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I recently attended an excellent 2015 SEO and PPC Trends webinar by Krista LaRiviere of gShift and Chris Doran of Acquisio. Their presentation was packed with useful information and engaging graph-filled slides. Big thanks to both of them for such a well-planned and informative session! What follows is a summary of what Krista and Chris covered during the webinar.

5 SEO and PPC Trends to Watch in 2015:

1. Increase in Voice Search
Most consumers have smart phones these days, and in October 2014 the number of devices surpassed the number of people in the world. With that, more and more people are using voice-based search. When we use voice search, we tend to speak in full sentences. As search marketers, we need to account for the difference between conversational voice search and pared-down keyword phrases typically used in searches via desktop browsers.

We’ll also likely begin seeing a change in ad formats as voice search continues to become more common. It will be interesting to see how digital marketing grows alongside user behavior!

2. Mobile Growth for Paid Search
Mobile paid search on Google properties is up 14%. And the amount of online purchasing occurring via mobile is huge: 79% of users make purchasing decisions via their phones and 50% make purchases on mobile devices with an hour of their search. As a comparison, the average delay between search and purchase on desktop is one month.

Why is purchasing behavior so different for mobile users? Customers conducting searches on mobile devices are looking to meet an immediate need, are doing price comparisons or looking for local products, and are looking for a streamlined experience. This means optimizing websites for mobile use is more important than ever.

3. Video Ads and Vlogs
You like watching videos on YouTube or Vimeo, right? Most of us do. And with that, more and more content marketing strategies contain a video component these days. Does your business offer a vlog? You will benefit from vlogging in the following ways: you’ll be offering your audience an alternate way to consume content; you’ll be expanding your digital footprint; your video can be indexed and discoverable within 15 minutes of uploading to YouTube. Your vlog does not have to be fancy, so why not get started today?

4. Native Ads
Native ads are becoming more and more popular because they look so natural. A lot of times, we don’t even realize we are looking at an advertisement when we see a native ad! LaRiviere projects that we’ll soon see a pivot point in which there will be more and more ads and therefore less integration.

Native advertising is growing quickly and will reach $5.7 billion this year. Yahoo, in particular, is investing in this trend. So how do we use it? Your SEO and content strategy can inform and drive your native advertising campaign. Consider boosting your owned and earned content with native ads. Why not?

5. Continued Growth in Digital Marketing Technology
There has been a 100% growth in digital vendors this year. Look at chiefmartec.com‘s 2015 Digital Marketing Landscape. Incredible!

When asked what marketers thought the year’s most exciting opportunity would be in 2014, here is what they predicted compared to what actually happened:

2014 digital marketing survey

What aspect of the digital marketing world are you most excited about this year?


- By Cariwyl

Congratulations to Cariwyl Hebert, our very own Digital Marketing Navigator at Susby. Earlier this month, Cariwyl earned the SEO Practioner Certification for completing the Market Motive SEO Certification Course. In addition to her Google AdWords and Social Media expertise, Cariwyl will also be consulting for Susby on SEO work and search marketing projects.

No other person works harder at gaining new skills and diving in with everything she’s got! I’m proud to have had Cariwyl on the Susby team since 2010 and look forward to her practicing her new skills in SEO this year.

SEO Certified Practitioner

In addition to digital marketing consulting, Cariwyl has experience as an event planner, running her own business where she is the founder and chief Mozart at Salon97.org. Cariwyl steers the organization to make Classical Music accessible to everyone. She holds Bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University, has worked for the Grammy’s, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and enjoys keeping fit, taking photos and is quite an expert wine taster, having studied to be a sommelier in the not to distant past as well.

If you have questions about SEO consulting services, classical music, Instagram latergrams or just want to chat about interesting wines, contact Cariwyl@Susby.com, or Suse@Susby.com or simply post a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

And remember: Search is at the core of all digital marketing and SEO helps you get found.

SEO Certification Medallion


- By Suse Barnes

When it comes to email marketing, the million dollar question is: when do I send it? Any e-newsletters and promotions we send are competing for readers’ attention before they even reach inboxes: demanding workdays, busy personal lives, and floods of business-related emails–not to mention the other promotions competing to be seen!

Determining the best time to send email promotions depends on your audience and can vary greatly by industry. Start by looking back at previous email campaigns to see what worked best for your company in the past.

Email timing has also been studied and researched by numerous marketers and below are some highlights of recent findings that will help you develop guidelines for email testing strategies:

-Don’t mail on Mondays.
You aren’t the only one who is really busy at the beginning of the week! Your email is likely to be lost among everything that came in over the weekend. Many consider Tuesday to be the best day to send email; Wednesday and Thursday are favorable as well. By Friday, people are more focused on weekend plans and completing to-do lists than inboxes, so avoid this day as well.

-Don’t send email promotions while your target audience is sleeping.
E-blasts sent overnight tend to go unseen. If it arrives when they are asleep, your audience is less likely to see it when they’re awake. This is similar to the issue with Monday: a lot of emails come in overnight–more than you may expect. Therefore, your competition to be seen is that much greater.

There is some debate over whether it is better to send email in the morning or afternoon. This can vary by industry, and it also varies by who you ask. Marketers test and research email open rates frequently and a case can be made for mailing on any day of the week. Wordstream recommends sending campaigns between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. or between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

And Dan Zarrella and Pure360 offer an excellent infographic chronicling their research on email timing:

email timing

Don’t be shy about doing you own testing. What works great for one mailing list may not be the best choice for your company. To eliminate the guess-work completely, use an email service, like MailChimp, that offers Send Time Optimization. This feature uses data from the millions of emails sent using their service to determine the best time to deliver your email.

What experiences have you had with email timing? We welcome you to join the conversation in the comments section below.


- By Cariwyl

We recently discussed the latest Twitter profile updates and how to use them to your advantage. Now that you’re creating banner images and pinning tweets with the best of them, let’s dig a little deeper. According to Twitter Brand Partner Alex Ticas, Twitter has 255 million active users. Ticas also states that there are 1 billion tweets (yes, *billion*!) every two days. That’s pretty incredible. This doesn’t mean you can’t rule Twitter! You’ll just have to work a little harder to cut through the noise.

Here are 3 great ways:

1. Choosy tweeters choose GIFs.

Those often-hilarious moving images you see across the internet are called animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). They were introduced by CompuServe in the late 1980s but have had a recent resurgence in popularity.

cat animated gif

This summer, Twitter announced that the platform now supports animated GIFs. Now you can delight your followers with short animated images of fluffy animals or your latest products or sale items. As with all other image-related marketing, the possibilities are endless.

Fun fact: did you know that GIF’s pronunciation deliberately echos the famous peanut butter brand JIF? CompuServe employees used to say that “choosy developers choose GIF” as a nod to the peanut butter brand’s slogan.

 

2. Embed photos.

Rule Twitter

If you aren’t attaching images to your tweets yet, now is the time to start! This is a great way to attract more views for your tweets, so reserve this feature for your most important messages. On Twitter, click the camera icon when composing a tweet to add your image. Hootsuite now offers the option to post images via pic.twitter.com as well so that your images will show in native Twitter feeds even if you aren’t posting directly from the Twitter platform.

Social Media Examiner offers a great article on how to prepare your images for Twitter’s automatic cropping and resizing.

 

3. Find Leads with Advanced Search. 

Twitter is a great place to meet people virtually and begin the path to real-world relationships and business exchanges. But what if you want to reach beyond tweets from people and businesses you already follow? That’s where Twitter’s Advanced Search comes in handy.

Do you want to see who is talking to (or about) businesses like yours? Type “to: @username” into the search box.

rule twitter

Only want to see conversations happening near you? No problem. Here is a search for all tweets within four miles of San Francisco’s 94102 zip code, tagged with #sanfrancisco:

rule twitter

You can also search for tweets based on subject and sentiment. Here is a query for people saying positive things about black shoes:

rule twitter

Get more tips for using Twitter’s Advanced Search function with Beth Gladstone‘s excellent and detailed post on Social Media Examiner.

Do you have Twitter tips to share? Let us know in the comments section!


- By Cariwyl

If you spend time on social media, it’s no secret to you that 2014 is all about content. You’ve also likely noticed the lifestyle emphasis of popular content this year. Videos, images (both with and without text), and the beloved listicle are also very popular in 2014. And if it seems like your news is coming from more and more varied sources, it’s true! As the 2014 social media marketing trends infographic below by TalkWalker states, more and more brands are becoming content producers.

2014 social media trends

Talkwalker.com is an excellent social metrics platform for brands. Signing up is easy and free. And once you are logged in you can search for social media metrics on any brand you like. Track your brand’s buzz, engagement, potential reach, and see how you stack up against brands similar to yours. See what people are saying about you and get a general idea of the sentiment surrounding your brand too. But look closely! Sometimes this aspect of social listening is inaccurate. For instance, Talkwalker sees the phrase “crazy cool” as a negative statement.

As Talkwalker’s infographic states, be passionate with your content and your social messaging!

What social media trends are you noticing this year?


- By Cariwyl

In our last post we discussed recent changes to Facebook advertising. In keeping with the theme of always-changing social media platforms, we’re back with must-have tips regarding the latest Twitter profile changes.

Twitter announced their new profile format in early April. Though resistance to change is typical among those on social media, it was immediately clear that the updates really did provide an enhanced Twitter experience.

In today’s post we highlight Twitter’s recent profile changes and how they can be useful to you and your business:

1. Larger Banners

The large banner images we know so well on Google+ and Facebook have now made their way over to Twitter. Get the most out of this new feature by using images that show customers what your business is all about!

Caterpillar Twitter banner

image via hubspot.com

Apple App Store Twitter banner

image via hubspot.com

The examples above from Caterpillar and Apple show two very different ways you can utilize Twitter’s enhanced banner size to share eye-catching images with your audience. Be creative and have fun!

2. Pinned Tweets

Finally, we have the ability to leave an important message at the top of our Twitter feeds for as long as we want! In an environment as hectic as Twitter, it can be difficult to be seen–regardless of the importance of your message. With the new pinned tweet functionality you can ensure your latest news will be the first thing visitors see when viewing your profile.

nike pinned tweet

Simply log into your Twitter account, click on “Me” to go to your profile, scroll down to the tweet you want to pin to the top, click the three dots next to the trash can icon, and select “pin to your profile page.” The pinned tweet will remain at the top of your profile until you select a new pinned tweet.

3. Highlighting Your Best Content

Twitter now gives your most popular tweets a larger font size, which both encourages users to post quality tweets and makes it easier for profile visitors to see your best content. More favorites and retweets than you typically receive for a tweet is all it takes to activate the larger font.

Stay tuned for more Twitter tips on the blog next month!


- By Cariwyl

If we told you that Facebook advertising changes were coming your way next month, would you be surprised? We’re guessing you wouldn’t. Marketers and consumers alike notice frequent changes (often with shock and dismay) to their favorite social networks. While sometimes these changes are for the better from a consumer perspective, more often than not social media users are frustrated by surprise layout and functionality changes. As marketers, we understand the ramifications these changes can have if they catch you off guard! Scrambling to catch up is never fun, which is why we’re here to let you know that yet another round of Facebook advertising changes is set to roll out beginning in June 2014. The right-hand column ads we all know and love (pictured below) will be displayed at a larger size starting next month. Facebook righthand column ads   The current 100×72 size will be phased out, which means the best way to get the most out of your right-hand column advertising is to create new 600×315 versions of your ads. These new ads will be rendered at 254×133 and are expected to increase engagement with your potential customers. We certainly can’t argue with that. Start planning your new right-hand column advertising strategy today and stay ahead of the curve!


- By Cariwyl

According to eMarketer.com, the average American adult spends five hours per day online–more time than we spend consuming any other form of media.

emarketer

Many factors influence how we interact with a website: easy-to-read text, images, clear call-to-actions, and a clean design encourage web users to stay awhile. But did you know that color has a great impact on user behavior as well?

This infographic from TestKing.com shows us which emotions are evoked by each color, discusses subtleties determined by color shade, and how to best use colors to evoke the emotions you want potential customers to feel when they visit your site:

color infographic

Does Facebook’s use of blue and gray inspire us to trust the site with the most important moments in our lives? It’s very possible, considering that some of the most-used social networking platforms utilize similar color palates: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

What emotions do your favorite sites evoke?


- By Cariwyl

The internet is a noisy place. With numerous social networks, search engines, and popular websites, it can be difficult to remain visible to potential customers. While services such as Google AdWords help businesses acquire new customers via search, retargeting keeps your brand front-of-mind on the sites web users love most. In this post, we explain what retargeting is and how to use it to help your business gain new leads and customers.

What is retargeting? 

Retargeting is a type of paid online marketing that targets potential customers based on their previous web-based actions. Visitors to sites that have implemented retargeting are tagged with a cookie or pixel and are later served image ads about that company to entice them to come back and make a purchase.

Have you ever visited a hotel website or shopped for products online and later saw images advertising these businesses as you surfed the web? That’s retargeting.

retargeting example

Example of a retargeting ad.

You also may have heard the term “remarketing.” This is simply retargeting via Google and their partner sites. Google is the company serving the ads and the type of advertising is called retargeting. This can be a bit confusing but don’t fret! They are not two different types of advertising. That said, many marketers are now using these terms interchangeably.

What are the benefits of retargeting? 

The rule of thumb with eCommerce is that only 2% of users make a purchase when visiting an online retailer. Retargeting enables you to remain front-of-mind among the 98% of visitors who spent time on your site but did not convert during their first visit. Unlike traditional advertising, you can customize your ads to specific types of users via retargeting. For example, you can serve ads showing specific items from abandoned shopping carts to encourage potential customers to come back and make their purchase. You can also keep current and former customers interested in your brand by showing them ads for customer loyalty programs and other special offers.

I’m already using paid search. Isn’t that enough?

While implementing paid search on Google and other search engines is a great place to start with paid online marketing, it is important to be where your customers are as often as possible. This means having a presence on search, social, and the websites your potential customers visit.

Consider this: say a potential customer visits your site via a Google AdWords ad, looks around a bit, but does not make a purchase. This visitor later sees image ads for your business while surfing the web and/or social media and remembers that they were interested in your products. This user is significantly more likely to come back to your site and make a purchase than if they had seen your content via AdWords alone!

Do you have retargeting success stories to share? Join the conversation in the comments section below! Contact us today to kick off your retargeting campaigns. We look forward to working with you!


- By Cariwyl

“Improve 1,000 little things by 1%…”

Dollar Sign

A few months ago, I was referred to a new customer by a colleague of another customer. Since most of my new business is referral based, I spent extra time getting to know the business of the new customer and understanding how we could help. As is quite common in the Digital Marketing industry, the project as described originally by the client turned into something a lot more extensive. What started as SEO consulting for an eCommerce site, blossomed into social media marketing, being the webmaster, blogger and web marketing analyst. Needless to say it has been a blast learning a new industry, business and making a new relationship with my client. I am also grateful for the opportunity to share a small success story about it.

What’s the biggest indicator of digital marketing success?
Dollar signs of course! And we saw a significant increase in the number of sales in Q4 2013 compared with all previous sales on the website. We started optimizing the website in August and adding the other responsibilities in September. As you can see from the chart below, the numbers speak for themselves.

Chart Showing Success with large increase in sales in Q4 2013

“You cannot improve one thing by 1000% but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%” – Jan Carlzon Former President & CEO of the Scandinavian Airlines Group (SAS)

What are your favorite success stories from 2013? Please share in the comments below.


- By Suse Barnes