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8 min read

Impression Picks – Digital marketing roundup for January 2024

Welcome to January’s edition of Impression Picks! This digital marketing roundup serves as some food for thought for you from Impression’s experts and the wider marketing community. Each month, we will highlight an interesting article, insight and campaign of the month.

This month features thoughts from our strategy team, including; Digital PR Strategist, Joe Norton, Senior Digital Strategist, Rebecca Edwards, and Programmatic Strategist, Isabella D’Anzi. As always, we hope you enjoy the content and insights we provide as a part of our monthly roundups.

The role of relevance in digital PR campaigns: insights from industry experts

With more brands opting to use Digital PR in their marketing mix, it’s important that we continue to remind ourselves why relevancy is key and how we can avoid getting swept in the fast-paced world of online news.

Whether you’re browsing a regional news site or scrolling through the most-read stories on a bigger national news publication, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a Digital PR campaign before too long. That’s because in recent years an ever-growing number of brands are investing in this marketing tactic. But, just because your brand is being featured across multiple news sites with huge readerships it doesn’t mean your Digital PR strategy is guaranteed to be successful.

Let’s start from the beginning. For those less familiar with Digital PR, it is a marketing tactic designed to achieve high authority backlinks to a website to increase organic visibility. It’s effective because Google views links as a vote of confidence, and in theory, the more links a website has the more authoritative it is considered to be. While the growth of Digital PR has brought about many benefits to the industry there have been some negatives, not least when it comes to the relevancy of the backlinks being achieved.

As more brands and marketing agencies engage in this tactic, naturally the competition to achieve coverage has increased dramatically. This has several implications, but in particular, it has led to Digital PR activity being increasingly measured on the total number of links as opposed to the quality of those links and more importantly the impact of those links.

With that in mind, it’s very easy for those undertaking Digital PR activity to focus on popular topics which regularly get featured in the news when trying to achieve results. But, is Google going to reward a company that operates in the hospitality sector for achieving links off the back of a Digital PR campaign about cars? Probably not. Conversely, if a car rental company is providing advice on the most common mistakes people make when renting a car abroad you can see Google rewarding links which would be achieved through this activity.

So, if you’re carrying out Digital PR activity, focus your measurement on the relevancy of your links and in turn the impact those results are having on your target keywords. One of the ways we like to do this here at Impression is by considering what a brand’s USP is and which topics they have expertise on. By starting the ideation process by answering these questions you can guarantee your Digital PR activity will be much more relevant going forward.

For those interested in exploring the topic of relevancy and how it will shape Digital PR activity in 2024 at greater length, take a read of the article below as your perfect starting point.

Article reviewed by: Joe Norton

Party On: a new generation of celebration

Birthdays, babies, and being single; consumers today are redefining celebrations. According to a new report from GWI and Pinterest, there is an evolution taking place and understanding this shift could help brands unlock a new way to connect with their audiences.

Traditionally, celebrations are a way to connect with others and embrace life milestones and moments. However, recent search data shows more consumers want to celebrate for less traditional reasons, instead, being motivated by a need to impress others, express their identity or recognise a personal achievement. As a result, we’re seeing a rise in niche research trends, which could be a new opportunity for brands to tap into and inspire consumers.

Off the back of Pinterest’s qualitative research, they’ve created a framework that identifies these newer celebration categories. These five categories include:

  1. Personal applause

    Since the pandemic, consumers have continued on a journey of self-exploration and improving their well-being. So, we’re now seeing an emerging trend of solo celebrations, where we’re taking time to reflect and indulge after personal achievements or simply ‘just because’. As a result, search terms such as ‘Solo dates at home’ have increased by +545% YoY.
  2. Bond-building

    Driven by intimacy and a need to connect, bond-building is a smaller, informal celebration that provides more quality time with guests and a chance to sit back and relax. This trend is evident in the changing attitudes to weddings, where more couples are opting for more intimate, low-key gatherings. Similarly, ‘Dinner party vibe’ and ‘Cozy game night’ searches have increased as more consumers look to host small gatherings at home.
  3. Merriment-making

    Younger generations continue to find new reasons to make memories, and they want each occasion to be the best party possible. This means a rise in search terms that showcase their attention to detail, or specific searches for inspiration around themed parties, including their favourite TV shows or passions. They are looking to celebrate daily moments that may look mundane to others, but meaningful to them.
  4. Moment-making

    As humans, we will always look to give recognition and celebrate others in our lives. But the moments in which we are celebrating are evolving. From divorce parties to diamond anniversaries and going-away parties, each generation is finding a new way to express their identity and celebrate traditional and non-traditional moments.
  5. Commemorating culture

    Commemorating culture is the most seasonal-moment-driven and community-centric celebration type, anchored by nostalgia and pri de, and associated with tradition. But brands must consider where audiences are based, as attitudes and behaviours will vary between markets.

So what opportunity does this present for brands?

By understanding these new attitudes and behaviours towards celebrations, brands can help events take on a new meaning, or inspire consumers to make the perfect day.

Beyond this, understanding what consumers are looking for can be a great source of inspiration for your messaging and campaign strategy, enabling you to deliver more personalised and relevant touchpoints when they have higher intent.

Analysing the search data could uncover a goldmine of keyword gaps that feed into your search, content and PR strategy. Uncovering the opportunities across both organic and paid channels will ensure you’re reaching consumers earlier in their journey and potentially tapping into new audiences for your brand.

The report is filled with lots of interesting insights, so why not take the time to learn more about this evolution and seek a little inspiration for your marketing strategy?

Insights provided by: Rebecca Edwards

Spotify’s strategic dive into Taylor Swift’s universe – a lesson in fandom connection and authentic engagement

Spotify’s unique approach to celebrate Taylor Swift’s success.

Spotify’s annual Wrapped campaign, revealing Taylor Swift as the global top artist, offers valuable marketing insights into connecting with fandoms and creating authentic engagement. The insights drawn from this campaign highlight the power of connecting with fandoms, the significance of authenticity, and the unique challenges in marketing to devoted fan communities.

The campaign’s success lies in its intricate representation of Swift’s universe, weaving references from her entire catalogue. The unveiling of the campaign unfolded gradually through DOOH billboards strategically placed in fragments, akin to a puzzle emerging across prominent cities such as London and New York.

This deliberate unveiling not only captivated online attention but also sparked a collective excitement among Swifties (a term referring to Taylor Swift’s devoted fanbase) as they meticulously pieced together the puzzle, contributing to a heightened sense of anticipation and engagement. This attention to detail not only resonated well with fans but also showcased Spotify’s deep understanding of the Swiftie universe and their love for Taylor’s easter eggs.

The success of the campaign also highlighted the importance of authenticity when engaging with fandoms. Lily Thaler, a strategist at Design Bridge & Partners – and a self-identified Swifite – emphasised that the campaign’s thoughtfulness was well-received by fans, in stark contrast to other brands’ attempts to align with Taylor Swift. The dedication of time and resources by Spotify resonated with fans and stood out from what Thaler described as “cheap shots” taken by other brands such as the NFL using her name and image to sell tickets to games to various ranch suppliers and local businesses near her Eras Tour destinations.

Modern fan culture is characterised by its receptivity, particularly towards brands. Fans appreciate brands that contribute meaningfully to their interests, with 61% enjoying sponsorships or content creation related to their fandoms. Authenticity, integrity, and relevance are crucial, as 63% believe any brand can engage with their fandom if it demonstrates a genuine effort to comprehend it.

Spotify’s unique position in the music business and its longstanding support of Taylor Swift further contributed to the campaign’s success. Thaler noted that Spotify’s substantial investment in the project reflected the financial impact that Swifties have on the platform, underlining the importance of acknowledging and appreciating a dedicated fan base to solidify loyalty to the platform.

In conclusion, Spotify’s Wrapped campaign for Taylor Swift demonstrates the significance of understanding and authentically engaging with fan communities. The success of this marketing initiative serves as a valuable lesson for brands looking to connect with dedicated audiences, emphasising the importance of cultural relevance, authenticity, and a deep understanding of the fan base’s nuances.

Campaign reviewed by: Isabella D’Anzi

Look out for our next Impression Picks in February for more digital marketing articles, insights and campaigns to inspire your digital strategy. Have any further questions? Get in touch!