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Uprise Up shortlisted in The Drum Awards AND Campaign Media Awards 2021

The Drum Digital Advertising Awards Finalist 2021

We have since won at The Drum Digital Advertising Awards 2021 and Third Sector’s Business Charity Awards 2021. Read more here.


After an award-winning 2020, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for three more awards in 2021! We have one nomination in the Campaign Media Awards, and two nominations in The Drum Advertising Awards.

We’re kicking off the year with nominations in:

  • Campaign Media Awards – Charity Category for Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020
  • The Drum Advertising Awards – Social Purpose Category for Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020
  • The Drum Advertising Awards – Best Buy Side Team Category for the Uprise Up Paid Media Team



Our Journey

You don’t need us to tell you that the last 12 months have been difficult. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and navigating the ramifications of lockdown, we’ve been working harder than ever. Digital marketing had to step up, and so did we.

The Crisis at Christmas campaign is a stellar example of the results that digital marketing can achieve when approached with a creative, data-led attitude. In 2020, we need to be relentless in our pursuit of continuous improvement, to seek out the results that organisations – especially charities like Crisis – need in order to thrive.

We’re particularly proud of the nomination for Best Buy Side Team, for which our Paid Media Team has been nominated. The Paid Media Team at Uprise Up has worked far and beyond what was expected of them during the pandemic, displaying truly heartfelt camaraderie while achieving unbelievable results for our clients. The Paid Media Team was able to pivot seamlessly to working from home and communicating with our clients virtually during the various lockdowns, and we’re immensely proud of them for that.



Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020

For Crisis, the coronavirus pandemic meant making significant changes to their usual Christmas offer, such as closing their Crisis Christmas Centres and halting their usual ‘reserve a place’ fundraising proposition.

We worked closely with the team at Catalyst, who led the strategic direction of the campaign, to deliver an omni-channel digital advertising campaign across paid social, paid search, and programmatic advertising. This campaign raised over £6,100,000 in revenue for Crisis, from over 98,000 generous donations – obliterating the target of £1,630,000 from 30,000 donations.

Overall campaign results:

  • 98,096 donations – 533% year on year increase
  • £6,147,056 revenue – 755% year on year increase
  • 10.08 ROAS – 288% year on year increase
  • £6.22 CPA – 65% year on year decrease

The £6,147,056 raised meant that Crisis were able to directly provide support to 2,004 people experiencing homelessness over the Christmas period. The money raised will also make a significant contribution to Crisis’ year-round services, supporting people out of homelessness for good.



Paid Media Team

The Paid Media Team at Uprise Up are the talent behind several of our most successful campaigns of 2020. This includes the Crisis at Christmas campaign, as well as campaigns for MSI reproductive choices, Diabetes UK, Greenpeace and Sue Ryder (to name just a few).

The outbreak of COVID-19 presented a unique challenge to the fundraising capabilities of charities, with the loss of offline advertising opportunities. The Paid Media Team stepped up to deliver exceptional digital media, for our charity clients in particular.

In light of the pandemic, the team were determined to maintain the exceptional standard of digital campaigns produced in previous years. By pursuing continuous improvement and taking a data-led approach to campaigns, the Paid Media Team didn’t just maintain the standard, but were in fact able to deliver significant growth – both for Uprise Up and for our clients.

Camaraderie between the team was particularly evident over the last 12 months, with weekly Zoom quizzes and video wellbeing check-ins. The close-knit team has managed to maintain their relationship, even welcoming new members of the team who are yet to meet their new colleagues in person.




2020 was a year of growth for Uprise Up. The team saw improved revenue, excellent client retention and fantastic results for our clients. We hope to win all of the awards we have been nominated for, but being shortlisted alone is recognition of the fantastic work we’ve achieved and we are very proud.

The Drum Awards winners will be announced on the 25th March at 4pm GMT. For the full list of awards and nominations, visit The Drum Awards website.

The Campaign Media Awards are announced on the 14th and 15th April. The full list of awards and nominations can be viewed on the Campaign Media Awards website.

For regular updates on our agency, why not follow us on Twitter?

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    Defending Your Brand in Keyword Bidding Wars

    Defending your brand in keyword bidding wars

    Paid search brand attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. They can be harmful if left unchecked, and if a bidding war ensues the only real winners are the search engines.

    When we’ve needed to let clients know that this has happened, the general principles and subsequent advice is always similar, so I thought I’d lay things out here for the benefit of everyone. Firstly, I’ll run through the factors at play. At the bottom of this article we’ll look at what to do if you think your brand is coming under attack.


    Why is a competitor bidding on your keyword?

    The aggressor brand is able to circumnavigate (typically) more competitive and expensive, intent-based keywords, and focus on taking traffic and sales away from competitors (the defending brands).

    As the user has reached the point of searching for a particular brand, they would usually be in the ‘purchase’ phase, not the ‘research phase’. The closer advertisers can reach consumers at point of purchase, the more likely that user is to convert.

    For example, the keyword ‘buy a TV online’ might theoretically cost £5 per click. A competitor’s brand, ‘LG TV’ would likely be considerably less, conceivably 50p. Was LG to bid on ‘Sony TV’ and successfully convert the user, they could be reducing a competitor’s revenue, whilst increasing their own, at reduced cost.

    There are other gains to be made from bidding on competitors brand names beyond exposure and high quality traffic. There will be extremely useful data around those brand queries, including volume, and associated keywords. Also, one brand is able to invite comparison against another, and frame it in a way that favours them.

    If this is happening to your organisation, your competitor hasn’t necessarily decided to bid on your brand directly. It could be an aggressive agency – they could be following Google’s keyword suggestions. So the first step isn’t necessarily to go knocking down doors, but open a dialog; and it’s good to know the practicalities first.


    What are the legalities?

    It is legal to bid on other organisations’ branded keywords. Sometimes Google, (for example), will trademark certain keywords. But this is infrequent, inconsistently applied, and typically only done for mammoth organisations with significant spend in paid search. It’s legal to do and hard to prevent if you are defending yourself.

    It isn’t legal for the aggressor’s ad text to make it appear that they are the organisation who’s keywords they are bidding on as this could mislead the user (who is often the consumer). This was cited in 2013, when Interflora sued M&S for branded keywords together with ads appearing to lead to an Interflora service. With dynamic keyword Insertion (DKI) ads, (automatically repeating the keyword being bid for in the ad text), it could be easy to make this mistake. So legally, fixed ad text should be used.


    Are there any moral implications?

    Arguably. From a user’s perspective, they have been quite specific in looking for a particular brand. Bidding on keywords when you are not the brand they are looking for is clearly outside ‘user intent’.

    This can be more clearly illustrated in the charity sector, with bidding on competitor brands takes increases the price of traffic, takes money away from both advertisers, and as such the cause they are trying to support.


    What about ‘keyword focused’ brand names?

    Where an advertiser’s brand name clearly indicates the activities they are involved in, they are not so easily defendable. For example, if a TV retail company called itself ‘buy a TV online’, then they are clearly putting themselves in the firing line of intent-driven keywords. The same could be said for ‘Diabetes UK’ or Cancer Research UK. (The charity sector is particularly at risk here as many charities like to clearly indicate their cause’ in their name).

    In these situations, Google is unlikely to allow these terms to be trademarked and competitors are less likely to avoid these keywords. However, having a keyword focused brand offers organisations a slight advantage in bidding for those search queries, as below:


    Are competitors able to bid on another brand’s keyword as effectively as the brand owner themselves?

    No. Organisations that own their brands should be signalling clearer intent to search engines, and so be rewarded with an increased quality score (QS). This will mean that it should cost the defending brand less to rank above their rival, maybe by something like 20%.

    There will still be a significant increase in cost for the defender to compete for their own branded traffic. Maybe several times greater than they would otherwise be paying. So long as the ‘aggressor’ brand is bidding within their means, (with an acceptable amount of revenue being generated from this activity), they could keep increasing the bid, and the cost for their rival organisation to defend their brand.


    Does anyone win?

    Google, certainly. It is no surprise that Google and other search engines benefit significantly from the mechanics of paid search that they have engineered. If brand names become competitive, as with other high-demand keywords, Google will pocket the increased cost-per-click on those keywords.

    The issues around this are really highlighted by the charity sector. For example, one of the charities we work with is Crisis. They have a particularly well know Christmas campaign which they use to increase awareness around homelessness. Although the word ‘Crisis’ is common, there is little correlation for the keyword ‘Crisis’ to indicate intent to donate to a homeless charity; apart from where it applies to the brand. However, several other homeless organisations, (or their zealous agencies), do bid on this keyword, especially over the Christmas season.

    Brand bidding wars really hurt the charity sector. Assuming an average donation amount achieved per click to be £10: If a rival is prepared to bid £8 for this click (and still make profit) and the charity is then also forced to match that spend to defend it’s own keywords. This could mean 80% of the intended donation going to Google.


    In a brand bidding war does either organisation have an inherent advantage?

    Perhaps. Let’s assume there are two advertisers where all other variables are equal: The same quality of service (or product), the same costs for production, the same cost of sale, the same ability to convert users that land on the site, – and so on. There is a strong commercial case that the smaller organisation with less brand awareness will have the advantage. There is more branded traffic they can take from their competitor, and less cost to themselves for the increase cost in defending their own brand in search engines. I’m over-simplifying here to illustrate the point, but often the smaller challenger-brand has more to gain and less to lose.

    Also, ‘competitor bidding awareness’ is a big contributing factor to whoever has the advantage. The aggressor will have the upper hand here at the beginning. If one advertiser is aggressively moving in on another’s brand search traffic, until the defending brand spots it, the aggressor has probably found itself an opportunity.

    If the defending brand does have effective detection in place, they are able to increase the cost of their click to defend their position, and maybe retaliate, but this is probably at considerable expense, and more money to Google. The defending brand could also decide to bid on the aggressor’s branded keywords in return, again, escalating the cost for this traffic.


    What’s the process for stopping it?

    Trademark. Try to get Google to apply that trademark across keywords as well as ad text. This should be done anyway, before any competitor bidding shenanigans take place.

    Monitor. Regularly search for your own brand name and identify any competitors bidding on it.

    Speak to the competitor and agree not to compete on bidding against each other brands. In many situations, this is going to make sense. Initially we recommend starting conversations at the level of whoever oversees the Google Ads account. Often someone like the Marketing Manager or Marketing Director. I recommend friendly communication in the spirit of cooperation, and to get buy-in from the other organisation. If no luck is found at that level, escalating this to a ‘CEO – CEO level chat’ would commonly be the advised next step. The case is simple: Please stop bidding on our brand, because if you continue, we’ll have to out-bid you, and in return, bid on yours. This would then cost us both a lot of money.

    Not actively bidding on another’s brand wouldn’t stop advertisers from appearing when competitor’s brand names are included in the search query. For example, bidding on just the words ‘buy TV online’ might make Sony appear for the search query ‘buy an LG TV online’. Likely if LG are using their own brand in addition to the other words used, they will have the advantage, (greater relevancy = improved quality Score). However, for competitors to agree not to rank (at all) in search queries where the other brand is used, they need to go one step further…

    Negative keyword matching goes one step further.  This is where one Google Ads account specifies that if a particular keyword is included in the user’s search query, they won’t enter the bid.  If organisations could align themselves so that each introduces the rival’s brand as a negative keyword, they would both be rewarded with significant cost reductions on their own branded traffic.

    This has limitations with multiple advertisers, as it only takes one to break ranks, and due to the auction-based system for establishing price, the market rate for that brand would quickly shoot up.

    The process can often work for charities, where economies of scale are such that there is often only a limited handful of organisations (of any considerable size) clustered around a particular cause. Often only two or three. This makes coordination between the groups relatively easy. If a collaborative approach can be taken, it should save all of them considerable funds.


    In summary

    Bidding on another brand is common, and in my experience, often organisations don’t even know they are doing it. So, keep communication friendly, but you do want to stop this where possible. Brands are built on the back of good awareness marketing; no-one want to pay for them again with significant search costs!

    If this post is of interest and you would like to discuss in more detail, we’d love to help! Drop us your details in our contact page and someone will be in touch.


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      Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020

      Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020

      Intro from John (MD)

      I remember starting my career, trying to understand this strange new world and pick up on the culture: What were my colleagues like? What behaviours were expected from me? What was the context of my work compared with that of the wider agency?

      It wasn’t easy; but looking back, there were many touchpoints to help me understand this new environment and my position within it. I was sat with a great team who gave me an example, and context. I learned a lot by watching them and listening to them at work. Also, the regular kind words and smiles helped settle me down, something I’ll always be grateful for.

      Fast forward to today and graduates of 2020 are starting their careers during a much harder time.

      In that context, it is even more inspiring to have seen how well our interns, Jasmine and Emily have made this work. They have contributed to our culture immediately, have shown a real aptitude for digital marketing and have demonstrated outstanding focus and professionalism too. Wow, we have been fortunate!

      I look forward to when they can enjoy a live company event; also to when they can experience the usual buzz of the office for the first time, – or when they are able to join us in a champagne moment after winning a new client! Hopefully, all of that won’t be too long – the champagne is already on ice.

      This blog is not just sharing what life is like as a digital Intern. It can be read as an insightful look at the views of two exceptionally talented digital marketeers, new to their careers, but who have overcome the significant hurdles of these times – and thrived.




      Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020


      Zoom Call

      Ever wanted to know what life is like as an intern at an award-winning digital media agency?

      We’ve caught up with our interns, Emily and Jasmine, to hear about their experiences as interns at Uprise Up.


      First things first, introduce yourself and give an insight into why you’re interested in digital marketing.

      Emily: I studied Chinese and International Business at the University of Leeds. Digital marketing appealed to me because of its capacity to measure all aspects of the marketing journey and understand how a user found your product/service. Also, I love a good spreadsheet!

      Jasmine: I graduated from the University of Birmingham in June 2020 with a First Class honours degree in History. I was interested in beginning a career in digital marketing throughout university, particularly after completing work experience at a social media marketing agency.


      What does your role entail?

      Emily: My role is Paid Media Assistant. I work with a variety of clients, setting up new campaigns, ad groups and optimising current campaigns. Typically, each day is different, but I am consistently reviewing campaigns and tweaking them to improve performance.

      Jasmine: As a digital marketing assistant, I support my team with implementation for paid search campaigns. This primarily involves continually optimising campaigns on Google Ads, through updating ad copy, keywords and monitoring performance. I also provide support for Uprise Up’s own marketing, including scheduling content for our TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn and publishing content on our website.



      Tell us a bit about the team that you work with.

      Emily: The Paid Media team works to reach audiences at the exact moment when they are looking for your product/ service. The team works closely with clients to clearly define the goal of each campaign and works to achieve that. A lot of the time our goals are oriented around increasing conversion rates.

      Jasmine: I work alongside the Strategy & Client Services team, who have all been extremely supportive with regards to sharing their expertise with me and helping me to learn new skills. We have a daily team catch up, which I value being a part of to keep up to date on work within the team.


      What do you enjoy the most about your role?

      Emily: I love having the ability to work on such a wide range of socially responsible clients, all with different digital marketing objectives. Having the scope of clients at an agency, like Uprise Up, allows you to learn a lot quicker about different marketing strategies.

      Jasmine: In terms of account work, I find working with charities really rewarding. Knowing that our work can lead to a charity receiving a donation or volunteer sign up is amazing! I also love supporting with marketing tasks and contributing to Uprise Up’s constant expansion and growth.


      What have you found to be the most challenging aspect?

      Emily: The most challenging aspect I found was getting used to navigating around the different interfaces. During the first week, it was all a bit of a shock to the system, but over time it has become a lot easier!

      Jasmine: Learning how to use completely new platforms, such as Google Ads and Google Data Studio, has definitely been challenging. I’m lucky to have such helpful and patient colleagues who are more than willing to help me out!


      What has it been like starting a new job from home and having limited time in the office?

      Emily: It has been a challenge, but the team have been incredible at consistent communication and checking in on my work. Going into the office for the odd few days has been great to meet the team face-to-face.

      Jasmine: Starting a role “virtually” isn’t how I imagined my first job after graduation to look like, but I’ve grown to enjoy working from home. I feel as though I’ve still had a chance to get to know the Uprise Up team even though we’re not in the office, as we have weekly catch ups and socials that often involve quizzes (which I’m unfortunately yet to win).


      What skills do you think are necessary to succeed as a digital marketing intern?

      Emily: I think there are 3 main skills necessary: having a curiosity and willingness to learn, being able to read and interpret data, being able to adapt quickly and react.

      Jasmine: Communication, a willingness to learn and adapt, and a keen eye for detail are all skills that are essential upon entering the world of digital marketing.


      Emily, what do you listen to whilst you’re working?

      Emily: I often listen to my Morning Coffee playlist first thing, whilst enjoying far too many cups of coffee! By the afternoon I tend to prefer silence or listening to the radio.


      Jasmine, what’s your ultimate hack for being productive whilst working from home?

      Jasmine: I find being that being surrounded by an abundance of iced coffee and my personalised ‘guilty pleasures’ playlist on Spotify playing in the background is unquestionably the ultimate working environment for high levels of productivity.


      If you would like to know more about our award-winning agency, tweet us at @upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page.


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        The Drum Awards Winners 2020

        The Drum Digital Advertising Awards Europe Winner 2020

        We won at the 2020 The Drum Digital Advertising Awards!

        There’s no disputing we are in the strangest of times right now, but we received an email in April that cheered us all up greatly. We were delighted to find out that we’d made it to be finalists for not one but two digital advertising awards in The Drum Digital Advertising Awards Europe 2020.

        Last week, we found out that we won both awards, officially making Uprise Up a multi award-winning digital marketing agency! The categories we were nominated in are Not for Profit and Most Effective Use of Data.

        We’re honoured to be recognised by The Drum Digital Advertising Awards, as they value data-driven work that showcases best practices in the current digital landscape. Data is at the core of everything we do at Uprise Up; it’s used at every step of a campaign to drive continuous improvement and achieve great results. We’ve operated in charity sector since Uprise Up was founded and it’s considered to be one of our specialities. We work with a wide range of charities to ensure their message reaches the right people at the right time.

        To win ‘Most Effective Use of Data’ we were up against some industry giants: ITV plc, Wavemaker CS, RAPP UK, Code, Permutive, Infectious Media, Captify and MiQ, Dentsu Aegis Network. Our work on the Charity Benchmark impressed the judges with its innovative thinking, which has helped form a dynamic data community in the charity sector.


        Not for Profit

        On this digital campaign we worked alongside Catalyst, a marketing and advertising agency that specialises in charities and NGOs. Together, our work with UK national charity for homeless people, Crisis, helped increase donations through a targeted digital marketing ‘Crisis at Christmas’ campaign.


        Crisis facebook ad


        The campaign successfully cut though the digital noise of the busy Christmas period with Uprise Up and Catalyst delivering a multi-channel digital campaign with impressive results. Catalyst provided all creative assets used in the campaign. With these creatives and a combination of paid social and programmatic display advertising, our tactics resulted in over 48,000 donations with a value of over £2,600,000. This is a growth in revenue of 125% from 2018 to 2019; building on the vast improvement already achieved the previous year, since Uprise Up took over the digital campaign in 2018.

        Through continuous testing of audiences, creatives, placements, formats, images and copy, we achieved significant improvements in performance throughout the campaign. Our testing was a contributing factor to the results we achieved, which included driving cost per acquisition (CPA) down by over two thirds through the duration of the campaign, which enabled Crisis’ budget to go further and help more people.


        CPA Improvement, 2017 vs 2018 vs 2019

        Graph showing improvement in CPA across Paid Social and Programmatic 2017-2019

        The campaign resulted in a record Christmas fundraising campaign with Crisis attaining its highest ever amount of online donations.

        For more information, you can check out our Crisis Case Study.


        Most Effective Use of Data

        We work with CharityComms, the membership network for communications professionals working in UK charities. This network aims to raise the standards of communications across the third sector and help member charities efficiently use data.

        Working on a pro-bono basis over the past two years, Uprise Up created The CharityComms Digital Benchmark, a benchmarking tool which has enabled over 70 charities to pool their digital data. This allows them to compare and evaluate the results of their digital activities and compare their marketing efforts to those of other participating charities across the UK. This data is accessible through a dashboard which offers a simple view of complex data.

        The Digital Benchmark has helped, and continues to help, charities to:

        • Judge digital success
        • Identify realistic targets for their digital output
        • Identify weaknesses in their marketing efforts
        • Use insightful data to allocate their digital investment
        • Compare their performance to other charities

        As a result, over the past two years participant numbers have shot up by 70%, with over 70 charities using the Benchmark. It’s also been rated good or excellent value for money by 84% of participants. Some of the participating charities include Age UK, Barnardos, NSPCC and Shelter. A full list can be found on the CharityComms website.

        By pooling all the data from the charities and setting up effective tools to interrogate the data, Uprise Up and CharityComms have helped form an enormous data community in the charity sector.

        We’re very excited to know we get to don our evening wear for a virtual award ceremony at the end of the month! You can see all the nominees here. A massive congratulations to everyone that was nominated or received an award, there was some tough competition to beat. And a big thank you to everyone who’s worked on either project with us. These awards were team efforts and we’re proud to work with you all.


        Want to talk?

        If you’d like to find out how we can help your organisation with outstanding results we’d love to hear from you so do get in touch. Our MD John has also just written a great blog about marketing during Covid-19.

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          SEM Cup 2018

          SEM Cup

          SEM FIFA World Cup Tournament 2018

          In June and July, the world was taken over with World Cup fever, but here in the Uprise Up office we were overcome with something much more important – SEM Cup fever.

          As I’m sure is the case for most companies, we have a number of self-proclaimed ‘FIFA Experts*’ who regularly bicker about their prowess and who is the best in the office. With the World Cup fast approaching, we thought it would be a great idea to set up a FIFA World Cup tournament, to once and for all, settle who was the best player in the office.

          As these things often do, it quickly got out of hand – rather than host an inter-office competition, the decision was made to open the tournament up to all Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agencies across the UK. Thus, SEM Cup was born.

          We were amazed at the response; SEM Cup had interest from some big agencies, including Screaming Frog, All Response Media, and Bulldog Digital Media. We even had international interest with the participation of Overdrive Interactive, an agency based in Boston! In total, 10 agencies battled it out for the title of ‘Best Search Engine Marketing Agency’.

          Whilst we didn’t have a full roster of countries, we were able to scramble 16 individual teams together – meaning every team went straight through to the knockout stages. With a few quick friendly group games to warm up, Vertical Leap came out on top for Group A, with Purple Imps (B) taking Group B, Screaming Frog (B) taking Group C, and Vertical Leap PPC winning Group D.


          It’s A knockout

          Uprise Up had two teams in the competition; Japan and Belgium. Although we had ‘some of the best FIFA players in the country’*, unfortunately, Japan didn’t make it past the first knock out stage. Belgium had slightly more success, reaching the semi-finals. But, alas, they were knocked out by Social Stork in a close, nail biting game.


          It’s the final countdown

          The final came down to Social Stork (playing as the mighty Saudi Arabia) and Go Up (playing as Uruguay) – both of whom had finished 2nd in the group stages but proved to be powerhouses in the knockout stages. Social Stork were soaring high with the best game result at 8-2. Despite this, Social Stork were no match for Go Up, who won with a convincing 6-1 lead and were crowned SEM Cup 2018 champions! Their reward? A lovely vector image for their homepage!

          What’s Next?

          The tournament was great fun to participate in, and although we didn’t win, there was great team spirit, within the office and across all the agencies. It also proved to be a brilliant opportunity to network and speak to likeminded people in the industry.

          To top it off, we also had messages from a number of agencies wanting more! With this is mind the idea of a SEM Cup league was thrown into the ring and quickly took off. To ensure that this time no agency would miss out by not owning an Xbox, we decided to set up two concurrent leagues – one for Xbox One, one for Play Station 4. The League is kicking off in September, with spaces still available across both Xbox and PS4 – if you are from an agency or know an agency that would like to take part, please visit www.semcup.co.uk or @SEMCup on Twitter to register your team!


          *completely unsubstantiated claims

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            GDPR: An Expert’s View

            An Expert's View on GDPR

            Getting Prepared for GDPR


            The first thing to bear in mind when hearing the letters G.D.P.R is not to panic.  It’s correct that the GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulations) are coming in to force on 25th May 2018 but what most people don’t seem to have remembered is that the Data Protection Act has been legislation since 1998 and the GDPR is simply following on from that.  I think what has most people running scared is that the maximum figures for the fines for non-compliance are set to rise rather dramatically, but more on that later.


            If your organisation has been compliant with the present legislation then you really have a few tweaks to become ready for the GDPR.  The governing office for Data Protection is the Information Commissioner’s Office and that is the organisation which sets the rules, administers advice and will impose any sanctions for breach or non-compliance.  They have an extremely helpful website (ico.org.uk) which, if you negotiate it properly, will provide you with the answers to most of your queries.


            Many people that I meet don’t appear to understand the need for data protection.  Please remember when preparing for the legislation, that you are a data subject.  i.e. your personal data is processed by many different organisations, from your bank to your favoured online shop, the local takeaway, your doctor, the list is endless.  You would hope and expect that the information you provide to them is kept safe and secure without anyone able to access it, hack it, potentially abuse you if they had knowledge of it.  The data subjects whose data you process expect the same from you.  As you don’t want to be bombarded with marketing that you haven’t requested and is of no relevance to you, your data subjects should be afforded the same courtesy.


            They expect that you will keep their data safe and secure, that you’ll provide them with a copy of the information you hold about them in a clear and concise format within the specified time period (30 days, including bank holidays and weekends under GDPR) should they request it.  They expect that you will delete their information once it is no longer in use and that you won’t share it with anyone unless it has been made clear to them what you will be doing with it.  The DP regulations (and GDPR) simply set down the legislation that governs these processes.


            data protection.jpg



            The key to GDPR is accountability.  You need to make sure that you can justify why you hold certain information about an individual, on what legal basis you process it, and for how long you intend to keep it.  Your privacy policy should clearly state this and it should be easily accessible to visitors on your website, along with internal clear and easy to understand policies on security, retention etc. and contracts with all third parties setting out how they are to handle the data that you share with them, as well as an easy to follow breach policy, i.e. what to do if a breach occurs.  Remember that it is your responsibility to protect and keep secure the data you collect and process.  It’s no good blaming someone else if your website is hacked and the data is compromised.


            If your organisation is based upon its marketing then ensure that you’re up to date with the provisions of the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR) and that you stick to these in line with the GDPR.  In other words, when collecting the data for marketing purposes make sure the subjects you’re collecting it from know what you intend to do with it so they can decline to receive it in the first place.  Additionally, that they have the option to ‘unsubscribe’ from it easily.  There is simply no point bombarding an unwilling individual with information that is of little or no interest to them, regardless of whether you think it might be.  Target your marketing accordingly and you may have more chance of success.  The GDPR doesn’t mean the end of digital marketing but that thinking has to be a little smarter.


            Coming back to the sanctions I mentioned earlier; the ICO will not always immediately fine someone for flouting the rules.  Although it’s not yet clear how heavy handed her office will be, as things stand at the moment she tends to issue notices of enforcement and undertakings before moving directly to monetary penalties depending on the nature of the breach.  She does, however, have the power of criminal prosecution in some circumstances and the monetary penalties can be severe… up to 4% of global turnover or 20 million Euros (whichever is the greater sum) in the more serious cases.  These more severe sanctions are scary, but they’re meant to be.  They won’t apply to you or your organisation if you comply with the rules.


            You will know by now that this article will not answer all your questions nor will it prepare you for DP compliance as I have barely scraped the surface of all you need to know, but hopefully it will help you to breathe a little more easily and realise there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not all doom and gloom.  As a data subject I welcome the fact that organisations are waking up to the need to protect my personal information and I hope, when  you think in those terms, so will you.


            Remember, help is at hand both here and on the ICO website.


            Happy New Year!



            Emily Culverhouse has been a practising barrister since her call in 1998 and has specialised in Data Protection law since 2012 when she joined forces with her colleague Clara Westbrook in the boutique consultancy Westbrook Data Protection Services.  She regularly advises businesses (of all sizes), schools and charities in relation to the regulation side of Data Protection, conducts audits and runs training courses.


            Emily is also a local Councillor and is presently Town Mayor of Chesham where she is directly involved with a number of local charities and organisations.


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              Making a Splash: Uprise Up Fundraises for Swim22

              Uprise Up staff fundraise for Swim22

              Swim 22

              From 22nd February to 22nd May, 6 Uprise Up staff took the plunge and each swam 22 miles for Diabetes UK, raising £708.41 in the process!

              Initially, challengers had 3 months to swim the breadth of the English Channel, and our MD joined with only 1 month to go, making waves as he finished 3 days before the end! – though he then needed a couple of trips to the physio to put his back right again!

              Doing it together made a huge difference and we all felt the unity that formed within our team. Charting our progress generated some healthy competition but also created a buzz which brought swimmers closer together, encouraging each other to get closer to the finish line.


              Diabetes Swim22 Progress Chart


              We are so proud of our Uprise Up family, even the non-swimmers got involved by supporting and willing us to keep going with generous donations – everyone wanted to know our progress! There were times we thought we wouldn’t make it, but after a couple of months we all gained speed and propelled towards the end. It was great individually raising money whilst doing it and we are extremely happy with the results.

              Whilst some decided 22 miles was more than enough, others, including myself, discovered the joys of swimming and decided to make it part of their regular fitness routine.

              We work with a lot of charities promoting fundraising based campaigns and getting involved first hand in the events really helps us understand and connect with the fantastic causes that we work with. It was hard work, but being part of such a great cause was a huge motivation for reaching that finish line.

              Diabetes UK is a very special and deserving charity; we are touched by the amount of support we received during and after the challenge and we want to thank everyone who sponsored us. We are proud to have contributed to their ongoing research and to help support those who have Diabetes.

              Diabetes UK are still taking Swim22 donations, so if you too would like to be part of the Uprise Up Swim22 fundraising team, get in touch with us at hello@upriseup.co.uk. Alternatively find out more about Diabetes UK and donate on their website here 


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                Apprentices & Young People Employer Award 2017

                Buckinghamshire Business First Awards 2017

                The Buckinghamshire Business Awards 2017


                young people - buckinghamshire business firstWe are delighted to announce we have been chosen as finalists for the Buckinghamshire Business First ‘Apprentices and Young People Employer Award 2017’ sponsored by Buckinghamshire County Council. It’s great to be part of an award that celebrates success and excellence in young people within our local business community. Opportunity and development to young people is really important to us here at Uprise Up, and it’s great to be recognised for this. This is the first time we have entered an award and we are so excited to be in the running!

                At the heart of our business is our people. Over the last year we have grown from 6 to 14 active employees, who are predominantly young people.

                We have found many benefits of employing young people (under the age of 24), one being they bring a whole new skill set to the table, be it in graphic design or tech level or creative thinking, or ideas to improve processes in house. They also prove to have a good attitude and eagerness to learn and grow and always keen to do well.


                The main advantages are:
                • The work that we do is new and quickly evolving and there is a shortage of professionals with the right skills. Young people are already digitally literate and they pick everything up exceptionally quickly.
                • Young people have a good level of knowledge of the digital landscape and are often very creative thinkers. We value their strategic input from the start.
                • Young people also often have some digital skills already, including photography, website design, graphic design video, social media. This all helps tremendously with the depth and breadth of the services we deliver.
                • This generation of young people in particular have shown a fantastic attitude. They are motivated, determined, eager to learn and always very positive.
                • Young people are very open minded and receptive to change. As we have developed quickly as a company, there has been rapid change and all of them have adapted perfectly.


                We are also proactively involved in the education of young people, though offering work placements and voluntary training through Young Enterprise.

                In addition, we are starting to work with university’s to offer work placements:

                • We have recently teamed up with Santander Brunel University and are a member of their internship scheme. The Santander Universities SME Internship has been designed to provide students and graduates the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience in their chosen field. The internships are 6 weeks, working full time and can start anytime between February and August 2017– Uprise Up are very excited to be part of this.
                • We are currently part way through an employer application with Manchester Metropolitan University. Once this is complete we will be offering 9 – 12 month placements in a ‘sandwich course’


                We have a solid internship program and have taken on 5 young people on this scheme within the last 12 months.

                young people - meeting

                Training and developing young people is at the core of our business. All new joiners have induction training to our systems, software and processes. Then we have a series of internal training programs on a variety of subjects (both at a basic and an advanced level) including:


                We also have an established process for developing Young People’s skills. Each new starter is placed in a team and the team head (an Account Manager or Director) takes responsibility for that person’s development.

                Being both Google and Bing partners, we have priority access to training sessions at both Google and Bing. We find that being able to send staff on trips to these big worldwide brands for training is pivotal in engaging with our staff and maximising their enthusiasm for their work and our product. Also, the training that these companies offer is excellent.

                Uprise Up frequently invest in external training so that our young people don’t operate within a bubble at and are very much a part of the wider Digital Marketing Community.

                Uprise Up truly believe that these young people are the future of our country. We are thrilled so many of them are interested in Digital Marketing, as this is a big industry and will only continue to grow in the future. We feel very proud to be part of that, and to be able to reach out to the young and offer these great opportunities.

                We also recently volunteered to work with Young Enterprise, the UK’s leading charity that empowers young people to harness their personal and business skills. Uprise Up gave Digital Marketing talks and training to students aged 15 – 16 years involved in marketing for their school’s team. We have also agreed with Young Enterprise to run a more involved program of talks in the next academic year (from September 2017).


                We’re excited to be a part of Buckinghamshire Business First ‘Apprentices and Young People Employer Award 2017’ and thrilled to be announced as one of the finalists. We will keep you posted on our progress!


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                  Fake News Sites – An Update & Investigation

                  Fake News Sites an Update and Investigation

                  Fake News


                  We published a blog a few months ago explaining why adverts might appear on fake news sites, as well as discussing who is responsible for preventing this.

                  Since it seems that fake news, and accusations against advertisers, Facebook, Google and more, is here to stay for the foreseeable future, we wanted to give an update on what’s going on, as well as some more insight as to why it’s such a complex issue.

                  The issue of fake news is still appearing in newspaper headlines and remains a hot topic for many. Articles are frequently being published detailing the problem of fake news and what major companies, such as Google and Facebook, have promised to do to tackle this problem.

                  In addition, many have taken it upon themselves to inform companies when their ads have appeared on a fake news site in order to combat the problem. Yet, there is one important question that has yet to be answered and proves to be a barrier to finding an all-encompassing solution.


                  What Counts As Fake News?

                  The first question to consider is what actually counts as fake news? This is important as without a clear definition, we cannot decide which sites to be wary of.

                  Opinion vs. Fake News

                  Many argue that what they publish is just their opinion, not fake news, and targeting them constitutes an attack on freedom of speech. If a site contains articles with controversial opinions, but these opinions do not incite hate or violence, then is there any concrete reason why such sites should be banned from ad networks?

                  However, many people still put sites such as these under the bracket of fake news and claim that they misinform the public and attempt to present something as fact, rather than opinion. But at what point does restricting this sort of content then constitute limiting someone’s freedom of speech and expression? Can it even be considered censorship?

                  Entertainment vs. Fake News

                  Again, if a site contains a disclaimer that their content is meant to be satirical or for entertainment purposes, then can they be considered fake news? Even if it’s readers do not read this disclaimer and believe the stories to be true, the site itself is not claiming that their content is factual.

                  Satirical sites, such as The Onion, have been around for years and the main difference is that sites such as these were well-known to be spoof before the issue of fake news arose, whereas newer sites do not have this reputation and so are painted as deceptive.

                  What Next?

                  There are some that would group all sites that have been mentioned as Fake News sites, and others who would only include sites that purposefully distribute inaccurate content as news or imitate real news sites. Whose responsibility is it to decide what constitutes fake news? Without a clear agreement of where to draw the line, it is difficult to come up with a solution.


                  fake news sites - newspapersWhat Are The Implications?

                  Regardless of the argument over what counts of fake news, there is convincing evidence that this issue of fake news has big implications for lots of people.

                  The Public

                  Many members of the general public are angry about fake news and are actively fighting against it, campaigning for brands and advertisers to stop their ads running on fake news sites and calling for more to be done by companies such as Google and Facebook.

                  There is also mounting evidence that there is “a marked decrease in the trust of mainstream media in the UK as a result of widespread misreporting and false information, which not only damages the media outlets themselves but could have an impact on the brands that choose to advertise with them”.


                  One of the most important things to almost any company is their brand. And so, if trust in their brand is affected by the appearance of their ads on fake news sites, this is a big issue for them.

                  No brand wants their consumers to feel mistrustful of them or associate them with negative sites, and so this could mean that brands become warier of using ad networks in order to preserve brand safety.


                  If fewer companies utilise Ad Networks, then Advertising Agencies may see a decline in business and trust in what they do.

                  Although a portion of responsibility lies with advertisers to stop their clients’ ads being shown somewhere that may affect the client’s brand negatively, with the way that Ad Networks work, it is difficult to stop this entirely without a pre-prepared list of placements the clients do not want their ads to show on, or without Ad Networks creating an new option of stopping ads showing on fake news sites.

                  Ad Networks

                  An immense amount of pressure is being put on ad networks to eradicate fake news sites from their networks altogether. However, as mentioned before, it is proving difficult to reach consensus on what constitutes fake news.

                  And so, whilst ad networks such a Google Ad Sense have targeted sites that imitate real news sites or publish hateful or harmful fake content, it has not taken aim at other sites that people believe should be removed from their network.


                  What’s Being Done?

                  So, what’s being done to combat the issue of fake nfake news sites - censorshipews?

                  Ad Networks Removing Fake News Sites

                  Many Ad Networks are clamping down on some forms of fake news. For example, Google’s Misrepresentative Content Policy states: “Users don’t want to be misled by the content they engage with online. For this reason, Google ads may not be placed on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about [the publisher], [its] content or the primary purpose of [the] web property”.

                  And so, there is evidence that Ad Networks are doing something and have removed fake news sites. However, “often when a fake news site is kicked off one network, it simply moves to another and continues to earn money”. But, as mentioned previously, this does not include targeting the slightly less obvious forms of fake news that can be protected due to claims of being satirical or personal opinion.

                  Excluding Fake News Sites Manually

                  As Fake News sites are becoming more publicised, advertisers are taking extra precautions and excluding the more well-known sites manually to try and avoid the controversy surrounding the issue.

                  However, with new fake news sites popping up all the time, it’s impossible to keep up and exclude all possible sites at all times. Some will inevitably slip through the net and potentially put the advertisers and brands reputation at risk.


                  What Now?

                  Until a consensus is reached on what fake news is, there is not a cohesive solution to solve the issue of ads appearing on fake news sites.

                  But if advertisers continue to stay vigilant and Ad Networks continue to take tough action on the issue of fake news, it will certainly reduce the likelihood of ads appearing on those sites and make it more difficult for fake news sites to earn money. And the more difficult it becomes, the less incentive there is for people to create fake new in the first place.

                  Until the issue can be resolved altogether, we’re continuing to try and stay one step ahead. We have a list of specific sites that we always exclude from our client’s Display Campaigns, on top of excluding sensitive content, in order to protect our clients brand image. Furthermore, we’re keeping up to date with development with fake news and Google policy so that we can adapt and improve our current methods.


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                    Ads Appearing On Fake News Sites – Should You Be Concerned?

                    Fake News

                    Ads Appearing on Fake News Sites


                    The Times & The Sun’s leading story two days in a row have been all about how ads from charities and government funded programmes are being shown on fake news websites. This has obviously caused outrage and shock, with newspapers claiming that this is costing the public money, as well as arguing that ads appearing on fake news sites are funding and promoting those sites.

                    Whilst we have stringent checks in place and are vigilant when it comes to where our client’s ads are show, it is an almighty task to prevent ads appearing on fake news sites, especially when new sites are popping up all the time, and so it is a valid concern. So how can something like this happen? Is it as disturbing as it seems at first glance? How can you prevent this?


                    How This Can Happen

                    There have been accusations of digital marketing agencies purposefully promoting ads on fake news sites, as it is often cheaper and so gives them lower cost inventory (although this would cause contextual harm). However, we believe that the more likely reason for ads appearing on fake news sites is rather less scandalous and is all about how ad targeting methods work.

                    When you use broad targeting methods it means that your ads may show up in unexpected place. In AdWords, there are five main approaches to targeting and any of them can land you in hot water if you don’t keep a close eye on them:



                    This involves showing ads to audiences that have already visited your website or performed an action on your website. However, if a person who visited your site then visits a fake news page (whether intentionally or by accident), then your ad could follow them to that page if there is space to advertise on it. And so, with this targeting method, the placement of your ad is directly affected by where on the web your target user is going.



                    This method is very similar in that your ad will follow the person (this time based on their age, gender or whether they are a parent or not) and so if you target men between the ages of 35-44 and one of them happens to be viewing a fake news website, then the ad targeting that person could show up on that site.



                    You can input keywords which then can target either webpages or people with interests that are relevant to those keywords. If you include a keyword that is in anyway related to content on a fake news site (and fake news sites include a wide variety of content, so it is not unlikely that this could happen), then that ad could show on that fake news site.



                    This will target any webpages that contain content about a specific subject of your choosing. If you choose the Politics topic, then it is possible that your ad will show up on fake news sites concerning politics.



                    This is the one targeting method that would not be affected by this because if you are choosing specific webpages for your ad to show, then the only way it can show on a fake news site is if you add that site yourself.


                    Just by looking at the targeting methods, you can see how easy it is for ads to show up on webpages you might not expect or want them to show. But does this mean that advertisers are not responsible for where their ads are showing? Certainly not. There are things that an advertiser can do to avoid, or at least minimise to risk of, ads appearing on fake news sites or other undesirable sites.


                    What Advertisers Can Doadwords site category options

                    One way in AdWords to prevent your ads appearing on fake news sites and other questionable websites is with Site Category Options. These allow you to exclude sites, content or ad placements where you don’t want to show your ads.

                    It is easy to forget to utilise these if you are new or unfamiliar with AdWords because you must manually select them after you create your Campaign. Also, they appear at the bottom of the page and the phrase Site Category Option does not make it immediately obvious what its purpose is.

                    However, once you know about them, they are essential for many advertisers, especially those working with charities and government funded programmes, to make use of. The most important Site Category to consider excluding is Sensitive Content. Excluding options in this category means that your ads should not show on sexually suggestive sites or sites relating to death, crime, profanity, etc.

                    Whilst this may not specifically help stop ads showing on all fake news sites, it certainly would stop them showing on the more extreme ones or from general sites that you, as an advertiser, wouldn’t want your ads to show on.

                    Another way to stop your ads showing on unwanted sites is with more specific exclusions based on the targeting methods I mentioned earlier. For example, you can exclude keywords that could relate to fake new, or you could exclude the topic News.  However, it becomes difficult in the case of fake news as excluding topics and keywords relating to news can limit your audience and stop the targeting of relevant people and websites (e.g. BBC or Daily Mail).

                    Advertisers can also check all their placements to ensure that fake news sites are not appearing. Again though, it is problematic, especially with bigger companies with lots of media spend (which means their ads could be showing on thousands of placements). It seems unfeasible to check every single placement to make sure it is acceptable.

                    And so, if advertisers can’t 100% guarantee that they can stop ads appearing on fake news sites and other websites, then what can be done? Who is responsible for preventing ads showing on these sorts of sites?


                    Are Ad Networks At Fault?

                    This isn’t the first time issues have been raised about ads showing on fake news sites and fake news showing up on other sites. In November of last year, Facebook & Google faced mounting criticism on this, with Google promising “we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, mis-state, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property”.

                    This has been an ongoing problem and one that companies, like Google, have been trying to resolve. Ad networks have a responsibility to continue to improve their restrictions on immoral and unsavoury websites. With these systems in place, the problem is solved at its source and advertisers can feel more reassured.


                    Our Commentary

                    Very few companies or advertisers would purposefully want their ads appearing on fake news sites or any sites that are untrustworthy or potentially damaging to their brand image, it just doesn’t make sense. It is much more likely a case of companies not restricting or double checking where their ads go, as well as advertising platforms not restricting, or being able to fully restrict, ads from appearing on fake news sites.

                    However Government funded programmes forget to select ad restrictions or Google finding it difficult to stop ads appearing on fake news sites doesn’t have as much of a ring to it as the newspaper headlines we are seeing at the moment, such as Public cash paying for growth of fake news and Taxpayer cash used to fund fake news as we reveal government adverts appear on dodgy American websites and Are big brands funding terrorism fake news.

                    Accusations of brands or digital marketing companies purposefully wasting money (even taxpayer’s money) in media spend seem unfair and unsubstantiated. Why would they want to waste money, deceive their employer and damage their brand? For every unethical ad agency that has tried to do this, there are so many others that are doing their job properly, which is to show ads to the most relevant audience.

                    In order to uphold and protect your brand and image, you must be vigilant and check your targeting to ensure, as much as you are able, that your ads are going where you want them to go, and restricting them from going where you don’t want them to go.


                    Sites To Watch Out For

                    After doing some research, we have compiled a list of fake news sites that you may want to exclude from your Display activity. There are lots of these sorts of sites around, and more are popping up all the time, so it’s good to constantly keep an eye on your placements. However, this list should help give you a head-start and stop your ads appearing on some of the more prominent fake news sites:

                    • drudgereport.comfake news unidentified source
                    • breitbart.com
                    • celebtricity.com
                    • trueactivist.com
                    • americannews.com
                    • disclose.tv
                    • mediamass.net
                    • news33.eu
                    • worldtruth.tv


                    If you have any concerns about this or would like some help with your display ads, then please get in touch.

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