eCommerce Marketing Agency | Visiture

Archive for December 2011

According to a comScore report, online Christmas shopping is up 15% from last year–totaling over 35.3 billion dollars. Worthy of note is that Black Friday online sales were up 26% from last year and Cyber Monday sales were up 22%. I think it’s safe to say that Internet marketing is working, as more and more people are Googling brands and/or products, comparing prices and searching for deals.

With the ever-increasing popularity of social media branding, free mobile apps for deals, QR code usage, etc., it’s easy to see why consumers have turned to the Internet for much of their shopping needs.

If you missed out on this amazing surge in eCommerce, you need to assess where your advertising budget is going. Pay-per-click ads (paid ads in search engine search results) can be an amazing way to put your product in front of the consumer. There are tons of ways to increase your conversion rates and decrease cart abandonment. You just have to know who to turn to. The Visiture team is well-versed in preparing our eCommerce clients during the holidays and throughout the year. Let us help you make the most out of your eCommerce business and in 2012, you can be reaping the benefits of this tremendous increase in online sales.

Though I thought this was a surprising fact, presented in comScore’s new report about mobile subscriber market share, it makes sense. Almost every extremely viral site has an app (my favorites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Spotify and ShopStyle) and it’s just easier to navigate and use than the actual site (an exception being Pinterest–the app pretty much sucks–but I still use it when not near my computer).

According to the report, over 39% of people own a smartphone and of those people, slightly more use downloaded apps than the mobile browser. What is also significant is the 3.3 point change–a full point over the browser’s increase. More and more people want apps to easily find and navigate information on their favorite websites.

Maybe it’s time to consider advertising opportunities on mobile apps and, as we’ve said for a long time now, optimize your site for mobile browsing.

This Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors was written by and appears on Search Engine Land. We think it does an awesome job of describing the intricacies of Search Engine Optimization and it also shows you why it’s easy for people to get “black hat” (ie: the magenta “violations” components on the bottom).

The weightiest components include: quality content, quality links, HTML titles and descriptions and architecture. Several of the other components say things like “authority,” “trust” and “reputation.” This is not only important to being found on the search engine but also to your current and new customers. Anything that you can do to ensure a better user experience is going to help you in the search engines.

via Search Engine Land

If you are looking for an SEO company, you need to take responsibility for your website and make sure that they are not involved in shady things like keyword stuffing, cloaking and link spam. Simply asking how they feel about these practices should give you general idea of what paths they take. And as we’ve said before, always stay away from companies that guarantee rankings (especially a #1 ranking).Instead, look for an SEO company that will customize your SEO plan and work to get your goals accomplished (the results will not be overnight).

 

That’s right. It’s not like one trillion total; it’s one trillion views in 2011. As YouTube explained, that’s 140 views per person.

So do you think it’s time to start considering this medium as a stronghold for your social media marketing initiatives? We think so too. Video is a powerful way to connect with your audience, as Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice guy) has proven over and over again. It’s also a great way to inform people about your brand, your practices, what makes your company different and more.

And the best part? They don’t have to be Oscar-nominated short films. To prove it, here are the ton ten most viewed videos of 2011. How can you get creative with your brand and get your videos to go viral (sorry to use that dreaded word, but it’s appropriate in this case)?

1. Rebecca Black – Friday (Official Video)

2. Ultimate Dog Tease

3. Jack Sparrow (featuring Michael Bolton)

4. Talking Twin Babies – Part II

5. Nyan Cat

6. Look at Me Now – Cover by KarminMusic

7. The Creep (featuring Nicki Minaj and John Waters)

8. Maria Aragon- “Born this Way” Cover

9. The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

10. Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten

Search Engine Land reported that search trumps social media when people need local business information. And this honestly isn’t surprising to me. The fact is that most social media profiles don’t give the best information. Most of the time, Google Place pages are the best for finding immediate information about hours, directions, reviews and contact information. If someone wants to know about the best place to get sushi, it might be best to look at social apps, but as far as general information goes, search wins out.

Local businesses highlighted in Google search results

  • 47-51 percent of people use the Internet to look for local biz information (where do the rest of you go?)
  • of that 47-51, 36-38% use search engines
  • 16-17% use specialty websites (like yelp)
  • 1-3% use social media

What does surprise me is the really, really tiny number of users who look for business information on social media. This could be because of several reasons: 1) perhaps most local businesses don’t have a lot of information on their social media profiles (or don’t have profiles at all), 2) it’s simply easier to type something into google (especially on a phone) than search on social media apps, 3) social media apps like Facebook and Twitter don’t have a great way of searching for a place you don’t already know that a yelp-like site does. For instance, if you’re looking for sushi in Charleston, SC, you’d type it into Google or Yelp, not try to search on Facebook.

This just proves that these social media platforms still have plenty of room to develop their local business offerings. It’s also a huge opportunity to optimize your social media accounts in order to be found by more people and get ahead of the competition.

Here are some general tips for improving your PPC ads for the holidays!

1. Make sure you’re utilizing all accessible extensions.

This means product ad extensions like this one:

And local ad extensions like this one:

**List your phone number as many mobile users will click here directly.

2. List all promotions. Free shipping? Great! Hassle-free returns? Awesome! 50% off New Customers? Super!

3. Display prices (if competitive). Last-minute holiday shoppers want to work quickly.

4. Get some more reviews. Offer incentives to customers for reviewing–like 10% off their next order. People are going to be drawn to the ads with those beautiful gold stars.

We’re often asked what Twitter is all about. In fact, the most common response when we ask if they use Twitter is, “I don’t want people to know what kind of sandwich I’m eating for lunch.” It’s true that many people use Twitter to tell about the mundane minutia of their lives, but we would never recommend using your Twitter account for that (especially not your business’s Twitter account). So here are the reasons your business should be tweeting and more importantly, how to accomplish a good Twitter presence.

1. Engaging your current customers: Reaching out to your customers has never been easier on Twitter. Ask for reviews and feedback on new products, conduct polls to see what your customers believe your store/service is lacking. Take these ideas to heart. If you’re considering carrying a new line of products, for instance, let your customers vote on which line it should be (see tweet below from Charleston Naturally, who does just that). Usually, the answers to challenges you face in your brick-and-mortar or eCommerce store can be fixed by simply asking your customers how you can improve their experience. This kind of content makes people feel good about your company and thus, more likely to share information with friends. It’s a win-win.

2. Customer service: Similarly, you want to make sure you can address issues your customers are having right away. By conducting a quick search on Twitter for your company’s name, you can make sure no one is bad-mouthing you. If they are, respond positively. If someone is disappointed in your product, apologize and offer a discount on their next purchase or a free return. If someone is upset about your someone in your staff, apologize and promise to do better next time. Most of the time, people just want to hear that the company cares. Often times they have no expectation that the company will see their tweet and respond, so it’s great to catch them off-guard with kindness.

3. Generating new leads/sales: Twitter is a great place to find new leads. Go to search.twitter.com and type in keywords associated with your business. It will likely bring up people who are looking for a company to buy from/do business with. You can then send them a tweet letting them know that you’re the best company for the job… just make sure that you don’t spam your followers’ feeds with self-serving tweets.

4. Interacting with your industry’s community: Twitter has the unique opportunity to find people in your field and contribute to the conversation. These industry leaders are bound to have a few good ideas–ones that you can agree/disagree with or expand upon. Think of it like a table at a coffee shop and your fellow industry leaders are seated around it. It’s a great place to reach out to like-minded people and get references, recommendations and ideas.

5. Branding your company: If you want to have a great presence on Twitter, you can’t just schedule updates to go out every day via your third-party API. You have to roll up your sleeves and dig in. People want companies to be real–they want them to apologize, to be funny, to educate. These are all things that you can do on Twitter that will make your company look awesome and gain people’s trust. Whoever controls your company’s Twitter needs to really have a grasp on what your company is all about. To become the authority, people have to want to read and share your tweets. Make them personable, engaging and honest.

Has your hatred of creating screenshots grown furiously over the past few years? We thought so. Apparently, Twitter anticipated this and has now designed a new tool to let you embed tweets on your website/blog as quickly as you can a YouTube video. It will appear when you get the new Twitter and it will simply say “Embed this Tweet.” Now you can post those singular wonders easily and efficiently without the hassle of creating a screenshot.

Here’s what the embedded tweet will look like on your site:

twitter-embedded-tweet

I love that it has a quick way for people to follow you in addition to the reply, retweet and favorite options. This is a great way to market your brand–through the power of information and/or wit easily conveyed by a company/personal tweet. Remember that on the flip side, this also means your tweets are easier for others to share. That can be good and bad, so make sure you keep your social media management in the right hands!

You’ve seen the Foursquare check-in stickers appearing on a lot of storefronts and restaurants lately. We’ve got them all over Charleston. But Forrester Research has recently published a study (picked up by Mashable) that indicates that although about 14% of adults are aware of these location-based apps, only about 5% use them with any regularity. Smaller still, only 2% use them at least once a week or more often.

Even though Foursquare announced that its registered user base has reached 15 million, Forrester found that many of them are not active. And the study shows that 70% of adults are not familiar with these applications.

However, the upside is that the people who do use location-based apps are twice as likely to share information about products and services they purchased or used. This population of sharers also skews young.

So if you have a youthful or potentially viral brand, it is still beneficial to run deals or simply participate in things like Foursquare. Because while this audience might be small, they’re likely to talk about your product and services, potentially becoming an influencer to those in their networks.

We recently ran a geo-targeting test for one of our clients in Atlanta and thought it would make an excellent blog post for marketing tips. If you haven’t run a geo-targeting test before, here are some general guidelines on how to do it the right way.

  • All tests are intended to be temporary, relatively short-term ‘changes’ designed to test a hypothesis.
  • A parallel test procedure provides the most accurate and reliable results. (this entails running two completely identical items, e.g. campaigns, during the exact same time period with the only single controllable difference being the feature being tested)
  • A test itself is rarely if ever intended to improve performance per se.
  • The results of a test are intended to provide ‘learnings’ that can be applied to make changes that are likely to improve performance.
  • The results of a test would then dictate the direction of a more long-term change (or no change at all depending on the results) that would provide a long-term benefit for the account, certain campaigns, ad groups and/or keywords.
  • During a test, test campaigns may perform worse overall than the original in a parallel test for several reasons that would not affect the ultimate success of the test itself:
    • Newly created campaigns have no Google keyword/campaign quality history. (the geo-test was such a parallel test (as opposed to a less reliable before and after pseudo test))
    • Identical campaigns that contain the exact same keywords and have overlapping geo-targeting compete against each other in the AdWords auction (this is necessarily the case for a true parallel test).
  • During a test, optimizations and/or changes to improve performance within test campaigns ought to be avoided so as to not introduce differences between the parallel campaigns and add ‘noise’ into the test.
  • Ideally a test must be allowed to run for a minimum amount of time required to collect a sufficient volume of data so that a conclusion based on the analysis of the data can be established with statistical significance and confidence (this amount of time will vary widely depending on the rate of data collection)
  • Finally a test itself is deemed successful when a clear difference is demonstrated between the two parallel campaigns, ad groups, etc. regardless of the actual conclusion or specifics of the ‘learnings.’

 

–This report was created by Visiture’s Director of Search, Ben Tan.