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Posted on 20th Apr, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
The Bonfire team joined over 800 others from the Western Australian advertising, media and communications industry this month at the new Crown Towers Ballroom for the 2017 Oasis Ball and Campaign Brief Awards.
Together, we celebrated our industry and raised funds for The Oasis Project; an initiative that supports the Salvation Army’s Crossroads West programme. This incredible programme is aimed at providing stable environments for young people who have had their home lives disrupted by their parents or guardian’s addiction, abuse or abandonment.
Bonfire finalist for Agency of the Year.
Loud cheers could be heard from our tables when it was announced that Bonfire was nominated for the ‘Agency of the Year’ award, and although we didn’t win the title this year, we were one of the finalists in this category.
Rene LeMerle, Bonfire’s Head of Marketing, finalist for Advertising Person of the Year
We were also extremely proud to see one of our own, Rene LeMerle, as a finalist for ‘Advertising Person of the Year’. Rene has been a valued part of our Bonfire family for over 12 years, and during this time has played a large role in overseeing Bonfire’s transition from ‘one of Perth’s expert digital marketing agencies’ to ‘Perth’s largest and most experienced digital performance agency’. Congratulations Rene, we’re lucky to have you as part of the #BonfireSquad!
Photo: Finalists for Advertising Person of the Year.
Final Word & Congratulations
Congratulations to all the individuals and agencies who walked away from the night as award winners, as well as all of those recognised as finalists. Thank you to Campaign Brief for recognising Bonfire as a leading agency in Perth and to Oasis Ball for allowing us to participate on the night and contribute to a great cause. We’re already looking forward to attending next year’s event!
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) April 7, 2017
Posted on 10th Apr, 2017 by Gabe Mach
You may have seen this warning in Google Analytics, but what exactly does it mean?
Google have recently announced an important update concerning their Google Analytics Remarketing Audiences which will change the way advertisers and marketers target audiences online. Essentially, Google will now start showing ads to users across multiple devices for advertisers using Remarketing Audiences built with Google Analytics. Cross-device remarketing has existed for some time now for advertisers using remarketing audiences built within AdWords, however this method was a manual and laborious task, requiring considerably more time and technical ‘know-how’ to achieve.
This new method, using the very simple audience-building tool in Google Analytics, gives advertisers the ability to reach more customers across their omni-channel buying journey, a change which has brought this method in line with platforms like Facebook who have been doing this for some time.
Buyer behaviour is constantly changing. According to a recent study:
“Six in 10 internet users will start shopping on one device but will continue or finish on a different one [device].”
This means more than half of buyers are accessible through multiple platforms and why it’s now essential advertisers distribute their ads across all the devices where their consumers may be researching, considering or eventually purchasing.
Previously, if an advertiser built a remarketing audience in Google Analytics – or a subset of website visitors from whom they wish to retarget with specific ads – then they would only be able to reach them via browser cookies on a singular device. Now, by using signed-in user data, ads can be shown to visitors across any device which is linked to their Google account.
Advertisers should reconsider the frequency and reach of their ads, now that they’re going to be seen across multiple devices. Ideally, each user should now see the same remarketing ads more times, meaning messages will constantly need to be fresh and appealing.
Posted on 20th Mar, 2017 by Kayla Paul
Ever since Gary Illyes’ announced Google’s mobile-first index (MFI) in 2015 and its official confirmation in late 2016, there’s been constant buzz around the topic. In particular, whether sites that have not implemented mobile friendly mark-ups and responsive website design are being penalised.
But before we jump to conclusions, let’s first take a look at exactly what the mobile-first index is and how it affects not only marketers, but all businesses with an online presence.
@localseoguide please don’t assume we WON’T have different indexing for mobile. We are still experimenting, but it may happen
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) September 28, 2015
In one of our recent blog posts, we mentioned the rise of mobile search and how Google have started to show a preference for mobile content rather than desktop.
The mobile-first index is Google’s way of responding to both the rise of mobile technology and recent statistics indicating that most Google searches now happen on mobile. This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, rather than the desktop version.
The short answer is yes. The mobile trend is on the up and is showing no signs of slowing down, so as a business owner or marketing manager, adapting your website to suit this change will ensure your website’s ranking won’t be compromised and may give you a one-up from your competitors who are yet to make the change.
If you’re guilty of not having a mobile-friendly website, don’t stress just yet. There are some simple things you can do to get started:
As Google begins to prioritise mobile pages, it’s important to ensure your site is not only up-to-date, but has also been optimised for search. Being mobile-friendly is simply one aspect of a digital campaign which should be used in conjunction with an overall strategy aimed at making your site easier for visitors to use.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that as more people begin to search using mobile, more opportunities will arise for your business to improve its offerings and better meet consumer demands.
Posted on 8th Mar, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
Google released a document on Valentine’s day providing valuable insight into how brands should go about hiring an SEO agency, including guidelines on what to look out for and avoid when choosing and hiring an SEO specialist.
Included in this document was a video by Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead, Maile Ohye. In the almost 12-minute video, Maile offers her advice on how to identify a legitimate SEO provider as well as what exactly constitutes ‘good’ (and bad) SEO. Curious to know which practices make the cut by Google? We’ve summarised the video below.
“An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website”
– Maile Ohye
GENERAL SEO HIRING PROCESS
Unfortunately, there are a number of SEO agencies out there who don’t play fair, often using illicit techniques in an attempt to manipulate search engines. These techniques, and the agencies that use them, should be avoided at all costs as Google does not easily provide ‘second chances’.
To avoid getting locked into a contract with one of ‘these’ SEO agencies, Google has provided an agenda to follow when interviewing and selecting an SEO provider. These are the steps Google recommends brands take when choosing an SEO:
STEP 1: Conduct a two-way interview – ask relevant questions to ensure they’re sincerely interested in you and the success of your business.
STEP 2: Check their references – the agency should offer you a list of clients willing to talk to you about their experience. If they can’t offer this, you should be cautious.
STEP 3: Request an audit – a good agency does their homework. Ask them to complete an audit, identifying any potential website issues and how they suggest to improve them, as well as what impact these changes are estimated to have on your digital campaign.
STEP 4: Decide if you want to hire – discuss with other decision makers within your business whether they think this agency is a good choice. Before deciding on an SEO agency, make sure all internal stakeholders are on board.
You should leave your first meeting with a potential SEO agency feeling impressed and holding a proposal which indicates extensive research into both your company’s current position in the market, and your website.
In addition to the hiring process recommendations, Ohye also shared some useful insights on SEO basics as well as common misconceptions. Here are a few we found particularly agreeable and commonly find ourselves explaining to clients coming to us with limited search knowledge (or previous bad advice).
“SEO is not black magic” – SEO isn’t magic and it won’t work overnight. If an agency is promising instant rankings, avoid them, as they’re likely to be practicing bad SEO – this could cause irreversible long term damage to your domain and could greatly affect your digital standing with Google.
SEO suggestions should align with google best practices – ask the SEO to corroborate their strategy recommendations with supporting documents from Google e.g. an article from their help centre, a Googler response in their forum or a video (like this one).
Good SEO aims to improve the searchers’ entire experience – recommended changes should aim to not only create a search friendly site, but also a user-friendly site.
Quality SEOs will be genuinely invested in your business – they will be interested in learning about your business from a holistic stand point and genuinely care about your business goals, customers and other existing marketing efforts.
Good SEO takes time – allow 4 months to a year before you expect to start seeing real search results from strategy implementation. There are a lot of components in a good SEO strategy, and unfortunately no magic tricks to make them work faster.
An SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website – investing in a user-friendly website will significantly help every SEO strategy implemented. You can’t build a home without a solid foundation.
“One of the biggest holdups to improving a website isn’t [the SEO’s] recommendation, but the business making time to implement their ideas.”
– Maile Ohye
The road towards finding a legitimate SEO agency is not an easy one. However, the outcome of your choice is vital to both the health of your campaign and business. These guidelines should help with the decision process and ensuring your business is left in capable hands.
You can watch the full video by Maile Ohye, titled How to Hire an SEO, here:
Posted on 31st Jan, 2017 by Samantha Whitewood
Which SEO trends will thrive in 2017? And more importantly, how can I stay on top of these trends for my business? These are some of the top questions circulating marketing and business minds in the new year. Here’s what the digital experts at Bonfire HQ have to say…
Below are the predicted 2017 SEO trends that our search experts believe will have the biggest impact on digital campaigns this year.
Statistics show that most searches occur on mobile, with more than 50% of search queries happening from mobile devices. Consequently, Google has already begun to test mobile-first indexing. There have been murmurs that Google will soon prioritise their search listing rankings based on the mobile version of content, rather than desktop.
— Philipp Krieg 🌎 (@myguerilla) January 18, 2017
2016 highlighted the importance of quality website content for digital campaigns. In 2017, we believe this will be taken a step further. No longer will it be enough to merely produce content, but in a highly competitive market, businesses will need a structured content marketing strategy in place to ensure they can compete. It’s also predicted that with the rise in mobile searches, content will shift away from lengthy pieces and favour quality over quantity. Businesses are anticipated to adopt ‘dense’ content strategies; providing useful information in the most efficient possible format.
Algorithmic Machine Learning (AI)
Algorithmic machine learning was first introduced by Google’s RankBrain in 2015. We anticipate another update like this in the near future, some of which may go beyond the scope of search to encompass other digital areas (i.e. data collection and interpretation).
We expect voice search to continue gaining traction in 2017. With platforms like Google Home and others of the like we believe this marks the beginning of a revolution inspired by voice search. This will cause a shift in traditional keyword discovery, meaning SEO agencies and businesses alike will need to be prepared to see more contextual, natural search phrases increasing in search volume.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
As Google begins to prioritise mobile, we expect to see a rise in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a Google initiative to speed up mobile browsing, by building web pages for static content that render fast. It is an open-source slim HTML coding standard that when implemented, allows web pages on mobile phones to load instantly and ultimately improves the user experience. Google has already started favouring pages that have made the coding changes to optimize their mobile pages with AMP.
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
— Bonfire (@Bonfire_Group) January 31, 2017
It seems 2017 is heading in a direction where the reliance on technology will soon be stronger than ever before, for both consumers and marketers. It is imperative that marketers recognise this as soon as possible, and shift their strategies accordingly. Collaborating with technology providers is heavily encouraged, as it’ll allow businesses to gain an advantage over their competitors. To stay ahead in 2017, we believe it’s imperative that SEO marketers and business owners keep a close eye on these trends and are prepared to adopt strategic changes when necessary.
Posted on 28th Nov, 2016 by Courtney Mills
This year’s Deloitte Connected Small Business report has highlighted the increasing implementation of digital strategies by Australian SMB’s.
Since 2013, there has been a fifty percent increase in the number of businesses boasting an advanced level of digital engagement through activities like online advertising and search engine optimisation.
It’s unsurprising that a greater level of digital engagement pays off. Revenue growth, innovation and increased employment are some of the key benefits.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
Our CEO, Clay Cook, has shared his views on the report with Campaign Brief, including rallying the industry as a whole to come together to break down the misgivings and barriers that are preventing businesses from increasing their adoption.
Posted on 31st Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way the world travels. In-store travel agents are being replaced by Google, Tripadvisor and Skyscanner and this trend is forcing Australian travel marketers to rethink their digital strategy.
Tourism is a $124 billion industry in Australia and with so many operators wanting a share of that revenue, getting a competitive advantage is more important than ever.
While the reasons people travel has changed very little, the way people are beginning their journey has transformed significantly in recent years. Consumers are increasingly going online to research, plan and book holidays. Data from Google indicates that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile in assisting them to plan their trip, from comparing flight fares to reserving tours.
These insights can be invaluable to travel marketers and tourism operators looking to influence tourist’s buying decisions, so let’s take a look at them in more detail.
1. YouTube is the go-to for travel hacks
More and more travellers are turning to YouTube to get their trip done right by watching “travel hack” videos from ingenious luggage-packing techniques to tips for staying healthy on the flight over.
YouTube searches for “travel hack” videos grew by 115% in the last year and the number of search enquiries for the keyword term “travel hacks” has increased 16 times over in the past 4 years.
Travel marketers should be capitalising on this by creating their own useful video content.
2. Mobile research, desktop booking
Though 90% of travel-related bookings are completed on desktop, the research is primarily completed on mobile devices. Especially on weekends, when mobile queries related to travel outpace those on desktop.
Also, research and bookings aren’t a one-and-done, point-and-click proposition. Travellers are taking their time to evaluate all options. Marketers really should be employing digital strategies (such as remarketing) so their business stays top-of-mind when a traveler finally starts moving to purchase.
3. Smartphones are breeding “spontaneous travellers”
Long gone are the days of dog-eared guidebooks. Instead, leisure travellers are using their smartphones as their research tools once they touch down in their destination.
As the image below shows, smartphones have changed the way people research holiday activities. Travel marketers need to embrace “local” mobile marketing strategies to ensure they’re not missing out on this valuable chunk of the market.
There are many opportunities for marketers to make their mark on a travellers’ digital journey, it’s just a matter of embracing them.
Posted on 14th Oct, 2016 by Courtney Mills
Google’s hotly anticipated Penguin ranking update has finally been released. It’s been a long wait for SEO agencies and website owners.
In late September, Penguin 4.0 was launched by Google, however it’s unlike any other previous Penguin update. Through this release, Penguin now operates in real-time and as part of Google’s core search algorithm. This means that ranking adjustments will now occur as Google re-crawls the web and existing penalties will be lifted much sooner. However, instead of demoting a website, Penguin 4.0 now devalues the link spam so that it is excluded from a website’s ranking calculation.
Our team have kept a keen eye on the “recovery” component of the update. We’re happy to report we’ve seen some strong improvements for clients who have engaged us to help fix penalties from previous SEO activities.
Bonfire CEO, Clay Cook, recently discussed the update with Campaign Brief, including providing some advice for website owners moving forward.
Posted on 29th Aug, 2016 by Courtney Mills
The latest IAB/PwC Online Advertising Expenditure Report has just been released and has found that the Australian online advertising market has again delivered robust double-digit growth.
Online ad spend grew by 29.7 per cent to $6.8 billion in the year to June 30 this year making it the fastest growth of Australia’s online advertising market for five years.
The rapid rise of advertising on smartphones and tablets is the main driver.
Double digit growth was achieved by all online advertising segments, but general display advertising was the big winner.
Increasing 43.3 per cent to $2.5 billion making it the highest year-on-year growth since the inception of the report 13-years-ago.
Our CEO, Clay Cook, admits he was surprised by this increase as our AdWords team has noticed the popularity of display advertising dissipate in recent years. However, when you take into account that the this includes video advertising, which grew 55 per cent, it’s easier to understand the growth.
At current growth trajectories, display advertising should take over from search as the largest area of spend in the second half of 2017.
The industry leading the way in online advertising spend is real estate which increased its category share to 13.2 per cent from 10.8 per cent the previous year. However, the automotive industry is still the largest online advertiser.
Both of these industries are very competitive. The real estate agency industry is growing by around 3.4 per cent per year, so that increased competition is putting more pressure on agencies to spend on advertising to be seen online.
Clay suggests that the key for advertisers is to find the right balance to achieve effective advertising for their spend.
The best advertisers know how to use content, technology and data to help achieve their marketing goals efficiently, instead of just throwing money at it and hoping for the best.
Posted on 9th Aug, 2016 by Kayla Paul
A summary of the digital dilemma and its effect on the way businesses are operating today.
The Digital Dilemma
Whether you’re a start-up or an established brand, every business owner will be required to make an important decision in the course of their business venture; to go digital or not to go digital. In today’s day and age, businesses cannot turn away from the fact that this binary decision will determine the livelihood and the future of the brand itself. Thankfully, there is a middle ground more commonly known to those in the industry as the ‘modern marketing strategy’.
A smart business owner will understand that both internal and external marketing factors play a role in individual business success. According to research and consulting company, Strategy Analytics, spending for digital advertising in the Asia Pacific region has increased over the past year by 18.2% – that’s an estimated total of AU$78.4 billion.
This poses the ultimate question: if a majority of businesses are competing in the digital market, why isn’t your business? Furthermore, how do we, as business owners compete against others who seem to be employing the same traditional marketing strategy? The modern marketing strategy attempts to explain this.
The Modern Marketing Strategy
Ever heard of the saying ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’? The modern marketing strategy explores this notion. Although there are many theories surrounding this, our experience here at Bonfire is what drives the thought behind this strategy.
Time and time again we see businesses come to us seeking SEO and other online digital services who understand the importance of digital for a competitive business strategy, however this is not always the case. The modern marketing strategy explains the need for the integration between traditional marketing efforts, digital marketing efforts and all other areas of the business including marketing goals and product mix. Each marketing component should work cohesively in order to play off each other’s strengths and enhance the overall business strategy. If one element were to change, it’s integral for the other elements to adapt. For example, if the business decided to rebrand, this should filter through to all digital efforts as well as traditional marketing efforts.
However, for many businesses today who don’t necessarily have the resources to fund their own marketing department, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent strategy. This is where outsourcing comes into play – not to a cheap, offshore “agency” – but to an established digital agency who knows exactly what it means to have a strong digital campaign and has the skills to seamlessly integrate these into the overall marketing strategy.
With many markets facing over-saturation and with a large number of businesses struggling to penetrate or compete at a profitable level, employing an effective modern marketing strategy is almost essential for survival.
In today’s complex world, businesses can either sink or swim. With this in mind, digital agencies have now become the buoys of the modern business world, giving rise to a new era in marketing: The Digital Era.