I read this week that only 9% of small businesses design their website with conversion in mind. However ludicrous that sounds, it is probably true because without wanting to step on any toes, many website design agencies are design-led which means conversion, together with user experience and SEO will often take a back seat in favour of fancy, bold designs and visual elements.
Now let’s clear one thing up to begin with. I am in no way denouncing the importance of visual appeal – anyone who has worked in digital marketing long enough to remember the internet before social media took off and who reminisces about the days when manipulating search was as easy and about as time consuming as making a cup of coffee will agree. Visuals are the best way to engage your audience. They make your offering sexy. And sex sells.
Being visual in your representation of what your brand offers will work in your favour. After all, you need to cater for those audiences who consume content via image, text or video and present your marketing message to each of them in a way they can easily digest.
New Website Considerations
So, you set about designing a new website – focusing on the colours, layout, styling, font, content and images. You spend all your time, and money, in creating something which is eye catching but if you can’t convert your visitors initial interest into an enquiry, then this time and money may well have been wasted.
The clock is ticking
We all have the average attention span of a goldfish. As broadband speeds increase and brand loyalty goes out the window, variety really is the spice of life for the online consumer. No longer do we have to trawl the high street, going back and forth from shop to shop to find our favourite outfit or upgrade our tech. Now we just Google it and expect Amazon (or another one of the big brands) to deliver it by this time tomorrow. This is great. But it also means we are impatient. Very impatient. If a website doesn’t load fast enough or we don’t like the look of it from that initial microsecond-long glance, we hit the back button and scroll down to the next item on the list.
If your website doesn’t captivate, retain and engage at this point, conversion is unlikely. So, what can you do to ensure your website works as hard as possible for you?
Return on your Website Investment
Before you embark on a new website design project it is first worth establishing why you need a website. For most businesses, it will be to reach the target market and increase enquiries and sales. However, some may have enough work for the foreseeable future or generate sufficient leads from referrals and simply want a website to act as an online brochure, in which case optimisation and conversion are less important.
Chances are you will be familiar with the first point and you’ll need your website to turn visitors into clients.
Tips to Improve Website Conversion
If making money from your site is important then here are a few tips to improve website conversion:
- Deliver a good user experience – if people cannot find what they are looking for (and quickly) or find any aspect of your website fiddly or time consuming you have probably lost the potential to convert.
- Be clear and concise – make your objectives clear and avoid distracting your site visitors.
- Don’t be afraid to test – A/B split testing is something we talk about a lot in the digital industry. It’s not that technical and certainly nothing to be afraid of. In fact, if you can embrace the power of testing and apply this to your site layout, wording, placement of Call to Action and even your offsite elements such as Ad text and email marketing, then you will clearly know what works and what doesn’t.
- Put the important stuff above the fold – this becomes increasingly important as time passes and the number and variety of devices we use to access the internet grows. Your website needs to say everything important to that visitor in the screen they can see in front of them, without scrolling. Whether this is on a desktop or mobile phone, if they don’t like what they see above the fold (the bit before you start scrolling) then the chances are they won’t look any further down the page.
- Behold the benefits! – at every opportunity you need to tell your audience how great your product or service is. It is all well and good presenting the features but if you don’t show people how your product or service can benefit them, they won’t see the value in making the purchase.
- Feature a clear Call to Action – your CTA will be the action you want people to take – whether this is to pick up the phone and call you, click the buy now button to make a purchase, request a free trial or fill in an enquiry form for more information. Make this CTA obvious, simple and clearly lay out the path you wish people to take on your site to prevent them from getting distracted.
- Reinforce your credibility – trust is an important issue when buying online, particularly if there is no human interaction in the transaction. This is where your website can be used to your advantage. Make sure your site features testimonials and case studies about how you have helped others so that potential customers can see the range and scope of your capabilities.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you – include contact forms on important landing pages, ensure your phone numbers are ‘click to call’ from mobile devices and include your physical address to reassure everyone that you are genuine.
Your website might be your only shopfront, your only presence outside of your business’s own four walls. If it is also going to be the only way you market your business, it needs to have grown from the right concept in the first place, or all that stuff you do on top – SEO, social media, blogging and paid advertising – will be pointless because you won’t be converting any interest you generate into tangible leads.
Build your site with conversion in mind and the rest will come….well, it won’t but that’s another story 🙂
Need help with your website conversion? Speak to our experts today on 0121 308 0219.
If your company has been using only traditional marketing methods to generate new business, you need to read this!
2017 is the year of change and improvements. Marketing strategies have grown beyond word of mouth and Facebook posts. Let us show you how your business can reach new heights using digital marketing strategies.
Why Digital Marketing?
- First and foremost, digital marketing is a tremendously cheaper marketing method than the traditional offline methods – just think about those print runs, radio campaigns and television ads that you couldn’t afford 15 years ago! Digital marketing is much more accessible, even for those with small marketing budgets.
- It’s a great way to increase your online market share
- **According to Hubspot By 2016, more than 50% of money spent in the US will be influenced by online marketing campaigns. ** How long before we can say the same thing here in the UK?
What is a digital strategy?
Having a digital strategy is, in essence, a plan. It allocates time and money to all the relevant platforms and helps you to gain insight into statistical data which will help you to reach your goals. Market your business using multiple platforms like Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, SEO PR, and so much more.
How to begin building a digital strategy
- The first thing you need to do is be clear on your aims and objectives.
- Analyse how your company performed in the previous year.
- Research your target audience and preferred digital media channels
- Create your content
- Allocate paid advertising budgets
- Create a timeline
- Evaluate and improve your strategy
Why you NEED to set aside a budget for an SEO and digital marketing company to help you
- By now, you must understand the importance of digital marketing. One thing that will help you reach that increased ROI is a thorough and well thought out digital marketing strategy.
- It can be a daunting task to do yourself
- You’ll save money in the long run
- Work alongside a professional to gain a fresh perspective
- Utilise their resources and evaluation techniques
As 2016 draws to a close we’ve got time to reflect back on another year in the digital sphere. 2016 has provided some great opportunities to get your brand out there but it has also been challenging at times, as we come to accept the changes that are constantly put in place by the giants of the internet.
The big online marketing changes of 2016
Some of the changes we’ve witnessed this year include:
- The introduction of mobile-first indexing – Google recently announced that it is experimenting with this and that eventually:
“our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
So, if your site is not mobile friendly you will almost certainly eventually disappear from organic search and if you don’t prioritise mobile content you may become less visible.
- The rise and growth of global spam referral visits – skewing analytics reporting and generally getting in the way of genuine traffic. There are several ways to remove this data and filter the traffic, however, experts never quite got to grips with which method was best. Ultimately it seems easier to ignore what you cannot affect and concentrate instead on your own goals, how you plan to reach them and how you’ll measure the effectiveness of a given campaign.
- The boost given to HTTPS pages – at the end of 2015 Google announced that it had changed the indexation system to look for more https pages and the popularity of secure sites has subsequently increased in 2016.
- The removal of ads from the right-hand side of the page in Google search – initial reports seemed to suggest that PLA ads benefited from increased placement and that right-hand ads were never favoured by searchers anyway, but with 10 months gone since the changes were made we haven’t seen any major dramas as a result of this change. Those worried that paid search would become more ‘cut throat’ had a right to be wary, however, CPCs continue to rise anyway and it is more about what you can do with your budget and how targeted you can make your campaign in terms of text, display and video advertising, than it is about the number of ad slots available.
- The introduction of rich cards – building on the successes of rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org markup to display content in an even more engaging way. This is perfect for sites sharing recipes and any other image rich information that you want to stand out in search.
- The continued decline of Facebook organic reach – further to the declining organic reach of the last couple of years, 2016 really saw a nail in the coffin to an organic-only Facebook strategy with publishers’ pages experiencing a 52% decline in organic reach. This means that no matter how many people like your page, a large proportion of them are not going to see the important content you have created, often with them in mind. This is because Facebook needs a way of picking out the posts that keep people coming back. With a new algorithm in June, favouring friends and family in the news feeds, it was a further blow to brands trying to reach and engage their target audience via the social network. All is not lost though, as we are still seeing really good improvements in engagement, reach and referral traffic from our customer’s Facebook pages. Video is also tipped to be a great way to increase engagement so the more video content you can get onto your social pages the more likely you are to retain that audience visibility.
Instagram users have also witnessed a decline in organic reach in 2016 and just last week, Youtube sensation and top account holder PewDiePie announced that he would be shutting down his channel on reaching 50million subscribers as changing algorithms mean fewer people are now seeing his videos.
So, where does that leave us?
Digital Marketing Trends 2017
The New Year will no doubt present its own new challenges but there will also be great opportunities to exploit new technologies and trends. We predict that the following will be key factors to successful digital marketing in 2017:
- Automation – not so much that your activity becomes robotic but just enough so that customers don’t have to wait for an initial response and that content can be drip fed into the public domain even when the offices are closed.
- Continuity – with the very real threat of your social pages being deleted if you stop updating them (Facebook has threatened to do this on a couple of redundant customer accounts this year) and the fact that the consumer can spot a mile off if you are up-to-date and or inactive from the prevalence or lack of blog and social updates, continuity in terms of your marketing strategy has never been more important.
- Integration – many businesses still view marketing channels in isolation but given that the average purchase is usually achieved through a combination of media – including paid search, organic search, social media referral and direct return visit – it is crazy to think of all these channels at your disposal as separate tools. Combine them in the right proportions, at the right time and with the right level of activity and you’ll end up with far better results.
- Going Live – there are few businesses brave enough to live stream at the moment but the marketing possibilities are out there if you stop and think about how this technology can be harnessed to help you reach your target audience. Social media users are demanding to be more ‘in the moment’ and what better way to immerse them in your brand or content than taking them with you? Think live events as a great starting point for live video streaming.
- New reality – from the Virtual Reality gaming headsets that are a popular Christmas list item to the augmented reality of roaming the streets for Pokestops earlier this year, our concepts of what is real has been challenged in 2016 and we predict it will grow and develop further in the coming twelve months.
- Cutting content – we don’t mean necessarily cutting down, but cutting through. There are so many words, images, videos and experiences out there that we are all getting too overwhelmed to bother paying attention. The winners in 2017 will be the brands who can cut through this noise to reach their target audience with specific messages that mean something to them.
What about at SEO it Right?
On a company level, 2016 has been a fantastic year. We started the year dressed up and walking the cold streets to raise money for Sport Relief, celebrated our 6th birthday in April, spent the summer delivering an awesome work experience programme for two local school pupils and an international work placement student and ended the year welcoming a new member to our team – Kostas, who comes to us as a highly-experienced developer,AdWords manager and user experience expert. If you haven’t met Kostas already or received an email from him I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing him well on his SEO it Right journey.
All that leaves me to do is thank everyone, staff, customers and followers for their continued support in 2016. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to an exciting year in 2017!
It’s that time of year when retailers shift up a gear to cope with the influx of Christmas shoppers. With more and more people shopping online – last year’s Christmas period saw a huge increase in online sales and stats are predicting further growth this year – gearing up your ecommerce site to cater for this festive audience is absolutely imperative.
So, how can you get your website ready for the Christmas shopping season? Here are our top tips:
- Be mobile friendly – ever since Google launched its first mobile friendly algorithm back in April 2015, sites that cater for the smartphone and tablet audience have received more recognition from the search giant in the form of better rankings. With festive consumers more likely than ever to reach for their phones to browse the latest deals as opposed to firing up the desktop, can you really afford to miss out on this audience? You can use this Google tool to check the mobile friendliness of your website.
- Be fast – increasing internet speeds and more choice of products online has made us, as consumers, more impatient than ever. No matter how good your organic or paid search presence is in the run up to Christmas, if your landing pages take too long to load, searchers will become impatient and move on to your competitors. Experts suggest that a load time of less than 2 seconds is acceptable, but if your site is graphics heavy or your hosting is not up to speed you could find yourself losing out on potential custom. Check the load speed of your site here with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
- Be aware – we talk a lot about consumer UX, why? Because it is so important. If you can experience the journey your customers will take when visiting your site and anticipate their needs, you can deliver a website that caters for them, which means you are much more likely to convert your traffic into sales. Specifically, you can check for broken links, 404 pages, missing page elements such as images or prices and ensure that the checkout process is working perfectly.
- Be willing to adapt – nothing is more damaging to your sales than a static marketing strategy. Over the festive shopping season people will be doing things outside of their normal routine, so you need to adapt to this by monitoring and measuring their behaviour and changing your site or strategy accordingly. For instance, if you notice a high cart abandonment rate in the run up to Christmas it could be time to review your prices and delivery times against competitors as your online visitors are obviously getting so far but falling at the final hurdle.
Following these simple tips will help you to improve conversion rates in the busy Christmas shopping period and beyond! If you need help with your online marketing strategy give the SEO it Right team a call today on 0121 308 0219.
Facebook has 31 billion UK users, with 60% of the population having a Facebook account. There’s a massive audience just waiting to hear your brand story, but it’s not as easy as you might think.
Organic reach on Facebook can currently be described as abysmal at best and non-existent at worst! You might have a few hundred or thousand likes but your organic reach is likely to be as low as 1% – which means your important updates, offers and vital information to support your product or service simply aren’t reaching your target audience.
Why is Facebook reach so low?
Because Facebook, like Google, want you to pay to get your message in front of the people that matter to your business. Most recently Facebook announced that it was changing its news feed to ensure you don’t miss the things posted by the friends you care about. The impact for business pages is that unless your posts are shared frequently and greatly by your audience, you are likely to see a drop in traffic coming from Facebook, as news feeds become dominated by posts from your favourite friends.
What can you do about it?
We’ve had many years’ experience of working with businesses to improve their reach and engagement via social media and in particular Facebook, because despite this low organic reach, it remains a fantastic and cost effective platform to build brand awareness and drive traffic back to your website.
Here are our 5 fast Facebook fixes to improve your social reach and engagement:
1.Know what to post – Don’t just peddle your wares, but share the things that matter to your audience and connect with their values. Statistics from Statista tell us that the top reasons why people connect with brands on Facebook are to:
– Receive offers
– Keep up to date with news
– Receive info relating to their personal interests
2. Be visual – we know that posts featuring images, slide shows or videos tend to get better engagement, so really there is no excuse to not include relevant imagery when posting to Facebook. Remember, if you have to look too hard to find a relevant image, maybe the content you have is not worth sharing.
3. Pay for it – with the statistics we’ve just given you it’s easy to see why you can’t rely on organic reach alone, so if you want Facebook to work for your business and brand you’ll need to invest in some paid advertising. You can use Facebook advertising to reach new people, drive traffic to your website, promote your special offers instore, generate leads, get more views for your video content and increase likes, and what’s more you will pay up to 20 times less than advertising using Google AdWords!
4. Have a conversation – social media only works well when the conversation is two-way. Connect with people who can influence your audience, respond to people when they message your page or comment – whether it is positive or negative, how you deal with it is what matters – and most importantly, LISTEN, as these are the people who can help shape and grow your brand. Having this conversation might help you retain a customer or gain a new one.
5. Call in the experts – whilst we’re not saying you can’t manage your social media strategy in-house, there are many benefits to having it run by a professional. We’ve had feedback from our customers who have gone it alone but ended up losing money on targeting the wrong audience because they are not familiar with Facebook’s advertising platform, or who have experienced very poor engagement because posts were too promotional. These are the kinds of errors we can avoid, ensuring your brand appears professional and that your advertising is cost effective and well targeted at all times.
Make the most of Facebook starting today. Call us on 0121 308 0219 or email us to find out more.
Last week, we welcomed year 10 student Jack into the office to spend the week on work experience. Having worked extremely hard in his time here, Jack has summed up his week in his own words:
I’ve always dreaded my work experience and have always been worried about going to spend 5 days in a completely new place, with people I’ve never met before and not a clue how it would turn out. I came to SEO it Right worried of what I would be doing. In the end though, my worrying came to nothing and after a nervous few months of waiting for work experience I’ve enjoyed my time at SEO it Right and have learnt new facts, stats, skills and been educated in the importance of online features like blogs, social media and website usability all in a single week. One of the most important things that I will take away from SEO it Right though is the experience I have gained and the comfort I’ve found in a typical workplace environment.
On my first day I was worried, but when I was dropped off I was reassured by the welcoming of the staff and settled in quickly. I was introduced to everyone and shown around, I was told what I’d be doing and looked through a help sheet that benefited me greatly as I was able to plan what I was going to do for my next activity and how. I was then left alone to focus on a website usability study where I found how different features of a website can affect the user and the big impact it has on a potential customer of the business. I found programmes like Google Mobile Friendly Test and Google Speed Test when writing it and managed to finish my usability study with over 5000 words. I also completed a mock interview which was like a tutorial of an interview and showed me how to answer questions. I left on my first day confused of why I was previously so worried and looking forward to what the next day had to offer.
When my second day came around, I was looking forward to finding out about how social media impacts a business and was then shocked to find out how important it can prove to be. I was fascinated as I started my Social Media statistics sheet and found interesting facts and even worked out my own. For example, the number of people on Facebook is 25 times the UK’s population.
By my third day, I was relaxed in the office and was comfortably settled in. I finished finding statistics, found what makes a good website and started to make plans for a video. I started to really gain from the experience of being in a typical workplace environment.
My fourth day was one of my favourites. I started working on my video, focusing on what makes a good website. My favourite part of making the video was the editing process; this is something I often enjoy and did again this time. I called the video “The Good The Bad Of The Websites” and made a mock-up logo for the video. I enjoyed putting it together and think I did a good job. That day after I finished my video, I made a new infographic (something I’d learnt while at SEO it Right) about social media and how we use it in today’s world. I then went home able to reflect on another great day of work experience.
On the 5th and final day, I started the morning by completing this blog post. I’ll soon present my video to the team and eat cakes at the SEO it Right picnic to end the week in a great way.
Thank You to SEO it Right for allowing me to come and do my work experience here and for making me feel so welcome.
Aside from queueing and talking about the weather, there is nothing more British than a tea party. In the quest to give our international work placement student, Catrina, a taste of what us Brits typically enjoy for afternoon tea we rose to the occasion and brought the cake stands, scones and dainty finger sandwiches to SEO it Right.
This was also the perfect opportunity to thank Ollie, our work experience student, for his hard work, dedication and fantastic attitude this week. It’s been a pleasure showing Ollie the ropes here at SEO it Right and thanks to all the team here for making him and Catrina feel very welcome.
Ollie has been working hard all week, running usability tests on websites, doing keyword research, and collaborating with Catrina to make this fantastic video below on why businesses should use social media. He even attended and passed his very first interview with Office Manager Claire – she tells me he got the job!
It’s been another hectic week of desk swapping (for me anyway) but what a fantastic way to end, with food, drink and the great company of the SEO it Right team.
Have a great weekend!
Catrina, our Portuguese intern, is currently half way through her six week work experience placement. We caught up with her to see how she is getting on.
Hi Catrina, how are you finding your work experience now that you have almost completed half of your internship?
I feel that I will leave the internship a better professional and person. I have learnt such a lot about SEO and how to manage social networks for businesses and I’m sure that I will be able to use everything I have learnt during my placement in the future. I really appreciate the opportunity I have been given with the internship to have first-hand contact with the world of digital marketing.
What have you learnt about the industry or how a business works, has anything surprised you?!
Everything has surprised me! SEO it Right has given me the chance to observe and work on different projects for various clients, including analysing online marketing reports, how social media posts are prepared depending on the objectives of the client, how to analyse the social media pages of each client and also how to identify the target which the client wishes to work towards and how we can achieve this by using SEO and social media campaigns.
Looking behind the scenes of clients’ websites has shown me countless things which otherwise I would not have known.
Has the experience helped you to identify areas within the industry which you would like to learn more about?
By working alongside Riz, the website developer, I now feel much more curious about finding out more about website design. However, the internship has motivated me to learn even more about the whole of SEO, as the experience has helped me to see lots of different areas within the industry.
Which part of the last 3 weeks have you enjoyed the most?
It’s very hard for me to name one thing! I love the fact that the SEO it Right team give me a challenge every day, or they identify a new area for me to learn more about. I was really happy when they signed me up for the Google course ‘The Growth Engine for Digital Skills’ as I can learn a lot more about different concepts within Digital Marketing. I also really enjoy work shadowing the team members when they explain what they are working on and why.
Has the experience made you approach your coursework differently, are you finding there to be a difference between the theory and the practise of online marketing?
Yes! Over the last three weeks, the tasks I have worked on at SEO it Right have shown that there is a definite difference between the theory and practise of digital marketing. Things which I have learnt in theory may not always work in practise, so you have to be prepared to make some changes to get a positive result for a client. SEO it Right have helped me to try to breakdown this barrier, showing me how to try alternative methods to achieve results, which has given me a greater interest in Digital Marketing.
We’ll be chatting with Catrina again towards the end of her placement to find out her opinion of the online marketing industry and whether she has enjoyed her time in damp and drizzly England!
It’s been an exciting week at SEO it Right as we have welcomed Catrina to the team!
Catrina is 20 years old and is currently in her second year of studying Digital Marketing in Lisbon Portugal. She will be with us for the next 6 weeks to help us with all things digital.
We sat down with Catrina to talk about her first week in the UK as part of the SEO it Right team:
Hi Catrina! How have you enjoyed your first week at SEO it Right?
I really love it! The team are great and have been very welcoming. I was soon set the challenge of designing images for social media. I really like the feel to the team; they want to learn and grow professionally.
Are you enjoying studying marketing in Portugal? What do you like most about your course?
Yes, I’m really enjoying it. When I chose the course, it was much broader than just marketing, but during my studies I have become more and more interested in marketing and I always read as many articles about this topic as possible.
In the future, my wish is to be a designer. As part of my course, I had to create a product and set its concept, packaging and everything else. This helped me to realise that I would love to work on designing packaging and prototypes, as well as websites, logos and animations.
How are you finding it living and working in another country?
It’s my first time away from home, but I have been very lucky with the internship and the team here, as well as my home and host family. It’s very good to be here and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot over these six weeks.
What do you like most about the UK so far? Is there anything you miss most about home?
I haven’t travelled very far yet, but what I like about staying in Walsall is that it is a small town with many parks and open areas.
I do miss my family. This is my first time being away from them and out of my comfort zone. I came to a place where the language is not my mother tongue and I am a long way away from the people I love most. All the rewarding experiences will make being away from home worth it over the next 6 weeks!
Which parts of your experience so far have you most enjoyed?
I have really enjoyed my internship so far. The schedule is really great, the people are amazing and I have daily challenges where I can give my best. Every day is a different day.
I have enjoyed learning what’s involved in a normal day for each member of the team, but especially what Riz does. I loved learning how it is possible to see where people are most likely to click on a website using heatmaps. This helps us to discover where the most interesting content on a website is and helps us to improve websites by looking at the most clicked areas.
What would you like to achieve during your time with SEO it Right?
I would like to further develop my design skills and learn more about what makes a good image for social media. I am looking forward to learning more about how search engine optimisation works and how to define an online strategy for a business.
I’m ready to absorb as much information as possible over these 6 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll finish my time here having gained much more knowledge and ready to work in the digital marketing industry in the future.
What would you like to achieve in your career?
I’d love to study design and apply these skills to digital marketing and start a company that could serve other enterprises with the skills I have developed, creating business strategies and putting them into practice.
For now, I intend to create a website to help me learn more about web design and development and train my competence in it.
It has been fantastic to have Catrina here. During the last week, she has been very eager to learn and has produced some great work and asked many excellent questions.
We will touch base with Catrina again next week!
We’ve nearly reached the half-way mark for 2016 and in this short space of time we’ve seen some massive changes in the online marketing scene.
At the start of the year many of the industry’s leaders shared their predictions for the future across SEO, social media and technology. The trends that cropped up on many a marketers’ lists included:
- The explosion of video and video ads
- The dominance of mobile
- The rising popularity of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana
- The uptake of the dedicated app
- The marketing opportunities of the Internet of Things (IoT) – i.e. wearable technology
Some of these predictions have seen more progress than others so far, and other completely new developments have come to shake up our approaches to online marketing. Here are some of the latest and biggest updates that have come to us as we take on the second part of 2016, and what new trends will be changing the way businesses tackle their online goals.
In February Google removed ads on the right side of desktop search results, closing the gap between desktop and mobile ad displays and working to improve ad relevancy. Now that only 3 or 4 ads are displayed above the fold of a results page, it’s been suggested that CPC (cost-per-click) bids are likely to increase.
However, a few months on and in their blog titled ‘Ads and analytics innovations for a mobile-first world’, Google let us know of its AdWords redesign. Major news. The redesign allows for expanded text ads, giving businesses more ad space to showcase their products and services:
Optimised for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones, this move surely shows the value of serving the on-the-go mobile user of today and beyond – take note if you don’t yet have a mobile-friendly website!
Also, following their AMP project for mobile (reducing website’s loading times on mobile devices), Google have begun to pre-roll video ads in AMP video. They will also be rolling out sticky ads that stay at either the top or bottom of the screen as the user scrolls through content, as well as flying carpet ads, again with a focus on the mobile user’s convenience. It looks like the professionals were right about the prominence of video and mobile, but these developments from Google are putting these trends to effect.
In an effort to level out the playing field between big brands and SMEs, leading email marketing platform MailChimp has released Product Recommendations, which generates personalised items that each subscriber is most likely to buy. For small businesses, this means that a time consuming process can be automated easily, helping them to strengthen customer relations and brand loyalty.
Facebook has been very busy this year, with a few notable changes to their offerings for businesses including:
- January – March: the global rollout of Facebook Live, a livestreaming feature enabling businesses to share video content with customers in real time.
- February: the release of Facebook Reactions to the public. The 6 additional reactions let people express their response to a post beyond just the “like” action.
- April: a roadmap was published for product developments including Messenger chatbots. The bot platform allows businesses to send sponsored messages (including images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action) to people who have messaged them in the past.
- May: the announcement that Facebook will be shutting down its desktop ad exchange (FBX). A key reason behind this is that 82% of its ad revenue is coming from mobile ads. Instead, the major online organisation will be focusing on its Audience Network. This is a retargeting ad scheme that allows businesses to target users on Facebook’s network websites, regardless of whether they’re using Facebook or not.
- June: Facebook is experimenting with a new design for the desktop version, which removes sidebar ads, and more:
Instagram have reported that on average, 70% of people have been missing items in their feed. That’s why after a trial in March, Instagram will officially be rolling out their algorithm based feed from this month. This means that brands will have to look to increase their audiences and create relevant and engaging content with their target market in mind.
Recently Instagram announced that they will be launching their Business Tools feature, to help businesses stand out and gain valuable insights. As such, its Tools will include dedicated Business Profiles, which gives businesses the chance to choose how they’d like to be contacted – call, text or email. Plus, there’ll be an Insights feature providing actionable user information, as well as a Promote tool, where well-performing posts can be turned into ads.
Instagram is a social site that has really grown in popularity and it will be definitely one to watch this year and in future.
It seems that Twitter has announced the end of its sometimes frustrating 140 character limit for Tweets. Twitter will be excluding media attachments and @usernames (in replies) against a tweet’s 140-character limit, although links will still count. Images or other media attachments take up 24 characters in an update, so the exclusion of these will help business create more in-depth, engaging Tweets.
In addition, Twitter is set to follow the likes of Facebook, Google and Instagram, through their latest carousel ad format. The carousel feature lines up an array of up to 20 tweets — text, photos or videos — into a horizontal slideshow. Brands can choose from their own tweets and ads, along with tweets from users with permission given, or those in the Twitter-owned influencer program.
There’s a lot happening in online marketing this year, and these updates only prove the significant role of technology in advancing businesses and their customer relations. If you’d like to improve your online marketing and better succeed online, why not chat to the SEO it Right team? Simply call 0121 308 0219 or use our online contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist.