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A hand holding an iPhone taking a picture of buildings.

It’s all about the mobile

Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer, discusses the world of mobile marketing, why you should implement a mobile marketing strategy and how to get the best results. 

Mobile is huge. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK (2017) reported: ‘In June 2016, 29 million UK adults used a smartphone to access the internet accounting for 46% of their time online…In terms of mobile online activity, more than 4 out of every 5 minutes are spent on mobile apps with only 18% of time spent browsing sites’. There’s a phenomenal opportunity to find people affected by cancer, potential donators & fundraisers to guide them to relevant information, via their mobile phones.

What’s not working

Word has it, mobile display banners are on the way out. That’s not to say it doesn’t bring results because they can. It can be a great awareness driving tool and generally low cost, but haven’t we all had the problem of loading a web page or a YouTube video and then accidently clicking on a banner ad taking us to somewhere else entirely? It negatively disrupts the online experience, and responses can be similar. There are other ways to utilise the wonderful world of mobile marketing, let’s explore…

Fun and engaging side of mobile Display

There are all sorts of different formats to make mobile marketing more enticing. You can use rich media, video, 360o video, be interactive and combine formats for an increase in awareness, ad recall and brand recognition. Yorkshire Tea ran a campaign with a pop-up ad which allowed users to colour in the image using their phone. An agency called Loop me said it had a 64% uplift on positive response – could you adapt any of your campaign for this type of creative?

An phone showing the Yorkshire Tea pop-up with an image of the drawing coloured in.

Location, location, location

Location targeting can be very useful as our mobiles tend to join us on all our journeys and it’s something that can be helpful in getting to understand our audience. Cancer Research UK recently launched a proximity location-based mobile campaign for World Cancer Day, to send messages to people on their mobiles to encourage them to donate. Giving them presence in areas didn’t have otherwise.

With recent advances in location targeting, Xad, a location-based marketing company, spoke at an IAB seminar recently and reminded us that location is the greatest form of intent. Human beings are creatures of habit. Therefore, a lot of information can be drawn from location data about real-world behaviours and can fuel decision-making.

Dark social

The name implies something of a sinister nature but dark social is merely the information that we share through private channels such as messenger apps, email, and secure web browsers (https) that we cannot track. RadiumOne says, 79% of cancer content is shared in the dark and The IAB UK (2017) also state that instant messaging apps take up 85% of smartphone share of time online. That’s a whole lot of time, where people could be sharing and discussing information on their mobile, that we don’t know about. Is this an area you would like to explore further?

What to be wary of

Paying for a programmatic cross-device campaign? Be careful. Most of the time you will only be paying for desktop activity or android. This is because cookies will be the main tracking component which only android and desktop use – IOS restrict third party cookies. At a recent IAB seminar, Widespace mentioned they’ve recently launched the reach amplifier to help target those who might be using IOS, so this is something worth asking your agency about if you plan to use mobile marketing.

They also mentioned a staggering 50% of mobile ad traffic is fraudulent. Companies such as Whiteops can check campaigns for fraud by using tags to show what’s not working – should you be worried that your mobile campaign might be at risk, ask your agency to check for fraud. This check should be included as added value by any good marketing agency.

So, could mobile become part of your marketing strategy? If you have any ideas or want to discuss your digital marketing activities, just drop us an email anytime: digitalmarketing@macmillan.org.uk

A hand pointing to a graph of traffc analysis

Ad servers and Google Analytics: who to believe?

Sharing her tips and tricks, Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer, writes about how to analyse Facebook campaigns to achieve the most accurate results. 

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3 simple steps to building customised campaign URLs

Digital Comms Officer, Rebecca McCormick, shares her top tips about building customised campaign URLs and finding them in Google Analytics.

1a. What are customised campaign URLs?

Customised campaign URLs are destination URLs that have campaign tracking (or “parameters”) added onto the end of them. These “parameters” allow you to easily identify the campaigns that send traffic to your site, in Google Analytics.

1b. When do I need to use them?

Customised campaign URLs can be used for all types of online marketing activity that drive traffic to your site – ads, PPC, paid social, organic social, email marketing, etc.

For example, you might not want to just see your incoming traffic from Twitter, but whether that traffic is the result of a particular series of tweets. Or, you might not want to see the influx of traffic from a newsletter, but whether that traffic is the result of a particular banner or link in the email itself.

2. How do I build a customised campaign URL?

To build a customised campaign URL, you will need to use the Campaign URL Builder tool, filling out the fields below. You must fill out the first 4 fields which are shown below:


1. The “Website URL” is the full webpage URL you are directing traffic to.

2. The “Source” is the “referrer” – what specific source brought traffic to the webpage. This could be “google”, “newsletter1”, “twitter”, “exampleblog” etc.

3. The “Medium” is the “marketing medium” – the type of activity that brought traffic to the webpage. This could be “organic”, “email”, “banner”, “cpc”, “referral” etc.

4. The “Name” is how you want to name and identify your specific campaign, promotion, or product. This could be “notalone2017”, “givingtuesday”, “longestdaygolf” etc.

“Term” and “Content” are optional fields, often used when creating customised campaign URLs for paid search or ads. For when to use these fields, please see the definitions below:


For consistency, it’s best to fill in the fields using lowercase with no spaces and no special characters.

As you are filling in the fields, or making any changes to fields, the URL will be automatically updated below. Click “Copy URL” to copy the full URL. Alternatively, click “Convert URL to Short Link” to convert the full URL to a shortened Google one. Shortened URLs are useful when a full URL is difficult for users to remember, or looks confusing or unattractive for users. Another option is to convert your customised campaign URL using a URL shortening site.

3. How can I find data for my customised campaign in Google Analytics?

Log in to Google Analytics.

1. Select your chosen “view” and date range in the top right-hand corner. Navigate to: Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns.

2. Type the name of your campaign (that you used when creating the customised campaign URL) into the search function. If you can’t see your campaign, check that you entered it correctly or try typing in just part of the campaign name. You can also click “show rows” in the bottom right-hand corner, to show more rows.  Isolate your campaign from any others by clicking on it (the name, in blue).

3. You’ll then be able to see the data arranged by “source/medium” (based on the naming conventions that you entered when creating the customised URLs). You can isolate one “source/medium” from any others by clicking on it (the name, in blue). If a specific “source/medium” is not showing, try clicking “show rows” in the bottom right-hand corner, to show more rows.

4. If you want, you can then select the box next to your “source/medium” and click “plot rows” (just above it) to plot its performance over time. Or you can click “Export” at the top of the report, to export the data to a csv or pdf.

5. When exporting data, remember to click the “day”, “month” or “year” button, and select the metrics that you would like (using the drop-downs above the graph e.g., “Sessions” and “New Users”) to dictate format and content of your csv data.


Screen with illustration example of a Google text ad

Say hello to Google’s new expanded text ads

This week, Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer at Macmillan, gives us an overview of the recent changes to Google AdWords and its impact on our search ads, as well as tips for creating expanded text ads.

Have you heard about one of the latest changes to Google AdWords? We only have until January 31st, 2017 to change all Standard Text Ads to the new Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format. So if not, it’s time to find out more.

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Mailbox with envelopes flying out of it, representing email

Using automation to personalise email campaigns

This week, Bryony Ashcroft, Digital Editor at Macmillan, spoke to our Email Marketing Officer, Fearn Sandison about how she is using automation to personalise our email campaigns.

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Happy Twitterversary: Digital Twitter account's 5th birthday

We celebrate our Twitterversary

It’s been five years since we launched Macmillan’s digital Twitter account @mac_digtal and what started as a digital hatchling in 2010, has blossomed into a hashtagging T-Rex. 

Over the years, not only has our Twitter following grown, but the Digital team here in the office has more than doubled in size. This means more news, more exciting projects and more digital activity. Okay, so we’re no @macmillancancer (305,000 followers to date!), but we think of ourselves as small yet mighty, finding the most interesting topical news and delivering it with a smile.

In the last 90 days, we’ve averaged one new follower a day- which we think is pretty great- and we’ve kept those followers up to speed with just about everything, from new digital innovations and charity campaigns that interest us to job opportunities within the team.

Cut yourself a slice of that leftover Coffee Morning cake and take a look at our top 5 tweets of all time:


Top tweets


9 retweets: Celebrating 5 years of the digital twitter account.


Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 10.25.27


14 retweets: Encouraging our following to take the survey and share their thoughts on the website redesign.


Top tweet of all time asking our followers to check out our new site launch and take the survey to tell us what they thought. It got 21 Retweets.

Needless to say our hashtagging game has of course been #excellent….

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 12.36.58

and our top mentions show that we especially love to tweet about what our Head of Digital, Amanda, has been doing. Well she does do a lot!

Top mentions: @amandaneylon, @macmillancancer, @robsterlini, @we_are_nomensa and @youtube

Do you follow the @mac_digital account? If not, there’s no time like the present. FOLLOW US HERE.

Snap your support or pledge your support to our General Election campaign

100 days to go…

Until the General Election. In those 100 days, almost 100,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the UK, almost 24,000 people will die from cancer, and almost 2,000 of them will die in hospital when they wanted to die at home.

That’s why cancer must be a priority at the next General Election, and that’s why it’s Time to Choose. We’ve created a digital platform where you can pledge your support to our three election calls:

Choose living well: Demand earlier diagnosis and better support after treatment to improve outcomes so they match the best in Europe.

Choose dignity: Demand health services that protect the dignity of patients, while giving staff the support they need to do this.

Choose a good death: Demand the free social care people need to fulfil their wish to die at home if they choose.

There are two ways to get involved. Simply register your details to pledge your support. Alternatively you can snap your support to join our wall of supporters, and share on social media to reach even more people with our campaign.

Fright fest

It’s time to carve the pumpkins, stock up on the fake blood and ignore the constant ringing of trick or treaters. Yes, it’s Halloween again and with it comes plenty of spine-chilling adverts to sink your teeth into. And here are a few that have had us cowering behind our desks this week.

The dead undead

It might look like a scene from the latest George A. Romero flick, but this video is actually part of a campaign by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. The action takes place in the midst of a zombie apocalypse to highlight the importance of CPR in making the dead, ‘undead’. Get it?
It has reached nearly 600,000 YouTube views, which along with it’s great website, has grabbed the attention of some of the world’s biggest media companies. Business media magazine Fast Company praised it as one of the best ever Halloween ads. And it certainly had us reaching for the light switch.
The campaign also encouraged the public to buy tickets for the ‘safe zone’ at Canada’s Holiday Halloween Haunt to learn for themselves how to make the dead ‘undead’. And it proved a massive success with more than 5,000 people taking part, a North American record for people learning CPR at one time.

Dirty devils
With the ticking clock, the chilling screams and the dark setting, the latest ad from Dirt Deivil could almost pass for a scene from The Exorcist. But instead of revealing a demonically possessed child, Dirt Devil recreated one of the film’s most memorable scenes to show just how powerful their own ‘Devils’ can be.

Can you remember you worst childhood nightmare? Whether it’s clowns or giant bunnies, they’re all turning up in Fragile Childhood‘s latest awareness video.
Using some truly terrifying monsters, it highlights a child’s perception of their parents under the influence of alcohol. As the story unfolds we realise these creepy ‘monsters’ are in fact grownups. The video questions ‘How do our children see us when we’ve been drinking?’ in an attempt to make parents aware of the damage their drinking can sometimes cause their children.

It’s already grabbed a lot of attention with more than 1.5 million YouTube views. And we think it’s a brilliant way of getting parents to think before they drink.
Horror hotel
Doritos found the perfect way to put some more bite back into their brand with the help of a spooky internet game.

Inviting teen players to spend the night in the very haunted, very scary online Hotel 626, Doritos employed some clever techniques to create a unique gaming experience. The game sends players on a scream-inducing journey to escape the hotel and its terrifying inhabitants with the help of their own technology. Your computer microphone allows you to sing a ghoul to sleep while your camera flash banishes the hotel’s scary maid. What’s more, the game takes a cheeky photo of you using your own web cam which appears in the game inside a madman’s lair. To add to the terror, the game can only be accessed in the dark (between 6pm and 6am), and your only salvation is a creepy phone call on your mobile giving you directions out.

The games and its follow-up Asylum 626 proved a massive success for Doritos. Four million people in 136 countries viewed Hotel 626 alone, driving Doritos sales back up.

Make a stand

What do Gwenyth Paltrow, Alan Carr and mum-of-three Trish all have in common?

They’re all standing up to cancer, and they need your help to do it.
It’s a harsh reality that more than 1 in 3 of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point. But Stand Up to Cancer want us all to beat the odds.

What started as a campaign by the US Entertainment Industry Foundation has grown into a global cause which aims to create new cancer treatments and awareness. And now our glitzy transatlantic friends are joining forces with Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK to bring the star-studded campaign to Britain.

At the heart of it all is Channel 4’s fundraising extravaganza which is bringing the biggest stars of TV, film and music together to raise millions to support the campaign. It isn’t airing until 7.30pm on Friday 19 October, but in the meantime you can get involved by fundraising, buying merchandise and spreading the word all over the internet. What’s more you can also check out the website for more information. And make sure to watch their brilliant ad campaign and videos by people affected by cancer and celebrities alike.
 Here at Macmillan, we think it’s a brilliant campaign, which we’re sure will inspire millions around the world to stand up to cancer together.

Behind closed doors

Would you intervene if you believed someone was a victim of domestic violence?

Less than three in five people said they would.

It’s a startling fact, but a fact that Amnesty International used in their It happens when nobody is watching campaign to open people’s eyes to domestic violence.

It’s the first of its kind, an interactive poster that responds to people looking at it. When staring at the poster, the couple appear happy and normal. But when you turn away, the man is seen beating the woman. It cleverly shows how easily domestic violence can be overlooked because it usually happens when nobody is watching.
This Berlin bus shelter was the only place to receive one of these brilliant ads. But we think it’s an excellent way to get an important campaign into the public eye.

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