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Monthly Archives: March 2015


Digital Radio: The Next Marketing Frontier

Date Posted: March 31, 2015 by


ScreenShot2015-03-31at3.31.50PMOver the past few years internet radio has been testing the traditional radio market. People are not only listening to music through a radio in their home or car, but instead they are streaming music through a web browser or app. Unlike traditional radio, we are now able to customize what we are listening to via internet radio sites such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, iRadioPhilly and Spotify. So how did we get here? And why should marketers be aware of the emerging market of internet radio?

When radio began it was a form of communication for news and entertainment. The invention of the television shook up the radio industry, and ever since, radio has become more of roadside companion. Now radio is facing competition once again. Internet radio began in 1996 with sonicwave.com. After the introduction of internet radio, the Digital Millennium Copy Right Act was enacted, forcing internet radio broadcast to pay additional royalty fees compared to traditional radio’s charges. Even with the additional royalties, internet radio companies have been flooding the market with great success.

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Radio has many listeners, especially people commuting to and from work or school. The issue marketers tend to have with radio is that it is broadcasted to a wide audience that is not easy to track. However, internet radio listeners must have a registered account, so it is possible deploy messages based upon demographics and other audience specific metrics. What is helping to make these internet radio sites attractive to listeners is the ability to customize music stations. For example, Pandora’s Music Genome Project creates personalized playlists based on each listener’s unique tastes based on their choices, and subsequently linked with genres, artists and songs.

The share of time adults spend between media channels has been shifting throughout the past five years. EMarketer has shown that Pandora’s growth has doubled, while traditional radio dropped by 3%. By the end of 2014, Pandora reported 81.5 million active listeners, while Spotify and iHeartRadio, reported 60 million listeners, each. According to The Infinite Dial, just under 2/3 of 12-24 year olds listen to online radio weekly. Therefore, internet radio caters to a younger demographic, which have been more of a struggle to reach for most marketers.

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Internet radio advertising has the advantage of targeting within their platform. For instance, most internet radio providers can target by age, gender, zip code, time, day, and device on which the ad is shown. Beyond that, internet radio companies offer the use of ad banners, takeovers, sponsored sessions, audio, video, custom playlist, and engagement functionalities within the site and app to provide advertisers a full brand experience. Beyond advertising as a junction in the listening experience, some listeners with opt in for ads to have longer period of time without them. As an example of such a tactic, Spotify now offers a sponsored session where listener receive 30 minutes of ad-free listening if they watch a video in its entirety.

So what does all of this mean for the future of the radio industry? Radio is still a large part of people’s lives and should not be overlooked, at least not yet. Internet radio is evolving and could soon be as integral of a part of the daily commute as traditional radio. Car are currently being built with Wi-Fi capabilities, which will make it easier to stream internet radio while driving. However, Android may be taking it a step farther with Android Auto, creating an platform for vehicles that would be optimized for driving with integration within the digital world – apps, music, and directions. All-in-all the future of radio is changing and marketers should embrace the new channels that are emerging as a way to better reach specific audiences, and tie back exact performance metrics.

 

 

 

SEO-Pocalypse – What to Expect

Date Posted: March 25, 2015 by


Google is like a teenager when it comes to their algorithm. Every month there’s something drastically new. As digital marketers, we all got spoiled when Google was on their “one major update every 18 months” kick. Now, it seems like something major comes down the pipe every quarter. While major spammers were the ones getting hit with penalties, sometimes a digital strategy in the gray area can cause a legit site to start from digital scratch. Before I speak about implications, let’s first look at what we can expect come April:

The experts are calling this Google’s mobile friendliness update. The name is fitting because it is the day Google will start using mobile friendly compliance as a factor in their mobile ranking algorithm. You can read the response directly from Google here, but the key points are as follows:

  • More mobile friendly sites in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • More relevant app content in SERPs

So, what makes a site mobile friendly? Well, as usual, Google doesn’t share much, but some things that we do know is that a mobile friendly site will:

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What’s equally important in the news from Google is that information from indexed apps will be included in the SERPs. I think it would make a lot of sense if I, while searching on my iPhone, saw a piece of Tumblr content in the SERPs and, upon clicking on the result, that content actually opened up in my native Tumblr app. Could this be a sign that Google is investing less in display ads? I’d bet that Google would lose Google Display Network (GDN) revenue if the user was pushed to a site where the GDN didn’t exist.

 

So, back to the question of how much traffic would you lose by not playing Google’s game? It’s difficult to say, but one area where we can get a clue is to look at your Google Analytics. How much traffic is coming in through mobile? Take a look at this

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According to this data pulled directly from Google Analytics, ~6% of my traffic comes in via mobile. If for whatever reason Google decided to penalize me for not being mobile friendly, I could bet that I am going to lose that amount of traffic. It looks even worse if tablets are bundled into what Google deems “mobile”.

However, a smart marketer would see this as an opportunity. Run your competitors through the same tool and see if they are doing everything they can to be mobile friendly. If they aren’t then you should be the first mover. If you act soon enough, you may be able to turn someone else’s 25% loss in mobile traffic into a gain for you.

Some are saying that this will only impact less than 1% of organic traffic, while others are saying that it has the potential to be a lot greater. Rather than try and rehash their data, head on over to SearchEngineLand. They’ve created some very clever ways to estimate traffic opportunity after the April update.

Worried about losing traffic when this update goes live and want someone to help you seize the opportunity? Feel free to contact us or even get a free SEO Audit to see where you stand.

How Leveraging Mobile Matters to Marketers

Date Posted: March 19, 2015 by


In light of the release of the Apple Watch, it is imperative to recognize the momentum and merit of digital technology. Whether it be wearable tech or the GPS programmed into your

Recently, Google worked with Ipsos and Sterling Brands to measure the influence of mobile technology on consumer shopping behavior and expectations. This research revealed that 71% of consumers cited the increasing importance of their smartphones to their in-store experience.

Perhaps one of the more prominent pieces of information drawn from this study (and one that we as marketers should draw from) is that the consumer experience begins well before the act of in-store shopping. In fact, 87% of shoppers look for information before going into any store. Whether to compare prices, diversity of goods, or user ratings of product value, consumers increasingly look toward their mobile devices to sway their decision of where, when, and how to shop.

The value in this information lies in the knowledge that consumers will avoid stores that lack searchable information on location and stock availability. Indeed, data shows that 3 in 4 shoppers who find local information via search results are more likely to visit stores.

But the necessity of mobile-compatible search and utility isn’t exclusive to the pre-shopping process. Consumption of online information also occurs during a shopper’s in-store visit, as well as afterwards. Whether for retail, technology, food or healthcare shoppers, the availability and accessibility of shopping information is evermore essential to the shopping—and marketing—landscape.

At the end of the day, mobile more than matters: it has become a lifeline between the consumer and the brand. As eMarketer predicted, smartphone usage worldwide would have grown 25% in 2014, with the number of smartphone owners totaling more than 1.76 billion by the end of last year. The merit of this is immense; shoppers today carry a communication channel in their pocket and are equipped with amounts of information unlike ever before. If we, as marketers, want to continue to enliven our brands in this digital age, we must embrace and optimize mobile utility for brands and respective consumers.

Link Building for Local Businesses

Date Posted: March 12, 2015 by


I recently wrote about an overall SEO strategy for restaurants.

While having a great website with a killer menu is awesome, you’ll need to do a few more things to get in Google’s good graces. One of the major ranking factors that encourages the search engines to grant you some nice organic traffic is the number and quality of the links that are pointing to your site. Why are links so important?

A link is a clickable reference from one site to another. You can also think of a link as a vote of confidence from one to site to another. The more times that websites link to your site, the more times that other sites are saying that yours is an authoritative site on the web. However, just like in life, quality is more important than quanity here. For example, a link from CNN.com to your website may be more powerful than 100 links from lower quality blogs.When you build these links, you are transferring SEO value from one site to the next. By building up this SEO value, you are increasing the ranking potential of your site as a whole.

While this may sound complicated in theory, in practice, it’s pretty straightforward. Your mission is to find websites that want to mention your local business. Here are a few ways you can do this.

  1. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging involves you writing content that includes a link to your site for another site. This is a win/win/win. The site you are writing for gets quality content and time back in their day to spend time with their friends and family. The site’s readers get quality content from a different perspective that is consistent with the overall theme of the site and you get to put your content (and brand) in front of a readership that you don’t have to work hard to build. And, of course, you get that juicy link pointing back to your site to drive your SEO efforts.

  1. Citations

A citation is a mention of your site that gives the readers an opportunity to review your site or service. Yelp.com is a very big player in this space. There are probably hundreds of these all around the web. Some have more SEO value than others, but they are all important in some way. While the SEO value that is transferred to your site may be minimal, the power is in the mention and the potential traffic that will be sent to your site. Here are a few on which you should concentrate. While this is specific to the restaurant industry, there are others that cater to specific local industries.

  • Urbanspoon
  • Google Places
  • CityVoter
  • MenuPages
  • Yelp
  • OpenTable
  • Zagat

 

  1. Sponsorships

While the others before this require no monetary investment, there are some opportunities out there that can provide a lot of value with a small piece of your marketing budget. Don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank for this. Here are some ideas:

  • Sponsor a local little league team. They are always looking for money to help kids, they don’t require a huge investment and you will do some good in your neighborhood
  • Sponsor a local event. Google something like “local events” and you are sure to find something
  • Sponsor a MeetUp group. Go to Meetup.com and do a keyword search for the industry that you are in. There will surely be a group out there that wouldn’t mind supporting your brand for a little pocket change
  1. Interviews

Sometimes, your most valuable asset is your time. Let’s say you are a local lawyer and you want to build some links to your practice. Why not give some of your time to a local startup blog that needs some content. You can use your law expertise to speak about topics that are relevant to the startup community such as “how to start a c corp” or “things to consider before accepting venture capital.”

Creativity is important here. Using the same lawyer example, maybe you want to work with a local hip hop blog to share your perspective on getting your songs licensed to use on television shows. The possibilities are out there and they are endless if you are creative enough.

  1. Just be a good person

Sometimes, just being yourself is enough to earn press and links. For example, Wil Reynolds from SEER Interactive slept outside to raise money for a great cause. This brought attention to his non-profit and they also linked to his donation page.

So, there you have it. Some straightforward ways to earn some valuable links for your local business. If you need some more help and you’d like to work with us. Feel free to sign up for our free SEO Audit. We’d love to help!