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March 4, 2015 | Author:

Coachella is an annual two-weekend, three-day Music and Arts Festival held in the Coachella Valley of Southern California’s Colorado Desert region. The event has been running for 15 years and showcases both established and emerging artists across a wide variety of genres. Artists who have appeared at Coachella include Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Madonna, The Cure, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Foo Fighters.

In February and March 2014, the cosmetic company Urbay Decay ran a Pinterest campaign to promote its new makeup collection, Electric. The competition offered as its main prize the chance to attend the sold-out Coachella festival in April. Runners-up would win various combinations of Urban Decay’s summer essential make-up.

To enter the competition, people first had to follow Urban Decay on Pinterest, then make a pinboard called “Get Electric with UD” and showcase the looks they would wear at music festivals throughout the year, using UD cosmetics wherever possible.

The audience demographic being targeted by the Urban Decay social media campaign was primarily 18-35 year old females with disposable income and a fun lifestyle. It especially targeted music festival lovers, as their campaign centered around summer music festival looks. The campaign was a success and resulted in phenomenal interaction with the brand in terms of the amount of new followers on Pinterest.

Why not give some thought as to whether there is any kind of event or campaign that you could try and link your brand with this year? This is an innovative way to use creative digital marketing and can reap huge dividends in both the long and short term.


February 20, 2015 | Author:

Microsoft have recently announced that with the advent of Windows 10, they are going to kill off Internet Explorer. This development cannot come soon enough for many of those who are disillusioned with the browser – some to the extent of having created a petition to get rid of it! The petition reads as follows:

“Please discontinue your Internet Explorer product.

It is a bad product. It’s bad for the internet as a whole. It is bad for your customers that use it. There is no upside for its continued existence. I don’t believe your company has the competence to make a standards-compliant web browser. Do the entire world a favor, and save yourself some money at the same time…

Please discontinue Internet Explorer.

There are so many great web browsers out there. Yours is not one of them. Discontinuing Internet Explorer, and forcing Windows users to download one of those many great standards-compliant browsers, will be like taking the handcuffs off the internet. Or like cutting the chain to the internet’s anchor.

Let the internet be free, let it grow and expand. Let it invent new technologies, and use those technologies to the fullest. This can not happen while Internet Explorer exists.

Please discontinue Internet Explorer.

The world will thank you.”


Harsh words indeed! So, what exactly are the issues with Internet Explorer? The main criticism has been to do with speed,  particularly when running on a network. This is exacerbated further if you have an older version of Internet Explorer or do not have all the latest updates. Like any other Microsoft product, Internet Explorer needs a cleanup from time to time and it can make a difference if you take the time to delete the entire browsing history along with all the temporary internet and cache files.

Some users find that Internet Explorer does not display web pages properly and often they simply have to use another browser instead. Others have had problems downloading software updates: if it worked at all it was often considerably slower than an iPhone.  

There have also been reported security issues with Internet Explorer, leaving users vulnerable to viruses on their machines. For example, last July it came to light that older versions of Internet Explorer were allowing hackers to execute code on an affected machine remotely if users visited a malicious site. Whilst users of Internet Explorer 10 and 11 were relatively safe thanks to the enhanced Protected Mode these browsers offer, older versions do not offer this feature.

So, what will replace Internet Explorer? Microsoft are to launch a new Internet surfing software called Spartan. As well as being a modern browser for general use, it is also going to delight developers in that it will enable them to make extensions similar to those used with Google Chrome, giving more flexibility with minimal effort.

We will focus on Spartan in a future blog. For now, rest assured that the days of internet marketing ideas being ruined by outdated browsers finally seems to be numbered!


February 19, 2015 | Author:

For those of you for whom the first thought that the word “hamburger” brings to mind is fast food – think again! In digital marketing strategy, hamburger has a whole new meaning!

The hamburger navigation tool has become synonymous with the menu. It is normally represented as a stack of lines such as the leftmost image below.

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So far, so self-explanatory. But recent research [undertaken by the group Conversion XL] indicates that the plain hamburger may now be well past its sell by date. Of the above three icons, the one that repeatedly generated the most traffic was the central image ie the hamburger with the word menu beneath it. So why is this?

The icon was designed in 1990 by Norm Cox for the Xerox Star, which was the world’s first graphical user interface. The idea behind it was that it would be simple, functionally memorable, and would mimic the look of a conventionally displayed menu list.  The hamburger icon has served us well, but we are now living in a whole different world and it perhaps no longer makes sense to a new generation of consumers. This is easily overcome by the addition of the word Menu as the research showed. It has also been suggested that it could be effective for the menu icon to then fade out as the user scrolls around the site, and reappear when they scroll up again.

Whilst every individual digital marketing strategy will need to test and adopt the most effective menu icon for the products and services concerned, the research shows that its format and function should be given serious consideration and could have an impact on the amount of interest in the digital media campaign.  At Xcite we have taken this on board and are using a new version of the menu icon on our new website – see below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 15.30.33.png

We think it looks great and would welcome your feedback!


February 18, 2015 | Author:

It’s hard to remember a time when “App” was not part of our daily vernacular! In fact, it was only with the release of the iPhone in 2007 that the word app as we understand it today moved into popular use. The number of searches on Google involving the word has increased dramatically over the last few years, and in 2010 it was voted as the American Dialect Society’s word of the year because it had by then become so mainstream.

It is difficult to find precise statistics on the number of apps that now exist worldwide. Web apps are virtually impossible to number as they exist in so many different ways. But an estimate of  mobile apps is possible – though ever changing! In July 2014, there were around 1.3 million apps available to Android users, and 1.2 million apps for iPhone.

The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average aggregate daily download volume of the top 200 free iOS apps, surged to 9.2 million in December, growing 14% since November – which in itself had been a new record of 8.1 million.  Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu, called this new milestone “the new reality of apps”.

What impact does this have for marketeers?  There is more urgency than ever before to prioritise digital media marketing and make sure that apps are being used effectively at every opportunity. To stand still is to fall behind!  According to Adler: “We expect these factors will not only elevate costs for marketers, but also drive an evolution of marketing strategies. In 2015, just buying mobile ads won’t be enough to drive usage – app marketers will need robust strategies based on customer data and precision targeting to find the right users for their apps.”

In this blog throughout 2015 we will review some relevant apps and report on how they are being used as part of an effective digital marketing strategy. Watch this space!!


February 4, 2015 | Author:

In this blog we focus on the often-overlooked topic of “attribution”. Attribution is the process of identifying the events that lead to a desired outcome. Marketing attribution enables us to understand the chain of events in the process that leads to conversion.

A common misconception is that the most significant step in this process is the  “last click” or “brand touch point” .  Last click attribution gives all the credit for a sale of conversion to the last step in the process. For example, a consumer may be influenced to buy a particular product by advertisements and research and reviews, but if a special offer email is the final step in the process then last click attribution would credit that email campaign with the conversion.

However, research shows that an average consumer engages with 18 types of content before making a decision! We will look at this in more detail in a future blog, but for now let’s explore some alternative attribution models.


This is a more experientially-based system of measurement, where credit is given to several touch points in the process, according to how much they are perceived to have contributed to the conversion. In this attribution model, various events in the consumer journey can then be evaluated, although this evaluation could be seen as somewhat subjective.


As more data is constantly becoming available about consumer behaviour, it is becoming increasingly possible to use algorithms and statistical models to quantify steps in the conversion path. This enables credit to be more accurately apportioned to the appropriate touch-point and provides invaluable insight – albeit usually after the event. Statistical attribution is also a significant investment in terms of both time and money.


The Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour – by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern – was published in 1944. It laid down three principles of game theory:

  • rules that govern conduct
  • pay-offs such as win, lose or draw
  • strategies that influence the decision-making process.

Game theory attribution adopts these principles and uses a mathematical model to measure the true relative contribution of different events in the conversion process.

We have looked at several methods of attribution. How should you choose which one(s) to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy? You need a method that is functional and provides you with insights that are as accurate as possible to inform your digital strategy plan. A model that works mathematically and is also software-based will likely be the most effective as they enable data to be easily stored and accessed, a distinct advantage. You also need to decide what level of heuristics you want to include in your evaluation process.

Whilst the choice of attribution method is yours, there is little choice about the fact that you do need to undertake some method of attribution if you are to maximise the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.