Digital Marketing Strategies in 2014

As the New Year progresses most companies a busy rethinking their digital marketing strategies for the year, as marketers read through article and article trying to figure out the latest or biggest trends for 2014. We must still focus on the main objective, Advertising.

There are three big trends to online advertising this year and we at granite have taken a detailed look into what we think will have the most effect and produce the most conversions for clients in 2014.

 1. Native Advertising / Sponsored Advertising

nativeNative advertising is the ability to tuck a brand message into the editorial experience in a seamless and responsible way, creating a story and target audience research is crucial for success. By working with influential and highly skilled individuals you can find, and sponsor content to promote your brand and product.

Native Advertising is probably the hardest style of advertising to master and it takes a lot of imagination and creativity,

To create good Native Advertising there are techniques and pointers to consider before creating a campaign –

  • Find influencers that lead not follow. There are thousands of bloggers and media personnel that don’t start the conversation, they follow it. By listening, following you gain a good understanding of what the current topics of targeted audiences are thus allowing to create your own opinion/spin on relevant subjects.You want to work with people that start the conversation not just people who amplify it. They will guide you towards connecting with their readers.
  • Create an experience. It’s not just the content. It’s about creating a user experience to draw someone in, piece with video, music, HTML 5, parallax effects, are all features to create a story and experience for the user. By creating a piece with well crafted edits, stunning images, immersive video with text overlay and innovative design to create a magical digital experience. Suddenly it’s hard not to get pulled in and feel something – in a whole new way.
  • Don’t compromise quality. Many companies clutter up space and ruin design with too much advertising thinking quantity creates higher conversion rates but this can be the complete opposite and can actually harm conversion rates, quality not quantity wins over in the Native advertising stakes and compromising quality is just as bad. Multimedia skills are what shine in this area a cross platform is essential to create that great user experience, Doesn’t your brand equity get damaged by sponsoring lame content?
  • Be transparent – and have fun with it. Work closely with you Native Ad content creator weather it be in-house or external. By fully understanding the goals quality will be produced and if it’s a great experience for the reader, everybody wins.

2. Contextual Advertising

Contextual Advertising is more of a direct root to the source so to say, there are different theories of exactly what contextual Advertising is some say Contextual advertising is designed to align with the media property in which it appears i.e. if you are browsing for cars then the user will see adverts for tyres, oil, crash repair garages content that is related to the page. Another theory is that contextual advertising refers to user behavioural targeting, if a user browsed for a product then went onto facebook that products advert will show up in the users facebook feed.

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But there is a down side to contextual advertising and it all depends on the user and what they are doing at the current time

  • If the user is in search mode then Contextual Advertising has a positive effect and will provide the user the Answer, solution or product that they are searching for.
  • If the user is in browse mode then directing paid adverts at them will not return any conversions and will simple be over looked

 3. Re-marketing

Ad words Re-marketing is an action taken by marketers to reintroduce a product or service that a user desired but didn’t take any action at the time. Re-marketing has been steadily growing over the last 12 months and is surprisingly cost effective when compared to other forms of marketing it relies heavily on cookies so be warned Whether you are already doing re-marketing or are looking to start, you need to ensure that you are compliant with the cookie law. When a user views a website or product the user is tracked by cookies as the user continues to browse adverts for the product will be directed to follow the user. This is a very good way to get undecided conversions but re-marketing must be tracked in its self, if your campaign has acquired a conversion that intended user must stop being tracked to avoid irritation with the brand and wasted promotion expenditure.

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  • All site visitors – Basic re-marketing to increase brand awareness, increase traffic all pages of a website.
  • Undecided / Almosts – Physically clicked through or placed items into shopping cart but didn’t convert, here your re-marketing efforts should be aimed at shopping cart / landing pages
  • Members –  Some websites have log in areas to find out more information on products or services, targeting re-marketing on these pages the user is guaranteed to view adverts of interest.
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.Cork, The Marketing Benefits of gTLD’s

Cork Independent recently announced that The Deputy Mayor of Cork is pushing for a .cork Domain to help promote local businesses and online sales.

gTDLCurrent Online spending in Ireland is a staggering 4bn a year, but the issue with this is that 75% of it goes to overseas companies and venders. Companies with .com .co.uk, and even .ie can be from abroad, where as .cork if properly regulated can be used to assure the customer the origin of the purchase and the locality of the service.

A domain such as .com is officially known as a gTLD generic Top Level Domain. As domain names have become scarce over the years,  a new way of naming domains had to be created. There are currently 22 gTLD’s such as .com .net .gov .ie .eu. ICANN’s  (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) aim is to promote competition, branding, consumer choice, localisation,  Digital marketing and innovation while ensuring the security and stability  of the Domain name system (DNS) with the new plan for gTLD’s and people wanting to register a unique domain will have to go through an application process.

BlogThe application window recently opened on Jan 2012 and a total 1,930 applications for new gTLD’s have been received. By March 2013 we saw the initial results of the process and in Aug 2013 the public saw the new gTDL’s that were deemed “eligible”.

So what are the benefits of unique domains?

The .cork domain will greatly benefit local retail and web development business’s within the Cork area and it will improve on more specific search results. New gTDL’s will also offer the following benefits –

  • Entrepreneurship. Create your own business model and establish accessibility policies for your TLD. If your customers want tighter security, make your TLD a high-security zone.
  • Increased control. You set the rules and the price for those registering your TLD.
  • Innovative marketing opportunity. Build better brand definition, brand awareness, brand loyalty and trust by having full control over your own TLD.
  • Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Increase market reach by making the Internet completely accessible to users whose local languages use non-Latin characters.
  • Engage your community. Create a rallying point for supporters of your cause, community or culture to unite with a community-based TLD.
  • Bring together your geographic area. Celebrate your local citizens, commerce, activities, and culture with a geographic TLD.

Overall the theory of a .cork is good within itself,  but you really have to ask the questions is this just clever P.R to grab the headlines of being on the pulse of web technologies or has this been planned out and will be a serious proposition to localise, unify and benefit the people and city of Cork.

Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Christmas

Down to number 5 in our list of Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Christmas and this the one you’ve all been waiting for, Smart Phones. Probably one of the most commonly bought presents for the last few years. But there are so many choices of smart phones out there it can be hard to chose the right one, so in today’s Granite Digital blog we will review gadgets number 5, 4, and 3 respectively.

#5 The iPhone 5s

Once a king always a king?

In the first days of Smartphone’s iPhone rule was undisputed and there was no other smart phone. But iPhones have been In steady decline as of recent, and the apple innovation era has come and gone.

The iPhone is still a good product and are still bringing out some of the newest features to desperately try to cling on to the top spot, but competitors are gaining ground quickly the newest version of the iPhone, the iPhone 5s has many new features but is basically the old iPhone 5 that was only released less than a year ago.iphone_5s

The newest features and the one Apple are really pushing is the Touch ID feature, a smart finger print recognition home button that can offer the security of safe purchasing and more. as-well as an improved camera and greater CPU power. But has apple killed itself by constantly releasing a new phone and then an “S” version less than a year later?

Apple are basically hoodwinking people with newer features and living of their past-tense status without having to do any re-design of the concept. iPhone used to be king for apps but now almost every app can be released on any platform. Would they not be better off putting out a full powered phone with top specs, and not leave customers feeling they bought the newest phone and all of a sudden its not as good in less than a 12 month period?

#4 Samsung Galaxy S4

A Cat may look at a king

Brought up in the shadow of the iPhone the galaxy strives to knock iPhone of the top spot and recently they achieved this, but the competition is so fierce will its reign be a short lived one?

samsung-galaxyThe Galaxy S4 boasts the largest screen for a Smartphone and has some amazing technology under the hood.  Its full screen is clear, sharp, and a breath of fresh air and watching full HD video or intensive 3D gaming is a doddle, and browsing the Internet or multi-tasking a breeze. Scrolling through menus is quick and smooth, with the only very occasional stutter occurring when something is updating while you’re trying to open an app at the same time. It also unfortunately has a slightly inferior camera to others. But one of the Galaxy’s best features is its outstanding battery life. As with the Iphone it can host all types of Apps, Apple used to be the only App machine but now developers make Apps for all platforms this is no longer an issue.

#3 Nokia Lumia 2010 Windows Phone

Rise of the Fallen

Before the era of the smart phone Nokia were kings among men and there greatest feature was their Camera technology the patented “Carl Zeiss” camera, was head and shoulders above any other phone camera out there, but their smart phone technology was sorely lacking and Nokia disappeared faster than you could say “révolution”. Nokia have been testing and trying to re-enter the smart phone market but with no avail. Until now!

Nokia-Lumia-1020

The New Windows smart phone has seen Nokia cleverly team up with windows and release a phone unique to the windows 8 design and functionality and corner the market in this niche. But it is still windows 8 and not the “greatest product” windows expected it to be, lacking in App ability and some of the biggest Apps such as Instagram, Vine, and Flipboard are missing (for now).

Nokia are staying with the technology that made them the best all those years ago, the Camera is by far the most superior Photo and Video quality than any other phone on the market and its Video editing tools are great for any person into making movies or photography it has many amazing features to allow the user endless hours of experimenting with settings, effects, zoom, and contrasts to produce some outstanding images or film, and all finished off with a handy upload tool straight to Facebook or Youtube. The loud colour range available make this phone fun and popular with the youth of today. But have Nokia released this phone to soon?

So after reviewing these phones it is hard to define which of them is the best, they all have locked onto a single feature that they think will make them the best seller.

As all other features of phone calls, functionality and apps are generally the same. The Smart phone is now generic and to tell one from another is only done by brand and design none of them have anything different or revolutionary to separate them from one another so buying choice will generally come down to favored product, best price, or contract offers.

Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Christmas

Next  in our list of The Top Ten gifts for Tech Heads this Christmas is something not necessarily associated with a Techie but things still need to get done around the house and men will always be men!

Does the Techie in your life think he can fix things just as well as programme on a computer but really can’t why not give him a present that will really help with the D.I.Y issues around the house?

# 7  The Power8 Workshop

This Gadget for a D.I.Yer is what apps are to the iphone; 1 completely compliments the other. This gadget will offer all the tools needed to perform simple DIY tasks around the house and some other tools to help jobs of a slightly more advanced level these tools he may not understand and won’t admit but the true Techie relishes in discovering new things and mastering them!

This Gadget has an amazing arsenal and a pretty amazing price tag to match with the following tools included:power8workshop72-450

  • 5-½” circular saw, a jigsaw,
  • Variable speed 3/8″ drill/driver,
  • Flashlight.
  • Assortment of drill bits,
  • Driver bits
  • Jigsaw blades
  • Soft tool bag

Some of these top brand items alone cost more than the entire toolbox but together but don’t be suspicious of the low price tag the toolbox was featured in Channel 4’s Gadget man and received high reviews from professionals in the construction industry.

These tools are perfect for D.I.Y and the box itself has many features, like a transformer this box morphs into a variety of useful positions, a table saw, scroll saw, or drill press the features of this gadget will without doubt help to do a better job than previously.

power8workshopbenchtopbattery72-450

This is without doubt a must have for anybody to have in their shed and it will give the confidence to attack those d.i.Y jobs around the house, if you don’t have you T.V mounted to the wall yet expect them all to be; come mid-January.

Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Christmas

The next chapter in our Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Christmas is something of a musical delight for the ears. Listen for endless hours to your favorate music in style.

#8 Beats by Dr Dre.

Let’s face it if you haven’t seen headphones this year where have you been? Headphones are definitely highly trending at the moment and make a perfect gift for anybody, I can’t see anyone not being happy with this present it’s not just a gift for somebody but it’s also a sneaky gift for yourself. By a partner using these you give yourself the peace and quiet you deserve while the techie in your life is busy working away on their laptop headphones will allow you to sit and watch the T.V in peace, even if you have completely different tastes in music you won’t have to suffer any more!!

beats-by-dre-studio-2013-front-angle-1486x991

And yes they really do make the difference! It can’t be explained in written word but the listening experience really is like something you’ve never heard before, no more tinny sound! The newest headphones really give you the full force of base and treble that will amaze you and help understand the price tag on some of the headphones out there. The saying is never so true “you get what you pay for!”

The most popular and recognisable Brand of headphones out there are by far “Beats by Dre” if you don’t know Dr Dre is a Rapper turned Producer turned Entrepreneur with a career spanning over 30 years and has definitely done his homework as the revenue from the headphones has seen him reach this year’s Forbes richest list.

Beats-by-Dre-

To go into the technical part of these headphones is not really what you want to hear because basically who really knows about “dual-mode noise-cancelling circuits” or “V-Moda Crossfade M-100”?  So we will talk about the user design features and accessories that come with the headphones themselves.

The design of the Headphones is sleek and very basic but look extremely good, the branding has become a fashion icon in its own right and people want to be seen wearing these as a street accessory, they are wireless and come with a USB charging kit.

Its features include Bass, Treble, and Mid-tones adjustment, they are lightweight and the ear pads are “super comfortable”, they have  a lithium battery has a life of up to 20 hours.

These are not the cheapest headphones out there but are the most popular and at a R.R.P price tag of €199 can be found at outlets such as Harvey Normans and P.C world, The Beats by Dre Headphones are a great Christmas Present for anyone. Other alternatives can be found out there, a lot from rap stars seem to be appearing.

Are these the Hard mans version of celebrity products flying onto the shelves this Christmas?  Beats-by-Dre-Studio-2013-side-angle

Top 10 Gadgets for Tech Heads this Xmas

Are you stuck for ideas for finding that perfect Christmas present for the technology lover and gadget obsessed friend in your life? Well over the next 3 weeks Granite Digital will review the Top 10 Gadgets around, possibly giving you some ideas of what to get for the Techie person in your life.
We will release several blogs a week in the run up to Christmas.

No# 10 Skylight Panels
Not just for the Tech heads but for everyone working in the office and desperately trying to bring a bit of the outside into the office. In around our office we all have little reminders to break up the monotony of the office. We have special screen savers to take us away from the fact that we stare at a computer all day, screen savers featuring a sunny beach, cloudy mountain tops or gently breezing meadows. We surround our desk area with photos of our families and friends, little toys and nik-naks all to create our own environment within the office. Now you can go a step further! Lean back, look at your space.
Its small and you soon are back in the room once again, past your own screen saver. Now look up, what do you see? The dull fluorescent light, the plain square ceiling panels and that constant hum of the air-con, but wait! A new gadget called Skylight Panels will help change that, help to immerse you in a 3 dimensional world that transports you to that exotic Caribbean beach your screen saver always promises you and it can be found on Amazon for the average price of around €30. If you were interested and you can actually convince your boss to allow you to start changing panels in the ceiling, then we would recommend you seek a professional for help with the installation of this item. It will help to prevent your world from crashing down around you!

Work in Style

Work in Style

And the Skylight Panels are just some of the latest gadgets that could make your Christmas wishlist. Join us during the oncoming weeks where Granite Digital will be looking at a variety of items including a USB/WiFi Pen(a great productivity tool that uploads everything writen onto word documents) as well as the latest Smartphones and accessories. We will also take a look into some of the top selling Apps for Android and IOS.

Client Highlights this week – part 1

5 things our clients did this week
This is the first of a series of weekly posts to help spread the message for our clients. The first one might have some news older than a week but this might grow to 10 things if we are not too tired on a Friday 😉

1. The West Cork Hotel’s new website is now live.

2. Industrial Infrared heater manufacturer, Ceramicx Ireland has unveiled a new logo to put the finishing touches to the design of their new website.

3. Leisure World Cork receive awards for one of the best leisure clubs in Cork.

4. Cork Auctioneers, Denis A. Barrett, have moved offices to 81 South Mall.

5. Ireland Travel specialists, myguideIreland, have launched a new range of escorted coach tours

see you next week!

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Internet used by Whitehouse for transparency of spending

The Whitehouse has announced that it will publish a record of all spending as part of the $787 billion economic package signed into law by Barrack Obama this week. the entire spending record will be visible on Recovery.gov, a site that “lets you, the (american) taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going”.

This is a novel excercise in transparency and the public nature of the program is likely to go a long way to ruling out waste and inefficiency. In a video statement available to view on the site President obama states that “The important decisions about where taxpayer dollars will be invested will be yours to scrutinize.”

There is a full FAQ on the site: http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/frequently-asked-questions

Granite Consulting launch new website

Today we launched our new website at http://www.granite.ie. Take a look and tell us what you think.
Granite Consulting also offers services such as Marketing outsourcing. Marketing Outsourcing is an innovative service for SME's that would like to hire someone of high calibre but their budgets will not allow.

Rather than hiring someone full-time, outsource your needs and only pay for the time spent actually working on your brand. With our service you will get strategic thinking from a qualified MBA who has worked with a number of Blue-chip organisations.

In fact this division will be staffed only with people who have experience working in blue-chip well known companies and have either an MBA or have spent time on the board of directors of a publicly listed PLC.

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Granite Consulting

Granite Consulting is a multi-disciplinary business consulting group established in December 2008. We are based in Little Island, Cork, Ireland and Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Granite Consulting commenced trading onJanuary 5th 2009.

Welcome to our blog, where we are liable to comment on just about anything ……..especially Internet Marketing, Web Development, R&D funding, Strategic Management Outsourcing, IT Support Solutions, Retail Intelligence or Web-based media.