Our Friday catch-ups seem to be getting weirder and weirder every week. It seems that whenever we think we’ve seen it all, the internet throws us a giant curveball and tells us just how horribly wrong we are. We were completely unprepared for China. In fact, I believe we won’t be prepared for another week. Keep checking in on us to see whether we’re recovering from the shock. Other than the return of the Chinese, we have Google throwing tantrums again. Online marketers just can’t seem to catch break. Poor guys!
The return of China: Baby steps
China’s great firewall still separates our Asian friends from us with the ban on access to foreign internet sites. A small portion of Shanghai, however, that falls into the free trade zone may get access to foreign news and social media sites such as NYTimes.com, Facebook and Twitter. This move was made in order to attract foreign investors and encourage them to move to Shanghai and feel at home over there. We are over the moon with this news and will welcome our long lost friends with open arms. Please don’t leave us again China. We can change, we swear. Read more at Venture Beat.
Google Encrypts Searches
I think we’ve reached a point with Google where we can do nothing but sit back and cry or laugh manically at the ensuing insanity. All search activity on Google will now be encrypted except for ad clicks. If you’re wondering what that would mean then we envy you for your blissful ignorance. This means no more keyword data for searches, not even for those who aren’t signed in. Please excuse us, we need to go cry in a dark and lonesome corner. Google cited the reason behind this decision to be enhanced security for searchers. Pamela Vaughn, who shares our grief, discusses the issue and provides some great advice at HubSpot.
Google Powered comments on YouTube
We’re still a little sore about encrypted search, but we have other news about ‘You-Know-Who’ and YouTube. In a move to increase the integration across all Google services, all comments will now be made through Google+ profiles. YouTube will now be more personalized for unified sharing experience with relevant comments on the top and the option to comment privately or publicly. Read more at Search Engine Land.
TIPS & TRICKS
UX, UX, UX!
The newest thing on the internet is the focus on enhancement of user experience, and for good reason. The way the user will interact with your site will determine its success or failure. Apart from improving the quality of design, it’s important to focus on the little things such as spelling or grammar mistakes, navigational or operational issues, page load times, cross-browser compatibility and reduction in ad serving. Marcus Taylor at State of Digital provides a more in-depth analysis of these factors.
Subject Lines that Impress!
We absolutely love how email is still one of the most effective methods of online marketingand driving up sales. The one thing that marketers need to focus on is to make sure that their potential customer clicks on the email and gives it a look. What needs to be determined is what makes a user click on the email in the first place. The subject line is the most important factor which needs to be focused on. A weak subject line will make the user simply ignore the email or throw it in the trash. Ginny Soskey at Hubspot provides some great insight into taking subject lines to another level. Her suggestions include the use of personalization and using action oriented verbs presented with clarity.
Captivating parallax, scrolling sites
Although single-page sites with parallax are normally laggy and slow, they offer a unique user experience which is worth the wait. Parallax sites usually require more bandwidth to run because of all the elements that go within a single page. Speckyboy provides a great listicle once again with examples of some stunning parallax sites.
Improving Usability of Order Tracking
Providing an order tracking service on your online retail site can be a great way to improve customer service and increase customer retention. At one time, this feature used to be something that gave you an edge and set you apart from your competitors. Now that most retailers provide the order tracking facility, it becomes difficult to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Online retailers then need to build upon the feature in order to get a competitive edge. Get Elastic provides some recommendations on how to make that happen. Their suggestions include providing order tracking links within confirmation emails and providing a visual instruction as an image on the site.
Niche Domination on Google
Jay Taylor provides some great tips on how marketers can improve their Google organic results and make sure that they dominate in the results. The first step is to identify which niche is most important to you and focus on that aspect of the company. Selecting the right keywords is of paramount importance when targeting a single niche. Find the perfect keywords and optimize your site. Insert Rich snippets for authorship making your content stand out and look more professional to users. Read more at Search Engine Watch.
Locating Facebook at places other than Facebook
Mashable turns the tables on Facebook by telling us how we can track Facebook’s activity on the internet instead of the other way around. Turns out that Facebook can be found on social media sites other than Facebook itself, including subscriptions to Twitter, Google + and other social networking sites. Visit Mashable for the list of all the optimized Facebook pages on the internet.
Basket Add options for Ecommerce
The main motive behind the Add to Basket option on ecommerce sites is to bring customers closer to the checkout point and make the purchase and not navigate away to other places on the internet. Not only do marketers need to bring them closer to the checkout point, they also need to make sure that they receive suggestions regarding further purchases that they can make. Econsultancy provides some examples on good and bad ‘add basket’ features and provides suggestions on how to improve them.
Running Contests on Google +
Google+ is gradually becoming stronger and marketers have begun to include it into their social media marketing strategies. In order to run content on Google+, it’s important to understand the policies and guidelines that need to be followed in order to run a successful contest. Giveaways, promotional offers, discounts and other contests are a common way of promoting the social media presence of a company and increasing the conversion rate. It’s important to create engaging and compelling content which forces the user to interact and engage with the company and build content. Social Media Examiner provides some great advice on how to use Google+ to run contests.
To Post or Not to Post?
Like in all things, timing is crucial when it comes to posting content on Facebook. Marketers always conduct various studies in order to figure out what the best time to post on the social networking site is. Some of the responsibility for the success of a particular post also lies on the quality of the content that you will be uploading. If you have big news, make sure that your target market will be there to view it in real time. Other than that, a good way to increase engagement is to build up on the impending content and let the users know that something is coming. Social Media Today provides some great tips on when to post on Facebook for ultimate success.
Dealing with Abandoned Carts
Abandoned carts are a huge let down for ecommerce sites. While there may be various reasons behind abandoned carts such as complicated checkout procedures or asking for excessive information, what needs to be done once this happens is to retarget the customer. One good way of retargeting is to send emails to the indivdual. The emails may simply be prompt to visit again or contain offers and discounts to entice them to return and complete their order. Studies show that email retargeting has a 29% success rate. Econsultancy provides some excellent suggestions to deal with cart abandonment.
Facebook Hashtags and their role in marketing success
With 1150 million users on Facebook, it’s not a surprise that it adopted the highly successful hashtag. The extremely interesting infographic at Social media today shows how Facebook hashtags are changing the game. They suggest that hashtags be limited to one word and not overdone. They also found that capitalization or other formatting does not affect its results. Researching the hashtag was also recommended. Hashtags can be great tools which will let you expand the reach of your brand, amplify it and promote its presence across other social media platforms as well.
Factors that Affect Search Ranks
Search Metrics recently did a study to find out which factors affect search rankings the most. The stunningly made infographic shows that backlinks are one of the main drivers of search rankings. The importance of keywords was also reiterated. When considering technical aspects, it was found that the speed of the site is also a determining factor.
Mobile Sales surpass Desktop Sales
As expected, mcommerce has now started to surpass traditional ecommerce. While total online retail showed a 15% increase since 2011, it seems that desktop sales have flat lined since then. Tablet sales account for 85% of mobile sales while smartphones are responsible for 15%. View the infographic at Econsultancy.
align=”center”>Happy Birthday Google!
We hate Google but we love Google. While we were trying to figure out the inner workings of our own minds, Google turned 15. Go play the incredibly adorable game in the Google Doodle.