Google’s “Mobilegeddon” and What it Means for Your Website

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Written by Jordan Stambaugh, Owner of Stambaugh Designs 

Google recently updated their search algorithm to include one important new metric – mobile devices. It was rumored that an update was coming that would totally change the online search landscape and the rumors were right.

What are the risks of not having a mobile friendly website?

Google’s search algorithm looks at over 200 factors when choosing which website to rank over another. Now one of those factors, and arguably the most important variable, is mobile-friendliness. Before the search algorithm update in 2015, all websites were created equal – a mobile-friendly website was not favored over one that was not.

This is no longer the case.

If your tree service website is not optimized for mobile devices then you run the risk of not showing up in search results when people search for your “Tree Service + Your City” on their mobile devices.

Many businesses are starting to realize the importance of ranking well on Google. If you don’t show up on the first page of Google, you’re practically invisible.

What makes a website mobile friendly? 

A mobile friendly website is a website that responds to the size of the user’s screen. There’s a Bellingham, Washington tree service website that is mobile friendly. The navigation, text and images all respond nicely to the size of the user’s screen.

You can test if your website is mobile friendly by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool.

A quicker way to see if a website is mobile friendly is to resize your browser window (on a desktop or laptop computer). If the text, images, and forms all scale down to fit nicely in the smaller browser window then congratulations! Your website is mobile friendly.

If you discover that you have over set text and images are cut off by the browser’s window, then unfortunately your website isn’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

About a year ago it was official – people search for things more on their smartphones than desktop computers. If your website isn’t mobile friendly then you’re bumped out of those search results.

It’s not too late to update your website. 

Let’s face it – more and more business is being conducted online. By not showing up on the first page of Google you could be leaving a lot of business on the table. But there is good news!

It’s not too late to update your website to have a mobile friendly design. By getting a mobile friendly website you will start to perform better in mobile search results which can bring you more business leads.

Your website should be viewed as your best employee – only if it’s optimized. A website works 24/7/365 with no over time. It’s also more effective than canvassing a neighborhood with a few of your crew members because people searching for your business on Google already want what you offer.



Jordan M. Stambaugh has a degree in Digital Media Design and specializes in website creation and SEO services for local businesses.

He has helped numerous businesses rank in local search results, generating more revenue for companies in the tree service, home improvement, dental, plumbing, painting, repairs, beauty, solar industries and more.

 You’ll find him at Stambaugh Designs helping companies grow their business and at his business and design blog writing about website design and internet marketing.

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How to Track Social Media in Google Analytics

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As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Unfortunately, this generally doesn’t apply to digital marketing. In fact, ignorance may be as far from bliss as possible, especially if your social media accounts aren’t performing to your standards.

For those with no way to track website performance and metrics, it can be easy to believe that you’re hitting all of your benchmarks, driving new traffic, and harvesting adequate leads. Overlooking weak spots and missing pain points completely is also possible without a good way to objectively evaluate how your social media accounts are functioning.

Luckily, there’s a better way. Google Analytics is a free tool widely used by novice webmasters and seasoned veterans alike. It offers an easy way to evaluate traffic sources and determine the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Providing insight into the many facets of site functionality, Google Analytics can unwrap your website’s performance, uncovering the truth about what your digital marketing is able to accomplish.

Curious? Here’s how you can make the most of your social media stats:

Track Traffic Sources

Many marketers erroneously believe that as long as website traffic stays steady, everything must be fine. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a solid understanding of where your customers are coming from and how they’re getting to you, it’s very challenging to get a full picture of consumer web behavior. Google Analytics is extremely valuable in this arena, breaking down traffic from exact point of origin.

Under the category Real Time there is a section called Traffic Sources. From here you will be able to see exactly where traffic to your website is originating, a function that silos results based on individual traffic sources. Many of these sources should be expected; most marketers see many results from Google and direct access, as well as social media sites, blog posts, and more. Take the time to go through your most popular sources, and determine which are social media sites and see how these sites rank overall.

Set Goals with Campaigns

In order to truly hone in on how your social media marketing campaigns are working, Google Analytics lets users set up goals. This feature allows you to narrow your results, tracking specific features regarding how consumers perform once they reach your site.

Under the Admin tab, click Goals, and then select New Goal. In the fields provided, enter the data you wish to track, including pages visited or viewing duration. Choose a name that summarizes what you’d like to accomplish, and select Destination as the type. Then, in the destination field, enter the tail end of the URL you’d like to track. For example, if you’d like to see how many Twitter followers make a purchase, you can set this field to reflect your Thank You page. Users can also add monetary value tracking or incorporate a sequence of pages through the Funnel feature.

View Conversions

For most marketers, conversions are an end goal. Fortunately, Google Analytics makes tracking conversions easy, providing access to one-click insight by going to the Acquisitions menu, selecting All Traffic, and then choosing Channels. From here, users can enable the Social view to see exactly how social media sites break down.

The report generated here will include many valuable stats, including goal conversion rates, goal completions, and goal value, providing a great overview into how your goals are performing for each social site. Users can also utilize the Assisted Conversions report, accessed under the Conversions menu under Multi-Channel Funnels. This report maps which leads were originally, but maybe not specifically, a result of social media marketing. For example, a customer may have found your site through social media, clicked away, and then used Google to find your page again days later in order to make a purchase.

Draw Conclusions

Google Analytics is a great start, but numbers alone can’t tell you how to improve. Instead, you need to learn from what information you have available, using it to develop insights that can be applied to boost your social performance. Devise questions that relate to social behaviors and see how your customers are fitting into the mold. What social media sites have the highest visits? Do Facebook leads have a longer page duration? Is your traffic from Twitter viewing more pages on average?

Formulating these questions can help you get to the root of your social media successes and failures, especially when you are running specific campaigns. For example, if visitors from Twitter are spending more time on your landing page but don’t see a reason to click through, perhaps your marketing materials are misleading.

For marketers at all stages of the game, access to analytics can be the demarcation between growth potential and slowing sales. Google Analytics can provide many of the insights you need to improve performance, putting game-changing resources right at your fingertips.

How to Boost Your Search Engine Ranking Using Schema Markup

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When it comes to enhancing your business’s online exposure and boosting its credibility with potential customers, schema markups are something you can use to promote your business. Schema markup is one of the latest SEO features that can guide search engines to effectively showcase your business and relative information about it in search engine page results. Though it is still one of the least-used SEO tricks of the trade, owing to its relative newness, schema markup is proving extremely beneficial to the businesses that employ it. Once you understand the ins and outs of this SEO feature, you’ll be persuaded to include it on your business website too.

What Exactly Is Schema Markup?

Put simply, schema markup is code. It’s a type of code that boosts your website’s SEO and allows your site to be more visible to potential customers or clients. The beauty of schema is that its code explains to search engines what your data actually means and not simply what it says. That small difference can lead to big results when it comes to search engine page rankings. When you employ schema markup, a search engine can better “understand” what important individual elements on your page are and can promote them accordingly.

In addition, when searchers are scrolling through their search results, your website will appear far more attractive, which can spell increased traffic to your site. The goal for schema markups are to make your business rank better, look better to viewers, and do better in search engine page results. Also, remember that you can use schema markup to highlight a myriad of content types such as products, articles, local business information, software applications, events, and more.

How Can Schema Markups Affect Search Engine Rankings?

Since schema markups are used to point out relevant features of your website like an image or location, they’ll appear in search results as an attractive package of information. By providing relevant information to search engines and information you want to stand out, you can more effectively promote your brand and business. The goal is to stand out well in search pages in order to encourage searchers to click on your business link and explore your website. With schema markups, traffic is likely to increase and with increased traffic, you’re apt to see an increase in business too.

How to Add Schema Markups on Your Website

Because businesses that use Schema seem to be a step ahead of their competition, there’s every reason to get these features for your website and begin to experiment with them. You can implement schema markups on your website by visiting Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. The tool will help you add schema to your website via its easy-to-use worksheet. For instance, you’ll need to select a data type like local businesses or articles. Then you can paste in the URL for the page you want to markup. If you’re using HTML, you can easily paste that in too.

After pasting in your URL, the tool will then allow you to begin the tagging process. The tool pulls up your webpage on one side of its screen and a list of data items on the other. You simply highlight the elements that you want to apply schema markup to. After you complete the tagging process, you’ll want to click on the button: create HTML. The tool will then provide you with an HTML view of your page with the microdata you just created included. Finally, you can add the schema markup to your webpage by pasting in the highlighted snippets of schema markup into the appropriate spaces of your code.

There are other options for adding schema markup to your website, but the Google tool makes it quite simple. Regardless of how you get schema markup to your business website, you’ll definitely want to make plans to do it soon. As more businesses begin to understand the great functionality of this feature, schema markups will become a matter of course for savvy webmasters. The sooner your business employs them, the sooner it can stand out from the pack in those search results—and that can spell terrific benefits for your business, benefits that you definitely don’t want to ignore.

Why Your Business Website Needs Google Analytics

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You invested in a great website and spent time working with designers and web developers to truly capture your brand, but nothing has changed. Your traffic is stagnant, leads aren’t converting and sales aren’t increasing. Why?

In good times and bad, monitoring your website is a valuable way to determine performance, source traffic and receive feedback that can help you make wise business decisions. Whether you’re doing great or struggling to keep up and need to know why —the right analytics can make a huge difference.

The most popular free tracking opportunity for businesses of all sizes and industries is Google Analytics. It provides the opportunity to track many of the important metrics related to operating a successful website. With capabilities like determining traffic sources, calculating key performance indicators and providing insight into average duration and views per page, it’s easier than ever to monitor your site’s performance on the web.

Here’s why your business website needs Google Analytics:

Identify Traffic Sources

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Having traffic is a great start, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Where your traffic is coming from also makes a difference. Google Analytics can help you track your traffic sources, offering insight into what marketing is working and what marketing isn’t. It also tells you what most of your viewers are doing to get to your page.

This information can be extremely valuable in identifying weak spots in marketing and advertising that can be bolstered, successful areas that can be perpetuated and even the keywords most important to your operations.

Stay Up to Date on Google’s Changes

As all website owners know, Google is anything but consistent. With frequent algorithm changes that may or may not be announced in advance, or even announced at all, keeping up with Google is often an uphill battle.

Google Analytics makes things easier by helping you to identify what was working before that isn’t now, or what new requirements your site isn’t meeting. For example, if your formerly adequate mobile traffic plummeted overnight, it’s highly likely that Google made a change that’s negatively driving your performance. By understanding your positioning, it will be easy to make the changes necessary to maintain your position in the search engine results page.

Explore Mobile vs Desktop

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As Google’s Mobilegeddon update proved —mobile use matters. While desktop ranking was left alone, Google made changes to how mobile sites are ranked. This change boosted companies with mobile-specific or responsive web design and penalized those without.

Instead of assuming all is well, get the scoop with Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see where traffic is coming from across all devices. The information is beneficial to noting strengths and weaknesses across laptops, desktops and phones. Platform breakdown can also help identify areas of improvement, especially when users appear to favor different functionalities from desktop to mobile.

Learn What Your Readers Value

You know your site viewers are invested in what you have to offer, but what information means the most? Without knowing what pages, blog posts and product descriptions are hitting home, it’s hard to know what to prioritize when it comes to site design and product creation.

By analyzing metrics, like page visit duration, you can ascertain which posts and pages are successful and which ones fall short. This data can also help you to identify what visitors landed on your site and left right away and how many stayed to read, absorb and invest in what your company has to offer.

Keeping an eye on performance behind the scenes can be extremely valuable. By understanding more than what you see at the surface you can fine tune what works and tweak what doesn’t. With Google Analytics on your side, you can ensure your site will always stay at the top —no matter how the tides may shift.

BBB Can Help Promote Your Business on Google Maps

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Promoting your business online is the single most important type of marketing you need to do even if you don’t sell services through the internet. Today’s consumer turns to the web to find the information they need long before venturing out into the community. But, being present online isn’t always easy to do. How can you ensure your business is in front of those consumers looking for the information, products or services they need? Google Maps is one of the solutions available to you. Keep reading to find out how it works and how Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest can help you get started!

How Can Google Maps Help Promote Your Business?

Google Maps has used various forms of advertisement over the years on its service, but now that more people are turning to mobile to get the information they need – right on the road – it’s becoming more important than ever. The latest generation of tools for local search ads promises to create more branded and customized experiences for those using the Google Maps application. This new design aims to connect the one-third of mobile searches that Google says now have a local focus with those businesses that can meet their needs. The company also noted in its recent summit that local searches by users are growing at a rate that’s 50 percent faster than general mobile searches overall. That shows you the true value of properly using Google Maps.

What Are Promoted Pins and Locations?

The company’s new tool features something called promoted pins and promoted locations. When a person uses Google Maps to search for something local, they will see pin marks on their map with the brand logo displayed on it. For example, the user might see a pin along their route for a restaurant that features the logo of that location.

In addition to this, local pages will provide additional support including more features and the ability for marketers to customize more fully. Retailers can include things like inventory information or promotions, for example. Clearly, the right promotion could help to drive a significant amount of traffic right to your business – people that are already passing by and are interested in what you are selling.

How Can You Set Up and Use Google Pins?

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As a business owner, it’s important to embrace this new opportunity and it may be easier to do this than you realize. The good news is that it is rather simple to set up Google Maps to automatically display your information.

If you haven’t started yet, be sure to create a Google listing for your company. Then, use the Google Maps page to help you set up your promoted pins and locations.

If you’re an Accredited Business, the BBB Programs Department can get you setup right away. We will even take care of the creative designs at no extra cost! Call 866-459-5222 or email programs@thebbb.org for more information.

To handle it on your own, you’ll need to enable location extensions on your AdWords account and then update your Google My Business listing so that it allows for this. You can then use location targeting and bid by location based on what you’re looking for in reaching your audience. In addition to this, you’ll need to setup and manage your keywords. Your keyword selection should match the product or service you offer along with your geographic area. Proper local keyword selection is essential.

Your ads will appear on both the mobile and desktop versions of the mapping too. And, on the mobile device, it will also add a “Call” and “Directions” button to make it easier for customers to find you.

Google’s charge for this type of marketing depends on a variety of factors but they use a standard cost-per-click method. This includes three types of clicks:

  • Get location detail clicks
  • Mobile clicks-to-call
  • Get direction clicks

Google Maps is one of the many tools you have for properly marketing your business online. Imagine your customer, driving down the highway looking for a place to stop for the night. If your company’s logo shows up, they are more likely to make the turn into your driveway. This is a rather simple and highly effective way to grab and hold your audience while also engaging your most likely customers in real time.

What is Google RankBrain?

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Google is nothing if not variable. As the dominant search engine in many countries around the world, the company’s mission to stay ahead of the curve is both admirable and incredibly important. From the Panda algorithm change in 2011 to Mobilegeddon in 2015, Google’s changes are often radical and extremely influential —to the chagrin of many marketers. RankBrain, however, is something a little different. Announced ambiguously in 2015, it was confirmed in June 2016 as a constant feature in Google’s search engine results pages.

RankBrain may be the foundation for the future of web searching as we know it.

What Is RankBrain?

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So, if RankBrain is so important, what exactly is it? According to Google, RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that is used to assist in the process of sorting search results. In essence, this means that RankBrain isn’t taught by humans but rather learns by itself through the course of experiencing tasks and witnessing outcomes.

Artificial intelligence, more colloquially known as AI, is a concept in which computers are able to learn, make connections, and gain knowledge much like humans do. While true AI as seen in science fiction is not yet a reality, Google’s strides forward are remarkable, adding a unique edge to what search engines can accomplish by analyzing user behavior.

What Isn’t RankBrain?

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Unlike most of Google’s big changes, RankBrain isn’t an algorithm. The current algorithm in use, Hummingbird, is unchanged; RankBrain is only one component, a modification, per se, in how Google processes web searches and exits as one of Google’s hundreds of ranking signals. RankBrain is also not a replacement for other AI functions Google uses, like Knowledge Graph. Instead, it works in conjunction with these features.

Users expecting to see big changes in SERPs due to RankBrain may be disappointed, as most adjustments will be below the surface and results users see should not differ significantly. RankBrain is designed to supplement, enhance, and improve what Google offers, rather than replacing current vital components in how search rankings are delivered.

What RankBrain Means for You

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As a web user, you’ve likely entered search queries that came up with limited or irrelevant results. While most questions and keyword combinations are easily deciphered, there are exceptions to everything, and not all queries entered makes sense to search engine algorithms. Sometimes, there may not be words to describe what you’re looking for, or you may be using keywords that are too similar to other concepts to generate helpful results. In this space, RankBrain should be quite an improvement, learning how to interpret less clear queries by correlating them with effective keywords and high ranking results.

In terms of SEO, RankBrain isn’t bringing many changes to the table, despite its position as a ranking signal. As an AI function that fits within current algorithms, RankBrain’s objective is to make searching easier for consumers rather than improving traffic from organic searches for businesses with web presences. While long tail queries may suffer slightly, actual search results should not change significantly. Algorithm changes generally require shift in SEO tactics, but that’s not what this specific AI component is intended to do. As long as you’re adhering to best practices, RankBrain shouldn’t affect how customers search for you and find your site.

The Future of Search

When Google announces changes, this often means big things for marketers, but to the internet’s collective delight, the confirmation of RankBrain doesn’t mean costly or time consuming adjustments. However, like every technological advancement Google implements, RankBrain will likely get better, faster, and stronger over time, leading to developments that may require action for a site to stay relevant.

The utilization of machine-learning AI in SERPs is still in its infancy, but this is likely the path more and more search engines will take in the future. Consumers may not notice any immediate changes with the use of RankBrain, but with all things Google, nothing stays constant for long. Marketers may not need to act now, but keeping up to date on what’s changing and developing is always a good way to ensure a strong, visible web presence, no matter what developments may be on the horizon.

Google Launches New Website Tool for Small Businesses

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Search-engine giant Google continues to encourage website owners and businesses to become more mobile-friendly through their search engine results page (SERP) algorithms that favor websites that work well on smartphones and tablets.

To help small business owners understand how well their websites work on both mobile and desktop devices, Google has launched a free online tool known as Test My Site that makes it easy to check your URL based on three factors:

  • The mobile-friendliness of the site: This measures how well the site loads (are there aspects blocked out or missing), how easy it is to navigate on small touchscreen devices, and whether or not vital information is presented in a way that’s intuitive.
  • Speed: Because mobile data connections are often slower than typical WiFi connections, the speed at which a site loads and refreshes impacts the overall user experience, and whether or not users will stay on the site.
  • Desktop load speed: Three main factors impact how quickly a website loads onto a desktop computer – the speed of the Internet/WiFi connection, the speed of the computer (that depends on the processor, RAM, operating system and anti-virus/security systems), and the design of the website being loaded. While site owners can’t control the hardware or connection that their users’ have, they can control how design elements impact load speed.

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To use this new tool from Google, simply navigate to this site and enter the URL of the website you’d like to test. In just a few moments, you’ll be provided with three color-coded scores indicating Mobile Friendliness; Mobile Speed: and Desktop Speed.

Site Ranking

Each of these factors are rated on a scale of 0-100 (with 100 being the highest-possible ranking). You can then select the ‘view the details’ button for an expanded explanation of your score in each category, where you’ll be provided with a color-coded list of items that you either “should fix; consider fixing; or passed”.

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You can quickly share your results directly from Google’s test page using the integrated social media and email links to Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Detailed Site-Specific Feedback

If you’d like to receive a detailed report that gives an item-by-item description of specific actions you need to take to improve your scores, you’ll need to provide your email address. Google prods their audience to take action by including factual snippets throughout the site, such as “Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds,” and “9 out of 10 people say they use multiple screens for such tasks as booking a flight online or managing their personal finances.”

In addition to providing detailed, site-specific scoring and feedback, Google also gives users of this a list of site builders that they recommend small businesses use to improve the speed of their websites on both desktop and mobile devices.

Test My Site Is An Important Tool

Wondering if this is all just another marketing ploy by Google? Perhaps, but the fact is that users continue to gravitate toward mobile Internet devices, making it vital for small businesses to use information from tools such as Test My Site to improve their SERP rankings and stay ahead of the competition.

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015 nearly two-thirds of all American adults owned a smartphone —that’s double the number from just five years ago; and 10 percent of those smartphone owners rely on their device exclusively to access online content.

Testing your site is fast, free and informative, making this a must-do on every small business owners’ agenda!

How to Make the Most of Google’s New Expanded Text Ads

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Google is in the process of making the biggest change to their AdWords text ads platform since the introduction of Google’s Quality Score in 2005. The new change comes in the form of their expanded text ads. Earlier this year, Google removed ads from the right side of the search results page, which removed valuable real state for advertisers. With expanded text ads, Google will be giving advertisers a valuable new way to increase click through rate (CTR).

Here’s what you need to know about this important development to their ads:

What exactly are the new expanded text ads?

The name says it all – text ads have been expanded to include almost double the amount of text. Headlines used to be limited to one line of 25 characters. The new format will allow for two lines composed of 30 characters each. Also, the description line will grow from 70 characters to 80 characters. Lastly, the display URL will be able to be appended with two directories instead of one (for example, http://www.example.com/first-append/second-append).  These format changes replace the format that has been used for over a decade.

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Why is this important to advertisers?

Text ads are some of the most effective ads in the AdWords platform because your ad is guaranteed to match with the searcher’s intent. For example, your advertisement for the white T-shirts you are selling will display specifically for people already searching for white tee’s. The new expanded text ads will give you double the text to convince searchers to click on your advertisement. Also, the new display URL format will allow for more organic-looking URLs which will help increase CTR.

When does this change happen?

Google does not have an exact date for the release of expanded text ads; however, they are expected to roll out the new feature later this year. The feature is currently being used in a closed beta test.

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How can you take advantage of the new format?

Early beta tests have shown a 20% increase in click through rate, so getting the new format right could be a boom to your web traffic. Regardless of the new format, the best way to ensure your text ad performs well is by increasing your Quality Score. The format of the expanded text ad will make positions one through three even more valuable since everything else will be pushed even lower. A high Quality Score is critical to get your ad in one of the top three spots. The increase in text also changes how you approach ad copy. You will now have the ability to add considerably more enticing text, so be sure to experiment with different messaging to see what performs best.

The changes to the text ad format can be considered as reconciliation to advertisers after Google removed advertising space on the search engine results page earlier this year. With the prospect of increased CTR that the expanded text ads offer, you should be eager to revamp your text ads as soon as the change becomes available to the public.

How to Turn Marketing Data into Actionable Results

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If you’re trying to turn your analysis into actionable items, we have a few tips that can help to get you started so you can focus on the analysis that matters.

Marketers all over the world are looking for keys to success to help them strategize how to get their Google search data optimized for increased traffic. If you look at the various types of analytical data that can help fine-tune the particular strategies that you’re working on, it can be time intensive. With different types of tools and resources to increase your marketing’s effectiveness, there are also different case studies and different ways that can help you to strategize how to optimize your landing pages, social media management, and so forth.

While a lot of the data analysis and market studies are great, if you’re looking for effective ways to help cross-channel your marketing campaigns, there’s a true road map for success that can help you to build your business and to give you a better presence online as well as to maximize your web traffic.

Getting from point A to point B

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When you look at your website, your business and how you want to get customers drawn to your pages, it’s like having a road map that’s going to guide you from one direction to another. Tapping into your ad campaigns and creating a strategy along with your Google analytics can help to ensure your business strategies will flow in a direction that’s the most effective for increased sales.

There are also key considerations in terms of how much you set in your budget, your finances, the status of your business, i.e., new, successfully scaling, and even how your customers view your products and services.

Because customers are online now more than ever, you want to ensure your online presence is not only going to set you up strategically with Google, but also effectively help you with mobile devices. This ensures that customers can access your business no matter what device they are using.

Descriptive analytics

When you look at your business, you may want to think about what you’ve done in the past that has strategically worked before starting new campaigns and exploring analytics. If you’re a new business, a great way to learn business is to look at a competitor to see what’s working on their landing pages, the various social media tools they’re using and how they reach their customers.

Consider tapping into a website that can help you to view your competitors’ web pages to better understand the various links and data points that they’re using and this may help you to translate this into your own pages to build your analytical data. Because filter analytics can help turn the data that you have into actionable items, this will give you more meaningful results and increased insight.

Action item: Make sure when you set up your Google analytics page so that you’re also looking at it from a marketing perspective. Also look for things like negative keywords and other areas that can help you to better filter your ad campaigns. Crunch Base can help. Check it out here…

Cross-channel insight data and attributions

Another way you can effectively build up various customers’ accounts is to use social media across all different channels. Consider using websites that will link all of your messages, blasts and blogs at once so you don’t have to keep posting the same messages again and again across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Targeting customers strategically

As you look at your analytics, keep an eye out for the various points where you’re building your customers and what they’re responding to so that way you know how to maintain that momentum. If you see them drawn to one particular ad, mirror the ad. If it’s a landing page, mirror that.

Actionable item: Look at your competitors’ sites to see how their ads are set up and note which are getting the most attention so you can build your ads in a similar format. You may even want to factor in guest speakers for your particular website to get more focus on your landing pages.

Predicting demand

To better understand what your customers need, you have to be a customer. That means you need to see it from their perspective and understand what your competitor is giving them that you are not. Sign up for competitors account to see how their email subscription is set up and what they send customers. Buy a product from them so that way you can better understand the benefits of being under that competitor as well as how you need to make changes on your own site.

Filter out the noise

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Another area that you may want to target and strategize is how to build a better customer base and not just get tweets out there that no one’s really responding to. An effective response is one that’s going to elicit a customer coming to your website and your pages and making a purchase.

If you simply send a tweet about Mother’s Day or nationally televised sporting event, while it may draw a response, that’s not necessarily going to lead to increased revenue. Quantifind discovered that with online stores, where social media has a strong presence, only about 20 percent of the ads will actually correlate into future sales.

Actionable item: Make sure that you’re looking at that 20 percent because that’s the main point that you want to consider. Strategize effective ads, don’t waste space, and minimize random tweets and emails to help get customers to your landing pages and make that sale. Check out sites like HootSuite that can help you with effective ad campaigns.

Other Findings

It is important to understand your data but don’t over exhaust yourself.

Check out that great ad – and mirror it: Sometimes people shop at a particular site or store because they have a great ad or color scheme that they like, so it may not be their campaign or key words per se. Also, ask other people what they are looking for when they shop and that’s it relates to your particular type of business and who they use and recommend because you really need to get better at a better feel for your customers.

Don’t abandon them: Next, don’t ignore the abandoned cart information that you have on your pages because when you look at the data for this, each person who has an abandoned cart should be getting the subsequent emails that follow up. These are still potential customers so don’t abandon them.

Give them a voice: You also want to make sure you’re not just focusing all on data. People want a voice they can identify with. Having a personal approach when you send a blog message or sending a note from the owner can sometimes lead to more increase sales as opposed to just random ads that will just generate likes, shares and hits.

Key Takeaways

The takeaway from this is that the more data that is online, the more you have to filter through. You want your ads to be effective and you also want actionable items that are going to drive traffic to your pages and increase your sales. Look for areas like your correlations to the various KPIs and different types of visuals that people are drawn to as a way to better understand how you can keep customers happy. Then look at your competitors’ pages to help you get an idea of what they’re doing with their ads as this can help lead to increased sales in the future from your effective ad placement to help turn all that analysis into actionable items – and increased sales.

Google to Block Ads for Payday Loans

Cash Button Means World Wide Web And Network

Google announced today that it would no longer permit payday loan advertisements on its site. Google’s Director of Global Product Policy David Graff wrote about the decision in the Google Public Policy Blog.

He wrote:

“We have an extensive set of policies to keep bad ads out of our systems – in fact in 2015 alone, we disabled more than 780 million ads for reasons ranging from counterfeiting to phishing. Ads for financial services are a particular area of vigilance given how core they are to people’s livelihood and well being.”

Effective July 13, 2016 Google will ban all ads for payday loans and some related products from its ad systems. Specifically, the tech company will prohibit ads for loans where repayment is “due within 60 days of the date of issue.” In the United States they will ban ads with an APR of 36 percent or higher.

According to Graff:

“When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that.”

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest has consistently warned consumers to be cautious of these types of loans. Payday loans are small, short-term, high-rate loans also known as cash advance loans. The Consumer Sentinel Network reports there have been more than 29,600 complaints against payday loans between 2013 – 2015. The Federal Trade Commission also cautions against borrowing from these types of businesses. They have sued a number of online payday lenders in the past for violating federal laws.

Who Uses Payday Loans

It is often said that the best customers for payday loan companies are military members. It is common to find numerous lending companies situated outside of military bases. But even if a service member never steps foot off of the base, they’re still likely to find an online advertisement directed at them for a payday loan.

Other groups to be targeted by these lenders include woman, minorities and low-income families.

Before considering payday loans, the FTC and BBB advises seeking other options:

  • Consider an advance on pay from your employer, or a small loan from a family member, friend, credit union or other lender.
  • Ask creditors for more time to pay bills. Find out what charges apply: Will there be a late charge, additional finance charge or higher interest rate?
  • For help developing a debt repayment plan or budget, contact a local consumer credit counseling service. These are often nonprofits that charge little or no cost.
  • Get free BBB Business Reviews on lenders and other businesses at bbb.org

Know the Laws in Your State

In Washington State the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender, visit the DFI Licensee Database or call 1-877-746-4334. Complaints against payday lenders can be made at www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/file-complaint.

In Alaska the Division of Banking and Securities regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender, visit the Alaska Department of Commerce website or call 907-465-2550 in Juneau or 907-269-8160 in Anchorage. You can also send an email to businesslicense@alaska.gov. Complaints against payday lenders can be made with the Consumer Protection Unit.

In Idaho the Idaho Department of Finance regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender or file a complaint visit finance.idaho.gov. Complaints against payday lenders are handled by the consumer affairs response program.

In Oregon the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender, visit the Division website or call 503-378-4140, or toll free at 866-814-9710. To file a complaint, visit http://www.cbs.state.or.us/dfcs/complaint.html.

In Montana the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender, visit the Banking and Financial Institutions website on the Montana state website. To file a complaint, visit banking.mt.gov/Complaints.

In Wyoming the Wyoming Division of Banking regulates payday lenders. To verify the license of a lender, visit wyomingbankingdivision.wyo.gov or call of 307-777-7797. To file a complaint, visit the Wyoming Division of Banking website or email wyomingbankingdivision@wyo.gov.