Saturday, April 28, 2012

International Digital Marketing Information April 2012

I am reading some international digital marketing information this saturday afternoon and I summarize some interesting links below.

Europe is still busy thinking about the new European Cookie law. A law that will have a big impact at the online industry this and next year. A big test case will be the United Kingdom, where the law will get into force at the 26th of may. Other countries will follow later.

A lot of things are still very unclear and most likely we will see a big increase of the use of pop up screens or lightboxes asking for certain cookies consent. Mr Dave Evans from the ICO gave a little more explanation and the good news is, that if you use first party analytic cookies you might be left alone, if you inform your users well.

Europe is still not a single e-commerce market, so differences between countries are common. A new e-commerce lobby group called "ecommerce-europe" has started and one of their goals is to optimize Europe's e-commerce. I hope they work better then their website looks. There is no single e-commerce market yet, so Germany has it's own laws an regulations. The parliament there has passed regulation that can have an impact at German webshops and those targeted at Germany. In short certain information is mandatory to provide and the button that saves (and pays) the order must be clearly named and in a good readable font. That's a risk if your website is not mobile friendly for example.
If your button does not fit the requirements as described in the regulation the customer might not have to pay! More information here. (link in German).

If you do online business in Ukraine, be aware, they can close your startup company easily.

A nice international digital marketing newspost is from the London Mayor elections. All 3 candidates opened a Sina Weibo account. See my article about Sina Weibo for more explanation about Weibo and Sina Weibo.

Italian's like to play games. Games and gambling make sure Italy's online industry is still growing. It is good for Italy that they have found a way to get e-commerce growth by the use of games, since they don't expand internationally.

Italians like games. Gambling and gaming makes their online industry growing.

Email marketing AirAsia

A few days ago, I received an email from AirAsia. I like AirAsia, and I hope to fly with them soon again.
But the email I received, is in my opinion difficult to understand for the subscribers.

Apparently they changed their "sender e-mail address" and they try to improve their sender reputation and to prevent getting in their subscribers "spam folders".

In this case, the e-mail is not clear and could be improved in my opinion.

  • Why should a general subscriber of their email marketing programme care about AirAsia changing their sender e-mail address?  I think the most people that receive this e-mail do not understand a thing about email deliverability. 
  • An e-mail " sender address"  is something else then changing the "e-mail address"  as it suggests.
  • Why didn't they provide a link to a landingpage where they explain how to add this address to the "safe sender's list" for the most popular e-mail clients? This can even be done localised if they target across the globe. Most people don't understand how e-mail works.
  • There is no other incentive given. I am not motivated in the email or landingpage to add them to my safe list. I cannot update my profile for example to give my preferred airports and to receive customised offers. This would be a big motivation for me to add them to the safe list. I sure do not want to miss personalised offers!

But it is always nice to receive an e-mail from Air Asia..:) Good to see the brand again. And that's also where email marketing can be used for. Brand awareness.

The email I received from AirAsia

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The world's best airports : how do they perform online?

The worlds best airports in 2011 are (according to this website) the ones described below. I decided to take the first 3 and Schiphol, this saturdaymorning, to do a short quick review. I took Schiphol because I am Dutch and I visit the airport a lot. That's the only reason. I think they can improve also a lot in their online and multichannel communication.

Airports are nice, they are always busy, you can do a lot in multi channel communication to optimize the user experience and a lot is written about airports at the web.
So by listening to the visitors of your airport you can optimize your services and give the best possible airport experience to the visitors. Unfortunately not all of the best airports in the world have a good digital communications strategy.

This is the list of world's best airports in 2011:

1) Hong Kong International Airport
2) Singapore Changi Airport
3) Incheon International Airport
4) Munich Airport
5) Beijing Capital International Airport
6) Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Let's see how some of them perform online.

Friday, April 13, 2012

6 reports about global digital marketing

6 Reports about global digital marketing.

Sometimes reports can come in handy. Especially for market research or writing an online strategy. I summarized a few interesting reports about international digital marketing. Most of the reports described can be downloaded free of charge. If not an extensive summary can be downloaded.

1. Nielsen: Global Trust in Advertising.

This report writes about all forms of digital advertising and the trust people give to these forms of advertising.
Differences between continents are described. We read that in the middle east and Africa, people trust mobile text ads, much more then the global average. Maybe this is because mobile internet penetration is higher in these regions due to in some cases absense of fixed landlines.
As I described earlier, especially the Chinese are very fond of user recommendations and especially from people they know. Also online video advertisements are more trustworthy for the Asia Pacific region then the global average.

Trust in different forms of digital advertising Asia vs Global average

2. McKinsey: The Net's sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity.

This study is all about the impact the internet can have at countries.The reports starts with some nice quotes as: small and medium businesses heavily using web technologies grow and export twice as much as others. Or 10 % increase in productivity for small and medium businesses from internet usage.
It also describes the differences between countries. For example South Korea is rapidly accelerating its influence at the internet economy. Their influence rate is growing faster then big neighbor Japan.
Russia, Brasil and Italy have a big potential to grow. They are still at early stages of the internet supply. chain. The report describes how to build strong internet ecosystems and gives directions at how find ways to optimize the participation of countries in the global internet ecosystem. At average at this moment with a 3.4 percent to GDP, Internet is weighing more then agriculture, energy and other industries. The impact of internet at the GDP will only grow, but it is important to educate, encourage usage, getting the right infrastructure, providing human capital etc.

Contribution of internet to GDP

3. Burson Marsteller: The Global Social Media Check-up

The report starts by telling what is already known by everybody who is busy with online marketing and especially social marketing. They tell that only by engaging with others an organization can remain master of its own reputation.Burson Marsteller explored the use of social media among 100 global companies and explored the use of social media among them.
Nice again to read about the differences between continents. Asian companies have more active blogs then the US and Europe. Logical, since blogging is still big in Asia. Asian companies are much less active at Twitter. The report also takes into account the big local players like Mixi in Japan. But still it says there is no real activity to stakeholders via this channel. It concludes that Asian companies currently prefer to be more comfortable to communicate via blogs.
Many companies also make choices at what platforms they are active. 79% of the researched companies use at least one social platform. But only 20% use all four platforms to engage with stakeholders.
The report zooms in at different countries, like Brazil and Japan. Japanese organisations mainly use social media for their international audiences. In Japan itself websites are still prefered. I wonder how they make their online strategy in this case, if at the head office, they don't really are into social media. I think the importance is that a head office also understands the impact of social media at the organisation.
Anyway, the report can be downloaded here. (after leaving an e-mail adress)

4. Swiss post: Distance selling in the Nordic Countries

As we all know, the Nordic countries have more or less the highest penetration of internet usage in the world, also they are among the countries with the highest incomes, and the distances are large. There is an enormous online shopping potential. But Scandinavian online shoppers, are not so fond of shopping with foreign companies. What kind of strategy is needed to make a succes of your online activities in Scandinavia. 
The Swiss post did some investigations. How often do people buy from neighboring countries, what did they buy then? And most important what are the reasons not to buy.
It is important to focus at products that are not (widely) available in these countries, they have to be cheaper priced and the shipping costs may not be so high. A challenge in these countries, I can tell you. I think besides the main reasons mentioned, of course an excellent shipping service (including delivering to droppoints and notify messages), good local knowledge of the language (not just do it in English or only in Swedish) will also help. Of course, like everywhere, but even more in the Nordic's an efficient and
good customer service is very important.
The report can be downloaded here.

5. Datainsight: Russia: Russian e-commerce market

Russia's ecommerce sector is among the most rapidly growing in the world. They expect that in 2012 the volume of internet sales in Russia will grow with more then 45 percent. Russia's biggest problem is still logistics. Russia's infrastructure is still lacking behind. 
Now only the two metropolitan areas of Moscow and St Petersburg contribute the most to the online sales. 
But there are so many chances. In the countryside a lot of products are impossible to buy and if it is available it is much more expensive then in Moscow. Big chances for online shopping. 

If focusing at Russia, datainsights report from last year, gives some directions. The report shows figures of popular branches and also branches that are (still) very small. Big chances! Russians like to buy electronics and tickets online. Buying food online is not popular. But many other countries are also struggling with this problem.

6. Asia Digital Marketing Associaton

The ADMA releases every year it's asia digital marketing yearbook via this URL. (found this mirror as well) A short version can be downloaded for free. The extensive version needs to be paid. 
A very well written document with all kind of statistics related to online advertising per country in Asia Pacific. It describes statistics about what users buy online, which social networks they use, a lot of demographics, statistics and e-commerce facts. Such a report should be made for every continent.
It really helps writing strategy's and making choices. The document has sections per country. From Hong Kong digital's information to Vietnam's online usage. A must download.

Screenshot from the ADMA's digital marketing yearbook

Monday, April 2, 2012

Basic steps for a SEO quickscan

SEO quickscan
The following steps are just some basic guidelines for a SEO  quick scan. But following these steps will give you a basic status of your sites SEO performance.

When analyzing search results, always make sure you are logged out of your Google account and your cookies history is clean.

Always remember: Google indexes pages and not websites. Your internal link structure is very important as well as each page and the backlinks to pages.

Technical SEO

  • First of all start with installing the SEOMOZ toolbar for FireFox or Chrome. It has lot's of SEO tools integrated.
  • Check how many pages are indexed in Google. Can roughly be checked by using the command "site" in the major search engines. E.g. site:www.yoursite.com . Try it with and without www. Right under the search bar you will see the indexed pages from this domain. Also in the SEOMOZ toolbar is a possibility to check the indexed pages.
  • Is the website using frames? The usage of frames is not adviced.
  • Is the website using flash? Search engines still have difficulties indexing flash content. Also apple devices don't display flash content. Better to find an alternative solution, if you use flash.
  • Check the 404 error page. Make sure it works and is setup correctly. Here's some advice
  • Make proper use of redirects. If pages are removed, temporarily or permanently, make sure the redirect of the page is correct. More information about redirects can be found here.
  • Make sure that URL's with the www and the same URL without the "www" typed in, show the same page.
  • Make sure there is no content hidden, by the use of javascript. If you use the SEOMOZ toolbar in FireFox or chrome, you can easily disable javascript and see how the site looks. Make sure the navigation dropdowns are working.
  • Check if the website is compliant to the W3C guidelines. This can be done here. Try to avoid error messages and warnings.
  • Make sure you have "readable" URL's. So not an URL like www.yoursite.com/39493/bin/content/55.html but www.yoursite.com/category/productname.html


  • Does your site has duplicate content elswhere on the web? Duplicate content is not appreciated by search engines. This tool, called http://www.copyscape.com/ can check if content from your site is available elsewhere at the web. If you're content is the original one, there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Internal duplicate content can be checked with the help of Google Webmaster Tools. For more information about duplicate content, check this article.
  • Does every page has a unique title? If not make sure that every page has a unique title and include also relevant keywords in the title. If you have a large site, you can try to automate this process, by for example the use of text from your product information system.
  • Make use of relevant keywords in the URL's
  • Try to use unique meta descriptions, like Matt Cutts from Google explains here.
  • If you have a webshop where you sell products, make sure your category pages and product pages have enough text. At every page you can think of some text, to tell what is happening at this page. This is very important for search engines. Make sure your products or services do not have the same description from the supplier, that is used everywhere with your competitors as well. Make the text unique.
  • Create a correct template with the use of the heading tags, like H1, H2, H3 and H4.


  • Make sure you use "breadcrumps" at your site. Good for your visitors and search engines.
  • Make sure there is a XML sitemap at for example www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
  • Be careful when linking to external websites, you might leak pagerank from your website to others.
  • A good internal link structure is very important, also at your homepage. More about the internal link structure can be found here.
  • Backlinks (link to your pages) are very important. Every SEO quickscan should have a backlink check. If you do not have sufficient links to your pages, a high ranking is virtually impossible. You can use backlinkchecktools all over the internet, but seomoz is one of the best.
  • Check your pagerank! If you want to learn more about what pagerank is, watch this video:

Often you have to make sure you get links to certain pages of your website, that might be deeper at your site, to let them rank higher at certain keywords. Don't only focus at your homepage.

  • Take a few keywords, that you think are important, or that you have found in Google traffic estimator and that you want to rank high at. Find the URL's of your competitor's and make a short matrix with at least the following information:
    • URL competitor
      • Indexed pages
      • Backlinks to these site
      • Position of sites at certain keywords
      • Check product rankings against competitor's
Social Integration

Google nowadays integrates social data in their search results. If you are an early adopter in your branch, you can take advantage of this. But in the long term it get's increasingly important to have fans at Google+ and other social media and to gain so called "+1's", fan's etc. Google's competition with facebook will only increase the speed of these changes.
Use at least a +1 checker to check your's and your competitor's.
Social is going to have a real big influence at search engine marketing in the short term. Keep an eye at that. It is not only about followers, but it goes beyond that. 

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