Reporting live from Connect, our two-day search event in Miami, here’s the second in a series of posts summarising a few of our sessions, covering either organic engagement or paid search innovation.
Yesterday, we heard from the awesome Larry Kim from WordStream, the most influential PPC expert for three years in a row and a man who can rattle through 156 fascinating and incredibly helpful slides without taking a breath.
Well, it doesn’t look great. As Larry says, “We’ve had a good run. It’s been 15 years, but there are headwinds on the horizon.”
And those ‘headwinds’ are…
WordStream’s @larrykim: 95% of time online is spent consuming content but just 5% searching for it. pic.twitter.com/fqBl6Dpii4
— Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) February 4, 2016
But there is a new power rising in PPC: social media ads.
PPC marketers should pay more attention to social ads. Don’t be sceptical about this, because we can move far beyond the ‘like campaigns’ from a few short years ago.
The key to future social ads success is to focus on ‘assisted conversion’; using paid social ads to indirectly assist organic posts.
Social ads do fantastically well. They allow you to build up and amplify your brand, and create demand for your products or services.
Here you need to create content and “amplify the crap out of this stuff” in a very cheap manner and target the right people who will consume it.
The other thing that social ads do fantastically well is they can convert visitors into customers really easily, because you can filter users into very accurate demographics and remarket to a very narrow segment of those people.
As Larry says, “when you get this working, it’s like printing money.” And here’s the major reason why you should be doing social media ads…
Big ad budgets are not required. You can do extremely well with paid social ads for $50 or less.
Use paid social ads like a firestarter or an accelerant. You don’t have to spend much. @larrykim #sewconnect pic.twitter.com/VFW3gpqYjK
— Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) February 4, 2016
Be aware of Facebook’s relevancy score. The higher the post engagement of the thing you want to promote (minus negative engagement – hiding it, reporting it as spam), the higher your relevancy score, and the more often your post will show.
Incidentally, Twitter copied the above exact process with its ad campaigns, they just called it a ‘quality adjusted bid’. Of course both of these have ripped off Google’s ‘quality score’ anyway, so fair enough.
The key to you ads appearing often on social is getting high engagement and increasing your quality score.
In order to achieve this, you must only promote your best stuff. The top 1% – 2% of your content, as Larry describes it, “Your unicorns.”
Because they’re so rare and wonderful.
One example from Larry is a tweet of his, sharing a blog post he wrote about Alphabet (the new parent company for Google). Although this initially got a low 2-3% engagement rate, Larry then promoted it to influencers who had used the #alphabet hashtag in the previous seven days.
The tweet then increased to a 27% engagement rate, generated 2,100 visits, 348 retweets. All of this using just $49.
The worst thing you can do is divide your social ads budget equally between every post and promote them all equally. Again, pick your unicorns. Also don’t try promoting something this month that didn’t work last month, it won’t work this time either.
How do you find your unicorns? Larry uses the following ‘pyramid’…
Please enjoy @larrykim‘s Organic & Paid Social Sharing/Posting Pyramid Scheme diagram #sewconnect pic.twitter.com/bVrBMGhQ2Z
— Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) February 4, 2016
“This pyramid scheme won’t land you in prison.” In fact it will help you see which posts have worked organically, and it’s these ‘winners’ that you’ll promote on social channels. Like you’re ‘auditioning them’.
It’s easy to find which social posts are the best because Facebook and Twitter lets you see how well they’ve performed in their own respective analytics tools, easily accessible from your page’s menu.
Larry goes on to say that the biggest difference between using paid social and organic social is your own ‘pickiness’. Organic posts are you casting a wide net, whereas paid is you casting a narrow net, but hopefully vastly increasing your engagement.
While our editor Christopher is busy sunning himself in Miami at SEW Connect, I’m left with the task of this week’s round-up of SEM news.
So we have new Google mobile features, Valentine’s Day search stats and more…
Google recently introduced a new feature for mobile users, as reported on the koddi blog.
The feature, triggered by searches such as those below, provides ideas for where to go and what to do.
Clicking on more opens up further destination ideas, and takes you away from the organic results altogether.
Ultimately, it can lead to reviews of hotels and tourist spots, and the ability to plan trips on Google.
Travel sites will no doubt be less than impressed with this move, which seems to take attention away from organic results.
However, these are not transactional searches, but queries more likely to be used in the earlier stages of travel planning when looking for ideas.
At the moment, I don’t think travel sites should be too concerned, especially as travel buyers then to take their time and view multiple sources before buying.
Google’s parent company Alphabet nudged ahead of Apple to become the most valuable company in the world, with better than expected results.
The company’s shares rose by 4.7% on Tuesday, meaning Alphabet is now valued at $548 billion compared to Apple’s $534 billion.
Google announced this week that it would begin to warn Chrome users about sites which contain download buttons which appear to come from trusted sources.
According to Google:
You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Today, we’re expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads.
If you attempt to head to such a site, you’ll see a warning like this:
I’d say not pressing download buttons on random sites would be the best protection from malware, but it all helps.
As covered by Christopher Ratcliff earlier in the week, UK Google users uncovered a strange anomaly in autocomplete suggestions, whereby negative search terms were suggested for all political parties except for the Conservatives.
The background to this is the tax deal between Google and the UK government which saw the search giant paying what some felt was a derisory amount.
Enough Google-related news, now for Bing. This week it released a slideshare doc with stats on spending and search volume around Valentine’s Day.
A few highlights:
Reporting live from Connect, our two-day search event in Miami, here’s the first in a series of posts summarising a few of our sessions, covering either organic engagement or paid search innovation.
This morning, we heard from Collin Colburn from Forrester, who outlined a few tips for your current organic SEO strategy.
Customers are more empowered than ever before.
Technology and connectivity have completely changed our lives, especially in terms of how and where we spend our money.
This has also led to a power-shift, where people have almost total control of what they see and experience online. This is in turn “causing havoc” for businesses and forcing them to evolve quickly.
It also doesn’t help that the online experience is full of noise; many sites are just a wall of ads, messages and assorted brand clutter. Users now have multimedia and multi-device habits and therefore have multiple means of escape.
All of this has led to search evolving into ‘discovery marketing’. In fact marketers are now shifting money away from paid search into content marketing and other means of being discovered organically.
There are major challenges to organic search.
25% of US online adults find new websites and info through Facebook now.
Google is taking over its own SERPs with how it indexes and presents other website’s information through its knowledge graph and answer boxes.
Mobile search is a huge challenge, especially how it’s helped turned search ‘local’. More than 50% of searches are done on mobile and you’re more likely to be served results based on well-optimised local businesses.
Finally, marketers lack the data to understand the impact of SEO, now that Google has blocked keyword data. We don’t know how organic search is driving leads and conversion. This means we need to evolve…
Forrester uses a WHO framework, which basically asks three questions of your online business…
What do target users see? You need to understand the subject and context of the search query.
How do customers find you? You need to plot the different sources that drive users to your site using behavioural data and analytics.
What should you offer users? You need to identify an optimal offer based on user intent and behaviour.
Design for mobile users, of course. Use the mobile friendly testing tool that Google provides.
Keep location data accurate. You need to provide name, address and phone numberr first and foremost. Bear in mind that it can take 15 hours to optimise one landing page.
Increase content assets, especially ones your competing with your rivals for. Think of those juicy answer boxes you could commander away from them.
Maintain a strong foundation is core for SEO – site navigation, structured data markup, link-building.
Planning and budgeting for your promotional campaign at the very start of your mobile project is critical to success.
It doesn’t matter how brilliant your mobile website or app is if no one knows about it or uses it.
The Catch 22 is that people visit websites/apps found at the top of web search results and they download native apps that appear in app store top 10 category lists. But to achieve these rankings your site or app has to be among the most popular.
This is what makes the go-to-market strategy crucial to the success of your project. Planning and budgeting for promotion in advance is not only essential for determining project ROI, as discussed in previous column but it should also influence the development process.
The go-to-market plan should consider the following six types of marketing, and weigh up the pro/cons and relative costs of each:
Companies tend to underestimate the costs of marketing mobile projects – particularly mobile apps.
Agencies contacted by ClickZ recommend a marketing spend that is at least equal to the amount spent on development.
All agencies report that promoting native apps require more effort and cost to promote than a mobile-friendly site or web app (a browser-based application) due to the closed nature of the app environment and the intense competition between apps for downloads.
Mick Rigby, CEO of Yodel Mobile, London:
There are more steps to go through to get a mobile app user than a visitor to your mobile site or web app. The potential user has to click on the banner/video, they then visit the app store listing, they then have to download the app and they then have to open it to use it. With a mobile site you click on an ad and then visit the site.
This does not mean businesses should be complacent or overlook the requirement to plan marketing their mobile sites or web apps.
This column will cover the first two marketing types: paid media and public relations.
The other four – digital owned media, physical owned media, shared media (social media, email, SMS), search engine and app store optimization – will be dealt with in the next column.
Per Holmkvist, chief digital officer, Zmarta Group, a Sweden-based consumer finance company says:
A common mistake in mobile projects – whether that is websites, web apps or native apps – is to focus too much on the service itself, and think too little and too late about how users will actually discover and become interested in your mobile service.
The promotional strategy and budget should be established at the very beginning of the project, because a) it is a critical consideration when determining if the project will be a success and b) it should be a major influence over the service concept and the development process of your website or app.
Holmkvist prescribes distribution-driven concept development. It’s a methodology that was developed at Mobiento, but is central to every project he oversees at Zmarta.
This methodology puts the formulation of the go-to-market strategy ahead of development.
So for example if the budget for paid media is tight, the mobile site/app design will have to more creative about how it grabs attention, encourage and facilitate sharing, and maximize the chance of being found via a web or app store.
A pointier concept breaks through the clutter more easily, can get some earned media (articles, word to mouth, social media shares etc.) and can lower the need of purchased media. Also a concept that embraces peer-to-peer functionality (challenges, co-creation etc.) may survive and thrive on a lower bought media budget.
The same goes for a service which is very integrated with one or more social media platform (not just adding like share buttons at the end of the project) or web services that are created with SEO driving considerations at the core.
The marketing strategy isn’t just about the launch campaign. One-time visits to the site/web app or downloads of the app are no use to anyone if there is no repeat use or knock-on traffic through media and social media buzz.
A useful methodology for looking at the customer life cycle (there are plenty of others in the marketing world) is Dave McClure’s AARRR methodology which splits the marketing strategy into five goals:
The following diagram illustrates what role marketing plays on the path to conversion for a website. This is nine years old and a little busy, but it’s as applicable to mobile web/apps as anything else around.
Mobile sites/apps can be – and are – promoted through virtually all types of media (it doesn’t have to be mobile):
Take the launch campaign for Supercell’s mobile game Clash of Clans, which has used TV advertising and billboards (pictured above), as spotted on the London underground by mobile marketing agency Somo.
Chris Sheldon, senior account manager, Somo:
One interesting point about the Supercell print ads is the distinct lack of mentions that the product being advertised is an app. There isn’t the traditional ‘download on the App Store logo’. This suggests that they believe their audience is now fully capable of recognizing an ad for an app and how to action it without explicit instructions.
In fact, mobile integration helps make TV, print and out-of-home advertising more measurable and actionable.
If a user interacts with static ad by scanning a unique QR code to hyperlink to a mobile site for more information or texts a unique short code to enter a competition or uses Shazam to identify a song in an ad, the impact of the ad can be measured.
See this case study to see how Somo used Shazam to target customers based on the soundtracks of Very (its client) and competitors’ TV advertisements to drive mobile traffic to Very.co.uk, helping to boost m-commerce sales by 45% over the Christmas period.
These examples aside, mobile media – in-app and web – is the obvious choice for advertising mobile sites and apps.
Agencies will often target users of sites or apps within the same category e.g. games, health. This surge in ads for mobile apps particularly is helping to drive the rapid growth of mobile ads over the last 10 years.
Social media has been a big recipient of mobile advertising. Campaigns that drive traffic to both mobile web and mobile app installs dominate social media marketing.
A study of the top advertisers on Pinterest by SensorTower found that driving traffic to their mobile websites is still a priority over generating app installs.
Expenditure on mobile ads is now the second largest in US, topped only by expenditure on TV, according to eMarketer.
It is expected to account for 21.6% of dollars spent by US advertisers in 2016.
Martin Utreras, senior forecasting analyst, eMarketer:
We believe a good portion of money is spend on app install ads [10.4% of mobile ad spend in 2015]. In addition, a good portion of mobile ad dollars is coming from marketers driving up engagement to those same apps.
Inevitably, this demand is pushing up the cost of mobile ads while consumer tolerance of ads falls, with an increasing number reverting to ad blockers.
According to Fisku, as of December 2015, it now costs $3.34 in advertising for each person that downloads an Android app and $1.46 for Apple.
While winning a loyal user (one that uses the app three times or more) costs $4.23 – up 101% year on year.
With sobering numbers like these, you can see it is important to plan and budget for your go-to-market strategy in advance.
The spiraling cost of advertising makes it essential to consider other forms of marketing, including public relations (below), owned media (digital and physical), shared media and search engine optimization/App store optimization (next column).
PR campaigns aim to generate coverage of your mobile offering in the mainstream, trade publications, blogs and social media etc. where it is hoped it will catch the eye of the target audience.
Agencies may refer to this as creating buzz, influencer outreach, but it all amounts to the same thing: using the influence of others to convince mobile users that visiting your site or downloading your app is a good idea.
There is more to PR than press releases. Agencies will help business refine their marketing message (more about this in the next column).
Using this message, agencies will often spoon feed stories to the media, even write the story themselves or prepare video content – this is called content marketing.
Increasingly agencies will write articles then pay to place it alongside editorial content on host sites – including many of the mainstream publishers – often indistinguishable to readers. This is dubbed native advertising.
Evgene Dychko, Content Manager, at Chicago based app marketing specialist, Comboapp:
PR outreach is more time-consuming part of the promotion strategy than user acquisition [paid ads], but it is proven to be an efficient support for paid marketing efforts. App reviews in media and thematic blogs help to attract and retain target audience.
All kinds of PR implies content marketing, since we send out pitches, write blogs and articles, create message around the product.
One campaign that really got the media talking was the launch of Good2Go, a controversial sexual consent app aimed at US students in 2014.
The campaign run by Comboapp targeted 400 media outlets, generating 210 articles in publications with a collective audience of 4 billion.
The campaign resulted in more than 20,000 downloads in the first week, pushing the app to the top of the App Store lifestyle category.
Despite previous approving the app, Apple pulled the plug on Good2Go just nine days after launch – showing how vulnerable native apps are in Apple’s world.
Whatever the final outcome, Good2Go is a good illustration of the magnitude of PR campaign required to push a mobile app to the top of its category.
The next stage in the formation of your go-to-market plan is the evaluation of owned media (digital and physical), shared media (social media, email, SMS), search engine and app store optimization.
These will be dealt with in the next column.
This is the eighth part of the ClickZ ‘DNA of mobile-friendly web’ series.
Here are the others:
Andy Favell is ClickZ columnist on mobile. He is a London-based freelance mobile/digital consultant, journalist and web editor.
Contact him via Linkedin or Twitter at Andy_Favell.
This article was originally published on our sister siteClickZ, but it’s so helpful we thought we’d share it here too.
Content marketing has been widely adopted but how are people measuring whether it works or not? Which metrics should we be looking at?
The answer to that last question will depend on the business and its goals. Measuring for its own sake is pointless, it has to align with business goals.
With this in mind, I’m not going to tell you which metrics are most important, but will simply present the various metrics you could use.
These are perhaps the most obvious and often easiest things to look at, and can be found with Google Analytics (other analytics platforms are available of course).
Simple enough. How many views did your article, video, infographic etc attract?
It’s a good measure of popularity and indicates whether your content has hit the mark, especially in comparison with other pages.
If the aim is to build an audience and measure popularity, or to convince advertisers, it works.
However, if your goals are different, pageviews will only tell part of the story.
If you’re targeting a specific audience, the number of people viewing your content is less important than whether the right people are.
For example, I could write a piece of clickbait on Kanye or Trump (don’t worry, I won’t) and attract 100,000 views.
However, would it help Search Engine Watch? Would those visitors become regular readers or decide to attend our events? I doubt it.
This can be more precise than pageviews as views can be distorted by other factors. Dirty tricks like pagination for instance.
This was previously known as visits in Google Analytics and refers to a single visit form a user, and may include them viewing several pages.
I’ve covered bounce rates in more detail previously, but basically it tells you the percentage of people that left a given page on your website without viewing any other pages.
It’s a good general measure of whether your content is successful in sending traffic to other, perhaps more valuable areas of your site, if that is the purpose of the content.
What constitutes a good or bad bounce rates depends on the nature of the content and the business goals.
This is a metric I like to use, and it’s relevant for a publisher like SEW. We aim to produce useful content that people will find useful.
If we write a detailed article, and people take the time to read, that suggests it worked well and that the topic was interesting. This can them inform future decisions on content.
For example, this article on internal linking has and average time on page of 4 minutes and 6 seconds, which is higher than the site average.
It suggests that at least some people found it useful (I hope).
Unless your content’s goals can be met with one pageview, then you’re likely to want your content to lead people to another page. Perhaps to sign up for a trial, make a purchase, or download a white paper.
There are a few ways to measure this, but I use a custom segment which filters out the visitors which view three or more pages.
So, for the article mentioned above, we can see how many viewed that and went on to view other pages on the site, and compare this with other pages.
If the aim on your content is to attract new visitors, then this is the metric for you.
Where is the traffic coming from for your content? Are you targeting social users, or perhaps search traffic?
Which sources deliver the ‘right’ visitors? Which work over time?
Some of these metrics can be found on Google Analytics, for others there are plenty of useful tools (free and paid) to use.
NB – the bounce rate, time on page and page depth metrics described above could easily fit into this section too.
Now that Twitter has killed share counts, third party tools are the easiest way to find this data.
Here’s the most shared posts on SEW from the past six months, shown on Buzzsumo.
Not the same as the most popular posts though. It’s interesting (and useful) to note the differences.
Which kinds of content hit the mark on social? Do longer posts work better?
Look into the detail – are you reaching people who are likely to amplify the reach of your content?
Are you reaching people whose profiles match your target audience?
While a lot of opinion around articles is now expressed away from the site, the number of comments on a post can still give an indication of whether the content has hit the mark.
Quality of comments also matters. Are people having an intelligent discussion around the points raised by the article, or are they just insulting each other? Hopefully the former…
Are people clicking through from your content to the relevant pages? Sign up forms, lead generation forms etc.
Is your content working from a PR perspective? Are other sites and sources picking up on your content and mentioning your brand?
SEO goals are part of content marketing, so it’s important to see what effect it is having.
You’ve launched a content-driven campaign, or perhaps a blog. Is it driving more search traffic over time?
If you are using content to improve rankings for certain terms, measure how the content moves the rankings, and which pages are being returned for them.
Is your content attracting links? Which content attracts links from the best sources?
Are you producing evergreen content that delivers traffic and leads over time?
This may require more effort and investment, but it can pay off more handsomely.
These are harder to measure, but remain important.
Does the content help to promote your brand? Do people recall your brand? Do they have a favourable impression?
What are people saying about your content and brand? Social monitoring tools, surveys etc can provide some insight here.
Does your content drive sales and leads? Does it move the bottom line? This is the ultimate aim of content marketing, whatever the goals.
Are people clicking through from your content and making a purchase?
For example, Repair Clinic produces content relevant to people’s repair issues which ranks well in Google and leads visitors to pages like the one shown below.
How many are actually making a purchase?
Are people signing up for test drives, calls for more information, visits to showrooms etc?
Did the content you added at a certain part of the sales funnel increase conversions?
It could be better product page copy, or even a piece of micro-content explaining form fields.
Does your content help to build you email list? This may not deliver an immediate return, but it contributes to email marketing ROI.
How much did the content cost to produce? How many sales or leads can you attribute to it?
This is the ultimate measurement, though outcomes which can’t be easily quantified should be considered.
For example, if the content helped to build awareness of the brand or increased sign ups to emails, then this may deliver a return on the investment long-term.
Which metrics have I missed? What works for you? Let me know below and I’ll add them to the list…
This article was originally published on our sister site ClickZ, but it’s so helpful we thought we’d share it here too.
Our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics teaches you how to set up an account that is linked to your site and recommends a few basic metrics to look at.
Google Analytics is a free service that tracks and reports website traffic. Providing insight into the demographics of site visitors, the performance of a specific campaign, and how long people are staying on your site for, are just a few of the many things the program is capable of.
This data gives you an all round better view of how your site is doing and allows you to understand what improvements can be made to make sure you’re optimizing different areas for maximum conversion.
In the below tutorial, we will walk you through some basics of Google Analytics and what you need to do in order to get started.
If you have a major Google account such as Gmail or YouTube, you are eligible to create a Google Analytics account by following the below instructions.
This account should be only accessed by YOU. Of course, you can authorize other people to act on your behalf if necessary. However, you will not want them to take full control over your data.
For example, ClickZ has granted me access to the company account, but I cannot change account and property settings. This is done to protect the publication and ensure that if I leave, other admins will still have access to the overall account.
In comparison, I can do whatever I want with my personal Google Analytics.
Google Analytics cannot work until it is linked to your webpages. When you finish setting up a new account, Google will ask you to “Get Tracking ID.” Click on the button and you will see your code.
You can always go back to your tracking information under “Property.”
This code needs to be added to every page. How to install it depends on your content type. For instance, some Tumblr templates only require the Universal Analytics (UA) code, as show below.
While some blog platforms like WordPress may ask for full script, if you build a website with HTML files, you can edit HTML and paste the code before “”.
Today many websites like ClickZ are using Google Tag Manager to implement tracking code.
Once you connect Google Analytics with your website, you can set up site search to know what visitors are looking for on your website.
In “View Settings,” turn on site search tracking and enter your website name and URL. The query parameter is usually “s” or “q.” You can determine yours by searching on your own site.
For example, if you enter “mobile” into ClickZ‘s search bar, you will see s= (ClickZ‘s query parameters) followed by your query.
You can also contact your company’s web development department to identify the query parameter for your site.
After you save all the settings, Google Analytics will be able to track any searches made on your website.
Aside from site search, you should also set up a goal so Google Analytics can track important activities on your site. For example, an e-commerce platform may trigger a confirmation page for every placed order, or a digital publisher may create a “Thank You” page when a reader subscribes to its newsletter.
To set up a goal, go to “Goals,” create “New Goal,” and choose “Custom” under “Goal setup.” Then go to “Next Step” where you can name your goal (“Subscribe Success” for example) and select “Destination” if an activity ends on a “Thank You.” If your conversion goal is one step further and you’d like your visitors to watch a video clip after they have reached the Thank You page, then you can add “Event” tracking to your goal set up in order to measure this.
Each goal type has its own requirements and can be customized to what your own KPIs are. In the example of “Subscribe Success” below, I decided to forego “Destination” and go straight to “Event” in order to measure conversions.
Google Analytics will start measuring conversation when a described activity is triggered. You can create up to 20 goals on your website.
You can customize many Google Analytics reports based on your needs. But in “Audience Overall,” you can find some basic yet useful stats around your website.
Take our sister publication Search Engine Watch (SEW) for instance – you can view positive changes in pageviews and sessions from last September to date. Hovering over the line will show you the number of pageviews and sessions for a particular day. (We’ve erased some of the data below as we don’t want to give away all our secrets!)
Under the graph, Google Analytics tells you more about the number of users, bounce rate, average session duration, as well as the ratio of new visitors to returning visitors.
Beneath those main metrics, Google Analytics also shows demographics of SEW‘s readers, including their countries, languages, and devices where they consume content.
Other more in-depth metrics include audience report, acquisition report, behavior report, and conversions report. For example, once you have linked social media and Google Analytics, you will be able to track a particular social media campaign and get related stats under “Acquisition.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed our first installment of Google Analytics for beginners. Stay tuned for the next in the series soon!
We recently looked at the UK sites which made the biggest SEO gains in 2015, and now it’s time to look at the ‘losers’.
The Sistrix visibility index looks at the sites which dropped down. Interestingly, while previous ranking falls have been blamed on Google’s algorithmic changes, there were fewer of these in 2015.
This means that the drops in visibility are more likely to be due to fallout from redesigns and domain name changes. For example, H&M managed to reduce the amount of top ten ranking keywords from 829 to 181 after a redesign.
Here I’ll show some of the losers. Not necessarily the top losers, but interesting cases…
This is the domain which lost most visibility in 2015.
This shopping engine was bought by Facebook in March 2015 and was subsequently closed down. Its rankings had been very erratic before then though.
This was the third biggest loser, but all is not as it seems.
It looks like its rankings fall off a cliff at the beginning of the year, but it actually rebranded as Citizensadvice.org.uk.
All went well though, and the visibility seems to have been transferred from old domain to new.
In contrast to the previous example, this shows how badly sites can get it wrong.
The domain was merged into ark.co.uk but, instead of redirecting pages on the Bank site to their equivalent on Ark, all links were just pointed at the Ark homepage.
A big mistake. As the chart shows, most of Bank’s search visibility was lost overnight.
Last.fm was an excellent music recommendation site but a combination of poorly executed redesigns and the rise of Spotify have seen its search visibility nosedive.
It underwent various product changes and site redesigns during 2012 which didn’t help, before a redesign in August 2015 provoked a massive user backlash.
The background to all of this is the rise of Spotify. The ability to stream a massive range of music on demand (last.fm users couldn’t choose specific songs) turned out to be more popular in the long-term, even though last.fm had some excellent features.
We can see that the decline of last.fm occurs at the same time as Spotify’s growth.
Here, while mistakes may have been made with product and redesign, the ranking drops are the result of reduced levels of user interest over time.
For the full list of the 100 domains which lost visibility, see the Sistrix blog.
This article was originally published on our sister site ClickZ, but it’s so helpful we thought we’d share it here too.
No mobile project should get the green light until there has been a thorough economic feasibility assessment to evaluate if the potential benefits will exceed the costs of developing, promoting and running it.
Conducting an economic feasibility study, which determines if your mobile site, web app or native app will deliver return on investment (ROI), is a critical stage of the feasibility assessment process.
Even if the technical, operational and schedule feasibility tests outlined in the previous column deliver favorable results, the board is unlikely to invest until they see the economics of the project are proven.
To be persuasive an economic feasibility report must:
This should be done for each of the different options for the project e.g. outsource v build yourself; web based v native app.
Noah Elkin, a mobile marketing veteran and co-author of Mobile Marketing: An Hour a Day?
ROI is a metric that generally catches the attention of the higher-ups. If you clearly establish the benefits you expect your strategy or a specific set of tactics to yield, it will be that much easier to justify investment in your efforts from those who control the cash flow. It’s a matter of thinking about it from their perspective.
Guides to conducting economic feasibility studies for mobile projects are hard to find – though this infographic by Kona is a useful introduction to mobile app ROI.
But you can apply a mobile interpretation to the methodologies for IT projects such as these by the departments of computer science at University of Waterloo and University of Toronto.
There are three steps to establishing benefits:
For a customer-facing site or app the goals, KPIs and financial value might be:
KPIs: media mentions; social media mentions.
Financial measurement of value: estimate how much achieving these KPIs would cost through other activates e.g. public relations or advertising.
Increased use of website by mobile devices and reduction in mobile users abandoning site.
KPIs: use web analytics to track the proportion of mobile users on the site, improved time on site; and conversions (e.g. sign-ups, sales).
Financial value: estimate how much achieving these KPIs would cost through other activates e.g. search engine marketing, PR or ads.
KPIs: increased store visits attributable to mobile. Attribution is tricky, but trackable through the redeeming of mobile vouchers instore, use of mobile ticketing, and monitoring the use of stock-checker or store finder tool on the mobile site.
Financial value: compare footfall attributable to other media and how much it would cost to generate a similar improvement in traffic e.g. via print or TV ads.
KPIs: sign-ups to email and SMS alerts; client use of click-to-call or click-to-email on mobile site to contact company with questions about product or services.
Financial value: as above, compare lead generation attributable to other media and how much it would cost to generate a similar improvement in leads e.g. via print or TV ads.
KPIs: direct m-commerce sales made via the mobile site; indirect sales instore or online that can be attributed to mobile.
Financial value: for m-commerce, calculate the number of sales made by people using mobile devices, track improvement and compare with total sales; calculating mobiles contribution to sales in other channels, e.g. where a product is researched on mobile, but purchased instore, is harder to attribute and quantify, but far from impossible.
KPIs: customer retention; return visits to mobile or physical store; sign-up for loyalty program, email or SMS alerts; mobile traffic to loyalty program site, download of loyalty app; redeeming of mobile vouchers or using repeat-buy discount codes.
Financial value: track increases in the proportion of sign-ups to loyalty program etc. attributable to mobile; estimate the cost of boosting loyalty sign-ups via other media.
The goals and KPIs will be different for an enterprise app. An enterprise app is one that is used internally with a company to “mobilize” its workforce i.e. give them access to corporate applications from the mobile devices.
These are measured in terms of productivity and cost savings for relevant departments: see Kony for more details.
It is also important to establish and track the goals and KPIs of the mobile site or app itself. But unless you are a start-up company where your site/app is your entire business, these should not be confused with the business goals above.
It doesn’t matter how many people use you website or app if it delivers no measurable improvement in brand awareness, loyalty, leads and, most importantly, sales.
Goals/KPIs of the website/app include:
When estimating benefits is important to stay realistic.
If you’re a retailer, don’t compare usage frequency with Starbucks or time spent with Facebook, because chances are your customers won’t need to buy something from your store with the same regularity as they get their daily coffee or communicate with their social graph.
It is critical to calculate the entire cost of the project – that is everything from the conception of the project right through to the cost of decommissioning it at the end of its life.
It includes the costs of all criteria technical and operational feasibility tests. All the costs of design, build, launch, running and maintenance costs, scheduled updates, all related wages and training and, arguably the most important, marketing. Gartner calls this total cost of ownership (TCO).
The costs will be unique to each project, but – big or small – they will share a similar cost structure.
Magnus Jern, president DMI International:
What is the cost of developing a mobile app? This is one of the most common asked questions by clients. The answer is somewhere between zero and $40M. The zero option is using an online app tools such as AppMakr and the $50M could relate to a full enterprise mobility solution.
How much does it cost to develop a responsive website? Assuming like-for-like functionality, the total cost doesn’t differ that much from a native app, with the website perhaps coming in a bit cheaper.
How do costs break down? The entire project will usually take up to 5-6 months to the initial release, but this is made up of seven phases. While development will be the largest of these, it terms of time and budget, it will be as little as 40 percent of the cost of the total project.
The phases are:
For each of these phases outlined by Jern you need to estimate the time – and thus budget – to complete all the tasks. In the following chart, Jern estimates the time required for each stage, in the development of a quality app or responsive site.
So what does that mean in cash terms?
The rates per category for app development in US or UK are approximately:
The cost schedule above does not include the operational and promotional costs, which also need to be budgeted for.
Operational costs might include:
Mobile sites, web apps and native apps all need a promotional strategy.
As web properties simply require a user to click a link in search results, email, SMS, social media etc. marketing is less of a challenge for web than native apps, but will still benefit from an investment in search engine optimization (SEO), search advertising, email and social media marketing.
Native apps require the user to visit an app store to download the app to their smartphone (assuming they have the right type of device) which is likely to require considerably more marketing effort than web would.
It is not uncommon to see apps advertised on TV, billboards and print, as well as bombarding mobile users with web and in-app advertising.
Calculate the costs that will be incurred through your go-to-market strategy as you target users through:
It is also imperative take into account expenditure on search engine optimization (to improve where your web site/app appears in search results) and app store optimization (to help improve “discoverability” of you native app).
Mick Rigby, CEO of London-based mobile media agency Yodel Mobile:
The majority of mobile app developers reach the end of their development stage, then when they come to deploy the app find they have a huge hole in their marketing budget. The app stores are the most heavily contested marketplaces, so if there is insufficient budget to market and promote the app, it will die without anyone knowing about it.
If you want it to be discovered than yes, 80% of your overall app budget should go into marketing. This isn’t just about advertising, it also includes app store optimization and on-boarding as well as social, PR and external CRM.
For mobile websites or web apps you don’t need to spend as much on promotion. There’s a shorter user acquisition journey and a less competitive marketplace to advertise in. I’d recommend 50 percent of the overall budget.
There is no average spend. It really depends on the category and expectations. For example, to get your native app into the app store top ten for gaming – one of the most competitive categories – you would be looking at investing upwards of £150,000 ($214,000) a month in mobile advertising in the UK and three or four times that investment in the US.
The go-to-market strategy itself will be looked at in more detail in the next column.
Over time all projects deliver diminishing benefits, until eventually they become outdated, irrelevant and unused. Constant refreshing of content and a regular schedule of new versions, will stem this decay, but will not arrest it.
The rate of decay of native applications is particularly severe, due to the intense level of competition from competing apps for the limited amount of space on each user’s smartphone.
According to Flurry (2014) one half of native apps lose half their peak users within three months. Some app types have a better half-life than others: news (7 months on average), health, business, communication (all 6 months) and tools apps (5.5 months).
There is no equivalent study for mobile sites and web apps. But assuming a regular flow of new content, a good ranking on search engines and regular enticements to return in emails, SMS, social media and marketing materials, the half-life and thus life-span for a good web site/app should be measured in years as opposed to months.
There are several methodologies for calculating the cost/benefit of your project, two of the easier ones to understand are Payback analysis and Return on Investment (ROI).
This method calculates when the project will break even.
So, for example the total cost of the project including development, operational, promotion and running costs comes to $560,000 and the project delivers financial benefits of $150,000 in year one, $300,000 in year two, $250,000 in year three and $150,000 in year four.
This project will payback during year three, because by the end of year three the project will have generated $700,000 in cumulate financial benefits, which is greater than $560,000.
As the project has a life expectancy of more than three years, it is economically feasible. If the life expectancy was less than three years it would not be feasible. When comparing different projects or alternatives for the project, a shorter payback period is preferable.
To find the precise break-even point follow the methodology outlined by Castro and Mylopoulos.
This method is useful for comparing the profitability over the lifetime of the project between different alternatives e.g. outsource v build yourself; web based v native app. And between this project and others projects that are competing for the same investment funds.
So, if the life expectancy of the project is four years and the total costs over the period are $560,000 and the project delivers $850,000 in benefits over four years the ROI is calculated as follows:
Total benefits – total costs = $850,000 – $560,000 = 52%
Total costs $560,000
Repeat this process for the alternatives and compare which version is the most economically viable.
Note both of the Payback and ROI analysis have been simplified to explain the methodologies. For more in depth studies see Castro and Mylopoulos.
The following table shows how economic feasibility might be reported on feasibility matrix (numbers are for illustrative purposes only):
Many enterprise apps have a return of investment in as little as three to six months with investments up to $500,000. The reason is simply that the cost savings and productivity increases are huge.
On the other hand most start-ups take at least 12-18 months before their app will break even and they can pay off the initial investment. 85 percent of all start-ups last less than three years which means that they will probably never pay off the original investment.
The next stage after completing your economic feasibility assessment is to evaluate your go-to-market strategy.
These will be covered in the next article.
This is the seventh part of the ClickZ ‘DNA of mobile-friendly web’ series.
Here are the others:
Andy Favell is ClickZ columnist on mobile. He is a London-based freelance mobile/digital consultant, journalist and web editor.
Contact him via Linkedin or Twitter @Andy_Favell.
What do the autocomplete results for the UK’s political parties tell us about the the corporate and political world, and how are they corrupting your search results?
It’s a conspiracy! Political sabotage! Search engine optimisation in the hands of evil puppet-masters!
If you’ve been on Facebook in the last 12 hours you will probably have seen a few posts similar to the following…
Searchers have discovered that if you type in “labour are” or “lib dems are” the most popular automatically generated results for completed queries are negative phrases such as “finished”, “a joke” and “scum”.
However if you type “tories are” or “conservatives are” you get nothing.
And of all the places this discovery has been revealed (or at least popularised), it’s the Daily Mail.
As you can imagine, there are many calls of conspiracy. The most popular of which are that Google has wiped the autocomplete suggestions for the Conservatives and ‘bumped up’ negative autocomplete suggestions for their rivals as part of a ‘secret deal’ or a ‘thank you’ for allowing Google to get off its outstanding tax balance so lightly.
My first reaction when looking at the story is to say “that’s not how Google works! You need to go into an incognito window to see true results that aren’t based on your own search history, profile and preferences.”
As cynical as I am about Google and the current government, I’m even more cynical about the Daily Mail, and if we cry “sensationalism and lies” about stories that don’t align with our own sentiments, we also have to do the same with their stories which do.
But then… Google’s autocomplete feature isn’t really about your own search history or preferences. Everyone all over the UK is getting the same results.
Google states that autocomplete predictions are “generated by an algorithm without any human involvement. [It’s] based on a number of objective factors including how often others have searched for a word.”
So autocomplete doesn’t necessarily reflect your views, but it will show results based on questions you’ve asked before.
What could be going on here? Perhaps large numbers of the Tory party who are spread across the country have been tasked with mass-typing in queries such as “Labour are finished” in order to manipulate the autocomplete? That probably sounds far-fetched.
But my biggest question here, which does tie-in to the conspiracy thinking, is why aren’t there any Tory autocomplete suggestions at all?
Google has issued a statement saying, “We do remove offensive or inappropriate content from autocomplete predictions.” Which leads you directly to believing that yes Google has removed results for the Conservatives. However if we remember the inconsolable reaction of Labour voters last year when the Tories won the general election, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that the “offensive or inappropriate content” generated by angry non-Tory voters and removed by Google would be far, far worse than “are finished”.
Then again, why is “Labour/LibDems are scum” allowed to remain? Is that not offensive to the Labour party and its voters?
If we look at Google trends for “Labour scum” and “Tory scum” you’ll notice the massive difference between search volume between each party, with the Tories rising to the top. Yet this isn’t affecting the autocomplete suggestions.
I’m writing this not answer these questions myself, as I don’t know what’s going on, instead I’m opening up the floor to our readers, experts and commenters… what do you think is happening here? Something sinister or something easily explainable?
As it’s now February, let’s take a look back at January’s most interesting online stats that will perhaps point you in the right direction for what to expect for the rest of the year.
Here we have everything from display ad spend, ‘peak tech’, in-app customer care, data failure, ad blockers to native ads and the true value of brand activity on social.
And almost one-third of the world uses social media, according to We Are Social’s latest global snapshot.
The key statistics for digital, social, and mobile media in 2016 are:
eMarketer revealed that digital display ad spend will surpass search ad spend in the US for the first time ever in 2016. The categories of video, sponsorships, rich media and “banners and other” will account for the largest share of digital ad spending (47.9% – worth $32.17 billion). Within the display category, one in five dollars budgeted will go to “banners and other”
Research from the 2016 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey reveals that consumer demand for new tech is stalling. Sales of smartphones, tablets and laptops are sluggish and demand for internet of things (IoT) enabled devices isn’t growing fast enough to “offset
Accenture polled more than 28,000 consumers in 28 countries and found that 48% of people are planning to buy a new smartphone in 2016 compared to 57% last year.
Click here for the full infographic.
In 2015, 38% of consumers had planned to purchase a new TV or tablet, this has now fallen to 30% for TVs and 29% for tablets.
As for IoT devices, consumers cite the expense (62%) and privacy fears (47%) as reasons for lack of adoption.
That being said, a surprising 8% of people plan to purchase a virtual reality headset in 2016. At least you’ll be able to clearly see which 8% of the population to avoid while walking down the street.
According to Contact Solutions’ Digital Disconnect report (registration required) a huge 75% of the 1,004 people surveyed said they’d rather use a mobile app for customer service because of their convenience.
Unfortunately 95% of apps force users to exit and transfer to a ‘live’ channel such as phone or live-chat.
A key revelation is that 53% of customers would spend more money with a brand if they could switch channels or devices to carry on their conversation and not have to repeat themselves.
According to a survey by Trusted Media Brands Inc on preferred mobile advertising formats, 45% of marketers say they’re going to use native ads in 2016, a dip of 5% from 2015. Marketers complain that native ads are hard to measure, not easy or quick to produce and the sell through rate for native, even for sites with a stated emphasis on the format can be 5% or less.
According to the IAB, 50% of UK marketers are using programmatic for buying smartphone inventory.
According to a report published on Warc (registration required) only 7% of consumer actions in response to brand-related content on social takes the form of actually sharing the material.
Tania Yuki, Founder/CEO of social content analytics firm Shareablee, reported that:
From January to October 2015, US brands published 35m posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sparking 65bn actions with social audiences (i.e., comments, shares, retweets, etc.) Yet just 7% of these actions involved sharing of a brand’s content… despite what is increasingly recognised as the value of shared content for building brand equity.
CMO Council’s Predicting Routes to Revenue report (registration required) reveals that despite the volume of data at marketers’ disposal, organisations are poorly equipped to offer a more personalised experience.
According to Nielsen, people are “less inclined to simply go to the nearest store [instead] they grab the nearest digital device.
And what is the primary use of a digital device? Research and bargain hunting, and it’s the travel sector which enjoys the most activity…
The report also reveals that 57% of respondents had purchased from an overseas ecommerce retailer in the last six months.
According to IgnitionOne’s Q4 2015 Digital Marketing Report (registration required), Google surpassed Facebook in growth and conversions, seeing an increase of 37% in programmatic display advertising spend and a 34% increase in conversions. Facebook saw an increase of 22% in growth and 17% in conversions.
The cost of Facebook ads experienced a drop, with eCPMs down -6% YoY. Whereas Google saw an eCPM growth of 16%. The report suggests this is largely down to fewer (but larger) ads being shown to users.
A report from The Global Center for Digital Business Transformation surveyed 941 business leaders around the world in 12 industries and surfaced several “troubling findings” in regard to businesses ability to adapt to digital transformation.
Data from GlobalWebIndex (GWI) showed a 10 percentage point rise (from 28% to 38%) in the use of adblocking software in Q4 2015, after little movement in the first three quarters of the year.