Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: April 18, 2013 3:25 pm

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When we cast our minds back to 2005, Facebook was a very different scene. Little more than an upgrade from the likes of Bebo and Myspace, it was a basic platform where people could search for friends, upload pictures and reminisce from the night before. 8 years and one billion users later and Facebook has undergone a radical transformation, providing apps, games and even real time Bingo.

The most recent bow to its arrow comes in the form of Facebook Home. Described as a family of apps, it automatically shows updates on homescreen and lockscreen, allowing you to view a steady stream of posts and photos the second you turn on your phone. Put simply, it takes over your home screen.

Mark Zuckerburg’s multi-billion empire sums up the new systems when they say “everything on your phone gets friendlier.” With faster access to the essentials, as well as upfront notifications, users can even continue their conversations whilst using other apps, surfing the internet or watching videos. What’s more, the social media giant has introduced Chat Heads. Upon a friend starting a conversation, a message will pop up with a photo of that person, allowing users to tap to open or simply swipe to ignore.

A whole new meaning to the word convenience it would seem, however has this so called `convenience` gone a step too far for some people? As to be expected from any major update introduced by Facebook, the news has been met with a sense of controversy, if not hysteria. A simple internet search can take you directly to advice on how to install Facebook Home, and rumours have already begun circulation that Google tried to block it. Google’s Eric Schmidt has been quick to dispel the idea however, stating it would be “against our religion”.

Facebook Home became available from the Android Play Store in the UK April 12th on HTC One as well as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Whilst it is not currently available for tablets, the company has hinted that it would like to venture this way in the future. It appears unlikely that Facebook Home will launch on iPhone however.

With the news not having long broken, many are still in the dark as to what Facebook Home actually is, let alone installed it yet, but as more take the plunge it will be interesting to monitor the reaction it receives.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: April 9, 2013 11:59 am

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You may be feeling that the one thing missing from your Facebook experience is the ability to accompany your status updates with an appropriate emoticon? No? It may not be amongst your top priorities, but like all of the social media giant’s additions and amendments, it will probably be hard to imagine life on the network without them given a week or two.

As of today, Facebook’s lucky users will be able to share how they’re feeling and what they’re up to through a drop down menu of emoticons and media, letting friends and acquaintances know precisely what they’re reading, watching or eating.

Put simply, it makes it easier to formally tag the places we attend, the TV shows we’re watching or the music we’re listening to, and so of course inviting our friends to get more involved in the things we love. For example, a person listening to an up and coming musician in their local area would be able to spread the word amongst friends, enabling them to click straight through to the Facebook profile and hit the “listen button”.

It’s all supposed to be part of Facebook’s plan to get users to open up more. But do a series of pre-formatted pictures really help us to express how we’re feeling? A more cynical approach would see this as an attempt to over simplify our moods and feelings? How often can we say we feel 100% sad, happy or confused? And more to the point why is Facebook asking us for such personal information?

Those who do try out the new drop down box will no doubt have noticed the pop-up notifying them that “details you add to posts also appear on your About page and other pages on Facebook.”

Now it is, the “other pages on Facebook that seems to be causing the biggest stir amongst critics and users. Facebook is essentially warning us that if we choose a particular pre-formatted emotion, TV programme or brand of coffee, Facebook could potentially use this data to target us with ads.

For example someone who reveals that they are listening to Beyonce could be targeted with ads for her new album or appearance. But is this all bad? If we’ve already stated an interest in the subject, is it not surely quite feasible that we should want to hear more about it?

Either way it will be interesting to hear feedback from Facebook’s one billion active users.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: February 14, 2013 11:58 am

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We often talk about the phenomenal growth of mobile search and how too many digital marketers aren’t doing enough to adapt their strategies to this trend. However, recent research from Marin Software, the leading paid search management platform, shows that this may be changing.

The data shows that mobile devices achieve higher click through rates (CTRs) than desktop when it comes to UK paid search ads, a somewhat surprising discovery when considering the length of time they have been in regular use.

The study looked at how different devices performed last year, with smartphones leading the way with the highest CTR at 5.87% compared to 3.93% on tablet and just 2.29% on desktop. The gap between smartphones and the other two devices is quite significant, and what has surprised many people in the online marketing arena the most is the difference between smartphones and tablets with most people expecting these to be more similar to each other than desktops.

As well as achieving the highest CTR, smartphone clicks are cheaper than the corresponding desktop and tablet clicks, which may prompt more paid search advertisers to target their ads towards this device.

Generally speaking, keywords and ads that are closely related to each other and your business will give your ads the best chance of achieving a higher click through rate.

The research also delved in to cost per click, this time with tablets coming out highest. Tablet CPCs saw the most significant growth during 2012, averaging a 36% increase in the UK compared to 24% for smartphones and 14% for desk top.

The recent move to Enhanced Campaigns may affect mobile CPCs during the 2013, so it will be interesting to keep track of how this develops. The new method of managing paid search means that advertisers will be able to target people based on the time of day, their location and the device they’re using.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: February 7, 2013 9:36 am

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Yes we all know that more and more people are browsing the internet using a mobile device. You may even know that one in seven searches is now on mobile. But are you doing enough about it? Most people are now aware that they need a dedicated mobile site, but in order for this to be successful you need to think about your keyword selection too.

Why? Because you could be missing out on keywords that your audience uses on mobile that they may not use on a desktop. Those using a mobile device to make a search are often on the go and may accompany their usual search term with words like “local” or “nearby”. Make sure you’re not choosing the wrong keywords for your intended audience.

Before you start making your choices however, be sure to have a clear idea of what you want your keywords to achieve.

Once you have defined your goals there are a number of tools that can help you find the most profitable search terms for your mobile site. You need to establish how mobile searchers discover your site as well as how people find your competitors.

  • Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see where you rank for the keywords that mobile searchers enter.
  • Google Analytics gives you keywords used by mobile and tablet users. You can even separate results to show the difference between mobile and tablet.
  • Google Keyword Tool can provide you with mobile specific keywords that you aren’t already optimised for.

The next stage in your quest for the perfect mobile search terms is selecting the right ones. Easier said than done- these tools can help you estimate traffic and competitiveness but they aren’t enough on their own.

Google Webmaster Tools mobile search queries report is useful for comparing desktop queries with mobile queries and establishing the differences in the search behaviour of users accessing your site from different platforms

Mobile/non mobile tag clouds can also help you see what other search terms your mobile audience is interested in and is a quick way of finding out which keywords are used more by mobile users than desktop users.

Remember also to calculate the mobile percentage of total traffic using Google Keyword Tool. This should help you determine keywords that are not only relevant to your business but most likely to provide you with more search traffic.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 30, 2013 2:52 pm

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Back in May 2012 when Google dropped the bombshell that its Product Search would become Google Shopping, many an online retailer was annoyed that they would no longer be able to enjoy the free extra traffic that the platform provided.

Google describes the move as an attempt to encourage merchants to make shopping results more effective for consumers through providing more up to date and relevant information on their products, like accurate pricing, recent photos and availability data.

With the transition from a free to a paid service taking place in just a couple of weeks, on 13th February, we’ve taken a look at how marketers on the other side of the pond have dealt with the change.

Research from Marin Software suggests that actually, those who have adopted Google Shopping in the U.S. appear to be achieving a great deal of success, especially over the festive season. More than 100,000 retailers now use the platform in the States and with click shares now increasing from 2.1% to 6.6% it’s not hard to see why.

This also suggests that shoppers are finding the ads increasingly relevant to their search queries. Better still, product listing ads ended the year with a higher click through rate and lower average clicks than text ads. However, as we are dealing with the Christmas period here, this success could be attributed to an increase in product related searches.

Either way it will be interesting to see how the transition is received over here, and whether paid search marketers will allocate part of their budget to Google Shopping.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 14, 2013 2:06 pm

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It appears as though internet giants like Facebook and Google may be forced in future to ask permission to use personal data.

The news comes just as uproar following the recent Instagram controversy has died down. The company dropped a decision to sell their users’ photos to advertisers after losing more than a quarter of its customers in one week alone.

Now it appears as though Facebook and Google may find themselves backed into a similar corner. As two firms that profit particularly well from user data, the new EU proposal for tougher consumer protection must have come as something of a shock. Particularly so for Facebook, which has come under close scrutiny for some of its slightly disappointing revenue reports of late.

EU lawmakers are planning to limit companies’ ability to use and sell data to advertisers by stating that users must have the opportunity to consciously agree to data processing, or reject it. This kind of data can include internet browsing habits. Those who use Facebook regularly may have noticed adverts tailored to their individual interests or general internet activity.

Needless to say, Facebook and Google are planning to fight back against the curbs. The story is likely to be more popular amongst consumers however, with online forums becoming increasingly filled with people irritated by this kind of behaviour.

However, before panic sets in, it is worth noting that there are exceptions to the new proposed rules. For example, a firm would still be allowed to send junk mail to a user based on data it had gathered itself.

On Wednesday, a plan is expected to be announced to ensure that search engines and social network users are in control of how much of their data is sold to advertisers.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: January 8, 2013 12:48 pm

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Do you work in the digital marketing sector? Have you been putting in longer hours? Gone that extra mile to satisfy your clients? All without feeling like you’re enjoying the benefits? If so, you’re not alone.

A new study has shown that almost 90% of digital and design agencies believe their clients now expect more work for less money. The design Industry Voices Report interviewed 500 agency staff, finding that 80% of participants claim their clients’ budgets have been reduced and more than two thirds said clients expect more work in pitches for free.

So what impact does this have on those affected? Whilst clients need to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth in order to balance their finances, it is equally important for digital marketing agencies to make sure they are turning over enough profit to survive.

The answer appears to lie in compromise. Demonstrating to clients that you are more than capable of achieving tangible results within a reasonable timescale, as well as going out of your way to meet demands should be enough to convince them to stay. Any further, unreasonable requests are unlikely to be met by another company that is as successful at what they do, which should persuade clients that they are in the right hands.

What’s also interesting is that the same report also suggests that agencies are experiencing a huge turnover in staff and relying heavily on freelancers. 61 % of those surveyed said they are employing less permanent staff. This in itself could be contributing to the problem. A significant lack of staff will always make it appear that more work is mounting up and non-permanent staff and freelancers will naturally take longer to complete work as they will be less familiar with the clients and tasks in hand.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: November 19, 2012 9:00 am

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With Penguins and Pandas galore, the SEO world can at times resemble a zoo. In order to carry out an effective SEO campaign it is becoming more or less essential to focus on content creation. With everyone following the same advice, and churning out blogs, press release and on-page content like there’s no tomorrow, we need to look towards other avenues. Editorials are one way of impressing your readers as well as considerably boosting your SEO. So what makes them so great?

  • You gain significantly more valuable links. The Penguin update focused on link building practices in particular, and posting an editorial on an authoritative national or regional site is an effective way of building up authoritative links naturally whilst keeping Google happy but adhering to its guidelines.

 

  • You’ll also see that your name appears prominently at the top of the search engines for longer too. Unlike press releases that will gradually move down the SERPs as more content is added, editorials help boost your web awareness for a more sustained period.

 

  • This is turn is great for reputation management. Naturally ranking above all other content under your name, this will push any potentially negative press about you down the SERPs. It should also serve to get rid of any lingering doubts this may have left about your company.

 

  • Aside from the likes of ranking and link authority, editorials are simply a great way of drawing your reader in and demonstrating your expertise on a given subject. Well researched pieces will show your potential customers that not only are you a dominant figure within your industry but that you’re more than well-equipped to handle their requirements. It also shows that you take the web presence of your company seriously.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: October 29, 2012 10:03 am

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It might seem a little early to be thinking about Father Christmas and figgy pudding, yet thousands of shoppers each year get started on their Christmas purchases as early as October. With so many online providers competing for each sale, it has never been more important to stand apart from your rivals. There is still time however, to make sure your e-commerce site achieves optimum conversion rates over the festive period.

  • Ensure your returns and exchanges policy is displayed as prominently as possible. This is especially important for those planning to extend this over the Christmas season. In the midst of difficult financial times, the reassurance of being able to easily return a gift can have a significantly positive impact on your conversions.

 

  • The same advice goes for delivery. It is just as key to your conversion rates to make sure your delivery policy is clearly visible. Offering free delivery is an excellent way of encouraging uncertain impulse buyers to part with their cash. It is also helpful to customers to include your last order date, especially as the day itself draws closer.

 

  • Create a special Christmas landing page. This themed paged can act as a centre for all your Christmas related products and content, and can help get shoppers in the festive spirit

 

  • It goes without saying, but it really is essential to make sure all webpages you create are accessible and follow good practice. In the run up to Christmas, it can be easy to focus on design and visual optimisation; however your efforts will be worthless if your site is not fully functional and easy to navigate.

 

  • Don’t forget to consider implementing a strong follow up marketing plan. Be sure to target those who bought from you over Christmas when it comes to your January sales. If you’ve followed the above tips then hopefully your customers will have enjoyed a pleasant shopping experience with you and be more than willing to return to your site.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: October 15, 2012 11:55 am

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Those in the online marketing profession will likely be inundated with advice on the web about how content is crucial for SEO. Whilst there is no denying the importance of high quality copy for boosting your natural search listings, content for PPC can sometimes become overlooked! Spending the necessary time to create text ads for paid search listings really can make a distinct difference to your campaign’s success. Here’s five ways to get the most from your text ads.

  • Look to your competitors. Before you begin creating your ad text, it is really important to check what your competitors are targeting for the same keyword. With this in mind you can get an idea of what ideas are the most successful. However, the most vital thing to remember here is not to simply replicate these but find your company’s most unique selling point and focus your ads around this.

 

  • Pay attention to your CTAs. Your CTAs, or calls to action should be short, snappy and designed to make an immediate impact on your customers. What you choose should depend on the nature of your keywords, however including a contact number, or encouraging people to receive a free quote are both effective methods.

 

  • Double check your SPG. Common grammatical errors or typos have a notoriously negative impact on your click through rate, especially given the short amount of space given to promote your company.  In order to make your ads appear neater and more prominently it would be a good idea to include a capital letter for the start of each word.

 

 

  • Experiment with the character alliance. With only 25 characters allowed for the heading and 35 for each line, it is important to make sure you make the most of this allocated space as possible. It is worth playing around with the order of the words as well as language to get as close to the word count as possible.
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