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Google Study: How mobile-friendly sites help sales

While Facebook turns more and more to search and ad exchange budgets, Google is still riding the mobile wave. In many moderations over the last two years, I could listen to their attitude towards building mobile websites, and why these are important to the business of the future. However, companies often resist to face the mobile evolution and still stick to their conventional desktop websites. Not to mention what this does to their brands when the user experience is driving into a nightmare of usability and readability.

To get more attraction for their mission, Google has now published some research data on their blog that will help them to evangelize in the mobile business world approach. The benefit for Google is obvious. The more people use mobile sites, the better the experience in mobile usage, the more people tend to approach the Google search which means more marketing budgets into their hands.

In their research of about 1,100 U.S. adult smartphone users conducted by  market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, Google gives some handsome advertising tips to make marketers better understand and evaluate the power of mobile.

The key findings can be summarized as follows…
– 67% of smartphone users state a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company’s product or service
– 74% are more likely to return to the site with a good experience later.
– 61% made clear that when they don’t find what they’re looking for (in roughly five seconds), they’ll click away to another site.
– 50% of respondents said even if they like a business, they’ll use its site less often if it doesn’t work well on their smartphone.
– 72% see a mobile-friendly site important to them, however 96% have visited sites that aren’t.

Spot On!
The Google study advices marketers to create a fast mobile site with big buttons and text, and simplify the mobile experience in terms of keeping steps to complete tasks to a minimum. For sure, Google did not forget to promote the site with Google mobile ads with some good results: two-thirds of people who use search find a site. Their conclusion is that “having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales. It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you”. There is not much more to add.
Still, we would be happy to hear from your mobile experience – with or without Google. Did you change your site lately and what did it do to your sales?

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger's work?

Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The “Pay a Blogger Day” is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the “Pay a Blogger Day”.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to “donate” for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: “Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.” One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the “Pay a Blogger Day!” on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission “Give something back to bloggers!” A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the “Pay a blogger day!”). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, “plusers” and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say “Thank you” and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

National Geographic makes Augmented Reality go live…

The opportunities to attract peoples’ attention are increasing with the use of Augmented reality. Appshaker recently launched a fantastic way for people to interact with the world of National Geographic Channel’s content from around the globe. The set-up obviously took some budget. With the use of augmented reality, people could virtually interact with different scenes in which they were able to get in touch with dolphins, leopards, the space landings, dinosaurs and more.

The result..
1000s of people interacted with the National Geographic Channel brand in the process as it toured Hungary, with 1000s more people sharing snapshots and video on Facebook as a result.

Live Augmented Reality for National Geographic Channel / UPC from Appshaker Ltd on Vimeo.

Study: 70% of Facebook and Twitter Pages from brands don't rank in Google

BrightEdge recently uncovered with a research project that social profiles of most leading brands don’t rank well in Google. Although many companies still invest a lot of their budgets in SEM/SEO activities, most of them forget to increase their social media presence from a search results perspective.

The research reviewed 200 of the world’s top brands for their social media presence. Most of the those brands, nearly 100%, stay on top or near the top ranks for their brand names on the SERP’s. However, a high percentage of 71% did not have their Facebook pages in the top 20 results. For Twitter it showed more or less the same result: 68% of the brands surveyed were not amoungst the top 20 results of the Google SERP’s.

“Brands today are pouring countless resources into social media channels and are creating great content that will help them engage with consumers, optimizing these for SEO purposes is a crucial way to drive exposure. Brands may be missing critical customer connection points if consumers can’t easily discover their social media pages in search.” Jim Yu, CEO, BrightEdge

Interestingly enough, there seems to be no necessary correlation between the number of friends and followers and SERP rankings according to the analysis of various social media pages that the BrightEdge surveyed. For example, the Facebook page of a leading photography brand did not perform in the top 20 search results, although more than 160,000 were fans of their Facebook page. On the other hand, a leading auto manufacturer with only 17,307 fans had a Facebook page that ranked in the top 10 of search results.

The least effective brands at optimizing Social Networking sites are coming from the finance and insurance sector. Only three of the top 43 companies had their Facebook pages rank in the top 20 search results. In comparison, retailers were much more successful: 13 out of the top 23 retailers surveyed were found in the top 20 search results.

Spot On!
Brands could argue it is more important to find your homepage or branded pages for products or services in the top search results. Social Media experts might see this different as some of the main brands invest a lot of their branding activities in the leading Social Media sites at the moment. Especially, under the aspect from last year’s report that some big brands reported to loose their traffic on corporate websites to Facebook, the search impact for brands might become more and more important in the future. Would you agree?

Evolution by Revolution – a phrase or a case?

CFalk / pixelio.de

Yesterday, I came across a good post by Adam Singer that inspired me (as well as his comment to my comment) to finally explore a bit on the phrase: “evolution by revolution”. I don’t know whether this phrase is new, or invented by me but I would love to claim it as my invention. And as Google did not have any results on the phrase for me, I herewith put my trademark behind the phrase – maybe to make a case… “evolution by revolution”.

The phrase is one of these thesis I use for educational courses to discuss and leverage a modern social web world approach with C-level management teams in Europe. I have used it in many seminar or webinars when I was talking about the change management challenges that the Social Web, Social Networks and Social Media bring to live these days.

In the past of human kind, revolutions were often a way for the lower class or segments/departments in an organization to state their case. For them, the challenge to be heard, to get access to the higher education, to have enough food or to benefit from any other kind of wellness or upper (business) lifestyle was often only accessable by a revolution. Revolutions cost money. Revolutions are tough. Revolutions sometimes make sacrifices. Revolutions change habits, perspectives and … business objectives. And revolutions always happened publicly – via newspapers, magazines or even flyers in the streets.

Today revolutions spread faster. In our social web world today, the traditional print media opportunities are added (or replaced?) by new media formats that every individual can use to state their case. And sometimes it “pisses people off” as Adam would have put it. But it makes the case of the unhappy, unsatisfied and underdogs. Suddenly, somebody writes something that is not mainstream, not the evolution strategy of the leadership but becomes the new revolutionary fruits of growth for the management if these people listen, communicate and collaborate, if they pay attention – whether it be the clients, the partners or even employees that start the revolution.

Their voice might be found on all kinds of platforms, in a tiny revolutionary statement in a blog post, a comment in a LinkedIn group (think about the impact for B2B business) or in a Facebook fanpage. Think about it! No! Think about it! Rest…

Some companies put all their PR & marketing budgets in the effciency of search marketing but then forget about the power of blog posts, and what it could do to them. They don’t think of it as negative cases. Think positive! Think ahead! Think about how to leverage the power of social options!

Spot On!
This modern world of communication is all about humans – the past, the present and the future. Evolution follows every revolution (…in my eyes). Consumer or end user buzz for positive and negative business impact always starts an evolution whilst being embraced as revolution first. It changes the mindset. And evolutions can be positive and negative. It needs to be seen as a turn around opportunity, as a business review option, and as a way to think ahead to prevent revolutions.

“Evolution by Revolution” is a (business) challenge – not a phrase! C-level management should forget that… That’s my case!

What’s yours on this topic…?

News Update – Best of the Day

Ecommerce is developing rapidly. And although users are said to be slow in adapting new technology, they expect their retailers to embed the latest trends and technology in their websites. As this will increase the sales potential of a business, companies should carefully listen to top 10 tactical trends by Michael Piastro which will help supercharge your ecommerce strategy for the future.

Social Media is in “at” your workplace, you said? Yes, but what does top management use it today? A new comprehensive study of more than 1000 business professionals by Pierre Khawand, Founder and CEO of People-OnTheGo shows that business decision makers manage multiple “inboxes” including Social Media. Social media is already a regular part of the work day. LinkedIn is the most popular social network. More than two-thirds (63.8%) of top management and almost three-quarters of marketing (73.9%) and sales (74.2%) respondents check LinkedIn regularly. Isn’t it interesting that private email is as popular as business email for top management? Social Media or private emails… Thinking about what might affect productivity more in the future…

Are small companies spending most of their marketing funds into Social Media in 2011? No! The use traditional websites and e-mail, says a report by online survey firm Zoomerang and GrowBiz media that surveyed 751 small firms (predominantly with less than 25 employees). The survey finds that over a quarter will spend at least 30% of their online marketing budgets on their websites, E-mail coming in second (18%). Only 10% were planning to spend at least 30% of their budgets on Social Media.

The way to the real-time future of marketing mix

When you hear the term “marketing mix”, what do you think…? Pause! Think… Pause!

Does that sound familiar to you? For some of you it might. To others it blurs as they follow the hypes as new marketing topics that are shouting at them. Or did you listen to their silent tones? Isn’t it better to varify and understand the client before start creating a new marketing-mix.

Watching the latest videos on your Youtube channel, talking to “friends” on Facebook or following the latest conversations on Twitter is one thing. Drawing conclusions out of these conversations on the social web world is another. And taking actions like evaluating adwords versus email versus social network marketing or blogs versus micro-blogs) for your marketing mix afterwards is a third step.

Conclusions might also be that marketers realize that B2B people still read print preferably to online or love real face-to-face conversations. They might find out that these business decision makers think twice before they engage in conversations. Reasons might be social media guidelines or policies. Steps are needed (like social media monitoring) before you start understanding your own marketing mix could pay out (i.e. online and offline focus groups).

Other marketing opportunities have never died although social media still hypes. And there is a reason why the “marketing mix” phrase was created by Neil Borden some years ago. Not only as it is an easy to understand phrase. More as we use it in our daily business as marketers without even noticing anymore. It is in our DNA. It is a necessity. Will it ever be removed? I doubt it…

Isn’t it interesting that we never had something like “The ultimate approach to market your products and services”?

Obviously, there is none. In over 50 years nobody found one. Why that is? Well, the world is driven by human beings and their attitudes to become familiar and aware of new things is a dynamic process. Some people adapt quick, other slower. They prefer to get informed via paper. Some like online (via publisher platforms, social networks or blogs). Some still stay offline (as they are often on planes or trains). Others record TV news programs and watch them on-demand with their iPads. And then others use mobile readers or apps to stay up to date with their favorite brands.

Seeing the social hypes in our business world from an outside perspective, I sometimes get the feeling that marketers have to refocus on where users are in their “adaption of technology evolution”. And not invest all their money in one horse race. Or to use another business anology from a tactical HR point of view: Never let the whole sales team be on the same flight.

Where is the difference in marketing?
Is there one? If all your marketing budget goes on airport billboards and then an oil crisis comes up, the invest equals zero in terms of earn out. Or if you buy just one ad in a service provider catalogue on the web but the world uses Google and cannot find the provider in the first ten results, the budget might be wasted.

Some companies think investing in Twitter or Facebook saves their brands awareness in the future but forget that these sites go down once in a while. And then the data is gone or not accessible. Lucky are those who can be approached from other access points then – be it via a phone call (at most companies I am searching hours for a phone number), at an event promoted with social media maybe, at their corporate website, or the self-hosted community that is not on the popular social networks.

The cocktail of having different access points available, and those interacting with each other, is the marketing mix of the future. Although they might have a single target or focus the are aiming at, the marketing mix should be aligned to one common strategy: Engage the client.

Spot on!
As we are automizing our marketing more and more, we always have to keep an eye open which tools and trends are coming up. As technology evolves quite quickly, human beings tend to forget that they need to adapt their marketing mix accordingly. Having said that it does not mean they have to switch their marketing mix approach immediately. Watch out for the tipping point when your power buyers, your brand vangelists, start using different technology. This is the time when the “adaption of technology evolution” happens…

B2B study: Content tactics marketers are using

Content in the B2B space continues to be… king. Especially since Social Media conquers the interest of users and consumers, companies have to establish a good content strategy in order to attract the interest of their audience properly.

Junta42 and MarketingProfs, supported by American Business Media and the Business Marketing Association, made a research with over 1,100 North American B2B marketers from different industries and company sizes to understand their thoughts and trends on content topics. The study “B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” is probably the most representative survey about content marketing in the business-to-business (B2B) space for now.

Most companies know the importance of content marketing and make use of it as much as possible. Nine out of 10 organizations market with content. These marketers are using eight content tactics on average. The most popular tactics are social media (excluding blogs) (79%), articles (78%), in-person events (62%) and eNewsletters (61%).

The budgets for content marketing rise. The responding B2B marketers allocate almost 26% of their overall marketing budgets to content marketing initiatives and programs. A good portion, 51% of B2B marketers, plan to increase their spending in content marketing over the next 12 months.

Still, there is no real understanding of how to measure the effectivness of the different tactics. The “confidence gap” is quite large.

Of the 79% of B2B marketers who challenge social media, just 31% of marketers think they use this tactics effectively.

The full study can be downloaded here.

Spot On!
It could be interesting to know who you think produces the most relevant content for the B2B space. Is it the publishers, bloggers, or already the companies themselves with their PR departments? And who will it be in the future? Looking forward to your statements…

Study: Comparison Twitter vs. Facebook

A recent study by Irbtrax, a SEO Internet Marketing firm, tries to determine which platform is the best fit for a particular business application or niche. So, the results of the study is not saying the one or the other is better, but the results give some good basic orientation for marketeers.

Category 1: Traffic ranking and user metrics
Traffic Ranking US and Global traffic ranking:
Facebook 2 – 7 day average daily time on site by users: 32.2 minutes
Twitter 12 – 7 day average daily time on site by users: 7.8 minutes
Facebook has the lead due to its sheer size, traffic volume, and time on site.

Category 2: Online destination for potential clients in the B2C market
Facebook offers more potential as of the option to include photos, detailed information, multiple outbound links, videos, and other business to consumer apps. The study states it is easier to build a larger network of followers in the shortest amount of time to help market a consumer product or service.

Category 3: Online destination for potential clients in the B2B market
The advantage is on Twitter as it provides more viral marketing flexibility while requiring less followers. Viral Marketing is a core business to business social media application for service recognition and other benefits. Popular industry related tweets are redistributed creating a domino effect even if you don’t have thousands of followers.

Category 4: market research benefits
Again Twitter shows more potential. Its search features can be efficiently used to monitor what people are saying about a company, service, product and competitors. Increasing or declining trends can be tracked effectively as well.

Category 5: internal viral marketing benefits
Facebook is top as it’s much easier to build a larger following. Plus, Facebook ‘wall’ feature is much more interactive than Twitter’s internal communication features.

Category 6: external viral marketing benefits
Twitter offers a greater external internet reach – no front door. Google’s ‘Real Time’ search feature often streams live tweets. A comparison of the number of tweets an independent article/release receives verse the number times they are shared by Facebook accounts appears to strongly favor Twitter.

Category 7: Use of each platform for direct internet communication
Facebook offers an instant message feature which allows you to communicate with other users globally.

Spot On!
The study concludes that in order to maximize your social media marketing results companies ideally create a presence on both. And I am happy that a study mentions this: Which platform a company engages first, or where to spend the most amount of available time or budget depends on your customers!!! Businesses should be checking their web-analytic metrics to apply the findings to your target group, and evaluate the potential and strengths of each platform.

News Update – Best of the Day

Is the marketers attitude towards traditional advertising changing as all marketers are looking for engagement? PepsiCo is challenging social media efforts big time this year and will not invest in an expensive super bowl campaign. A budget of 20 mio. USD will be invested into a social media campaign. Mashable has all the facts…

If you are in the wine business (or a wine ‘geek’) and looking how to improve your business ideas just listen to a nice case study and see what the social web can do for you. Joe Roberts, certified specialist of wine, shares some good information and show the challenges for big brands with social media.

The world is talking just about one new technology product: the iPad. But did you know that there is already a home-made commercial on YouTube for it? How do you like the idea of the dancing fingers?