Mobile Becomes the Major Player in Internet Advertising

By Jessica Herbine

You can tell a lot about consumer trends by the way in which businesses spend their marketing dollars trying to reach them. From campaigns that address hot button issues to adapting new technologies like the simple and clean QR code, advertisers leave a paper trail detailing consumers’ latest infatuations and progressing interests. If the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s most recent half-year ad revue drew only one irrefutable conclusion, it is this: the public at large has gone full-out mobile.

While revenues for commonplace search advertising campaigns remained about the same as this time last year – with a nominal 4% increase – mobile revenues skyrocketed a whole 76%. With $2.7 billion raked in from mobile search, internet ad revenues reached a half-year high previously unseen by the IAB: a total of $23.1 billion in spending, up 15% from the half-year mark in 2013.

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Senior Director of the Mobile Marketing Center at IAB, Joe Laszlo believes that the steady values attributed to search revenues are nothing at all to be concerned about. This trait, he says, is most likely due to the fact that SEO is a maturing industry, and marketers are finally becoming comfortable and more knowledgeable in their spending habits.

However, what goes up one year must eventually come down. The full report, which can be read here, shows that while directories and classifieds are not wholly obsolete, they have stagnated in a way that suggests we’ll likely see a decline in spending moving forward. Together they brought in $1.3 billion; and although that number is by no means laughable, Laszlo noted that those businesses who want to remain relevant will need to re-assess how their visitors find, sort and access content. That said, the study notes (and we tend to agree) that localized directories and niche categories will remain valuable as ever for those who choose to utilize them.

The report breaks down mobile revenues as $2.7 billion coming from mobile search, $2.5 billion from mobile display, and $103 million from other formats – banners, digital video, sponsorship and so forth. Another medium which earned plenty of revenue this period was social media, which received its own category for the first time this year and is responsible for 2.9 billion dollars in spending, up from $2.6 billion last year.

As mobile search is still a young tool in this generation’s arsenal of technology, it is important to remember that the lines between Google search ad buy for mobile and desktop are still blurred; especially with the rising popularity in responsive design. The keywords and long-tail phrases that bring value through traditional search will likely still serve marketers well in the mobile sector, but Trinity Insight recommends A/B testing various terms between the different channels for best results.

 

Shoppable Video Collection Boosts Product Page Clicks

By Katherine Pietrangelo

Surf’s up for skate and surfer lifestyle apparel retailer, Tilly’s Inc. Known for carrying hundreds of brands, Tilly’s has seen a lot of success with their new microsite, Tillys.tv. The recently released microsite uses TVPage to collect product videos created by the company and the various brands they carry, and house them on the site. Videos can be uploaded either directly to the site or pulled from outside sources like Vimeo or Youtube.

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Once a video is clicked, a stream of products that are featured in the video appears under the player. Those products are clickable, and when activated take the user directly to the product page where they can purchase the piece, whether it’s swim trunks from the surfing video or sneakers from the skate film.

According to Tilly’s, users are really using this option with about one in every three viewers clicking through to a product page. The actual conversion rates are unknown, but Tilly’s did report that it is comparable to conversion rates when a user reaches a product page through other means.

The vendor TVPage offers a variety of video shopping packages which differentiate services depending on price range. The standard package costs $499 a month for 100 videos and a social media campaign, but prices can range up to $999 for the professional package, which includes double the videos of the standard package plus more advanced options.

With the success that Tilly’s has seen from their shoppable video page, it would be no surprise to us if we saw more brands using similar techniques.

 

Urban Outfitter’s New App Sets Standard in Mobile Ecommerce

By Morgan Tombler

The new app includes the best in app search, filter and sort functions we’ve seen yet.

With holiday buying season’s fast approach, the number of online retailers creating iOS and Android Apps grows with each day. One of these retailers, Urban Outfitters, is tackling an issue a great number of apps have been struggling with: in app search, filtering and sorting of products. With this new addition, Urban Outfitters is making it easier for its most loyal customers to search for and buy items, while also setting the standard in future retail app development.

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As consumers become more comfortable with purchasing through mobile devices, search and discovery features in commerce apps are pivotal. Not only are mobile visitors known to be less patient in finding items, the number of different ways an app will be used are ever-expanding. Along with the newest functions, the Urban Outfitters app will feature curated holiday gift ideas and localized store information. “We know our customers are using their mobile devices before they head to a store as well as while they are shopping, so we are providing easier access to content like holiday store hours and will use push notifications to inform customers about events at their local stores.”, says UO’s Program Manager, Carolann Larkin.

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Though all retail apps should include easy search and filtering options, the tools needed for easy implementation are just now becoming available. Mobile-optimized APIs are crucial in efficiently pulling in back-end data some retailers’ databases; one such tool is made by WillowTree apps is Monkeypod, a cloud-based API that specialized in connecting databases with smart phones and tablets.

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These search, filter and sort features are just a few of the many factors which are making mobile shopping a norm in society. Trinity believes that retailers will continue to put more emphasis on apps and optimizing the mobile experience as time goes on. Though the key is to generate desktop-like revenue numbers, the biggest hurdle for retailers will be to foster a creative mobile experience.

If You Prioritize One Social Media Platform This Month, Make It Google+

By Missy Steinberg

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Social media is more important to your rankings than ever before thanks to Google’s Hummingbird update, but not all platforms pack the same punch. As emphasized by aimClear’s social advertising director, Merry Morud, in an SES Denver panel discussion, tweets, likes and follows are the new link-building, and a more democratized one at that. So now that the voice of the people will start impacting your rankings, it’s wise to note that some voices will be heard much more loudly than others, specifically those closest to Google’s ears: those on Google+.  Moz made the connection back in 2013 with a scientific correlation study that revealed that a website’s total number of Google +1’s has the second biggest impact on search engine rankings (right after page authority) out of all ranking factors. “Google gets its purest social signals in Google+, and they can often impact SEO more than Facebook,” Morud said.

Aside from Google’s own preferences, the relatively young social network is worth prioritizing for its appeal to Facebook users who are fed up with the platform’s ad-cluttered newsfeed.  “Facebook is getting too busy,” Morud said. “People are outgrowing [the platform]. Google+ being ad-free is going to be a plus for them.”

Despite the saturation of advertisements, the medium might not be as effective as it appears at garnering clicks. Morud cited client cases in which Facebook ad clicks were healthy, but unusually lopsided toward mobile. The disproportion stemmed from users unintentionally tapping ads while scrolling through their newsfeed on small mobile devices, or what Morud calls “fat finger syndrome.”

Because Google+ currently does not allow advertisements, the best way to take advantage of the site is by actively participating, engaging members and sharing your own links. Moz’s report also found that content posted to Google+ is crawled almost instantaneously, so it’s a great place to start pushing your site’s blog. With more frequent crawls and an expected boom in users, Google+ looks like it’s going to be an effective resource to boost rankings and save a bit of your advertising budget,too.

Will Google Rebooting Email Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

By Jason Bauman

How will your emartketing campaigns be impacted by Inbox?Google isn’t afraid to disrupt their own market if they think they’ve discovered a new way of doing things.  While Gmail is arguably the standard when it comes to email platforms, the search giant recently unveiled Inbox, which they hope will replace the traditional email experience.

What is Inbox:

Currently available through an invite only beta program, Inbox aim’s to combine Google’s popular email platform with their digital assistant Google Now service.  The company hopes to provide customers with a simpler browsing experience, applying what they learned by building knowledge graphs in search to your inbox.  In a blog post yesterday, the Gmail team outlined several key features.

  • Bundles: These are similar to the tabs found in your current inbox, grouping messages from companies by promotions, social, and sales.
  • Highlights: If you receive an order confirmation, schedule a flight, or get pictures from a close friend, this will show up here without requiring you open any messages.
  • Reminders: Create a to-do list that will appear at the top of Inbox.  If you have an upcoming event with a contact,it will appear here as well.
  • Snooze: If you don’t have time to read an email or reminder at that moment, you can snooze it for whenever you want.

 

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From The Official Gmail Blog

What Will This Mean For Email Marketing?

When Google updated the inbox for Gmail in 2013, most email campaign’s were automatically filtered into the new “Promotions” tab.  For a lot of eCommerce sites, this meant that their emails went largely unopened.  Groupon lost nearly 2.6 million in the third quarter of 2013, a loss they partially attribute to this change.

Bundles will allow the user to choose how often they see certain types of emails.  For example, a customer could choose to view all of their promotions emails at the end of their workweek instead of as they come in.  According to Chad White, lead research analyst at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, “Bundles likely mean that marginally engaged subscribers will become even less engaged, while engaged subscribers will become more engaged.”

Highlights is the potentially disruptive feature of the new app, as it will allow users to track their shipments in real time, even if that information is not available in the email itself.  Using their search engine, Google can use the tracking information provided in the email to pull up-to-date information from the web and display it for the customer.

With highlights, open rates will become less important as customers can go right to your sites landing page from the highlight, without ever opening the email.

Time To Adapt

It’s not clear yet exactly how customers will use Inbox, or how it will display current email marketing campaigns. Much like the original Gmail rollout, Google is using an invite system to test the system before pushing it for general release.  The app is also not a replacement to Gmail, which required that users download it in addition to their current email client.  This will slow the adoption rate for the new platform, which will give companies time to adapt their marketing campaigns for Highlights and Bundles.

Look for an update to this post as our team delves further into Inbox and how our clients can utilize it for their e-Marketing campaigns.

Online Shopping Reigns Supreme This Holiday Season

By Katherine Pietrangelo

Holiday Shopping Goes Online (1)

Online retailers, rejoice! This upcoming holiday season looks like it’s going to be a good one. According to a recent survey by National Retail Federation (NRF), 44.4% of consumers will do their holiday shopping online this approaching season.

Looking at the year as a whole (not just between November and December, the months that the NRF considers to be the holiday shopping season) sees a total of 56% of shoppers planning to make their purchases online this year. That is an increase of 4.5%, up from the 51.5% of last year’s survey.

If we break down those numbers into how those consumers will be making their online purchases, it’s not surprising that mobile shopping makes up a large chunk.

According to the survey, 55.7% of smartphone users will do some part of their holiday shopping on their phone, up from 53.8% last year. 35.8% of smartphone users will research products and prices on their phones, and 19.1% (an all-time high) of smartphone users will make the actual purchase via their mobile device.

Tablet users will also be making moves this holiday season, with 47.4% of tablet users doing their product research online, and 33% said they will buy something using their tablet.

Why the gaining popularity? 25% of survey takers said that an uncomplicated and convenient mobile site is a huge determining factor of where they will make their online purchases.

If you or your company were looking to branch into ecommerce, now would be the time to do it.