tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/search-marketing Latest Search Marketing content from Econsultancy 2016-05-19T16:14:51+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67864 2016-05-19T16:14:51+01:00 2016-05-19T16:14:51+01:00 VR, messaging or Assistant: Which is the best bet for Google? Ben Davis <h3>Messaging - Allo</h3> <p>With Allo, Google is abandoning the necessity of logging in with a Google account (a la Hangouts) and allowing users to message each other using an encrypted service (though, controversially, this won't be enabled as default). Allo will be tied to your phone number, much like WhatsApp.</p> <p>In appearance, what we've seen looks a lot like Facebook Messenger. Indeed, messaging UX itself doesn't vary a great deal across apps.</p> <p>So far, so good, but what's going to make Allo stand out?</p> <p>Well, it seems to be taking all that's good from a variety of social messaging apps, wrapping it together and adding a few new features.</p> <p>You can annotate photographs (like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67257-15-reasons-your-brand-should-be-on-snapchat/">Snapchat</a>) and add stickers (like Messenger, LINE, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat/">WeChat</a> etc.).</p> <p>Little extras include the ability to scale text up and down (Google calls this 'Whisper Shout' and it's an intriguing way of adding another dimension to messaging, certainly to add humour).</p> <p>Smart reply and a virtual assistant is how Google intends to give Allo the edge, making the most of Google's machine learning and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62241-google-s-knowledge-graph-one-step-closer-to-the-semantic-web/">Knowledge Graph</a>.</p> <p>The virtual assistant is demoed in the GIF below, and it looks like an interesting way to find information mutually with a contact, something that will save time and confusion.</p> <p>Smart reply is probably not a game changer, being much like templated messages in SMS, though with the obvious advantage that they are a lot more intelligent and learn from your app usage.</p> <p>Still expect suggestions including lots of exclamation marks - perhaps not perfectly tailored to the British market.</p> <h4><strong>The verdict?</strong></h4> <p>Allo looks incredibly slick and fun to use. It's difficult to say though how deep the inroads it makes into WhatsApp and Messenger usage will be.</p> <p>One thing's for sure, the usage of messaging apps is so high that if Google can gain traction here, it suddenly gets lots more data and lots more real estate to sell advertising (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67553-what-will-facebook-messenger-ads-mean-for-marketers/">like Facebook</a>) through its assistant's recommendations.</p> <p>Oh and one last point - I'm not convinced by the name Allo. I find it a bit anaemic, a bit too much like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65534-you-say-ello-and-i-say-goodbye-to-facebook/">the ill-fated Ello</a>. But what's in a name?</p> <p><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ROYrLax6ggg/Vzx3fKq_mjI/AAAAAAAASUo/M5hptuwxzqYuhcyB1jcYcbwSA0nHiiN0wCLcB/s640/3-Gbot_animation_v4-GIF_abbrev%2B%25281%2529.gif" alt="google allo" width="315" height="639"></p> <h3>Virtual Reality - Daydream</h3> <p>I get very excited about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67834-why-virtual-reality-is-the-ultimate-storytelling-tool-for-marketers">VR</a> and consequently I'm excited about Daydream. It's a platform, allowing developers to create VR content for a range of devices.</p> <p>Google will work with hardware manufacturers to define and design new headsets and controllers.</p> <p>What excites me about Daydream is the consolidation of content, notably 360 degree video from YouTube, but also Google StreetView, Photos and Play.</p> <p>Though there have been many exciting demonstrations of VR from Oculus and its competitors, the consumer needs to be compelled by devices that offer more than simply early and expensive implementations.</p> <p>Google Daydream could really accelerate this process and hit some of the marks that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63292-what-we-learned-from-trying-google-glass">Glass</a> failed to hit so spectacularly.</p> <h4><strong>The verdict?</strong></h4> <p>A lack of hardware makes me even more excited about Daydream, avoiding the hype that accompanies a prototype headset and focusing on content.</p> <p><a href="https://vr.google.com/daydream/#signup"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5093/Screen_Shot_2016-05-19_at_14.43.28.png" alt="daydream" width="615" height="246"></a></p> <h3>Google Assistant</h3> <p>Okay, we've touched on this already, it's going to be included in Allo, but more broadly Assistant will be part of Home (Google's new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-internet-of-things">Internet of Things</a> hub) and increasingly a part of interacting with your mobile (if you want).</p> <p>Google hasn't named its assistant, unlike Amazon (Alexa), Microsoft (Cortana), Apple (Siri) etc.</p> <p>I think that's a great move, as part of the scepticism around assistants and intelligent bots is whether indeed they will save time for the user.</p> <p>Apeing human interaction isn't always advantageous (see <a href="http://dangrover.com/blog/2016/04/20/bots-wont-replace-apps.html">this fantastic post</a> from Dan Grover), and Google seems to understand this need for incredibly useful interventions without a frustrating bot personality added in.</p> <p>Creating a home device that sits on your table and responds to commands is a way of showcasing Google Assistant.</p> <p>Even those without Home should start to realise that Assistant is something that can be utilised on their devices.</p> <p>If Assistant works with subtlety and nuance, much like the Allo example above, combined with the announcement of <a href="http://android-developers.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/android-instant-apps-evolving-apps.html">Instant Apps</a>, it could greatly speed up mobile UX.</p> <h4><strong>The verdict?</strong></h4> <p>The most powerful part of Google's new announcements, given its ability to bring together products and pioneer new UX.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67857 2016-05-18T15:55:00+01:00 2016-05-18T15:55:00+01:00 Google introduces Shopping Ads to image search: The expert view Ben Davis <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>An example of PLAs for the image search term 'crystal necklace'.</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5046/google_shopping_images.gif" alt="google PLA in image search" width="207" height="400"> </p> <h3>Expect a drop in organic traffic from image results</h3> <p>Of late, Google's product changes in search have led SEOs to bemoan the erosion of natural listings, notably with more and larger ads appearing on mobile (three text ads at the top instead of two, and large format <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66604-how-to-use-google-shopping-campaigns-most-overlooked-feature/">PLAs</a>).</p> <p>PLAs in image search continues this trend, as Max Holloway of <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/">Pi Datametrics</a> points out, saying "The biggest change to organic search will be the loss of real estate."</p> <p>Max goes further, predicting the impact on those who get organic traffic through image listings:</p> <blockquote> <p>Typically on Google Image search all results are organic and take up approximately 66% of the screen above the fold. With the introduction of Image Ads this drops to about 25%, so if you are currently getting a lot of traffic through image searches expect this to drop off significantly.</p> <p>The ads themselves will be more relevant to the search and have extra information which will further take clicks away from organic results (such as prices, brand names and URLs of trusted websites).</p> <p>This is another step in the direction of the first page of Google containing only paid-for or non-organic results!</p> </blockquote> <h3>This should have happened sooner, and fits nicely at the top of the funnel</h3> <p>The overriding reaction to the change seems to be 'duh, why didn't this happen sooner'.</p> <p>Ruth Attwood and Marcus Knight of <a href="http://www.4psmarketing.com/">4Ps Marketing</a> sum this up a little more elegantly:</p> <p><strong>Ruth Attwood:</strong></p> <p>"I’m honestly surprised it has taken Google this long to monetise image search, but it makes sense because so many users take a visually-led focus when it comes to picking out a product to buy."</p> <p><strong>Marcus Knight:</strong></p> <p>"I think the channel will fit really nicely into the early awareness and consideration stages of the conversion process, as I expect users who are using image search are not necessarily looking for websites to visit, but images of a range of products to compare."</p> <h3>Image ads could become a powerful new tool</h3> <p>What Ruth and Marcus are of course picking up on is the power of imagery across ecommerce, from retailer websites, to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67306-is-pinterest-or-instagram-better-for-driving-ecommerce/">Instagram and Pinterest</a> particularly.</p> <p>Viewed in this light, PLA ads in image search could become a powerful new tool.</p> <p>Will Critchlow, founder of <a href="https://www.distilled.net/">Distilled</a>, agrees that there's much to learn in this area of the SERPs, but much to be positive about:</p> <blockquote> <p>Pending seeing how this actually performs, I'm quite positive on this. Image search has been hobbled as a driver of organic traffic since the major overhaul a couple of years back, and we know that Pinterest and Instagram have made visual ads work.</p> <p>Could Google combine the emotional connection of image ads with the targeted intent of search? Who knows, but I think it's an interesting experiment where visual and commercial searches intersect.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Instagram</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9878/instagram_ads.jpg" alt="instagram" width="615"></p> <h3>But advertisers should keep on eye on CTR and CVR</h3> <p>The loudest note of caution, as usual with PPC, surrounds the implementation and testing of this feature by advertisers.</p> <p>Ben Latham of <a href="http://www.summit.co.uk/">Summit Media</a> welcomed the new extenstion for retailers but warned they "need to be careful to measure campaign performance as click-through rate and conversion rate could be negatively affected due to the mindset of the customer in the image area of search."</p> <p>This echoes Marcus Knight's earlier comments about PLA image search as most useful during the awareness and consideration stages.</p> <h3>And don't forget retargeting through PLAs</h3> <p>There will be doubts about Google image search's ability to drive sales (not just awareness) in ecommerce until results come through.</p> <p>However, we shouldn't forget that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64592-how-to-successfully-engage-customers-when-remarketing/">remarketing</a> lists for search ads (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">RLSAs</a>) work with PLAs, and therefore retailers will be able to retarget customers who have visited their site with PLAs in image search.</p> <p>Marcus Knight of 4Ps Marketing makes this point, saying we should be "making the most of remarketing capabilities to ensure we are following up with users who are showing initial intent through image search."</p> <p>That means image search could come into the mix as a useful recapture channel, as well as targeting new customers.</p> <h3>Could Google monetise image search beyond PLAs? </h3> <p>David Trolle of Summit Media poses an important question - is this just the initial foray of advertising into Google image search?</p> <blockquote> <p>Although not impacted at this stage, this change is most likely an indication of Google’s future intent to monetise image listings within the natural search space, in the same way that shopping listings were moved to a paid-for format (PLAs).</p> </blockquote> <p>Will image ads become an option for all PPC advertisers, not just those buying Google Shopping ads? Will all of Google's natural search gradually become more image-led if proven to increase CTR?</p> <p>Watch this space.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">Paid Search Best Practice Guide</a> or book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/ppc-training/">PPC Training Course</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/2951 2016-05-11T09:51:31+01:00 2016-05-11T09:51:31+01:00 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing - Singapore <p><strong style="color: #000000;">Learn the Best Practices of SEO Marketing From UK's Top Digital Marketing Research &amp; Training Company!</strong></p> <p>This intensive 2-day course enables you to plan and build an organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The right SEO strategy brings the right kind of visitors to your website, boosts online conversions and helps you stand out in the fiercely competitive online space. The course also gives you the latest updates on the increasingly tricky nature of SEO as search engine continuously innovates and online competition heats up.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67814 2016-05-06T14:57:00+01:00 2016-05-06T14:57:00+01:00 What to do when a competitor 'steals' your product page Google ranking Ben Davis <p>That's another topic that Jon Earnshaw, CTO Pi Datametrics, discussed at Brighton SEO last month. Let's have a look...</p> <h3>More books (where did kitty go?)</h3> <p>Just like the last canonical example, we're looking at Waterstones again.</p> <p>The chart below shows the Google search ranking (using the term 'Test Your Cat') of a book product page on the Waterstones' website.</p> <p>As you can see, kitty falls off a cliff (around the 9th of January) when suddenly the page drops from being ranked in the top five to being 100+ in the pecking order.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4647/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_12.30.40.png" alt="search drop off" width="615" height="375"></p> <p>There were plenty of other examples of this behaviour, too. Dozens of them in fact.</p> <p>Below is another chart showing this effect for the book 'The Establishment'. The Waterstones product page ranks well, then 'disappears' at the end of January.</p> <p>So, let's look at what else might be ranking in place of these pages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4648/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_12.36.07.png" alt="ranking for 'the establishment' book title" width="615" height="376"></p> <h3>Who is bumping kitty and why?</h3> <p>Within the Pi Datametrics tool, the team pulled out the top 10 ranking URLs on the day that our 'Test Your Cat' Waterstones product page dropped out of the top 100 so suddenly.</p> <p>The table below shows a Harper Collins product listing ranked at number two position for 'Test Your Cat'.</p> <p>This Harper Collins page had recently jumped 99 places in the results pages (SERPs), according to the number in green.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4649/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_13.18.01.png" alt="pi datametrics search listings" width="615" height="412"></p> <p>Compare Harper Collins on a chart alongside Waterstones and you get the image below.</p> <p>The chart shows the rise of the Harper Collins's ranking for 'Test Your Cat' against the demise of the Waterstones site's ranking for the same term.</p> <p>It's hard to deny they seem linked.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4650/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_13.24.42.png" alt="url swapping through duplicate content" width="615" height="410"></p> <p>The same pattern emerges when we look at The Establishment.</p> <p>At the moment Waterstones drops out of the top 100 rankings, a Penguin page rises 99 places in the SERPs to number seven.</p> <p>A similar chart demonstrates this crossover below. Time for further investigation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4651/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_13.45.59.png" alt="rankings change at waterstones" width="615" height="400"></p> <h3>Product descriptions - it's important to stand out</h3> <p>Comparing the Test Your Cat product pages of Waterstones and Harper Collins reveals identical synopses.</p> <p>This is no doubt 'seen' as very similar content by Google, which 'decides' to rank one and demote the other.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4652/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_13.54.12.png" alt="product description similarities" width="615" height="368"></p> <p>With the Penguin book, it also seems to be product descriptions causing the problem.</p> <p>The paperback description was edited to include additional endorsements for the book, which already appeared on The Waterstones product page.</p> <p>This made the two product descriptions identical and caused the same effect, where Google ranked one page and demoted the other.</p> <p>In both these examples, it's not entirely surprising that Penguin and Harper Collins out-ranked Waterstones - after all they are the publishers of the two titles in question.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Waterstones wanted to address the problem and start ranking again by creating some unique content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4654/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_13.55.39.png" alt="penguin pages - the establishment" width="615" height="377"></p> <h3>How to solve the problem?</h3> <p>The team spent a number of hours crafting new product descriptions for some of these affected titles.</p> <p>The result? All higher search positions were reinstated or bettered by the pages in question.</p> <p>Below is a chart showing the recovery of rankings for four affected titles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4660/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_14.45.23.png" alt="reinstating results for book pages" width="615" height="452"></p> <p>Waterstones was also reinstated into Google's knowledge panel for 'Test Your Cat', which displays Waterstones' average review rating.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4661/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_14.53.10.png" alt="knowledge graph - waterstones review" width="615" height="398"></p> <h3>The takeaway</h3> <p>The message here from Pi Datametrics' analysis is to keep an eye on others who are using your content.</p> <p>If this means partnerships with third parties, make sure you have a process in place that ensures no duplication.</p> <p>If the content is from your competitor, use data to find out who and address the problem.</p> <p>More importantly, nailing your core business terms will help you stay ahead.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/seo-training/">Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing Training Course</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67811 2016-05-05T14:15:00+01:00 2016-05-05T14:15:00+01:00 How canonical tags helped Waterstones solve a product ranking nightmare Ben Davis <h3>Some background</h3> <p>For those new to canonical tags, you can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/61802-how-to-avoid-duplicate-content-issues-in-ecommerce/">read some background here</a>.</p> <p>The tags act to prevent lots of pages being indexed, instead of just one main page.</p> <p>One of the common uses of canonicals is in ecommerce on category pages, where many versions of the URL exist, but the retailer only wants to rank for retailer.com/shirts, for example.</p> <p>Let's look at another example in ecommerce - competing product pages - with the help of <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/">Pi Datametrics</a>, who investigated this issue at Waterstones, presenting findings at <a href="http://www.brightonseo.com/">Brighton SEO</a> last month.</p> <h3>Waterstones - hardback versus softback</h3> <p>Pi Datametrics took a look at Waterstones' search performance for certain novel titles.</p> <p>The chart below shows a Waterstones' product page (<em>The Bone Clocks</em> in Hardback) and its highest daily position for a search term ('The Bone Clocks').</p> <p>As you can see, performance is patchy, with regular drops from the top 10 to way down the SERPs (100+).</p> <p>So, what is causing this flux?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4634/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_11.26.23.png" alt="pi datametrics waterstones search performance" width="615" height="393"></p> <p>Looking at a second chart showing the rankings of two Waterstones' pages (this time both the hardback and the paperback), a pattern emerges.</p> <p>When the ranking of the hardback URL (in pink) drops off, the paperback URL (in yellow) can sometimes be seen to take its place.</p> <p>So, how to stop this ranking switching?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4635/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_11.34.33.png" alt="rankings influenced by no canonical tags" width="615" height="444"></p> <h3>The canonical book</h3> <p>Of course, popular books have many versions - hardback, paperback, special editions, audio, e-book and so on, often with reviews sitting on different web pages, too.</p> <p>Perhaps what Waterstones needs to do to ensure consistently high ranking for this term, 'The Bone Clocks', is to choose a 'canonical book'.</p> <p>Pi Datametrics illustrates this in the following diagram, with canonical tags on newer editions pointing back to the original book's URL (and eventually the paperback, which will be the default canonical).</p> <p>The canonical book will also reciprocally link with the other formats (that need to rank separately), such as audio and e-book.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4636/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_11.42.27.png" alt="canonical book" width="615" height="368"></p> <h3>Did it work?</h3> <p>Waterstones did indeed implement this 'canonical book' approach.</p> <p>And the chart below speaks for itself. Lovely, consistent top 10 results for Waterstones when searching for 'The Bone Clocks' (from November onwards).</p> <p>The paperback URL (yellow) is always the product page that ranks highest, and in doing so it leaves fewer gaps that the competition can exploit.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4637/Screen_Shot_2016-05-05_at_11.48.19.png" alt="canonical book results" width="615" height="437"></p> <p>This is a really clear and simple demonstration of the need for canonical tags for certain products that have multiple versions, which then affect Google ranking performance.</p> <p>Thanks to Jon Earnshaw who discussed this case study at Brighton SEO for Pi Datametrics.</p> <p>As part of the same presentation, Jon looked at how similar product pages from competitors can scupper search performance and how you can combat this.</p> <p>Watch this space and we'll look at this sister study in my next post.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67740 2016-04-29T16:16:16+01:00 2016-04-29T16:16:16+01:00 Five things Western brands should know about China's digital landscape Jeff Rajeck <p>The reason for this is that China's commerce and cultural norms are vastly different from those in the West.  </p> <p>Brands that have successfully launched in multiple Western countries may think they know what they are doing when launching in China. It's just another country, right?</p> <p>Unfortunately not. For many reasons, China is unique. Because of these quirks, entering its market requires special attention from Western brands to stand a chance of being successful.</p> <p>To help brand marketers start to think about how to enter China, Econsultancy is publishing quarterly China reports to cover the digital players, trends, and insights about the country.</p> <p>Below are a few key points from our first report, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report-q1-2016">The China Digital Report, Q1 2016</a>.</p> <h3>China has the largest single-country presence on the internet</h3> <p>It is well-known that China has the largest population of any country on earth, but what may not be so obvious is that <strong>China now has the largest population on the internet.</strong></p> <p>According to Internet Live Stats, China now has over 720m internet users which is more than 20% of the global total.</p> <p>The nearest competing country is India which, with 462m users, has less than two-thirds of the Chinese internet population.  </p> <p>In third place is the US which now makes up less than 10% of internet users, globally.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3897/China_US_global_internet.PNG" alt="" width="764" height="470"></p> <p>China's lead in internet population size is significant as we can now expect digital innovations, especially regarding scale, to originate in China and flow westwards.  </p> <p>This is happening already, to some extent, with WeChat (see below).</p> <h3>China's online population is still growing</h3> <p>Another thing to keep in mind when considering China's presence on the internet is that <strong>only around 50% of the Chinese population is online</strong>.  </p> <p>That is, there are a lot of people in the country who are not yet 'digital' at all.</p> <p>Compare this with the US and other Western nations who achieved that level in the early 2000s and seem to be peaking at around 85-90% penetration.</p> <p>In other words, <strong>China's influence on the internet is on the rise and the Western domination of the internet may be coming to an end.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3908/chinese_internet_population.PNG" alt="" width="915" height="504"></strong></p> <p>This is important for brand marketers to note because as more Chinese come online, <strong>the Chinese market will only rise in importance and sophistication</strong>.</p> <p>Western firms, therefore, need to acknowledge that China's digital economy is now on par with the West and, in some cases, may even be ahead.</p> <p>It's prudent, then, for brands to become familiar with how Chinese firms operate in their own market now to prepare for the future.</p> <h3>WeChat is the runaway success story</h3> <p>Many Western sites are blocked by the Great Firewall of China (see our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67702-digital-in-china-10-things-you-might-not-know">previous China post</a> for details) which means that China has its own version of many digital services.</p> <p>One service in particular, the social network WeChat, has been more successful than all of the others.  </p> <p>WeChat has enjoyed growth rates of around 50% year-over-year in 2014 and 2015 after blistering triple-digit year-over-year growth in 2012 and 2013.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3898/wechat_mau_2015.PNG" alt="" width="792" height="467"></p> <p>One reason for this growth is that WeChat continuously innovates its core product, offering new ways for users to integrate the app into their daily lives.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3904/things_to_do_on_wechat.PNG" alt="" width="574" height="389"></p> <p>Though it isn't the largest social network in China (QQ has more monthly active users)<strong> WeChat is the fastest-growing social network and the most dominant, culturally.</strong></p> <p>In brief, if your brand is interested in breaking into China, start by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65279-how-and-why-western-brands-are-experimenting-with-wechat/">researching what you can do on WeChat</a>.</p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3903/wechat.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="540"></strong></p> <h3>Baidu is the 800-pound gorilla of search and more</h3> <p>When reviewing the relative size of search engines in China by visitors, it seems that China has multiple, competing search engines each with significant market share.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3900/china_search_engine_market_share_1.PNG" alt="" width="573" height="436"></p> <p>But when search engines are measured by revenue, a very different picture emerges.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3901/china_search_engine_market_share_by_revenue.PNG" alt="" width="584" height="448"></p> <p>Clealy <strong>Baidu is the search leader in China with more than six times the market share of its largest competitor</strong>, Google China.</p> <p>Another thing to note is that Baidu has an even greater cultural presence in China than Google does in the West.</p> <p>Besides search and other services like maps also offered by Google, <strong>Baidu also operates China's most popular encyclopedia, an ecommerce platform, a gaming platform, and even a food delivery service.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3902/Picture1.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="368"></p> <p>According to Andrew Ng, Baidu's chief scientist in Silicon Valley, these additional services exist because, unlike in the West, other companies had not built them.  </p> <p>He states in a <a href="http://fusion.net/story/54528/why-we-should-stop-calling-baidu-the-google-of-china/">recent interview</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>In the US, we search for a movie ticket and Google or Bing could send you to Fandango and off you go. In China, that website we could send you to, it doesn’t exist. We [Baidu] have to build it ourselves. </p> </blockquote> <p>So for brands who are looking to launch services in China, be sure to check that the market isn't already served by Baidu or another Chinese heavyweight company.</p> <h3>Google and China... it's complicated</h3> <p>Google has a complicated and interesting history with China. Until 2010, Google China was one of the most popular sites in China and had a 29% market share, according to research firm Analysys International. </p> <p>Following a disagreement with the Chinese government about censoring search results in 2010, though, Google effectively pulled out of China.</p> <p>What happened next is slightly confusing. Google relocated to Hong Kong (which, yes, is still China) and has 79% search market share there, <a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop+mobile+tablet-search_engine-HK-monthly-201408-201508">according to StatCounter</a>.</p> <p>This is possible because Hong Kong effectively has a different government than the one in mainland China.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3905/google.cn.PNG" alt="" width="620" height="333"></p> <p>Google.cn, as per the image above, redirects all users to Google.com.hk.  </p> <p>Reports indicate that Google search results are not being censored in Hong Kong and that Google China still has significant revenue from Hong Kong, though still far short of what it was six years ago.</p> <p>To add to this confusing story, it seems that <strong>Google will re-enter mainland China in 2016.</strong></p> <p>The company will only offer the Google app store, Google Play, and will not link to its international Google Play site.</p> <p>Instead, the company aims to consolidate the hundreds of independent Android app stores that have proliferated since it left nearly six years ago.</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>China offers many benefits for brands who are able to crack the market, but doing so is proving to be quite difficult for many Western companies.</p> <p>To get started, it helps to know that the internet has now reached critical mass in China, that different companies dominate search and social there, and that there are other quirks which are not obvious from a Western perspective.</p> <p>Econsultancy subscribers can read more about China in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-china-digital-report-q1-2016">The China Digital Report, Q1 2016</a> and look forward to quarterly updates later this year.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67783 2016-04-26T10:05:32+01:00 2016-04-26T10:05:32+01:00 Five key findings for marketers from Ofcom's media report Ben Davis <h3>51% of searchers can't spot a paid listing</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">One of the most notable findings from the report was picked up by a variety of news outlets, including the FT.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Half of search engine users (51%) were unable to correctly identify <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">adverts or sponsored links</a> in search engine results.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The overall understanding of organic search results was mixed, with some respondents trusting Google implicitly.</p> <ul> <li>18% of searchers think that if a website has been listed it must be accurate and unbiased.</li> <li>12% say they have not thought about it.</li> <li>8% say they do not know.</li> </ul> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Perhaps surprisingly, it was respondents from the 25-34 age group that were most likely to give an incorrect response to this question.</p> <h3>Website and app usage has become less diverse</h3> <p>One in five (21%) internet users say they used lots of websites or apps that they haven’t used before in 2015. This was down four percentage points since 2014.</p> <p>Most weeks, internet users are now more likely (than 2014) to only use websites or apps that they have used before (42% in 2015, 31% in 2014).</p> <p>If apps like Facebook are pushing out other sources and becoming 'intermediaries', as the report puts it, discoverability mechanisms become more important.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4277/Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_13.06.11.png" alt="app usage" width="615"></p> <h3>There's no stopping video</h3> <p>78% of users have ever watched a short video clip online, up from 73% in 2014.</p> <p>There's a big increase in those watching weekly, from 39% in 2014 to 48% in 2015.</p> <p>This revolution is mobile, too, with video clips most commonly watched on a smartphone, particularly among younger adults. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4279/Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_13.59.55.png" alt="video" width="615"> </p> <h3>The majority favour laptop/PC for ecommerce</h3> <p>The propotion of internet users shopping online on a weekly basis is up from 25% in 2013 and 2014 to 30% in 2015.</p> <p>However, ecommerce lags behind other activities when it comes to mobile.</p> <p>37% of internet users preferred online shopping via a laptop and 18% on PC (55% combined), with less a quarter (24%) preferring a smartphone.</p> <p>This, despite many retailers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66543-50-fascinating-stats-about-mobile-commerce-in-the-uk-2015/">seeing more mobile traffic</a>, shows users perhaps don't like the UX of converting on smartphone.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4280/Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_13.59.02.png" alt="device for ecommerce" width="615"></p> <h3>Proportion of internet users on PC/laptop down to 2010 levels</h3> <p>The chart below illustrates the shift from 'computers' to smartphone and tablet for accessing the internet.</p> <p>In 2015, 71% had used a computer to get online, this was down from 81% in 2014 (and was only just above the 69% in 2010).</p> <p>When Ofcom looked further into this question, there showed a considerable rise (from 6% in 2014 to 16% in 2015) in the proportion of adults who <strong>only</strong> use smartphones or tablets to go online.</p> <p>These mobile-only users were more likely to be young or in DE households (semi-skilled &amp; unskilled manual occupations, unemployed and lowest grade occupations).</p> <p>The report highlights implications for usability, as smartphones may hamper or preclude certain activities e.g. word processing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4276/Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_13.05.19.png" alt="devices used to go online" width="615"></p> <h3>Is media diversification a polarising force?</h3> <p>Ending on a pertinent note, I'll quote the report.</p> <blockquote> <p>There is increasing polarity between different age groups in terms of communications activity.</p> <p>Whereas 25 years ago, all age groups shared just two common means of communication – landlines and letters – the landscape is now considerably more varied, and there is a risk that common means of communication that cut across demographics are becoming increasingly rare, with implications for social connectivity and information-sharing.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/"><em>For more stats, see Econsultancy's Internet Statistics Compendium.</em></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67774 2016-04-25T10:24:00+01:00 2016-04-25T10:24:00+01:00 Seven ways to humanise your brand through content marketing Anna Francis <p>Behind every brand is a human being that is passionate about the industry they work in and is driven by their area of expertise.</p> <p>But how do we make the human side of a brand come across? Being authentic in your content marketing efforts is key.</p> <p>If your audience doesn’t feel like they are talking to and engaging with a real human being, they will likely lose any connection they have with your brand and start to look elsewhere for a brand they can relate to.</p> <p>If your social media accounts look robotic, and the content you post becomes repetitive, you will start to lose your fans and followers and may even drive customers away.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">Content marketing</a> provides the perfect way to humanise your brand, so here are a few ways to get you started:</p> <h3>1. Use buyer personas</h3> <p>A humanised approach to content marketing means focusing on the behaviours, goals, and needs of your target audience first and foremost.</p> <p>Content marketing that is solely focused on sales and conversions takes any human connection away, resulting in corporate-based processes and communication.</p> <p>You need to know who your audience is in order to create content that meets their goals and needs.</p> <p><a href="https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/" target="_blank">YouGov’s Profiler</a> and Google Analytics are great places to discover more about your audience.</p> <p>For more on this, read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66976-are-your-audience-personas-really-helping-to-inform-your-content-strategy/">Are your audience personas really helping to inform your content strategy?</a></li> </ul> <h3>2. Write for people, not bots</h3> <p>The easiest way to humanise your brand is to talk to your audience whenever you get the chance.</p> <p>Remember that you are writing for people, not search engines, and while optimising your content for search is important, you don’t want to detract from your brand’s personality with keyword stuffing, misleading headlines, and bland topics.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4229/robot.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="632"></p> <p>Make sure your readers’ interests and requirements are always at the front of your mind when you publish content.</p> <p>You are writing for another human and therefore their experience of your content and site is important.</p> <p>You want them to see your content as helpful and informative, and come back to your site time and time again, with the end goal of a conversion.</p> <h3>3. Tell a story</h3> <p>With so many forms of communication available online, it’s important for brands to tell a meaningful story through a clearly thought-out content marketing strategy.</p> <p>What started out in TV and print adverts has now evolved online to include a wealth of social media marketing, with brands focusing on the people who use their products, rather than simply the products themselves.</p> <p>Dove has a really good example of this with its ‘Real Beauty’ sketches video.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XpaOjMXyJGk?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>Using blog posts, pictures, videos and live engagement, brands can tell a story and show their human side through the content that they produce.</p> <p>The stories that are the most successful are those that generate emotion and social engagement and help the audience to feel closer and more connected to the brand.</p> <h3>4. Keep up Your Engagement</h3> <p>Many brands see social media as a platform on which they can promote their products and services to a relevant audience.</p> <p>While this can be a good place for self-promotion, it’s best to keep the 80/20 rule in mind and try not to drive followers away with constant promotional noise.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4228/80_20.jpg" alt="" width="240" height="177"></p> <p>Social media should be used to build relationships with your target audience, and the easiest way to do that is to show them your brand’s human side by connecting with them in a real, meaningful way.</p> <p>Different customers will engage with your brand through different social media channels, so it is important to remain consistent with how and when you interact with your audience.</p> <h3>5. Think like a journalist</h3> <p>The best thing about content marketing is that it allows thought-leaders within different industries to demonstrate their expertise by communicating directly with readers.</p> <p>This gives the reader more value than a traditional news outlet, as content comes from a more authoritative source and is therefore more likely to provide detailed insight into a specific area or topic.</p> <p>By writing about current trends and news that relate to your brand, you are automatically encouraging natural engagement from a large audience and presenting yourself as a personable, knowledgeable business that people can turn to for advice.</p> <h3>6. Create experiences</h3> <p>It’s good to provide your audience with information that is of use to them, but it’s even better to entertain your audience, connect with them, and keep them coming back for more.</p> <p>Use videos and pictures to keep them up to date and share funny, serious, and interesting moments with them as they happen.</p> <p>By creating an experience around your brand, you are showing your customers that you want to involve them in your business and increasing your brand awareness.</p> <p>By using the human aspects of your brand and showing your humorous/emotional/personable side, you are drawing in your audience and providing them with entertaining or interactive content.</p> <p>This encourages them to connect with the people behind the business, not just the external face of the brand.</p> <p>For inspiration, check out these posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66793-19-tasty-examples-of-content-marketing-from-the-fast-food-industry/">19 tasty examples of content marketing from the fast food industry</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65518-six-examples-of-interesting-content-from-boring-businesses/">Six examples of interesting content from ‘boring’ businesses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66620-10-inspiring-content-marketing-examples-from-charities/">10 inspiring content marketing examples from charities</a></li> </ul> <h3>7. Listen &amp; respond</h3> <p>One of the best things about online marketing is that your audience has a platform on which they can comment, reply to, and share your content.</p> <p>It’s one thing to listen to what they have to say, and a whole other ball game to actually show you have listened by responding to them with an action.</p> <p>When you take what someone has said on board, you gain their trust and respect, and, most importantly, build brand loyalty.</p> <p>You could be responding to them by answering questions as quickly as possible or fully reacting to customer feedback by introducing a new loyalty scheme.</p> <p>Just the fact that you have taken on board what your customers have said to you on a human level will make them like you, stay with you, and tell all their friends and family about you.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>In a busy world of digital marketing, you need to stand out from your competitors, and shouting the loudest isn’t always the best way to do that.</p> <p>It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it and who’s listening.</p> <p>Think about who your audience is and talk to them as you would a friend.</p> <p>A little can go a long way when it comes to human interaction and regular engagement – just keep your tone and content consistent, and try to be reactive online.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67760 2016-04-20T11:32:57+01:00 2016-04-20T11:32:57+01:00 Search ads found to lift in-store sales: report Patricio Robles <p>As <a href="http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/chobani-yahoo-search-ads-lift-sales/303569/">reported by</a> AdAge, consumers who saw ads for Greek yogurt brand Chobani when searching for yogurt-related terms spent 9% more on Chobani than consumers who didn't see the company's ads.</p> <p>AdAge's Jessica Wohl explained that the test, which occurred in 2015:</p> <blockquote> <p>...could essentially match households from their use of the Yahoo search engine through to actual grocery store checkouts, going well beyond just tracking if someone clicked on an ad.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to Yahoo and NCS, the test methodology allowed for the search ad sales lift to be accurately tracked without interference from other factors, such as external marketing campaigns Chobani was running at the time.</p> <p>Perhaps most interestingly, Chobani found that purchases increased the more consumers were exposed to its search ads, and "once the campaign ended there was a dropoff."</p> <p>This suggests that, not surprisingly, a sustained search marketing campaign might be necessary to realize continued sales lift.</p> <h3>Advances in attribution</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65459-what-is-marketing-attribution-and-why-do-you-need-it">Attribution</a> has been a hot topic for several years. For many brands, establishing a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10288-companies-struggling-to-perform-attribution-and-online-offline-measurement">connection between online ads and offline activity</a> is a real challenge.</p> <p>There are a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67038-11-ways-to-track-online-to-offline-conversions-and-vice-versa">number of techniques</a> that are commonly used, but many companies aren't <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66354-customer-journey-tracking-joining-up-digital-and-offline-touchpoints">joining up digital and offline touchpoints</a>.  </p> <p>For CPG brands like Chobani, attribution is especially difficult, but the testing conducted by Yahoo and NCS demonstrates that it can be done.</p> <p>The pair say that they have performed eight to 10 similar tests and while they aren't able to reveal the details of those tests at the current time, the results are similarly impressive.</p> <p>According to Francine Faiella, the senior director of client consulting for NCS:</p> <blockquote> <p>Now that we've got a handful of measurements under our belt, we're starting to see some trends, and it's becoming clear that search advertising can be very effective.</p> </blockquote> <h3>The connection to viewability</h3> <p>Of course, the idea that exposure to search ads could benefit brands even when consumers don't click on them probably won't surprise marketers, many of whom for some time have recognized the importance of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67334-disproving-the-myth-about-display-clicks-conversions/">view-through conversions</a> in the display ad market.</p> <p>But as these effects are better quantified, it could influence how and where marketers spend money.</p> <p>While there is debate around <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67632-why-chasing-after-100-viewability-makes-no-sense-for-advertisers">the importance of viewability</a> as a KPI, it's clear that ads will have limited impact if they can't be properly seen.</p> <p>And if search ads, which are less susceptible to viewability concerns than their display cousins, become established as potent drivers of view-through conversions, it could make search marketing strategy even more important to brands.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4092 2016-04-18T14:00:00+01:00 2016-04-18T14:00:00+01:00 Marketing Budgets 2016 <h2>Overview</h2> <p>The <strong>Marketing Budgets 2016 Report</strong>, published by Econsultancy in association with <a href="https://cloud.oracle.com/marketing-cloud" target="_self">Oracle Marketing Cloud</a>, is a bellwether for the health of the marketing industry.</p> <p>It looks at the extent to which companies are increasing their budgets across a range of channels and technologies, comparing online and offline budgets while also looking at the balance between acquisition and retention marketing.</p> <p>The report compares spending trends – and ability to measure ROI – across different 'traditional' and digital channels. </p> <p>Almost 500 companies participated in this research, which took the form of an online survey during January and February 2016.</p> <h2>What you'll learn from this research </h2> <p>The report reveals marketers’ priorities for the next 12 months, while exploring the extent to which companies are committed to investing in marketing, the channels they are focusing their investment on, and the challenges they face in improving their capabilities in this area.</p> <p>As a result of collecting data and insight on the state of marketing budgets since 2010, the report allows you the opportunity to understand the results in the context of marketing budgets dating back to 2010 and any trends that have emerged.</p> <p><strong>Key findings from the report </strong></p> <ul> <li>Attitudes towards marketing budgets dip, as realities of the boardroom kick in</li> <li>Customer experience and measurability drive marketing technology spend</li> <li>Culture is stifling innovation... and the budget</li> </ul> <h2>Features of the report </h2> <p>This 54-page report looks in detail at how companies are allocating their online and offline marketing budgets in 2016. It explores the following areas:</p> <ul> <li>Marketing budget plans for 2016</li> <li>The CX impact</li> <li>Is the culture of ROI stifling innovation?</li> </ul> <h2>Who should read this report?</h2> <p>The report is essential reading for both in-house marketers and agency professionals around the world, as well as those who want to understand how marketing budgets and investment is evolving within the digital and traditional marketing fields.</p> <h2><strong>Other reports in the Modern Marketing Actionable Insights Series</strong></h2> <ul> <li><strong><a title="Marketers in the Boardroom" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketers-in-the-boardroom/">Marketers in the Boardroom</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/cross-channel-marketing-report/">Cross-Channel Marketing Report</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-role-of-dmps-in-the-era-of-data-driven-advertising">The Role of DMPs in the Era of Data-Driven Advertising</a></strong></li> </ul>