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Peter’s Blog Star Date 5th August 2015

In which I muse about robots, programmatic, the over 55’s and attribution

Robot Warning

Last week Google Search Console, the Google Resource formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools (see our previous post) sent out an ominous warning that its bot could not access files on a large number of websites. In it’s missive,  Big G said that its systems had “detected an issue with your homepage that affects how well our algorithms render and index your content…. [and] these files help Google understand that your website works properly so blocking access to these assets can result in suboptimal rankings.”  This caused much consternation and not a small number of palpitations amongst website owners, webmasters and anybody else who received such a message.

Google Webmaster Warning

Google Webmaster Warning

The message relates to websites blocking custom style sheets (CSS) and Java Script (JS) files via their robots.txt file, a small file that sits in most website root directories and tells Google which files it should look at, which it shouldn’t and where your sitemap is, or, at least, generally it does. Website builders and SEO’s have typically asked Google not to index files that serve no purpose, have issues, are out of date, cause duplicate content or index problems or which are sensitive, for example your admin/backend pages. Whilst, in days gone by, a lot of this may have been eminently sensible, as Google has become more sophisticated, in most cases it can now work out which pages it shouldn’t be indexing, e.g. your admin pages or CSS files, and as the CSS and images form an important part of how the pages looks and is seen by the user, Google now needs to see/render that page to properly index its content.

We fixed all our affected clients sites fairly quickly but if you’re in any doubt please drop us a line.

Today’s Mad Men are Robotic

According to the latest research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), almost half of all online display adverts last year were programmatic, with programmatic ad spending reaching nearly £1bn.  Programmatic ads are adverts placed automatically on websites via computer software, rather than a human being or salesperson calling you to sell you space and manually placing the ad/s for a period of time or views and, as a result, generally means that each viewer of a website receives a more personalised advertising experience. For a more complete explanation of programmatic see here.

The rise of Programmatic advertising has made display a much more effective and viable advertising medium and has resulted in a resurgence in its popularity, we are certainly seeing it becoming a much more effective option for a number of purposes.

Fifty shades of grey commerce

A report from digital agency Greenlight found that the Over-55s were the fastest-growing market for online shopping, however only one in five marketers are currently targeted older shoppers like these online.

The report also found:-

  • Shoppers aged over 55 are set to spend £14.45bn online this year, with three out of four (76%) of the  over 55s making at least one online purchase each month.
  • The over 55s are set to make up a third of the population and two-thirds of retail activity by 2025.
  • The vast majority of over 55s shop online: 9 out of 10 use the internet to research products and also to buy products.
  • One in ten spend more than £150 per month online, whilst over half (51%) spend between £20 and £80 per month.
  • Women are the biggest online shoppers; while men spend more in-store.
  • Shoppers in the East Midlands spend the most online with shoppers in Northern Ireland preferring the high street.

It wasn’t me….

One of the virtues of digital marketing is also one of the things that troubles us the most. John Wanamaker, an American Businessman, considered by many to be a pioneer of marketing is famed for his saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Because, in the digital world, everything is tracked, you can see which advertising is driving you leads or sales and that which isn’t, so it’s easy to spot the wasted activity. The trouble with this is that, as consumers become more sophisticated, use different channels, different devices, get more peer to peer advice and recommendation, which activity drove the sale? Was it the the first search ad the customer saw, the TV ad that reaffirmed their confidence, the billboard that reminded them to check out the reviews, the review site which confirmed that the buying decision was correct, the mobile app click that confirmed the purchase or……?

It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit photo credit: slideshare.com

It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit
image credit: slideshare.com

This post on how three top retailers view attribution is very informative, as well as this Thinking with Google research post, that found customers who shop across channels (Omni-channels) are 8X more valuable than those in a single channel.


Possibly the best digital inbound marketing agency in all of the North of England……

For a while we’ve been agonising over how to replace our famous and catchy slogan and came across this excellent infographic which can give inspiration to us all:-

Stories Behind the Slogans Infographic

image credit: wallblog.co.uk/

So, until the next time……..