Category Archives: Content

7 steps to successful optimisation testing

If your organisation is just getting started with optimisation testing and you are lucky enough to be a part of that journey, you may feel overwhelmed. Just like any venture, creating a plan and sticking to it helps remain focused on the larger goal even when individual steps prove challenging. A transparent process also creates accountability and benefits both the core testing team and the larger organisation.

Here’s a seven-step process that most testing teams can adopt:

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1.Ideation
This is the top-of-funnel stage in which ideas are gathered. Some will be obvious, others less so. If in doubt, ask these questions to identify good areas to look at for testing ideas:

  • What is the main goal of the website?
  • What are the key flows users go through to accomplish that goal?
  • Where are the drop-offs occurring?

There is value in gathering a wide pool of ideas. At companies where testing is already part of the culture, ideas can be sourced from all sides of the organisation as well as from users and clients.

2. Prioritisation
Realistically, no team or organisation can test every single thing that comes to mind. After a pool of ideas has been gathered, those ideas have to be prioritized to determine what to test first.

The Action Priority Matrix is very helpful in tackling prioritisation:

Blog test this second image

Once you’ve plotted all ideas in the quadrants based on the effort required to run each test, including any necessary development and design resource, and the impact you expect it to have, it becomes obvious where to start.

3. Design & development
This is the stage where the test comes to life. Some tests will require design or development resource while others will be possible to create independently. If you’ve plotted your ideas on the Action Priority Matrix, you should be able to differentiate between the easier to create quick wins and the more resource-intensive major projects.

4. QA
Quality assurance is key when making any changes to a website. It is possible for a non-technical tester to do QA if they have the right tools (virtual machines, devices, understanding of browser exceptions, etc.) but it is much safer to follow the established QA process to avoid unexpected trouble. Alert your QA team about tests you are preparing to run and get their thumbs up before making any changes to the site. They’ll thank you for it.

5. Testing
The test is finally live! Be patient. The duration a test needs to run for to reach statistically significant results depends on the sample size, the conversion rate and the difference between variations. Give your test enough time to reveal insights you can use. Strive for a confidence level of 95% or higher.

6. Results analysis
Analysing test results can be a very rewarding part of the testing process. When evaluating a test, keep a few things in mind:

  • Statistical significance: look for a confidence level of 95% or higher
  • Micro-conversions vs. macro-conversions: when testing to improve micro-conversions (e.g.: clicking a button on a registration form, clicking a link in a promotional email), monitor the effect on macro-conversions, i.e. the site’s main goals or key metrics. Clicks and conversions are not always correlated and failing to track through to conversion creates the risk of optimizing against your key metrics
  • Segmentation: if your users come from different markets, geographies or have a variety of experiences on your site, it’s a good idea to segment test results to identify any key differences or patters. This is especially relevant when you test something that may significantly alter the experience for existing users – segmenting for new vs returning users can reveal valuable insights into site usage and user flows
  • If a test fails segmentation is your best friend. Take a hard look at the performance of key segments and identify any major differences. Form a hypothesis as to why the test failed. A failed test will often reveal as much insight as a successful test and might inspire further drill-down exploration

7. Documentation and sharing
Whether they succeed or fail, well-executed A/B tests carry insight worth keeping and sharing. Keep everyone in the loop:

  • Communicate synthesised learnings to stakeholders to give the testing team credit for their work and keep the momentum going in terms of optimisation and development
  • Create a repository of easy-to-read records of past tests and results that can be used to inform future work and to easily introduce new team members to the history of testing
  • Spread the word across the wider organisation to continue generating excitement about optimisation and foster a culture of testing throughout the business

By DMA guest blogger Savina Velkova, Audience Engineer, BrightTALK

LinkedIn Showcase pages: new B2B opportunities?

LinkedIn is having a great run. The B2B platform recently launched in China, it has opened up its blogging platform to all its members and it has announced a useful member blocking feature among a raft of recent updates and design tweaks.

That’s not all. According to Econsultancy’s recent analysis of 2014 marketing budgets, 26% of companies plan to spend the bulk of their social media budget on LinkedIn.

Figure 37

That’s not bad for a site that’s previously been regarded as a recruitment and B2B networking platform.

LinkedIn is fast becoming an important way to generate leads and showcase your company’s expertise, products and services.

And with 42 million professionals creating profiles in over 40 languages across the network, it is a valuable tool for building professional relationships that can lead to future sales.

It is also the no.1 social network for driving traffic to corporate websites, accounting for a hefty 64% of their traffic.

Is your company making the most of LinkedIn?

Most organisations already have a Company page which sets out their stall. We’ve previously blogged about the best ways to improve your Company’s LinkedIn page and the importance of regularly sharing engaging and relevant content – your own and other people’s – on that page.

But in November 2013, LinkedIn launched its Showcase Pages, which extend the platform’s marketing opportunities, and allow for more effectively targeted content. With the company’s recent announcement that it will be retiring its Product and Services tab, there’s no time like the present for businesses to get to grips with their replacement.

How do Showcase Pages work?
Showcase Pages were designed to allow companies with a diverse range of products or services to create pages for individual brands. This allows brands to target their marketing and build relationships within relevant communities. Individuals can then follow the pages in the same way as they would a Company Page and the two should be treated as separate entities. You can’t migrate followers from your Company Page to your Showcase Pages, for instance.

It’s still early days for the new pages, but a few brands, including Adobe, Prudential Financial, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard, have dipped their toes in the water.
Hewlett Packard is primarily known for digital printers and IT. And that’s what its highly successful Company Page proclaims.

HP

But the company also sells IT consultancy and infrastructure services to other businesses, including its Cloud product. This is a product with a very niche audience, so HP has created a Cloud Showcase Page.

It offers visitors the opportunity to participate in a free trial of the Cloud software – something that would not necessarily be relevant on its main Company Page.

HP Cloud

To help distinguish Company Pages and Showcase Pages, the latter offers a larger sized lead image and a two-column layout. Showcase Pages don’t display associated employee profiles or job listings and there is only one placement for ads.

Creating a Showcase Page for your brand

If you’re already the administrator of your main Company Page, it’s pretty straightforward to set up a Showcase Page.

In the ‘Edit’ menu, click on the dropdown and go to the ‘Create Showcase Page’ option.

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Add your page name, and list the administrators for that page. Then click ‘Create page’.

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Add your page description (up to 200 words), your industry sector and your main (or hero) image. Once you’re happy with the page content, you can publish it. It will then be linked to your main Company Page and appear in related search results.

You add and edit content in exactly the same way as your Company Page and your most recent updates will always appear above the fold.

Currently, you can create up to 10 Showcase pages for your company (you can request additional pages from LinkedIn) and your Showcase page will have its own unique metrics to track engagement, trends and audience demographics.

We’re going to get cracking with our own Showcase Page shortly and will report back. Tell us if you’ve built a Showcase Page, and whether it’s had good results for you.

By DMA Guest Blogger Adrienne Grubb, Head of Marketing, Emoderation and DMA Social Media Council member

Data privacy is now a “critical brand differentiator”

Data privacy is now a “critical brand differentiator” for businesses looking to acquire new customers, with consumers’ decision to share information driven by the use of trusted channels and transparency, new DMA research has revealed.

According to the findings of the Customer Acquisition Barometer 2014, 43 per cent of consumers prefer email as their most trusted channels for sharing information, closely followed by 42 per cent who rated brands’ own website as their favoured route. More than four in five (85 per cent) now will only share their information if it’s made clear that it will be used only by the company that collects it; 32 per cent say they expect a clearly worded privacy policy before they share.

The findings follow remarks made by deputy Information Commissioner David Smith, who earlier this month told delegates at the DMA’s annual data summit that brands which make “a feature of [their] privacy approach” and are “getting in tune” with customers are to be admired.

The report also found that only one in two UK consumers (52%) claim to have willingly shared their personal information with a company in the past 12 months, in spite of marketers saying more than half of their budgets (59 per cent) is being dedicated to customer acquisition activities – compared to just 20 per cent on retention.

While email and brands’ website dominate in the trust stakes, social is failing to win consumers’ approval – despite marketers’ commitment to it. Four in five (77 per cent) of marketers said they use it for acquisition purposes, but only 16 per cent rate it as ‘effective’. This is perhaps because 54 per cent of consumers rate it as their least trusted channel for sharing their information.

The report, which was produced by DMA in partnership with McDowall, surveyed 1,509 UK consumers and interviewed 116 senior marketers as the first annual benchmark of current trends in and critical issues brands face in acquiring new customers.

The DMA’s executive director Chris Combemale says that marketers must quickly adapt to the new expectations of consumers:

“Effective customer acquisition relies on trust and transparency which is undermined by some companies, organisations and institutions misusing, abusing and exploiting people’s information against their expectations and wishes.

“The most successful companies are respecting their customer’s attitudes to privacy and making trust a critical brand differentiator.”

The report also reveals that marketers are anticipating a shift in focus on their performance targets. Currently, 41 per cent report cost-per-acquisition as their primary measurement, compared to 37 per cent on quality of leads and 21 per cent on quantity of leads. However, over the next 12 months 35 per cent of marketers expect quantity of leads will rise to become their number one target.

Read the Customer Acquisition Barometer 2014 report

Read the Customer Acquisition Barometer 2014 infographic

By Tristan Garrick, the DMA’s Head of PR & Content

Customer magazines help customers fill their baskets with content

It came as no surprise to see customer magazines dominate the latest ABC Consumer Magazine Report, with six of the top 10 performing magazines in the UK produced by brands, with retail leading all sectors with seven titles in the top 20 published for retailers including Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

There is a clear pattern here: despite the circulation of paid-for print titles undoubtedly in decline, the magazine market is being underpinned by branded customer magazines in no small way. With consumer appetite for rich content showing no sign of abating, owned media and editorialised content are now an integral part of the marketing mix, particularly for retailers. And while print remains important, pushing this content onto the web and personal devices is further strengthening the consumer’s relationship with the brand.
As Marketing Week magazine put it recently: “Customer magazines bring together two strong levers of engagement and connection – branded content and direct marketing.”

Indeed the notion of bringing the shelf into the home is something which increasingly retailers are prepared to invest. More and more, retailers are taking control of their own media channels and using them to build emotional connections with their audience and increase brand loyalty. Consumers interact and engage with these titles and see it as a value exchange, and even more so when coupled with exclusive, targeted offers and promotions.

These titles are by no means a mere exercise in branding or awareness but a powerful tool in driving sales. According to statistics from the Royal Mail, 45% of customers browse through them before making a purchase online, and this is a growing trend.

The next step for retailers will surely be the task of removing any further barriers to purchase: from conviction to basket.  Technology is completing this puzzle well and brands are taking advantage of the interactivity of mobile and tablet browsing to help to drive purchase directly with click-to-buy features and shopping list facilities from recipes, for instance, to push engagement beyond the page.

In an increasingly fragmented and chaotic media landscape, sustainable growth can easily be spotted and retailers want a slice for themselves.

By DMA guest blogger Patrick Fuller, Chairman, Result

Who owns your content online?

MySpace got into hot water last year for deleting years of users’ blog posts before its re-launch. There was uproar from users, and in response MySpace created an export tool to allow them to download their old posts from the site.

Were users right to get upset? Did MySpace have to hand over old posts to users whose accounts had been deleted?

The short answer is that, legally, it didn’t have to do a thing.

What are your rights to the content you post?
If you regularly post content to a social network or blogging platform, you should consider two issues:

  1. Who owns the rights to the content you post?
  2. The availability of the platform on which the content appears.

Let’s look first at who owns the rights to the content. It’s fairly straightforward: if you created the content, you own it. That is, assuming you haven’t assigned rights to another party (for example, a company which paid you to create the content) – and it doesn’t infringe copyright. See my blog post on using photos in social media.

What you don’t own, fairly obviously, is the platform on which you’re posting that content.

If you’re posting to WordPress or Facebook, for example, you are relying on the availability of the platform to host your content for you. You don’t automatically have the right to expect the people at that platform to do so.

Mostly, these are free services. The platform owner couldn’t possibly guarantee the availability of the service – managing the legal risk would be too great. What if it went bust, or was bought? It has to retain the right to delete content, or to suspend users.

Read the terms and conditions
As ever, the detail is in the contract: the terms and conditions that so few people read until it’s too late.

The main social media and blogging platforms retain the right to terminate or suspend the service at their discretion, at any time.

Broadly, what varies is how each platform communicates this. Google’s terms of service (for all its properties including Blogger and Google+), say: “If we discontinue a service, where reasonably possible, we will give you reasonable advance notice and a chance to get information out of that service.

This is an unusually user-friendly statement, and Google is the most explicit of the main platforms on the issue of getting information out in the event of a service suspension.

In July 2013, Tumblr (acquired by Yahoo in May 2013) shut down the account of Bohemea, a blogger with more than 100,000 followers, after the platform received five complaints that she had used copyrighted material in her posts. According to the blogger, she offered to take down the material in question, but was not given the opportunity to do so.

Tumblr’s terms of service say it “may change, suspend, or discontinue any or all of the Services at any time, including the availability of any product, feature, database, or Content … Tumblr may also terminate or suspend Accounts … at any time, in its sole discretion”.

So it was completely within its rights in this case. Sometimes, a platform or service might not have the resource (or inclination) to investigate every legal complaint, and it might just be simpler to delete the post or user causing the problem. Paid sites (and therefore often those with better funding) might have more resources to be able to investigate.

Don’t risk losing your followers and your hard work
But a following of 100,000 is hard won, and even harder to win back after a suspension. There is a real risk that you could lose everything you’ve worked for, if you’re relying solely on a third-party platform as a place to build your reputation or following.

Even if you own the content you’ve created, you may, by agreeing to the terms of a site, be granting that site a licence to use your posts. This is most notably true in Facebook’s case.

The terms state: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.”

However, it goes on to say: “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

So you own your content, but you can’t fully control where and how it is used by Facebook. It is, after all, a free service (for now anyway – note the term that says “We do not guarantee that the platform will always be free”). That’s the trade-off.

How to protect your content
What should you do to protect yourself? Here is my checklist to minimise the risk of losing your content:

  • Always read the terms and conditions of the platforms you use, so you’re not caught out
  • Minimise the risk of suspension: abide by the terms of the platform and check you’re not infringing copyright on anything you post
  • Respond promptly to any copyright infringement allegations
  • Never rely on a platform to be the sole repository of your IP, or your fans / followers
  • Consider spreading the risk across different platforms
  • Have a plan B, in case the platform goes down or your account is suspended
  • Take back-ups of everything you post.

By DMA guest blogger Rachel Boothroyd, Legal Counsel, eModeration

This blog first appeared on the eModeration website

Brand activity to fall in love with

Each month, the Creative Hub of the Brand Activation Council seeks out inspiring work, to share with you, here, on the DMA Blog.

To do this, we ask creative teams and individuals from member companies to put forward new, standout work that they’ve spotted, from anywhere in the world, that involves at least one brand activation element. This might be: ambient, digital, direct mail, experiential, PR theatre, shopper marketing or social network activity.

For our creative showcase, we’re not necessarily looking for joined-up, strategic, multichannel brand activation – simply something that creatively brings a brand to life and encourages positive physical or digital participation.

For February, members of the creative team at Indicia were challenged with sharing their favourite brand activation pieces that proved love was in the air:

Date spotted: 2014-02-10
Client: Ann Summers
Campaign / Brand: Happy Ann Summers Day
Agency/ies: Propaganda
Image: Supplied at 440 wide
Link to video: n/a
Spotter: Richard Norton, Associate Creative Director

Richard says:
Out on the streets, cheeky, subversive and disruptive. Using projection and clean street stencils to get their message out there (sometimes on retail neighbours). If you saw it, you were almost certain to smile. A definite case of naughty but nice.

HD comment:
Naughty but nice? Naughty but cute? Or do you think this is just plain naughty?

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Date spotted: 2014-02-14
Client: Heart Research UK
Campaign / Brand: Heart Research UK
Agency/ies: McCann London
Image: Supplied at 440 wide
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY0EWPhCxjU
Spotter: Clare Gill, Junior Planner

Clare says:
Bang on theme; it’s easy to “fall in love” with this campaign as it helps to nurture the hearts of the broken-hearted by encouraging them to auction off trinkets from past lovers to help raise money for those that physically have broken hearts. The discarded trinkets, packed full of bad memories, are snapped up by individuals using Instagram #instaheartauction.

The item is then put up for auction to raise money for Heart Research UK. The trinket finds a new loving home and the broken-hearted individual discovers new love by helping others. That’s a whole lotta love!

HD comment:
It’s always hard for charities to capture our imagination and be different within their crowded space. This feels like a fresh, simple idea, but maybe a rather complicated physical mechanic?

Proving, though, that love is not just for February, here’s the latest from McCann London, “Following the success of the #InstaHeartAuction launched on Valentine’s Day, Heart Research UK has decided to continue the online instagram marketplace. So broken hearts will continue healing another.”

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Date spotted: 2014-02-08
Client: Evian
Campaign / Brand: I love you like
Agency/ies: We Are Social
Image: Supplied at 440 wide
Link to video: n/a
Spotter: Sophie Forge, Planner

Sophie says:
Before 14 February, consumers who tweeted @evianwater or @evian_uk using the hashtag #ILoveYouLike received a response with an alternative Valentine’s message, such as, “I love you like Robin secretly loves Batman,” or, “I love you like the ’80s love a power ballad,” – just a nice timely engagement mechanic that encouraged followers to “share the love”.

HD comment:
Great alternative Valentine’s messages and clean, stylish pink and white illustrations. Running across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, I’d have liked to see the activation include a physical channel. Other than that, what’s not to love?

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Date spotted: 2014-02-14
Client: Coca-Cola
Campaign / Brand: The Invisible Coca-Cola Vending Machine
Agency/ies: C-Section, Istanbul
Image: Supplied at 440 wide
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjMhZFhD0tI
Spotter: Rebecca Heard, Planner

Rebecca says:
Coca-Cola has come up with a number of brilliant campaigns that reflect its ‘Open Happiness’ theme, a lot of them involving vending machine ideas.

For Valentine’s Day it made ”The Invisible Vending Machine”, which became visible only to couples. When a couple approached, the machine revealed itself and asked for their names before launching a light show and dispensing personalised cans of Coca-Cola.

Why do I love it? Because it’s a  simple, fun campaign which not only truly represents Coke’s ‘brand story’  but one which resonates strongly with its target audience and works time and time again.

HD comment:
Appealing and engaging if you’re already in a couple – not so much fun if you’re still looking for your Valentine!

As Rebecca pointed out, Coca-Cola have done this before, including another couples-only vending machine with C-Section, in Istanbul, for Valentine’s Day 2012.

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Date spotted: 2014-02-24
Client: Three
Campaign / Brand: Sing it Kitty
Agency/ies: Wieden + Kennedy
Image: Supplied at 440 wide
Link to video: http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Sharing_stuff/Singitkitty
Spotter: Morag Lamond, Head of Managed Services

Morag says:
Sometimes all it takes to make you feel good really is a cute kid, a singing cat and a great song. It’s not selling me anything it just made me feel good. Great ad to get people talking and nice end – where you too can get involved.

HD comment:
If you couldn’t resist Elf Yourself, last decade (seriously!), you’ll not want to miss starring in your own music video with Three’s singing kitty.

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By DMA guest blogger Heather Devany, Creative Director at N2O Limited and member of the DMA Brand Activation Council 

3 innovative B2B direct mail campaigns that marketers can learn from

The old days of simple messages in an envelope are long gone – to stand out from the direct mail crowd, you need to get creative.

Grabbing a prospect’s attention as soon as your missive lands on their desk is the hook that every campaign needs, no matter how good your direct marketing data is. So how are successful marketers making that positive first impression? Tetra Pack, NetNames and Oracle take their direct mail to a new level.

The basics: pushing the envelope
You’ve spent money attaining finely targeted direct marketing lists so now it’s time to consider your direct mail’s content, message – and just as importantly – its presentation.

While you may have a call to action that’ll make your prospects go weak at the knees, if it arrives in a brown envelope, you can expect all that work and investment in direct marketing data to be shown the nearest bin before it’s even been opened.

If possible, make the envelope the product, or at least reflect it in the packaging; Tetra Pak, the food and drink packaging company, wanted to show off its new Prisma Aspetic product that allows brands to print over the entire pack.

Tetra sent out Prisma Aspetic cartons with their prospect’s brand printed on it plus a personalised leaflet and a link to an online hypervideo for more information.
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Tetra Pak 2 - Edited

The direct mail alone had a 53% response rate…

Go multichannel
While marketing bloggers can seem obsessed with comparing direct mail against supposed ‘competing’ channels such as digital, the smart B2B marketer knows that using a multichannel approach is becoming increasingly important.

NetNames wanted to make a splash by positioning itself as the leading global brand protection service for business. It focused its campaign on the concept of very literally ‘unmasking’ cyber criminals and deploying a key message ‘Search. Find. Stop’. The visuals were simple – orange ‘cybermatter’ splashed over an invisible thief, revealing his facial features.

Working with Earnest, NetNames created an integrated campaign with personalised content – from social media and microsite content to a powerful targeted direct mail campaign, the latter deploying a two-tiered approach:

Low Value
A simple but highly attractive animated, interactive lenticular postcard with the company’s core message personalised for each industry type and job role the postcard was sent out to.

High Value
A plush box containing a personalised pin-art gadget inside to underline the invisible threat of cybercrime to businesses both big and small.

By deploying such an innovative, multichannel approach, NetNames garnered over 72 meetings during the campaign.

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Think true multimedia
Other mediums can be used to fantastic effect, again with technology and traditional direct mail being used to complement each other. Step forward Oracle’s B2B direct mail campaign that saw the company reaching out to 40 hand-selected companies in the oil and gas sectors.

Using a video-in-a-card (a personalised TV-style news show in a miniature, self-playing video pack), the campaign generated 33 leads and a sales pipeline of over £600,000.

Remember:

  • Innovate with your packaging to ensure prospects actually open it
  • Don’t fear a multichannel approach to complement your direct marketing; embrace it instead
  • Personalisation and targeted direct mail marketing is more important than blanket-bombing hundreds of prospects, so make sure your direct marketing lists are optimised

Before sending your innovative direct mail campaign, download the eGuide ‘Wait – Before you send: The Direct Mail Checklist

By DMA guest blogger Suzanne Stock, Founder Director, Marketscan

Half of marketers don’t use video in social media

In a polarising flash poll conducted via the DMA website, members were asked “Do you use video as part of your social media strategy?”

Results indicate that there is a clear divide between marketers in their strategies when it comes to their use of video content.  Half of all respondents (47.37%/95 total respondents) reported that currently they did not use video as part of their strategy.

While the results are surprising considering the ubiquity of video (+4 billion videos are viewed per day) on multiple platforms and devices – 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube – there are often many real preconceptions surrounding video that put marketers off including:

Perceived cost (services like peopleperhour and Hangouts from Google are rapidly bringing down the cost of quality video production)

Perceived required technology (again, there are fewer barriers to entry – it’s important to realise that not every video has to be ready for primetime – often a quick smartphone video using a tripod is all that is needed).

The best advice is to start small, keep it short, understand the basics (like keyword tagging and correct titling) but ultimately keep it as fun as possible – video needn’t be hard if you go into it with the correct mentality.

Make sure to get in touch with DMA Social Media Council if you if you would like to get involved in future polls.

By DMA guest blogger Paul Armstrong, Founder of Digital Orange Consulting and DMA Social Media Council member