Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How To Engage Your Email Audience on Social Media, And Vice Versa

How To Engage Your Email Audience on Social Media, And Vice Versa
As new technologies and platforms join the marketing mix over time, it can be tempting to put your tactics into separate silos. While many marketers keep their promotional channels running on parallel tracks, the truly powerful messages are actually those that intersect.
There is a lot to say about what a brand is, and what it is not. But for now, just make sure that you know that a logo and a company name do not a brand make. A business does not become a successful brand until it becomes integrated into the lives of the people the brand is trying to reach. One way to achieve this is to surround your target audience with your message across multiple channels. Interacting with your brand on multiple and varied platforms means that you are with them when they are doing different things and are in different states of mind.
For example, if a prospect only ever interacts with your brand through their business email address, you probably only ever reach them during the hours of 9am to 5pm, when they wearing their ‘professional’ hat, and have their attention divided over many tasks. However, if you can get that prospect to also interact with you on social media, you have the opportunity to deliver messages to them when they might be more receptive.
So, how do you get your target audience to branch out and engage with your brand on different platforms? Start by giving them a compelling reason to – the more clever the better.
A great example of this comes from the smart folks at EAT24, the food delivery app. I am personally a big fan of EAT24, not only because their service is convenient and efficient, but also because their marketing team is, quite frankly, hilarious. I actually look forward to receiving emails from EAT24 because I know there is a good chance they will make me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How to Increase Traffic With Facebook

People are busy.

The fact that you’re spending your precious time reading these lines right now is mind-blowing. Seriously. And as an act of appreciation we are not going to waste your time, so let’s get started.
Make sure not to waste your potential visitors time. Always be consistent and make sure to highlight your company’s real values, and just meaningless high-level marketing tag-lines. Your visitors will appreciate it, and more likely that your messages will resonate.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be boring. They already heard similar slogans many times in the past, they heard different vendors promising the exact same dream benefits – so how do you get them to engage with your brand?

Use Zombies in your marketing campaign.

After running tens of ordinary campaigns we’ve realized that the display banner campaigns on Facebook are getting costly due to relatively low CTR’s (Click through rates). So, we have decided to change it and add some sense of humor to our ads.
As a Website Personalization company, that is not an easy task to do! Usually campaigns in our space presenting smiling marketers, analytics graphs etc.
But guess what? We did it. We managed to get targeted Facebook visitors attention, and drive much more traffic to our site, at lower costs.

Original Campaign

Here are the ordinary campaigns we ran at first. CTR was about 0.045%, leading to a cost-per-click of $14.55 (!)
Example A:
Screenshot from Facebook
Example B:
Commerce Sciences Example B

The improved Campaign

So after doing some thoughts on the type of campaigns that would work and serve our purpose the best, we chose to go for the humorous take.
We tried to find metaphors or reasons for our potential customers issues, and wrap them with attention drawing image. Something that will catch their eyes, intrigue them and will get them to read and learn more about it.
That already worked much better so click-through-rate increased for over 0.33%, leading to a cost-per-click of only $1.06.
Improved Campaign Example A:
Commerce Sciences Marketing Example

Improved Campaign Example B:
Commerce Sciences Marketing Example

What’s next?

In order to make sure that you not only attract visitors, but also convert them at higher rates, you should complete the ads’ experience with an on-site experience to ensure a great journey for your visitors.
So we used our own tool in order to run a holistic campaign and target visitors that landed on our homepage from that specific campaign. For example:
Commerce Sciences Web site Personalization example


We didn’t seriously mean for you to use zombies. Wait, scratch that. We did. You should use zombies, dark lords, and even chickens. The idea is to get people to smile, to raise their eyebrows, to simply engage. You can only deliver your message after you receive someone’s attention. Be playful and try and get any sort of emotional reaction. Do whatever works for you, don’t take yourselves too seriously.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

5 Tips to Help CMOs Improve Social Media ROI in 2015

5 Tips to Help CMOs Improve Social Media ROI in 2015
The coming year will be a watershed one for social media marketing, I predict, and not in a positive way. A topic that was only whispered about in private conversations early in the year is now being openly discussed: For many brands, earned media and content marketing are not delivering results in line with the investments. Some claim our metrics and strategies must mature, but it is getting harder to ignore the limitations of marketing in the social channel. So unavoidable is this discussion that even at the Social Media Today Social Shake-Up, a confab of social elite, a speaker asked from the main stage, "In a year, will any of you produce a deck with 'social' in its title?"

While social circles are buzzing with increasingly sober discussions of the channel's difficulties delivering marketing results, that conversation seems not to have reached the ears of the CMO quite yet. Mainstream marketing media, which was late to recognize the growing investment in social media marketing, is now tardy in covering the growing body of data demonstrating social's challenges as a marketing channel.

Adweek, continuing its trend of being impressed with engagement rather than results, recently featured an article on the "top Tumblr posts of 2014." These posts were not selected as "top" because they delivered any marketing ROI but because lots of people liked them, and thus Adweek has once again uncovered that deep marketing insight that people love inspirational quotes, hot models, animated GIFs and pets. (Shocking!) This is representative of the coverage that social media continues to receive from the marketing media--big numbers lead while investments bleed.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Social Business in a Mobile World

Social Business in a Mobile World
You’re not imagining it, mobile devices really are everywhere. Statistics show that 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone and 58 percent of them are smartphones. When people aren’t texting or checking email, they’re surfing the internet or checking their social networks. Sometimes even while they’re in the shower!
You already know how important it is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, but don’t forget to do the same for your social content too.

Why should I optimize my social content for mobile?

Because that’s where your customers are! Check out these stats:
●     Americans spend more time on their mobile devices than they do watching TV.
●     Social media is the top internet activity.
●     A whopping 60 percent of social media activities happen on a mobile device.
As you build your brand, it’s crucial to remember that lots people will view your messages on a phone or tablet. In fact, it may be the only way some see it as more folks ditch laptops and PCs for iPads and smartphones.

Sounds great, but how do I do it?

As long as you keep a few important tips in mind, optimizing your social media content for mobile is easy and won’t add a lot of extra time to your already busy workday.
Ramble on. There used to be a school of thought that said brands should keep their messages short and sweet to accommodate the smaller screens of a mobile device. It turns out, though, that people like to read long form content on tablets and smartphones. So go ahead and link to long blog posts and other lengthy content right on your social channels. Timely, relevant, in-depth writing will help push you to the top of the thought leader pack in your industry.
Picture it. If you can feature your message in a picture, infographic, or other cool visual, do it. Closely cropped images, videos, and scrollable charts all make terrific, eye-catching content that looks super on a smaller screen. Bonus: Visual content is always a winner on social media.
Move along. The combination of social media and mobile devices means you’re right in your customers’ pocket or purse at all times. You move along with them wherever they go. Use that to your advantage by coming up with ways to engage your fans and followers on social media when you know they’re doing something in particular. For instance, if you make camping gear, encourage customers to take a picture of their campsite to share on Instagram or Facebook.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Digital advertisers says viewability is the biggest challenge for 2015

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing digital publishing in 2015?
Would it be “viewability”?
In a recent survey by The 614 Group and AdMonsters, not only did 63% of advertisers said viewability was their greatest challenge, the majority also said they thought high viewability was a pipe dream.
614 group survey 1
Earlier this month, the IAB released a statement saying that it was unreasonable to expect 100% viewability. They thought 75% was a more realistic number.

In the 614 Group survey, more than 60% of respondents said they weren’t expecting to see high viewability numbers in 2015, so at least they won’t be disappointed.
What’s more interesting to me is that only 26% of advertisers said Ad Fraud was going to be the biggest challenge in 2015. This is not to say they think the situation has improved. The respondents were almost equally divided on the topic of whether or not ad fraud would drop in 2015. That tells me that we’ve simply learned to accept ad fraud as a part of doing digital business.
2015 Trends
81% of respondents said that programmatic buying and selling of digital ads was responsible for the growth we saw this past year. But an almost equal number say there’s still a lot of work to be done. If you’re not sure exactly what “programmatic” is, join the club and then read this delightful explanation from Digiday.
Native Advertising was a hot topic for 2014 but advertisers aren’t sure that it’s the ad unit of the future. There was mixed feelings about the value of native ads and whether they’re better than standard ad units. Only 30% thought native ads would be “very pervasive” in 2015 with the majority choosing “somewhat”.
Part of the issue is a lack of agreement about what native advertising is and isn’t. Branded content that’s delivered as you’d deliver any other piece of content can be very effective. Branded content that ambushes readers, by tricking them into opening banners or trigger content that appears native, is aggravating and is more likely to drive customers away.
The one thing all of the advertisers did agree on, is that there’s still room for improvement. The way we access the internet has changed, the tools we used to collect data have changed and our perceptions about what’s private and what’s not has also changed. If you’re still trying to reach customers in 2015 with the same techniques you used in 2007, it’s time for you to change your methods, too.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Your Guide to Creating a Successful SEO Link-Building Campaign

Years ago, it was easy for companies to make their way to the top of search results by manipulating the system. With a large number of spammy inbound links using keyword-rich anchor text, anyone could trick search engines into making their site appear important, credible, and relevant, thus manipulating their way to higher search engine rankings and traffic.
However, the days of creating large numbers of links without regard for quality have faded away, and this tactic no longer works. Search engines have made it much more challenging to gain search visibility, because search engine users demand quality search results. This is why search engines have placed a larger emphasis on detecting and removing content from search results that doesn’t deserve to be there.
With this in mind, it’s become important for site owners to not build, but earn valuable inbound links. A successful link-building strategy is no longer a manipulative effort; instead, it now revolves around quality content publication that attracts inbound links like a magnet. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create and implement a quality, successful link-building campaign.

Anchor Text Best Practices

Anchor text (the clickable words in a hyperlink) is a critical element of inbound links. Years ago, the commonly cited "best practice" for anchor text was to use your desired keyword as the anchor text. Google put a stop to that, using it as an easily identifiable signal of manipulation when it launched its Penguin algorithm update in early 2012. Including keywords in your anchor text can be strategic for establishing topical relevance of the linked page, but over-use of keyword-rich anchor text can backfire if Google determines it’s manipulative.
These days, anchor text should be natural, relevant, and value-adding. Anchor text shouldn’t be wielded as a tool for increasing your search engine rankings, but rather providing insightful information or resources to your audience. Branded anchors are growing in popularity and effectiveness, as are links that use the title of a cited article as anchor text. For an in-depth breakdown on the topic, see my article, "How to Properly Include Links and Penguin-Safe Anchor Text in Your Guest Blogs."

Guest Blogging

I’m a huge proponent of guest blogging as not only a way to build links, but also to build your brand. Guest blogging is one of the few tactics remaining where you can truly "build" links by being proactive rather than publishing content to your website and then waiting (and hoping) that it attracts inbound links.
Guest blogging has many benefits beyond just link-building, but not many people realize it. I believe this is due to the mass exodus from guest blogging after Matt Cutts’ blog post seemingly condemning it. But most people misunderstood what Cutts was saying, leading him to revise the article days later to clarify his stance on guest blogging. Cutts isn’t against guest blogging; he just condemns its use as a tactic solely aimed at link-building.
Guest blogging gives you the opportunity to align your brand with authoritative publishers and brands, and gains you access to a new audience.

Content Strategy: The Foundation of a Link-Building Campaign

Earning or attracting inbound links starts with publishing truly amazing, quality, value-adding content. Quality is often defined differently depending on who you ask, but this sums up how search engines and people define high-quality.
The most common mistake I see business owners make is publishing low- or average-quality content. Such content usually only hurts your brand, and won’t attract any inbound links. Infographics, videos, and in-depth research articles are fantastic types of content that attract inbound links.
If you are engaging in a content strategy, evaluate whether the content is truly link-worthy. If you aren’t engaging in a content strategy, it’s time to get started. A content strategy lays the foundation for a link-building campaign, providing link-worthy content while also strengthening your brand’s authority and credibility, along with conversion rates.

Measuring Your Efforts

Metrics are critical to ensuring that your link building strategy is providing positive ROI. There are several tools that can help you measure the value you bring to the Web and your site through your links. Here are some tools to consider:
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a valuable tool to anyone who is interested in SEO to any extent. Its offerings make it a one-stop shop for everything link and keyword-related. Some of its assets include traffic reports, SEO results according to Google, mobile traffic information, and in-page analytics. Use it to measure your organic search traffic, which should benefit from your link-building campaign.
  • Majestic SEO: Majestic SEO offers a wide variety of services, but its value to link builders comes in the form of a backlink checker. This feature can help individuals determine the number of backlinks detected by Web crawlers. Registered users of Majestic SEO can compare up to five URLs at the same time.
  • Google Webmaster Tools: Another essential tool for any SEO campaign, GWT allows you to view and download a list of inbound links detected by Google, along with the date the link was first discovered. Use this tool to determine which links are being counted by Google’s algorithm and when they were first detected by Google.
  • Screaming Frog: This SEO website crawler has a handy "list mode" that allows you to crawl a list of links (for instance, a list you download from Google Webmaster Tools). The output contains just about every piece of data you could ever dream of, relating to each link.
Whether you use free tools or pay for extra insights, gauging the performance of any marketing campaign is essential; and this this true for link-building campaigns, too. Deciding on a definitive way to assess your campaign can help you determine where you need to make improvements.

Creating Goals and Planning Ahead

It takes trial and error in order to determine which strategies work best for your particular niche/industry and audience in terms of attracting high-quality links. Use the information from your tools to assess trends. Which links and anchor texts seemed to be popular or attract the most referral clicks? What items were most clicked, and at what times of day were people visiting your site? It’s this type of information that can help you refine your strategy for the future.
Having a critical eye can help ensure that you’re always working toward improving the ROI of your efforts. As Google and other search engines continue to evolve, your strategy may need to change, but one thing’s certain: Google will never penalize or suppress quality content from its ranking algorithm. Start with quality, and design your link-building campaign from there.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Advanced SEO for JavaScript Sites: Snapshot Pages

As JavaScript becomes ever more integrated with HTML on the Web, SEOs need to develop an understanding of how to make JavaScript sites search-friendly.
We covered some basic approaches to SEO for JavaScript in an earlier post. However, a complex subject deserves an in-depth treatment. So let’s look at the specifics behind the emerging #! / snapshots approach to JavaScript sites.

Do You Even Need to Do This?

Search engines are processing more and more JavaScript every day. That doesn’t mean that your AngularJS site will be indexed and ranked, however. The engines are now parsing some JavaScript, but complete indexing of all states of JavaScript Web apps seems a long way off. If your JavaScript is running in the browser and pulling content from the database, odds are the engines won’t see it.

Prerendering Snapshot Pages and Bot-Specific Serving

This is perhaps the most popular approach for client-side JavaScript SEO issues. The basic flow is as follows:
  1. Detect search engine bots, either by looking at the URL if you used #! ("hashbang") or by simply checking the user agent of the request.
  2. If the bot is detected, redirect the request to your rendering engine of choice, such as PhantomJS. This engine should wait until all of the AJAX content is loaded.
  3. Once loaded, take the source of the rendered page and output it back to the bot.
Ironically this is a form of cloaking – sending specific content to bots – often a no-no in SEO. This type of cloaking is considered "ethical," however, as the content is pretty much the same as what users would see. Hence the search engines are OK with it.
Google has a full AJAX crawling specification that covers the nuts and bolts. The basic idea is one either adds the #! identifier to your URLs or includes the HTML [meta name="fragment" content="!"] tag to the page header. This alerts Google that the page uses URL fragments and gets them to index the page.
As mentioned in my earlier post, History.pushState is another option for creating indexable AJAX URLs. PushState has issues including the fact that it is not supported by IE 9 – still a fairly widespread browser.

Potential Issues With Prerendering

There are a couple of things to look out for if you decide to go with prerendering:
  • Bot detection. Make sure you are serving to all the bots, not just Googlebot (i.e. Bingbot, et al).
  • Snapshot timing. Consider the fact that your JavaScript elements may take a while to process via PhantomJS. You may need to build in a delay to allow for the full content to load prior to saving the page to the cache. Otherwise your snapshot page may be incomplete or partially rendered.
  • Page load time. Similarly, if you run the snapshot page process at the time of the URL request from the bot, the page may load slowly. Page load speed is an increasingly important SEO ranking factor, so if your page appears to load slowly to the bot, you may be negatively impacted. This is why it’s desirable to cache the pages in advance. This has the added benefit of actually making your site appear faster to engines than it is to users.
  • Batch processing. If you have a lot of pages, you may want to run the snapshot process at a specific time during off hours, or its own server. The process can be resource-intensive.

Checking Snapshot Pages

Since you are using bot detection, it is harder to verify that your process is actually working. One way to check your work is to use the "Fetch as Google" feature in Google Webmaster Tools. Enter the URL of a snapshot page (it may be different from the live URL shown to users) in GWT and check to see if Google can pull it correctly. This requires a live page, so plan accordingly.
Currently, Fetch as Google supports #! but not pushState URLs. If you URLs are static looking, you will have no problems.
Use the Google Webmaster Tools "Fetch as Google" utility to check your snapshot pages.

Prerendering Services

Building a full prerendering capability can be non-trivial. For a larger site it may involve a setting up a caching server, a database for the content, a service for the caching calls, a scheduler, and an administrative utility. Fortunately, several companies have come forward with solutions to address parts or all of the prerendering approach. Several that I am familiar with include:
  • runs a service that works with PhantomJS to host and serve snapshot pages. They take away the headache of running your own prerender server. They are reasonably priced based on the number of pages hosted and the frequency in which the snapshots are taken.
  • Brombone runs a similar service in which snapshot pages can be generated based on the timestamp for the URL in the sitemap or scheduled on a custom basis.
  • AjaxSnapshots. AjaxSnapshots offers prerendering service with some nice configuration options. At the moment their website lists the pricing as free (at least for now), so there’s that.

Paid Search and Landing Pages

JavaScript sites have challenges with paid search as well as with SEO. For example, AdWords determines quality score based on, among other things, the content the AdWords bot sees on the page. One approach is to serve the snapshot page to the Google AdsBot (a full list of Google crawlers and user agents is available here).
Furthermore, if your products or product content is found in a single page application, it can be a challenge to force this state via the paid search destination URL. Creating #! Or static looking URLs is pretty much a requirement here.
As paid search landing pages often need to be highly tailored in order to convert well, it may be better in the long run to create dedicated pages for your PPC campaigns, leaving your core JavaScript Web experience to users and SEO.


JavaScript-heavy sites are here to stay. While it can be non-trivial to build a JavaScript site that works well in SEO, it’s even more work to try to fix an existing site that was built without SEO in mind. Until the frameworks and tools are improved to make it easy to incorporate SEO requirements, SEOs will need to work closely with developers to insure SEO is factored in. Getting SEO and JavaScript to live together in harmony may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

10 Best Social Media Wins of 2014

From ice-cold water to some seriously funny tweets, a lot of brands did social right in 2014. Our experts ranked the year's best of the best in social media.
A lot of attention gets given to how brands fail on social media, but 2014 also saw some major brand wins. Our experts weighed in on who killed it on social this year. 

10. Monty the Penguin

As if British department store John Lewis' 2014 Christmas advertisement, "Monty the Penguin," wasn’t a big enough hit with more than 19 million YouTube views, the company also created a Twitter account for the eponymous penguin. Monty currently has 35,300 followers. Monty is the best Christmas mascot we’ve had in years, according to Victor Piñeiro, vice president of social media at Big Spaceship, "It was smart choose a penguin, as it's the cutest seasonally appropriate animal not owned by Coca-Cola,” says Piñeiro.

9. Alex From Target

While a tweet of a good-looking Target checker was just a flavor-of-the-week fad, Target’s response won the brand major social media points. While Alex was a huge hit, marketing consultant Jeanne Jennings worries that Target could have done more to shield its employee from unwanted press. "One of the reasons I rank this lower than others is the negative fallout from this campaign; namely, Alex’s loss of privacy and his subsequent frustration as a result," Jennings says.

8. Snickers Luis Suarez Tweet

Snickers had a quick response to the World Cup incident that involved a Uruguay player biting an Italian opponent. The response was a hit, with more than 47,000 retweets, making it one of the most buzzed about of the World Cup. Media strategist Tessa Wegert says that the best part of Snicker’s tweet was its sophistication, considering the speed with which the brand rolled it out. "[Snickers] was really responsive and smart about real-time marketing and live tweeting without compromising their integrity," says Wegert.

7. Taco Bell Social Media Blackout

To promote its new mobile payment and ordering app, Taco Bell completely blacked out all its social media accounts, directing users to mobile with the hashtag #onlyintheapp. The gamble paid off. The company reported that just 24 hours after launching, 75 percent of its stores had received a mobile order. Stephanie Miller, partner at TopRight Partners, thinks the campaign was the year’s most daring. "This was incredibly courageous. Bet that others will attempt it, perhaps with mixed results," Miller says. "There must be a very strong brand trust to get away with that."

6. Arby’s Pharrell Tweet

When Pharrell raised eyebrows with his questionable sartorial choices at the 2014 Grammy’s, Taco Bell was quick with a one liner that read "Hey @Pharrell can we have our hat back?" The tweet garnered 79,328 retweets along with 47,175 likes on Facebook. While Twitter quips can sometimes be disastrous for a brand, marketing strategist Krista Neher says that Arby’s is a perfect example of a brand understanding social. "Big brands getting real time right shows the power of social media," says Neher. "Rather than trying to force something, this worked well because it was a natural fit."

5. #WorldsToughestJob

To celebrate Mother’s Day, greeting card company American Greetings created a fake job posting listing all a mother’s duties then recorded applicants balking at the list. The YouTube campaign sparked more than 22 million views and reminded social media users to call their mothers. Stephanie Miller says that the secret to the brand’s success lies in the video’s originality. "The campaign is a brilliant, one-of-a-kind promotion that they can now own for a few more years," says Miller.

4. #BatKid

The Make-a-Wish Foundation made huge headlines when they let one special little boy take over San Francisco for the day dressed as Batman. #BatKid was tweeted about 750 million times and photos from the day were viewed an astonishing 120,439,533. Jennings loved the campaign’s message, particularly because the video content was relevant to the foundation. "This was a great idea, and a great cause," Jennings says. "Unlike ALS, it was closely tied to the cause. Truly a social media case study to be emulated."

3. #LikeAGirl

Procter & Gamble brand Always flipped negative stereotypes and boosted young girls’ self-esteem with a series of videos titled #LikeAGirl. The videos pulled in more than 53 million views and the hashtag took off on Twitter. Neher says that the genius of these videos was their touching, on-brand message. "This campaign shows that viral videos aren't about creating hype and hoping that tons of people share - it starts with clear consumer understanding and brand values," she says.

2. Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

Ellen had one of the most star-studded selfies ever at the 2014 Oscars, and her tweet featuring the picture was a win for sponsor Samsung. The picture was the most retweeted of the year. Jennings says that while the photo was brilliant, Samsung did miss a golden opportunity to give back. "The idea was so simple, yet so brilliant," says Jennings. "But I wish it had been for a charity rather than benefiting a corporation."

1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge had celebrities, athletes, and millions of others dumping gallons of cold water over their heads, all for the purpose of raising awareness and funds for the ALS Foundation, which helps fight the devastating disease. While the challenge was definitely the social media event of the year, Neher worries that it may spawn too many imitators. "This campaign was huge; the challenge is that now every nonprofit wants to figure out how to replicate the success," Neher says.


Monday, December 22, 2014

4 SEO Answers Your Development Team Needs in 2015

As we move into 2015 we have a responsibility as SEOs to positively shape the outcome of any Web development project we’re a part of. That means providing answers to questions posed by stakeholders and the developers about the current state of search. It’s critical that we do everything we can to ensure sites in 2015 are built according to proper technical SEO standards, that the site is set up to drive traffic, and that site performance can be measured.
Here are four questions you need to be prepared to answer for your Web development team in 2015.

What Are the Basics of Mobile-Friendly SEO?

Designers have been preaching the importance of mobile-friendly websites for a long time, so you shouldn’t have to convince anyone that mobile-friendly from a search perspective is a good idea. But it’s not just about creating an aesthetically pleasing mobile site, however - you need to build a site that has a quick load time, proper technical setup (such as mobile sitemaps), and fits a number of other criteria in order to stay in compliance with Google’s mobile-friendly standards.
Your development team has enough they need to learn on their own; it’s your job to help them stay ahead of mobile trends in 2015. Google has tipped its hand regarding the importance of mobile UX, and it is only going to become smarter about how it rewards mobile-friendly sites for providing a better user experience. Your business’ goals are going to change as users become even more mobile. Stay one step ahead by understanding what your team needs to do to ensure it’s prepared.
That might mean educating yourself on new technology or updates as soon as they come out or learning more about app indexing if you don’t have experience in that area.

What Should We Do About Local Search?

With the Pigeon algorithm rolling out in July of this year, you know there is more to come for local search in 2015.
Local business websites can always be tricky, but your developers need to ensure that your businesses name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear in in HTML on your site so they can be crawled by Google. If you rely on local business and have a storefront, include NAP information in your business’ header and footer. You should also encourage developers to become familiar with setting up local business schema data, which can help your site provide better information, such as hours of operation and reviews, to search engines and users in search results.
Local search is tricky, but after years of making it tough on the little guy, Google is making moves that will benefit smaller, local businesses in SERPs, so take advantage of that and properly set up your site from an SEO perspective so you reap the benefits of the additional changes that are sure to come in 2015.
Local SEO will continue to be a major challenge, so it's vital that your development team builds a solid SEO foundation for any new website.

Should This Site Use HTTPS?

2014 was the year of the data breach, so you can bet that many websites will continue the switch to HTTPS in 2015. Providing users with a secure connection may not seem important for every page on your site, but adding HTTPS as a ranking signal is merely Google’s latest step in security for its users.
Sure, studies so far seem to show that HTTPS has not impacted rankings for sites, but this isn’t something that Google is going to backpedal on. You should keep yourself educated about Google’s perspective on HTTPS to be sure you’re helping your development team make an informed decision about whether or not a particular site should use HTTPS.
Though HTTPS should only minimally impact page load times, your development team will have to balance security needs against image compression to ensure Google doesn’t penalize your site for slow load times.

How Will We Track Results?

Hopefully you’ve answered this question in 2014, but the nuances of your response should continue to evolve in the coming year. It’s becoming critically important that sites are set up properly to track user behavior and conversions – if they aren’t, how do we know what we’ve built is working?
Your developers should absolutely know how to insert Google Analytics tracking code, but you should also emphasize the value of having a working knowledge of testing tools like Visual Website Optimizer so they can identify CTAs, forms, or other elements of a site that should be tested.
With Google Tag Manager knowledge, developers can set up tracking for things like page scroll depth and login errors – interesting indicators of a site’s performance from a design and development perspective. In general, a proactive approach to measurement and tracking is best in 2015. For example, if you know that the business you are building a site for will be utilize Google AdWords, be sure that call-tracking code is set up properly.
Marketers may be responsible for a website’s performance after it’s built, but it takes proper setup from the beginning to ensure we’ll get the data we need to make educated decisions about future iterations to a site.

New Google Metric Reveals Which Products Drive Store Visits

As the holiday season fast approaches, Google is looking to provide AdWords advertisers with better insight into what products drive consumers to their stores.
The tech giant has added a new metric called "store visit measurement" to its Estimated Total Conversions (ETC) tool to give AdWords users a holistic view of how consumers are engaging with their businesses.
The "store visit" metric for a brand is based on the company's collective search ads on Google across different devices, including product listing ads (PLA), local inventory ads, and other types of search ads. Advertisers can use insights from store visit data to decide which products are driving consumers to visit their stores.
In an example provided by Google that focuses on Office Depot, the office supply company can leverage the store visit data to see if the HP printer drives consumers to one of its stores, and further decide if it should include the HP printer in local inventory ads. In doing so, Office Depot can understand the impact of its search ads, and better allocate its advertising budget.
Data is the essence of this new feature. According to Google, the new metric has been designed to keep data private and secure. "We never provide anyone's actual location to advertisers. Instead, store visits are estimates based on aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History," Google said in a statement.
A Google representative tells Search Engine Watch that the "store visit measurement" is still in its early days, as the new feature will just be rolling out in the U.S. in the coming weeks. But Google will work with more marketers in the new year to figure out how to better apply this metric.
Google declined to disclose whether the "store visit" metric will become available for advertisers outside the U.S. in the future.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

63 Percent of Global Digital Ad Spend Will Go to Mobile by 2018

eMarketer predicts that next year, advertisers will spend $64.3 billion on mobile advertising, up 60 percent from 2014. And by 2018, mobile ad spend will reach $159 billion, or 63 percent of global digital ad spend.
As 2014 winds to a close, everyone is looking forward to 2015, but eMarketer is jumping ahead a bit further with its new worldwide ad spend tool and predicting that from 2014 through 2018, digital ad spend will see a strong growth, primarily driven by mobile.
The interactive tool enables users to view ad spend across 22 countries. Users can select and filter shares by year (throughout the forecast period), by market, and by category (total media ad spending, digital ad spending, and mobile ad spending). It estimates that global digital ad spend will reach $171 billion in 2015, up 17 percent compared to 2014.
Digital will further represent more than 30 percent of total media ad spend in 2016 and forward.
Meanwhile, eMarketer predicts that mobile advertising will be a key growth driver worldwide through 2018. In 2015, advertisers will spend $64.3 billion on mobile, up 60 percent from 2014. Looking forward, mobile will reach $159 billion in 2018, representing a whopping 63 percent of total digital ad spend.
A look at different markets shows that the U.S. has a critical presence in digital media, especially in mobile, followed by China and the U.K. In 2015, mobile ad spend in the U.S. will increase by 50 percent from a year prior and reach $28.2 billion, representing 44 percent of global mobile ad spend.
China and the U.K. will also invest heavily in mobile, according to the prediction tool. Next year, both markets will account for 19 percent and 7 percent of the global mobile ad spend, respectively.
By 2018, the U.S., China and the U.K. combined will account for 66 percent of worldwide mobile ad spend.
In comparison, Japan and Germany rank fourth and fifth, respectively, for digital and mobile ad spend throughout the forecast period.

Friday, December 19, 2014

4 Ways to Make an Immediate Impact Toward Omnichannel

Omnichannel marketing is all about being customer-centric. What are you doing to move your organization in this direction and stay in the game?
Omnichannel is not just a fancier name for multichannel. It represents a truly new methodology that is customer-centric and non-linear. I believe that what makes omnichannel marketing different is not the number of channels used, but that it puts the customer at the center, and puts the campaign at the service of the customer needs and desires. In fact, this methodology recognizes that the customer is ominichannel, not the marketing.
This matters because marketing today is more about outcomes than interactions. Popularity measures in social are a good example – you know, all the "like" metrics. According to a recent ANA study, more than 80 percent of U.S. marketers rely on popularity-based metrics, such as likes and shares, to measure the effectiveness of their social content. However, popularity is no substitute for strategy. What matters is not how many people like your pictures of kittens, whitepaper downloads, or clever tweets, but the outcomes of those interactions – usually sales, loyalty, product reviews, upsells, etc.
Outcomes are what omnichannel marketing is all about – putting the customer at the center of the brand experience so that engagement turns into revenue and loyalty. Good examples are abundant in retail, where consumer expectation of consistency of message and service across channels has resulted in a lot of omnichannel innovation and investment. The retail experience has evolved to provide price harmony between on- and offline channels, recognizing loyal customers on devices and in store, and aligning communications and offers to the customer behavior. It has even been said that a "poor man’s" test of omnichannel success is if you see ads on the website for a product you already own.
No doubt about it – there are major people, process, and technology challenges with moving from multichannel to omnichannel. That is not trivial, so it requires a real focus and commitment. First, there has to be company-wide endorsement and buy-in, including removing channel-specific goals which only motivate marketers to keep customers in their own swim lane. Start by defining what omnichannel means to you – what does a customer-centric experience, over time, really look like? Some of your most loyal customers are already showing you – listen to them, watch their behaviors, see where your own well-intentioned channel marketing is getting in the way. Remove those barriers to success. If not, then you will end up with a lot of motion, but little progress.
There are ways to bring your marketing more into the customer-centric omnichannel approach without boiling the ocean. Try these four:
  1. Be more aware of how customers are interacting with your brands, owned, paid, and earned media, and customer service centers today. Are there simple opportunities to listen more strategically and respond to customer input and interaction? Focus on the channels where you have the most control – search, display, email, customer support – and slowly work your way over to a more holistic strategy. Tackle one set of synergies at a time. Typically, digital channels like mobile and email have high synergy, but so do display and direct mail and email. The right combination will be unique to your business.
  2. Get serious about attribution for all of your channels. Without it, omnichannel strategies will always overemphasize the last touch. I’ve written about the power of fractional attribution here before.
  3. Start with mobile. It is the common denominator for nearly every customer contact – and is increasingly these "lean in" experiences that both introduce consumers to a brand or offer, and engage them in loyalty activities.
  4. Think about interactions, not journeys. Customers may already be interacting with your brand across channels, and most likely they are not doing it in a linear, neat, and streamlined way. Branded interactions are more like "shared experiences" than they are a step-by-step process. Map out those customer interactions – they will be best outlined by circles and matrixes, not straight lines.
We've known for years that marketers are no longer in charge of customer connections, but we are in charge of the opportunities we create for branded engagement. A highly integrated campaign to put the same message in every channel at the same time might demonstrate your technical prowess, but it may annoy people and not be an enjoyable customer experience.