Google Ad Conversions Gain Speed on Mobile

By Katherine Pietrangelo

People are doing more typical desktop activities on their phones? How (not) shocking. According to a new study by Marin Software, consumers are no longer just browsing for products on their smartphones, but are now completing the purchase via mobile as well.

While desktop still beats out mobile and tablet conversation rates, they’re slowly but surely lessening that gap. As reported by the 2014 Q3, smartphones and other mobile devices consist of 31% of paid search impressions and 38% of search ad clicks on Google. Mobile also made up 30% of ad conversions contributing to mobile conversion rates increasing almost 11% year-over-year.

And if you look at Facebook, 1 out of every 3 ad conversions occurred on a mobile device; increasing mobile ad conversions by 16% quarter-over-quarter. 52% of ad impressions and 63% of clicks consisted of mobile ads from Facebook.

graph

If you were to look at click through rates though, you would see that desktop—while still taking the gold in conversion rates—actually gets beaten out by smartphones and tablets in all three types of ads: search, social, and display, with social ads being the highest ranked. The study by Marin Software suggests that the possible shift to mobile over desktop in click through rates for search ads could be based on intent.

When a user is searching for a product, they’re much more likely to click on a result that leads them to the businesses site. Ads that pop up during display and social occur when the user is already doing something and their main focus isn’t searching for products.

It’s hard not to wonder if it could be the lack of distracting ads on mobile devices that lead to the increase of conversion and click through rates. On a desktop you are constantly bombarded with tons of different ads, so it’s hard to focus. With the smaller screen of mobile devices, the ads are limited so it could be easier to emphasize one particular ad at a time.

No matter the reason, mobile is on the rise so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to us if it eventually reigns supreme in every category.

 

It Pays to Personalize Push Notifications

By John Nicholson

For some they may be a burden, for others they’re life-blood — but regardless of your stance, it’s hard to argue against the pervasiveness of push notifications. Whether you have an iPhone or another kind of smartphone, chances are you’re all-too familiar with push notifications. From everyday news updates and app upgrades to minute-by-minute social updates and emails, these automatic alerts strive to keep us socially relevant and acutely aware.

This in mind, it’s no surprise that companies and brands started using push notifications as a marketing tool. Sure, you can turn the alerts off, but sometimes it’s easier to just try and ignore them. But, after all, who can deny that little buzz that comes with receiving a new text message, even if it is just a Candy Crush update?

The answer: no one. In fact, when brands personalize their notifications — turning them into a kind of friendly text message — the results are overwhelmingly positive. In a study done by the Aberdeen Group, researchers found that sending personalized push notifications (based on the consumer’s past interactions with the app and his/her location) conversion rates jumped 8.8% year-over-year.

Of the 162 companies surveyed, Aberdeen Group found that 60% have optimized their web site for mobile users. Similarly, they found that there’s been an increase in brands who’ve adopted push notifications in the past year. As mobile marketing grows and brands learn how to hone the mobile user experience, it will be interesting to watch the development of push notification marketing.

Google Is Prioritizing Mobile, Are You?

By Jason Bauman

Google's material design focuses on mobileYesterday, Google announced the release of Android 5.0, which they call Lollipop.  While the mobile operating system brings a wealth of new features to the platform, it also marks the first major rollout of Google’s new design language.

First unveiled at the search giant’s developer conference, “material design” is their solution to the evolving internet landscape, one increasingly dominated by mobile devices.  The design principles have existed for months, but this Android release will be the first time most consumers see it in practice.

What Is Material Design

Material design was made so that designers could build attractive content that would seamlessly transition between screen sizes and operating systems. Google details specific best practices at Google.com/design, but there are three essential features of the design language:

  • Material as a metaphor – Google drew inspiration for material design from traditional print media and how layers of paper and the ink on them could overlap to create a cohesive visual look. Instead of relying on any false realism, known as “skeuomorphism,” they built a completely digital language around the idea of having content layered, like pages on a table.
  • Bold, graphic, and Intentional – Instead of gradients and subtle transitions, the language relies on contrasting colors and using color to create hierarchy and focus.
  • Motion gives meaning – By using meaningful transitions in your design, you can create an interactive experience for your customers without worrying that it will distract them from your content.

Most importantly, material design is a mobile first perspective.  While the content will transition well to desktop screens, it signifies that Google considers future user interaction to come primarily from touch screen/mobile interfaces.

Mobile eCommerce Optimization

An Example Of a retail site built with Material Design

Material design is bold and the search giant’s own products look fantastic when they’re updated to it, but what about ecommerce sites?  While every aspect of the language may not transition well into a retail site environment, there are several compelling reasons to consider it the next time you decide to give your storefront a facelift.

One of the core design features is the idea that you’re building one page for multiple devices.  Instead of a trying to display the content differently on different screens, the language encourages adaptive designs.  This can potentially save your webmasters hours of coding time and you won’t have to update your mobile display every time Apple released a new iPhone.

The bold colors and focus on typography can create an attractive experience for your customers, one that allows you to clearly display content without risking your users becoming overwhelmed by additional information.

Finally, the language prioritizes fast, fluid designs.  The bold, attractive color schemes allow you to optimize your website for speed while still providing a rich, interactive environment for visitors.

The Future Is Mobile

Google is fully committing to a mobile first environment.  In fact, their research data already shows that up to 75% of holiday shoppers plan to use their mobile devices while hunting for the perfect gift.  Smartphones are more affordable than ever, so this number should only increase with every passing season.

Material design gives your webmasters a set of best practices for building an attractive, adaptive design.  More importantly, it will help create a pleasant experience for your customers, no matter what device they’re browsing from.

 

Nail Down Your Marketing Budget Through Audience Segmentation

By John Nicholson

It’s very important to note that digital spend is expected to rise significantly in 2015. Specifically, areas like content development, organic search and social media should see the sharpest increase. On the other hand, according to the Econsultancy Marketing Budgets 2014 Report, 15% of brands intend to decrease their Paid Search and Online Media investments. One of the largest problems facing a content-driven, socially-minded marketing strategy is measurement — naturally, these strategies don’t lend themselves to hard-boiled conversion numbers.

This is an interesting shift in the landscape that should prove integral to the way budgets are assessed through 2015. Now let’s take a look at how audience segmentation could play a likewise notable role.

Think About Individual Impact

Interestingly — though not altogether surprisingly — just few content creators and contributors hold the key to influencing a large majority of your target audience. In fact, the Econsultancy study found that 3% of individuals draw 90% of the impact. That’s somewhat astounding. But that data point goes hand-in-hand with another, less bombastic one: most of the target audience only engages within a small circle of family and friends. Beyond that, their impact is minuscule.

Find and Award Your Target Audience’s Influencers

These individuals can be a great benefit to your brand because their opinions and perspectives hold weight among other like-minded consumers. With a single blog post or social update, these influencers can sway your target audience one way or another. Building relationships with these people will 1) increase your online presence for the better, and 2) strengthen your brand’s consumer values and tighten your  relationship with them.

Get a Grasp on Social Media

For users and brands, social media has become pretty much ubiquitous in our everyday lives. From feature films with Twitter hashtag campaigns to local delis with Instagram accounts and targeted Facebook ads, social platforms have been a bastion of marketing for years. And chances are your target audience is socially present. Find your niche and make the strides to champion your brand; it’ll pay off. Though it’s impossible to measure conversion through social channels, it is possible to measure engagement, reach and interaction.

 

New 2014 Holiday Season Shopping Habits, Trends & Data

By Morgan Tombler

As retailers begin to gear up for the holiday season, new data suggest that consumers are getting ready as well.

Google recently released data from research of online and offline consumer shopping habits during the holiday season. We’ve rounded up the quick hits that you need to know to better understand your customers and stay ahead of the competition this year.

We’re researching and shopping all night long
One third of all shopping-related Google queries are taking place between 10 PM and 4 AM. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. As online shopping becomes more affordable and convenient for everyone, consumers are more likely to spend extended periods of time making sure we get the right present or product.

Black Friday no longer takes place overnight
The times of camping out for door buster deals instead of eating turkey with your family are over. Online retailers are now offering deals throughout the whole month of November, with one of the most popular days being Cyber Monday. Check out Google’s calendar of 2013’s biggest in-store and online shopping days below.

Most popular shopping days of 2013

Source: Google Adwords Blog

26% of surveyed shoppers said they’ll start researching their purchases before Halloween. Moreover, the ways in which consumers are doing their research is continually increasing. Shoppers were reported as to using 5 sources of information prior to making a purchase in 2010. In 2013, the number of sources jumped to at least 12.

Moreover, the ways in which consumers are doing their research are shifting. Though magazine reviews and ratings may still be relevant, the hottest new way shoppers are searching out opinions are YouTube product unboxing or “haul” videos. As evidence of this, views for these videos has nearly doubled since last year. Also, these videos aren’t just being viewed while lounging on the couch or sitting behind a desk; a quarter of shoppers surveyed said they view YouTube videos while considering a product inside of a store.

haul-video-views

Smart Phones are the new sales associate

Google’s research showed that 75% of shoppers with smartphones planned on using them in-store during the holiday season. While shoppers historically came to the store with questions for sales associates, consumers are walking in being more informed than ever. And even when shoppers do have questions, it was reported that a third will use their phones instead of asking for assistance from workers. However, just because consumers are relying on their phones more does not mean they are less likely to make a purchase. Just under 50% of consumers that use their phones in-store still buy the product, which is an 11% increase from 2011.

Links to the full research can be found here.

67% of all Click-Throughs Occur in First 5 Links of SERPs

By Jessica Herbine

Turns out, there is some truth to the old SEO joke that goes, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google.” In July 2014, Advanced Web Ranking measured and compared the click-through rates from the Webmaster Tools search queries reports of large client accounts. Their findings were presented at SMX East and included data on CTR as they pertain to mobile, branded, non-branded queries and more. However, the most significant discovery reported was that that pages two and three of the SERPs received only a measly 5.59% of all click-throughs.

Though search engines are powerful enough to deliver hundreds of millions of hits for short and long-tail queries, users are only interested in the first few results to pop up. In fact, while an average of 71.33% of clicks were of organic results from page one, 67.60% were click-throughs to the first five links listed. If only some 3% of clicks were to pages in positions 6 through 10, you have to wonder at how many or how few impressions your brand or clients are receiving when ranking below the fold – or worse, on page two. In years past, these positions might have been lauded. But now we’re left to wonder: if a URL ranks on page four of the SERPs, and no one is around to view it, does it have any impact at all?

CTRs

Click-through-rate by exact position