Twitter is instantaneous, it is engaging, it is fun…and organizations across sectors continue to find new and interesting ways to use it for all different kinds of purposes. From promotion to personal customer engagement, Twitter has become an essential tool, and we have written to great length about this development here on the blog.
A trending practice now though is the in-event tweeting to promote an ongoing event adding online exposure and pushing excitement regarding the organization and event throughout the Twitterverse.
And this was the experience last night at Smart CEO’s Brava! Awards, an event honoring women business leaders in the Philadelphia area. WebiMax was present for the event, learning from the inspiring honorees and supporting Smart CEO, a growing outlet for quality business insight that currently serves the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington DC markets. The event was a success and we were tweeting along with many of the event’s 400 attendees, and, we were able to come away with their “Top Tweet” honor with this little gem:
- @WebiMax It’s tough to be the smartest person in the room… When you’re surrounded by all these area woman leaders at the #bravaawards
Please Tweet…And Make Them Good
This trend of tweeting at events is growing. It is helpful and when done right accomplishes goals relating to both those present at the event and online marketing efforts. It directly engages with attendees at the event to join the conversation and offer their voice to what they are experiencing, and this can create heightened energy in the room and an overall more enjoyable experience for those present.
On the flip side, the benefit is clear online. The name of the game remains creating compelling content, being creative, and using authenticity, and then #hashtags and (at)mentions do all the heavy lifting to get the tweets out to the various relevant feeds that people are tracking. These comments widen the reach of the brand, increasing exposure, presenting a positive image and creating some Twitter buzz surrounding them.
With that said, Smart CEO’s event organizers were right on point, encouraging attendees to continuously tweet and reading them off periodically to give positive feedback about what was being tweeted. Such a practice has its merits. Social media and SEO agencies continuously find new ways for businesses to engage and then advise them on the actual tactics for its implementation. Depending on some variables, namely the level of formality of the event and tech-savviness of attendees, businesses should go for this, fully encouraging the exposure and engagement of in-event tweeting.
For more information about using Twitter in this way or to further your business’ general marketing and exposure goals, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.
Since the launch of Google Search Plus Your World back in January, there have been continuous shifts and developments in the world of search and how social accounts, profiles, and posts appear in the SERPs of major search engines. Google indicated Google+ would be profiled more in the search results for logged-in users and Bing announced several months ago that social media, with a particular focus on Facebook, would be in integrated into their algorithm and show in their SERPs to offer a social dimension to web queries.
Another facet though is personal and corporate brand searches and how social media factors into it. An interested study covered by Search Engine Watch entitled “Social Search Result Rankings for Top 500 Tech Writers” in February that squarely addressed personal brand searches gathering statistics on exactly how often various social media accounts show in SERPS of personal brand searches.
A follow up study was just recently done that offers valuable insight and addressed changes in SERP visibility since February. They found that for personal brand searches…for which they searched 50 of the top Tech writers, the likelihood of Twitter results appearing on the first page of Google increased by 4% to 95% of the time. LinkedIn results increased from 67% to 76%, Facebook jumped by 10% to appearing on the first page 62% of the time, and Google+ increased only 3% to 36% of the time. As a follow on to those stats is the finding that Twitter results appear with the greatest frequency in the 1-3 positions of the SERPs at 62%.
The other side of the study looked at the activity of the writers on their social media accounts to see if there was a correlation between activity level and SERP visibility, and there definitely was. In short, high activity on Twitter experienced by 71% of the writers was widely seen(while 89% of the writers had little or zero activity on Google+) and Twitter is the social platform that was seen the most in the SERPs, and the most in the top 3 spots.
Takeaway for Businesses
Visibility appears to be largely based on activity (sorry to those thinking Google was arbitrarily placing Google+ above other results for such searches) and Twitter has simply dominated. Both personal and company brand should be posting with high frequency on their Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ accounts without sacrificing quality of post content. So for the company representatives and the SEO and social media agencies partnered with these companies, consistency is the key here to sustained relevance and authority…surprise.
The experience of searches for companies should be largely similar to that of personal brand searches. Thus, companies have another reason to prioritize their social media campaigns.
One large caveat is that all the searches that were performed were done while not as a “logged-in” Google user. While logged-in, Google+ results for personal brand searches could be more visible in the SERPs across the board. It is unclear how this will develop further in terms of which platforms will be profiled, if it will remain largely based on social activity, and how it will relate to company brands going forward. The SEO community will be tracking it and there are sure to be more quality studies like this conducted and put out for all to learn from.
For more information about this, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.
Online shopping has been rolling along in Europe like in the US and much of the rest of the world, both in emerging and developed markets. This is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down despite still a shaky economic state around the globe and especially in Europe. A consistent bright spot though has been the growth of ecommerce and now with predictions out from Forrester, mobile commerce (or mCommerce) looks to be headed for steady growth as part of that sector as well.
The process of mCommerce specifically through the smartphone (not including tablets) will represent just under 7% of online sales in Europe by 2017. This translates to €19.25 billion or $23.49 billion. As a side note, this statistic illustrates how large the overall market is for online shopping in terms of sales. It is simply an exploding sector of business. These numbers will only look more favorable when shopping from tablets is factored in as well.
The Figures By Year
The report is called the EU Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2012 to 2017 and is clear in its predictions. The following is the set of figures for mobile commerce in the retail, ticket, and travel sectors for the represented span of years.
- 2012, 2.74 euro, $3.34
- 2013, 4.62 euro, $5.64
- 2014, 7.42 euro, $9.05
- 2015, 10.76 euro, $13.13
- 2016, 14.66 euro, $17.89
- 2017, 19.25 euro, $23.49
The average spend of each buyer in this market is expected to rise as well from €201 in 2011 to €227 in 2017, but surprising that is not where the power of the growth comes from. Rather, it is in the increase of overall volume of mobile shoppers that particularly seek lower-cost items.
Reasons for Growth
There are a couple factors in play with this growing trend. First, smartphone growth is a large catalyst as more and more users are adopting the new technology. Reports vary regarding the actual adoption rate for the smartphone across Europe but it is roughly between 45-50% in Western Europe. Beyond the simple increase in the device’s penetration, is the comfort level that consumers will ascertain in the coming years getting more familiar with the processes of using the device for mobile shopping.
It will be become more convenient and shoppers will trust it to greater degrees. As this occurs, mobile shopping will reach mainstream adoption by 2017 and at that time the population that will be buying products will be 79 million up from 7.6 million in 2011.
Additionally, the report indicates that impulse purchases like books and DVDs will be a driver of this growth and location is a big motivator for items that make location relevant like ticketing.
Businesses in this market need to understand that this is a trend that is only going to develop further. Companies that are already engaged in e-commerce should develop m-commerce capabilities if they have not already done so, and businesses who have neither should initiate the development of both. This depends largely on the aims and ability of a particular company to support adding these web solutions, but there is positive potential for many businesses across the spectrum. Those companies selling impulse-buy type products, as detailed earlier with book and DVDs, are especially positioned to receive benefit from this activity.
E-Commerce and SEO agencies that work to redevelop shopping platforms and bring increased numbers of online visitors to it to ultimately increase sales are also positioned to assist in this positive trend. Drawing in the mobile shopper requires a varied tool set that is unique to the standard online shopper because the experience is inherently different.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com or @ryanwbudd for more information about mCommerce growth in Europe or how your business could benefit from adding mCommerce solutions.
E-Commerce continues to surge, even in an economy that although showing signs of a return has not accelerated and people remain concerned about their spending. The viability of e-commerce globally over the past two years especially in the US and across Europe though, two regions that have been hit hard by the recession, shows its value and promise for the future.
True as the economy returns, there is a chance shoppers may not be as concerned with cost and slow their online shopping (as 73% of respondents currently expect lower process for online shopping). But more likely, the growing habits surrounding the convenience, comparative shopping capability, and lower costs formed in recent years will secure online shopping for the foreseeable future.
Now, a global survey out from Capgemini of 16,000 online shoppers from 16 different countries including the US, Brazil, Mexico, China, Germany, Russia, and Turkey sheds light on consumer expectations and what the e-commerce landscape could look like going forward. Simply put, retailers must recognize these expectations and respond to them, proactively creating a shopping experience that is in line with consumer behavior and coming trends, staying at the forefront.
Simply A Showroom?
According to the survey, consumers largely envision physical store locations in the future to be more of a showroom of products (that can be bought online) essentially rendering it an additional research tool to support online shopping – being able to physically see, touch ,and experience the products. 51% of respondents said they expect by 2020 that most locations will be focused on being a show place for their online shopping platform.
This is a daunting thought for many physical-based retailers but they need to recognize and take proactive steps to address this idea. Enter media convergence. 60% of the global respondents expect by 2014 the convergence of media in retail will be the baseline norm, but interestingly, more than half of them also indicated that the majority of retailers do not have a consistent convergence strategy yet, or at least have not rolled out its implementation.
What Convergence Looks Like
What does this mean? It means businesses need to cross promote their products and services and support efforts across all their retail and media points (physical store, traditional media, website/e-commerce platform, online ads, social media, and mobile).
For example, mobile integration will continue to be essential to support the shopping experience and bridge the physical with the digital, web presence of a store. Social promotions facilitated by partnered social media and SEO agencies and engagement to get customers active at the store will become more important. Looking at mobile, 41% of survey respondents indicated they want to be identified using their smartphones in store to ease the process for frequent shopper discounts. Similarly, 61% of respondents would want the same for the online experience, having the stores keep both browsing and purchase history to make the shopping experience that much quicker.
Some physical stores like Gap have already begun this transition offering receipts to be sent via email rather that printed in front of you, in order to make it easier for returns and exchanges – flashing your emailed receipt on your smartphone if the need arises later.
The Physical Location – Online Research Connection
Internet searching is still the top research function for online shopping, rather than social media or email for example, says 80% of respondents in developing markets and 63% in mature markets. But, with convergence in mind, retailers can engage in ways to make it easier for online research to support in-store purchasing as well making it a two-way street rather than distinctly a showroom experience. 56% of global respondents indicated they would spend more money in store if they had researched products online beforehand. Retailers must respond by doing more to assist this process, like for example, making it easier to see online what items are available at specific physical stores.
The Future Experience
Retailers have a real opportunity to be at the forefront in the way that they engage with their customers across all access points. The more they do to integrate in various online marketing and SEO campaigns with social media, mobile, and the physical location opportunities – the more prepared for this shift the companies will be. With this in mind, below characterizes the potential future experience of the consumer, retailers take notice:
Research a selection of products online – establish what products are in the store nearest you – track social media for sale dates – visit the store – be identified using your smartphone – make in-store purchase – get emailed receipt – have an idea of future online purchases after experiencing the products in store.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for more information on establishing greater convergence in the retail space.
We touch on censoring a good amount on this blog, and I have written specifically in relation to different actions taken by various national governments around the globe. Covering these incidences, you could say that censoring has picked up around the world, but it is hard to track exactly to what degree. Enter the Google Transparency Report which details the requests it receives, among other sources, from governments around the world to remove content that exists in their search engine results.
With this reporting, it is very easy to point directly at censorship requests to track their individual occurrences per country and establish regional and global trends. Thank you Google. But, it isn’t entirely an endeavor without self-interest from Google as by doing so, they illustrate the degree to which they comply with these requests showing that they privilege the freedom of information for their users.
Censorship rarely impacts search engine optimization and online marketing companies, but it is a matter certainly important to the industry as a whole as it squarely deals with search engine results, their management, and the role that search engines play in essentially being the broker of power in terms of what we see and don’t see online.
Censorship largely occurs on two fronts. The first is overt governmental censorship like that which is seen in China and other countries where sites are simply not allowed through the established firewall in order to limit access to information presumably detrimental to closed-society governments that yield absolute power – additionally there is the information that can be religiously offensive. So there is this overt censorship, then there is that which his problematic for various political reasons.
More & More
That is the trend around the world. Governments are tightening the leash on what they want their citizens to be able to see online. Troubling? Yes, but it remains to be seen how far governments will go. It is a slippery slope, and this is why Google has not been fully cooperative in their fulfilling of governmental requests, so as to not create a precedent on how easy it is for governments to curtail the content their people see.
Looking at the trends, many governments made requests for the first time this year including Jordan, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Bolivia, and many others, while requests from India increased 49% from the last reporting period. The US had 187 requests from July to December of 2011, which is about a 100% increases from the 6 month span just before it – 42 were complied with. Overall, the compliance rate was 65% for court ordered requests, and 47% for those of a less formal nature.
To address all this, Google has set up teams to analyze requests and evaluate the way that they make take-down decisions. They are aware of the position they are in and are making a point do well by their principles in relation to the freedom of information. This again is a powerful position to be in and all fully realized. It only exemplifies their dominant position in search as the central player that reputable SEO and integrative marketing firms need to pay the closest amount of attention to. Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo are trying to gain market share, but it remains clear that Google remains the dominant force for optimizing search results and measuring the tightening of governments on potential harmful information.
Mobile search engine optimization and advertising is clearly on the rise, and this is no surprise if you have been following our writings or keeping an eye on the trending relevance of mobile marketing. New numbers are out now and they are telling as to how big the industry is. As indicated in the title of this post, total spend around the world is well over 5 billion, and of that, mobile search ad spend was $3.3 billion, this according to IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, HIS Screen Digest, and IAB Europe. Looking at the numbers can tell those in the industry where users are consuming ad at higher rate and giving reason to marketers for the spend increases, giving an indication of which markets are currently the hottest in terms of advertising on the mobile platform.
The region with the greatest spend was the Asia-Pacific with $1.9 billion, followed by North America at $1.67 billion, and $1.38 for Europe. Search ad spend was the greatest in the Asia-pacific region with $1.38 billion followed by Europe and North America with $900 and $811 million, respectively. North America was the highest spending region though in display ads with $572 million.
Taking a step back, global search ad spending was $3.2 billion versus $1.5 billion in display ads indicating pretty sharply where marketers feel the most comfortable spending the majority of their money, and that is consistent across the globe.
So what can marketers use this information for? These numbers are a simple status report of the amount of money spent on the mobile platform for various types of advertising in different regions. It is telling regarding the importance of search engine marketing and display ads currently and in the years to come. The figures indicate the amount spent and not necessarily the results it achieved. Thus, ROI is a separate matter that these figures cannot directly address. Comparing them to the increases in conversion and revenue after this spend amount would tell the more complete story.
With that said the trending budgets give a clear indication of where the priorities are for marketers, and given international data, how marketers are responding to specific user behavior in various countries. So the data is useful and can indicate where those who are in various markets looking to spend ad dollars in other areas can do so that is if they wanted to follow the trends.