Make Valentines Day count with Bing Ads

It is that time of the year where the unexpected can happen – where the heart takes over the pocket and those bold enough do all with the power of cupids bow.  It is also a time where you chocolatier, the jeweller, the restaurant owner, the travel agent, the florist …. (Need I Go On !!!!! ) can lend a  helping hand as cupids little helper and ease the purchasing decision with a little help from Bing Ads.

So to get your PPC campaign of to a flying start here’s a heart felt Infographic to help you get the most out of the Yahoo Bing Network.

You will find a little magic with our insights into device trends, some insights into the most romantically searched hotel destinations and discover negative keywords with love.

So make your mark and let Bing Ads help you spread a little love.



Where are you online??

With a move away from mapping into Search Advertising – primarily Bing Search Advertising as the UK lead for Bing Search Ads I have a wider perspective now, which is continuously developing, as to how businesses can take advantage of a wider set of digital marketing tools available to complement their social strategy.  Here are my initial thoughts…..

Today, digital presence, when mentioned mainly sparks up the notion of having a website, social media page of some form or the ability to be searchable via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Bing or other search engine.

The latter is not always considered by many businesses nowadays with a focus more on social media than search engines and is often left to the end when there is a real need for businesses to advertise their products or services. In today’s dependency on technology it is important for all businesses whether a one man band or large plc. to ensure they have all the bases covered. It is also important that all forms of your presence in an online world takes advantage of all the services available as you may be missing an opportunity somewhere.

We all consider Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr etc. or even ancillary services such as About.Me, etc. as the ideal forms of creating awareness of what we do as a business but often what is left to the end is advertising primarily Search Advertising (PPC or SEM). Search Advertising is seen as a burden on the pocket or balance sheet, however, more recently even social media channels have been looking into and have started to invest in their own advertising offerings. Facebook has invested heavily in providing advertising support for their corporate and enterprise customers as have Twitter and LinkedIN. At the end of the day advertising is the oldest social medium that still exists.

It’s also worth noting that when developing an advertising strategy that you consider all channels – Google is not the only medium. More and more customers are considering the value of the Yahoo Bing Network as an additional and alternative platform to Google. Covering 35 markets today and growing the Yahoo Bing Network , catering for both Search (Yahoo and Bing) and Display advertising (Xbox Live, Skype, MSN, Windows 8 and Windows Phone) you have the ability to spread your reach far and wide.

It does not just end there, with mobile being integral to the ongoing growth strategy of Microsoft and Bing, Bing Search is constantly developing new avenues to expand its reach – Cortana, as well as testing areas that are successful today on the PC – bridging the experience gap between PC and Mobile. As you know search on Mobile is very soon due to surpass traditional search on the Web due to the growth in portable devices be it tablets, phablets or mobile phones so undoubtedly this opportunity cannot be missed which in turn provides a greater opportunity for you and your business.

Consider the options, utilise the resource and ask the question. Advertising is an opportunity to expose your brand to the world so why limit your resources, take advantage of all that is available as you may be missing a trick somewhere.

Who Am I ??

Sunday morning at breakfast with the family, sipping through my morning fix and admiring the view into the garden, my youngest suddenly announces – ” I ‘ve got one – let’s play Who am I”.  So begins the round of questions to determine which world leader, notable person or Harry Potter character my son has selected.  After what seemed like 5 episodes of University Challenge to determine the identity, my other son asks “do you have 4 million twitter followers? , did you just announce your new single on Twitter ? – I know who you are ! “, that it dawned on me !!!


It was only once the relevance of the notable person, from a social media perspective,  was determined did the true identity come to light. This made me think – “Who am I ?” – digitally not spiritually…. “What is my digital brand?, Does it matter?”

We now live in an age where our identity and stature in society is slowly being determined by our social media status, our digital brand.  Not so long ago all that was needed was a CV and maybe an award or 2 on the mantel.  Times have changed or rather they have evolved and it is important that we also evolve.

The importance of a digital brand cannot be measured in pounds and pence but is measured by the impact that our digital brand has on our community, how we wish to be known etc.  With the expanse of services available to us today such as Facebook, Twitter, About ME, Tumblr, LinkedIn etc. it is imperative that we choose the right one.  Kate Russell’s book Working the Cloud – The ultimate guide to making the Internet work for you and your business  provides a great insight into the tools available, how they are used and the impact they have on your brand or your businesses brand.


How we choose and use the tools will determine how we will be known as digitally – an Incubator, an influencer, a game changer, or a contributor – what we share to the world and the frequency with what we share provides an insight into who we are.

More so the impact that mobility and the devices that are now available to us has changed the way we use Social Media. We no longer have to wait till the end of the day to share our experiences of the world, we have the ability to be real time and instant,  giving rise to applications such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat etc.

I recently met a professional that stated that Twitter has changed their lives. It has allowed them to share their passion for photography through their mobile phone over Twitter without impacting their professional status or brand.  This led me to another insight – Social Media now allows us to create multiple identities to suit our own needs, lifestyle and requirements.  Socially ( in the traditional sense ) who we are at work amongst work colleagues differs to who we are when amongst friends or at home……there is a fine line but nonetheless we are different.

A similar opportunity is now presented by Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. all present an opportunity for us to create our own multiple personalities in a digital world.  LinkedIn by far has grown to become the preferred tool for professionals – the ability to share information as a subject matter expert, inform the masses regarding a product or service to raise awareness or create a professional network for your next carrier move or seek credibility from our network has given rise to this tool being used on a daily basis.

Whereas Facebook – sharing the fun side of who we are, sharing holiday snaps, experiences, birthday wishes, anniversaries etc. – provides us with a social platform to be connected to those outside of our professional lives.  One again – a fine line exists here as well – there have been many stories of people sharing their Friday night out experiences and photos publically on Facebook for all to view – including the boss or even one of your professional contacts …and you thought you were cool extending a friend request to your boss or client…hmmmm !!!!!


How you manage who you are in the digital world is just as important as it is in the real world – one size does not fit all !!.  More and more HR professionals and recruitment companies have scanned candidate accounts on Facebook before LinkedIn to determine whether they should progress with the application or not !!

All these tools are meant to serve a purpose, however that purpose is determined by you and controlled by you.  A little groundwork, some filtering, profile setting and common-sense will ensure that you have a digital brand the truly expresses who you are or what you wish to be known as.  Taking the time to pay attention to what you truly wish to be known us is imperative as this information will be visible by all.

As well as the initial setting up of your digital profile being important, the constant attention to making relevant changes and updates to your profile is just as important.   You have control and flexibility in painting your picture, therefore it’s up to you to determine what is out there truly answers the question… Who am I ??

Social Media and Location…..



You have checked into the local cinema on Foursquare or the weekend retreat via Facebook places. You’ve tweeted your recent experience at restaurant and now with the aid of GPS you have shared your location. Was this truly the intent, did you really want to share your location to the world and have your private life so publically on display.

For many people this is something of a concern but for some Enterprises this is an opportunity, an opportunity to target an audience that is not necessarily a member of a loyalty an affiliation programme. The benefit of Social Media and Location Based Services to organisations is still in its infancy and if used effectively could prove extremely lucrative in the long term. At present organisations such as Ben & Jerry’s will willingly give the mayor of their local outlet a free scoop, or a regular registration on Foursquare could earn you 250 Starwood Preferred Guest points. It’s this early adoption of incentivizing members that is steadily leading the growth in Location Based Social Media or Location Based Social Networks.

But what value does this truly add to a business? For large businesses one would assume this is as an obvious decision, extending your reach to a wider community, promoting a new product or service to a community that is digital, a community that may not match your traditional target audience or demographic, a community that potentially has a low loyalty threshold, a mobile community presenting an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For large organisations this is a tick in the box but for small organisations the same rules apply. More and more businesses ranging from large corporations to small local tertiary businesses are changing the way they market their brands to incorporate Social Media with many businesses focussing their entire marketing efforts to incorporate the various Social Media tools available.

Regardless of size businesses, all are looking to reach a community of users or looking to promote a service, product or an event and as such relying on an outdoor campaign, or 30 second TV or Radio slot is not enough. Social Media provides the perfect medium for 2 way communication and with the growth not only in mobile and tablet devices but the use of Social Media through these devices companies can truly measure the effectiveness of a brand campaign, event or promotion.

Mads Holmen from BeOn (formerly goviral) makes a valid argument regarding the impact of Social Media. “Social Media provides the only environment where a single share or like could lead to a 1000 followers….” He followed by stating that the effectiveness of a Brand experience shared for 18-34 yr. olds is 42% via social and 24% via email compared to 47-65 yr. olds 17% via social and 30% via email.

For brands the key concern in implementing a marketing strategy is cost. By adopting a comprehensive Social Media strategy through the various options available organisations are able to minimise cost and reach out to their targeted audience. At a recent digital event in London a marketing director of a large FMCG organisation stated “Do not think of Social Media as a mechanism to share photos or updates from your recent holiday. Think of Social Media as a locked door waiting to be opened to your service or product.” As a business one of the factors that remains key is knowing that you are targeting an audience that is going to impact your bottom line. No point reaching out to the masses if you are a local media company supporting Scotland and most of your followers are in Sydney.

This is where Location Based Social Media comes into its own. With many applications today, requesting users to register their location, there is an opportunity for organisations regardless of their size gain greater insight into their consumers and their behaviours.

Loyalty programs today provide brands with an understanding of their customers spend and purchase habits but if linking location based services to the stack allowed brands to gain insight as to where that purchase took place, how much was spent, what was purchased as well as sentiment then brands could become even more powerful at offering a personal service to their consumers.

Consider the following scenario: a customer checks into his local cafe and purchases a Latte, then visits the local deli to purchase a sandwich checking in and commenting on the freshly made lunch. With this information the café could offer there consumer an incentive for a further check-in with a money off voucher against a purchase of a coffee purchased with a sandwich. Win-Win for both retailer and consumer. This level of deep insight into the purchase alongside frequency of visits to the coffee outlet provides the retailer with valuable intel on intent. It also provides an opportunity for the retailer to tailor promotions targeted to the individual or focussing on those less popular items. Why subsidise your top selling brands when you can subsidise those shelf fillers that are gathering dust?

More and more applications now are requesting users to allow their location to be tracked or to share data with a Social Media service such as Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. This extended use of Location Based Services is still in its infancy but if used effectively could provide brands with the level of data that was previously only achieved through extensive and costly marketing campaigns as well providing organisations to be closer to their consumers, enriching their purchasing experience and promoting loyalty.

A few months ago I was having a conversation with an energy company regarding the use of mapping for their business. During the conversation a question was asked whether they could integrate Twitter into Bing maps to provide them with some idea their brand awareness. Using a Twitter Map application created by a partner we were able to search for their brand and have the details populated on a map with some interesting results. The results ranged from feedback regarding their service not only from their region but also from individuals touched by their services whilst visiting a friend, customer, supplier etc. in their region. This level of data was compelling enough for them to start considering how they direct their marketing efforts to help them in re-evaluating how they communicate with their customers but also consider how they focus on the locations where they have had impact outside of their focus. The end result was the development of a Location Based Social Media strategy.

With the growth in consumer facing Location Based Social Media services still in its infancy we can clearly say that there is a potential for enterprise focused services in this area to be born and grow alongside the consumer applications. It also places Location Based Services such as Bing Maps, Nokia Maps and others in a different league…no longer just there to provide me the location of my local store but to also provide me with the value that I as a consumer can obtain from that store.

Trends in Mapping

After 8 years of working in GIS within Microsoft and Bing Maps with some of the leading brands in the industry and a few smaller ones as well as a few start-ups you tend to find that the discussion points, pain points and needs of the many tend to follow a certain theme.

These themes, for me have formulated into or have evolved into a set of trends that I use to define the use of location intelligence within the corporate and consumer space which I am now going to share with you.

I must highlight that this is by no means a confirmed list of industry trends but more an observation on the key factors that impact the use of mapping or are factors that, in my experience, have been considered when integrating a GIS platform within an application be it mobile or web based.

1. Evolution from a single location

The most popular use of web mapping has been within store locator type of applications. Typically these applications only required the need to provide a single location as a reference point. Where is my local store, where is my local station, where is my local restaurant? These are the type of questions that were answered by these applications. However, consumers are now no longer satisfied with just finding their local store or restaurant, they need more information regarding their search or context to their search results. Be it the opening times, is there a pharmacy etc. at my local store or an image of the property, potential costs for purchasing the property, local transport facilities etc. If searching for a potential property. Our need for information has become far greater than before and as a result has provided companies with an opportunity to share more information.

2. Location to Location intelligence

With this shift or evolution from a single location companies now have a greater opportunity to share data and information relevant to the search results. The basis of this information is not only to inform but to add value to the end users search experience. People now wish to see:

· Location data

· Local attractions, attributes, destination data relevant to the application

· Travel information

· BI data


Integration of maps into web applications is becoming ever more challenging as the demand to see more is becoming greater. We are seeing traditional GIS players such as ESRI, Ordnance Survey, MapInfo etc., providing their customers with the opportunities to integrate their content and data with the more dynamic interactive maps of today.

The dependency on maps is growing at a faster rate as the desire to see more increases.

Big Data and the Cloud presents another twist to the movement of Location to Location Intelligence. It presents an even greater opportunity for companies to manage their data and GIS tools provide the medium by which content and data can be presented in a meaningful to the end user.

But what we are also seeing is more and more organisation becoming content generators and distributors, providing data such as census data, purchasing behaviour, social behavioural data etc. with a geographic relevance for organisations to ingest and present to their users.

3. Desire to see more

Organisations are now starting to pay attention to the information they present either internally or their workers or externally to consumers. Too much information can be overload and too little can lead to end users dis-satisfaction. British Airways use of mapping, within their Avios application, is an ideal application demonstrating the “not too much, not to little” concept. The application allows its users to search for a holiday destination based on their points balance, the information presented allows them to see the number of destination choices available, the destination and the number of points required. The value here is allowing the end user to make a decision, a choice, without distorting the selection process with other unnecessary information. We can say that the content itself now has a currency for the site holder. The currency of the content will only retain its value if it fulfils the requirements of the user.


We must also be mindful that the desire to see more is not only confined to the content integrated. Basic features of any interactive mapping platform is also a key requirement and as such Better Geocoding, Clarity and Accuracy of Aerial, Satellite imagery is also imperative. Maintenance and regular updates will ensure that the content retains its currency to the end user.

4. The Social Scene

The use of Social Media tools over the last decade has increased beyond comprehension. There was a time where our daily activities; what we do, where we dine, where we stay, our vacation destination etc. is ours, private, well in this world of check-ins, tags our everyday experiences are now known to the world be it through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace or Foursquare. This increase in Social media has provided an ideal platform for marketers to gain an insight into our behavioural patterns – where we shop, where we dine or go on holiday, how we interact with their products and brands. Understanding our location in these instances provides an important role in supporting how a marketer can gear a campaign. An active Social check in endorses your social activity and location as well as providing an ideal opportunity for organisations to target their services to you. At present this is pretty much untouched but does present an untapped opportunity for brands to provide targeted time based incentives.


Foursquare have begun to test this in markets such as the US. Check-in to a certain location or venue a user is then presented with an opportunity to take advantage of an offer in the nearby vicinity or encourage multiple check-ins in the same location to benefit from a future saving.

Facebook presents an open opportunity for SME’s to encourage their customers to check-in and share their location and experience with their friends – and incentivise this exchange for their troubles, an ideal way to promote a brand.

The London 2012 Olympic Games was classed as the most digitally connected event during Social Media Week in London 2012. The BBC and LOCOG were able to determine the success of the Torch relay by mapping Tweets from spectators, Sponsors such as Samsung, GE, Coca Cola ,were able to collate valuable data based on the events that they were connected to, athletes shared their experiences of London, the games as well as the facilities provided for the games. As social listening tools become more and more intelligent we will see an increase in their adoption as key tools in driving marketing behaviours and devising campaigns and offers based on location.

5. Make it Mine

Over the years the desire to make maps a part of the look and feel of a website has become a key factor in differentiation for many organisations. It’s the small changes, the subtle differences that make the greatest impact, a branded pushpin, mirroring corporate colours within the borders or pop up box, changing the navigation controls for your own user base, the personalisation of maps has grown to provide the consumer with a better user experience but has also become a key component for organisations in enhancing their brand awareness.

Many organisations spend considerable time and budget on customisation of the mapping integration and in some cases involve design agencies to add that little extra.

Take the image above under “Desire to see more”. The map forms part of the Avios experience to the British Airways Executive Club Member. The look and feel, navigation controls, information boxes, pushpins etc. all represent the corporate image and therefore provide a complete user experience in line with the rest of the site.

But this does not just end on here. The ability to integrate data specific to your application and specific to the needs of the end users is another form of personalisation as is the presentation of that information.

6. Integration

There is an abundance of different technologies available for companies to invest in and the investment decision is based on a multiple factors; business needs, budgets, suitability, functionality etc. The need to and ability to integrate mapping tools with other technologies has become ever more important. As a result these technologies need to provide the flexibility and the ease to integrate within their current environment technology. Additionally many companies invest in more than one mapping platform to fulfil a given a task as the capabilities of the platforms can differ. Even in this scenario there is sometimes a need to integrate.

Whatever the need may be organisations need to consider the following when developing an application that integrates a mapping interface:

· mobile technologies

· Cloud solutions

· Browser independencies

· corporate infrastructure

· Incumbent investment in Technology

· Flexibility of integration

· Scalability

· Roadmap of the platform

Whether it be the map styles, data or even just how the maps are integrated, mapping tools need to be flexible to allow for easier integration of data whether the solutions are internally focused or external. The ability to create a unique experience for the end user can be the deciding factor sometimes on the success of the application.

7. Maps in Apps

Finally, no trend would be complete without the mention of mobile. My reference to mobile encompasses not just cellular devices but also tablets and smart devices. With the growth in these devices presenting apps over the last decade maps have become one of the key factors in app development. Maps in Apps provides companies with providing a different representation of their service, allows organisations to add greater context to data. Mapping providers, as a result are changing the way maps are made available to developers.


Subtle changes such as making the overall map control lighter for mobile devices, providing offline capability in mobile applications, incorporation of augmented reality are just some examples where either individual components or complete functionality is made available to organisations and the development community to benefit from and utilise.

With the apps currently in the various market places or stores, irrespective of operator, we can say that many of the mobile apps incorporate some if not all of the above 5 trends.


With a wide array of mapping platform choices available to organisation the decision as to which is the most suitable is not an easy one when developing an application for your customers or for your own use. However by having access to the right tools, documentation and support in delivering a platform that ticks all the boxes is of paramount importance. Bing Maps provides a wealth of resource to its customers and to the development community through the availability of an interactive SDK, API’s to suit yo9ur application requirement, Enterprise Support Team, technical documentation available via MSDN as well as local technical support via your Bing Maps specialist who you can reach via

Digital Noise

Can you cast your mind back to the days before Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, PinTerest etc etc etc etc .  Can you…seriously…seems like they have been around forever.

Foursquare – 2010, Facebook – 2004, Twitter – 2006, PinTerest – 2010, LinkedIn – 2003, all children of a new generation, the 21st Generation evolution.

With so much opportunity to share information whether it be holiday photos, sharing thoughts on recent news or events or even just a straight forward shout out, the idea that your life is your own is no longer an issue.  Some say this could be a good thing whereas a large number of people are still shying away from dipping their toe in the ocean.  Recently, the daughter of a close friend was due to attend an interview at a University.  Through LinkedIn and Facebook she was able to research and obtain information regarding her interviewer which helped her immensely in relating her desire to join the university with his experience.   Contrary to this there are scenarios where well-known personalities and “footballers” or “cricketers” have suffered from the trigger thumb or nervous twitch syndrome followed by the odd “Oops” and ” Oh Oh !!!! “.  Something I heard recently  – “don’t say anything on Twitter that you would not say on a mic”

Twitter currently has around 175m registered users – that is registered users not active, Facebook close to 1bn which is equivalent to 82% of the population of India .  With such a vast populous of individuals currently embracing the new digital revolution the growth in Social Media tools is also on the increase.   A study by Econsultancy documented that in Jan 2010 total Twitter accounts equated to 75m accounts compared to the 175m accounts we see today with actual tweets equating to 15m when compared to todays 93m.  

The power to share has become a global phenomenon with kids in school to the retired enthusiast in an armchair sharing thoughts and experiences with a global community.  Global events provide an ideal opportunity for the public to express their views openly  – London 2012 saw 15m tweets over the summer, however this figure does not account for those messages without #london2012 or #Olympicgames etc…  

But what is most encouraging is the adoption amongst Small Enterprise businesses. 

Social Networking, Social Media, Digital Marketing etc has provided a great platform for organisations to take advantage of the marketing opportunities that are now available through the various channels.    A recent report published by Social Media Examiner  shows  the impact of Social Media tools on either raising awareness of their products and services or attracting new customers.  The beauty with the variety of networks available is that businesses can express an element of creativity and innovation with the tools to hand

– Twitter can be used to provide quick snip announcements, raising awareness, increasing exposure across a variety of demographics

– Facebook provides an opportunity to reach a more direct audience, creating an emotional attachment to your organisations and the products and services on offer  in short a cost-effective and direct advertising platform

-LinkedIn is ideal for raising your corporate profile, creating a digital community, looking for resource that is related to the interests of your company.  A platform for Corporate Networking without the need to promise a coffee !!!!



The ultimate thought and message would be is to 1) adapt to Social Media – requires a change in mind-set, be creative and innovative with your messaging, think of your audience and what you expect from them in return; 2) adopt Social Media – there are lots of tools out there so identify what is right for you, it’s down to one person but to all in your organisation to jump on board, be mindful of your messaging – what is it that you truly want to say? 3) react to Social Media – getting your message out there and shouting to the world is not enough – keep an eye out for what people are say about you and react accordingly.

Love or hate it – it’s here to stay !!

Mindshare and Kinetic join forces for Cannes Lions interactive event map

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. As the most prestigious international creative communications awards, more than 28,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. Winners receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, presented at four award ceremonies throughout the week.

The Festival is also the only truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. Over 9,000 delegates from 90 countries attend seven days of workshops, exhibitions, screenings, master classes and high-profile seminars by industry leaders such as Dan Wieden, Sir John Hegarty, Bob Greenberg, Maurice Lévy, David Droga, Mark Tutssel, Sir Martin Sorrell and Tham Khai Meng, as well as people like Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Stiller, Yoko Ono, Kofi Annan, Steve Ballmer and Bob Geldof.

This years Cannes Lions event which took place from the 17th to the 23rd June, saw Mindshare helping its clients and partners navigate the venues and streets of Cannes through an interactive map designed by Kinetic’s applications development team

In its rooftop penthouse, Club Mindshare, one of three large screens was given over to an interactive map of the event showing bars and restaurants, the schedule for the Lions event, local weather and Mindshare contacts.

Mindshare commissioned Kinetic to produce the application calling on the Out of Home planning and buying agency’s extensive experience of Bing Maps, Silverlight and mapping applications. Kinetic was able to produce a functionally-rich application which allows users to interact directly with the map and its contents through the touch-screen interface, on which the Mindshare team can update content locally as they ‘diligently’ research the bars and restaurants around Cannes.

Mindshare CTO Steve Plimsoll commented from Cannes: “The application is already proving useful, with lots of engagement from delegates attending the Club Mindshare venue.”

As of yet the use of mapping tehcnologies within Media Advetising and Creative Comms has not fully reached the dizzy heights but with agencies such as Mindshare and Kinetic truly realising the benefits of platforms such as Bing Maps we should start to see many more……..Watch this space !!!