Prepare for the Advent of Mobile-First Purchasing

Prepare for the Advent of Mobile-First Purchasing

For several years, every digital marketing agency in Canada has worked tirelessly to ensure their clients are prepared for the rise of the mobile-first online ecosystem. Today, mobile internet usage has long surpassed fixed access, and consumers perform most searches on mobile devices; however, they tend to complete online purchases on home computers.

Conventional wisdom, according to Marketing Land, says that ‘the main reason smartphone commerce lags the desktop is friction at the bottom of the funnel.’ In other words, customers are put off by the process of finalizing transactions on their mobile devices. But new data accumulated by Qubit suggests an alternative theory: that customers are having trouble finding the products they want to purchase.

Qubit’s findings relied on data mined from more than a billion customer interactions and a survey of more than 4,000 people in the United States and Europe. Its report states that more than 40 per cent of survey respondents said they would complete more purchases on their phone if ‘the browsing experience was faster or easier,’ or if ‘it was easier to find exactly what I want.’ It also found that “as many as 1 in 3 computer transactions are directly influenced by a prior mobile discovery journey.”

“The report’s central argument,” writes Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “is that retailers would sell more if mobile browsing and product discovery were easier on smartphones.”

Through a combination of paid search, SEO, display advertising, and social media marketing approaches, an experienced digital marketing agency can help brands improve their visibility for mobile searches and ensure smooth, intuitive experiences on brands’ mobile websites. Together, these initiatives will guide users towards conversions on mobile devices, rather than pushing them away.

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media helps clients adapt to an increasingly mobile online ecosystem.

 

Google announces latest algorithm update

Google announces latest algorithm update

Last week, Google confirmed a “broad core algorithm update” after SEOs and webmasters noticed search ranking fluctuations over several days. As always, the update has implications for every digital marketing agency providing SEO services.

According to Moz, Google rolls out algorithm updates between 500 and 600 times per year. Most changes are minor, but some updates, like Panda and Penguin, have sweeping impacts. The most recent update doesn’t have a cute nickname yet, but its ramifications have been felt in the digital marketing community.

“As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains,” Google’s @searchliaison account explained over Twitter. “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

Google generally launches several major algorithm changes each year in addition to the hundreds of minor ones. What sets this update apart is the lack of easy solutions to ranking declines. For any digital marketing agency whose clients have fallen, this feature will cause significant concern.

“There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content,” Google explained. “Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Websites with solid SEO fundamentals and good, relevant content are unlikely to be affected by this update. However, it is a useful reminder that SEO is an ongoing process that requires almost constant attention.

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is adept at staying well-ahead of Google’s algorithm updates. Our SEO team provides content, on-site optimization, reporting and analytics, and support services to ensure your website can always be found by the customers that matter. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business grow.

 

Image credit: x6e38/Flickr

New social media usage numbers released

New social media usage numbers released

On March 1, the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based think tank, released the results of a new survey regarding American social media usage. The results are based on telephone interviews with more than 2,000 adults living in all 50 states and has implications for digital marketing agencies.

Some of the findings are mundane. The fact that YouTube and Facebook remain the nation’s most popular social media sites, for instance, is unsurprising. About 73 per cent of adults use YouTube and 68 per cent use Facebook.  Instagram is used by 35 per cent of adults, while Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter all attract between 25 and 27 per cent. Snapchat and Instagram are much more popular among younger users, as is YouTube; 94 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds use the video-sharing site.

Interestingly, 59 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t have any trouble giving up their social media habits, including 29 per cent who said doing so wouldn’t be hard at all. This finding contradicts the popular narrative that society has become “addicted” to social media.

A separate survey conducted by Hill Holliday in December 2017 found that many 18- to 24-year-olds are “seeking relief from social media.” In fact, a full 34 per cent said they’d deleted their social accounts at some point, citing negativity, self-esteem issues, increased commercialization, and lack of interest in the content as reasons.

It’s clear that the commercialization of social media networks will eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. Many digital marketing agencies already understand this, as does Facebook, who ushered in 2018 with a highly-publicized shift in their approach to the News Feed. Social media advertising can still be extremely impactful, but it must be carefully targeted, highly relevant, fun, clever, and, perhaps most importantly, positive. Ads that contribute to a healthy, uplifting social media experience will continue to deliver results.

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media understands that effective digital marketing requires nuanced understanding of online trends and the flexibility to react to changes in user behaviour. Successful digital marketing agencies can adapt and react to those changes.

Search engines reclaim referral crown from social media

Search engines reclaim referral crown from social media

Search engine marketing firms had reason to celebrate in 2017.

According to analytic platform Shareaholic, search engines drove 34.8 per cent of total website traffic last year, while social media networks delivered just 25.6 per cent. This is the first time since 2014 that search has accounted for more site visits than social.

“At a high level, it’s clear that social media’s tenuous grip on being the top referral category is over,” the company wrote in a report. “After beating out search for the last three years, it has given back the title, driven by changes to the algorithms behind Facebook’s News Feed.”

2016 was a tough year for social networks.  Concerns over fake news, foreign manipulation, brand safety, and extremist content prompted a widespread public backlash against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In response, the networks acted to protect their reputations, even at the expense of clicks. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm tweak is the prime example: referrals from the site dropped 12.7 per cent from the second half of 2016 to the second half of 2017. Despite the drop, Facebook still referred more site visits than any other social media network.

As search engine marketing professionals might expect, search’s rise can be attributed almost entirely to Google, which accounted for nearly 37 per cent of site visits in the second half of 2017, a seven per cent year-over-year increase. The bulk of Google’s gains came from mobile search, which suggests that strategies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are working.

At GrowthEngine Media, we believe that a balanced, holistic approach to digital marketing generates the best returns. While search engines may generate more traffic than social media today, the landscape can change overnight. As a Premier Google All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine encourages a multi-pronged digital marketing approach that includes paid search engine marketing, SEO, display advertising, and social media advertising and management.

 

Image credit: Megan Elice Meadows/Wikimedia Commons

Budget is the foundation of your PPC campaign

Budget is the foundation of your PPC campaign

What factors are most essential to the success of pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing campaigns? Strong creative is necessary to draw in leads; targeting ensures the leads are qualified; and a solid landing page is imperative to converting the leads you’ve acquired.

But none of these factors matter if your budget is ill-considered. Budget, writes Search Engine Land columnist Jeff Baum, is “a direct reflection of a campaign’s priorities” and “the bridge that ties strategy and tactical execution together.”

So, what makes a budget work?

The first step to creating a campaign budget is establishing clearly defined and prioritized goals. For example, if you goal is revenue growth, you can build a campaign that drives conversions. If your goal is building brand awareness, your campaign will reflect that. Your goals are likely to change over time, so it’s prudent to revisit them every six months or so.

Once you’ve defined your search engine marketing goals, Baum recommends performing an overall assessment of your industry’s search marketing landscape and developing a philosophy and plan unique to your business. What are your competitors doing that works? Where are they failing? How can you stand out?

At this point, you can start to build a budget. The bulk of available resources should go to campaigns that are helping you achieve your defined goals; the remainder can be assigned to testing and experimentation. Most businesses experience ‘up’ and ‘down’ periods during the year, so feel free to adjust your investments seasonally.

The work doesn’t stop once your budget has been allocated. As your campaign runs, you will perpetually gather data, analyze performance, and make adjustments to improve return on investment.

“Focusing on where to allocate budgets, whether in existing or new campaigns, is important in helping to focus efforts,” Baum writes. “Going through the budgeting process will help focus all your efforts and bring clarity to your program.”

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star search engine marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is committed to helping our clients build focused, effective budgets and ensuring maximum return on investment in their Google AdWords campaigns. Contact GrowthEngine today to learn more.