Our top five PR campaigns this week; including Madame Tussauds, Virgin Trains and Deliveroo

It’s that time of week again… We’ve handpicked our five favourite PR campaigns of the week with examples from Deliveroo, Virgin Trains and Zalando. Read on to find out why.

Virgin Trains – #Avocard

If you are aged between 26-30 you may have heard about the railcard that was released this week, however, it was extremely hard to get hold of due to the website crashing consistently from the high volumes of users.

In response to this, Virgin Trains came up with a reactive campaign that would allow their customers the same discount when buying tickets with them directly. All you need to do is bring an avocado to the counter at one of their ticket offices.

There have been mixed reactions to the campaign on social media. Some say that it’s genius, others think it’s offensive. What do you think?

The discount is only on this week, so if you want to get cheaper train tickets with Virgin you will need to buy them soon!

Virgin's Avocard

(Source: Virgin Trains)

Royal Mail – Top 12 cities

This PR campaign is a data led piece that has got some great coverage on the likes of Daily Mail, City AM and the Evening Standard.

Royal Mail have released a top 12 list of places to live in the UK with Edinburgh taking first place and London coming second. These cities have been ranked by green spaces, education and healthcare to score them a place in the list.

The full list can be seen below:

Top 12 UK places to live

  1. Edinburgh
  2. London
  3. Bristol
  4. Newcastle-Gateshead
  5. Manchester
  6. Glasgow
  7. Leeds
  8. Cardiff
  9. Sheffield
  10. Liverpool
  11. Belfast
  12. Birmingham

This is a good example of how you can use data in your PR campaigns and get links from it. Not only has this list been covered on nationals, it has also received lots of regional coverage too.


Zalando – Advertising against brand

Recently, Zalando announced that they would be replacing 250 marketing and communication jobs with Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms. These cuts are part of a new structure to the business with a new strategy.

However, current marketing employees haven’t been too impressed by the changes and as they are in charge of the marketing budget, they decided to show their frustration through the best way they know, advertising.

They have released an advert that goes against the brand and highlights the unemployment that many are going to face due to the restructure. It is in keeping with their most recent campaign ‘Me. Unlimited.’ But they have changed it to say, ‘Me. Unemployed.’

Zalando's Me. Unemployed. campaign

(Source: Reddit)

Deliveroo – 10 Millionth Burger Billboard

To celebrate their 10 millionth burger being sold, Deliveroo have got creative. This week, on the 13th March Deliveroo were in Shoreditch. They built a giant burger billboard where people could come and get free burgers to celebrate with them. The billboard is made up of 2,000 burger boxes and was 6 metres wide.

The campaign has got lots of coverage in nationals this week, including London sites and PR sites. We think it’s a great creative campaign and a good example of getting consumers involved in their PR stunts.

Deliveroo billboard

(Source: Deliveroo)

Madame Tussauds – Hulk comes to Blackpool

To mark the launch of Madame Tussauds new Marvel Superheroes area the company have launched a PR stunt in Blackpool. The Hulk has arrived beneath Blackpool Tower and is seen holding back a vintage tram in a dramatic scene.

The character will be joined by Thor and Spider-man over the next week until the attraction opens next Friday. The stunt is costing Madame Tussauds £1 million, so it’ll be interesting to see how much traction they get on their opening week.

Madame Tussauds - Hulk

(Source: PR Examples)

What have you thought about our chosen PR campaigns this week? Tweet @branded_3 to let us know your thoughts.


How relevant is that link? [study]

“Take PR [PageRank] for example, getting a link from a high PR page used to always be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme to yours, relevance is the new PR.” – ex-search quality team member Andre Weyher interviewed by James Norquay in 2012.

Relevance of linking pages placed pretty highly in our 2018 SEO ranking factors report. It’s also pretty easy to get links within relevant content (easier than influencing anchor text or recipient page, for instance). Almost everyone in the SEO industry agrees that finding relevant link targets is huge task for link builders (maybe the most important task) but this is rarely measured in a ranking factors study simply because it’s really hard to process that kind of semantic information at scale unless you’re Google.

Acquiring links from relevant pages is more important than acquiring links from relevant domains. We said as far back as 2014 that link building on big sites beats link building on relevant sites almost every time. For example we work with a lot of brands in the travel sector but we’ll very rarely work with travel blogs for 3 reasons:

  1. More people like to travel than read travel blogs – the greatest number of lookalike customers will be reading national press or, as we’ve found in this study, finance-related websites
  2. The percentage of travel bloggers selling links – compared to bloggers in other verticals – is pretty high. If we’re asked to pay for a link we’ll first steer the site owner to some information about why that’s a bad idea…and second, pull out of the opportunity and blacklist the blog. This makes the travel blog pool pretty shallow for us (but if you want to fish in that pool go for your life)
  3. We think domain authority is a bad metric to use in link acquisition but not all of our clients agree…so sometimes we have to work with it. The median press site tends to have a higher DA than even a highly authoritative blog. We know that the journalists working at many publications are desperate for good stories, whereas the highest authority bloggers have hundreds of emails per day from people working in PR, SEO, influencer marketing…and they maybe publish one thing (and charge a premium for it). We genuinely find it easier to build links from national press than from blogs – this study is us putting our money where our mouth is.

So we’d rather not use DA (and toolbar PR has been gone for years now), but we do need to justify the link targets we’ve chosen. For this reason we typically set referral traffic as a secondary success measure when we’re scoping a linkbuilding campaign – not because we expect that traffic to convert (even though it frequently does) but because we want to prove that the sites we’re acquiring backlinks from have the right readership. If a reader clicks through from the publication to a client’s site there’s a good chance that our content is on the money.

…and we don’t like to just guess which publications have the right readership for our clients – we keep a database of the links we’ve built; who we built them for; and what they achieved. Branded3’s digital PR team use custom built tools that pull contact information and past performance statistics from our database when they’re compiling a seeding list of target sites for the campaign they’re working on.

What you’re looking at

Which sites refer traffic to your industry study…is one of the statistics we look at when we’re justifying our choice of link targets to our clients: referral traffic from previous links we’ve placed (several thousand of them, for more than 150 client websites). We used REGEX and our database to identify traffic driven through links we’ve built.

Both client sites and referring sites have been (manually) categorised by industry (note we’ve categorised sections of national press websites e.g. the Telegraph’s travel section is under Travel, not news). The sites broadly fall into the following categories:

  • Betting and iGaming (e.g. bingo, casino, poker)
  • Finance (financial services clients that don’t fall under Insurance or Loans, which we’ve split out separately – so banks and financial comparison websites in particular)
  • Healthcare
  • Home retail (e.g. baths, kitchens, wallpaper, sofas)
  • Insurance
  • Loans
  • Marketing (that includes us, so if you’re trying to market your digital marketing agency this is the category for you)
  • Motors
  • Sports (including sports betting)
  • Travel

The aggregated data is displayed in the infographic, so you can see at a glance what the topic traffic driving niches will be for your business. We’ve also included a Google Sheet containing the top 100 traffic driving sites and which industries they tend to send traffic to (with some additional sectors like fashion, food and drink and outdoor, where we work with a few businesses – you can see our client list here). Feel free to download the doc and slice/dice as appropriate for the sector you’re in.

How we use this study

  • When we have an opportunity to work with a site (via a journo request or keep in touch activity) and a client asks us if the site is worth pursuing we can tell them how many referral visits it’s driven to similar clients
  • When we’re compiling a seeding list for a campaign and we want to set up an exclusive to launch it we can show our client whether the journalist has the right audience for them e.g. if we want to launch a campaign for a healthcare client we’ll probably try to launch it on dailymail.co.uk (depending on the brand) because that’s driven the most traffic in the past
  • We know which journalists send traffic to our clients so we make sure we maintain those relationships and are as helpful as possible
  • If a publication has referred only a small amount of traffic to a similar client’s website we’ll dissect the specific campaign and use the learnings to inform our new campaign e.g. independent.co.uk has only driven 1 referral click to clients in the video gaming sector previously…if a similar client wants to work with the Independent we’ll tailor the campaign messaging to be more relevant to that audience
  • Prioritising display or native advertising opportunities (links we placed on ibtimes.co.uk drove nearly 24,000 clicks to travel clients so we might want to work with ibtimes.co.uk in other capacities)

Referral traffic is a secondary KPI/one piece of the puzzle…if you don’t want to build a link to your finance site on bbc.co.uk because it only drove 2 clicks to a bank we work with then you’re doing it wrong. Likewise, we’re saying that you might want to build links to healthcare sites on the dailymail.co.uk – but we’d still rather have a link from NHS.uk if we can get it (in fact we’ve built several links on NHS.uk and they haven’t referred much traffic). In this case, the piece of the puzzle might be visibility, because the NHS competes with our healthcare clients on many keywords. We wouldn’t look at DA because dailymail.co.uk has 94 and NHS.uk has 56…

We’re working with new sites all the time, which have obviously never referred traffic through our links before. Remember, data is great but it’s no substitute for building trust in your team through consistent, brilliant delivery.

If you need any more convincing why relevance is important in linkbuilding we’d recommend Cory Collins’ post on the PageOne Power blog.

Did you find this study useful/did you hate it? Give me and Branded3 kudos/abuse on Twitter.

Branded3’s industry leading conference SearchLeeds to return 14/06/2018

We created SearchLeeds in 2016 with an objective to deliver a free to attend event where the search community could meet, share and learn in our hometown of Leeds.

The event far exceeded our expectations during its first year and what was planned as a single-track event for 350 delegates quickly became a two-track conference for 500 attendees. Speakers on the day came from a diverse range of companies, including Majestic SEO, Bing, Search Laboratory and Just Giving.

The 2017 event saw a change of venue when we moved to the first direct arena in Leeds with the ambition to achieve over 1000 attendees. The event took place in mid-June and saw 39 speakers take to the mic across three stages covering topics including Technical SEO, Digital PR, Content Marketing, Analytics, Social Media and more. The speakers were from a variety of different businesses including Bing, Google, Auto Trader, River Island, Deep Crawl and SEMrush.

We were fortunate enough to be supported by a number of leading Leeds based agencies including Search Laboratory, Epiphany, Journey Further and Stickyeyes. All sponsors were hosted in our large exhibition space and we opened and closed the event with our pre and post event parties respectively.

In total, over 1000 delegates attended across the day and the event feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Aleyda Solis – International SEO Consultant, Speaker and Author – Orainti:


Arianne Donoghue – Paid Development Manager – Epiphany:


Danny Blackburn – Content Director – Stickyeyes


SearchLeeds 2018 – What to expect

For 2018, our challenge is to not only deliver above and beyond our previous success, but to achieve an event that continues to improve for the delegates, speakers and sponsors alike.

The event pre-party will take place on the 13th June at The Brotherhood, Leeds, offering space for delegates to network, eat and drink ahead of the main event.

This year we will once again host the event at the first direct arena, where our impressive main stage accommodates up to 2000 delegates and 12 industry leading speakers. The line-up includes Purna Virji from MicrosoftDeepCrawl’s Jon Myers, Lexi Mills, Hannah Smith from Verve Search, Claire Robinson from Realise, and Jasper Bell from Amaze, with more names to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Following feedback from attendees, we have increased the size of our second stage by nearly double, with a capacity of 300 this stage will cover Technical SEO across the day.

Our third stage, hosted in the FD Bar is sponsored and moderated by Search Laboratory, and will cover Paid Media, for an audience of 150 delegates.

The exhibition space for 2018 holds spaces for 20 stands and free tea and coffee for delegates, kindly supplied by Search Laboratory. This year will also see the introduction of dedicated break out space, allowing our delegates to continue working throughout the conference if necessary. DeepCrawl will also be hosting a Beer Garden, allowing thirsty attendees to unwind with a pint of beer throughout the day.

Finally, we invite all delegates to join us at the end of day for the event after-party taking place from 17.00 onwards in the Black and White Lounge within the arena.

For more information on SearchLeeds and how to register please head to www.branded3.com/searchleeds

For sponsor enquiries please email charlotte.harris@branded3.com

We’ll see you there!

Facebook Ad Bid Strategies: Lowest Cost and Target Cost

Advertisers often complain about cost stability and an inability to scale. There are Facebook ad bid strategies that may improve these results.

Are you not getting the cost per event that you’d like? Are you having trouble maintaining a stable cost when raising your budget? Bid strategies could help.

Let’s take a closer look at these bid strategies, how they work, and how you might use them.

What Are Bid Strategies?

Facebook distributes ads based on an auction format. The costs that you spend to reach a user will depend, at least partly, on the bid that you make to reach that user.

In most cases, Facebook automates bids (this is the default option). But advertisers can choose to manually bid in an effort to better control their costs. The primary goal of a manual bid is to get cost per desired action (typically a conversion) down.

Facebook offers two bid strategies that can help advertisers achieve lower or more stable costs: “Lowest Cost” (the default) and “Target Cost.”

Facebook Ads Bid Strategies

These two options perform very differently.

Lowest Cost Bid Strategy

Facebook designed the lowest cost bid strategy, formally known as “automatic bidding,” to get you the lowest possible cost per optimized event while spending the entirety of your budget.

Facebook Ads Lowest Cost Bid Strategy

BENEFIT: The primary benefit of the “Lowest Cost” bid strategy is efficiency. Facebook tries to get you the lowest cost per event in the short-term.

DRAWBACK: The primary drawback of this bid strategy is that achieving those low costs may be short-lived. Results may be unstable as you spend more or competition increases.

Lowest Cost: Set Bid Cap

You can also set a bid cap if you want to control how much Facebook will spend for an event while using the lowest cost bid strategy.

Facebook Ads Lowest Cost Bid Strategy Bid Cap

Note that when using a bid cap, Facebook may struggle to spend your budget if you get cute and try to set it too low. However, setting a bid cap can help prevent an ad set from overspending for an event.

For example, if a particular conversion is worth no more than $2 for you, it prevents a cost per conversion of $2.50 or more. In that case, not spending your full budget may be a good thing.

When setting a bid cap, keep in mind that this is the most you want Facebook to bid for a single event. Since a bid is the most you’ll spend for that single event, you’ll usually spend less than that. So a bid cap can stand to exceed the value of an event to your business.

How to Set a Bid Cap

Facebook recommends using an average cost per result from prior campaigns as a starting point. Also consider the most you can pay for an event (not target, but maximum) while turning a profit.

Finally, Facebook recommends a daily budget that is at least five times higher than your bid cap. This is because Facebook needs at least 50 events (the learning phase) within a week to properly optimize.

After completing the learning phase, you may decide to raise the bid cap if you’re having a difficult time getting the distribution that you want.

Whether you set a bid cap depends mostly on the results you’re seeing. Facebook doesn’t know the value of an event to your business. If you need to prevent Facebook from overspending for an event, this gives you control. At the same time, you may want to set a higher bid cap to increase distribution on a high-value event.

Target Cost Bid Strategy

The target cost bid strategy, formerly known as “manual bidding,” is only available for the following campaign objectives:

  • App Installs
  • Conversions
  • Lead Generation
  • Catalog Sales

Facebook recommends using this bid strategy for achieving more stable results as your spend increases.

Facebook Ads Target Cost Bid Strategy

In theory, this is the bid strategy you should use when planning to raise your budget as your costs should scale better.

When using this bid strategy, you are required to set a target cost based on the chosen conversion window (7-day click or 1-day view by default).

What should you use for your target cost? As a starting point, use the amount you’d like to average on a cost per event basis. Find the lowest possible costs by lowering this amount until you are no longer able to spend your entire budget.

BENEFIT: The primary benefit of this bid strategy is cost per event stability. Especially useful when scaling.

DRAWBACKS: You may see higher fluctuations in cost until the learning phase is complete (50 events in a week) using this approach. You might also find that your overall cost per event is higher when compared to using “lowest cost.”

Additionally, Facebook will always try to get you a cost per event around your target cost, even if they could have found you lower costs. This can result in significant waste if you don’t set this target cost judiciously.

What Should You Use?

As always, it depends. There is never a universal strategy for all situations.

Most advertisers should stick with the default “lowest cost” without a bid cap. But consider applying a bid cap to prevent Facebook from spending more than the highest cost that would still be profitable.

In theory, you should use “target cost” when planning to run a long-term campaign or look to scale and raise your budget. This would establish a more stable cost per event. When doing so, experiment with the lowest target cost possible that will lead to spending your budget.

I say “in theory” because it’s very easy to overspend and get poor results with the “target cost” option. In my opinion, this option is best for the smallest group of advertisers who are the most sophisticated and dealing with the highest budgets.

Scaling Facebook Ads for Success Training Program

These bid strategies will be part of the discussion within my upcoming training program, running on March 27 and 29 (hosted by my friend Andrew Foxwell). The goal is to help you understand how best to scale your advertising efficiently, strategically, and without waste.

Those within Power Hitters Club – Elite, the highest level of my exclusive membership, will get automatic access to this training. If you read this post after the dates of the program, you can sign up for PHC – Elite to get access to the replays.

Your Turn

What’s been your experience with these bid strategies? What do you use and when?

Let me know in the comments below

The post Facebook Ad Bid Strategies: Lowest Cost and Target Cost appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Using qualitative data methods to understand your customers’ on-site behaviour

CRO helps you to understand your customer behaviour better, but, before you embark on CRO, it’s good to have some ways of understanding your customer to build your initial roadmap, prioritise and hypothesise.

When starting out on your conversion optimisation journey, the first thing you need before anything else is data. Data is at the core of any good optimisation programme. Data allows us to strategically hypothesise, rather than ‘plucking from thin air’ – which we’re all guilty of – let’s admit it! Typically, we’d get the ‘what’ from our quantitative data (CRM data or analytics data), and then use qualitative methods to try and answer the ‘why’. Although I think this is a good way to approach optimisation, I do think that qualitative research can contribute to identifying the ‘what’ too.

At Branded3, we value data and we’re experts in it. That’s why we don’t undertake any CRO programme without getting to know our clients’ customers first. Whether its quantitative or qualitative research, both form a solid roadmap and help with prioritisation. When you really look in to your data, be it funnel analysis or usability sessions, I promise there will be something that can be improved, and may even offer some insight that will make you think ‘what are they doing!?’ Do not fear, there are a host of options to help uncover the ‘why’ part of what your customers are actually doing, and all of these help to build a really solid CRO roadmap.

A recent study by Econsultancy revealed that 80% of companies using nine or more methods to collect data are seeing an improvement in conversion rates vs only 38% using one or two methods. During the same study, only 58% of companies are using customer feedback to help with conversion rate optimisation, yet only 3% of people surveyed rated customer feedback as ‘very difficult’ to implement. So, there isn’t really an excuse, is there?

Throughout my experience of testing, some of the most valuable insights for hypothesis stem from customer feedback, usability sessions or customer journey analysis. Some of the best performing tests I’ve ran have also come from these data collection methods.

Steps to take to understand your visitors:

  1. Identify your top five business goals or KPIs.
  2. Identify what data sources you have at your disposal.
  3. Put aside some time in your week to review data.
  4. Prioritise areas of the site to focus on, i.e., do you have a high exit rate on one a particular page, are a certain group of users converting at a lower rate or do you see a theme with customer complaints about something?
  5. Add your ideas from reviewing data to your roadmap and PIE score accordingly.
  6. TEST!

Here are some of the best self-service tools and reports to uncover what your customers are actually doing on-site.

  • HotJar – HotJar has a host of features, all designed to help you understand your customer. From heatmaps, surveys, funnel analysis, forms and surveys and session recordings. Pricing starts from 29 Euros, but there is a basic free package available too.
  • CrazyEgg – Similar to HotJar, CrazyEgg gives you heatmaps, session recordings and scroll maps, but also offers a basic AB testing feature. Pricing starts at $29/m and they offer a free 30 day trial for any package.
  • WhatUsersDo – Remote Usability testing. Details or services are here. They offer a basic free trial. Pricing starts at £500 for a project or £7,200 per year.
  • Google Analytics – Enhanced Ecommerce offers a useful shopping behaviour and checkout funnel reports. If you’re not an ecommerce site, then setting up Goals is the best way to analyse customer journeys quickly.
  • VWO – An ‘all-in-one’ optimisation suite, VWO have recently launched their new platform (Conversion Optimisation Platform) which boasts a range of new features with key ones being visitor recordings and improvements to heatmaps and surveys.

In summary:

There are no excuses to not start getting to know how your customers are using your site. There are tonnes of ways to start, so using one of the tools above or something similar is a great starter for ten.

At Branded3, our qualitative methods are baked into our CRO programme, as are our quantitative methods. Want to know more? Read more about our services.

PR campaigns that have celebrated International Women’s Day this week

This week, International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the globe. It was widely spoken about across the news and many brands got involved in the conversation. Most campaigns got a lot of positive traction, but others also received some negative reactions on social media from the public.

PR campaigns that we will be speaking about this week include the likes of McDonald’s, Barbie and Google.

Barbie release a special edition doll

In time for International Women’s Day, Barbie have released a new special edition Nicola Adams doll. Nicola Adams, gold medal winner at the Olympics, is the 15th doll in the collection that celebrates modern day women who inspire the next generation.

She has become the first boxer Barbie in the collection, and when asked about it said, “I am so excited and honoured to be Barbie’s first ever UK Shero and the first ever boxer Barbie. Having my own Nicola Adams Barbie doll is so amazing and my hope is that everything I do helps more people realise they can do anything they put their mind to.”

The campaign has received a lot of positive feedback on Twitter and has been featured on Sky News, BBC Sport and WWE UK.

Corey Erdman, boxing commentator, took to Twitter to say, “This is amazing. Nicola Adams gets her own Barbie doll. A black, gay, female boxer is Barbie.”

Nicola Adam Barbie Doll


Google’s women-made apps and games

For International Women’s Day, Google revealed some of the female developers they have worked with on their mobile apps and games.

If you go to the Google Play homepage, you can click onto a page that showcases all apps and games made by inspiring women and it has had a great response from users.

This is just one of the many things that Google have done to celebrate women this week – they also recreated their homepage with mini stories celebrating women and Google Trends highlighted how equality is becoming closer to reality. You can see more here.

Google's International Women's Day


McDonald’s flips its golden arches

There have been many mixed reactions to McDonald’s latest campaign for International Women’s Day. The company decided to flip the famous gold ‘M’ arch so that it looked like a ‘W’ instead. This was all in aid of women and a statement to show that the brand supports women all over the world.

However, some took to Twitter to have their say about the campaign:


Most of the traction came from Americans who thought that instead of creating a PR stunt to show the support of women, McDonald’s should support their employees in the workplace by increasing wages in America.

What do you think of the McDonald’s campaign?

McDonald's International Women's Day campaign

The most equal country is…

Spot A Home has created an asset that shows which countries and cities in Europe are the best when it comes to equality. They have categorised data including gender pay gap, LGBTI friendliness and women in politics to rank the best places to live if equality is something you look for when moving somewhere new.

Ranking number 1, is Norway, with an equality index of 8.53, The UK ranks 13th with 7.33.

This campaign is a great example of how to use data in an online asset. It fits in nicely with International Women’s Day and shows exactly how the world is changing to be a more equal place.

Spot A Home equal pay asset


Brewdog’s Pink IPA

Finally, sticking to the theme of equality, we have Brewdog’s latest PR campaign. For the whole of march, they have changed their signature ‘Punk IPA’ beer into ‘Pink IPA’ to celebrate equality across the country.

At first glance, many people thought the brand were being hypocritical by making the new label pink and joining in with the sexism stereotype. It received a mixed bag of reactions on Twitter.

Tweet about Brewdog's pink beer

But Brewdog’s actual intentions were to create a campaign that makes a statement about equality. The tag line for Pink IPA is: “This is not ‘beer for girls’. This is beer for equality.” This is the reason why many people are also supporting the campaign.

Positive tweet about Brewdog's pink IPA

Brewdog's pink IPA


Which side are you on? Do you think this campaign works or are you not a fan? We would love to hear your thoughts on all of our five favourite PR campaigns this week, get in touch with us on twitter.

Alternative data sources to be used in PR campaigns

It’s becoming more and more apparent that journalists no longer want “fluffy” survey stories from PRs, they want campaigns that come with stone cold facts.

It can be quite daunting to think about where you can get these official figures, yet there is an abundance of tools out there waiting for you to utilise to create stronger campaigns.

Let’s go through the amazing alternative data sources you can use to give your campaigns an edge over your competitors:



Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The Office for National Statistics or ONS is the country’s biggest independent official statistic producer and is home to thousands of national statistic releases from employment to housing to divorce rates.

Office for National Statistics

The monthly Consumer Price Index is the perfect data source for financial clients who want to comment on inflation and Brits spending habits, while the UK house price index is a potentially helpful data source which could be used for campaigns surrounding the rise in the cost of houses.

ONS holds a wealth of credible data which journalists love, and the best thing about the Office for National Statistics is that it is a completely free open data source – making it perfect for clients on a small budget.

Google Trends

Google Trends is another free data source providing insightful trends data on a worldwide scale. The publicly available data platform allows the user to search for certain topics and queries

Google Trends is a great tool for campaigns that look at what people are searching for in different industries. The platform is ideal for comparing the volume of search queries around a particular search term over a certain period of time or comparing the difference in search volume around two different search terms.

Google trends for Staycation

As Google is the most used search engine in the world, it is a credible and trustworthy data source as it provides data from a large data pool of millions of people around the world.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act gives the public the right to request information held by public authorities e.g. local councils, health trusts and the police.

Freedom of Information releases

The information requested can be anything from the number of arrests made in a city over the last year to the number of speeding tickets issued over the last three years which can help form the base of your campaign.

As with ONS and Google Trends, FOI’s are completely free, however, the organization you send an FOI request to has up to 30 days to reply, so make you leave enough time to get the information you need for your campaign.


If you are looking to run a campaign which explores consumer behaviour, Statista may be a great alternative data source to use.

While it may not be free, Statista is home to thousands of market reports on consumer and digital markets.

Statista portal

The platform works closely with an array of market leaders in research and specialist institutions in a variety of sectors from hospitality to travel and tourism to produce the latest and most credible reports on the market.

Crimson Hexagon

As social media becomes more of an integral part of our daily lives, it can be innovative to interweave social listening into campaigns – and Crimson Hexagon is a great platform to do this.

The social listening tool pulls data from social media and all over the internet to allow users to discover how, where, when and who people are talking about a particular topic or search query.

Crimson Hexagon platform

The tool also allows users to pull the most popular hashtags surrounding a certain topic, as well as discovering the most popular emoji’s that have been used over a certain period of time.

Bonus: Your own company data!

This may not be applicable to every brand out there, but more often than not you can be your own alternative data source!

Are you an e-commerce site that sells beauty products? Great, you can use your own data to create a campaign revealing the most popular beauty products in each city of the UK. Or are you a holiday provider? You can use your own data to reveal top holiday destinations for each city in Britain.

So, there you have it. These are some of the many alternative data sources out there for you to create stronger and more newsworthy campaigns.