Jump Start Your Career Progression At FIRST

published by on 29th January 2016 under General

Where are they now blog title

Career progression means different things to different people. It’s all about taking that right first step. Here at FIRST, there is no single, prescribed way of expanding one’s professional experience or acquiring new skills. With our collaborative and supportive culture, we put each member of our team in charge of his or her career. Through flexibility, opportunities to up skill and resources for career progression and personal development, we train smart and highly-motivated people well – many leave FIRST and do great things, many stay with FIRST and continue to make a difference to our clients daily.

Searching through my LinkedIn connections with former FIRST team members, I found that the top 3 current positions held are: Digital Performance or Strategist (38%), Director (16%) or Entrepreneur/ Founder (11%). Others also successfully moved to the following positions: CEO/Head, Account/Project/Marketing Manager, Business Development/ Innovation and Web Design and Development.

In terms of geographic distribution, most (71%) stayed and continued their career in various regions of New Zealand. The rest moved to UK (11%) and Australia (9%). Other countries included U.S., Switzerland, Czech Republic and Malaysia.

Majority of former FIRST team members moved to other Digital Marketing agencies (38%). Technology (16%) and Retail (11%) were the next top industries that some of them ventured into. Others included Travel, Finance, Telecommunications, Education, Charity, Sports and Fitness and Government Administration.

Below is an infographic that shows a snapshot of the findings.


Career Progression at FIRST Digital


With technology always evolving, Digital Marketing is definitely a career that has growth potential. Digital Marketers are often at the cutting edge of the latest trends and constantly learning and adapting to new strategies. And with our focus on the development of expertise at FIRST, there are lots of opportunities for everyone in the team to develop rapidly.

Want to be part of our fantastic team at FIRST?

Give me a call at 021 191 2244 or reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Grant Osborne
General Manager

Online Travel Booking Industry Report – CRO 2015

published by on 23rd December 2015 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Industry Reports

Travel booking CRO industry report blog title


According to an article from Contently, when it comes to website visits and the ‘look-to-book’ ratio, the travel industry’s average conversion rate is at about 0.3%. This is compared to an average 3% conversion rate for ecommerce and retail websites reported in 2013.

This means that most people who land on travel booking websites, search for flights and possibly accommodation and then leave without completing the purchase process. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can always improve your conversion rate by optimising your pages so that more visitors turn into customers.

In order to help you optimise your website pages, particularly, the main entry points of your visitors -your homepage and category page, we’ve created the sixth conversion rate optimisation (CRO) industry report on the online travel booking industry. This report covers best practices for conversion elements on the homepage and category page as well as examples of online travel booking websites using these best practices. The aim is to provide you with a framework to help you invest your time and resources as effectively as possible by assessing which conversion elements are most likely to yield results.


  • Currently, Cheap Flights takes the lead in having most of the online conversion elements in its homepage. In the category page, Webjet holds the first place. House of Travel and Flight Centre are both consistently found in the top 3 places in the CXS rankings for both the homepage and category page.
  • Most sites have the elements under the Features and Booking Assist groups present for the homepage and the Design and Navigation groups for the category page. However, they lack the elements under the Credibility group for both pages.
  • Majority of the analysed online travel booking websites have CXS scores of below 75%.


travel homepage element score rankings

travel category page element score rankings






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The Digital Marketing Training your university doesn’t teach you

published by on 9th December 2015 under Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, etc

digital marketing training blog title


Here’s a blog post especially for you graduates who are looking to start a career in Digital Marketing and desire to set yourself apart in a competitive employment market where employers are looking for real skills and some experience.

For our agency FIRST, the most valuable people are those who are ‘T-Shaped’. These people can think strategically and have a wide range of digital skills and expertise, but in addition have a passion for and deep specialist expertise in a particular digital discipline.

If you are serious about getting your first (or second) digital role – here is some further digital marketing training to undertake and blogs that will help you keep up to date with the latest. (Note: I use www.feedly.com as my preferred feed reader)

At FIRST, everything we do is focused on helping business increase online sales and revenue by improving the customer experience through data & analytics. While there are many resources around, these are the ones we find valuable and I am sure most employers would also. I can guarantee that your job prospects will be so much better for investing the time in learning and understanding the below than had you not.

I recommend training in 4 core disciplines:

  1. Strategic Digital Thinking
  2. Analytics
  3. Conversion, A/B Testing and Online Customer Experience
  4. Performance Advertising (Google AdWords / Facebook Advertising)


Strategic Digital Thinking

Recommended sites to follow:



Recommended Analytics Training:

Google Analytics Individual Certification & Training

Recommended sites to follow:

Recommended practical work:

For your own site, a friends site, or a small business:

  • Set up Google Analytics, including goals, events and/or eCommerce tracking.
  • On a regular basis review the data, find and share insights with the site owner to increase website performance.


Conversion, A/B Testing and Online Customer Experience

Recommended Conversion Training:

Optimizely Platform Certification

Recommended sites to follow:

Recommended practical work:

For your own site, a friend’s site, or a small business:

  • set up www.Optimizely.com and run some tests (free for up to 50,000 unique sessions per month)
  • set up www.inspectlet.com to get heatmaps, clickmaps and video recordings of user behaviour (free for up to 100 recorded sessions)  or use www.crazyegg.com for $9USD per month


Performance Advertising (Google AdWords / Facebook Advertising)

Recommended Performance Advertising Training:

Google Adwords Certifications

Facebook Training:

Recommended practical work:

For your own site, a friends site, or a small business:

  • Setup and run an Adwords account ($500+ budget)
  • Setup and Run Facebook advertising ($500+ budget)


Search Engine Optimisation

Recommended SEO reading:

Google’s webmaster Guidelines: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769

Google’s SEO starter guide

MOZ.com’s Search Ranking Factors https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors/survey


Final thoughts

By doing these things, you will involve yourself in the digital marketing community and keep up to date with the latest concepts and trends in digital marketing. You’ll get the needed training with practical applications and some hands on ‘work experience’ that will be very valuable.

Even more than that, it shows to a future employer that you are a self starter, can work autonomously, have a passion for the industry, a thirst for learning and you will do what it takes in a role. All of these attitudes are perhaps even more important that the skills themselves.

I am happy to help in any way we can.  If you have found other resources very valuable for training, please let us know via careers@firstdigital.co.nz so we can post them for others.



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House of Travel Reaps Rewards of A/B Testing

published by on 8th December 2015 under Case Studies, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

HOT CRO case study


House of Travel benefits from cumulative impact of customer led A/B testing program

House of Travel has been helping Kiwis see the world for almost 30 years and is one of New Zealand’s most successful providers of travel experiences. House of Travel is also a leader in travel technology, offering an award winning website allowing users to compare and book airline flights and holidays in an instant and now offers the HOT travel app which gives you access to all your travel requirements, wherever and whenever you need.

With the primary objectives of improving user experience, identifying and eliminating friction points and increasing revenue, House of Travel partnered with FIRST to initiate a program of work, looking:

  • to encourage more site visitors to book with House of Travel over competing brands and;
  • to minimise any unnecessary drop off points

FIRST conducted a series of quantitative and qualitative research to understand how actual users interact with the website and to uncover opportunities for potential improvement and A/B testing candidates. The extensive research included User testing, Crazy Egg (heat mapping and form analytics), Qualaroo (customer surveys), surveying the House of Travel call centre and more.

FIRST launched the testing program and created and ran tests through Optimizely (A/B testing technology). The repetitive cycle of ‘review results’ and ‘implement actionable insights’ > ‘refine tests’ > ‘conducting further tests’ is well underway and early results have been promising.

Some of the results across a variety of ‘tests’ include:


Download the case study here

HOT CRO case study results

Here’s what our client had to say about the partnership…


HOT CRO case study testimonial


Download the case study here


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The Game of Phones – How Mobile Devices Are Changing the Game For Today and Tomorrow’s Businesses

published by on 4th December 2015 under Mobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The Game of Phones


On April 21 2015, Google introduced an update to its web ranking algorithm to place greater emphasis on mobile devices usability. Due to a little misplaced hysteria, this update has been dubbed Mobilegeddon.

The impact of Mobilegeddon is certainly having an effect, a recent study has shown that there are major visibility and ranking consequences, of your site being optimised for an increasingly large array of devices.

Some interesting findings:

  • 83% of the time, the top result is tagged as mobile-friendly by Google
  • 81% of the time the top 3 results are mobile-friendly
  • 77% of the search results are “mobile-friendly” (when you consider all ten of the spots on Google’s first page)

To compete in SEO for top ecommerce keywords, mobile friendliness is just table stakes, and it is a certainty that there will be further refinements to this ranking algorithm in the future.

However with the advent of Apple’s new iPad Pro the distinction between what is a ‘mobile’ & what is a ‘desktop’ is becoming more and more blurred.  What can be achieved on the smaller form factor devices would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. The lines on the Moore’s Law chart are converging for anything with a battery, as technology continues its relentless march of increased performance and functionality filtering into a menagerie of fractured form factors and completely eclipsing all that has come before it.

It could be argued that the sale of ‘desktops’ are now in a permanent decline and will soon be completely replaced by increasingly more powerful ‘devices’-  in the same way all these people on this office floor from the 1960’s have been replaced by a single Excel spreadsheet.


Computing in 1960


There is an now an expectation that when people are searching online, they will be able to discover meaningful results easily, and in a format that is tailored to the device they are searching on, whatever that may be.


Final thoughts

Combine all this with the fact that it is predicted that the global online population will double to five billion by 2020, that means there are even more reasons to make sure that your site is not only optimised to perform well in today’s technology ecosystem –  but also that it is well positioned to evolve and adapt to ensure your brand meets the expectations of this exploding potential audience in future.


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