April 3rd, 2013
A new study has found that less shopping advertisements are appearing on organic listings since the introduction of Google’s paid shopping listings. The drop in shopping ads appearing in natural, free results has coincided with the introduction of Google’s paid shopping listings.
A new report by Searchmetrics shows that in January 2012 shopping results appeared in 20 percent of universal integrations, however by December this year this amount had dropped to a very small amount – just 5 percent.
Unsurprisingly the steepest decline occurred in October, which was also the month that the search engine launched their paid shopping searches. Overall findings showed that the proportion of keywords with at least one universal search integration declined throughout 2012.
The study also looked at what brands appear most frequently – again unsurprisingly – Google or a partner appeared the most frequently on its own results. Google consistently accounted for more than 50 percent of the shopping integrations during 2012, only challenged by Amazon at 10 percent.
Furthermore Google also continued to favour its own brands in other searches such as video always favouring its own YouTube with at least 75 percent of all results displaying videos from the site.
The study looked at several million keywords analyzed over the course of 2012 and studied the first five pages of every search results.
The findings come as little surprise – Google was never going to allow free shopping ads to appear as before after introducing a paid version. The search engine giant will also always favour its own such as YouTube over other competitors.
In light of this many retail outlets have been forced to rethink their online promotion tactics – either opting for pay per click or moving over to long term search engine optimisation schemes.
March 28th, 2013
Facebook has announced that it’s launching the lookalike audiences targeting tool for advertisers, allowing marketers to reach potential customers who share similar characteristics with their current customers.
The new tool uses a targeting feature called ‘custom audiences’ and lets marketers take their current customer’s lists and show ads to those people on Facebook – using interests or demographics to show ads to people who share common attributes.
Facebook predicts that it could help achieve a lower cost per checkout, lower cost per acquisition, larger purchase size as well as faster and increased return on investment.
It’s an option that marketers have been waiting for and allows businesses to be able to target the most valuable and worthwhile audience for them – meaning most importantly that they’re not wasting money on customers unlikely to respond to their brand.
Facebook has over one billion global users and an average of 618 million people use Facebook on a daily basis, with 23% checking their news feed five times a day or more. As well as this, 488 million users use Facebook on the go.
By tapping into Facebook paid search, you open up your brand to a huge audience, who are more likely to come across your advertisements as they browse their news feed.
Another way of attracting the Facebook audience is social media management such as setting up a company brand page and interacting with consumers by positing regular updates and posts as well as setting compeititons.
However, a recent study by Recommend.ly revealed that more than two thirds (70.1%) of Facebook brand pages are updated less than once a month. This was despite evidence that brands need to post frequent updates to maintain their engagement with fans.
To make the most of the Facebook audience, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to get the right results.
March 19th, 2013
Mobile search is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with and is rapidly increasing with the influx of people using smartphones to answer queries.
According to recent research from Google, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, while 17% of searches happen on the go. Three out of four mobile searches will trigger follow up actions such as research, a store visit, phone call or purchase and 55% of conversions happen within one hour. Shopping queries are also twice as likely to happen in store.
Mobiles account for 31% of site traffic in the UK and is vastly growing. Mobile commerce grew by 254% between 2010 and 2011, and then a further 300% between 2011 and 2012.
With these statistics in mind, clearly mobile search is becoming more important than ever before and optimising your website for mobile use is a vital asset to attract customers and lead searches into conversions.
If a website cannot be used easily on a smartphone, you risk driving away customers who become frustrated at trying to access the information they need. Key information such as locations, services and contact information should be easy to find and access if you want to make the most of mobile search.
Another way of accessing the mobile market is to develop an App for your business. In fact, a recent report by Compuware suggested that consumer preference is strongly in favour of apps (85%) ahead of mobile sites. Apps were seen to be more convenient, faster and easier to browse.
Whatever your approach, making sure your website it optimised for mobile use if one of the best way attract more conversions for your business.
March 13th, 2013
Although most of us are more than happy to window shop online, are we as comfortable parting with our cash on the web as we would be on the high street? Figures suggest no. Whether the result of a bad experience or through word of mouth of someone else’s mishap, some people are still hesitant when it comes to making a purchase on the internet.
As usual, Google is straight on the case. The web giant claims it wants to protect searchers from bad retailers and suggested it may get tougher with culprits later on in the year with changes intended to prevent these merchants from ranking so well.
In response to concerns over bad merchants outranking their competitors, Google’s Matt Cutts claimed the company have a “potential launch” later this year and that “we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.”
But haven’t we been here before? Back in 2010 The New York Times ran a feature on sunglasses merchant, Décor My Eyes, in which the owner claimed people complaining about his site online helped boost his positions. Within days, Google made changes to prevent this situation from happening again and the site dropped.
So if Google already has a system in place to penalise bad merchants, why are we still seeing cases where some are achieving high SERPs?
During the SXSW Conference in Austin, Matt Cutts claims they are working on the issue by looking for “other signals that we can use to spot whether someone is not a great merchant.”
Naturally there has already been a level of speculation over what this could mean. The continued growth of fake reviews has been at the centre of much discussion, suggesting this might be the area Google chooses to tackle next. If so, it will be interesting to see how it goes about this and how accurate it is in its actions.
March 4th, 2013
The digital marketing world is one moving at an incredible pace. New developments, strategies and discoveries are appearing all the time and it can be hard for online companies to keep up. In our bid to stay ahead of the game however, it can be easy to forget that our consumers may be even more overwhelmed than we are.
In fact new research carried out by Bunnyfoot shows that many people are unaware of the difference between paid and organic search listings, with 40% oblivious to the fact that the top few listings are adverts. 81% of users clicked on AdWords listings as opposed to natural search results and believed that in doing so they were simply clicking on the most authoritative sites.
This surely begs the question that if more people were aware of the difference between organic and paid search listings would they still be clicking on paid search adverts? And is this news likely to affect how marketers distribute their budgets? In all honesty, probably not. The fact that so many people are using paid search listings is enough for many people to carry on making the most of Google’s paid search platform. Those who need fast, guaranteed results will always turn towards this method.
Perhaps more to the point should be our perception of our audiences’ digital marketing knowledge. When we become pre-occupied with the finer details of SEO and PPC, it can be easy to assume a certain level of familiarity that may not be altogether too accurate.
Regardless of the level of understanding of our audience and whether we opt for organic or paid search however, there are things we should do that will be well received by our audience. Paying attention to meta information, in particular titles and descriptions should always be a priority.
One company that does both paid and organic search well is Amazon.co.uk. It has emerged this week that research in Search Metrics has found the company to be dominating paid search, as well as being the most visible online retail site in organic search results.
February 11th, 2013
A new study has found that over two thirds of businesses are planning to increase their spend on digital marketing technology for 2013.
The findings come from a joint survey by Econsultancy and Responsys Marketing Budgets which investigates how companies spend their online and offline marketing budget. It looked at over 800 companies, mainly from the UK who voluntarily filled in an online form between December 2012 and January 2013. Out of all companies involved 71 percent explained that they planned to increase their digital marketing technology budget.
Unsurprisingly the most popular sector was web analytics at 46 percent followed by CRM at 45 percent. The emphasis on analytics and content management shows that the two sectors remain highly important to running a successful business. After this an importance of social media management systems, email platforms and paid search/bid management ranked.
This is of course great news for digital marketers. With over 70 percent of companies widening their budget on digital marketing the extra spends gives them opportunity to make larger campaigns and target more people and in turn increasing business. It also shows that businesses are really starting to see the power of digital marketing and its necessity.
As a digital marketer, the findings do not surprise me and I am glad to see a large significance placed on it. I believe it is something that will continue to grow as time goes on and even more emphasis is placed on the digital sector.