updating and building links to just the one Responsive Site.

In Summary The bottom line is you need to think about why you are creating the site and what functionality you need it to have. Either way, a mobile website is a MUST if you want to stay within Google’s guidelines and within the same playing field as your competitors. If you need to discuss your website in more detail please give us a call on 01392 667766, where one of the team will be more than happy to help!

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Facebook Kills Off Organic Reach for 2015

The average post by a Brand on Facebook is only seen by 2% of that Brand's followers.

Anyone who reads about SEO will have heard the phrase "SEO is dead" numerous times despite the fact that SEO is alive and well (various methods and tactics are dead but that's a post for another day…). So I was skeptical when I heard that Facebook's organic reach was "dead" or at least greatly reduced until Facebook admitted it themselves. In this post I'll explain why Facebook Brand pages no longer achieve the reach they used to, what this means for you and how you can overcome this issue.

What's Changed?

In 2014 many marketers started to notice that posts by Brands on Facebook were starting to reach fewer people. Despite increasing the number of "likes" for their pages there was a significant drop in actual people seeing each post. In March Ogilvy analysed more than 100 Brand pages and found that their reach had dropped to the point where each post was being seen by only 2.11% of users for most Brands.

Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy Facebook organic reach results from Ogilvy[/caption] In November 2014 Facebook announced that they were altering their algorithm in order to reduce the reach of "overly promotional page posts". Put simply if your post reads like an Ad then don't expect it to reach people for free.

What Does This Mean?

The days of being able to drive significant amounts of traffic to your site, engage with your audience and promote your business for free on Facebook are over. It was good while it lasted but it's time to face facts: Facebook have no obligation to help you achieve your business aims and if you're not paying your results will be limited. Officially this is about Facebook putting the interests of users over the interests of businesses (according to Mark Zuckerberg) but it's similar to what we've seen with Google in regards to unpaid traffic vs PPC Ads. Each company has made it more difficult to get good results from free services in order to encourage Brands to spend more on paid services. facebook-dollar

How Has This Affected Your Page?

The first thing to do it to look at the reach of your recent posts under "Insights". Here you'll be able to see the organic reach of your 5 most recent posts (how many people saw the post) as well as engagement metrics such as clicks and likes, comments and shares. You might find that your recent posts have had a good reach in which case there's no need to worry, just keep an eye on this figure. You might also find that very few people actually saw the post – this isn't necessarily an issue for you but you'll need to bear in mind how much time and resource you assign to Facebook and what you're looking to achieve from this.

What Can You Do About It?

If you still want to be able to get in front of Facebook users (and let's face it where else can you find 1.39 billion monthly active users?), there are two main types of advertising on Facebook: Boosted Posts and  Facebook Ads. Boosting a post is quite straight-forward even if you haven't created and Advertising Campaign before, you simply create a post as you normally would and then give it a budget and set an audience (for example those interested in Digital Marketing in Exeter) and let it do its stuff. The snapshot below shows the reach of two recent posts on the Optix Solutions Facebook page. The first was an organic post which reached 65 users and the second was boosted for about £20 and reached 12.7k users. facebook-boosted-post-stats

Digging into the engagement metrics would allow us to effectively measure the success of this Campaign but as you can see from the reach metrics it at least got in front of the right people.

Step By Step

Follow these steps to improve the effectiveness of your Facebook activity (you might have done the first few steps already):

1. Write down what you're looking to achieve e.g. increase brand awareness, drive sales, increase donations or generate enquiries.

2. Decide how you can measure this e.g. site visits, page "likes", sales, reach.

3. Measure the success of your recent posts (look in Facebook Insights).

4. Try boosting a post (you don't need much budget to give it a try) and see if this has a better result/gives you a suitable return on investment.

5. If you want to know more about Paid Advertising including Facebook Ads get in touch with us.

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Facebook updates News Feed algorithm

How content is ranked and displayed in the Facebook News Feed has remained a mystery until only recently. On August 6th Facebook expressed their future intentions to become more transparent on this subject, stating in their first of many blog posts to come (News Feed FYI) “. . . we need to do a better job of communicating these updates”. In addition to exposing their current News Feed algorithm, they have indicated several updates are about to take place on the social network.

Lars Backstrom, the Engineering Manager at Facebook’s News Feed and responsible for the blog post, has revealed that on average, each time a user visits their News Feed there are a possible 1,500 posts to be seen. However, once the updates to the algorithm have been put in place only 20% of these posts will actually land in the user’s feed. This filtering process is a result of Facebook’s goal of the News Feed to ‘deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them’.

So, how do we ensure the content we post falls into that 20%?

Before we investigate this question further, let’s look at how the Facebook algorithm (previously known as EdgeRank), has been working up till now.

EdgeRank has consisted of three variables:

  • Affinity
  • Weight
  • Time Decay.

Affinity is the score measured by the relationship between the viewer and the content creator (i.e. the closer the relationship, the higher the score). An important aspect to note on this element is that your interaction with another user will increase the chance of their posts appearing on your News Feed – this doesn’t mean that your posts will appear on their News Feed!

Weight refers to how different types of posts carry different weights. The weight with the highest score basically gets pushed to the top. In order they rank: photos / videos, links, and lastly plain text updates. However, engagement from other users also influences the posts’ weight – a plain text update with many comments weighs more than a photo with none.

Time decay, as the name suggests, means that a post continually decreases in value as time progresses – ensuring that the News Feed remains fresh.
This may be a lot to take in, and you may view the fact that Facebook has now updated its ranking system as a time of panic; but it’s not! The changes that have been made are pretty much building on these three factors – so what has / hasn’t been working for you will remain the same (for now!). But that’s not to say this information isn’t worth knowing. Facebook recently performed a test on the new updates with the results indicating that the fraction of stories read increased by 13%.

Story bumping
The updated News Feed will not only be showing the most recent posts but also older ones which the user may have missed. In essence, if you didn’t scroll down far enough there is a chance that those posts you didn’t see will reappear at the top of your News Feed when you next return. The image below issued by Facebook shows how these missed stories may reappear.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/News-Feed-FYI-A-Window-Into-News-Feed

Facebook stated that this change resulted in a 5% increase in likes, comments and shares with friends’ posts and an 8% increase in interaction with posts from a Brand.

Last actor
This feature will keep track of a user’s last 50 interactions (things that they’ve liked, commented on, and shared) which will help rank the users’ feed, so that more posts from people they have interacted with will be ranked higher. Note: this factor will change because Facebook continually tracks those last 50 on a rolling basis.

Last actor chronological
This final feature is not currently present in the algorithm, but is under development and Facebook are looking to release this update in the near future. So, if a user were to engage in a flurry of activity (liking, commenting and sharing multiple posts), their activity would be presented on their friends / fans News Feeds in chronological order.

3 Things to take away from this

1. With story bumping your content has more opportunities to re-emerge to your fans.

2. Post relevant and interesting content to engage your fans. Typically this should take the form of a photo – research has shown photos to generate over twice the amount of interaction than a plain text post. The focus of your content really needs to be aimed at engaging people to interact with your posts, in order for your posts to appear on their News Feeds regularly (one-off engagement is not enough).

3. Find a balance for your Facebook posting timetable. Post too often and it may spam your fans News Feeds with a mixture of your old and new posts. Post infrequently and you will miss out on regular engagement from your fans resulting in none of your posts being seen!

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