Friday, October 21, 2011


Most people by now are familiar with cookies. They are the friendly pieces of code that remember you on the web – helping you fill out forms, remembering your location and keeping you signed in. They are also the way we track our advertising - how we discern uniques, how we track sales, how we behaviourally target & retarget. They are in short how the web knows who we are.

Super cookies have been in the news lately. The label is a bit of a misnomer, but generally refer to a type of cookie that is indefinite, difficult to delete and tracks a lot of data.

Most cookies have a limited persistence: 30, 60, 90 days… Advertisers limit cookie windows so as not to over-count conversion. One week, or even one day windows are not uncommon. Super cookies however are indefinite, tracking users across months or years, building a rich data pool about their behaviour. Sound familiar? That’s because they are the cookies often used for behavioural targeting.

In themselves these cookies are fairly innocuous - what worries some people is how difficult they are to delete. Regular cookies are fairly easy to delete as anyone with a slight knowledge of internet settings or a spyware program knows. A supercookie however isn't, it is hidden in the depths of the registry. And their close relatives Zombie cookies (seriously you can’t make this stuff up) automatically recreates itself after a user deletes it.

Also the data these cookies collect can concern people - the news Facebook tracks users across the web even after they have logged out, is a good example [watch this space for another post on Facebook vs Privacy, that is a whole other war]. A supercookie allows a site (or network) to build a profile of a user, sites visited, words searched, products purchased. This seems frightening, but really shouldn’t be. Sure a network might know I have read TV reviews, searched for a Sony Bravia & spent time on Trade Me looking at TVs – but if it means they serve me ads for new TVs, it only improves my browsing experience. All reputable networks or sites selling behavioural data, sell segments -- data aggregated and never personally identifiable.

So what does this mean for advertisers? Any data collected by us as an agency is covered through the
Mediamind privacy policy But if you are currently using retargeting – this should serve as a reminder to check your data collection policy & ensure it is clearly defined and easily accessible on your site. It’s important to provide the ability to opt-out - direct your users to this page

Cookies are nothing to fear, they make our browsing experience faster, more relevant and more personal. Just make sure you have the right safeguards in place to prevent a tummy ache…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Digital Media Manager / Senior Planner Job Opportunity

PHDiQ is the digital media agency for PHD network in New Zealand. We work with some of New Zealand’s leading advertisers, developing innovative and engaging media opportunities on the internet, mobile and in other emerging media.

We are looking for a Senior Planner or Digital Media Manager to join one of our digital teams, working as part of a team of 6 across a broad range of blue chip clients. You will be responsible for day to day client account management, strategy and planning and working with the team to ensure the correct buying,  implementation and optimisation of campaigns across all digital media including display, mobile, social, online and search.

Ideally you will have 4+ years experience in media, with at least 18 months experience in digital. It is expected that you will be analytical and inquisitive, have good account service skills and have some experience of third party technology platforms including Media Mind, Google Analytics and Pegasus (or similar). 

Please email me your CV if you're interested in the role (

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Facebook Page Insights

There are now 2.1 million Kiwis on Facebook, making it an increasingly important platform for brands. Thanks to changes to Facebook’s reporting platform, businesses can more accurately measure how consumers are interacting with their pages. The most significant change has been the inclusion of “People Talking About This” becoming visible to users. The much improved tool is called ‘Page Insights’, which in a nutshell allows Page owners to understand and analyse trends, demographics and consumption of their content.

This is a long overdue tool that will help page owners to optimize their publishing strategy.

I have created my own page and as I begin my quest for Facebook popularity, ‘Page Insights’ becomes an essential tool to be used every day.

There is only going to be one true measure of success; the ‘page likes’ and ‘talking about this’ figures. I shall keep you posted on my progress in achieving higher levels of fans and how I have utilised the tool to my advantage.

Out of all the Pages on Facebook it turns out Facebook is the most popular page with 54 million likes, meaning 93% of the Facebook population still is yet to like the platform they are using.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jobs Done - Yeah Right

Last week Tui seemed to mock the death of Steve Job’s with ‘Job’s Done – Yeah Right’ billboard. That wasn’t what the copy was written in response to, but imagining for a moment that it had been, I would have applauded its sarcastic intent. While he is rightfully mourned by tech nerds, graphic designers, obscure bands, hip mums, hipsters and everyone in between, he’s far from done – Tui were, unwittingly, quite right.

As important as functionary office tools, having a video platform for lol cats, a search engine to find them all and a place to tell your friends what you what you Like are to the world, Steve Jobs provided the commercial bridge of taking computing out of the labs of white coated maths boffins and into the hands of the average Joe Blog (yes, pun intended). His efforts of 20yrs ago look modest now compared to the renaissance of Apple in the last few years with the release of products like iphone and ipad to the adoration of the masses. These devices have drawn audiences to new screens and will continue to influence the way that they consume content.

This is where we as agencies and clients owe our thanks to Steve Jobs. His own vision and innovation, and that that he inspired in others, will continue to influence how we reach our audience, whether it be via Apple products or competitor derivatives.

For example, he is the reason that we are able to offer innovation in the increasingly, and perhaps eventually most, important space of mobile advertising. With this medium he has helped us refine the messages and targeting to our audience. That might only be to 20% of the New Zealand market now, but Jobs has already determined that figure will quickly jump to 50% and beyond.

He is the reason that the magazine industry can see light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is of course the glow of a Vanity Fare on an ipad, maintaining an important long dwell time audience for us to speak to.

So sure, the content, like David after the Dentist, is important of course, but Job’s has not only best designed how we receive it, but makes us want to consume more. He has provided the building blocks of not only how, but where we can deliver messages to consumers. His work over the last 30yrs and legacy assures that he’s not done yet.

Graeme is a Digital Strategist at PHDiQ by day and runs a Steve Jobs cult in West Auckland in his spare time, preaching on street corners about Steve Jobs most weekends.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Smartphones & Mobile Search – A New Zealand Perspective

I recently attended a BBQ and a friend raised the question “does anybody know the score in the rugby?” to my amazement a friends grandfather pulled out an iPhone, made a search and announced the score.

So, it's safe to say that smartphones and the performing of searches on these devices is not a fad. The following stats back up this view;

  1. A study conducted by Canalys in late 2010 identified that 27% of New Zealanders had a smartphone and Google have predicted that in mid-2011 smartphone penetration reached 35% with the trend to continue.
  2. Based on data published by the IAB NZ, 55% of smartphone users have accessed a search engine via their mobile phone.
  3. Internal Google data indicates that between 7-10% of searches are performed on a mobile device.
The way we use these devices has also started to change significantly as evidenced by these trends;
  1. Until recently, mobile searches were heavily weighted towards quick, low consideration, functional searches for products and services such as movie session times, restaurant addresses, driving directions, etc… but now the time spent online using a mobile device is increasing, with people interacting via social media sites, conducting in-store competitor price/product comparisons, consuming media and making purchases.
  2. A recent Google User Behaviour Study identified that one in three searches on a mobile is locally related.
  3. People’s path to purchase is typically a lot shorter when searching via mobile devices. For example, a recent US study identified that 61% of individuals who made a search for a service on a mobile device called the business and 59% visited the business.
2011 has undoubtedly spelt the rise of the smartphone and we believe that this trend will continue through into 2012 and beyond. The mobile device is closing the gap between generic search based product consideration and purchase. Our recommendation - consult with your agency, prepare your website for mobile users, develop a Mobile Search strategy and take advantage of this ever-growing market.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Ever Evolving World of Facebook

Back in 2009, in a quote on, Mark Zuckerberg said he “envisions a more personalised, humanised web where our networks of friends, colleagues, peers and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline”. Yet it seems that Facebook is playing an increasing role in prioritising status updates by dictating what makes it as a Top Story or a Recent Story for each and every Facebook user. I guess those “rigorous and efficient equations that parse practically every byte of on-line activity to build a dispassionate atlas” have some use after all?

So what does this mean for brands? Quite simply, it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it that matters.

At first brands were obsessed with how many friends they had on Facebook. Then they turned their focus to increasing their engagement rates. And now they’re realising that engagement rates doesn’t tell the whole story either.

Recent disclosure from Facebook on their Edgerank and Graphrank algorithms has sent many brands (and those that manage brand pages) into a tailspin. And so it should. If your objective with each and every post ISN’T to elecit some kind of response from your community, then you may need to rethink your objectives.

Edgerank is made up of three variables (is this starting to sound familiar?):

• Affinity – people/brands you engage with most often, or share interests with, will be given priority
• Weight – the types of content you like to engage with most will be given priority
• Time Decay – how recently the content was posted

(Graphrank, the algorithm for apps, does the same thing, but twice over - once for the app itself, and once for whether the user likes to interact with apps).

Using the question function on a page is a great way to get your average engagement rate up for the month end report, but it’s really missing the point. You have to treat each ‘type’ of status update as equally important, regardless of what engagement rate it delivers.

By posting a question you are increasing your Edgerank score but only for those people in your community who like to answer polls. Asking people to tag themselves in a photo might get what you consider to be a poor engagement rate, but it has just increased your Edgerank score for those who like to look at photos, and those who like to tag photos.

Brands need to continue investing in page growth – that’s a given. But to be truly successful they also need to invest time and resource into planning for participation and developing a range of bespoke content designed to deliver engagement from their existing community.

And it doesn’t seem like there will be too much help from Facebook on this score. For the first time they have a real competitor in Google Plus which has seen their focus shift from making it easier for brands to connect, to ensuring their users don’t jump ship.

Watch this space – it’s going to get interesting!