E-commerce has gone mainstream and the lines between digital and offline channels are blurring. Consumers browse online, use their mobile devices to price check in store, and purchase through whichever channel happens to be available at the time.
Retail brands continue to mature digitally, using technology and the wealth of data available to more effectively connect and engage with connected consumers.
Use Digital to Pull Shoppers into Stores:
Digital is a great way for local retailers and retail giants a like to encourage store visits. A study by Google revealed that 3 in 4 shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores.
The types of information shoppers would find most helpful in search results include:.
Improve the In-Store Experience with Digital Strategies
Google research shows that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online using their smartphones.
The top two places shoppers head to search include search engines (64%) and the retailer’s website or app (46%).
This presents an opportunity for retailers to enhance the in-store experience by ensuring sites and ads are mobile-friendly, and that search results are fully optimized.
But what’s the best way to increase followers and engagement online?
1. Be Active With Your Facebook Presence
That means that when you’re on Facebook it’s not something you can work on every couple of weeks.
You have to commit to your Facebook marketing strategy by consistently posting new content to your company’s Facebook page like photos and videos, with links back to your website. Post offers and special deals… news about product launches… do live streams using Facebook Live… and more.
2. Reach Your Best Customers with Facebook Ads
One of the metrics that too many companies on Facebook strive for is more “likes” and “followers.” Yes, those are important numbers. But what you should really be focusing on is reaching your best customers. By that, I mean those more likely to buy and even buy repeatedly.
3. Engage Your Audience
Your Facebook marketing strategy definitely should not be set it and forget it. This is social media. You have to engage with your audience.
You’re trying to build a community. And the more active you are, the more engaged people will be with your brand. And that means more leads and sales.
Post at the Best Time on Facebook
Facebook is still one of the most difficult social networks to use for organic content. Again, algorithms make it a challenge for businesses trying to find optimal posting times.
Type of Ads:
Different ad formats can be used across Facebook platforms. The types of formats that are available to you depend on your selected advertising objective.
It’s important to select an advertising objective that aligns with your business goals. After you select your advertising objective, you can choose the right format for your ad.
1) Carousel Ads
Goals: Clicks to Website, Brand Awareness
Interactive and visually appealing, Carousel Ads are perfect for the multiple products you want to promote or an array of services you need to build awareness of.
They’re also mobile friendly, and they can be placed right within the newsfeed, making their click-through-rates better than most.
2) Lead Ads
Goal: Lead Generation
Facebook Lead Ads were designed to make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have provided to Facebook including email addresses.
Lead Ads allow Facebook users to sign up for things like newsletters, price estimates, follow-up calls and business information, which can be extremely valuable to retailers looking to expand and improve their customer interaction.
3) Canvas Ads
Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Brand Awareness
This is as interactive as it gets in the Facebook advertising world, allowing customers to get up close and personal with your images and products by tilting, swiping, zooming and more—all with just their fingertips.
Fast (Canvas loads quickly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web), seamless and available only on mobile, it’s a great way to engage customers and get them excited about what you have to offer.
4) Dynamic Ads
Goal: Website Conversions
These are some of Facebook’s most powerful advertising methods for spurring sales. Based on your own website data, Dynamic Ads offer a form of remarketing, letting you reach users based on past actions they completed on your website or within your store.
You can target users based on the content they viewed on your site, items they added to their shopping cart, products they purchased and more.
It does require installing the Facebook Pixel on your site—but we’ve got a pretty good guide for getting that done. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
5) Video Ads
Goal: Video Views, Brand Awareness
Advertising via video is extremely popular in today’s mobile world. Great for selling, building awareness or just simply entertaining and engaging a customer, video ads are some of the most powerful tools in a modern marketer’s arsenal.
In the fact that Facebook videos get more than 8 billion views every single day.
Facebook’s videos are particularly powerful, offering retargeting capabilities that help you hone in on customized audiences.
6) Domain Ads
Goals: Clicks to Site, Website Conversions, Testing Creative
Ideal for attracting leads and driving traffic to your brand’s website, Domain Ads are some of Facebook’s most-used ad types. The ads can point to your homepage, an optimized landing page or even a specific product, purchase area or opt-in form.
Domain Ads are cheap, but they’re not very customizable.
7) Collection Ads
Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions
Facebook collection ads, people who tap on your collection ad to browse or learn more will be seamlessly taken to a fast-loading visual post-click experience powered by Instant Experience – all without leaving Facebook or Instagram.
Users can click any image to see more detail or purchase the product through the advertiser’s site or app.
Much like the rest of the internet, YouTube has established numerous steps to optimize the user experience on mobile. When it comes to mobile-friendliness, the YouTube mobile app is truly a handy and reliable app that allows you to watch videos on the go, while offering full functionality that allows you to record and stream live.
With more users going mobile, this also means that some processes and details must also be updated to keep up with the times. This means removing some seldom-used features and elements to streamline the process, while also testing out possible changes that might impact revenue and user experience.
For YouTube, the newest set of updates aim to remove credits and annotations in editing, while testing out back-to-back ads that play before a video starts. Here are our thoughts, how it works, and how these can affect the user experience.
Video credits in YouTube allow users to be able to tag users and channels that they have collaborated with when creating a video. This ensures that users and channels would be credited and recognized properly and allow users to discover different related channels. Despite its benefits, it has become a feature that has been used less and less, which leads to YouTube removing the feature altogether.
While the feature to tag users and channels has been removed, adding credits can still be done when writing the description of your video, which is a practice done by more users recently. This has become more common on different videos and looks to be the more practical approach that will be the standard. This smoothens the editing process, while still giving users the ability to give credit to their fellow users.
Along with removing credits, YouTube will also remove video annotations by January 2019. Annotations have been no longer in use since 2017, but videos that contain them are still present. This update would remove them entirely, especially when watching videos. Annotations do not appear when viewed on mobile, which is why the feature was no longer in use. With better calls to action that are more visually appealing, this feature has become outdated. If you have a video that still contains annotations, it is best to wait for the update before adding necessary changes to create a better experience.
Ads have become a regular part of YouTube ever since the playing of ads before a video has been somewhat a standard practice. This not only helps various channels generate income, but also helps users discover different things such as brands, viral campaigns, and new products and websites. While ads may have affected the user experience for better or for worse, it is a necessary feature that helps bring in more revenue to the platform.
With this in mind, YouTube will begin to test out back-to-back advertisements that play before a video starts. This means an average of 2-5 minutes before watching a video. While this will allow more revenue and brand exposure, this might be a controversial feature, as a lot of users still adjusting to watching ads before videos. Since this is still at the testing phase, there might be a chance for this to change or to not happen at all. With this in mind, it is best to respond to official surveys, and leave reviews to ensure that YouTube would be able to bring impactful changes to the user experience.
YouTube SEO Impact
With these new updates, users would have to adjust accordingly when giving credit and optimizing their YouTube SEO experience. This means that along with making sure the description makes it searchable and informative, fellow users must be properly credited. As for the ads, this is something that might impact the viewer count. However, just as long you deliver quality content that is searchable, you will not have any issues with getting traffic into your videos.
YouTube has seen numerous changes over the years, and these updates are there to optimize a few details to optimize the user experience. With these set of updates, expect YouTube to continue making the viewing experience much better on any platform.
If you have questions and inquiries about YouTube or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.
Is Google Image Search launching a new design for image preview?
We’re waiting for official confirmation from Google but they may be rolling out a design update to their image search product.
Google appears to be rolling out a new design for the previews within image search results. When you click on an image, instead of loading the preview in a black background frame as it did previously, Google is now showing the image preview on the right-hand side. Many on social media and in forums are seeing this new design and interface, and I am personally able to replicate it in Chrome on my Mac while logged into Google.
What does the image preview look like now? The screenshot above shows the image layout, including a white preview box on the right side. It shows a larger thumbnail of the image, the site name, title, description, copyright message, a share button, bookmark button, and a link to “see more.” It also shows related images and related searches for that specific image.
Here is that screenshot that you can click on to enlarge:
What did the image preview look like before? I can currently access the old design in Chrome but only when signed out. The big difference is the black background preview area that shows similar information as the new design but kills a lot of space.
Here is a screenshot of the old image preview that you can click on to enlarge:
Is this rolling out to everyone? It is unclear. We emailed Google to determine if this is a full rollout, a test to a limited number of searchers or a regional rollout. Google is well known for testing user interfaces and designs within their services. In addition, with image search, Google may use the one-page layout in the U.S. and a totally different design in Germany for legal and compliance reasons.
Why does it matter? At first glance, the new design for the preview makes the preview window less noticeable. If fewer people see the preview window, it might lead to fewer clicks on the image that take the searcher to the page with the image on it. So it may lead to less traffic to the site hosting this specific image
Instagram is a powerful visual platform for digital marketers to take advantage of. Naturally, anybody taking part in a multichannel marketing strategy understands that efforts to market your Instagram profile should extend beyond Instagram itself.
Surprisingly, however, Instagram accounts are actually notoriously difficult to index and display in the search results.
This is because most Instagram users are, in fact, not so interested in promoting themselves, and in fact, Instagram actually blocks search engines from indexing your Instagram images. The profiles themselves can still be indexed, but the images are not.
This represents a major hurdle for marketers hoping to get additional traffic to their Instagram account from the search results, but the hurdle is not insurmountable.
Let’s talk about how to optimize your Instagram account for search engines.
Make sure your profile is set to public
Instagram profiles are set to public by default, meaning that anybody can access your profile and all of your content. As a marketer, this is obviously how you want it. However, it’s a good idea to double check that your privacy settings were never altered and ensure that this hasn’t been changed.
To do this, go to your profile and click the hamburger menu icon:
Next go to “Settings” followed by “Account Privacy” and make sure that the “Private Account” toggle is set to “off.”
Set up social profile schema for Instagram
Google allows you to use schema.org markup to tell them which social media profiles are yours. If your brand gets a card in the Knowledge Graph, your social media profiles will then show up there:
Have your developer take a look at Google’s documentation on proper implementation of Social Profile structured data and ensure that your Instagram account is included.
Include your most important keyword in your Instagram name
The title tag for your Instagram page is automatically generated using your profile information, and it looks like this:
My Name (@username) • Instagram photos and videos
Including your primary target keyword under your profile name is the only way to get your most important keyword into your Instagram title tags.
We strongly discourage keyword stuffing here, but there is certainly a way to do this that is appropriate for your brand and your users. It’s simply a matter of changing, for example, “Casey’s” to “Casey’s Groceries.”
To update your name in Instagram, click the profile button:
Then just click the “Edit Profile” button and update the “Name” field.
Include a specific and keyword-rich bio
While editing your profile, you should also make sure that your bio is optimized for the search results.
You don’t have a lot of room to work with: your Instagram bio is limited to a maximum of 150 characters, similar to Google’s dynamic limit on meta descriptions.
Thankfully, “keyword stuffing” is more or less acceptable in an Instagram bio if you are using hashtag keywords, and the keywords are appropriate. Instagram hashtags are clickable links that take users to a list of posts with the same hashtag, so they are considered helpful for users.
If you have other brand accounts or influencers you work with, you can also include @ usernames here, and they will turn into clickable links.
The bio renders as HTML and is crawlable by search engines, and it is virtually the only text on your page, so this is where a massive chunk of the optimization takes place.
You can use a combination of TagBlender for Instagram hashtag research and the Google Keyword Planner for keyword research to arrive at what keywords to include here.
It’s a good idea to get at least a few words in your bio that aren’t just hashtags, however, in order to give the search engines a bit more semantic meat to work with. Flesh out your bio as much as you can given the limited space. Make it as clear as possible who you are and what you’re about.
While you’re editing your profile, you should of course also make sure that the “Website” field includes the URL for your brand’s website. While this link is unfortunately nofollowed, it still serves as a source of referral traffic and shouldn’t be neglected.
Treat your image caption like a title tag — because it is one
We tend to treat Instagram image captions as though they were meta descriptions, but we should be treating them more like title tags, because when Instagram creates a page for your post, the title tag includes the caption, like this:
My Name on Instagram: “this is my image caption”
So, here again we see how important the “Name” field in your profile is, since it also shows up here, even though your @ username does not. But the remainder of the title tag is taken up by your image caption.
The situation gets even worse when emojis are included.
I’m not suggesting that you keep the image caption short enough to stay within the title tag, since this would be a very, very short image caption.
However, it’s a good idea to check where your title tag will regularly cut off and make sure that the most important information is at the beginning of the caption and before the title tag cuts off.
As with your bio, make sure that your caption is focused and keyword rich, but keep in mind that this will also be acting as a call to action from the search results. A string of hashtags may make sense and look fine on Instagram, but in a title tag in the search results it will look a great deal more spammy.
Link directly to your Instagram posts
This is arguably the most important step in the process.
You can not promote your individual Instagram posts merely by promoting your Instagram profile. In order for anybody to find these posts in the search results, you will need to link to them directly from your other channels, making sure to copy the link that points directly to the post.
To get the link, click the ellipses in the bottom right corner of the post:
And then click the “Copy Link” button from the pop-up:
You will want to naturally include a link to your post from as many of your platforms as possible, within reason, in order to ensure that the post gets indexed.
This can be accomplished using Instagram recap blog posts, or by including links to your Instagram posts, whenever you post an Instagram picture to your blog.
In Shopify’s Instagram followers guide, they also recommend following, liking, and commenting on your competitor’s followers posts, since about 34% of them will follow back. The more followers you have, the more links you’ll pick up from followers linking to your posts across various platforms.