The time is now. When Q4 is heading towards December many companies, analysts, experts and specialists start their forecasting for the next year, and what will drive the business. So, what happens in 2014? The first infographic just came out by the guys of WebDAM. The company provides a digital asset management software and just recently aggregated some interesting data in order to illustrate 20 key trends for marketers which will become important to meet the demand of their own business targets.
Five key findings in brief that we think companies should watch out for…
- Email with social sharing increases click-through rates by more than 150%
- CPM is out: Pay Per Click budgets will increase to over 70%
- More than 50% of marketers found customers on Facebook (40% LinkedIn)
- Video landing pages increase conversions by almost 90%
- Client testimonials are most effective as content marketing format
We discussed this topic in many panels at dmexco this year, and in the last couple of years I assume not many buzz words have made their way through so many blogs and articles: Big Data. Some see the value of it in measurement and analytics for marketing purposes. Others try to identify new potential and hire Corporate Data Scientists for their web strategy to leverage the potential of unstructured data. And some are still on their way to understand how their data can be embraced to exchange with the data of some partner or even their clients.
The topic Big Data will stay. Just look how much data is generated daily: 2,5 Exabyte. A number that doubles every year according to an infographic the guys from Elexio have put together. It illustrates the potential for companies and how Big Data might generate bigger opportunities in several sectors. Especially, in retail or e-commerce where Big Data let’s brands analyze customer behavior and deliver more personalized messages in order to create an exciting user experience, more engagement, and sure i the end more sales. However, sometimes you wonder if they are doing it right.
As Big Data also let’s us analyze offline data, some clever marketers might combine those with online data to get a clearer view of consumer activity. On the one hand, this might be good as it keeps them from delivering the wrong banner or engagement outdoor advertisement and content to the wrong customer. On the other hand, there might be people arguing that Big Data is still in its infancy as long as companies cannot extract critical and unstructured data from the valuable data that creates a new customer journey experience.
The main challenge will be how we bring Big Data and security together in the future. Consumers get stressed these days as they realize that promotion banners and branded content are following them across channels – with products and services which are often not wanted, or already bought. But how can companies deliver a seamless customer experience? How can they make use of Big Data that boosts their lead generation or sales numbers while still showing careful approach that consumers appreciate?
With all the social media sharing and curating of content via social networks and their buttons, does it really make sense talking about Big Data and security? Or, do we need organizations that audit how companies handle customer data? What rules do companies and brands need to obey to enable a social and secure shopping experience? Many questions that we will discuss on a panel at the ChapmanBlack “Future of Digital” event in Berlin next week. Sure, I will change those afterwards…
Please find the infographic of Elexio with latest insights into the new opportunities that Big Data can offer to brands and companies.
It is one of these questions that many brand marketers are asking themselves: What makes us reach the top search results on Google? A recent report based on Searchmetric data for 10,000 top Google search keywords sheds some light here. It was based on correlations and website characteristics of 300,000 URLs appearing in the top search result position in the US between March 2013 and June 2013.
The report shows that those websites tend to perform best that have a high social impact in terms of likes, shares, tweets and Google “+1″‘s. It also makes clear that there is a realationship between ranking high on Google and collecting Google+ links to achieve better ranking impact which the graphic below indicates.
Despite common believe that fast website performance through intelligent on-page coding might create some benefit for the search ranking, the study shows that just not having it will let websites achieve lower rankings. This means that SEO basics like having H1 and H2 tags or providing brief descriptions now are seen as standards but won’t support any boost effect.
Still, content is king for Google. Good rankings were correlated always positively with good and unique content and had a bigger effect in 2013 than the year ago. As main ingredients of positive content can be named a clever internal link structure, a URL with a clear message and longer text plus a sensible number of integrated (audio)-visual files. This could be as of the fact that Google wants to boost their own pictures search sites and obviously Youtube.
Keywords keep up their impact on the rankings. On the page, they still need to placed in the title as close to the front as possible and in the text they need to be placed wisely as well. As of some algorithm changes compared to 2012, the importance of keywords in the domain name or the URL has lost its significance.
According to the report, websites of brands and other domains seem to play on different levels for Google. Obviously, brand websites seem to be superior to normal sites. The report states that it looks as if the search engine finds it normal for brands to generate more backlinks with the brand name appearing in referring content pieces alone.
The infographic provides some more information – and if this version is too small, just click here and download it…
Incorporating a strong SEO strategy into the design of an ecommerce website can greatly improve its chances of success. For an online shop to succeed, customers must be able to easily find it using a search engine. Whether you’re using an expensive SEO consultant or simply relying on a subscription ecommerce platform, you’ll want to take heed of the following common mistakes made by ecommerce websites.
1. Not Including Product Descriptions
High quality photos are essential for ecommerce websites, but if there is no accompanying description the product stands a low chance of being picked up by search engines. Be sure to add descriptions to each product in order to help give each product page an SEO boost. In addition to the description itself, the navigation, text, sidebar, and footer all count towards the final word count. With unique, descriptive content you can help market your wares while becoming more visible by the search engines.
2. Duplicating Product Descriptions
One common mistake that ecommerce sites make is copying the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word, usually in an attempt to avoid making mistake #1. While this will give you an accurate product description, it can work against you in the end. If your site uses the same manufacturer description, there’s a high chance that other rivals are doing the same. This creates the problem of duplicate content. Either rewrite the description, or add your own editorial underneath it. The same rule goes for listing your products on 3rd party sites such as Amazon or eBay. If you use the same content that appears on your website, you’ll run into the problem of duplicate content.
3. Lack of Related Content
Product descriptions are a mainstay of any ecommerce website, but they are not the only facet of ecommerce SEO to pay attention to. Many buyers are interested in finding out more about your products and company. Include information about your business’s history, along with shipping and return policies. Keeping a business blog is an easy way to rejuvenate your site with fresh content, as is opening up the site to customer reviews.
4. Using Non-Targeted URLs
You may have beautifully written unique content on your ecommerce site, but what about your URLs? If these are a jumble of letters and numbers it can not only be confusing for visitors, but it misses out on a chance to incorporate keywords into a clean, descriptive URL.
5. Not Targeting Content to Keywords
As you work on revising your content, it’s helpful to keep the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines in mind. These can be easily followed using analytics tools and are important for promoting the right terms for your audience. Keywords and search terms can also be incorporated into your off page SEO strategy. When you create content that links back to your main website, if it includes these same keywords it will draw in the type of readers who would be interested in your shop.
6. Not Using Robots.txt
Using the robots.txt file gives ecommerce website owners a way to give instructions to search engine spiders. This helps you make sure that you have control over which pages you wish to be indexed and which you don’t. For example, you can use robots.txt to block areas of the website with duplicate content, such as tags or archives. Not using this can hinder your SEO presence.
By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can improve your ecommerce website’s chances of standing out from the crowd online.
With their recent study The Creative Group predicts that the majority of advertising and marketing executives (62%) expect an increase of their company’s spending on Facebook marketing in the follwoing twelve months – 9% more than they predcited one year ago.
Not surprisingly, the advertising spend on Facebook leads the list of social ad spendings. However, the majority of executives will also invest in other channels more than last year: LinkedIn (51% up from 38%) and Google+ (50% from 41%). Twitter is also on the plan for a budget increase with 48%, as well as Youtube (40%), Pinterest (35%) and Instagram (32%)
Although this shows a great breakdown of all industry sectors and job titles in an overview, the different industry segments and job titles varied in their view on budget increase:
- Large companies (100+ employees): 74% of marketers expect an increase in Facebook spend
- Smaller companies (100-249 employees): 60% predict an increase for Facebook spendings
- 57% of advertising executives expect an increase in spendings
- 48% of marketing executives expect an increase in ad spends
- 12% of marketing execs expect a decrease in spend
- 6% of advertising executives expect a decrease
The study was based on a US survey of 300 marketing executives and 100 advertising executives.
How about your marketing budget planes with Facebook, Twitter and the likes? Increase or decrease?
But what if reviews are simply wrong, or bought from people that don’t flag these reviews as hidden content marketing derivates? Years ago, we might have asked our friends or close people where to go for dinner, what music tape to buy, or which book to read, we now just go online and read what some foreigner might have said. No matter which mentality this person has, which preferences, which background, which age and gender. The 3 Rs make our decisions easier, we think.
Although we might have all guessed it, the proof of wrong online reviews now comes with a study from the MIT and Northwestern University that examined over 400,000 reviews in 6 months. The study states that many reviews were simply deceptive, untrue or even written by people who never tested or bought the product or service. In 5% of all negative reviews people get paid to hype products. Most of these people are writing bad and often untrue reviews but are actually newcomer to the business they are talking about.
The good part of this study is that the study offer some advice for us and tells us how to detect deceptive story-telling.
“What is most compelling is most reviews tend to be too detailed. Another easy clue look for is repeated use of exclamation points. Two, three or four for emphasis, is often associated with deception,” Eric Anderson, Northwestern University Professor and co-author of the study said. “At the end (of the study) we concluded that many of the negative reviews came from customers who were trying to act as self proclaimed appointed brand managers.” Anderson summed up.
However, many reviews might be untrue or bought, it is probably a good way to try to understand what negative reviews are basically saying and balance it against positive reviews. Seeing the positive reviews makes us get out of the bad tonality which often is simply based on anger and frustration around bad services and untrue or bought reviews. And the more people are trying to dive deeper into the intention and personality of the reviews, the faster they might detect if the review is deceptive.
“Really what you have to do is read a lot of them. Don’t just read the 2 or 3 negative ones which may or may not be real–read alot of the reviews.” Ken Bernhardt, former Professor of Marketing, Georgia State University
Digital content readership is changing massively. And the guys at Uberflip have done some research around how data was used between February 2010 and February 2013 via Google Analytics and Uberflip Metrics. The infographic that highlights their findings shows how much mobile content usage and consumption is evolving, as well as how much content is shareable.
From a global perspective, mobile content consumtion in terms of visits makes up 21% (from 1,6% in 2010) while desktop traffic is decreasing continously. But mobile is not the only winner in this field. Video is increasing massively as well since 2010: 22% (from 6% in 2010) of internet users are putting video into their content portfolio.
People also change their way of sharing content these days. While in 2010, users were used to sharing their content via email, in 2013 the figure of sharing content via email went down to 53.3% in February 2013 (from 93.3% in 2010). Facebook and Twitter seem to be the big winner here: 27,4% of people are sharing content via Facebook (compared to 3,4% in 2010), and 9,7% via Twitter (compared to 0,5% in 2010).
Sometimes surveys bring out the final truth about the status in which chief marketing officers (CMOs) find themselves in. One of the latest reports by Accenture, titled “Turbulence for the CMO: Charting a Path to the Samless Customer Experience” was done with 405 senior marketers from 10 countries. It makes clear that almost 4 in 10 CMOs think they don’t have the right set up to manage their business challenges in front of them. They are missing the right tools, resources and people.
The annual survey shows a decline in 5% in preparedness compared to 2011. Especially, the digital transformation is lacking behind. Compared to 2011 10% find it challenging to improve their workforce’s responsiveness to digital shifts. Furthermore, CMOs also stated that they find it difficult to keep up the efficiency of marketing operations (8% increase!).
Some deeper findings indicate what CMOs main interest in the business will be. The most interesting observation in the results is that digital orientation has the biggest gap between importance and performance among the five marketing capabilities.
The top priority for them is profitable growth (87%) and operational efficiency (85%). The good point for agencies and consultants is that CMOs have this as a bigger objective that cutting their marketing budgets (58%). From a long-term perspective, consumer expectations for specific experiences have the biggest impact on marketing strategy (65%).
And I am sure, you will detect some more interesting findings in their infographic.
A recent eye-tracking study called “Benchmarking the Effectiveness of Native Ads” states that the visual attraction of native ads (52%) is more frequent than with traditional banner ads. The study which used eye-tracking tools was conducted by Sharethrough and the IPG Media Lab with the aim to identify the impact of banner ads of top brand on the web.
The main findings of the study were..
- 71% of respondents described native ads -based on the fact they had previously had a purchase intent- as “personally identify with”; this number stands against only 50% for banner ads
- 32% of respondents argued that a native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member”. However, only 19% would do so with a banner ads
- 25% of respondents looked more on in-feed native ad placements than on banner ads
- Native ads achieve a 18% increase in purchase intent versus banner ads that get a 9% upside for brand affinity.
The interesting point about this study or me was that native ads and editorial content move closer to another. Almost the same percentage of respondents said they looked at native ads (26%) next to editorial content (24%). However, they potentially spend more time viewing the content still compared to native ads.
Is this another proof for the fact that content marketing is increasingly becoming important and moving in the spotlight of companies and brands? Maybe the infographic helps you find an answer to this question…
Obviously, there is a difference when targeting men and women. Their purchase behaviour differs in many ways. Who is searching more for coupons, bargains or the latest gadets? According to a report by Microsoft, marketers should have an eye on the right mix between banner advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) tactics in order to address and find men at the right time with the right content in the right context.
Many men, especially young dads (between 25 to 40 years), are influenced by the impact of social networks, according to the report by Performics which we reported quite a while ago. Interestingly enough, 58% of them use four or more sources for their purchase decision. Utilizing social media with story-telling about products and services will make the appropriate impact on men, will give them insights on how companies and brands against their competitors.
Check the infographic published by Brian Honigman and have the 10 stats in mind for the next marketing campaign or tactics when addressing the male audience when your business wants to influence the purchase behavior of men.
PS: If you are interested to see the difference to women, you might have a look at the latest Blogher study here…