Monthly Archives: June 2015


Instagram accounts you should follow

Instagram isn’t just about posting selfies and pictures of food, y’know. It’s full of super creative profiles, but with 100million+ users it can be hard to find an account truly worth following – especially with so many spammers trying to sell you 100 followers. 

So we thought we’d post a mini series of Instagram accounts we like and recommend. It’s not just about the quality of the photos that makes a top insta account; it’s those that excel in creativity and have a bit of something different that we really love.


Obsessed with the letter ‘M’, all you’ll see on this Instagram feed is snaps of the glorious letter in a variety of fonts, typefaces and styles. It’s pretty cool looking at a profile full of just one letter and it shows you that the simplest of ideas are often the best.

Why should you follow them? Who doesn’t like typography and looking at letters in a variety of different forms? And you know what you’re getting too: the letter M and nothing else.

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If you’re like me and you’re obsessed with the London skyline then following an account from one of the city’s most recognised architectural triumphs won’t let you down.

As you might’ve guessed, pics revolve around the stunning skyscraper that is the Cheesegrater and include some pretty phenomenal shots of the London landscape too.

Why should you follow them? Because the London skyline is amazing and the Cheesegrater aka Leadenhall Building might be the strangest shaped structure in the capital, but it’s an icon.

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Okay so it’s a food account, and yes it’s making me hungry, but look how pretty it is! They’ve taken the enormous popularity of food pics on Instagram and turned it into something truly unique. And they’re from east London, too. Great account chaps!

Why should you follow them? I don’t think I have to explain this one…

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Why not share your favourite Instagram accounts with us? We’d love to see them!



Something for the weekend


It looks like summer has finally arrived, ladies and gentlemen. It’s been absolutely scorchio in the city of London this week, with temperatures in the mid 20s keeping those of us working indoors feeling like we’re in a greenhouse.

Though it’s nothing a nice cold beverage in a beer garden won’t sort out, as I’m sure you’ll all agree. Let’s hope it continues into the weekend!

The Bloodybigspider office has been like a sauna all week and I’ve realised skinny jeans and hot weather do not mix. I’ll make sure I treat everyone to my skimpy shorts next week instead. Watch your eyes London.

Copywriting, design and general good vibes have been the theme in the office this week and we’ve been working as a hard as ever for our lovely bunch of clients. And to make sure your weekend is full of good vibes too, here’s a nice little list of links to keep you entertained:


Richard Mclean


When I send out email campaigns, I tend to shy away from personalisation simply because I’m absolutely, positively convinced it will be a massive, career-ending disaster.

Back in 2011 when I started working for Virgin Media, staff were in the midst of dealing with the backlash from a major email screw-up: the Dear Dean fiasco. Virgin Media’s agency had just sent out hundreds of thousands of customer emails all addressed to – you guessed it – Dean. Naturally the recipients didn’t respond kindly to the mistake; nothing says ‘we’re a big greedy corporation that doesn’t really give a damn about our customers’ like getting their names wrong.

Having just received the “Dear Dean” email I am seriously thinking of upgrading – Ericthelobster

Glad I’m not Dean, he’s not getting a good deal is he! Hope mines better – Lee

From now on Dean can pay my bills – dodgem22

That job was my foray into digital marketing, so the Dear Dean horror story stuck and I’ve been a little afraid of customised emails ever since. Silly really, considering 62% of marketers swear by them.

I did occasionally personalise the Virgin Media Shorts newsletter, and a freelance client of mine last year really liked the recipients’ names included in every email, but I tested and tested and tested before I put the campaigns live. I’d send it to myself, my colleagues, my friends and triple check every version until I was confident people wouldn’t be greeted with ‘Hello <CUSTOMER NAME>’ in their inbox.

But obviously I’m well aware that customising messages (when it’s done properly) has been proven to work: personalised emails convert.

That’s why I was interested to read MailChimp’s blog post on subject line data, particularly the part on email personalisation using merge tags and the impact it has on open rates.

Surprisingly (I think), they found that, while it’s far more common to use just a recipient’s first name in the subject line, addressing them by first and last name actually saw more success, with a 0.33% increase on the control, compared to a 0.09% increase for emails just using the first name. So subject lines like this are the way forward:

Congratulations, *|FNAME|* *|LNAME|*

Honestly I would have expected this to see a much lower open rate, since – to me – including a full name in the subject line looks extra spammy. But rather than being seen as junk mail, these emails are inspiring trust: ‘They know my full name, it must be legit.’ Considering how crucial it is in marketing to build a personal connection with the reader and make them believe you’re speaking directly to them, I suppose reinforcing that connection with the reader’s full name sort of makes sense. ‘They’re not even talking to all the other Siobhans, it’s just me this time!’

MailChimp drilled down further into the data and discovered that subject line personalisation works better for some industries than others.

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Personalisation has the biggest impact on open rate for government emails, and if you’ve ever received a campaign message from a political party you’ll know how good they are at using your name. Labour is particularly skilled at flirting you into submission by sprinkling a few [SUBSCRIBER NAME] tags throughout their copy.

But interestingly, it has a negative impact on legal sector emails. Presumably people don’t feel comfortable with informal lawyers.

It’s rather telling that marketing industry emails don’t benefit too well from personalisation either. I guess marketers are too savvy to be sucked in by that old trick, eh?

Tell us, do you personalise your emails and do you notice a significant uplift in open rate or conversion?


Something for the weekend

St Paul's Cathedral_Vadim Sherbakov

Friday is finally here and another week bites the dust. Two more weeks and we’ll be into the second half of the year. Scary or what?

If you’ve been paying attention to our Twitter feed this week you’ll have noticed lots of new BBS blog posts being unleashed on the world. Siobhan wrote a nostalgic tale (with a marketing twist) about the furry little Furby, and started Bookishbigspider  Bloodybigspider’s book club where we’ll be keeping you posted on the books we’re all reading on the tube, bus, overground or Emirates Air Line.

I used my own writing skills on a blog post around hashtags on Instagram. If you’re into posting selfies, pictures of food and getting loads of ‘likes’, hopefully my words of wisdom will be of some use.

We had some pretty sad news in the Bloodybigspider office today. No, Cereal Killer Café on Brick lane hasn’t shut down, thank god. This morning our lovely client (and friend) Becky from Ruder Finn announced she was leaving RF to go it alone.

Even though I’ve not directly worked with Becky, I had the pleasure of meeting her at Ruder Finn’s Christmas bash last year, and I know Steve and the rest of the design team have the utmost respect for her and everything she’s done while they’ve worked together.

So Becky McMichael, the Bloodybigspider team would like to wish you the very best of luck with your future endeavours and we hope to see you soon for a pint (or several)!

Sadly, the show must go on…

And as always, here’s our weekly round-up of all things world wide web:

Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got time for this week folks. 

Enjoy the weekend!




Top tips for hashtagging on Instagram

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#instagood #foodporn #selfie #streetphotography #archidaily #eastlondon

Are you an instagrammer? If so, do you know which hashtags to use when you post a picture?

In those dull days before Instagram was launched in 2010, ‘no filter selfies’ were a mere dream. Now the photo-based social network has over 300 million active monthly users, more than 70 million photos uploaded and 2.5 billion likes every single day. That’s more selfies than I care to imagine.

Bloodybigspider love a filter 

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Over the past few months, we hip folk at Bloodybigspider have been snapping photos of east London and uploading them to the world of social media via Instagram.

Instagram is growing more and more popular with brands as more paid advertising options are made available, and for the big guys like Nike, Starbucks and Levi’s (to name a few) it’s just another way of converting the average social media Joe into a customer for life.

But at Bloodybigspider it’s a way for us to connect with friends, clients and likeminded total strangers, giving them a little taste of our daily inspirations, the things we like, what we’re working on, and of course… food.

The interesting thing for us – especially since we’ve been doing a lot of work around Instagram analytics for a client recently – is looking at which hashtags really increase audience engagement.

Instagram’s biggest, baddest tags

If you’re keen to generate ‘likes’ on your snaps it’s a good idea to spend time researching Instagram’s most popular hashtags. Hashtags don’t mean you’ll instantly go viral, but they’ll give your content a better chance of being seen.

If you do a bit of Googling you’ll come across loads of resources, like tagforlikes, for finding the ‘top Instagram hashtags’ and they’re similar from site to site.

Tagforlikes also shows you the top hashtags for specific categories like nature, urban, art, photography and people. So when you’re ready to upload a picture, you can pick from the ‘top tags’ lists and see how they go down.

These are some of the most popular Instagram hashtags right now:

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As you can see, a lot of these tags are pretty spammy so we suggest staying away from the likes of #followme, and #follow4follow unless you don’t mind looking a bit desperate. They’re definitely best avoided on your brand’s Instagram page. Tags like #instagood, #instadaily and #webstagram are far more appropriate for both brand and personal Instagram snaps.

Finding the right tag for your content

We post a lot of east London images, since our office is just off Brick Lane. Just a quick walk to the nearest sandwich shop can have us uploading dozens of art, architecture and urban photos, so we pick out the most relevant hashtags to match.

According to tagforlikes, these are the most popular hashtags for architecture at the moment:

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Don’t use them all at once though! It’s also a good idea to do a bit of A/B testing and vary your tags each time you post, so you can see which get the best results.

The hugely popular #archidaily hashtag is always nice to use with buildings and landscape shots. It helped our pic of the stunning Gherkin achieve more than 40 likes.

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East London is home to loads of amazing street art – we’re very lucky to be working in London’s graffiti hub. Our Instagram often reflects the ever changing Whitechapel scenery and, luckily for us, there are a few hashtags to help us maximise exposure:

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Hashtags like #streetart, #graffitiporn and #streetphotography always go down well with fans of east London’s urban art scene, and they helped this brightly coloured mural become our most popular Instagram snap ever:

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Don’t forget the obligatory food picture

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Haters gotta hate but food pictures on Instagram will never go away. The most popular hashtags for foodies are #food (183 million posts) and #foodporn (56 million posts) and it doesn’t look like the snack snapping craze will ever stop.

So our advice is go have a burger or a cheeky Nando’s and share it on Instagram!

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Hashtags can even help simple an empty box get likes:

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Hashtags in a nutshell:

  • Keep an eye on the most popular tags using Google and sites like tagforlikes
  • Make sure hashtags are always relevant
  • Don’t overload with spammy tags like #follow4follow
  • It’s not all about the hashtags – put some thought into the images themselves

Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting a series of blog posts about our favourite Instagram accounts, Instagram analytics and improvements we’d like to see made to the social network. So stay tuned and, you know, follow us…