Author: Marketing

21 E-E-A-T Strategies To Supercharge Your SEO And Boost Brand Trust

group of people clapping

By Oliver Wells, SEO Director

Estimated read time: 12 minutes 

Blog summary: In this blog I breakdown the importance of Google’s EEAT framework to modern SEO and business growth. I’ll focus on how to implement experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on your website. Read on to learn how utilizing EEAT strategies not only enhances your organic search performance but also builds long lasting customer loyalty and trust; positioning your business for success in a digital-first world. 

EEAT as a measure of enduring quality

In this dynamic and now AI-influenced landscape of digital content production, Google’s E-E-A-T framework stands as a beacon of unwavering credibility. Born into the 2014 edition of the Quality Rater Guidelines as 3 simple letters: “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) they have since been incorporated into updates both core and micro for as long as I can remember, and now also include a further “E” for “Experience”. We can now see and track the direct and wholly positive impacts of EEAT strategies in organic campaigns, but why is this the case?

“E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”

Hyung-Jin Kim, Vice President of Search at Google, speaking at SMX Next

The value of lived experience

EAT was introduced as a quality concept in response to the growing need for authoritative and trustworthy online information. Fast forward to 2022, and the concept expanded to include ‘Experience’. This represents the value of firsthand, lived experience(s). This evolution wasn’t just an update; it was a statement. Google was championing content not just rich in expertise but also steeped in honest, genuine input. For users, it meant a more relatable, trustworthy and reliable online world, where information comes from those who don’t just know but truly understand the industry because they have lived it – and they aren’t simply writing content in order to sell you a dream. They want to help or guide you towards something, they’re willing to prove themselves to you, and they are happy to be patient.

EEAT as an influencing force

As goes modern SEO, Google’s E-E-A-T has emerged as a powerhouse. Its utilization in the March 2024 update is telling. It’s not just a framework; it’s how you connect with potential customers and website users. It’s how you show them why you’re the best option in a noisy and incoherent grey space of endless choice. By blending experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness Google is able to nudge content creators, business owners and marketing directors (sometimes forcefully and with some degree of resistance) towards excellence. Engaging with EEAT frameworks as they become even more essential, is now a case of when, not if; and there is some degree of urgency.

The focus revolves around rewarding those who know their stuff with resonance that is achieved through genuine experience and transparency – honesty with a dash of true and forthright passion for a craft and a business that wants to thrive. For SEO strategists, myself included, mastering E-E-A-T is not just about playing by the rules; it’s about crafting content that connects with audiences and converts because it is a natural full stop rather than a wrestling match.

Why you need to be using EEAT frameworks sooner, rather than later

So why should you care about SEO and EEAT and what does success look like for your business following continued engagement with these frameworks? The short answer is: online trust = increased business but garnered the right way, consistently and honestly, over time. In our challenging digital world it can seem like every blog and every site is designed to splice attention into consumable chunks, robbing businesses of feeling and websites of humanity.

Therefore, SEOs and Google know and understand that those who genuinely want to engage and talk about a topic are the ones who cultivate the greatest loyalties. Customer loyalty and brand trust being possibly the two greatest pillars upon which strong businesses are built. EEAT is a big thing. I won’t pretend like I am able to discuss it all in one blog post. It encompasses a lot of SEO with crossover into design, digital marketing generally, as well as brand positioning and content creation. But we are passionate about this. We believe strongly that EEAT is the best way to improve organic presence, but we also have an extremely strong feeling that these frameworks are formative to AI and LLM performance. Google may rely heavily on how trustworthy you are, how much authority you have; therefore success in EEAT may very well mean success in AI when AI becomes a major, dominant player in SEO and search.

So, lofty goals we may set, but attainable they are. We have compiled for you below, our top 21 EEAT elements that you must engage with as soon as you can if you want to become a trustworthy organic performance powerhouse.

Unlocking the potential of Google’s EEAT to achieve SEO excellence

Showcase Experience

  1. Use “I” and personal pronouns in your content. Address your audience and readers naturally. We’ve touched on this above but be personable. Talk about yourself as the writer and your experiences relative to the topic at hand and add value with your input. Don’t be afraid of anecdotes. Make your content relatable and authentic. De-mask the featureless writing machine and be “you”. 
  2. For reviews and UGC, try to promote and encourage your customers and users and partners to talk directly about their experience with you as a brand and a business. How did they find an onboarding process? Was their experience with your customer service team positive and why? The value here is in the depth of detail and creating a realistic expectation for others.
  3. Long-form and effusive testimonials are marketing gold-dust. This is a given fact. How you utilize them, once acquired, can be a difference-maker. Make sure you split up a positive review or user-story and inject its influence across your site, content, and marketing channels. You can quote a review snippet into a blog, create an image slider on social media, a testimonial-blast email and so much more. This gives users a great sense of your experience in the industry.
  4. A simple but effective approach is to include dates that relate to your own experiences. If you’re writing a blog, mention your credentials. For me, for example, I have 8 years’ experience in SEO and digital marketing. This one sentence lends credence to my insights and tells Google that my experience can be trusted.
  5. To expand upon the above, when writing meet the team pages or employee information sections on your site (which are a must do but we will get to that!) then include how many years’ experience they each have and where they acquired that experience. What degrees do they have, where did they study, and who are their notable client exposures. If your marketing team of 10, each have between 5- and 10-years’ experience in the industry each, that is a collective (roughly) 50 to 100 years’ worth of knowledge. That is a data point worth shouting about.

Highlight Expertise:

  1. It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to implement the expertise concept is to utilize experts on your site and in your marketing. This can take many forms. You can approach a topic-related industry professional or known quantity to write/author a blog for you. You could also ask for a contribution to a blog piece or you can ask them to provide specific input regarding your service and surface that prominently on your home or service pages. A blend of all is often most effective. Make sure you are displaying the expert’s credentials, qualifications, and experiences as best you can.
  2. Showcase topic experts. When writing content, it is vital that the author is shown. The method of showing also counts here. A one-liner is not enough. We need an author bio of 50-100 words that links the author to the topic. This is an SEO blog. The ‘about the author’ section in this blog talks about my SEO experience. Because I am an SEO expert. Ideally, we need a job title too, and an image of the author (designs coming soon…) You also need to work towards building a bank of content authored by your experts.
  3. Meet the authors. An often-overlooked strategic content piece. A page that showcases all your authors alongside all their subject specialisms and a link to “see content authored by this expert” goes an extremely long way to showing Google and your audience that you are a trustworthy business comprised of topic/industry experts. You can also go one step further and build out author profile pages on a specific URL for each person; allowing a user to deep-dive your experts, their experience, and the content they have written.
  4. Have you written more on the subject matter? Conducted studies, or research? Then link it. You can’t be an expert with a blog count of one. This blends into the final point of consistency. Experts, real ones, write a lot of content. My colleagues know my specialisms, but if I don’t write on the topic consistently then readers, and Google, won’t know or trust that fact. 
  5. Lastly, an expert uses the best sources. So do your research and showcase your findings. The very best blog articles out there link to studies, research, data, reviews and then some. A brilliantly written wall of text just isn’t going to cut it. Google uses these links to cement the content in truth. Utilize the words and insights of other experts to support and formalize your own.

Generate Authority:

  1. Authority can be hard to earn generally and may take some time as a challenger brand or start-up. For established businesses, you might already have authoritative voices in your company. If so, utilize them. You can begin this process with, for example, creating a meet the team page. Who are the people that make up your business and why are they authoritative (you can see here how constituent parts of the EEAT concept are interlinked). Later on, you can engage with actions such as conferences, community events, posting about your presence there on your site and social media channels; develop individual voices with multimedia creation such as podcasts – make the right types of noise in the right kinds of relevant spaces.
  2. Engage with digital PR. DPR is one of the best, quickest, and most effective ways to build your brand authority. We can get your CEO or a HOD listed in newspapers and magazines offering commentary or insight regarding world-events or current affairs. We can get you a full-post placement in an audience/business specific magazine or publication showcasing a new service, entrance into a foreign market or discussing the state of an industry and the potential issues that may (come to) plague it following the announcement of new legislation. DPR builds authority through direct audience recognition. It also may provide a backlink which directly and positively improves your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. Furthermore, Google is now able to detect un-linked brand mentions and employ that detection as a measure of trust and authority. This identification is getting more and more sophisticated (a trend that will continue) as Google moves away from traditional backlinking as a potent measure of interconnectivity and moves towards more natural ways of testing a brand’s impact in press – especially as media backlink inclusion gets less and less commonplace. Hence the truly vital nature of digital PR.
  3. To be an authority, you need to understand a subject deeply whilst also developing your and others’ understanding of it at the same time. To do this, you need to create and commission studies, research and analysis that is new to market. You can survey your audience and publish your findings. You can engage a specialized agency to undergo rigorous testing on your behalf – utilizing the end product across marketing channels and media. This also goes a long way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your specific space(s).
  4. An authoritative site is trusted by others. It is all well and good writing the best blog in the world but if nobody sees it, does it have authority? Following the publishing of a blog piece it is then important to conduct manual outreach to other sites, brands and businesses. You want those other sites to use your piece in their own insights and analysis as a hyperlink or reference. To go back to the above point, if you have conducted excellent research with fascinating end-product data, chances are, media and relative brands will want to use your findings. Thus, the cycle of authority and thought leadership is oft self-sustaining.

Delivering Trust:

  1. Of all the metrics and approaches, the notion of trust is almost certainly the most important as regards all-round business growth and efficacy of method. The first thing you should do is ask yourself the question “how can I prove myself and create a natural, genuine sense of trust between me, my audience, and Google?” Your first port of call should be to ascertain and/or showcase your industry specific business qualifications, certifications and accreditations. These are vast and varied by nature but can cover things such as health and safety, ISO specifications, quality control (QC) and even badges that show users how you encrypt data or ensure safe payment methods.
  2. Award wins and recognitions. If you have won awards for your excellent business practices, campaigns or for a specific project –shout about them! Winning awards and being recognized for your work is one of the best and quickest ways to build trust between you as a business, search engines and your users. If you haven’t won any awards just yet, start applying for some. If you’re in the tech industry, check out our list of the best tech awards to enter.  If you’re an energy company reading this, we’ve got you covered. Browse our comprehensive list of energy awards to enter.
  3. Case studies are key when it comes to trust building. The more descriptive you can be with your case studies the better. Offer insight and commentary on the work you did, the relationship you created, and the results you achieved. Breakdown data and statistics, be clear, up-front and honest about any challenges you encountered. It is important to include a testimonial from the client, a review snippet or a measure of insight from their side. You should also link to the website in question if applicable – cementing the relationship to search engines. You should also segment your case studies for clear access; utilizing menu grouping, unique URL paths and breadcrumbs. Grouping all of your case studies in a bunch together is hard to interpret but creating “SEO case studies” and “PPC case studies” groups makes life easy for potential SEO and PPC clients respectively. You want these case studies front and center, easy to read; concise and valuable.
  4. Fact check all content and keep it evergreen. Dated content no longer functions in our fast paced environment. I wouldn’t trust an SEO strategy blog dated to 2018, or even 2020, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either! Please also keep dates out of URLs, they don’t belong there! I believe it also goes without saying, but don’t include anything in your content or marketing that you cannot prove to be true.
  5. You can’t trust what you don’t know. An about us page is something that is perhaps arduous to create but is truly worthwhile. Users want to know who you are. Google wants to know who you are. Go further and showcase your history, the people that made your business, your mission statement, values and purpose – provide a timeline, or an interview with the company founders. Do all you can to show the world your business is made of real people with real passions that can be trusted by virtue of their openness and capacity for honesty.
  6. Engage with review sites across the web. EEAT is not just site-specific, its impact escapes and encompasses the entire web. Therefore, it is imperative that you engage with multiple review sites and aggregators. That means having a presence on e.g. Trustpilot, Clutch, Review.io, industry specific reviews sites and more if you can. Google reviews are perhaps the most crucial, but it does not mean that others should be overlooked. When it comes to review harvesting and prompting be sure to encourage (as stated above!) honesty and clarity on process. But also try to secure service specific language and deep insights into a product or experience. You want to create a sense of relativity, allowing your potential new audience to put themselves in the shoes of your current audience. Lastly on this, you must directly address all negative reviews, no matter how time-costly this is. This shows you’re a genuine, trustworthy business that cares about how people perceive it.
  7. A final but interconnected point on testimonials. Where possible, insert these into relative pages. Testimonials that extol the virtues and value of a service, placed onto that service page, will work wonders for your conversion rate and for the right reasons at that.

To conclude

As I said, EEAT is BIG. But it is worth getting your head around. It represents for me, and for Aspectus, the evolution of SEO and the future of AI and LLM performance. Businesses that fail at EEAT, will fail as we transition. But that ought not be a negative. EEAT means building connections with your audience. It represents a freedom and creativity to engage and to be exciting. It’s a celebration of authenticity and expertise; a showcase of your experience. It’s about showing the world who you are, what you do, why you do it and what drives you forward.  EEAT isn’t just the next big thing; it’s the foundation for enduring success on search engines. It’s an invitation to create content that’s as real as it is relevant, as personal as it is powerful. Get in touch with me today to discuss how we can help you achieve SEO success through EEAT implementation.  

Key Takeaways:

What is Google’s E-E-A-T?

Google’s E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, a framework crucial for SEO success, emphasizing credible and quality content.

How does E-E-A-T impact SEO and digital marketing?

E-E-A-T directly influences organic search rankings by rewarding content that demonstrates genuine expertise, authoritative sources, and trustworthiness, along with the author’s personal experience in the subject matter.

Why should businesses focus on E-E-A-T?

Focusing on E-E-A-T ensures that businesses create content that truly resonates with their audience, establishing a strong, trustworthy online presence that drives organic growth and customer loyalty.

How can incorporating E-E-A-T into content strategy benefit a business?

Incorporating E-E-A-T into a content strategy significantly boosts a business’s online credibility and authority, leading to better search rankings, increased trust among users, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.

What role does ‘Experience’ play in the updated E-E-A-T framework?

The addition of ‘Experience’ to the E-E-A-T framework highlights the importance of personal anecdotes and firsthand knowledge in creating relatable, authentic content that resonates with audiences and demonstrates genuine understanding.

Why is E-E-A-T considered foundational for future SEO and AI performance?

E-E-A-T is foundational because it aligns SEO practices with the evolving capabilities of AI and machine learning, ensuring that content not only meets current standards of relevance and quality but is also prepared for future technological advancements in search algorithms.

About the author:

I have been working in SEO and strategic marketing services for over 8 years now. My experience is an even split between in-house roles at start-ups and agency roles at some of the UK’s biggest PR and digital agencies. I am based in East London having moved down from Essex 5 years ago. Professionally, I am a proud advocate for EEAT and SEO and the genuine business benefits of integrated service adoption. Personally, my heart is in the Lake District and nature. Podcasts are my jam and coffee is my addiction.

Bibliography

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Communication and compliance: how regtechs can stand out in a growing market

By Arthur Instone, Financial Services

Regulatory technology – or ‘regtech’ – is one of the fastest growing areas of fintech. The global size of the regtech market is projected to increase from $9 billion in 2022 to $70 billion by 2032, with annual spending on regtech solutions expected to reach £200 billion by 2028. KPMG has highlighted regtech as a “particularly hot sector”, driven by impending regulatory changes which are set to make 2024 one of the most significant regulatory years in recent history.

The regtech movement is well and truly underway, promising to disrupt the regulatory landscape through innovative solutions to the ever-increasing demands of compliance.

As the value of regtech crystallises around the globe, now is the time to assess the forces driving sector growth and how a carefully thought-out compliance PR strategy can help regtechs communicate their value in an increasingly saturated market.

Innovation spurred by regulatory change

For those of us that follow the world of financial services regulation, we know that things don’t exactly move at lightning speed.

However, 2024 is set to hold a uniquely busy regulatory calendar. The next 12-18 months will be a period of sea change, with several landmark regulations coming into effect across a range of different financial sectors. These include:

Banking – In 2024 banks will need to step up their preparations for the remaining Basel reforms, with implementation set for January 2025 and July 2025 in the EU and UK respectively. UK banks also have until May 2024 to implement the Prudential Regulation Authority’s principles for model risk management.

Insurance – In addition to the phased implementation of Solvency UK which fully takes effect from December 31 2024, insurers will also need to navigate the final policy decisions on the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) before it kicks in as a Prescribed Capital Standard (PCS) from 2025.

Regulatory reporting – There are changes to global regulatory reporting regimes this year, including modifications to version 3.2 of the CFTC Rewrite and final implementation of EMIR Refit in April 2024.

Payments – By 7 October 2024, payment service providers must comply with the Payment System Regulator’s (PSR) new mandatory reimbursement requirements for APP fraud and scams, meaning firms will be against the clock to meet the deadline.

Operational Resilience – There is now just under a year left until the EU’s Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) comes into effect. From January 2025, firms must follow new rules for the protection, recovery and repair of ICT-related incidents.

Collectively, these changes have pushed regulatory compliance to the top of the agenda. According to Grant Thornton, 65% of regulated firms anticipate more regulatory obligations in 2024. With institutions under pressure to meet fast-approaching deadlines, the appetite for regtech solutions is growing.

It’s estimated that regtech will account for over 50% of global compliance budgets by 2026, whilst a 2023 survey by Finastra found that the need to align more closely with compliance needs was the third biggest motivator amongst banks to integrate third-party tech solutions.

Communication is king

Regtech is set to play a central role in compliance strategies over the year ahead, but the sector still needs to overcome several challenges: none more so than communication.

One of the key challenges that regtechs face is getting their voices and value heard. The 2021 Global City RegTech report found that a huge 67% of financial institutions cite lack of awareness regarding the available solutions as the biggest barrier to regtech adoption. The same Grant Thornton report found that 13% of regtechs cite promotion and marketing as the single most important factor that would help them expand internationally.

In an increasingly crowded market, how can regtechs cut through the noise to communicate their offering when selling into the regulatory space?

  1. Demonstrate value and differentiation – Sector growth means greater competition as more players seek to get a piece of the action, meaning the challenge lies in ensuring a unique value proposition. For many regulated firms, regulation has become increasingly complicated in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, as regulatory frameworks aimed at spreading risk have at times made the task of compliance more complex. Regtechs looking to get their voices heard should home in on these specific pain-points, putting themselves in the shoes of their customers and focusing on how technology can help.
  • Be direct and simple – Regulation can be complicated to say the least. The sector is saturated with compliance-specific jargon and terminology which can be difficult to understand, with regulated entities often suffering from ambiguous and overlapping rules. This is why it’s so important that regtechs keep things simple when it comes to how they communicate; their customers are navigating regulatory mazes that are themselves a huge operational burden. We often see phrases like “improved efficiency” and “streamlined process”, but what do these actually mean? Regtechs should use their marketing and communication channels to clearly highlight the tangible benefits of their solution, such as cost and time-savings.
  • Engage in public debate – The good thing about the jam-packed regulatory calendar over the next 12-18 months is that there is a lot to talk about! As new regulations come into effect, and existing ones are updated, regtechs should get involved in the discussion. Are firms sufficiently prepared for EMIR Refit? How does DORA compare to the UK’s approach to operational resilience? Are the PSR’s new reimbursement requirements enough to tackle the fraud epidemic? Regtechs should build meaningful campaigns around the industry’s top regulatory issues, and most importantly, have an opinion on them.

Aspectus has been building regtech reputations for over a decade. Our regtech PR team has the perfect blend of regulatory, financial services and capital markets expertise, with a laser sharp focus on making sure we’re one step ahead of the regulatory news cycle. We know which regulations are on the horizon, what they mean for regulated entities and have long-standing relationships with journalists who trust us to collaboratively work with them in shaping their stories.

The demand for regtech solutions will grow significantly throughout 2024 and beyond. As regulation and technology become more closely integrated, it is vital that regtechs are on the front foot when it comes to building brand trust and credibility. To find out more how Aspectus can support you on this journey, get in touch here.

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IWD: celebrating a few of many

By Tamsin Jackson, People and Experience Director

Every Friday at Aspectus we have a group called ‘Hi-Jack’ whereby anyone and everyone is encouraged to nominate a colleague that has inspired them during the week.

Nominations often follow themes, asking for comparisons to famous figures to show how brilliant our own heroes are.

As we recognise International Women’s Day to celebrate all those that make such a huge contribution to our business (70% of Aspectees are women and – critically – so is our senior management team), we wanted to use our famous Friday ‘format’ to shout about some of the women that work here.

All have been nominated and compared to other famous women by their teammates.

Sofie Skouras

Our fearless Head of Technology – Sofie reminds me of the former Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin. She’s here to get the job done and have fun while doing it!

Sophie Rivas

Sophie Rivas inspires me every day and her progress over the past year and a half at The Aspectus Academy has been huge. When Sophie spoke at Company Day, I was blown away – what an impressive and scary thing to do at just 19 years old. Sophie reminds me of Clare Smyth. The only woman to run a three-star Michelin restaurant, Clare was an apprentice before working for Gordon Ramsey and becoming a head chef at the age of just 29. I see Sophie’s career soaring in a similar way and she is proof of the power of apprenticeships.

Megain Buchan

Megain is endlessly curious and reminds me of Jeanne Baret with her willingness to go the extra mile in search of an opportunity to learn and grow her knowledge and skillset. She’s a real example to us all.

Astrid French

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Astrid since she joined at Aspectus and seeing her journey since she stepped foot into the business has been so inspiring.

She’s the glue to our Energy and Industrials team, consistently driving us forward with her positive energy and dedication.

Whether handling client requests or leading company initiatives, she does it all with grace and care. Her ability to jump in and out of testing calls alongside a busy schedule and have a constant smile on her face, while providing direction and support, even in the busiest times, is truly inspiring.

But what sets her apart is her infectious positivity and sense of humour. Astrid brings joy to every interaction and has an admirable ability to lift team spirits. She’s resilient, charismatic, and compassionate.

Rowann Innes

Rowann reminds us of Amelia Earhart with her strength, grit, and determination. She always shows real resilience under pressure and the sort of perseverance that makes success seem inevitable, no matter the odds.

At Aspectus, we celebrate and value difference – whether that’s difference in gender, background, religion, race or ethnicity. Different people bring diverse opinions and skills, all which should be recognised equally.

As a business that is overwhelmingly female in an industry where female leadership doesn’t always reflect the wider make-up of the sector, we are proud to celebrate the inspiring, and trail blazing women that makes us who we are.  Find out more about our culture and people here.

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The art of strategic focus in marketing: what we can learn from Freddie Mercury

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

‘I Want It All’ – that’s what Freddie Mercury proclaimed, and his words echo a universal truth. It’s human nature to push for more. It’s certainly true for marketing managers, trying as they are to get the most return from budgets that are rarely as big as they’d like.

The danger of overextension

But this entirely laudable aim of wanting more can sometimes lead to overextension in marketing strategy: allocating resources too thinly across too many areas, rather than concentrating on a few key areas where they can make a significant difference.

As Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter astutely observed, the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. For marketing managers, this means making tough choices. Yes, there might be a multitude of aims and objectives across multiple products and multiple segments, but attempting to tackle all of them within a single year is rarely smart. Far better to prioritize certain goals, give them the attention they deserve for a year, and then gradually broaden the focus.  This is not about limiting ambition but about channelling it effectively.

How to Make the Choice

In theory it’s simple: focus your investment where your efforts will add the most value. After all, the reality is that even if you did absolutely no proactive marketing, you would still make some sales. Some level of business will continue as usual. But in other areas, a marketing boost will make a major difference.

Without a time machine, it’s impossible to predict this with absolute accuracy, but it is possible to make an educated assessment when you’re trying to prioritise different products or segments.

Key questions to explore will include:

  • Brand awareness and perception: What is our current brand awareness and perception for this particular solution/segment?
  • Competitive landscape: What is the competitive landscape like for this solution/segment?
  • Market demand: Is this an area where the audience is actively looking for a solution, or are we solving a problem that is not yet well understood? What external factors might play into buying patterns here in the next 12 months?
  • Revenue focus: Where are our biggest revenues currently coming from and do we want that to change in the coming years?

This last one is obviously especially important. For many of our clients (mostly technical B2B), we’re talking about complex sales processes, infrequent purchase cycles, lengthy decision-making periods, and buying committees. Our clients’ clients have a significant potential lifetime value, and a high cost of acquisition is a reflection of that.

In the high-value B2B space, the journey to conversion involves multiple touchpoints, essential for building trust and cementing reputation – especially when significant financial decisions are at stake. Better to hit a more targeted audience several times over with tailored content that’s appropriate for where they are at in the buying cycle. This is likely to be far more effective than reaching a broader audience just once.

So the next time you’re in a planning meeting and a question about target audience prompts the response, ‘oh, everyone’, I challenge you not to simply smile and let it go. Make the case for focus and the value it can bring. The (fat)-bottom(ed) line will thank you.

If you’d like help to sharpen your marketing focus, you can get in touch with our strategists here.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Consent Mode v2

By Melissa Jones, Deputy Head of Digital

By 6th March 2024, everyone advertising on Google platforms must configure to Google consent mode v2 if they are tracking users in the European Economic Area.

In this article we outline what exactly consent mode v2 is, the new features it provides, how to implement it and how it will improve your measurement.

It is an updated mechanism that Google has brought in to comply with the Digital Markets Act that comes into effect in March 2024. It allows businesses to adjust the functionality of Google tags based on user consent for ads and analytics cookies. This ensures that tracking for advertising campaigns occurs only with user consent, as signaled through Consent Mode v2. Google describes it as a mechanism that allows websites to gather data on website conversions while respecting user privacy settings.

As part of their ongoing commitment to a privacy-centric digital advertising ecosystem, Google has introduced two new parameters in addition to ad_storage and analytics_storage, these are:

ad_user_data

This parameter can either be ‘granted’ or ‘denied’ and sets consent for sending user data related to advertising to Google, which in this context relates to services including Google Ads, Google Shopping, and Google Play.

ad_personalisation

Like ad_user_data, this parameter can either be ‘granted’ or ‘denied’ and sets consent for whether personal data can be used for advertising purposes such as remarketing.

If a user consents to advertising cookies on the cookie banner, these parameters will be set to ‘granted’ and their information will be shared with Google, providing the cookie banner or consent management platform is aligned with Google’s standards for compliance.

Other consent mode features include:

  • Set which Google services you share data with using the Google tag UI
  • Set behaviour for geographic region
  • Pass ad click, client ID, and session ID information in URLs when users have not granted consent for cookies
  • Fully redact (remove) ad information when users deny consent for ad cookies

In short, no, it’s not the same as cookie consent as it doesn’t replace the functions handled by your consent management platform or cookie banner.

Instead, Google consent mode observes whether marketing or analytics cookies have been accepted through the vehicle of the cookie banner and if not, will switch all compatible tracking to a cookieless operation.

Google consent mode v2 allows you to send basic information to Google’s servers on a cookieless basis. Previously, if a user had opted out of cookies, no information would be sent which created black spots within analytics and led to gaps in understanding true performance of campaigns.

This cookieless information can inform the proportion of users not being tracked via traditional, cookie-consent methods, and can be used to model their activity in reports. This effectively helps to fill the gap that was previously created by users opting out.

The new Google consent mode is more of a requirement than an option, especially if you’re tracking users in the European Economic Area. Failing to do so may result in having activity suspended. On a slightly less serious, but equally important note, without it, marketers won’t be able to accurately track conversions and optimize their ad spend effectively moving forward. If not implemented, advertisers will feel the negative effects from March 2024.

There are three main ways that you can implement Google consent mode v2:

  • Using Google’s hardcoded script (gtag)
  • Native cookie management platform integration
  • Google Tag Manager (GTM)

In summary

We’re increasingly in a transitional phase, where tools such as Google consent mode are being released and updated to adhere to the ever-changing data landscape, whilst also allowing us as marketers to enhance our ability to make informed decisions using the data that we have available.

If you’re feeling daunted about your analytics set up get in touch with one of our experts who can implement consent mode for you.

And, if analytics and measurement is your thing, see our other guides on:

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More realistic targets and clear, consistent comms are the only route out of greenwashing

By Paul Noonan, Content and Insights Director

The recent rise in climate-related greenwashing raises the question of why businesses continue to publish false climate change information in their ESG comms despite growing regulatory and reputational repercussions. Greenwashing is often portrayed solely as a deliberate effort by corporations to conceal and continue their environmental excesses. Yet this ignores the fact that greenwashing often arises from good intentions built on flawed data and poorly devised targets.

The road to greenwashing is often paved with good intentions-and bad data

Many companies inadvertently set overly optimistic climate targets because they lack a clear picture of their ‘baseline’ emissions. A recent survey found widespread executive concerns that poor internal measurement is causing ‘accidental greenwashing’ with 87% of executives wanting better measurement of current performance to guide more realistic future targets.

The survey also found 72% of companies want to improve their sustainability “but no one knows how to do it”, partly due to difficulties measuring and monitoring progress. For example, many estimates of Scope 3 emissions reductions rely on data of dubious quality from third parties such as suppliers. This means that far from deliberately misleading others, many companies are themselves at the mercy of misleading internal and external data.

Poor forecasting and pie-in-the-sky promises

Greenwashing is also frequently seen as a case of companies under-delivering, yet this is often because they are over-promising. A tendency to make big-ticket climate commitments without factoring in the potential costs can leave firms exposed to new economic headwinds which force a sudden change of course and communications.

For example, BP intended to make massive cuts in oil and gas production by 2030 and then dramatically U-turned when the Ukraine war changed the equation from a narrow focus on sustainability towards energy security and affordability. The problem was their failure to anticipate and communicate the potential pitfalls of such rapid and radical decarbonisation at the outset, and the resulting inconsistency in their messaging. Global demand for gas is now expected to grow until 2030-2040 even under ambitious decarbonisation scenarios, which may cause other energy majors to similarly row back on climate commitments. And when lofty climate rhetoric clashes with real-world demands, some may hide behind spin which only compounds the original error.

A perfect storm

A perfect storm of poor baseline measurement and forecasts and unrealistic goals means that less than 60% of companies are now on track to meet their net zero targets. To break this cycle of false promises and failed delivery, companies should consider a three-pronged approach combining better internal data, more realistic targets, and honesty about the likelihood of hitting them. This is the key to enabling more transparent and consistent corporate climate messaging.

Improved measurement and benchmarking

More realistic targets and consistent communications start with better data. Central governance and clearer climate accountability would drive improved measurement of each company’s baseline environmental footprint. Companies should also overhaul data management capabilities by digitally integrating emissions data, and benchmarking climate performance against their peers. Consistent carbon measuring sticks should be adopted, and the relevant skills spread throughout the company. Emissions targets could be included in employee KPIs and quarterly reports to shareholders. Improving climate accountability, data and skills will help reduce accidental greenwashing.

Only make promises you can keep

As it becomes clear that many companies may have overreached in promising impractical immediate CO2 reductions, some are scaling back their 2030 commitments. While this has triggered a wave of criticism, more pragmatic short-term targets are a good sign if matched with practical implementation and consistent communication.

Targets should be built on comprehensive measurements of baselines and honest assessments of all the costs and benefits of decarbonisation. Armed with better data, firms can set more achievable goals while standing up to the critics and communicating the costs of a rushed, disorderly transition. For example, footwear giant Crocs recently publicly lowered its 2030 carbon target following a fuller evaluation of its baseline emissions.

Some companies are further bucking the greenwashing trend and refusing to set targets they consider unrealistic in the first place. TotalEnergies recently broke with convention and decided not to set any immediate Scope 3 target for gas, making the plausible argument that more gas will be needed in the short term to fill in for fluctuations in renewable power and that replacing coal with gas reduces global emissions even if it increases their Scope 3 emissions. While the company has drawn criticism, this kind of honesty and willingness to engage the critics makes a refreshing change from firms making false green promises festooned with dodgy data. Pragmatic promises grounded in good arguments and data allow companies to combine transparency with consistent messaging, boosting public trust.

Level with the public

Companies also need to be transparent with the public when they fail to achieve their ambitions as exemplified when Rio Tinto publicly admitted it may miss its own 2025 climate target. This kind of honesty is commendable if accompanied with a clear explanation of the reasons for missing the target, and a credible alternative timeline.

As John Maynard Keynes said “When the facts change, I change my mind”. Adjusting timelines to new economic realities is not necessarily a weakness, as long as these adjustments are rare, limited and justified by reliable evidence. This could involve publishing new evidence of unacceptable transition risks, such as recent modelling showing how a rushed, poorly-planned energy transition could cause dramatic job losses in Aberdeen.

Reliable data, realistic targets, and honesty

Amidst growing cynicism’ around corporate climate pledges, customers and investors prefer moderate, measurable strategies to moonshot goals and hard truths over headline-grabbing aspirations. Pragmatic targets matched with good data, practical action and transparent, consistent communication is the key to rebuilding public trust in climate pledges.

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Top technology awards to enter in 2024

By Mitchelle Odigie

With numerous B2B technology awards open for entry every year, it can be hard to know which ones to enter – that’s why we have curated a list of prestigious technology awards for you to have your pick. B2B technology companies may even wonder, should they even participate at all? Yes! One practical reason to enter, is that industry award wins serve as unbiased third-party endorsements, showcasing real-world success stories that provide instant credibility to a technology solution or company. Having award wins under your belt acts as tangible proof for investors, prospects, and potential employees. Not only do technology awards showcase a company’s product and service offerings, but they also boost employee morale. The combination of strategic branding and earned credibility contributes greatly to a company’s reputation. See our earlier article for more on why awards should be a key component of your marketing/communications plan.

Here are our top ten B2B technology awards to enter in 2024:

SC Europe Awards

Named as one of the most prestigious cybersecurity awards and with over 25 categories to choose from, the SC Europe Awards celebrate the excellence, advancement and incredible minds that are shaping the future of cybersecurity in Europe. In a crowded B2B cybersecurity solution provider ecosystem, top tier award wins can be a key differentiator and can help convert a buyer in the decision stage of the funnel.

  • Entry deadline: 22nd February
  • Entry fee: £460 + VAT
  • Awards ceremony: 4th June

Global Business Tech Awards

Technology is a huge part of our lives, and the Global Business Tech Awards celebrate how emerging and existing technology helps us to overcome challenges, create new opportunities and much more.

The categories span numerous industries from EdTech to Cybersecurity to SaaS, and include cross-sector categories such as Best Use of Innovation, Tech Deal of the Year and Tech for Good. These awards help celebrate everything from the apps that have changed customer experience to the management systems that have transformed business across multiple industry verticals.

  • Entry deadline: 23rd February
  • Entry fee: £265
  • Awards ceremony: 9th May

The Health Tech World Awards

The Health Tech World Awards celebrate the best examples of leadership, innovation and impact in health technology globally. The awards include several categories to enter, from Health Tech Leader of the Year to Best Digital Health App of the Year to Health Tech Startup of the Year, so there’s something for everyone!

  • Entry deadline: 29th February
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: March

Campaign Tech Awards

The Campaign Tech Awards are back for 2024, the stage is set for you to showcase and celebrate the limitless possibilities technology enables within the marketing, advertising, and media industries. The Campaign Tech awards matter because they are judged by the toughest critics, your peers. Their expert judging panels consist of numerous industry professionals such as the SVP of Brainlabs, the CEO of Growthcurve, the Staff System Engineer of Airbnb and more, representing the full breadth of the technology industry- selected based on their expertise, experience and integrity.

  • Entry deadline: 29th February
  • Entry fee: £615 + VAT
  • Awards ceremony: TBC 2024

Tech Capital Global Awards

The Tech Capital Global Awards is not just about recognising achievements; it’s also about celebrating innovation, creativity, and the power of digital infrastructure. The awards ceremony is the perfect place to meet and interact with other digital creatives from around the world. By attending, you’ll have the chance to connect with potential partners, investors, and collaborators, and gain valuable insights into the latest industry trends.

  • Entry deadline: 8th March
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 22nd May

Tech Excellence Awards

Celebrating its 22nd year of excellence, this awards programme will culminate in a black-tie gala event that gathers the best of the tech sector, for a night of recognition and celebration. The Tech Excellence Awards represent the most prestigious achievements across the technology sector, recognising the skills, innovation and ingenuity of the industry and its people.

  • Entry deadline: 5th April
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 23rd May

Cybersecurity Excellence Awards

The Cybersecurity Excellence Awards highlights companies, products, and professionals that demonstrate leadership, innovation, and brilliance in information security. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, they offer categories tailored to your product, team or organisation.  

  • Entry deadline: 6th April
  • Entry fee: $900
  • Awards ceremony: May

Digiday Technology Awards

The Digiday Technology Awards are tier-one adtech/martech awards that recognize the technology modernizing media and marketing. Over the years, they’ve honored industry-leading work from Adobe, SpotX, Twitch, PubMatic, and Piano. Categories range from Best AI Tool and Best CRM Platform to Best Native Advertising Platform and Best Marketing Automation Platform.

  • Entry deadline: 24th May
  • Entry fee: $599
  • Awards ceremony: Late summer 2024

Global Bank Tech Awards

Organised by financial services publication The Digital Banker, the Global BankTech Awards, exists to honour and celebrate the world’s newest ground-breaking technology companies and their contributions to technology-based enhancements, initiatives and innovations within the financial services industries that are streamlining operational processes, automating workflow and re-engineering business models, while materially driving productivity gains.

  • Entry deadline: 12th July
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 19th September

Women in Tech Awards

The time has never been better for women to get into technology. Information technology has been listed as the most in-demand skill set across multiple industries according to a survey published last year by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. The Midlands Women In Tech Awards are a unique opportunity to highlight and solidify the ongoing contribution of amazing women in the tech sector.

  • Entry deadline: 4th August
  • Entry fee: None
  • Awards ceremony: 4th September

Our technology team has won multiple awards for our client[RE1] [MO2] s; the Ground Engineering Awards for COWI, and we helped BT Wholesale secure the Diversity Award last year at the Comms National Awards – to name some – by drafting compelling entries to celebrate and showcase their achievements. Get in touch at tech@aspectusgroup.com if you’d like to enter B2B technology awards in 2024.

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A confident continent: Asian Marcom Professionals buoyant on growth and omnichannel evolution

Data from Aspectus Group also details anxiety around ROI and lack of skill sets in more complex areas of digital marketing 


1st of February 2024, Singapore – Asia based marcom professionals believe the region is flourishing and are increasingly focusing on digitally integrated campaigns. But over-measuring marcom ROI and a lack of skills in more technical digital areas remain a concern.  

This is according to Aspectus Group’s latest industry survey which includes insights from leading marcom experts in the region. Another key perspective is that presence and knowledge on the ground is essential for any form of success for global brands with regional marcom activity:  

  • 78% of respondents are positive about their ability to capture and grow opportunities for their business’s clients 
  • Nearly half (48%) believe the marcom industry in Asia is established and thriving  

Digital First  

It appears the bullish mood of the industry rests on the increasing integration between traditional marketing – such as PR and content – with digital. This mix is driving smarter campaigns, taking the best of both worlds to deliver more tangible ROI – something that still creates anxieties for marketers looking to drive the sales funnel.  

  • 47% of marketers believe digital marketing is the biggest opportunity to capture market share  
  • That’s triple the number of respondents who voted for strategic communications (16%) or branding and messaging (16%) 
  • When it comes to Gen Z – 83% view digital marketing as the way to obtain audience cut through  
  • When asked what their most important communication channels are –social media (90%) platforms and online media – such as digital ads – (87%) came out on top.   
  • This is way ahead of traditional media (43%) and events and conferences (37%)  
  • While 36% identify public relations as a primary area of focus, just 8% think standalone media relations (without a digital faction) present one of the biggest opportunities for capturing market share.  

Signs of a talent drought?  

It appears that many marketers today cover many different skills. But this doesn’t mean there is enough talent to cover all aspects of the industry machinery. This is especially relevant to more technical roles where top talent appears to be in short supply.  

  • Overall digital marketing is the area where more skill is most required (40%), followed by branding and messaging (38%), strategic communications (36%) and design (25%) 
  • Just 6% of respondents work in AX/UI design – the lowest of any job role in the survey  
  • Only 18% of respondents operate in SEO/SEM analytics  
  • AI appears to be an area of focus – or at least an increasing part of the modern marketer’s skillset with 9% saying they work as a specialist in this position.  

Justifying marketing spend and activity  

The age-old perception of marketing’s value and intrinsic relationship to the sales pipeline appears to still ring true in Asia. It is a major concern. Most respondents say they face the expectation of immediate monetary returns and in a digital world this means quantifiable outcomes are expected more than ever before.  

  • 51% of respondents say they experience an undervalued perception of the marcom function  
  • 42% say there is a lack of understanding of the ROI that marcom can provide  
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) tell us there are high expectations of immediate monetary returns or sales conversion from marketing activity  
  • This worryingly could be affecting the quality of output, with 56% saying a focus on metrics stifles the quality of their output.  

On the ground and in the know  

Asia is a complex market and to outsiders seeking to grow market share   experts take the view that global companies cannot simply replicate strategies from their home market – knowing local nuances has never been more important to getting marketing results.  

  • 92% of respondents say that on-the-ground representation in Asia is important  
  • When asked about barriers to success in Asia, 70% say a failure to understand local dynamics is the biggest issue  
  • Finding suitable local partners or agencies is also hard with 55% identifying this as a challenge 
  • Cultural and language differences, according to 35% of marketers can be a major drawback to success in Asia  

Commenting on the report, Koh Juat May, President, Institute of Public Relations of Singapore said: “The marcom space in Asia is thriving. The confidence and optimism among respondents are crucial to encourage growth and secure investments for marcoms activities. Asia is unique and what is clear is the most successful marcom team is one that embraces cultural diversity and understands the sensitivities that work on the ground – and displays this through their marketing campaigns.” 

Christopher See, Head of Marketing, SGX, FX said: “It is clear that having the knowledge and desire for campaigns to run across different digital platforms is now a must for marketing departments. But upskilling and understanding the mechanics of new types of marketing can be hard – regardless of the appetite to learn – given time constraints and the amount of ground marketers need to cover. Finding and harnessing successful, on-the-ground partnerships is a sure way to stand out from your competition.”  

Louise Veitch, Head of South East Asia, Aspectus concluded: “Any marcom specialist will know that demonstrating results that go towards the sales pipeline has never been more important – and more demanded – by key stakeholders. What often goes overlooked however, is the ability of an omnichannel campaign to show exactly what has been achieved. Everyone knows that earned media or PR drives brand recognition and encourages sales conversion, but it’s often hard to evidence. By combining stories into wider digital marketing campaigns – marketers across Asia will have something more tangible to show.”  

Access the full report here.

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Around the world in 80 seconds: navigating cultural differences in a global agency

By Chloe Tan, Singapore

In Jules Verne’s 1872 novel, main character Philias Fogg attempts to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. A century and a half later, going round the world in 80 days wouldn’t only be possible, it could be done 40 times over.  

In the context of cross-global communication, it only takes 80 seconds to get in touch with colleagues in London, New York, Singapore or Sydney. Modern B2B SaaS and cloud technology companies now operate in a borderless digital world, where their users come from around the globe – companies now see the value in employing communications teams across regions to deliver communications strategies locally. Our clients now engage our PR communications services globally, for instance our client InEight, a leader in construction project management software, employs our teams in the UK, USA and Singapore. This means global agencies like Aspectus now play a pivotal role in bridging cultures and delivering impactful communication and marketing solutions. However, successfully navigating the intricate web of cultural nuances depends on the ability to understand, respect and communicate everyday differences that influence the way we work around the world.   

Working in communications and PR in a global agency

With this in mind, and taking into consideration time zone differences and cultural nuances, working in public relations in Asia comes with its fair share of challenges. Below, we’ve put together the Singapore team’s top cultural considerations for the workplace, that might not be on your radar but could support you with future global working. These differences not only apply to how we deal with media, but also how we handle our clients.  

  • Language: While English is spoken in Singapore, much of the language borrows inspiration from the three other national languages: Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Singlish is the Singaporeanised version of English and if you ever visit Singapore, you’ll recognise this distinctive and unique accent which combines many different languages and dialects. For instance, a common phrase used at the workplace in Singapore is ‘pang gang’ which comes from Hokkien dialect, which directly translates to ‘off work’ – this means you’re done for the day, you’ve completed your tasks and it’s time to clock out of work. It’s often used in a celebratory tone, when you’re finally ready to head out of the office. Another common one is ‘bojio’, which is translated from Hokkien and means ‘no invite’, jokingly used to call someone out when you’re not invited to an event, gathering or party.
  • Working with media:  A notable difference is the way we approach the media, we’ve noticed that our colleagues in the UK tend to ring up journalists on the phone more frequently, as compared to Singapore, where communication through emails is more widely accepted.  
  • Workplace hierarchy: Singapore is a relatively conservative country that is a mash of both modern luxuries and traditional values. This can translate to the workplace where a top-down hierarchy is mostly still practised. The subordinate-boss relationship is difficult to navigate, and it is sometimes difficult to challenge something your boss or senior says. While this is not something we experience at Aspectus thanks to our unique workplace culture and doesn’t reflect the global culture, it is still something to consider, as global agencies communicate with clients from around the world.   
  • Working hours: In Asia it is not uncommon for employees to come into the office before their seniors arrive and only leave when they do, irrespective of workloads or schedules. Interestingly this can have real implications on productivity. A recent global survey from Slack and Qualtrics found that workers in Asia are spending the most time on “performative work”, focusing on appearing busy more than doing real, productive work.  
  • Lunch hour: We’ve also noticed one big difference on everyday behaviours. A colleague from the London team noted the vast difference in lunch hour experiences between Singapore and London. In Singapore, at 12pm, there is a mad rush at food courts, cafes and restaurants – this could partly be the “kiasu” mentality, a colloquial term referring to the fear of losing out, like FOMO. You’ll notice long queues at every food store you could possibly find, and even snaking queues at lifts once the lunch hour is over. This is vastly different from experiences in London, where our colleagues would typically meal prep for lunch and have their meals at their desks. This could be due to the plethora of affordable food options in Singapore – there are practically food courts and hawker centres everywhere you go, and lunch sets you back just SGD$4 a meal. Eating out is probably more affordable in Singapore than in London. Another shared experience in Singapore is an unspoken practice where you have to reserve or ‘chope’ your seats in coffee shops and hawker centres before getting your food, and this is done by ‘choping’, done by using tissue packs, umbrellas, or really anything random.  

Understanding and embracing diversity

All of this cultural diversity is a valuable asset that fosters innovation and creativity. However, to harness this potential fully, it is essential to recognize the unique perspectives and experiences, and embrace these differences. Our Singapore PR team has also shared their top tips to help navigate these cultural nuances, while working in public relations in Asia:  

  1. Active Listening: Pay attention not only to the words spoken but also to the tone, body language, and context of conversations. This can help identify non-verbal cues and emotions. 
  2. Clarification: Don’t hesitate to seek clarification if you are unsure about something. It’s better to ask for more information than to make assumptions. 
  3. Written Communication: Be concise and clear in written communication, avoiding idiomatic expressions, slang and cultural references that may not translate well. 

Working in communications and PR in a global agency is truly a unique opportunity to gain more insights from different cultural perspectives. After all, at Aspectus, we have a workforce that speaks 13 different languages and comes from 20 diverse nationalities. This diversity of culture and perspective leads to innovation as we work on bringing different ideas together – we’re all about weaving these cultural nuances into the fabric of our work, creating connections that transcend borders, adding values to our clients and creating impactful work.  

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