March 29, 2013

This week in digital: Digital marketing, load times and 4G reach

Written By Martin Sandhu

Facebook Opens News Feed to Targeted Brand Posts

This week Facebook launched a new feature that allows posts to be targeted at a specific audience. The aim is to let brands target a small percentage of their audience with a specific post, without turning off the rest of their fans.

Sounds complicated doesn’t it! For example, a sports brand could post an update specifically about basketball only to those fans that have an interest in it. The post wouldn’t actually appear on the brands page, but it would appear in the newsfeed of the relevant users. It’s a bit like targeted Facebook advertising but for page fans.

Brand websites are still most important for digital marketing
Whilst new technology continues to be explored for digital marketing purposes brands still place their websites at the top list of online tools.

A survey by Gartner found that brand websites, social media and online advertising are regarded as the three most effective components of digital marketing. Of those asked, 45% believed that their website is one of their top three activities contributing toward marketing success.

Overall, digital marketing budgets were found to average 2.5% of revenue, with a prediction they will increase by 9% in 2013.

Load times for top retail sites slump
The average load time for the top 100 US websites is slowing down. A study found that the median speed in December 2012 was 7.25 seconds up 22% from 5.94 seconds in December 2011.

It’s not good news, considering the increasing importance placed on site speed when it comes to both traffic and conversions. A separate survey found that site visitors won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load, which would put all but four of the top US sites analysed out of the picture!

As websites get more sophisticated and design led, it’s the number of requests (such as images, HTML, and CSS/JavaScript files), which is increasing load times.

Half the population now has access to 4G
EE has rolled out its 4G service in another 13 cities this week, meaning that 50% of the UK’s population can now access the high-speed mobile connection.

The latest places to be upgraded are Bradford, Bingley, Doncaster, Dudley, Harpenden, Leicester, Lichfield, Loughborough, Luton, Reading, Shipley, St Albans and West Bromwich. It follows the news last week that EE is to launch the service in rural Cumbria too.