Tag Archives:


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

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.

Read more +

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.

Read more +

Multiple devices displaying the Macmillan website

‘Mobile first’ and Agile: hand and glove

This week our mobile project manager Andy talks about how mobile first and Agile are the perfect fit for each other. Follow Andy on Twitter.

I joined Macmillan in 2010. Only one year after the release of the first Android, three years after the first iPhone and eight years after the first Blackberry.

Tablets have not just entered the fray, but now account for almost half of all mobile traffic. And that mobile traffic at Macmillan now accounts for more than half of all digital traffic. In four years we’ve gone from a position of seeing the odd ‘early adopter’ trying to access Macmillan information and services from a mobile device to the majority of that digital traffic now coming from a mobile device. Graph showing mobile traffic to macmillan.org.uk from 2011 - 2014 Is anyone prepared to make a prediction for the next four years? If the answer is no, then we definitely need an approach to handling our digital projects that is as flexible as it can be.

Mobile first’ is an approach to digital development that encourages people to consider the mobile user journey at the start of the process, rather than bolting it on at the end. It suggests that if you can get the user journey for smartphones right, the journey for tablets and desktops will naturally be easier to handle (essentially you will have extra canvas upon which to paint your picture).

This is in counterpoint to trying to shrink down successful desktop designs into mobile (essentially painting a picture on a desktop sized canvas and then trying to work out how to squeeze it onto a small screen, or chop bits off).

Presented this way, I hope you can see the obvious benefits of mobile first. When you add in the time and cost savings of technical development that starts with mobile, it soon becomes the only sensible way to approach any new development destined for a cross-device audience[1].

Agile is a project management methodology designed to enable rapid development, early deployment of work, testing and learning, adapting and changing. Planning a long digital project far into the future (waterfall methodology) no longer gives the degree of flexibility necessary to enable development of a product that makes use of the almost daily changes in the digital landscape. We live in a world where disruptive innovation is now the norm and it’s not happening occasionally, it’s happening all the time.

And that’s why mobile first and Agile fit together like a hand in a glove. Agile is the single best development methodology for adapting to the regularly occurring changes in the marketplace that the disruptive innovation of mobile development creates.

[1] Latest statistics from ComScore indicate: Of the Total UK Digital Population:

  • 3.3m users accessed the Internet exclusively from mobile devices (smartphone or tablet);
  • 8.8m exclusively from PCs; and
  • 36.4m from multiple devices in the last month.
Macmillan website mobile and tablet view

What does ‘mobile first’ mean at Macmillan?

Macmillan’s content strategist Craig Melcher talks about what ‘mobile first’ means at Macmillan and some of the digital projects that exemplify this approach to web design. Follow Craig on Twitter @CraigMelcher.

‘Mobile first’ sounds like a right-wing political party somewhere. Or step one of some poorly translated instructions. But it has a far greater meaning.

50% of traffic to Macmillan websites is now consistently coming from mobile devices (tablets and smartphones):mobile traffic In the next decade, the digital divide (the line between those who’re able to use the web and those who aren’t) will close and 2 to 3 billion people will come online for the first time…from a mobile device.

This means that anyone considering, planning, designing, redesigning or upgrading a website needs to think ‘mobile first.’ This is a complete shift in thinking. In the past, web designers created sites for big, wide desktop screens which meant they could include plenty of content (text, images, graphics, video) and functionality. They loaded it up.

The realities of surfing the web on a smaller device are obvious. You’re on a tiny screen, tapping small buttons with big fingers, and using iffy mobile networks. So this means a website on a small screen needs to strip back its content to only the vital things the user needs. Less is definitely more.

Macmillan on mobile

The Macmillan digital team have been embracing the mobile first mantra since 2011 when we launched m.macmillan.org.uk, which now averages 150k visitors per month. We generally take an adaptive design approach which means that before a user is sent a web page from the server, it detects their screen size and browser type and sends a version of the page to fit that screen size perfectly.

Our recently launched In your area section uses geo-location to work out where in the country you are and deliver specialised content to you based on your location. You can access support groups, fundraising activities, information centres and volunteering experiences that are relevant to you and where you are. Designing this for mobile use means that people can access this information wherever they are in an accurate and smart way:

Our Team Up pilot in Brighton and Hove was designed as mobile first because again, the project is location-based, meaning that people will be using it on the move for the most part, to search maps and arrange tasks. It’s available on desktop sites as well and was responsively designed to adapt to a variety of screen sizes depending on the capabilities of the user’s device:

Our online community is now available on mobile meaning that people can take the conversation with them wherever they are:

A soon-to-launch digital version of the Macmillan Organiser is launching as a mobile app (a self-contained piece of software or program designed for use on smartphones) which means people can take their appointments and treatment details with them wherever they are:

Innovative new fundraising products like Macmillan Today are being designed for mobile to encourage maximum ‘sharability’ and to appeal to a digitally-savvy fundraising audience:

Needless to say, our social channels are perfect for mobile users, allowing people to communicate with us and each other on the move:


It all means that mobile devices are very far from an afterthought at Macmillan. In order to deliver an equivalent experience across all devices to ensure that we’re reaching as many people as possible, and facilitate technology such as geo-locating and social sharing it’s vital that when we’re planning our next digital offering to help our customers and supporters, mobile is the first thought.

Our tweets