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Google’s major AdWords switch has big implications for SA marketers

Google has made many sweeping changes to how Google Adwords works since it was launched in 2000. But the introduction of “enhanced campaigns” is one of the largest and most significant changes to the platform we have seen in a number of years.

Published in Advertising
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 11:14

SA businesses overlook customer experience at their peril

Hebrew & English Coke Labels - Consistent Branding

The world’s most valuable brands, such as Coca-Cola, Google, McDonalds and Apple, all have one thing in common - they recognise the crucial role of providing a consistent customer experience. As a result, South African businesses are being urged to follow suit and measure customer experience, as well as utilise the data to improve operating efficiencies, grow market share and drive innovation, among other key business strategies.

Published in Branding
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 00:00

Top 10 security tips for Gen Y

Top 10 security tips for Gen Y

If you are part of Gen Y, connectivity is an important part of your daily life. But while tweeting, friending, and googling may be routine, are you protecting yourself online?


According to a recent ZoneAlarm survey of 1245 participants, the majority of Gen Y* respondents leave Internet security on the back burner. Only 31% of Gen Y participants rank security as the most important consideration when making decisions about their computer. Gen Y was more likely to prioritise entertainment and community above security. However, half (50%) of all Gen Y indicated that they have had computer security issues in the past two years.


The research shows that Gen Y is leaving themselves -- and anyone with whom they communicate -- wide-open and vulnerable to online attacks. So, when you consider the growth of cybercrime in our over connected, always-on society, it doesn’t hurt to be one-step ahead in the security game.


Here are 10 ways to protect yourself and keep out of harm’s way.

  1. Get back to the basics. Regularly updating your computer’s operating system is one of the simplest, yet most important, ways to protect your computer. The newest software versions help your system run more smoothly and prevent you from becoming vulnerable to holes found in your old system. Make sure your operating system is configured to receive automatic updates for the latest security patches, and be sure to apply the latest settings by restarting your computer after the updates occur.
  2. Don’t be click-happy. Did you know that 9,500 malicious websites are detected by Google every single day? This stat includes legitimate sites that have been hijacked and those that are designed to spread malware. Stay safe by being wary of the links you click. And remember to hover over links so that you can review the full address before you click. You should also take the warning messages from Google to heart. And, always keep your firewall and antivirus up-to-date and active.
  3. Pay attention to the latest social changes. For example, Facebook recently changed your default email to .com. This means that a whole new group of marketers and spammers will be able to contact you much more easily than ever before. Whether you Like this (or not), adjust your privacy protection settings and watch out for spam and phishing scams now that Facebook’s messaging system is open.
  4. Passwords, passwords, passwords. Always create strong passwords for all online accounts, and include letters, numbers, and symbols. Longer passwords are more secure and harder to crack. Choose different and unique passwords for important sites, such as your primary email and financial accounts. Try not to use the same password for multiple sites. If a password gets compromised on one site, it may allow hackers to log into other accounts with the same credentials.
  5. Gamers, keep your security software on deck. If you are serious about online gaming, don’t disable your security software to play thrilling titles, like Diablo III. Yes, experiencing a high speed connection with minimal interruptions is important – but not at the expense of security. Instead, look for “Game Mode” in your security software. This setting will never interrupt you while you’re in the middle of your game. At the same time, it will keep you protected.
  6. Protect yourself against P2P and pirated software. The best solution is to simply never use P2P sites to download pirated software and, instead, download your files from the original software developer. But if you still choose to take that risk, you should at least take a few precautions, like reading the user comments before you download the file. Keep in mind that many of today’s popular P2P sites offer a pretty accurate rating system that can provide you with a sense of just how these downloadable files have performed for other users.
  7. Beware of social engineering attacks. Cybercriminals are scouring social media sites every day to learn all they can about you. They’ll use the information they gather to send you highly targeted emails, pretending to be from your boss, friend, or family member. Did you post some information on Facebook recently about your favorite vacation spot – only to receive an email from a co-worker about the best summer getaways, complete with a request to link to a recent article? Stay on guard. And always watch what you say online – revealing too much information like middle names, pet names, etc. could be just enough to tip off a cybercriminal.
  8. Choose your friends carefully. There’s nothing like making connections online via Facebook and other social networks. However, you definitely put yourself at risk by not taking the time to filter who you accept into your inner circle. If you get a friend request from someone you haven’t spoken to in years or someone you don’t know, a social bot may be using this as an opportunity to hack into your network. They could exploit the trust you have built on Facebook and Twitter to send emails or notifications to your networks – using your access, information and persona to solicit products and spread malware to others’ computers.
  9. Take Care When Downloading Videos. Online video has really taken off– especially for Gen Y who often spends more time watching videos online than any other group. Be careful when downloading videos – as this activity could be a hotbed for viruses. If you don’t have the most up-to-date video player, download it directly from a trustworthy source. Never install software from file-sharing sites when trying to view a video, and keep in mind downloading a video by itself should never require running an executable (.exe) file.
  10. Be Cautious When Using Wi-Fi Hotspots - Most people are thrilled when they encounter free Wi-Fi hotspots. But before you connect, verify that the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) is from a legitimate service. Do not connect to random, unsecured Wi-Fi networks. It increases your security risks. And use a Virtual Private Network, if you can. A VPN allows you to route all your activity through a separate, secure, private network, even if you’re on a public one. Several services are available, or you can even go with an app like Hotspot Shield, which sets a VPN up for you automatically.


Staying vigilant is a good start. But it’s just not enough. Cybercriminals are becoming craftier by the day, and online attacks are never ending. Whatever you do, it’s important to take basic precautions by following the tips above and making sure you at least have antivirus software and a 2-way firewall on your computer. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – no matter what your age. You will not only avoid becoming another statistic, you’ll also do your part to keep the Internet safe for your online community.

Published in Security
Thursday, 23 August 2012 12:34

Google’s $250m Wildfire deal boosts the value of social marketing

 Google’s $250m Wildfire deal boosts the value of social marketing

Google's purchase of Wildfire last week for a reported $250m is confirmation that social media marketing has come into its own.

In the past few weeks we've seen three major deals that amount to a billion-dollar bet on the power of social marketing. Apart from Google's purchase of Wildfire, we've also seen Oracle buy Vitrue for $300m and Buddy Media sold to Salesforce for $689m.

There is still plenty of room in the market for more players. Everyone is doing something slightly different, and evly has a unique edge because unlike most other social marketing companies we're not just about entertainment.

Both Wildfire and Buddy Media have specialised in relatively shallow customer engagement through competitions, sweepstakes and other light entertainment. The information flow is still very one-way. The client can count clicks and shares, but richer communication doesn't happen. We think that leaves a lot of value on the table.

evly enables rich, two-way communication between brands and their customers. Customers are one of the best sources of innovation and ideas any company has. But traditionally it's been difficult and expensive to tap into that resource with brands not truly knowing who these people are. With evly, the power of social engagement becomes easy to harvest – and that same engagement can be extended not only to fans, but also to employees.

While Facebook is the current favoured platform for customer engagement, any serious social marketing player should be able to engage with customers across multiple platforms. Facebook has done a good job of accommodating brands and organisations, but it's not purpose-built for them. There are other ways and places to reach customers, and more will continue to appear. The key is to engage with people in their own preferred environments.

If you harness it correctly, the power of social marketing can turn marketing from a pure cost to an investment in the future sustainability of a business.

Published in Online
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:41

Long-term partners Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) and Ogilvy Cape Town have recently launched Street Quest, an innovative campaign that combines Facebook with Google's Street View to create an online game. The campaign, a digital interpretation of the family car game 'punch buggy', originated from the agency's digital team and is aimed at showing just how prolific Volkswagen is in South Africa.volkswagen-street-quest-game-screen
The game uses Facebook as a platform through which players navigate Street View to find and 'pin' as many Volkswagen vehicles as they can from all over South Africa. By pinning the vehicles, players increase their points and win weekly prizes from Apple as well as a chance to play in the Grand Final. This event takes place in Cape Town and sees the four weekly winners take to the streets to 'pin' Volkswagens in a live playoff armed with a camera, a full tank of petrol and a film crew.
In existence since May 2007, Street View is a feature of Google Maps that allows people to explore the world through 360-degree high-definition street-level photographs. As a result of this level of detail, Street View lends itself perfectly to creating a truly immersive gaming experience.
"The Street View platform has not received much attention from marketers locally and, certainly, we've not used it in this way before. While this has meant that there were a number of new challenges, by using Street View we were instantly provided with hi-def images and scenery that would usually have to be painstakingly developed at huge expense," comments Nicholas Wittenberg, Head of Digital at Ogilvy Cape Town.
The campaign has allowed the agency to kick-start VWSA's Facebook brand page and social media presence as well as being a chance for it to really engage with the VW fans and customers by meeting them on their territory, on their terms. Since the launch of the game three weeks ago, the Facebook fan page has received over 10 000 likes, over 250 000 VWs have been pinned in the game, and, due to popular demand, the game is now also available to play on android phones, iPhones and tablets.
The campaign runs for six weeks from 9 July, for further details visit Volkswagen's Facebook brand page ().

Published in Online
Monday, 23 July 2012 22:14

Retailers: Is your future online?

Retailers: Is your future online?

With the growing maturity of internet services of all kinds, the necessity for a web shop for even smaller retailers is becoming more pronounced than ever. Where a decade ago, the suggestion of a push towards ecommerce and a move away from 'bricks and mortar' was undoubtedly ahead of its time, a lot has changed since then. Today, buying products and services online is, for many consumers, the epitome of convenience and value. It is also second-nature.
There are several factors which have combined to make it far easier, far cheaper and now also far more necessary for almost every retailer to consider an online sales presence.
From a technology point of view, the software and tools required to create a self-managed web store have advanced enormously. Where previously it was a complex, time consuming, clumsy and very expensive process to get your shop on the web, today it can be done in as little as three to five days. That includes full functionality to take credit card payments and with integration of the web shop front into the back-end ERP system.
Perhaps even more important is the ability for the retailer or their employees to manage the site, adding new products or items, introducing special deals, and so on. Combined with the low cost of establishing the web store, it is therefore possible to establish a new revenue stream with very little capital expenditure. Indeed, most web shops should fully repay the cost of their establishment within three to twelve months of commencing operations.
Of course, the web store has the 'traditional' advantages of an online marketplace, including a nationwide or even global reach, around-the-clock trade and reduced overheads as goods can be shipped straight from stock or even from suppliers.
With the runaway popularity of smartphones, combined with ever-faster and more affordable terrestrial internet connectivity, even if people aren't buying online, they certainly are searching to check prices, specifications and options. You want your store to be in those search results, so every web shop should be Google-optimised.
Retailers are compelled to consider online sales too, because the competition is increasingly moving online. Add to that the presence of new retailers like Groupon and ShopSavvy which are competing for the same customers and the necessity to take action should be clear.
With internet shopping becoming standard practice for more consumers than ever before, the time has never been better for the retailer to consider a move into the online space. It may just be a move that assures the future of your retail operation.

Published in Online
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