Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Future of Mobile Advertising

The first smart phone was released in 2002 under the name of Simon. While “smart,” Simon was not the technologically advanced cell phones we think of today. It wasn’t until 2007 when the first iPhone was released that the smart phone world truly exploded. Many people don’t remember anything before the now trusted names of iPhone and Android.
The development from Simon to the current iPhone we have today means many things for consumers, businesses, and most specifically in this case, advertisers. When looking at what the future of mobile advertising has in store, research is predicting an incredible incline in the coming years. Cell phones are no longer seen as a simple communication device for calls and texting. With the growth of mobile games, mobile apps, and mobile shopping, advertisers are seizing the opportunity to target consumers like never before.
A recent study done by BI Intelligence discovered mobile advertising spend will rise to nearly $42 billion by 2018, a 43% increase from 2013. This bump will make it the fast growing digital advertising medium. This is resulting in a few key takeaways, as defined by the report:
  • Display and video will be the fastest-growing mobile ad formats
  • With search and social media still the largest share of the mobile ad revenue
  • Mobile programmatic ad revenue will increase from 6% to 43% of the mobile display-related shares
  • In-app mobile ads are now performing much better than mobile web ads

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

India Rivals US as No. 2 Internet Audience

As of the end of 2014, eMarketer estimates, India is the world’s third-largest internet market. Nearly 216 million people in India have gone online at least monthly this year, up 28.9% over 2013 usage levels. Still, less than one-fifth of the country’s overall population is digitally connected this year.
 

eMarketer expects usage growth in India to continue in the double digits—but just barely. Growth rates like 2013’s 36.1% increase are in the past; by the end of our forecast period the internet population in the country will go up by barely 10% per year. That will still leave only around a quarter of residents with regular internet access by 2018. Still, even with such a low penetration rate, India’s sheer size means its online population will exceed that of the US by 2016, at 283.8 million vs. 264.9 million. In Indonesia, eMarketer already estimates penetration is higher than it will be in India by the end of our forecast period. But that also means slower growth in the country, which has the fourth-largest overall population and the sixth-largest internet population this year. 
Destined to outpace Japan, but not Brazil, in internet market size by 2017, Indonesia will continue to grow its internet penetration until reaching nearly 47% in 2018. Double-digit growth will be over, however, by 2016, when about two in five residents is online. While substantial compared to most other countries in the world, the Indian and Indonesian internet markets will continue to be dwarfed by China’s for the foreseeable future. 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Rise of the User Experience Marketer

This week’s big mobile search news – that Google is adding mobile-friendly site labels in mobile SERPs – highlights the rising importance of user experience in search marketing. But this crossover goes beyond mobile search.
marketing-ux-overlap
It’s happening everywhere. Agencies and in-house teams are beginning to realize that the overlap between digital marketing and user experience is significant. Both marketers and UX professionals provide valuable insights into user behavior before a site is developed. Both marketers and UX professionals have an interest in creating a user-friendly interface so that customers achieve the business’ end goal. Both marketers and UX professionals must focus on creating a positive customer experience in order for a website or product to be successful.
So why do we often work in silos? Perhaps its because UX focuses on how users feel and marketing concentrates on what users do. This may ruffle some feathers, but it’s time to find the intersection between user feelings and user action.
In particular, marketers can achieve great success by learning the tools our UX friends have mastered and embrace the overlap between the quantitative and qualitative sides of the customer experience.

UX Tools for Marketers

The strongest marketers will be those who are comfortable analyzing behavior data, while also conducting and incorporating qualitative research about users. Mastering these tools and ideas can help marketers understand their users’ feelings about a site or product.
UserTesting: Become an expert in creating and evaluating user tests. UserTesting allows you ask real users questions while they use your site or application. You receive their feedback in a video format. Whenever you’re updating a site’s content structure, building new product pages, or changing a conversion process UserTesting can help you better understand user pain points and make proactive adjustments. Never assume your users will feel how you feel. Get real-life feedback and apply a qualitative, test-and-learn approach to your marketing strategy.
Sketching: Whether you use an online sketch tool or a pen and paper, you should become comfortable creating basic sketches so you can contribute comfortably during design brainstorming sessions. Sketching can also help you think of a variety of solutions to one opportunity, which will give you a chance to test the best option.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mobile 2015: 4 Trends to Watch

The mobile space continues to see growth and innovation as 2014 winds to a close. What can marketers expect to see in 2015?
"Mobile is the front door of Target." That's what the senior vice president of Target.com and mobile said when he announced the company's enhanced mobile offerings, which include a two-tap checkout process and new pharmacy app. It's a sentiment that might have been expressed in any major brand headquarters over the course of this year. Now more than ever, mobile strategy is at the forefront of marketers' minds.
According to Target, mobile accounts for about two-thirds of the retailer's digital traffic - and rising. This isn't particularly uncommon. ESPN, the BBC, CNN, and Facebook have all seen their traffic swing from desktop to mobile. ComScore reports that 60 percent of all time spent with digital media now occurs on smartphones and tablets.
This year will mark the launch of Connection Day, an event devised by Verizon to give holiday travelers access to audiobooks, music, and apps from brands like Amazon, Audible, Pandora, and Apple. Companies everywhere are acknowledging and preparing for this revolution in the way that we consume media, work, play, and shop online. But what can we expect from the year to come?

Micro-Moments

One of the trends we're likely to see is a move toward creating "micro-moments" - customized mobile experiences that deliver in seconds flat. Earlier this month Forrester research released areport encompassing its mobile predictions for 2015 that was subtitled "Experience Creation Trumps App Creation." Those experiences are expected to incorporate contextual relevance and personalization. According to Forrester, though, brands shouldn't just plan to deliver micro-moments to their customers, but "extend them to wearable devices" as well.

Location-Based Marketing and Maps

Geo-location and geo-fencing that pinpoint users wherever they are, along with beacons and retailer-specific maps, are also likely to see an uptick in popularity among brands. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has begun experimenting with beacons to pre-identify hotel guests. Dairy Queen is testing an app that provides users with geo-targeted coupons. Among Target's mobile updates are "enhanced navigation," for which the company partnered with mapping technology provider Point Inside. Interactive store maps, including a Black Friday version, guide shoppers to their desired items.
target-app

Mobile Video

On the advertising front, video is still going strong, but increasingly those videos are being watched on mobile devices. Americans now spend some 33 minutes per day watching videos on their phones, and 62 percent of smartphone users are "OK with 15- to 30-second ads" in exchange for video content. The Mobile Marketing Association reports that non-skippable ads ranging from 15 to 30 seconds in length receive high completion rates, and that "excessive" mobile video ad frequency can drastically reduce completion and click-through rates.

Mobile Shopping, Holiday and Beyond

According to Juniper Research, more than 2 billion mobile users will make a mobile commerce transaction by the end of 2017. You can bet they plan to start this holiday season. A recent survey by shopping discovery company Wanderful Media found that 77 percent of shoppers now use their smartphones to help them compare prices, find nearby stores, and locate sales. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation says that more than half of consumers will use their smartphones while shopping during the holidays, and about 63 percent of tablet owners will do the same.
Black Friday and holiday-specific mobile apps represent opportunities for retailers to connect with eager buyers and ease reluctant consumers into the mobile world. Mobile promotions, like a text-to-win sweepstakes launched by Old Navy that customers can play while waiting in line in-store, can offer inspiration for year-round campaigns.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Internet to Hit 3 Billion Users in 2015

Nearly half the world's population will have regular access to the web by 2018 - 

The number of internet users worldwide will surpass 3 billion in 2015, according to new figures from eMarketer, increasing 6.2% next year to reach 42.4% of the entire world's population.

This year, the internet will reach more than two in five people in the world for the first time as online audience hits 2.89 billion users globally. By 2018, eMarketer estimates, nearly half the world's population, or 3.6 billion people, will access the internet at least once each month.
"Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are driving internet access and usage in countries where fixed internet has been out of reach for consumers, whether that's due to lack of infrastructure or affordability," said Monica Peart, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. "While highly developed markets are nearly saturated in terms of internet users, there's significant room for growth in emerging ones; for example, India and Indonesia will both see double-digit growth in each year between now and 2018."
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Loyalty Rules Men's Fragrance Market

More than half of consumers use perfume or cologne. And when it comes time for holiday shoppers to stock up on gifts for their loved ones, one in five will opt to give cosmetics, fragrance, or a health and beauty aid, September 2014 data from Deloitte's "29th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey" found.


In 2012, the NPD Group reported that men's fragrance occupied 2% of US direct-to-consumer (DTC) beauty sales, trailing behind women's fragrance at 11%. DTC beauty sales include consumers buying from department store websites, online-only beauty retailers, and TV or home-shopping retailers.
New data from the NPD Group's 2014 Men's FragranceTrack Report indicated that 80% of men who make fragrance purchases plan to do so ahead of time, regardless whether they were buying for themselves or as a gift for someone else. Two-thirds of them also know which brand they will buy in advance.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Location Data Can Change Search

It feels like it has been the "Year of Mobile" for the past five years, with bloggers just like myself claiming this is the year consumers will shift and advertisers will finally provide users with the experience they are looking for when searching on a mobile device.
The issue is, technology continues to develop at a rate that not all advertisers can keep up with. But in some cases, advertisers need a little help, and the companies we advertise through can help us get there.

How Location Data Can Change Search

We all have mobile devices and we all expect to be served results based on our query when using Google or Bing. But with their goal being to provide us with the best user experience possible, what more can they do for us? We’ve had updates like Hummingbird that help with semantic search; we have had changes to algorithms to finally show us relevant results when we search for queries like "restaurants near me," as shown below.
serp-screenshot
So how can Google and Bing improve this experience even more? By leveraging location data from our mobile devices.
Companies like Pulse IQ, xAd, ThinkNear, and others are all leveraging location data in ways we are mostly not able to combine with search yet. Not only are they targeting users on their mobile devices based on where they are now, but they are also looking at past geographic locations, determining the context of their visit, and making ad placements decisions based on user behavior.
While Google and Bing are not there yet with this functionality, for certain advertisers, being able to understand where a user has been and how long they were there could be extremely powerful data to take advantage of. For example, if you happen to be a large auto manufacturer such as BMW, if you could geo-map all Mercedes-Benz and Lexus dealerships, then serve an BMW ad directly to any user who had visited two locations during one day, you would be serving an ad to someone who is aggressively searching for a luxury automobile. Right now, through the companies mentioned above, traditional mobile ads can be served based on where a user has been.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Building Customer Loyalty With Social Media

customer-loyaltyIt’s unfortunate that the most common term that follows "social media" in business discussions is too often "marketing." Not there is anything wrong with social media marketing – it certainly has its place. Rather, it’s just too limiting: In business, marketing is really just the beginning of what social media is all about.

To be sure, most marketers now employ social media in their advertising and marketing programs: whether it’s the use of a Facebook business Page for targeted advertising or the placement of sponsored posts on Twitter, there is real value in building a presence around your social handles while also marketing to those who’ve opted to follow you (or those who you wish would). Building targeted campaigns against the pre-built member base of large mainstream social networks — or participating in highly focused specialty networks like Spiceworks - a highly-valued community of tech professionals — is a solid component of a strong advertising and awareness program.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

3 Must-Have Features for Successful Native Ad Campaigns

nativeadimageNative advertising is continuing to grow in popularity, but what does it take to create a successful and engaging native advertising campaign?
As digital content becomes more beautiful and compelling for readers, advertisers must find new ways to attract attention and engage their audiences. Native advertising has become one very popular solution. By integrating relevant content into beautiful editorial experiences, native ads can significantly increase the engagement and effectiveness of a marketer's campaigns. But for marketers, there are still many open questions about how native ads work and what makes them so effective.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How Location Data Can Change Search

It feels like it has been the "Year of Mobile" for the past five years, with bloggers just like myself claiming this is the year consumers will shift and advertisers will finally provide users with the experience they are looking for when searching on a mobile device.
The issue is, technology continues to develop at a rate that not all advertisers can keep up with. But in some cases, advertisers need a little help, and the companies we advertise through can help us get there.

How Location Data Can Change Search

We all have mobile devices and we all expect to be served results based on our query when using Google or Bing. But with their goal being to provide us with the best user experience possible, what more can they do for us? We’ve had updates like Hummingbird that help with semantic search; we have had changes to algorithms to finally show us relevant results when we search for queries like "restaurants near me," as shown below.
serp-screenshot
So how can Google and Bing improve this experience even more? By leveraging location data from our mobile devices.
Companies like Pulse IQxAdThinkNear, and others are all leveraging location data in ways we are mostly not able to combine with search yet. Not only are they targeting users on their mobile devices based on where they are now, but they are also looking at past geographic locations, determining the context of their visit, and making ad placements decisions based on user behavior.
While Google and Bing are not there yet with this functionality, for certain advertisers, being able to understand where a user has been and how long they were there could be extremely powerful data to take advantage of. For example, if you happen to be a large auto manufacturer such as BMW, if you could geo-map all Mercedes-Benz and Lexus dealerships, then serve an BMW ad directly to any user who had visited two locations during one day, you would be serving an ad to someone who is aggressively searching for a luxury automobile. Right now, through the companies mentioned above, traditional mobile ads can be served based on where a user has been.

Connecting Location Data to Search

While following a pattern of visits like the example above could be a effective advertising tactic, adding this type of behavioral targeting to the intent that comes along with search could help even more finely target that individual who is ready to buy/convert for you.
Right now, advertisers are geo-targeting their service area and serving ads as far as they are willing to travel. Some SEM managers see performance by geographic locations skew significantly different and structure their accounts to take advantage of the best locations. But what if you could create if>then statements within your AdWords and Bing Ads campaign to increase or decrease your bid based on historical location data?
For example, to make the scenario outlined above come full circle, if that user sitting in the Mercedes parking lot searched for "top luxury car makers," you could bet the agency managing the SEM campaign for BMW would pay top dollar for their ad to appear in the top ad spot. This user not only has shown intent through search, but also is obviously in shopping mode looking to find the next dealership to visit.

What’s Holding This Back?

For a company like Google, Android device data is already being utilized to populate traffic patterns on Google Maps. The data and information to do this is available and it is just a matter of time before all SEM managers have another set of tools to play with.
The biggest issue is the quality of the data available. While location data is improving, most of it is not precise enough to guarantee a user is within a specific store. Sure, if they happen to be in a big box store, car dealership, or conference hall, the data is great to work with. But inside a mall or strip mall, it is still difficult for these advertising companies to determine if the user is in Starbucks or a hair salon.
With mobile phone technology improving with each new iteration of HTC, iPhone, and Android that gets released, it will just be a matter of time until the data is fine enough to leverage at a large scale.
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Query Trends: The Key to Timing Your Ads Perfectly and Increasing ROI

By taking a good look at query trends across devices, marketers have a better chance of delivering a good return on investment.
It’s been said that timing is everything. It is well understood that in the old world of TV advertising you have to be at the right channel at the right time to reach your target audience. This is also true in the world of search advertising, where determining the best time (morning, lunchtime, or evening) and channel (mobile, PC, or tablet) to advertise has usually been a guessing game. Successful search advertising ultimately means reaching your audience when they’re most receptive to your message. But this is much easier said than done, especially with the multitude of devices that demand the attention of customers.
The good news? With the plethora of data available from searches, it’s now possible to see when and where customers are at a given time. So Bing Ads researchers took a look at query trends to get a clearer sense of search behavior, and how it can affect conversions and return on investment (ROI).

Pinpoint Search Behavior, Increase ROI

User intent, and by extension, advertiser ROI, varies by device type, day of week, and time of day. By understanding and taking advantage of these variations, advertisers can maximize ROI and budget utilization.
Query volume fluctuations by time of day, for example, provide important insights. On weekdays, PC traffic peaks in the morning when most folks are starting their day at work in front of a computer, and tablet and mobile traffic peaks in the evening, once they are home from their work commute. Weekends have a later ramp-up, and mobile and tablet combined has higher contribution to total volume in the weekend compared to weekdays.
query-trend-across-device
We took an even closer look, and created activity buckets for any given weekday (of course normalized for user time zone).
bucketing-hours

For Lower CPA, Later Is Better

When we look across the marketplace, cost per action (CPA) is low in the early morning, peaks during the morning work hours, and – regardless of device - decreases for the rest of the day.
cpa-decreases
This is yet another reason to never run out of budget early. If you do, you will miss out on the lower CPA clicks later in the day, and get a lower ROI than you would if you spread your budget throughout the day.
This data suggests that users are more research-oriented on mobile devices in the morning, and more prone to convert at night. However, the definition of "conversion" might differ from mobile to PC based on a given user’s specific intent, and last-click attribution doesn’t help much when it comes to understanding device performance. As a result, serving on portable devices may be undervalued. For Bing Ads, the recently launched Universal Event Tracking feature helps measure conversions on all devices through cross-device attribution. Over time, this approach will give us even deeper data to analyze.
We also looked at a metric called "good clicks per conversion" (GCPC). "Good clicks" are clicks our platform has identified as leading to high-quality engagement with the advertiser’s site based upon time spent on advertiser’s site and similar metrics. GCPC tells us how many "good clicks" are needed on average to get one conversion. When GCPC is high, a lot of quality clicks leads to few conversions. This is indicative of research behavior on the part of the user.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Study shows younger consumers are more influenced by social media

Of the 10,000 global “connected consumers” A.T. Kearney surveyed for their latest report, more than half say they’re connected to the internet from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed.
But as the study’s title points out, “Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal“. We do all start out on some common ground. We all go online to satisfy one (or more) of four basic needs: interpersonal connection, self-expression, exploration, and convenience.
In the US, exploration and convenience come out on top. We like instant access to products and services, information and directions. Expressing opinions lands at the bottom of the list. In China, Nigeria, and India, self-expression is one of the main reasons people go online. In China, India and Brazil, the ability to express themselves creatively is extremely important.
Kearney Study Activity
How are we spending all of this online time? Most of it is being spent on social networks. Here again, you can see the countries that really view the internet as a way of communicating and expressing their opinions. Here in the US, we’re a few points below the global average for time spent on social.
If you’re looking for the big spenders, Germany and Japan have the highest percentage of shoppers.
Even though we’re all spending most of our internet time on social media, those networks aren’t as influential as you would expect.
Take a look at these social media numbers. Globally, younger consumers are more likely to base their buying decisions on information they learned through their social networks. This could be recommendations from friends or brand messages. As the age range rises, social media’s impact grows smaller and smaller.
Kearney Study Social Influence
The study also points out that simply having a social media account isn’t the same as being active on a social media account. Here in the US, 53% of those surveyed said they had a Google+ account but only 13% considered themselves active on the site. 37% have Twitter but only 9% log on everyday. Overall, not counting Facebook active percentages are in the teens in the US.

China is another story. Active social media participation percentages are in the 40% range. And if you think Facebook has social media locked up here in the US, China’s QZone has nearly 100% participation, 80% saying their very active and 68% logging in daily. China’s second and third largest social networks beat our 2nd and 3rd contenders by a mile.
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The Real Marketers Shift From Social Media to Content Marketing

Instead of starting with a social media strategy, smart marketers must first think about great content and then think about how to fit it into their various social media channels.
Today, it's common knowledge that social media does not work without great content. This is a concept that's simple to understand but rarely executed.
Real marketers have already made the shift from thinking about "How I can get a good Facebook strategy" to "How do I create a content marketing plan to drive some good engagement on channels like Facebook." The difference may seem subtle, but in actuality the outcome is drastically different.
One of my favorite reference points is a class Donna Poppocasta taught here at OMI called "Content Marketing Strategy for Social Media" where she talked about content marketing being the epicenter of all social media and the platforms the channels you push content to (see diagram below).
content-marketing-social-media
Let's talk about the big pillars of migration to give all of us small business owners, marketers, and experts running our own show a snapshot of how this manifests into real outcomes you can see results from.

Your Personal (or Company) Brand

It's marketing 101 to really map out what your personal or company brand stands for and the big items you want to be sure folks remember you by...but so many times we get so harried in the day of "do do do" we forget to really think about these things when posting on social media. So the big one here is set up a top three to five attributes (powerful adjectives) and have those on the wall, desk, or screensaver to refer to so you always make sure you live up to this. So many of us post randomly, retweet (RT) without reading, and even write things like a blog post without such thought. Be sure to get your brand nailed down and so much more of the content you have to plan for will come naturally.

Your Blog

If no one has ever told you that your blog has the potential to be the single biggest impact on driving business to your company, allow me to say it.
It's what folks judge you by. It's how you are validated as an expert in the industry. Literally it's your digital résumé. Moreover, Google LOVES blogs that are posted to frequently (once a week is all that's needed) and more so those that are shared on Twitter, Facebook, and of course Google+. So, you must start to prioritize building a great content marketing calendar of blog posts and simply live up to that. Note: I did not say think about how to get your blog seen on Facebook - that will come if the content is good and shared well.

Your Tweets

Like a good tweet, this will be short and sweet.
STOP retweeting other folks' stuff, stop tweeting third-party articles, and start tweeting your stuff. Your quick summary of a great article you read, on your blog. Your cool new product launch on your page and press release. And then strategically retweet those in your industry that really have street cred and - guess what? - align with your brand (aka step 1) and your content marketing calendar that focus on important topics to your company.

Your Video

If you haven't started creating good video, it's time you do. More time is spent watching a video than on Facebook itself. And video is 10 times more likely to be watched on Facebook than other channels like Twitter. Start simply by perhaps creating good webinar content that you record and archive. Put it on YouTube and then take the highlights and add to a good page on your site.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Abandonment = Opportunity: 5 Tips to Boost Remarketing Revenue

shoppingcartGiven the impact abandoned cart messages can have on revenue, implementing this strategy could be the single most important tactic you tackle to get ready for the holiday season. If you're already sending these triggered messages today, that's a great start. Here are five recommendations for making your abandoned shopping cart messages even more effective:

1. Customize Messages With Abandoned Cart Items.

This is the gift-giving season and most consumers are buying gifts for more than one person across different websites. In the frenzy of trying to check off friends and family members from their holiday gift lists, it's easy for consumers to forget what items they placed in a particular shopping cart. Showcasing those items in the message will not only remind the consumer what they were thinking about purchasing, but will be more effective at driving a desired action than a generic email with a stock image of an empty shopping cart.

2. Send More Than One Message.

According to a recent Experian study, brands sending a second abandoned cart email saw a 50 percent increase in abandoned cart revenue compared to their first abandoned cart mailing. Brands sending three messages saw a 56 percent increase in revenue compared to just sending the initial abandoned cart email. Sending a series of messages also creates a great opportunity for testing, such as only offering a discount with the second or third message, or offering a greater discount with the final message.

3. Link Back to the Cart.

This may seem obvious, but two of the five brands that sent me an abandoned cart email either took me to a landing page that required me to log in or to a generic landing page telling me my cart was empty. Which brings me to another point - make sure the call-to-action brings the consumer back to a working landing page that accurately showcases the correct cart items. Consumers aren't likely to take the time to refill their carts all over again.

4. Create Urgency.

None of the messages I received drove urgency with a limited-time offer. This is an especially important tactic if a discount is being offered. Abandoned cart emails are perfect for featuring real-time dynamic content, such as countdown clocks or timers.

5. Test All of These.

There are numerous opportunities for testing with abandoned cart messages, and learning what resonates with your would-be purchasers has a direct impact on revenue. Consider testing the following: a series of messages (as compared to a single message); the use of an incentive or discount; the type of discount, such as a percentage or monetary value; a variety of subject lines, such as listing the cart items, featuring the discount, or creating urgency with a deadline; the time frame and cadence of the messages; and the call-to-action text.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Importance of SEO for Mobile

It's more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly website, especially if you want to rank well in Google's results.
In the last few years, Google has been communicating the need for mobile ready sites. Forward-thinkers are already reaping the benefits of creating a mobile-friendly website. If your company hasn't taken the plunge, Google has publicly stated its intent to make mobile-friendly websites standout in its search results, which may lead to a new ranking factor. Google has always strived for the best user experience and, clearly, mobile-friendly websites are front and center when mobile search volume is starting to pull ahead of desktop search.
Ultimately, Google can't control whether a website is mobile-friendly or not. It also takes time to develop a mobile ranking factor that provides the best user experience and doesn't alienate important websites that may not have become mobile-friendly yet. With this challenge in mind, Google began testing an icon that alerts users to mobile-friendly websites in their search results. This icon may prove to be valuable in driving search traffic to mobile-friendly websites. Along with the trend of mobile search growth, it is imperative that every website implements a mobile-friendly website.

Is Mobile Internet Taking Over Desktop Usage?

According to recent research provided by comScore, the majority of consumers are multiscreening. It doesn't mean that mobile alone is winning, but multiple devices are being utilized by the same visitor at the same websites. This is a key reason to have consistent experiences across multiple devices.
Below is an example of a mobile-ready site versus a standard site opened on a mobile device:
mobile-vs-standard-site
It is clear a standard site on a mobile device provides poor user experience: fonts are too small, there's an overwhelming amount of information on one screen, and it's very difficult to navigate. Unless the standard website is the only source of information the user is seeking, they will definitely bounce and choose a mobile-friendly website to visit.
A colleague provided a great example on how you can get an edge on a competitor by being proactive with a mobile-friendly website. He was on the runway at JFK and remembered a birthday for his friend was coming up. He did a search for "gift delivery New York." As most users would, he immediately clicked on the top result and thought this would be quick and painless. The company he was directed to didn't have a mobile-friendly website and his frustration brought him right back to Google to find another company with satisfactory user experience. The second result was a Belgian chocolate gift delivery service with a mobile-friendly website, so guess what his friend got for her birthday? And guess who just missed a sale (and who knows how many before that)?
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The Importance of User Experience for Digital Marketing: 5 Key Tips

The changing shape of the digital world as we know it is going to make an understanding of user experience even more imperative.
shutterstockux

User experience is becoming an increasingly popular feature of the digital landscape. But as digital marketers, we don’t always have a clear view of what it is, and how it impacts our work. 

In my work as a user experience designer, we often work closely with digital marketers. Although the budgets for both types of work often come under the broad heading of "marketing money," the responsibilities of each and the outcomes they deliver vary considerably. 

Fundamentals of user experience, and how it impacts their work.

1. User Experience Is Not Just About Interfaces

2. User Experience Touches the Product Itself, Not Just the Promotion of It

3. Experience Happens Anyway – You Only Get to Decide Whether You’ll Design for It
4: User Experience Uses Multiple Research Approaches
5. User Experience Will Subsume Much of What Currently Counts as Digital Marketing 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4 Reasons Brand Advocates Should Focus on Quality Over Quantity


quality-over-quantity

Here are four reasons why brand advocates should post quality over quantity:

1. Don’t Flood Your Followers.

If you follow hundreds of people over numerous social media platforms, you understand by now that much of what you’re reading is just garnish on an empty plate. So be an example by posting only when you know you have something valuable to say and consider how to say it best. If you don’t post every day, you wont be forgotten. But if you post well, you will be appreciated.

2. Build Credibility in Your Subject Field.

Whatever position you hold at your company, from sales to manufacturing to shipping or customer service, you are a specialist. Many of your followers are in different fields than you and benefit greatly from your insider knowledge. It’s an old cliché, but great advice still: write what you know.

3. Gain Influence.

If you are posting sparingly and making each one count, you will quickly gain credibility and influence as someone worth listening to. As a brand advocate, this is of course good news for your company, but it’s also good news for you. Your personal brand’s equity is something you should value. If you are a standout on social media, your bosses may notice and incentivize you to expand your role as brand ambassador.

4. Be Authentic.

It’s important not to sound like a drone whenever you post, but even more so when acting as a brand advocate. A simple way to write in an authentic voice is to first say aloud what you eventually want to write down. Record your voice on your phone and familiarize yourself with your normal cadence. Then clean up any "uh’s" and "you knows" and post with your true voice. If you can represent your company with an honest voice, it lends credibility to the brand as a whole. No matter what subject you write about, an authentic voice is heard over the chatter of the masses.

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3 Lessons Social Advertisers Can Learn From Search Marketing

Do Your Research

Search marketers are used to combing competitor activity and performing keyword research to ensure coverage on key topics and opportunities to expand or adjust strategies. With the festive shopping season getting into full swing, search marketers have been busy concatenating keywords, developing negatives, and keeping a watchful eye on the competition.
Social marketers should perform this type of research for their own programs. Competitive research may seem obvious, but it tends to be overlooked, as it can be a time-consuming process. Thankfully, there are many tools available in the market to make social monitoring easier. Free tools like Google Alerts, Hootsuite, Social Mention, and Topsy are accessible ways to begin this process.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Shoppers Abandon Their Carts – and What Search Marketers Can Do to Help

Most search marketing efforts are focused on merely getting users TO a site, but fail to leverage user behaviors to help KEEP them on a site. And most site managers don’t understand the relationship between search and cart abandonment. While site managers often lament the high percentage of abandoned carts on their sites, most managers fail to understand WHY so many carts go abandoned. If you don’t know why, how can you fix it?
The most common reason is really simple, but largely unknown: Carts aren’t just for shopping.
A shopping cart isn’t just for holding items until checkout. It also holds items shoppers are interested in while they figure out what to buy. The problem with most sites isn’t cart abandonment; it’s the fact that shoppers have no other way of keeping track of items they are interested in, so they use the only holding bin available, the shopping cart, and then abandon those items when done. They aren’t always abandoning a purchase; they are abandoning their list of unwanted items.

IBM predicts increase in online sales

IBM projects another strong holiday shopping season with online sales predicted to increase 15% over the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.  

The biggest increase in online sales is expected on Cyber Monday (15.8%).
Mobile browsing is expected to account for 48.2% of all online traffic over the five-day period, an increase of 23% over last year.  
Mobile sales are also expected to rise, accounting for 24.4% of all online sales, up 9.5% year-over-year.
The data is based on billions of online and in-store transactions analysed by the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and IBM Quarterly Retail Forecast.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

People willing to share personal data, sometimes

A new report from Econsultancy and Acxiom investigates the complexity of the data landscape, especially in relation to marketing, and the importance of getting it right in the mind’s eye of the consumer.

Entitled Delivering Value in the Data Exchange, the report is based on interviews with brand-side senior executives as well as an online survey of 1,000 UK consumers.
While it’s generally assumed that consumers try to hide their personal data at all costs, the report shows that this isn’t actually the case.
43% of respondents said it was sometimes worthwhile sharing personal information while 14% said this was true most of the time. Only 10% felt it was never worthwhile.
Do you generally feel that it’s worthwhile sharing your personal information for what you get in return?
The survey revealed that 31% of people sometimes knew how to stop companies contacting them after they’d given information, while 26% knew most of the time how to achieve this and 7% stated they always did.
Do you know how to stop companies contacting you after you’ve given them your information?

Mobile is top device for finding product info

Research published today by the IAB shows that mobile is now the top source for product information among 16-34 year olds.


When asked how they like to find more information on products and services, 41% said mobile, 35% said laptop/PC and 7% said go in-store.
Looking at the results for the total sample, 32% said mobile, while 47% said laptop/PC.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Why Shoppers Abandon Their Carts – and What Search Marketers Can Do to Help

Most search marketing efforts are focused on merely getting users TO a site, but fail to leverage user behaviors to help KEEP them on a site. And most site managers don’t understand the relationship between search and cart abandonment. While site managers often lament the high percentage of abandoned carts on their sites, most managers fail to understand WHY so many carts go abandoned. If you don’t know why, how can you fix it?
The most common reason is really simple, but largely unknown: Carts aren’t just for shopping.

A shopping cart isn’t just for holding items until checkout. It also holds items shoppers are interested in while they figure out what to buy. The problem with most sites isn’t cart abandonment; it’s the fact that shoppers have no other way of keeping track of items they are interested in, so they use the only holding bin available, the shopping cart, and then abandon those items when done. They aren’t always abandoning a purchase; they are abandoning their list of unwanted items.
Additionally, shoppers may have a number of items in their cart that they are interested in but aren’t ready to buy, but they have to purge those items in order to buy something else they DO want to buy. This results in shoppers forgetting what else they had in their cart and don’t want to bother looking for, again. This is even worse than an abandoned cart; it’s a potential sale lost.

Shopping Behaviors

Most e-commerce sites are not shopping sites, they are buying sites. These sites are little more than mobile cash registers, and fail to support the average visitor’s most common shopping behaviors, resulting in lower conversions and higher abandons. So, what are these common shopper behaviors?

1. Learn

Rarely do shoppers visit a site and buy something in one session. They begin by broadening their knowledge of what features or options are available in the product domain, as well as the breadth of products available. Most sites rely on the shopper to sift through the tomes of product content to determine what’s right for them. This is the step of the shopping process where an expanded use of search tools can help both shopper and website, alike.
As shoppers look at different products (and sites), they learn about different features and priorities. During this learning phase, shoppers keep track of interesting items by adding them to their carts. This often results in shoppers with carts on multiple sites.
Shoppers often learn about a domain, without even realizing it, by virtue of the filtering choices presented on in-site search tools. Websites should consider a different form of search tools to help users learn about products. One idea is to learn about each shopper and offer tailored filters based on their perceived needs.

2. Narrow

Once shoppers have a better idea of what features they really need (or which ones they don’t want), they begin removing some items from their carts, or abandoning carts on other sites (possibly your site). They then switch between sites (or products) until they get to a point where they can definitively choose just one.

3. Buy

Once a shopper decides to buy something, they tend to merely abandon the carts on the other sites.
Most sites completely ignore those first two key shopping behaviors. By the way, providing product content and attributes does NOT support the Learn and Narrow steps. There is more that your site could do to help the users during these initial steps.

Turn Your Site Into a Shopping Site

Merely adding additional functionality to the shopping cart is not the answer. Try creating a separateInterested Items holding bin. Additionally, provide a means for shoppers to add notes to the products in this list. You might even allow shoppers to add links to other products, not on your site, so they can comparison shop. You might even let them add links to reviews. These notes and links give you valuable insight into what each shopper finds interesting and allows you to suggest other products that meet those interests.
Moreover, creating a single place where shoppers can compare various products that are specific to their needs gives them a good reason to come back to your site. If you do lose the sale, you’ll know why and can use that information to improve your products or offers.
Don’t mistake Amazon’s Wish List feature as a shopping tool. Their Wish List is designed more like a wedding registry than as a shopping aid. This feature is focused on selling, not on shopping. That said, the need for a holding bin is so strong, that shoppers still use it as temporary storage and not as a sharable wish list.

Summary

Designing for shopping behaviors instead of buying behaviors not only reduces your cart abandonment, but also increases conversions and return traffic to your site. A more powerful in-site search tool that’s tied to an Interested Items List can greatly expand your abilities to support the shopper. Supporting common shopping behaviors, not just buying behaviors, converts more visitors into shoppers, and it’s easier to convert a shopper into a buyer than it is a visitor into a buyer.

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