Just because Pinterest is full of pretty pictures doesn’t mean it can’t have a strategy! Since a Pinterest page is going to represent your business online, each pin should be carefully chosen to avoid a mis-pin. Read below to see how you can fully optimize the world of Pinterest. Infographic from ZogDigital.
In a world obsessed with instant gratification, it’s no surprise Instagram has become a frontrunner for private users and brands alike. In fact, according to the Interbrand 100, nearly 40% of the world’s leading brands have adopted the platform, says Kelly Clay, a forbes.com contributor. While shooting a quick photo and placing an artsy filter on top seems simple enough, there are brands who excel at Instagram and those who…well, don’t. Instagram is a fantastic way to show off company culture, connect with fans and influencers, and build your brand’s reputation; but it has to be done well. We’ll explore some brands leading the pack and recommend tips to maximize your Instagram impact.
In Our Industry
The Winner: Mashable (@mashable)
Colorful, newsworthy, and a little bit quirky; Mashable’s stream sums up its brand philosophy perfectly. From creative photos representing the top stories in tech, social media, web design, and more to a glimpse behind the scenes at Mashable’s offices, users immediately feel connected and compelled to interact.
Google’s Search Makeover
In March 2012, Google announced through the Wall Street Journal that its algorithm and search results will be undergoing a makeover using semantic search technology. It is the biggest change in the company’s history and could affect millions of websites over the next few years.
Semantic search refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words. It can help associate different words with one another. Right now, Google is like a librarian that doesn’t know how to read the language in books. By implementing semantic search technology, it will have the ability to make thousands of associations with a word the way the human brain does. For instance, “Jaguar” could mean an animal or a car. So when you type a search query, the results won’t just be a list of blue web links. More relevant facts, information, and direct answers will appear at the top of the search results page.
In our industry, we have the ability to reach consumers through a number of digital mediums on the internet – websites, photos, emails, mobile, etc. Blogging is one of the mediums that has become mainstream in recent years as there are currently 9 million blogs on the internet and 40,000 new ones popping up everyday. We recently watched a webinar called, “The State of Social Media” from Hubspot, and learned that 75% of businesses plan to increase blogging for 2011. You can definitely count us as part of that 75% because we like to think of a blog as another social outlet to reach consumers – minus the character limits. In other words, blogs are just as imperative as Facebook and Twitter when it comes to online marketing due to the extent of information you can provide readers.
If you want to start blogging or blog more, here are some tips that can help you get started:
Step 1: Find a place
For those who want to start a blog, you can either create your own web page from scratch; or use popular blog template sites which are customizable as well. You don’t need many resources to maintain a blog from a template site; Tumblr and WordPress have easy interfaces and plug-ins that make it almost effortless to customize and update without extensive coding knowledge. The best part: it’s all free! Alternatively, if maintaining a blog seems like too much time commitment, another option is to find and contribute to existing blogs that already have established readership and link back to your website.
Step 2: Have a business plan
Just like any marketing strategy, you need to define your audience, establish your message, research your competition and model after successful blogs in your industry. You will also need to develop a platform/theme that is relevant to your company where you can pose as an industry expert and resource. Basically, don’t just blog about anything.
Welcome to the second half of our mobile advertising blog series! In part 1, we discussed how in-app ads are the future of mobile advertising and now, we’re shifting our focus to mobile sites and the important role they can play in advertising strategies. Currently, there are more than 72 million mobile web users and 69 million mobile app users, and both numbers are estimated to reach over 100 million by 2013. We’ve heard the debates regarding which is better (we’ve even had the debate a few times ourselves) and have concluded that both mobile app advertising and mobile web advertising are significant in today’s advertising efforts.
Apps (good ones) generally have easier navigation and interaction, use rich-media and phone functions (i.e. camera and GPS), and don’t necessarily need an internet connection. The rise of “bigger screen” tablets not only call for better apps, but also more mobile web browsing. An Adobe survey stated that 66% of mobile users prefer to retrieve information through mobile browsing instead of mobile apps. Even though apps can serve many purposes and have the advantage of being downloaded onto the desktop to develop long-term relationships, it can be tedious and overcrowding to download and install an app for every little thing you want to do – sometimes a simple mobile search will suffice. Furthermore, multiple versions of apps need to be developed for each smartphone platform and only 38% of the US own an app-compatible smartphone, as opposed to the universal mobile site. On top of that, app developers need to share revenue and get approval from the app store in order to be published or make any changes.
Mobile advertising is becoming an integral part of advertising strategies due to the fact that it can conveniently reach consumers right in the palm of their hands. This year, it seems the best way to reach users are through apps as they are being downloaded everyday for almost any occasion, opening the door to integrate mobile advertising more fluidly in a campaign while search, shop and share tools, such as QR codes, continue to play a major role.
With 95% of mobile users downloading and using free apps, worldwide mobile app revenue will triple to $15.1 billion and downloads will more than double to 17.7 billion this year alone. While it is estimated that 51% of the US will have smart phones by the end of 2011, the popularity of tablets are growing as well with speculation that 50 million Americans will own a tablet computer in the next year. To keep the increasing number of tablet and smart phone users engaged through apps, iAds – a new form of mobile advertising that explores the capabilities of smart phones and tablets through rich media – is needed. Even more so when considering that mobile app revenue, especially for free apps, is made by cost-per-click mobile ads. While CPC mobile ads are a great way to advertise, CPC ad dollars are often wasted because users frequently click or tap the ads by mistake. In fact, a survey conducted by Pontiflex and Harris Interactive found that 47% of mobile app users click ads unintentionally with 61% being 18-34 year olds – the most active group of mobile users. However, the survey also found the solution that 71% of app users prefer in-app ads that don’t take them out of the app.
There is no doubt that digital media is becoming more and more prominent every day. Everything has a website, it’s all about fans and followers, there’s an app for “that,” and tablets are making print feel irrelevant. However, despite rumors and myths, digital is not replacing traditional media; it is enhancing it. While advertisements have shifted from “buy now” to “follow us,” traditional media is being forced to learn how to play with digital media to create a more well-rounded, powerful campaign. Because of this, companies are starting to take digital media more seriously realizing its importance in creating value for consumers. It’s this user value that provides the most powerful impact.
Thanks to the Y generation, traditional media now plays a different role when it comes to a campaign. It hasn’t lost its power to reach masses, in fact that’s where its strongpoint is. Traditional media’s ability to reach masses is used for “introducing” a campaign and driving consumers to digital media. Digital media in return, ultimately turns into brand loyalty and conversion rates. It is suggested that 70% of budgeting should be spent on traditional media to ultimately drive consumers to digital media. Thus, to be popular online, offline advertising is still key.
As 2010 comes to a close, we’re recapping Mindgruve’s Top 3 Predictions for 2010 and looking forward to what 2011 will bring.
First, at the beginning of 2010, we said SEO and social media would be huge and they were. In addition to Google and Bing’s search results that feature Facebook and Twitter posts, Clickz notes that link building through social media can help generate leads, while the recent Facebook-Bing partnership indicates the growing importance of social media’s relationship with search.
“The fold.” Clients are concerned with it, advertisers want to be above it and web designers continue to argue its existence. Though this term makes sense in the newspaper industry, when it comes to web design, our philosophy is that “the fold” is dead. Hierarchy of content, a well-defined design strategy and user habits now dictate a successful website, ultimately leading users to discover the content that falls, as we like to call it, “below the screen.”
In its original application, “the fold” described which stories appeared above or below the fold in a newspaper, where content above the fold was visible to a potential buyer. Though newspaper content is bound to the preset sizes, content for a website is not, and as Three Minds accurately notes, “not everything on a web page needs to be located within an 800 x 600 layout.”
This leads us to the guiding light of our “No Fold” philosophy: a hierarchical structure of web content. Simply put, the most important content should come first and engage the user. If the first piece of content on the viewable screen does its job, users will be encouraged to scroll down the page to continue the interaction and see what other important information is provided.
Hand-in-hand with hierarchical content is design strategy. Based on advances in technology and hardware, what falls “below the screen” is different for every user, which means a well-defined design strategy cannot be ignored. Utilizing design cues, including images that anticipate more content, anchor links that jump further down the page and cleaner layouts, will encourage site visitors to explore the page. In support, according to research done by ClickTale, scrolling has become a natural practice among users and is associated with forward-thinking web design.
Finally, we believe the infamous “fold” no longer dictates a successful website because users are smarter and will search for the information they’re looking for – even if it means venturing “below the screen.” To help prove our point, CXPartner’s research shows that users don’t mind scrolling the page and that heat maps show a strong concentration on the scroll bar. Furthermore, when there is less content on the viewable screen, users are more likely to explore what is below it.
The only exception to our “No Fold” philosophy is advertisers. They have the right to be “above the fold” because ultimately their dollars help pay for the design, whether it is fold-centric or not.
Moving forward with our philosophy in hand, we will encourage clients and fellow agency folk to realize that newspaper is, in fact, the only thing that physically folds. Web pages are a different medium and capable of much more when coupled with a hierarchical content structure, design strategy and the realization that users intelligently seek out content to discover what lies “below the screen.”