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digital

A green keyboard button with the words 'Access' on.

Accessibility: An interview with Rebecca Cryan

Our Senior Digital Editor, Rebecca Cryan, talks about accessibility at Macmillan and our most recent audit.

What is the importance of accessibility at Macmillan Cancer Support?

We consider our website to be a digital service. Our cancer information, our online community and content like the financial guidance tool need to be accessible to everyone. Web accessibility is vitally important to us meeting our organisational aim of being there for everyone affected by cancer.

It’s also important that all the ways people can give to Macmillan are easy too. We don’t receive any government funding so we can only provide our services to people thanks to the generosity of our donors. Online giving is an expanding proportion of our donations portfolio with over 17% of all money raised by Macmillan in 2017 coming from online. Accessible forms and sites mean that it’s easier for everyone to donate to us. Developing accessible sites is also more cost-effective in the long run, meaning that we’re using our budget in the most responsible way, which is obviously a key consideration for a charity.

Since people are living longer with cancer, our demographic is skewing older, which is also a segment of the population more likely to have accessibility needs. So, accessibility is important to make sure we’re providing for our specific audiences.

However, it’s important to note that making our content accessible doesn’t just benefit our disabled users, it makes it more usable for everyone using the site. Logical navigation makes it easier for everyone to find what they’re looking for; correct mark-up makes the site perform better and faster, across all devices; proper labelling and use of alt-text improves SEO. So there are many benefits to making our sites accessible. It’s important to us for a range of reasons: social, legal, financial and technical.

What have you done recently to improve accessibility at Macmillan?

Over the last year we’ve really focused on helping people across the organisation understand why accessibility is important and how they can support our aims. We’ve started a working group made up of front-end developers, UX/UI designers, graphic designers, content creators and editors. These people are all involved in the production of a piece of content and can all do their bit at their touch-point with the content.

We’ve also worked on a policy so we can be really clear about what accessible means to Macmillan and the minimum standards we expect of content produced both in- and externally.

In order for us to move towards having fully accessible digital products, we need everyone to be on board and understand what they can do to make it happen. Accessibility is everyone’s job.

Why do we conduct accessibility audits?

We audit to check how we’re doing against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This is a globally recognised set of standards for creating accessible websites. For us it’s the best way of understanding where we’re doing well and what needs more work.

We use an agency called Nomensa to perform formal audits for us. They are extremely thorough, performing over 200 manual tests per page. We tend to select pages which are representative of a wide range of our content and audit those, so we can apply the results as widely as possible. Day-to-day we perform accessibility checks on all new and updated content; it’s a part of lots of people’s jobs including developers, designers, and editors.

When do we audit?  

We tend to audit at different times, for different reasons. Sometimes we’ll do an audit on a specific section which we plan to dedicate significant resource to over the next few months. This gives us a clear awareness of the issues and strengths before we start work.

Sometimes we’ll audit content of strategic significance such as our forms to make sure we’re flagging any potential issues. We then use the results to form a business case for making changes to these areas.

What were the key elements looked at in our most recent audit?

As I mentioned, Nomensa do over 200 manual tests per page so they highlight a really broad range of issues. We asked them to look at our Donate, Events and In Your Area sections where they discovered we were missing some text alternatives on images and some interactive page elements were not keyboard accessible.

We also don’t have a skip-to-content link allowing users to bypass the navigation and get straight into the page content.

These findings give us a really clear plan for things to work on, to make sure our digital sites are available to everyone who needs them.

 

Image: Shutterstock

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:

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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:

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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.

 

Social Media: The Importance of Being Aware

Social Media Officer, Hayley Devlin, discusses the importance of awareness days/weeks/months.

As a cancer charity, we see awareness days a lot. October, famously, is for Breast Cancer Awareness. In January, we have Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and in June it’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week. In November, it’s a triple whammy: Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Mouth Cancer Action Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Here’s an example of a Facebook post we ran for Lung Cancer Awareness Month: 

lung-cancer-awareness-month-fb-post-002

Our Social content calendar features a whole host of ‘awareness’ days and they’re not always cancer related. There’s Deaf Awareness Week in May, Random Act of Kindness day in February and (our personal favourite) World Emoji Day in July.

But why tie in some of these seemingly frivolous days with our content? Shouldn’t we be posting about different cancer types all the time anyway?

Social media is, essentially, just a big conversation. It’s a loud and busy one, and it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the crowd. Awareness days, weeks and months are great because they usually trend, making the conversations visible to people who might have otherwise missed it. As social gets more saturated, reaching new audiences organically (without any spend) is becoming increasingly difficult. The #AwarenessDays are great, because they’re a conversation that lots of people are already having, and present us with the opportunity to add in our two cents, reaching new people along the way.

Of course, cancer awareness days/weeks/months are particularly important to us. They give us an excellent springboard to create content we know will not only be relevant, but that people are also looking for. One of our top performing posts of the year came from Cervical Cancer Prevention Week in January. It had a staggering organic reach of 362,319, was shared 2,048 times and earned 5,115 likes. To put that into context, our top performing post this year was our tribute to Caroline Aherne. It had an organic reach of 549,909 people and earned 6,554 likes. It was also a video, which we know the Facebook algorithm still favours, so the fact that our cervical cancer awareness post did so well is a testament to how important they are. 

Here’s an example of a Cervical Cancer Prevention Week post:

cervical-cancer-post-fb-002

On top of allowing us to showcase our cancer information and support services, the more ‘fun’ days are a chance for us to think more creatively. They give us the opportunity to showcase Macmillan using an angle we may not normally go for. For #WorldEmojiDay, we created a timeline out of emojis to help show how we’ve grown as an organisation since our beginnings. The World Emoji Day tweet had 38,477 impressions, which is more than double our average (average of about 13,000).

Our World Emoji Day Tweet:

world-emoji-day-tweet-002

On #WorldKindnessDay, we used a quote from the Not Alone Campaign and a tip from The Source to encourage people to share their own tips on the platform. We used #WorldHelloDay to introduce some of the experts we have on the Online Community. We’re always on the lookout for new awareness days to consider for our content planning.

Mind you, I don’t see us posting about International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day at any point soon!

To find out more about our awareness days/weeks/months, follow our Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

 

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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Inside UX: An Interview with Bruce Waskett

Curious about UX? Bruce Waskett, former Head of UX and UI at Macmillan explains what it is, and how it fits in at Macmillan.

What is UX and why is it important?

User experience (UX) has become a very over-used and misunderstood term in our industry for a few years now. It has always been a broad-ranging skill and discipline but certain terms are often picked up on and become the ‘must have’ thing for organisations and people.

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Periscope and Facebook Live logos

Live video: Experience the world through someone else’s eyes

In this post, Bernard Muscat, Senior Social Media Officer at Macmillan, aims to demystify live video, identify key live-streaming platforms and provide best practice tips for creating engaging live content.

We are seeing a large increase in live video content on social media.  By tuning in to live video, users can experience the world through someone else’s eyes. For example, you could be at home in the UK and watch live events from the streets of New York City, Bangkok, or Melbourne, if someone is holding up their device and live-steaming.  Users watching the live video are able to follow live, respond and interact with the live content.

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Instagram Stories: New feature launched today

In this post, Social Media Officer, Alice Hajek, talks about the introduction of Instagram’s new feature – Instagram Stories and what it means for Macmillan.

Today, Instagram launched a new feature ‘Instagram Stories’, in an attempt to fill the platform with less polished, more real time content. Very similar in name (well, pretty much the same name) to Snapchat’s My Story function, the new feature allows you to share photos of your day that you may not have published to your Instagram profile ordinarily. These photos, just like Snapchat, will disappear within 24 hours. You can also use their drawing tools and emojis to enhance your photos (like Snapchat).

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Icons of graphs and devices to represent google analytics

Google Analytics: An interview with our Digital Analyst

Hattie Biddlecombe, Digital Analyst at Macmillan Cancer Support, uses Google Analytics to provide insight into Macmillan’s online presence. I sat down with Hattie earlier this week to discuss how Google Analytics helps her in her role and the impact that it has on Macmillan.

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