Facebook has become the most visited site above Google and all others online. It’s not uncommon to find a story about Facebook versus Google/Bing/Yahoo or about how they’ve reached 500 million plus members. Millions upon millions of people communicate, play and flit away hours on the site, and the site is reportedly worth billions.
But at the end of the day, is it really a financially savvy move to advertise on Facebook? In 2009 it was, as the cost for a click was only 27 cents, but for a click through rate of only just over half of 0.1%. And as time goes on you’d expect things to get better, but in 2010 the cost per click actually nearly doubled in cost to 49 cents, and the click through rate dropped. With so many member accounts, it’s hard to believe that the advertising model has such a bleak factual bottom line.
With the benefits of advertising on Facebook being parlayed as being targetted via friends within the site, the numbers display the honest truth. While ads may last longer, and be presented more relevant on your Facebook pages, you’re less likely to use them than if you were to find them else where online. Even banner ads on websites performed better on the bottom line. Oh well, at least there’s Mafia Wars and Farmville right?
With how compact, powerful and convenient todays smartphones are becoming. The rise of the netbook and tablet pc, it’s not a surprise at all that mobile search, search using the aforementioned techonologies, is growing in leaps and bounds. A very general breakdown of Googles numbers were posted in their blog this past week:
Over the past two years, Google’s mobile searches have grown by more than five times. Furthermore, in the third quarter of 2010, Google mobile searches jumped 130% year over year.
Percentages are amazing to look at and all, but they should also be taken with a some thought; they can make the actual results seem much larger than they are. But onto mobile search! Google, like Bing and other search companies, have their own keyword search tool. They have however, recently added the ability to check which terms are being used in mobile searches.
The Keyword Tool now helps you build a better keyword list to target mobile users. Under “Advanced options,” you can now search for keywords for devices with mobile WAP browsers, mobile devices with full Internet browsers (think iPhone and Android phones), or all mobile devices.
So your site, which by now is hopefully mobile friendly (it is 2011 after all), can be optimized with the mobile market in mind. With the billions of dollars in revenue this past holiday season which were made via mobile techonology, it’s well worth the investment.
It’s not news that online shopping, mobile browsing and internet use for decision making is growing in leaps and bounds. But mobile shopping, not only searching for sales, locations and possible purchases, but making direct purchases via your mobile phone is.
The tech isn’t neww, it’s similar to Speed Pass you can use to pay for gas or convenience purchases at gas stations, but embedding the same chips into a users mobile phone containing your purchase information is a new direction for it. Mobile payments is expected to reach more than $1 trillion by 2014, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s some big names trying to get in on the action. Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, as well as Verizon AT&T and even eBay are making their bids for their slice of the mobile payment pie. On November 16, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile formed Isis, a national mobile commerce network in a future making move.
“We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes..”
Michael Abbott, Isis CEO
With mobile search, mobile browsing and now mobile shopping and payments making such rapid progression, it won’t be long until we no longer need to carry an information laden wallet. Everything, who you are, what you have and what you own, will all be on a single chip carried with you embedded on your mobile device.
Appearance, usage, accessibility and speed. Four qualities which should be incredibly important to any website owner and doubly so for users. If a site isn’t appealing to the eye, easy to use, have intuitive navigation and is slow to browse, it’s almost certain to be skipped over by users first and search engines later.
The qualitites came to mind over a conversation with a friend, they’d lamented that the coroporate side had changed the website and made it unfriendly to use. Previously their site was css based, very little code written on page, and had a good deal of content to be indexed relevant to their rather competitive niche. The new look and layout for their site, abandoned CSS in favor of Java, Ajax and active scroll over elements on the page.
The new site is visually more appealing than the old one, the effects that were added with all of the new coding however, was unecessary. Dropping indexable, search engine friend CSS for Java and Ajax was a half step backwards though in the search wars. While the coding offers a great deal of flexibility in what your website can look like and do, it’s basically entirely skipped over by search engines. The website in question has been running a brief survey on the new look and feel, and so far the consistent response has been that past consistent users, have begun to use other portals to meet their needs. Their new site, while more appealing to look at, was too slow, difficult to navigate and wasn’t easy to understand at all.
It’s a good example of the addage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”
All of the talk about people moving their purchasing power to the internet, isn’t complete hogwash. According to StatsCans newest numbers, Canadians online expenditures have increased to $15 billion (2009) from $12 billion (2007).
The total was broken down into 95 million transactions, at an average of $1,420. You might be thinking that doesn’t sounds so huge, but if you factor in the population of our country is only around the 34 million mark, it’s a fair amount of money per person. As for some contrast, in 2007 Candians only spent $12 billion on line over 69 million transactions. One of the more interesting figures is the expenditures per person in 2007 was $1,520 as opposed to the $1,420 of 2009.
That difference is coming from the increased consumer base. As the internet and the web become more accessible, and online shopping becomes a more and more trusted means of acquisition, while the average may drop per person, overall spending will continue to increase.
And if you carry inventory in store, there’s no need to worry. StatsCan also reported that over half of Canadians online, would “window shop”, researching their purchases prior to buying them. Ensuring that you have a quality website, backed with service and sales in store is a great way to drive people to your site, and your address.
The chances grow daily that as someone is researching a purchase idea, they’re asking their friends, families and connections on Facebook, twitter or other social media about their thoughts and experiences. The web has become an incredibly powerful marketing tool when used correctly, and the proof is in the numbers.
Content is an incredibly powerful optimization metric on your website. It’s your effective communication to the search engines of the value of your website. Stuffing your page full of pictures, and not describing them in any way is almost a guaranteed way to get yourself lost online with little to no viewers via search. Now the flip side is also true, you can’t cram a thousand lines of text on a page and expect to rank on page 1 for your niche without using a degree of care.
The simplest way to describe it, you want to sculpt the language on your site, to appeal not only to the search engines, but to your visitors; current, and future of course. No one knows your business like you do, but a key point you need to be aware of as a business owner, is that your clients don’t know your business like you do. So don’t clutter your text with technical terms, or vague descriptions around products or processes. Making the assumption that your customers and clients know you as well as you or your salesmen do, can be a detrimental step in the structure of your content.
The number one rule when it comes to content generation?
On the social front of your site or experience, there’s been a mashup of the trendiest, retweetable terms determined. It seems that while there’s no sure fire way to have your news or posts immediately rebroadcasted, there are ways to help increase your chances. The most popular terms for titles would have to be “How to”, “Increase”, and “Social Media”. In theory, a surefire way to have your post picked up and passed around would be to use that text as your title, and craft an article around it. Apparently however, “Trust”, “Talk” and “Sentiment” seem to be very undesireable text tweets. Food for thought.
Google’s recently accounced it’s “build your own app” program for the everyday person who’d like customize their Android powered phone. For free. Apps that are developed with the platform can be listed in the android store with a nominal registration fee. Some have said this will lead to an influx of poorly designed apps, and others have used the argument that this opens up people to a new realm of spam.
Just to add to the mix, Windows has decided to toss their hat into the ring as well. On the expected arrival of the Windows Phone 7 platform, Microsoft has launched their own suite of developer tools.
A brief timeline from the Windows Phone Developer Blog:
Feb 2010 – Windows Phone 7 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Mar 2010 – The application platform was unveiled at MIX 10 in Las Vegas. With that, we had the first CTP of the Windows Phone Developer Tools.
Apr 2010 – The tools received an updated, and the CTP Refresh shipped.
Jun 2010 – Windows Phone Marketplace details unveiled at TechEd 2010.
July 2010 – Beta release of Windows Phone Developer Tools, and the preview developer phones start shipping to ISVs
The iPhone has their apps, with quality guidelines and store and what not. With an SDK which isn’t terribly difficult to learn, but made for the technically inclined. Versus, the newest Android developer software, which allows virtually anyone the ability to create their own custom apps for their Android powered phone. And now the Microsoft version, allowing further customization of the Windows Phone 7 powered handsets. To add a little cream to their offering, free classes on how to fully utilize the Microsoft software are available. The premise:
It will provide developers a jump start for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.
The dates for these course sessions are:
July 20 – 8am: Session One: Getting Started with Microsoft Windows Phone and Silverlight
July 20 – 1pm: Session Two: Programming Game Applications with XNA
July 22 – 8am: Session Three: Programming Applications with Silverlight
July 22 – 1pm: Session Four: Review and Wrap Up
This is a big milestone for everyone involved in Windows Phone 7 – inside and outside of Microsoft – and we hope you share in our excitement. With the Beta release of the tools, developers can build apps with a “ship it” mentality.
So now it’s turned into much more than just a handset battle, the software and apps powered by that software have entered the fray. With the power to be able to completely customize your cell phones functions and uses, to cater to your needs, the way of the paid app development may be on it’s way to the horizon. As an additional bonus, the marketing potential for a creative, lucrative small business owner is tremendous.
There’s a kaleidoscope of steps, styles, methods and opinions about the right way to implement search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. But, there are a few points which are generally accepted. Points such as:
- Quality content is extremely important
- Working actively to accrue quality links and backlinks is also paramount
- Apply K.I.S.S. to your site
One of the most overlooked steps, which should be mentioned more often is having an accurate, up to date sitemap for your website. You can think of a sitemap as the formal written index of your web pages. Up until recently, multiple sitemaps were needed if you desired to have all of your content listed easily. Be it images, text, videos, your geo location, and a news section. An individual sitemap for each was required to speed up the indexing process of those assets. Google introduced the XML sitemap 5 years ago, and have just recently changed the game a little.
Instead of multiple sitemaps, webmasters can now submit one XML sitemap to include all of your websites features. From Google:
With the increasing number of specialized formats, we’d like to make it easier for you by supporting Sitemaps that can include multiple content types in the same file.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<video:title>Grilling tofu for summer</video:title>
The idea of the inclusion for multiple content types within one sitemap was to streamline the entire process for webmasters and their clients.
At just under 3 hours per day online, Canadians are now spending more time on the web than they are watching TV. The previous trend of television being the dominant source of entertainment has been replaced by the always on, always recent digital world.
With the possibilities ranging from finding news literally as it happens via a service like Twitter, to finding archived and stored information from publications back decades, the Internet is bringing more of the world, to more Canadians every day. The continual climb of Canadians spending their time online is no real surprise, as print publications are slowly coming around to the idea that more of their readers are coming online, than through their subscription services. Television networks as well, with offering some primetime programming on their websites has helped to attract visitors to their websites.
Surveys from Neilsen and comScore, have shown that online video-viewing and time spent Web browsing have increased over the years. And previous research has shown that there is an emergence of multitasking: watching TV while also using a laptop. A commercial or a news story which once caught your attention, can now be examined more closely with the ease of use of wireless networking and high speed internet in almost all Canadian homes.
This doesn’t mean that the “death” is nigh for old media such as newspapers, television or radio. But the data is there, the numbers have been added up. Canadians are moving online more and more each day, the longer you dwell on the past information distribution and marketing schemes, the faster you’ll fall behind.
Often the success a company experiences in growing their brand rests in the resources they allocate toward marketing. How much and where are normally the questions that follow. In the past, the question of “where is my market” was often a major determining factor in deciding which form of media to choose. Are my potential customers reading the newspaper or trade magazines? Are they tuned into the radio? Will bus ads or billboards be enough to capture their share of mind? With 90% of consumers now searching the net before making major purchases, this age-old question has been answered.
The purpose of search marketing is to place a company’s website in a position of high visibility on the search engines for key terms that are relevant to they type of products or services that company may offer. Anytime a consumer is searching on the web for a specific product or service, it is because they are in the market to buy. The companies that invest in positioning their websites atop the search engines will have the first opportunity to present their products/services to that qualified audience, therefore giving them first chance at the sale. When optimized correctly for the key terms a company wants their brand associated to, their website acts as a 24/7 salesperson, capturing the attention of the consumer while they are in the market to buy. For this reason, search marketing is a very cost-effective strategy for any business in any geographic market.
Traditional media or mass media is much more expensive in comparison because it is looking to scream out a message to a large audience hoping some of them are in the market for what they offer. The louder the shout, the larger the expense, still with no guarantee that anyone in that audience will be looking for what they are selling. If a company shouts enough, of course the one effect is that people may gain recognition for their brand, which could lead to them using their company in the future. However, the effect is less than if you are there when the consumer is actively looking.
In addition to the repetition required for traditional media to be effective, it also is costly to shout across a larger market. On a local level, traditional media has a much greater opportunity for success with success measured as return on investment. However, once you move into national, and certainly global markets, search marketing is where a company will see the greatest opportunity to turn eyeballs and ears into qualified leads.
As a whole, a company will see the best return on investment by allocating their marketing dollars to an SEO professional that will position their brand directly to those consumers actively in the market for their products or services.