Should Social Media Marketing Budgets Decline Alongside Usage?

Should Social Media Marketing Budgets Decline Alongside Usage?

eMarketer recently reported that time spent on social media – and by extension time spent engaging with social media marketing – by US adults decreased by one minute from 2017 to 2018. The decline was largely driven by Facebook, where users spent three minutes less year-over-year. eMarketer expects usage to remain flat in coming years.

The report comes as no surprise to Facebook, as eMarketer reports:

“The company continues to encourage its users to engage with more “meaningful” content, which de-emphasizes posts from brands, businesses and media, and instead allows users to see more posts from friends, family and groups. The company said that this move would negatively impact time spent on the platform, and it did.”

So, what does that mean for advertisers that invest in social media marketing? Is it time to shift budget away from social platforms, and Facebook in particular?

We don’t think so. Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform in North America by a considerable margin. A whopping 74 per cent of US adults continue to use Facebook, with more than half logging on daily.

“That frequency of usage continues to make Facebook an attractive place for marketers,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in the article. “This year, US marketers will invest $28.52 billion on the platform.”

It’s our job as marketers to analyze social media spending and optimize it for maximum return. Facebook will continue to be the best advertising medium for some demographics, but for others it may make sense to shift budget to Instagram and Snapchat, for example.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and social media marketing agency with valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media has experience managing every variety of digital marketing campaign, from pay-per-click search engine advertising to social media management. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

 

Image credit: https://thoughtcatalog.com/

Google Launches Location Targeting Changes

Google Launches Location Targeting Changes

At the end of last month, search engine marketing professionals noted a subtle change to Google Ads’ location targeting options. Rather than being able to serve ads to “people in your targeted locations,” marketers can now serve ads to “people in or regularly in your targeted locations.”

With the old setting, Google Ads would not display to people “who searched for your target locations but whose physical location was outside the target location at the time of searching,” according to Google’s Help page on the subject. Now, search engine marketing agencies will be able to target people who are regularly in target locations, such as commuters.

“Although my default reaction to these sorts of changes is to be skeptical, I do think in this case it will result in incremental high quality traffic coming in for advertisers,” SEMPilot CEO Ted Ives told Search Engine Land. “We live in a mobile world … that means people move around a lot; people we target during the day don’t disappear at night, they go home. Why not get your message in from of them there? So, I think this is a helpful change in the paradigm; probably even an overdue one.”

While questions about the new setting remain – who does Google consider a “regular” visitor to a target location, for example – the change may help advertisers reach high-value consumers at high-value moments.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is always prepared to integrate new features and options into your search engine marketing campaigns. Like most of Google’s updates, the new location targeting feature will not singlehandedly propel your business to success. But an experienced digital marketing team can help make the most out of this and other changes to ensure that your business is found by the customers that matter most.

Canadians Spend More Time with Digital than Traditional Media

Canadians Spend More Time with Digital than Traditional Media

Fellow Canadians, we are officially a digital-first nation. eMarketer reported last week that ‘adults in Canada will spend more daily time with digital content than with traditional media’ such as television, radio, and print. The gap is pretty tight (4 hours, 55 minutes per day with digital media; 4 hours 54 minutes per day with traditional) but there’s no turning back from here.

Digital marketing agencies have long anticipated this moment. Spending on digital advertising surpassed spending on traditional advertising last year after accounting for just 30.8 per cent of total spend in 2014. As engagement and return on investment increase, it may be time to dedicate a larger portion of your ad budget to the digital marketing realm.

Digital video, in particular, figures to be a winner for brands, according to eMarketer senior analyst on Canada Paul Briggs.

“More than any other country in our global forecast, digital video time is greatest in Canada in relation to TV time,” he said in the market research firm’s report. “This is due to the immense popularity of Netflix and YouTube among Canadians.”

Advertising isn’t available on Netflix (yet), but YouTube is a great place to invest advertising dollars. YouTube campaigns can be managed within Google Ads, and the content you produce can be repurposed for your website or for social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Mobile is another major driver of digital advertising success. The average Canadian currently spends more than three hours per day consuming media on their smartphone or other mobile devices. For advertisers, the message is clear: if you want to reach Canadians, find them online, find them through video, and find them on their phones.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is equipped to help you make the most of your digital advertising dollars.

An Optimistic Take on Algorithm Updates

An Optimistic Take on Algorithm Updates

Every few weeks, SEO agencies around the country panic about Google’s latest major ranking algorithm update. The trepidation isn’t unwarranted (nobody wants to inform a client that a key webpage has suddenly fallen from page one to page two), but what if we’re approaching algorithm updates the wrong way? What if they’re not something to fear, but something to eagerly anticipate?

Search Engine Land recently profiled the diverging fortunes of two American automotive websites: Cars.com and CarGurus.com. The former experienced a major uptick in traffic and 49 per cent increase in search visibility following Google’s March 2019 core update. The latter lost “hundreds of thousands of number one placements” and saw major ranking drops for roughly 30 per cent of its keywords, Search Engine Land reports.

“In the first quarter, our total leads grew 15%,” said Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter in the company’s earnings report. “Keep in mind, the most material shift in SEO market share took place just at the end of the first quarter and continues to accelerate into Q2.”

It appears CarGurus’ troubles stemmed from a largescale “blackhat” linkbuilding operation initiated in late 2017. The company – or the SEO agencies it employs – is also accused of using ‘cloaking’ techniques that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines.

It’s unclear whether the March algorithm update caused CarGurus’ ranking decline directly, but what is clear is that by sticking with ethical, above-board SEO practices, Cars.com won in the long run. With each major and minor algorithm update, Google aspires to provide a more useful and user-friendly search experience. Forget gaming the system: meaningful links, useful content, and responsive design are the keys to success for SEO agencies in 2019.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is the solution to all your online advertising needs, from paid search marketing to social media management to search engine optimization.

Google announced two new ad types at its annual Marketing Live gathering in San Francisco earlier this month. It also announced expanded visibility for Showcase Shopping ads, which will now appear in Google Images results, the Discover feed, and the YouTube feed, and a redesigned Google Shopping platform. For today, let’s stick with the new ads, which are currently in beta in the United States and will be available to search marketing agencies in Canada in late 2019.

First, Discovery ads. These units, which Google VP of Product Management Brad Bender described in a press briefing as “visually rich, mobile first, and [using] the ‘power of intent,’” will reside in the Google Discover feed on mobile, the YouTube feed on mobile, and in Gmail under the Social and Promotions tabs. The ads will feature large visuals that advertisers will upload alongside custom copy and which Google will optimize using machine learning. With the Discover feed now reaching more than 800-million users globally, Discovery ads could quickly become a staple for search marketing pros.

The second new ad type, Gallery ads, are also highly visual. These units will appear at the top of search results and feature four to eight scrollable images accompanied by up to 70 characters of text per image. Advertisers will be charged for each click or whenever a user swipes to the third image in the carousel. Google has been running tests on Gallery ads, which will compete with other paid ads for SERP real estate, and found they generated 25 per cent more interactions than other formats. This is a mobile-only ad type in its current iteration – no word yet on whether it will be made available for desktop or include video in the future.

As a Google Premier Partner search marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is uniquely prepared to adopt these new ad types and apply them to your ongoing digital marketing strategy.