Search Engine Marketing – why should you be doing it?

Did you know that the first ten links listed on the first page of a search engine’s results receive just over 89% of all traffic! Of that traffic, the first ranking position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic, the second position receives 11.94%, the third 8.47%, the fourth 6.05%. So where do you want to be? Page 1, position 1? Try typing various different keywords into Google, Yahoo and Bing and seeing where you currently appear in the results. If its not somewhere in the top 3 then straight away you’re losing 60% of your potential customer base. If you’re not on the first page, then there goes another 30%!

PPC vs SEO: Many of you will have heard of organic search (SEO) as opposed to paid search (Pay-per-Click). Well did you also know that although 90% of Search Engine marketing budgets go on Pay-per-Click adverts only 10% of web traffic actually comes from clicks on the paid for results. Conversely, with only 10% of budgets spent on search engine optimisation techniques (organic search), in reality 90% of traffic comes from the organic search listings. That’s why it’s important to budget for ongoing SEO to maintain good organic placement.

Why is search important as a channel? To start with, the numbers: over 50% of Internet users use search on a daily basis. Add to that the general decline in acceptance by web users of display advertising – banners, buttons, pop-ups etc – and search becomes a major way to find and advertise goods and services to new potential customers. Not only that but search is unique in that it gives brands the power to be in front of the consumer at the very time of consumption. Search is an intent driven activity. We don’t search casually, we search to find answers, information, and goods and services to consume. What does that mean for you as a marketer? It means truly qualified leads and it means greater return on your marketing investment as a result.

Getting ready for our Mobile Future

Some of you may have noticed the recent skew towards mobile related blog posts over the last couple of weeks. Well that’s because we want to highlight the importance that mobile is going to play in 2011. As one well known digital marketer recently stated, taking a “wait and see” approach to mobile is no longer the way forward. Today’s consumer is already mobile and this strategy will only “land your brand squarely in the consumer’s rear view mirror”.

According to Gartner research, mobile will outpace the desktop web by 2013 with more mobile devices accessing the Internet than PCs. But if you’re thinking that 2013 seems a long way off, well think again. Here in the UK, mobile internet retail sales are already worth £123 million and are set to more than double over the next two years. According to the latest research by Ofcom, 23% of UK’s mobile phone users now regularly use their handsets to access the internet and as the uptake in smartphones increases so too will mobile internet usage. Already many mainstream UK businesses are reporting that between 5-15% of their overall site traffic is mobile based and with more than 50% of users aged 18-39 also checking their email on their mobile if you have an e-CRM programme there’s another channel that needs to be optimised for mobile!

So here’s a challenge for you: have a quick check of your site statistics. This will illustrate just how popular your website already is with mobile users. It could also highlight the need for a mobile-specific interface, especially if the mobile stats don’t paint a pretty customer experience e.g. a high bounce rate for key site pages viewed on a mobile device. Then have a look at your own company site on your mobile. For example, if your non-mobile optimised website has components that use Flash, any iPhone/iPad browsers will not be able to render the content ultimately resulting in a poor user experience.

Want to learn more? Need some help building your business case for your investment in mobile and for working out what the return on your investment would be? BoxStuff now offers a range of mobile services so get in touch now and talk to us about how you can ready yourself and your business for today’s rapidly developing mobile future.

Mobile Coupons

Its official, we’re a nation that loves coupons and more precisely mobile coupons. Recent research shows that 29% of British shoppers have used a mobile coupon vs only 15% of shoppers in the US. Not only that but 71% of the British consumers surveyed showed an interest in having coupons delivered to their mobiles.

Retailers are picking up on this consumer trend according to a recent report by the IHL Group and RetailConnections with 54% of retailers contacted saying they plan to put in place m-couponing systems within the next 12 months.

More convenient for the consumer as they benefit from the timely, targeted nature of the digital communication, this shows in the high redemption rates attributable to coupons distributed digitally: 10-15% compared to an overall 1.2%.

The New Rules of Mobile Marketing

Here’s an article I found on Adotas written by Bryce Marshall. All of his rules ring true but it was particularly the first one that really struck a chord with me:

Old rule: Taking a “wait and see” approach to mobile, or employing an under-funded “toe-dipping” methodology.

New rule: The consumer is mobile. This is a reality. In 12 to 18 months, the mobile landscape will be forever changed. The “wait and see” and “toe-dip” approaches will land your brand squarely in the consumers’ rear-view mirror. At minimum, a brand’s mobile strategy and budgets should be aligned to create mobile-friendly experiences across key digital touch points and critical business services.

Mobile Internet Usage & Trends

Well Econsultancy has published their latest statistics on mobile internet usage and trends from both here in the UK and Europe. I’ve picked out a few of the interesting ones:

  • 42% of UK shoppers have used their mobile phones while shopping offline, while 16% used it to compare prices with other stores.
  • 55% of small businesses have not checked the appearance of their own website on a mobile phone, despite the fact that 64% of small business owners regularly use the mobile web.
  • 41% of SMEs said their website didn’t look as good on a mobile, while 36% said the functionality had been affected.
  • Just 7% have already optimised their sites for mobile, but 65% had no plans for a mobile version.
  • According to a study of 1,500 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain shoppers who use their mobile in some part of the research and purchase process spend 15% to 30% more than those who use just one channel.
  • UK users prefer to access the mobile internet using a browser rather than an ‘app’ (70% versus 55%) according to a study by Orange.
  • Mobile internet sales could double in the next 3 years. By 2013 mobile internet sales could reach as much as £275m, 4% of online retail spending, up from £123m currently.

Mobile Barcoding

Mobile BarcodeWell Amazon have entered the fray and have added a nice new feature to their iPhone mobile shopping app. Users can now scan a barcode on a product and instantly get matching product and pricing information from Amazon’s catalogue allowing them to comparison shop as they are are walking through a store.

According to Amazon, its sales from mobile devices surpassed $1 billion last year so this new added functionality is only going to help drive this revenue stream.

This follows eBay and Google who have both already made their entries into this space. eBay recently purchasing RedLaser and Google adding barcode scanning to their Product Search last year.

Is Social Media a passing fad?

Here’s a few statistics that I’ve gleaned from various sources that would say that it definitely isn’t!

1: Social networking sites are officially the most popular sites on the internet after porn sites.

2: 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks.

3: Time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate.

4: 87% of sales come from referrals. The average person is exposed to 3000 advertising messages per day. Only 14% of people trust advertisements whilst 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers.

5: Facebook is the 3rd most trafficked website in the world.

6: As of November 2010, with more than 500 million active users, if Facebook were a country, it would be world’s third largest after China and India.

7: Over 50% of Facebook’s active users log on in any given day and on average people spend over 200 million minutes per day on the site.

8: People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

Based on all that, it’s clear that a company should have a presence in the social web! To end I’ll leave you with a quote from one my favourite marketeers:

“Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.” – Seth Godin

Location-Based Marketing

Two new services that have recently been launched – one that’s already here in the UK and one no doubt to follow very soon – are bringing the power of location-based marketing alive.

Here in the UK, O2 has recently announced the launch of a six-month pilot scheme of location-based mobile marketing, in partnership with US firm Placecast. Customers can opt in to the service, by registering on o2more.co.uk, that will then see them receive relevant marketing messages, depending on their age, gender, interests and location.

The service uses Placecast’s geo-fencing technology meaning that when users enter a geo-fenced area ‘owned’ by participating advertisers, they will receive promotions and discounts via SMS and MMS.

Then at a recent gathering at their Palo Alto offices, Facebook announced an extension to their Places feature. Now businesses will have the ability to offer deals to users who ‘check in’ using the site’s Places feature.

One of the first partnerships Facebook announced was with the Gap. It plans to run a campaign offering a free pair of jeans to the first 10,000 users who check in to their local Gap store using Facebook’s mobile application.

Mobile Site vs Mobile App?

I saw a good article recently that was looking to address that quandary faced by marketers looking to engage with their audience in the mobile channel: What do you build first?

Do you build the mobile website before or after building a mobile application, be it for Android, iPhone, Blackberry or whatever platform you want to reach? Or would you be better off starting with an app?

Technology.Inc provide a helpful resource for marketers struggling to answer that question – a checklist of six items that should help steer the decision making process:

1. Utility: To reach the broadest audience, you need a mobile website. If you go with an app, you’ll have to continue to develop apps for the most popular platforms.

2. Need: Local businesses (think restaurants, retail shops) do better with mobile websites because customers generally just need basic information like a phone number or address. When the product is a service, like finance or transportation, apps are better. Apps are also better when usage is heavy.

3. Traffic: Apps are better for situations when you want to push a lot of information to customers, or when repeated interaction is likely. Also, if your website is already seeing a lot of traffic from mobile devices, you should launch a mobile site promptly.

4. Content: Text-based content often does well on a mobile site, while media-rich content is generally better within an app.

5. Availability: If you rely on and see a lot of search engine referrals for discovery about your business, you should consider building a mobile website. Mobile searches will reveal your site, but would not point to your app.

6. Cost: If cost is an important factor, consider a mobile website, which costs 50%-80% of the cost of building your main website. The article also quoted Aaron Maxwell of Mobile Web Up, a mobile design firm for businesses, saying that a well-done mobile app can cost as much as $35,000-$50,000 on each platform. (There are low-cost alternatives, however).