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Despite the fact that social ad spend is expected to double by 2016 and analysts are increasingly bullish on native social ads, search continues to be the go-to channel for advertisers looking to drive ROI.
The record-breaking holiday shopping season is making that abundantly apparent. While sales driven by social referrals have thus far been miniscule, early analysis of Black Friday sales data by search and analytics consulting firm NetElixer finds that search ads are killing it.
Paid search CPCs in the US were around 50% cheaper on smartphone than on desktop in Q3, according to data from The Search Agency.
CPCs on smartphones stood at 31 cents compared to 49 cents on tablet and 59 cents on desktop, meaning the level of discount offered on smartphone is roughly the same as Q3 2011.
This is despite the fact that smartphone ads apparently have a much higher CTR than both computers and tablets.
The Search Agency’s report, which is based on client data from search engine advertising tools, shows that smartphone CTR has increased from 4.48% in Q3 2011 to 5.71% in Q3 2012.
Facebook marketers are achieving significant increases in engagement, according to a new report from Adobe.
Engagement - defined as likes, comments and shares – grew by 896% year-on-year, which the report says is largely attributable to the introduction of Facebook Timeline.
Other factors such as new acquisition and engagement metrics, and more effective social marketing also had an impact.
Adobe's latest Digital Index report shows that mobile users now account for nearly one quarter of all Facebook engagement, up four-fold from the period prior to the Timeline format.
This reflects the huge increase in social networking on mobile, with a study by Deloitte showing that social is the third most popular smartphone activity behind email and search.
There are now millions of apps across the App Store and Google Play, not to mention Windows Marketplace and the new Amazon Appstore.
With over 50% of the UK’s population owning a smartphone, and apps proving such a vital channel for keeping the consumer engaged, the competition for app visibility is huge.
Google+ Local, formerly Google Places, is a valuable resource for any retailer looking to use the web to drive offline sales.
In a nutshell, it allows businesses to create a listing (via a Google+ page) which will appear next to relevant, especially local, search results.
As more people use smartphones to search for local businesses, a well optimised Google+ Local listing is an essential.
This is something I covered in our recent How the Internet can Save the High Street report.
Here's why offline businesses should be creating a listing...
Anyone with a smartphone knows that search is one of the most popular functions on mobile, yet mobile SEO is still a poor relation compared to desktop.
A quick look at the stats shows that we should be paying more attention to mobile SEO, with data from Marin showing that mobile devices accounted for 13% of search spend in June 2012 yet took a 20% share of clicks.
However creating a mobile site isn’t a simple process and there are several criteria that need to be taken into account to effectively optimise a site for a mobile audience.
Here’s a run through of Solis’s points...
While mobile is presenting some tough monetization challenges for companies like Facebook, it's increasingly looking like a boon to others.
UK advertisers are responding to the consumer shift towards mobile and tablets by investing in mobile search.
Data from Marin Software’s Online Advertising Q2 2012 report show that mobile devices accounted for 13% of search spend in June 2012, yet took a 20% share of clicks.
This tallies with data from IgnitionOne which shows that mobile search made up 14% of total search advertising spend in Q2, up slightly from 12.3% in Q1.
Similarly, Q1 stats reported by Adobe show that mobile now accounts for 8% of US search spend compared to 11% in the UK.
Just 49% of companies have a strategy for integrating mobile into broader marketing activity, including 35% who say integration is very basic.
Though mobile has grown rapidly over the past few years, it seems that many companies are held back by organisational issues, while others may need to focus on tactics such as optimising email for mobile, rather than relying on QR codes.
Google says that 40% of mobile search has local intent, meaning that people are looking for information on products and services in their immediate vicinity.
This is a huge opportunity for businesses such as restaurants, hotels and bars that consumers may be looking for at short notice.
Similarly, shoppers may be looking to compare prices while in-store or looking for the nearest outlet of their favourite brand.
With this in mind, I searched for hotels, restaurants and women's clothes in my immediate vicinity to see whether brands that appeared in the local search results were making the most of mobile traffic.
Mobile search is growing rapidly, increasing by 250% for Q1 year-on-year as traffic on mobile devices increased four-fold. It's also a trend that looks set to continue.
Mobile now accounts for 11% of all UK search spend compared to 8% in the US, yet many companies have been slow to wake up to the opportunities that it presents for increasing brand awareness and customer acquisition.
One such case in point is paid search. Brands are spending big bucks on some keywords, but are neglecting the mobile searcher. This not only reduces the opportunities for acquisition, but could also negatively impact Quality Score.
With this in mind, I looked at which brands are most visible for each of the three most valuable keywords (mortgages, insurance and loans), and whether they make the most of their prominence by linking users to a mobile site.
A new survey of European consumers confirms the trend for shoppers to use their smartphones to research products in-store.
The report from Tradedoubler found that 42% of smartphone owners use their device to compare prices in-store, while 13% claim to have switched stores after finding a better offer elsewhere.
Location-based offers or vouchers, however, help to secure the interest of a fifth of potential buyers.