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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

40% Of Consumers Are Unaware That Google Adwords Are Adverts

This post writtern by Graham Charlton on the Econsultancy website came across our radar, we thought we should share!

Research carried out by Bunnyfoot suggests that many people are unaware of the difference between paid and organic search listings, with 40% of web users unaware they were adverts. 
While conducting a research project for an insurance sector client, Bunnyfoot discovered that 81% of users clicked on Google Adwords listings as opposed to natural search results.
Further investigation of this surprising bias revealed that 41 out of the 100 individuals tested did not know that Adwords were paid-for adverts, believing them instead to be the most authoritative links. 
Looking at a Google results page for 'car insurance', the paid ads do stand out thanks to the background shading, while Google does add the label 'ads related to car insurance' at the top. 
However, this label could be easily missed and, if you don't know they're ads, the shading could mean anything.
 
In addition, the background shading isn't always easy to see on every monitor, while Google's new hybrid sponsored ad for its own insurance comparison site looks more organic than ad. 
In short, it's easy to see why the users in the Bunnyfoot research were unaware that these ads were ads. 
Bunnyfoot's heatmaps illustrate this point. 
This shot shows the results page for 'car insurance'
https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0002/9613/adwords_heatmap2-blog-full.png
The heatmap suggests that the PPC ads may be more valuable than the top natural positions, for this search at least. 

I asked Bunnyfoot co-founder Rob Stevens about the test and the implications of the results: 

Can you tell me a bit more about the test and participants? 

The test was conducted as part of an end-to-end customer experience research project for an insurance sector client. With a view to exploring a representative of the general UK population rather than an online only population, test participants were recruited from an in-street intercept.

In theory, your findings would mean that the top two or three paid results would do better than the top organic ones...

In this particular study, we found that 81% clicked on paid results, 19% on organic search results.
In theory this may be true for some categories and the heatmap for ‘Car Insurance’ supports this hypothesis. Results of the eye tracking tests support the notion that internet users do not differentiate between organic and paid search results.
The heat map demonstrates that it’s the area of the screen displaying the top results, regardless of whether they are natural or paid for, that receives the most activity and attention from users.
In this scenario, specific terms are more likely to convert than generic ones: Marketers should optimise more specific searches for click through like “car insurance for porsche over 40” rather than “Cheap car insurance”. 

Stats we published recently suggest that the vast majority of clicks are on organic results. How does this fit with your findings? 

While a direct comparison between the two pieces of research is problematic due to a number of key differences, the two data sets are reconcilable and valuable shared learnings can be taken from both. 
The quoted GroupM research looks at a wide range of verticals from “airlines” and “online games” to “government” and “current news,” while this particular piece of research of ours looked at one very specific vertical - car insurance.  
The MEC sample is across all data while Bunnyfoot looked exclusively at the sub set of car insurance,  a category that is full of Adwords - and importantly the familiar brands abound within those Adwords - and this would have a significant bearing on results.
The specific categories undoubtedly have an effect on tests of this nature. As internet users do not follow one particular behaviour for every search they carry out, we would expect each search vertical to produce very different search patterns.
With that in mind, we would envisage the vertical “government” - one of the categories looked at in the GroupM research - generating very different behaviour from the car insurance category.
The type of search and the keywords are important considerations also. While the Bunnyfoot research looks at ‘head term’ searches, it’s unclear from the published article what the GroupM research explores. Reading the article and looking at the infographic, we would expect that the study probably includes a lot of long-tail searches.
We find that in many cases involving long tail searches (e.g. an individual searches “renew car tax”), there won’t even be any Adwords displayed and so by definition the clicks will land only on natural results in those cases.

What are the key takeaways for marketers? 

The key takeaway for marketers from this test is that there is a world of people out there who don’t know adwords are ads and marketers should be wary of making assumptions that remove them from a true consumer perspective.
We were astounded by the numbers when they first came in but there can be no doubt about it: a significant slice of internet users simply don’t recognise Adwords listings as sponsored links.
I posit that there is a digital technorati that live a lot of their life online, they (we) know that Google ads are Google ads and don’t often click them. 
I don’t know what the % is but we could apply Pareto Rule for lack of a better tool: 80% of the clicks come from 20% of the people.
Secondly - and with the above in mind - Google Ads can be a far more effective brand building tool than they are often given credit for. If the market really gets hold of this and buys into the idea that PPC on Adwords is even more effective than was previously thought this could see the cost of Google Adwords rocketing.
This makes it imperative for marketers to maximise the conversion of browsers to buyers and the most cost effective way of doing this is usability. This could put $50 or more on to the stock value of Google.

Are there easy opportunities for PPC in the kinds of results which have no or fewer PPC listings? 

Absolutely, but the user experience needs to be right before spending any money on hits. It’s all very well carrying out a PPC campaign that delivers people to a particular destination for the duration of the campaign, but it’s the user experience that converts clicks and achieves longer term success.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Visual Media Is The Social King

 Visual Media (Photos/Videos) are essential to your Social Marketing success. Visual Media is easily shared, has no cultural or language barriers, and connects with viewers on an emotional level. There are over 60 million photos shared daily on Instagram alone!
One easy way to include Visual Media in your efforts is to use Twitter Cards.
Check it out, it's a lot of fun. Remember it's important to keep your Visual Media relevent to your campaign goals!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting The Most From Video Players

Your choice of a video player is an often overlooked aspect of realizing maximum return from your websites videos. Here is a thoughtful article that came  through the linkedIn video marketing group.  Written by +  appearing on somedia networks .
We thought we should share this one! Good work Colin!

So you’ve created a professional, high-quality company profile or explainer video for a client.  The spokesperson or owner sounds great, the lighting is perfect and the length is bang-on, long enough to keep viewers engaged but not so long so as to bore them into checking out (right in that 60-90 second sweet-spot).
Posted to YouTube.  Shared to Facebook.  Added to your client’s LinkedIn page.  And of course, embedded on your client’s website, blog and campaign landing page.
Now what?
Have you thought about how to leverage that video to drive leads back to your client?  How to use the video to gather valuable feedback?  Or how to use the video to funnel viewers to a specific landing page or offer?  Are you set up to track the video’s performance, by location, and then report back to your client?  Is the video SEO-friendly?
As Internet marketers, we need to ask ourselves questions like these every time we integrate video into an online campaign, and especially when running a video campaign.

Use Video Players to Drive Traffic

Video players host video content and the good ones enable deep user engagement.  Using the right video player platform (yes, there are many options – SoMedia VideoPlayer, ViewBix and Wistia to name a few) could mean the difference between the success and failure of your marketing efforts, or at the very least, not understanding if you are succeeding or failing.
how video players work
Most of them are very easy to use.  Sign up, upload your video and build the player to your specs.  If you are using the right video player platform, it can be a powerful, interactive marketing tool with SEO, lead-generation, branding and video analytics features.  A professionally shot video combined with an interactive video player will greatly enhance your ability to deliver results for your clients.  Here’s how:
1.  Video players can capture leads and drive traffic
Different players do this in different ways.  Players like ViewBix offer what they call ‘apps’ – third party overlays that enable things like polls or contact forms.  SoMedia offers integrated marketing plug-ins on their player that enable businesses to promote offers, coupons, showcase content, with clicks directed to the web page of choice and leads funneled to the email of choice.  It’s features like these that really turn your videos into marketing tools.
video player benefits
2.  Video players can improve SEO
Video now appears in almost 70% of search results according to Marketing Week.  Internet marketing ‘winners’ are those taking the time to optimize their videos for the search engines.  Great video players offer simple user-friendly tools that enable the following:
•   online video players enhance seo Title, description and tagging
•    Auto-generation of meta data
•    Auto-generation of a video XML sitemap
•    Video transcripts
•    Custom thumbnails

3.  Video players enable performance analytics
Successful video marketing requires access to accurate data and analytics.  A great video player platform delivers this with detailed performance and engagement analytics necessary to track ROI. Some of the basics you should be tracking:
•    Views and plays by video, geography and playback location
•    Completion and drop-off rates
•    Drop-off points
•    Social traction (number of shares and to which networks)
•    Click-through rates
•    Minutes watched

If you are an Internet marketer investing time and money in producing and delivering video content for clients, do not let this investment go to waste.  Make sure you take those final few steps to market, measure and optimize via video players and analytics.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Exactly Is Marketing About?

We just read this blogpost from a company named digitalaptitude.com. We don't know them personally but they hit the nail on the head with the following statement taken from their recent study "TheNew Rules of digital Marketing" We plan on following them to see what they may bring to the marketing arena, and you might consider doing the same.

The way most companies market themselves doesn’t make any sense. These companies focus too much on tactics, like SEO or social media. They jumped into SEO when they heard that SEO was “the next big thing”, they jumped into social media because they “have to be on Facebook these days” and they jumped into Pinterest and Instagram when they became popular because they didn’t want to “miss the train.”
 
Marketing is about being strategic. It’s not about doing something because “it’s the new thing”; it’s about being where your customers are. Instead of trying every marketing tactic in the world and hoping that something will work, start with the end goal in mind and design your marketing strategy backwards from there.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Video Marketing Notes for 2014

From a recent article by Troy Dreier on "onlinevideo.net"
 
Video marketing was a major trend in 2013, with agencies and brands understanding the need to create original online video and use it to engage with customers. In 2014, video marketers will need to up their game, putting more time, effort, and creativity into online video.
That’s the advice of Demand Metric, a marketing advisory firm that recently issued an outlook study spelling out what challenges will face the industry in the coming year.
2014 
“The most significant trend of 2013 was video marketing,” writes Demand Metric research analyst Kristen Maida. While video marketing didn’t emerge in 2013, she notes that that was the year creating online video and getting it shared became urgent for marketers. The key to doing that was producing relevant, engaging videos targeted at the desired audience.
The change for 2014, Maida writes, is to build on that foundation and grow like crazy. Marketers need to bump up their video output considerably. Video will be the most used and shared type of online content within two years, she says. Social networking will remain the best way to get videos shared, so marketers will need to stay on top of social media trends to ensure they’re focusing on the ones best for their brands.
“In 2013, online video and video marketing went mainstream,” agrees Phi Schmidt, a senior research analyst for Demand Metric. The trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise of mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads.
In 2014, consumers will look to online video for brand marketing messages, Schmidt says. They’ll expect high-quality professional video — accessible on all devices — as part of their shopping experience. Create low-quality video or offer streams that constantly buffer and you’ll lose those buyers.
Not only do videos need to get more professional in 2014, they need to get more interactive. Make a big impression and engage viewers by adding interactive elements to your videos this year.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Facebook Checklist

Here is a quick Facebook checklist for marketers.
Courtesy of Social Media Coach  Andrea Vahl