hubspot logo

How HubSpot Cookies Work and Custom Opt-Out Systems

With the impending GDPR regulations, marketers need to review their cookie policies and ensure that they are compliant. There are many articles on the impact of GDPR on cookies (for example this article about The GDPR, Cookie Consent and Customer Centric Privacy), which give advice on what should be done, but implementation is not always as easy as it seems.

We recently worked with a large ecommerce company who was deploying HubSpot (we're a HubSpot partner, although we do work with a range of marketing automation systems). Most systems, including HubSpot, offer an automatically generated banner that allows users to opt out of their cookies, but with over 20 different systems generating cookies on the site, having to accept or decline this many notifications simply isn't a practical option. They've developed code to manage cookies, and allow a single button to opt-out of tracking, and so they wanted to incorporate HubSpot cookies into this system. Should be pretty straightforward, right?

Well the problem is that it's not entirely clear how HubSpot cookies work. We asked and got some conflicting information, so ended up running some experiments to analyse the behaviour of HubSpot to give the client the best possible solution.

This isn't a typical Napier blog post, as it's very technical, but we're pretty sure it's going to be useful to a lot of HubSpot customers.

What HubSpot Tells You About Cookies

HubSpot does have some good information about cookies. They have a page describing the cookies HubSpot uses for tracking, and an article describing how to enable the HubSpot cookie opt-out notifications. You have four options, described in the article as:

  • Do not notify visitors that your site uses cookies - Choose this option if your company does not have a presence in Europe. This option will let you collect visit history on your website visitors without asking the user for explicit permission. Please note that if the visitor is using a web browser that has cookies disabled, or if they are using a do not track feature on their browser, HubSpot will not be able to collect visit history for them.
  • Notify visitors that your site uses cookies - Choose this option if your company has a presence in Europe and you need to abide by the EU cookie laws. This option will display a banner on your website the first time someone visits your site.
  • Notify visitors that your site uses cookies and allow opt-out - Choose this option if your company has a presence in Europe and you need to abide by the EU cookie laws. This option will display a banner on your website the first time someone visits your site. It will prompt the visitor to consent to the placement of cookies on their computer. Once they consent, you will be able to gather visit history on that visitor.
  • Do not use cookies at all - Choose this option if you do not want to collect any visit information from your visitors and also abide by the EU cookie laws. Choosing this option will make the analytics and lead tracking portions of HubSpot unusable and is not recommended in most cases.

So the first and the last options are pretty straightforward: always track or never track, but what about the middle two? I want to be compliant with EU cookie law, so which one do I choose, and how do I implement an opt-out without using their notification?

Accepting and Declining HubSpot Cookies

The first thing we found was that the behaviour of the two "EU-compliant" modes is actually quite different. If you select Notify visitors that your site uses cookies, then as soon as the user visits the site, HubSpot drops tracking cookies. But the system doesn't track you individually until you click the accept button. So HubSpot is presumably generating anonymous data using the cookies, but not tracking what individual users do. The one exception we found was that when a user fills in a form, that page view is recorded. As this is necessary for processing forms, it's pretty sensible. As there is no opportunity to decline cookies with this notice, you can either ignore it, which will only allow anonymous tracking or accept, which then switches on individual tracking of page views. So this setting not only notifies the user about cookies, but provides an opt-in for tracking of page views (you're opted out of this tracking by default).

Selecting Notify visitors that your site uses cookies and allow opt-out as the notification option is very different. As the user lands on the site, no cookies are dropped. So you have to click accept to opt-in, and then the cookies are placed and the notification disappears. Opting out will place the __hs_opt_out cookie with a value of yes, and not place any other tracking cookies.

The __hs_opt_out Cookie

The __hs_opt_out cookie is interesting. It's placed on a users computer when they click the accept or decline buttons on any of the notifications. By placing the cookie, any further notification banners are suppressed, so once you've made your choice, you don't get pestered again. Pedants will note that it has an expiry of two years, so if we are being completely accurate, you will get asked again every two years.

The __hs_opt_out cookie seems to do a little more than this. Not only does it suppress the notifications, but when the value is "yes" it also suppresses individual page view tracking, whatever "mode" of operation is chosen for cookies. This means that if someone declines tracking, and then you switch from allowing opt-out to simply placing cookies automatically or just notifying, then the user won't be tracked until the cookie expires.

Creating Your Own Opt-Out Code

Creating your own opt-out code is simple. All you need to do is to set the __hs_opt_out cookie value to "yes" and remove the other cookies. Some PHP code to do this is shown below, using our domain as an example:

$cookie_name = "__hs_opt_out";
$cookie_value = "yes";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 365 *2), "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hstc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "hubspotutk";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hssc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hssrc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");

With 86400 seconds in a day, the code sets a two-year cookie for opt out, mirroring the behaviour of HubSpot. The other cookies are removed by simply setting them to expire in the past. We've also removed the session cookies - although this might not be necessary, we've done this as clearing them seemed to create a more robust approach.

For more information about the cookies used by HubSpot, read What cookies does HubSpot set in a visitor's browser?.

Allowing Opt-In to HubSpot Cookies

Opting back into cookies is not as simple as it might seem - you can't just set __hs_opt_out to be "no". The easiest way we found to do this is to remove that cookie, which then triggers the appropriate notification based on the option you selected for your site. This ensures that all the cookies are created correctly, although it does need the accept button to be clicked if one of the two notification options are chosen. Clearing the cookie is achieved by setting the expiry time in the past:

$cookie_name = "__hs_opt_out";
$cookie_value = "no";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");

Dealing with the HubSpot Banners

If you are creating an option to allow opt-in, or to decline cookies, it's likely you will be using one of the two HubSpot notification banners. You'll therefore want either the accept or decline button to be clicked to enable tracking or disable placement of cookies. You could leave it to the user to do, but this is not great UX, and often not practical. We talked to HubSpot and they suggested that rather than try to replicate the code on the buttons, we simply replicate a button click using JavaScript. The following code is a JavaScript function that clicks the accept button, and you can change it to decline cookies (if the opt-out notice is present) by changing hs-eu-confirmation-button to hs-eu-decline-button.


<script type="text/javascript" >
function acceptHScookie() {
if (document.getElementById('hs-eu-confirmation-button') !== null) {
document.getElementById('hs-eu-confirmation-button').click();
}
}
</script>

Hiding the Notification Banners

Of course if you are automatically clicking the buttons for users, and providing your own cookie notice, you don't want to show the HubSpot cookie notifications. This is actually super-easy to do, as you just need one line in your CSS:


div#hs-eu-cookie-confirmation{display:none;}

Forget about __hs_do_not_track

One of the cookies that HubSpot can place is the __hs_do_not_track. In our testing it wasn't placed at all - it seems to be an opt-out of all tracking, and can safely be ignored when writing code. If it is present, however, there will be no tracking of that user.

Summary

So it's perfectly possible to manage HubSpot cookies for users using your own code to improve their experience on your website. If you are happy for cookies to be placed when the user opts out of tracking, you can select either the do not notify visitors, or notify visitors options, although if you go with the second, then the user won't be tracked until the accept button is clicked (either by your code, or by the user).

If you want the user to opt-out of cookies being placed by HubSpot (other than the __hs_opt_out cookie, obviously), you need to select the notification option that allows users to opt out. You will also probably want to set up code to click the appropriate accept or decline button and hide the banner.

A Final Warnings

This information, however, is not official HubSpot documentation. Although the approach I've described is designed to be as future-proof as possible, you do have to bear in mind that HubSpot could decide to change the way their cookies work and break this code. And they are perfectly entitled to do this (although I do think it's unlikely).

The other warning is that this approach is not supported by HubSpot. Trust me, although HubSpot support is normally great they have no idea of how to manage the cookies. They are pretty clear that it's not something they support, but during the project we got incorrect information from support. Although it was just people trying to be helpful, it set us back a long way, so until HubSpot decides to support management of cookies, I wouldn't recommend discussing this with them.

I hope this is going to be useful to people out there. Please let me know if it is helpful or if you have any problems. I will update the post if I get any more information.


Electronics Weekly Guide Digital Galaxy

Electronics Weekly launches guide to digital advertising

Electronics Weekly has created a white paper titled The EW Guide to the Digital Galaxy, which aims to answer questions such as:

  • How do I get better banner performance and ROI without spending more money?
  • What are the top performing campaigns doing to get great consistent results?
  • What are the mistakes I need to avoid?
  • Which banner unit performs better & what should I invest in?
  • What can I expect & what are the benchmarks?
  • Should I be more focused on mobile?
  • How do I assess the effectiveness of a banner campaign?
  • Where do I start?

The guide was actually developed from a presentation Steve Ray, commercial manager at Electronics Weekly, gave at a Napier lunch event, and so we know how insightful and useful this white paper will be for marketers. Although the analysis focusses on the electronics industry, the conclusions will be valuable to marketers in any B2B technology sector.

The information is based on deep and wide statistical analysis from over two years of campaign and audience data. It includes case studies, valuable advice & tips, seasonal trends, campaign analysis, ad unit analysis, top/bottom performance trends and much more. The white paper is available to .


Phil Ling closes Cassidy Publications as he moves to the dark side

Journalist Phil Ling has decided to move to a marketing role at an agency, so he is closing Cassidy Publications. Phil was one of the most entrepreneurial journalists in Europe, frequently coming up with great ideas, which I think never quite achieved the success they probably deserved. He has also been a freelance writer which he will also give up for the security of permanent employment at the start of October

Phil explained the move to me, saying, "I’ve taken this decision because I feel the position is right for me and has come along at a time when I’ve decided to focus entirely on content creation services, so it was a good fit."

Although he is moving from being a partner for Napier to a competitor, we wish him all the best for this big career move.

 

 

 

A


Alix Paultre appointed power editor at AspenCore as Paul O’Shea retires

Highly-respected editor Paul O’Shea has retired from his role covering power electronics at AspenCore after 37 years in the industry. Paul began his career at Texas Instruments in 1980, a time that he recalls as being “when personal computers were only recently introduced and had hard drives with a mere 5-MB capacity and kilobytes of RAM.” He later went on to become editor for Evaluation Engineering Magazine, the groundbreaking VerticalNet (“It was the dawning of the internet age, and nothing would be the same as a result of the connected user,” he says), ChipCenter (later UBM’s Product Center), and EE Times’ award-winning Power Management DesignLine, which he began in 2004. O’Shea then joined Electronic Products Magazine, originally owned by Hearst and sold to Arrow Electronics in 2014 to become part of the AspenCore network, and in 2016, he launched the Power Electronics News website.

alix-paultrePaul will be replaced by the charismatic journalist Alix Paultre, who recently left Power Systems Design. With extensive experience of the power industry, he is one of the few journalists who could step into the very big gap left by Paul O-Shea, and his enthusiasm for power design literally etched into his body. We wish him all the best in his new role.


powerpulse 20th anniversary logo

Darnell Group expands social media presence on LInkedin

Darnell Group, publishers of www.PowerPulse.net and www.SmartGridElectronics.net is launching a new and improved social media presence to compliment the redesigned PowerPulse.Net website. Interestingly the focus is on LinkedIn, with the day's lead stories being posted to the company's LinkedIn page. The promise is that the page will deliver the hottest power stories before the newsletter is emailed, giving you a chance to be in the know before your colleagues.


The Napier Approach: Determine, Focus, Deliver, Enhance

The Napier Approach Explained

We believe that applying the right process lets our team do their best work. We often talk about our four-step approach: Determine - Focus - Deliver - Enhance. But what do we mean when we talk about these stages? Well we've created a video to explain why our approach is different from other agencies, and why it will help you achieve your marketing goals. Please enjoy viewing this new video!

 


video content marketing

Tip Sheet Explains the Facts and Figures of Video Content Marketing

Video content has been growing steadily over the last years, and has quickly become a must for B2B businesses. A massive 93% of marketers now use video in their campaigns, with 92% watching B2B videos online.

As no stranger to creating video content marketing, with our own Napier YouTube channel, we decided it was time to address the vast amount of data that explores the continual yearly increase in video marketing. Top industry sites and big players like YouTube, analyse video engagement and are more than willing to share their findings.

Our Video Content Marketing Tip Sheet highlights the key metrics and trends for video marketing, and we want to help you become inspired, to get started or freshen up your approach to video as a useful and realistic campaign medium.  From video engagement to social media and video, our Tip Sheet has all it, to ensure you use video content to your advantage.

Click here to download the full version of our Tip Sheet ‘Facts and Figures of Video Content Marketing’.

 

Understanding the Importance of Video...

Do you know about Napier's Video Editing Capabilties? Discover what we can do:

https://www.napierb2b.com/2017/07/napiers-video-editing-capabilities/


PCIM 2016 - Microchip

PCIM Europe 2018 Call for Papers Now Open

PCIM’s European Conference 2018 has launched its Call for Papers, inviting experts from across the industry to get involved.

The conference prides itself in forming a platform for experts to exchange specialist knowledge and learn about the latest results and developments in the field of power electronics. For 2018, PCIM has taken their call for papers one step further, inviting experts from the industry and academia to apply for a lecture or poster presentation, and become a part of the conference program.

The deadline for submissions is the 16th October 2017, and the winner will receive a best paper award at the PCIM Europe Conference opening ceremony, alongside 1,000 euros and a paid trip to PCIM Asia 2019 in Shanghai.

To find out further information and how to submit your paper, please click here.


electronics weekly logo

Electronics Weekly Cuts Frequency and Appoints New Editor

It's not a surprise, but it's still a disappointment that Electronics Weekly today announced that the print (and digital) magazine will be published on a fortnightly, rather than weekly basis, with the change coming in with immediate effect. The publication started sounding out opinion about this idea earlier in the year, and has taken the decision to "ensure the magazine's long-term future".

Electronics Weekly will now be published 22 times per year, instead of the 40 issues per year previously. We are promised that although frequency is dropping, there will be an investment in quality, with a commitment to a minimum pagination of 32pp for each issue. Higher-quality paper was also introduced as of the 28 June issue, giving the magazine a thicker (and hopefully more successful) feel.

We're promised that there will be no change to the digital or events portfolio, nor will the title change from its news-led approach to editorial content, although presumably there will be more analysis and less breaking news, reflecting the fortnightly frequency.

EW also announced that popular and long-serving editor, Richard Wilson, is to step down from the role of editor of the magazine as of 14 July and will take on a consultant editor role. Again this is not a total surprise, and we wish Richard the best in his future role. After many years of working with him, and previously pitching to him (and to be honest being rather intimidated by him in the early years) I will miss the frequent interaction with such a knowledgeable journalist. We're promised a regular column from Richard, as well as his input into the publication, so he will still be around, hopefully for many years to come.

Josh Brooks: Editor and Publisher Electronics Weekly
Josh Brooks: Editor and Publisher
of Electronics Weekly

Josh Brooks, who has been publisher of Electronics Weekly for the past two years, is to move into a combined publisher and editor role. This isn't quite as strange a move as it might seem: Josh has worked as a journalist and editor for several publications across industries including packaging, commercial printing, property, construction, urban planning and marketing. So he brings a wealth of experience, and I know he also has a huge enthusiasm to learn more about the electronics industry.

Josh told us, "I am greatly looking forward to the new challenge of editing Electronics Weekly. It is a title with a fantastic team, a strong brand and a wonderful heritage. Moreover, it operates in a market that is at the forefront of human endeavour and I am very excited to have the opportunity to cover that market and meet the people driving it forwards.

"Richard will be a very hard act to follow and I am thrilled that he will remain part of the team in his new role. Both I and Metropolis are extremely grateful for his many years of service to Electronics Weekly; and we look forward to working with him in the months and years to come. Equally, I am very much looking forward to working more closely with the fantastic journalists on Electronics Weekly's editorial team. It's a privilege to work with such highly-respected writers as Steve Bush, David Manners and Alun Williams, not to mention our many contributors."

The rest of the editorial team – web editor Alun Williams, technology editor Steve Bush, senior components editor David Manners and production editor Sue Proud – remain in place and are not affected by the change, which is good news, as it means Josh has a strong team who will be able to drive the magazine forward during this change. All of us at Napier wish Richard and the EW team the very best and look forward to the title remaining at the heart of the UK electronics market.


Do Circulation Audits Matter in 2017?

It wasn't that long ago that PR and advertising professionals in the B2B sector spent a lot of time pouring over the latest ABC or BPA circulation audit figures. Ten years ago, online media was still taking off and so print really mattered. Today things have changed, with many companies - particularly those from the USA - demanding that all advertising should be online because it is more measurable. Although I still believe effectiveness should be the main criterion for advertising decisions, and the majority of revenue for some publications is still print advertising, it's clear that across the world publications are inevitably moving towards online distribution.

But we're not there yet. Some people still read print and it remains an effective place for advertising. I'm not going to pretend that the average new graduate spends the same time reading print magazines as I did in the year after I completed my engineering degree, but without doubt some engineers still want to receive a physical magazine. In fact it can be argued that print readership is holding up the best among older engineers: the senior decision makers that advertisers so desperately want to reach. Many people also believe that publications are bulking up their print circulations by including less-valuable readers as "no one wants to read print now". Securing reader registrations is hugely expensive, so I can see the logic behind this, but a quick check of the latest audit will answer these questions. Despite this, I hear people mentioning circulation audits a lot less frequently: so do they still really matter?

I decided to take a look to understand what has happened over the last 10 or so years. I quickly found a copy of the BPA audit for Electronics Weekly from 2005 - just over 10 years ago. Has anything changed? You bet it has!

I quickly flipped through the media pack and was transported 10 years in the past when I saw the paper request form reproduced in the report. I also looked ruefully at the free circulation of 41,573 (and a further 329 PAID readers!), of which 21,393 received a hard copy of the magazine. This is somewhat larger than the current 23,861 circulation of which only 10,150 receive a print copy. I'm not pointing any fingers at EW: I picked them as they were the first circulation audits I laid my hands on, which is probably more of a reflection of the title's long-term importance in the UK market, and other magazines show similar trends.

What about the other things that are accepted truisms about magazines? The most striking thing was the Executive Management/Board Director category: this has jumped from less than 10% to 20% of circulation. Yes! If you want to target these senior decision makers, there are actually MORE of them receiving Electronics Weekly today than in 2005. So the theory that magazines are a great way to reach senior people today seems to be true. To be fair, the question about the time readers have spent in the electronics industry is no longer asked, so it might not be a reflection of older people wanting to read print; it might just be that reading Electronics Weekly gets you promoted more quickly! (EW circulation team - feel free to use that one).

Of course we all know that one thing that publications do is to send multiple copies to their advertisers. It's a cheap and easy way to bulk up circulation but, for Electronics Weekly at least, it's just not true. In fact the percentage of readers in sales and marketing roles is roughly the same today as it was 10 years ago - so the absolute number has been cut by about a half. So clearly there's no cheating there, and the percentage of readers who are customers is pretty consistent: at least it is for Electronics Weekly.

So what about quality. I have to admit that the "Service/Maintenance" category of EW readers has always confused me. It's a component magazine, not a repair and maintenance title, yet in 2005 around 4% of readers fell into this category that is probably not valuable to most advertisers. Perhaps this is where the publishers have got some easy circulation? Well no. In fact the number of readers in this title has been decimated, and is now just 2% of the circulation. That myth about lower quality doesn't seem to hold water any more!

Products that people use haven't actually changed much in the last 10 years. Today Power Supplies are the number one product over which readers have "Purchasing, specifying or design-in influence", with passives and then batteries following. In 2005 the order was connectors, relays & switches, passives and then power supplies. Life is, however, less fun today, with under 3% saying they influenced the purchase of business travel and entertainment, whereas almost 10% of the 2005 readership had that opportunity.

There is one major difference in the audits, other than the total circulation, and that's the number of readers who requested the publication in the last year. Today it's around a third, in 2005 it was 100%. Now this is where I have to admit that the reason I could quickly find a copy of the 2005 audit for Electronics Weekly was that they had just re-qualified all their readers. I think that the stats for previous years were similar, if not worse, than today. So maybe it's not a fair comparison.

I decided to do this analysis when someone sent me the following table of circulations:

UK electronics magazines circulation audits 2017
Circulation Audits - UK Electronics Titles 2017 (click to enlarge)

This shows the number of requested subscriptions, broken down by the age of the request. So almost all copies of Electronics Sourcing are sent to people who requested in the last year, whereas others are in single digit percentages. In 2005 advertisers would have paid a lot of attention to this table, so does it matter now?

I think it does. But there are some big caveats. Firstly this simple analysis doesn't discriminate between individual requested and company requested circulation (if you want more information on this, please email me and I'll write another post to explain). The top publications in the table have fairly high percentages of the less-valuable company requests. But even so, the difference is striking. Clearly some publishers no longer believe in circulation audits (despite paying not inconsiderable sums for the audit, whereas others are pushing hard to get "good numbers". Although the headline numbers only tell part of the story, and more analysis is needed, perhaps it is time for advertisers to brush up on their audit analysis skills.


Launch of New Publication - Electronics4You

Antonio Cirealla has recently unveiled his latest project, launching his new publication Electronics4You (e4y). The publication is based on the popular Scoop.it platform and is a multi-channel collaborative content marketing magazine.

Although it has a similar name to India’s publication ElectronicsForYou, Antonio’s magazine has been in the works since 2008, and since the end of Antonio’s co-operation with Tecnoimprese, he finally found the opportunity to devote the time needed to make Electronics4You into a reality.

The publication currently maintains two channels on the Scoop.it platform, with one focused on the Digital Transformation of Things; surrounding topics such as IoT, Blockchain, Cyber Security and Trends. The second channel will focus upon the Electronics Component Industry, and will focus upon matters involving analog, IP, Power, Automotive and Sensors.

With plans to further expand the publication into more channels, surrounding the subjects of connected cars, automotive and smart retail. Antonio is encouraging editors and press agencies to publish their own scoops, with a free account on Scoop.it.

These scoops from both Antonio and contributing authors will then be published ‘in cascade’ on social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, to ensure the publication is known by over 8,000 targeted contacts.


internet trends report 2017

Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report Revealed

On May 31st, the long awaited annual Mary Meeker Internet Trends report was unveiled (we also blogged about last year's Internet Trends report). Spanning over 300 slides, the report provides an insight into how the internet and digital services, are continuing to be increasingly vital to advertisers and marketers alike, as they strive to improve their advertising and marketing on social media platforms.

Digital ad spending was a key part of the report, which revealed advertisers as continuing to move their budgets online with a digital ad spend totalling $73 billion.  Google and Facebook are also dominating the digital ad spend online, as combined they account for 85% of total online advertising revenue growth between 2015 and 2016. This increased digital spend has created further pressure marketers to show that digital ads produce results, and this year the report has revealed that marketers biggest challenge on social media is measuring their ROI.

Further key findings from the report revealed how improvements in technology are making it easier to attribute offline purchases to online ad spend, and that although financial value of mergers and acquisitions in the tech sector during 2016 was down year over year the number of deals were up. It seems Ad growth is continuing to grow, and was revealed to be driven by mobile as smartphone shipments are increasing with nearly 3 billion users.

As the most important report on internet trends every year, it is encouraging to see how improvements in technology and online are constantly improving, as advertisers and marketers continue to rely heavily on digital services.

Read the full report to discover more about 2017’s internet trends.


selezione-di-elettronica

Selezione di Elettronica Celebrates its 60th Birthday

The Italian magazine Selezione di Elettronica is releasing a special issue in June, to celebrate their 60th year.

Founded in 1957, Selezione di Elettronica will mark this occasion with a special issue, celebrating the historical changes that the electronic industry has faced, including stories of important technologies which changed the design and presentation of companies and protagonists of the electronics industry.  The issue will also include analysis of the challenges of today and tomorrow, as the Internet of Things affects the changes in the market and distribution.

This special issue will be distributed to over 10,000 contacts, and will be further celebrated on June 14th, at Selezione di Elettronica headquarters in Milan.

 


PSD Power Systems Design

Alastair Winning joins Power Systems Design (PSD) as European Editor

Alastair (Ally) Winning has been appointed European Editor, PSD, further strengthening the editorial team at the publication after Jason Lomberg recently replaced Alix Paltre. Ally, who recently moved back to Scotland is a well-liked technical journalist who brings knowledge, experience and credibility to PSD.

 

After studying Electronic Engineering at the University of the West of Scotland, Ally has spent over 17 years in a variety of roles in Europe’s electronics industry including four years as Technical Editor at Premier Farnell element 14 and most recently, over five years as Editor of EPD Magazine.

 

Ally can be reached at: [email protected].

 


IET Innovation Awards 2017 are Open for Entry

The Institution of Engineering and Technology innovation awards for 2017, are now open for entry. These prestigious awards aim to celebrate the best innovations from not only the industry, but also academia. As they share the landmark work and developments taking place across vital areas of science, engineering and technology.

With a wide range of 15 categories to choose from, including transport, sustainability and cyber security. The awards cover every aspect of the engineering industry, with each category judged by a panel of individual and impartial experts. The deadline for entries is the 7th July 2017, and the shortlist will be announced in late September followed by a black-tie awards ceremony and dinner on the 15th November 2017 at the Brewery, London.

The awards offer free entry and are open to any individual, company or organisation with any idea, product or technology development. The IET innovation awards are quickly growing in popularity, attracting over 300 entries each year, with an increased 500 guests attending the ceremony dinner this year, to celebrate the successes of the shortlisted entries.

To find out more and to share your brilliant ideas at the awards, take a look at the IET Innovation Awards website for more information: www.theiet.org/innovation


Network, Engage and Learn at What’s New in Electronics Live

What’s New in Electronics Live is just around the corner, and promises to be a busy event, presenting the latest products and services in the electronics industry. As well as live debates, forums and competitions.

Held at The NEC in Birmingham in Hall 8 from the 9th-10th May, there is the opportunity to see over one hundred companies and brands showcasing all aspects and processes of the electronics manufacturing industry, as well as two full days of free technical content. The event also includes an innovations forum, round table debates, and technical workshops. What’s New in Electronics Live isn’t one to miss.

Open from 9.30am to 5pm on Tuesday the 9th, and 9.30am-4pm on Wednesday the 10th, this event offers companies and individuals to network with key industry contacts, and discover the emerging opportunities and challenges facing the electronics industry.

To register and gain speedy entry to the event click here to sign up.

Download Use Marketing Automation to Effectively Nurture and Track Leads Following A Trade Show


Good News for the German Print Advertising Market

WEKA FACHMEDIEN revealed a bout of good news, highlighting that mediaskop recently announced advertising statistics showing that the German print advertising market in the electronics segment has grown in 2016.

In contrast to last year, print advertising volumes grew by nearly 6% and ad spending rose from 26 million in 2015 to 27.7 million in 2016. This encouraging growth, reflected well on the German print market, and on WEKA FACHMEDIEN, whose magazine Markt&Technik achieved outstanding advertising turnover growth in 2016; 46% higher than its nearest competitor. The success does not stop there, as both Elektronik and DESIGN&ELEKTRONIK, also achieved increased sales turnover.

This news shows that print still isn’t dead yet in Germany, and is actually showing strong growth, despite the move to digital media.


PSD Power Systems Design

Jason Lomberg replaces Alix Paltre at Power Systems Design (PSD)

Jason Lomberg has been appointed North American editor at Power Systems Design He replaces Alix Paltre, who recently left the publication to move to Open Systems Media, and also offer a freelance writing service. With seven years at ECN (Electronic Component News) as their digital editor, Jason brings a wealth of online and newsletter experience, as well as a great track record as a journalist.

Interestingly, Jason’s most role was at Gannett Newspapers, where he was a regional audience analyst, using analytics to guide decisions across the brand. This means he brings some interesting expertise around maximizing online traffic that could help to boost the performance of the PSD website.

Jason’s new position with PSD as North America editor allows him to focus solely on the power market in North America. We're informed that PSD is also in the process of hiring a journalist in Europe to cover the European power news, which will mean PSD is the only English language power publication to have dedicated editorial coverage in both North America and Europe as well as their long-established Chinese based publishing efforts in Mainland China.

It's great to see PSD continuing to commit to hiring strong, experienced journalists, and I'm particularly pleased that they have decided to hire resources in Europe as well as the USA. It certainly shows that independent publications can continue to invest, and publishers don't need to sell to large distributors to succeed.

Jason can be reached at: [email protected].

 


Congratulations to Michelle Winny on the birth of her baby boy!

Huge congratulations are in order for Michelle Winny of Electronics Magazine, on the birth of her baby boy Dylan.

We wish the best to both Michelle and the new addition to her family.


Google

Google Updates Meaning of AdWords "Exact Match"

From the 1st April 2017, Google AdWords initiated changes to the way in which close match variants work on exact match keywords. The introduction of this change will see an expansion of close variant matching, to include the rewording and reordering of exact match keywords. In an effort to make it easier to reach consumers in different ways they search.

This change has been met with mixed reviews, with writers such as columnist Adam Levy summing up the problem in one simple sentence, that this change will affect “two major parts of what we advertisers have historically loved about exact match: preserving word order and keeping out filler, or “function,” words”. With an air of uncertainty surrounding this change, combined with the previous resistance of the introduction of close variants in 2012, it is no wonder companies are worried about the impact this change will have on their accounts.

But not to worry, for as Google’s trust in machine learning continues to grow, there is the belief that advertisers can let the algorithms take over, allowing them to focus more on other aspects of their companies. The positives continue to grow as writer Ginny Martin explained how Google pronounced that their early tests “indicate advertisers could see up 3 percent more exact match clocks on average while maintaining comparable click-through and conversion rates.”

Google is also attempting to soothe advertisers concerns, stressing that they will not change the word order or function words in exact match, if it would alter the meaning of a consumers query. With this matter resolved, it is hard to ignore the benefits this update holds for advertisers. This expansion, will grant reach for advertisers to target audience’s they never could before, as well as preventing them from having to create large lists of keywords, a vital time-saving aspect.

Although this change might take a while to adjust too, savvy companies will know how to make the most of this update, ensuring they stay in control by revisiting not only their keywords but also their negative keywords, to guarantee exact match is making as much impact for them as possible.


Publishing as the new information currency

The following is an opinion submitted to us by Brett van den Bosch, editor of South African publication Dataweek. In it, he considers the value of publishing, and the impact of distributors buying their way into the publishing industry.

 

The current era of human civilisation is often described as the information age, but I would argue that we've crossed the Rubicon into what could be better described as the data age. At face value that may seem a trivial distinction, but then so much of our lives has been trivialised into data points to be traded on the online market. Google has evolved from everyone's favourite search engine into one of the world's technology giants on the strength of its business model of gathering data about our online behaviour - our interests, habits, proclivities and naughties - and packaging that data as a commodity to be sold to its clients, the advertisers and marketers of this world. Facebook was built on a similar philosophy, and in case you didn't know, although you technically 'own' all the data they have on you, they can legally do whatever they want with it - photos, comments, the works; it's in their terms and conditions.

Brett van den Bosch, DataweekOf course, the B2B publishing business has evolved to keep pace with the social revolution that is the Internet, by offering an ever expanding menu of online dishes: banner ads, mass e-mailers, podcasts, videos, even pop-up ads (bleugh!) have become de rigueur. Most publishers in the engineering sector still supplement their diet with the tried and trusted staple of print, but even that has changed as recent years have seen some venerable publications migrate to a digital-only model. We in the publishing business are inclined to view our platter of offerings as a selection of ingredients for our clients to concoct their flavour of the week, but perhaps there's some value in changing our way of thinking to viewing our intellectual property as a currency rather than a medium (or more accurately a menu of media).

If we think in those terms, one could say that mass print media was the information currency of the 20th century, insofar as it was the dominant method of propagating news and opinions. I'm no historian, but looking back in time I would guess the Egyptian empire at its height was the first time the medium of information - papyrus - evolved into a currency of sorts. After all, the Egyptian government in those days was prepared to pay more for a book - any book, so I'm led to believe - than its weight in gold, such was its insatiable thirst for knowledge. Later, paper money would even become the preferred denomination of currency itself, a trend that persists to this day.

Seeing as my mental meanderings have brought me back to modern times, why do people put more stock in the dollar than any other currency in the world? Because it's seen as reliable and relatively stable - it's trusted. In the context of the recent proliferation of fake news - and let's be honest, anybody can say anything they want on social media and some fool will buy it - the publishing industry is still, for the most part, regarded as a touchstone for trustworthy information. May it always be that way.

Should we not then consider looking at this changing of the guard, from print to digital publishing, as a market-driven evolution to a new form of currency, just as we have moved from physical cash to digital banking to Bitcoin? Whereas print was to publishing as notes were to currency - in the sense that once it leaves your hands there's no accounting for who possesses it or what they do with it - digital marketers hold us to account for the number of page views, the quantity of clicks, the amount of time spent on a page, and various other metrics they believe define the value of our work.

The value, or rather the worth, of the information we as publishers purvey is no longer in the eye of the beholder. It is increasingly becoming a commodity with a market value that places a greater emphasis on the actioned than the actionable, that covets the quantifiable over the qualitative, or informative. We can argue until we're blue in the face that those raw numbers don't represent the true value of our content, but marketers are more and more insisting that they do. And who are we to argue? It is they who pay the bills after all.

The recent trend of electronic component distributors taking over established publications (as Arrow Electronics did when it bought United Technical Publishing and ICC Media) signals their intent to profit from this new currency, just as banks profit from every transaction that passes through their hands. The question is not so much whether the publishing industry is able to adapt to the ensuing paradigm shift, but whether the information consumers - the B2B engineering sector at large - will trust them the way they do us.


Engineers and Social Media

Results are out for the Engineer’s Social Media Report

IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions, recently conducted its annual ‘Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector’ survey. The online survey, which results were released in the Engineering360 Research Report, looked at a broader engineering section, and asked engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector about their frequency of social media use, which social media platforms they prefer, and what work-related activities they perform on social media.

The US based survey targeted 850 respondents who are a mixture of engineers and technical professionals, and although there were no outstanding results from the survey, there were still many interesting findings that are worth the attention.

A fascinating finding from the survey is the position social media has established in the industrial sector. As social media has evolved into a reputable media channel, more engineers and technical professionals are beginning to rely on its online services.  LinkedIn is the most popular platform among the sector, with a staggering 65% of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account on LinkedIn. Significantly, the age group 18-34 years old, maintain accounts on nearly all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Delving further into the results, 54% of respondents use social media to find product reviews, whilst 43% use social media to find out expertise.

Although social media’s postion is slowly becoming more important in the industrial sector, the results reveal that it is not a leading channel or prime concern for engineers and technical professionals. 55% of respondents considered social media to have too much noise and not enough substance, whilst 64% believe social media is inefficient when compared to other methods such as search engines, supplier websites and online catalogs.

It seems the industrial sector is reluctant to accept the full benefits of social media and integrate it fully into their work activities. Yet, with the steady increase of young engineers and technical professionals joining the industry, with a massive 66% of respondents in the 18-34 group using the popular channel of YouTube for work-related purposes, it is hard to argue against social media making a bigger impact on the sector in the years to come.


BEEAs and Elektra Awards 2017 open for entry

The British Engineering Excellence and Elektra Awards 2017 are now open for entries.

Launched in 2009, the British Engineering Excellence Awards have 11 categories, with Engineering Ambassador and New Product of the Year (Aerospace) being introduced for the first time. With previous winners ranging from chip designs to earth moving vehicles, the awards allow you to experience a wide range of the UK’s engineering and innovation capabilities.

The Elektra Awards which is now on its 15th year, is described as the most prestigious award in the electronics industry. With 24 trophies up for grabs, across categories such as business awards, and Excellence in Design. Competition is continuing to get harder as companies strive to be the best in the industry.

Both awards have an easy, quick online entry process which is completely free. The entry deadline for the BEEAs award is Friday 14th July 2017, and for the Elektra Awards is Friday 16th June 2017.

For more information to enter click here for the BEEAs and click here to discover how to enter the Elektra Awards.


Elektor Launches Elektor Business Magazine

Elektor recently began publishing a new magazine under the name Elektor Business Magazine.

This new magazine aims to establish "bidirectional links" between the electronics industry and research institutions. As well as ambitious hardware and software developers in home labs, startups and spinouts.

Elektor is breaking away from its usual audience, as Elektor Business Magazine aims to educate startup companies on high-tech technology, offering solid guidance to those in need. This interesting turn for Elektor, with the magazine also being printed in both English and German, as well as introducing the importance of bidirectional links, reveals a want for them to expand out of their normal target audience.

To find out more, check out the latest editions of Elektor Business Magazine.


Elektor to Host Rebecca Geier’s Workshop Tour for Marketers

Elektor has invited Rebecca Geier to Europe, to host a Smart Marketing for Engineers Workshop Tour on Elektor’s behalf in June 2017.

Rebecca Geier is a well- known American marketing specialist, who was a member of the marketing leadership team at National Instruments for 14 years, and holds more than 25 years’ of global marketing experience in engineering and scientific markets.

The Smart Marketing for Engineers Workshop tour will aim to present highly tangible and measurable information targeted at any technical audience. Interestingly, Rebecca, similar to other engineers, is known to not hide behind ‘management speak’, as she will zoom in or many different choices a technology oriented company has to make to be successful.

Elektor is encouraging business deciders and marketing specialists to take notice of this workshop and participate. With a long list of benefits after you’ve completed the workshop, such as a prioritized plan for marketing investments, and a draft campaign and content marketing plan, it seems this workshop is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss.

The workshop will consist of a day and a half, and will be held in Munich the 12th-13th June, Berlin from the 15th-16th June, Aachen from the 19th-20th June and Eindhoven on the 22nd-23rd June.

To find out more about the in-depth topics covered during the workshop, read about Rebecca's tour on the Elektor website.