Local Search Highlights in the 2015 Internet Trends Report

Jon Schepke (with Search Engine Watch) pulled some great insight from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report – and, in reading between the lines – could see that all lines point to… Mobile & Local Search.  So if you’re still on the fence about mobile and local search marketing & optimization strategies, you might as well hand in your Marketing Badge right now.  Here were his key take aways;

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Optimizing for Mobile is TABLE STAKES

  • Mobile searches have overtaken desktop search (sooner than projected)
  • Mobile use has also overtaken desktop use, on a daily basis (see the chart above).
  • 73% of the planet has a mobile phone
  • “if your local search strategy fails to address the mobile consumer, you might as well not have a local search strategy”
  • See Google’s recent release of Micro Moments noting that ‘near me’ searches have increased 34 times in 2011 (in Q4 2014, 80% of those searches were conducted via mobile devices).
  • See Forrester’s push of Mobile Moments, by definition, “a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.
  • See Facebook’s Retailer Beacons for businesses to offer deals & content for consumers in store via Place Tips.
  • In most cases, mobile (and mobile search) is the MOST direct connection between your company & consumer demand.


  • “Brands that convert ‘near me’ searches into revenue through appealing mobile wallet offers are solving for the “last mile” of local search.” (truly creating a full circle consumer behavior).
  • Whole Foods has seen mobile payments surge by 400% since adopting Apple Pay.
  • Pep Boys has seen a seven-figure sales result from mobile wallet.

Game Changers – New Digital Requirements that will Change Your Marketing Plan

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Mobilegeddon, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Search – just a few of the top digital tactics that have come out in just the first six months of this year have (if you’re already on top of them) or will (if you aren’t) change your entire marketing plan for this year. Here’s a recap of the game changers that will change your marketing plan – and if you’re a good marketer, you’ll change it now, not later.

  • Mobile First. Mobile search surpassed desktop search earlier this year – and then, on April 21, Google released an algorithm update that penalized non-mobile optimized (or responsive) websites. ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it was called, was a flurry of marketers scrambling to figure out how to either; (a) bite the bullet and redesign their website in a responsive / mobile optimized format – or – (b) find a workaround to appease Google in the meantime.
    • Impact #1 – Google continues to release algorithm updates that reward sites with a great user experience. Get it right now, or scramble to catch up with the next update.
    • Impact #2 – Mobile is in the lead for certain metrics, but remain device agnostic. When in doubt, keep user experience and audience interests at the forefront of all marketing decisions).
    • Impact #3 – Channel strategies should shift to accommodate more mobile targeted tactics: Paid Search Campaigns skewed to mobile devices, ramp up Facebook advertising (knowing that Facebook also is a ‘mobile first’ company), optimize for Local Search, and the list goes on.
  • Social Advertising & Content.  Social platforms continue to open up new targeting methods with advertising options, and they’re only getting better. Pinterest now allows advertising, animated (‘cinematic’) pins that can be optimized in the same way you optimize for search (Pinterest’s search team is from Google, so you can imagine there’s some similarity in their search algorithm there). Instagram is opening up advertising options to more advertisers, and can pull in Facebook Advertising targeting capabilities. Facebook Advertising is now critical (and one of the only ways to get in front of your audience), and targeting strategies are getting better, all while advertising costs rise (so get in now, while the gettin’s cheap-er!).
    • Impact #1 – Shift advertising budget allocation towards social channels (not next year, now) to ensure that you’re getting highly targeted visibility in a new channel, while the ‘channel clutter’ is low, and taking advantage of a low-cost awareness and conversion platform.
    • Bonus Point – Social signals still count as a factor in search rank, even with Google’s latest algorithm update.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize your social content both for search engine and native search indexing. We’ve created a culture of ‘searchers’, it’s up to you to connect searching consumers with your brand.
    • Impact #3 – Create relevant content. Start first by defining the specific channel audience, then the targeting capabilities, and develop the most relevant social content possible for that audience.
  • Twitter Counts in Search.  Now that Google & Twitter have a deal to index tweets again, this easy content channel can turn into a long-tail search dream.
    • Impact #1 – Reconsider Twitter in your social channel mix. Consider it as a SEO aide and a social channel, with a focus on driving visibility for long-tail terms and converting that visibility to traffic.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize Tweets. Look to your SEO Keyword Research / Plan to help guide your Twitter content calendar by incorporating target keywords into topics and tweets.
    • Impact #3 – Run Twitter Advertising Tests. There is a solid correlation between highly visible tweets (via retweets, audience size) and the likelihood that your tweet will show up in Google search. Consider running Twitter advertising tests to help boost channel visibility, followers and select tweets.
  • Content is More Than King, it’s the Kingdom. Search, social and paid advertising channels can’t run without content. Yet, if siloed, content development becomes very segmented and inefficient. It’s time we rethink how we look at content as an afterthought, and make it as important as digital marketing is to a business. Reconsider how you look at content. Is it an afterthought, or the leading thought?
    • Impact #1 – Create a master content calendar that aggregates content needs and output on all channels: SEO, Blog, Social Media, Paid Media, Email, PR. Find content gaps where there are missing holes between the ideal customer content experience and what you currently have. Then create the right content, and make it user friendly. If you wouldn’t watch / read / share it – why would your audience?
    • Bonus point: Create a content repository, if you don’t already have one. With needs for content growing, staying organized will be key.
    • Impact #2 – Invest in rapid, high-quality content resources and partners. Content can’t take forever to develop any more, and it doesn’t have to. The right resources and partners can enable you to produce more content that is valuable, visible and trackable. You have to feed the beast, and he’s hungry.
    • Impact #3 – Make content accountable. Every piece of content should have a set of performance metrics attributed to it. Some content will perform better than others, and that success path should be tracked. Consider content like shooting arrows out to your audience: you’ll want to see where they land, and figure out what you did to land the good ones.

So – if you’re following the digital marketing plan that you set in place last year, it’s already out of date. Follow the plan that will work, now – and use an agency to tell the difference.

Scott Brinker’s ‘Marketing Technology Landscape’ Map – 2015 Edition

Scott Brinker of @chiefmartec has done it again – further updating his Marketing Technology Landscape infographic / map.  I love this infographic for two reasons; (1) if I ever need to see what companies are providing services in a certain area, I just have to zoom in 15x, and (2) it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger every year.

The real lesson out of all of this is that if you – as a business – have to rely on a graph like this to get traffic / customers – instead of showing up on page 1 search results for a simple, topical search keyword – you have a SEO problem. 293

Thank you, Scott!  Just when you thought you knew it all – he can always show you more.  View his MarTec blog @ http://chiefmartec.com

Desktop vs. Mobile – Cost & Conversion

Another lil’ gem found in The Guide to Social Media Advertising, published by Ad Age’s Content Strategy Studio (so that’s what they do!) and sponsored by Kinetic – share’s data from Kinetic Social and Ad Age on the debate between Desktop vs. Social, from eCPM to Action Rate, effective Cost Per Action and Mobile Social ROI;

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Mobile Search Rank Tips

From our very own Jason Squardo (@JasonSquardo) – five tips for achieving high mobile search rank (more important than ever, seeing as how mobile will outpace desktop in search in 2015 – time to optimize!).

“Consumers are expected to spend $626 billion globally via mobile devices in 2018, according to investment bank The Goldman Sachs Inc. That’s roughly half of total e-commerce sales on all devices worldwide in 2013, as estimated by market research firm eMarketer.”

In order to increase mobile search rank, Jason recommends these 5 strategies;

  1. Reevaluate target keywords for voice search
  2. Use responsive design, adapt to all devices
  3. Page load speed (slower = lower, search rank)
  4. Focus on local (w/ content, pages, etc)
  5. Feature quality content (relevance, authority)

Thanks Internet Retailer & Jason Squardo

Adult Cell Phone Usage

  • Adults who text typically send and receive a median of 10 texts a day; teens who text send and receive a median of 50 texts per day.
  • 5% of all adult texters send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month. Fully 15% of teens 12-17, and 18% of adults 18 to 24 text message more than 200 messages a day, while just 3% of adults 25 to 29 do the same.
  • Heavy adult texters – those who send and receive more than 50 texts day — also tend to be heavy users of voice calling. Light texters, who exchange 1 to 10 texts a day, do not make up for less texting by calling more. Instead, they are light users of both calling and texting.

As part of its ongoing Internet & American Life Project, the Pew Research Center recently published the results of its study into the cell phone habits of American adults. From April 29th to May 30th, 2010, 2,252 adults aged 18 and over responded to a phone survey seeking insight into mobile phone ownership and usage. The findings collected were then compared against a similar project related to teens, aged 12-17, gathered during September 2009.


Mobile Coupons Drive Mobile Ads

Like SHOPKICK – checks you in automatically, for coupons and rewards…

According to this compelling infographic, mobile coupons appear to be what is driving the mobile advertising market’s growth – and are the most motivating to consumers. Mobile coupons were a $90 million market in the U.S. in 2009, but are expected to grow to $6.5 billion in 4 years. Particularly convincing is that coupons and purchase incentives drive people to spend far more than they would have without said coupon – on average, from $122 without a coupon to $216 with.

That said, the continued opportunity for brands and advertisers that want to see ensuing conversion to sales will be to deliver that ‘coupon’ or purchase incentive in the most contextually relevant and compelling fashion possible. It doesn’t have to take the form of a traditional, easily-forgotten hard-sell with a stand-alone 15% off code. QR code, MMS, geo-location targeting, NFC smart posters, apps and video offering a unique, exclusive customer experience are all possibilities to couple compelling content with the incentive to purchase.

One company that might be trying to facilitate more contextually relevant mobile incentives is Shopkick – a yet-to-launch mobile app that will detect your location and automatically check you in once you’ve arrived at a given location. Using Foursquare’s API, the service will allow brands like Best Buy, Macy’s and other retailers to target and reward loyal customers by unlocking promotional perks upon being detected at the store. Loyalty to particular retailers will be rewarded by accumulation of ‘kickbucks’, which can be redeemed for Facebook Credits, real-world cash credit at partner stores and more (gift cards, downloads, etc.). Users can even redeem any in-app goodies by giving their mobile number to a store clerk.

While applications like Shopkick indicate that mobile coupon/purchase incentive offers may continue to become more contextually relevant, the question remains if they will be delivered in a compelling fashion to customers. Ongoing business and brand loyalty may require more than just a 25% discount offer – it still requires a memorable, differentiated, and consistent experience at every touch point. Might Macy’s also use that opportunity to lead you to a fashion show video showcasing upcoming Fall fashions, which you can watch later (post-store visit)? Might Uniqlo also demonstrate a photo gallery of how new items can be pulled together into different looks? Ongoing engagement and loyalty will still offering customers a brand experience that goes beyond a BOGO offer.

Foursquare + Choose Adventure

Foursquare may be adding additional gaming elements into its location-based social networking service to attract more customers. Currently, Foursquare users earn points and badges for ‘checking-in’ at various venues that can be redeemed against special deals.

Foursquare is a game. If you think about games that allow you to level up in different ways and games that allow you to specialize. If you think about the city as the board of your game, you can’t do everything. We’re going to introduce gaming mechanics that allow you to choose a path that you’re going to go on and earn certain achievements.

StickyBits “Check-in”

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — A new check-in app for objects is turning soda cans into media channels.

StickyBits, which launched during South by Southwest Interactive in March, is an app that lets users affix video, photos, text or audio to real-world objects, as long as those objects have barcodes. This is an example of what some call physical URLs, and while StickyBits is in its early days, consumers are already turning their iPhone and Android apps to consumer package goods, meaning user-generated clouds are starting to form around real cans of Coke and Red Bull.

How does it work? After downloading the free StickyBits app, users scan a barcode — either unique codes on stickers purchased from StickyBits or printed out, or those on products already in the world — and then upload a piece of content or view what others have already uploaded. That uploaded video or message is geo-tagged and attributed back to the user’s social-media profile and becomes part of that object’s content stream.

StickyBits co-founder Seth Goldstein created the concept with developer Billy Chasen and equates the phenomenon of “threaded conversations around objects” to checking into places, a behavior apps such as Foursquare or Loopt have pioneered for real-world locations.

While the App Store is already crowded with location check-in apps, real-object scans up until now happen primarily in stores to compare prices or get further product information. But StickyBits is not the first product check-in app not tied to information gathering. In March, developer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers-backed ShopKick launched a product check-in program for its app CauseWorld. With CauseWorld, users earn money for charity by scanning products of marketing partners P&G and Kraft in retail locations.