Advertising Tips

Mobile-geddon: Have You Run Out of Time to Go Mobile?

ctLast week Google rolled out a new mobile-friendly search update; this long-awaited and much-hyped update has been designed to boost the search rankings of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Back in November 2014, Google rolled out the mobile-friendly tag on mobile search results, and this new update follows in a similar vein. In their latest announcement, Google described the new update as helping searchers “more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

With only one week passed since the update launched, it’s hard to say how much of an impact the change has had on search rankings. Google has said that the update may take time to reach full effect, but there are a few details we already know:

  1. Google will now use the “mobile friendliness” of a page as one of the signals that are used in search ranking.
  2. The update only applies to searches performed on mobile devices.
  3. The update applies to individual pages, not entire websites. So, if the single page or article is mobile-friendly, it can still get the boost, even if the rest of your site is not.

So, what does this update mean for you?

First, don’t panic if you haven’t yet built a mobile site. There are still over 200 signals other than mobile friendliness that Google uses when ranking pages. Remember, this update only applies to mobile users and doesn’t impact desktop searches at all.

Next, check how your site looks to a mobile user. Google has tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test that can help. Make sure you weigh the potential costs vs. benefits of developing a mobile site. For some, it may only require a few adjustments to current settings or templates, but for others it might mean a completely new site design.

Regardless of how your site is designed, what your market segment is, or what your online strategy looks like, Google is sending a strong message with this update: they view mobile search as a different experience from desktops, and are going to give mobile-friendly sites an advantage.

As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock is our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.

Posted in Web Analytics


6 Tips to Make Your Ads Stand Out

Lone lightbuld uniqueEvery day, consumers get bombarded by messaging from advertisers. So how do your company’s ads stand out from all the others vying for the public’s attention?

Here are a few advertising tips that should help make your advertising investment more effective:

  • Create an attractive-looking ad. The goal is capture the attention of a potential customer. To do so, limit the amount of words in your ad (keep it simple), have an appealing image, present a headline that draws people in, and direct them to a clear and simple call to action.
  • Be intentional in your design. What do you hope to accomplish with your ad? Is it to communicate your brand, to generate interest, or to educate? Is it to generate sales, and if so, how will that happen? What do you want the person looking at your ad to do? Don’t try to do too much—aim to execute one strategy at a time.
  • Create a sense of need. Why should anyone respond to your ad? What’s in it for them? What solution(s) does your product offer?
  • Don’t communicate too much. It is understandable that you are passionate about your products and you want everyone to know every feature and benefit your product offers. But if you try to include too much, people will just move on from your ad, not wanting to read all you have to say.
  • Keep the message simple. “Your advertising should offer one specific benefit that the customer will enjoy by calling you, by coming into your place of business, or by using your  product or service. A seven-year-old child should be able to look at your advertisement and explain to another seven-year-old exactly what you are offering and why it is attractive to a prospective customer. If your advertisement does not pass the “seven-year-old test,” revise it and rewrite it until it does.” (excerpt from Brian Tracy’s The Way to Wealth, pg. 232)
  • Plan your marketing efforts with a multi-stage strategy.  Campaigns have 34 percent greater effectiveness when they combine both digital and print advertising. Connect with your target audience using several different media platforms. Your customers receive their information from several sources; the more places they see your company’s products, the more open they will be to them.

Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Print Advertising


Great Resources for Free Stock Photos

stockI was driving on the highway the other day when I noticed a billboard with a friend of mine on it. Well, he wasn’t really a friend so much as a stock photo that had seen quite a bit of service over the years. I must confess that I had used that image myself once or twice.

If you’re a blogger or a designer, I’m sure you’ve run into this scenario: limited budget means using stock photography; using stock photography can mean relying on a stale pool of cheesy or over-used images.

Fortunately, the digital age is trending in a new direction. Recently there has been a proliferation of quality royalty-free sites springing up on the web. Costal Creative Reprographics has culled 17 such sites, all with free, high-quality stock photography.

Just a quick note on these sites–they fall into two categories: “really free” and “kinda free.” The really free sites are just that; you can download and use the images any way you want. The downside is that they tend to offer a more limited pool from which to draw, but if you’re willing to take the time to hunt around, you might just find that perfect image. The “kinda free” sites require you to add some form of attribution–be it in the form of a link or a line of text.

Here’s a sampling from Costal Repro’s listing:

  1. Unsplash
  2. Picography
  3. Snapographic
  4. Deathtothestockphoto
  5. Startupstockphotos

You can see all 17 sites and brief descriptions of each, as a well as a decent description of licensing requirements (scroll to the bottom of the page), here.

Happy hunting!

Michael Chuchvara, our team’s graphic designer, is our creative genius, designing eye-catching flyers, inserts, and e-blasts.

Posted in Advertising Tips


How Well Are You Connecting with Millennials?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials now make up the largest share of the U.S. population, at 28.7 percent. A Brookings Institution analysis states that by 2020, one in three adults will be a millennial. And millennials currently account for more than $1 trillion in U.S. consumer spending.

So how can brands best connect with this generation? NewsCred’s recent study, The Millennial Mind: How Content Drives Brand Loyalty, sought to find the key to millennials’ hearts, minds, and wallets. The results showed that 62% of millennials feel that content makes them feel more connected and loyal to a brand. The problem? Only 32% find today’s brand communications helpful.

So what can you do to make sure you’re leveraging your content to successfully reach this generation? According to this blog post, 10 Proven Ways for Brands to Connect with Millennials, employ these tactics:

  1. Tailor content to individuals’ unique cultural interests
  2. Make sure content is useful or helpful towards solving everyday problems of millennials
  3. Avoid being sales-y or self-promotional
  4. Keep it short
  5. Aim to be thought-provoking and intelligent
  6. Be funny
  7. Be authentic
  8. Don’t bank on virality or social endorsements alone
  9. Ensure personalization by price point, location, race, etc.
  10. Deploy formats that are easy to digest and share

And what shouldn’t you do? Check out NewsCred’s infographic on the seven reasons why content fails to resonate with millennials:

newscred_millennials_content

Posted in Advertising Tips, Content Marketing


Why You Should Consider Video Advertising

videoIn the article “The 4 Digital Advertising Trends That Are Reshaping Advertising” for Entrepreneur magazine, writer and CEO of engage:BDR Ted Dhanik spells out the importance of video marketing–most importantly, how to cultivate video consumption on handheld devices. He points out that 30 percent of all online videos are played on smart phones and tablets, and that with the rise of the phone/tablet hybrid–the “phablet”–we can expect that number to continue to climb.

Video might now be one of the most lucrative ways to advertise, as smartphones are becoming a way to avoid more traditional advertising. Dhanik explains: “When TV commercials begin, people look down at their phones. On the bus or subway, people focus on their digital screens instead of the ads passing by in the cityscape. When radio ads begin, people change the station. However, when people are already looking at their smartphone, nothing is going to distract them.” Digital Sherpa reports that “80 percent of online visitors will watch a video in its entirety, while only 20 percent will read content in its entirety,” while “80 percent of Internet users recall the video ads they see online.”

The article includes lots of other helpful tips, such as developing “native advertising” and looking at viewable impressions and behavioral data.Read more here and consider how these trends could shape your advertising strategy.

Kirsten Privett is our email operation ringmaster, who oversees all house Newsletter and Eblast production.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Video


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