At the recent inaugural Gateway Conference, hosted by internet shopping giant Alibaba, in Detroit, the vastness of our world was shrunk down to the distance of a couple taps on a smartphone.
A bevy of heavy hitters graced the stage with pearls of welcome and wisdom. Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures and a majority of the buildings in downtown Detroit, exhorted the audience to “fear the status quo.” Marcus Lemonis, CNBC’s The Profit, insisted that you “can’t be intimidated” and be successful.
Anatomy of the Marketplace
Daily discussion centered around the concept of “stepping out” to expand your reach and take advantage of the vast possibilities represented by the global marketplace in general, and China in particular, which is transitioning from the role of a major exporter to that of a major importer. And what is being imported is largely American, in order to satisfy an appetite for high-quality, foreign goods.
If you sell products online, the likelihood of simply stumbling into the multi-billion dollar Chinese market is possible, but not likely. The middle-class in China – larger than the entire population of the U.S. – know what they want and how they want to be reached.
They want the best. They want American goods and they want to buy through apps on their smartphones. Plain and simple. Anything and everything is available through an app, so if you want to play in that sandbox, you have to be in the game.
The Queen of Marketing
Martha Stewart is selling everything online. Besides her home goods lines, she now has an online wine shop and Marley Spoon, which sells meal kits for about $9 per person and boasts the benefits of being a time-saver as well as a waste management tool, as everything you need is in the kit and excess food doesn’t go to waste if not used immediately.
Gerber Baby Example
Gerber, a 90-year old Michigan company, found an instant market in China, where till recently, families were limited to one child so only the best would do. Regulations are much more stringent in the U.S., so Chinese families import Gerber products to make sure their children are eating safely.
American-made goods are considered to be of premium quality and are imported through an immense global marketplace that promises 72-hour turnaround from time of order to delivery.
Large companies like Martha Stewart and Gerber certainly satisfy the Chinese people’s craving for aspirational brand purchases, but the scrappier side of the buying public wants something unique and these cravings are satisfied by entrepreneurs and small-business enterprises.
CEO Jack Ma’s Vision
This is the philosophy behind Alibaba. CEO Jack Ma’s vision and mission was to harness the power of the internet for those small-business owners who might not otherwise be able to afford access to this enormous marketplace. Ma considers himself to be a “Chief Education Officer,” teaching entrepreneurs about the intricacies of online marketing.
His philosophy is so simple, so obvious. Put the customer first. Stay focused. Embrace change. Put your employees before your stockholders and stick to your guns on this point in particular. Apparently, it works. Alibaba sold $550 billion in merchandise in the 2016 fiscal year and expects to sell $1 trillion by 2020.
Build your Brand
For those who wish to put their toe in the water and test the global marketplace, Ma says, “build your brand.” Global buyers want to know your story, and they appreciate the humble beginnings that often accompany an entrepreneurial endeavor. Tell your story with honesty and integrity.
The man who couldn’t even get a job at KFC, Ma tells his hard-luck story but doesn’t expect sympathy. He expects you to learn from his mistakes, joking that when he retires, he’ll write a book called “The 1,001 Alibaba Mistakes.” He says “today is hard; tomorrow is harder, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful.”
The internet is ubiquitous and the marketplace is the planet. With the right product or service, coupled with the right branding and a solid strategy, you can reap the massive rewards represented by a truly global market.
From the opening event, with flying drummers (yes – flying) to the last of the break-out sessions, the message was loud and clear. Attitude and fortitude can make small businesses as mighty as the big guys and I was struck by the fact that this is what we offer our clients every day. The ability to market like the big guys, on a global stage.
It was truly significant that Alibaba held its inaugural conference in Detroit, matching a tenacious CEO and his scrappy company with a city of risk-takers who appreciate hard work and entrepreneurial endeavor. It was hard to resist getting caught up in the wave of excitement.
It is pretty common knowledge that Facebook and other social media platforms (SMP) are capturing your behavior on their sites and selling it as data (anonymously of course) to the highest bidding agencies. Naturally, the question of privacy is bound to come up. Of course, Facebook or any other SMP offers a multitude of options to keep certain things hidden from your timelines or limit who can see what actions and posts. However, do you ever wonder what information is available to the public or even what the data about you being sold looks like on the other side of things? With the help of tools like Data Selfie and Stalkscan we can now have a glimpse behind the proverbial curtain.
These two tools do a couple of things that a person might find useful:
1. Data Selfie is more geared toward helping you see how a company could interpret your data and associate it with you as an anonymous individual. A weird concept to think about, but what is becoming more and more prevalent to advertisers are your habits, your age, where you live and who your friends are. They want to know your political views, what you’re saying about candidates, whose posts are you liking, how long exactly are you looking at that stranger you hardly know, Facebook’s page. If anything, these things won’t stop people from creeping on your profile, but at least you will know what they are looking at or what they can find out about you.
2. Now, a tool like Stalkscan will at least make you aware of the fact that you maybe need to adjust your privacy settings. This platform gives you a bit more of a comprehensive look at what the public can see about you.
The moral of all this is that knowledge is power and you should want to know how things work. Take the reigns of your digital footprint as much as possible. We all know that digital privacy concerns are a hot topic and an ever growing concern but studies continue to show us that the majority of users online don’t even bother to touch the privacy settings they have available on social media platforms. It’s not always about hiding your data but rather understanding what can be deduced about you through that data.
After a great first day, we hit the ground running on so much great information. Here are the recaps from our morning sessions:
Snapchat for Business
By Carlos Gil, Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software
With more than 60% of smartphone users between the ages of 13-34 on Snapchat and over 8 billion daily video views, it’s safe to say that the platform is here to stay. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, we’ll get you up to speed on how to use Snapchat for your business.
Snapchat has become a big business, it’s a legitimate marketing channel. If you’re still thinking it might not be, just ask Gatorade. Gatorade spent $500,000 on a one day ad during the Super Bowl for animated lenses. They saw more engagements and impressions than the amount of people who watched the Super Bowl.
Demographics Rule – When it comes to choosing which social media channels are right for you, you should be where your customers are. And if your customers are between 18-35, Snapchat could be great for you. On that same topic, if your audiences are old, it might not be for you. Snapchat reaches 41% of millennials!
Why Snapchat matters?
- 200 million users and 10 billion video views daily
- Most active social network behind Facebook
- Brand adoption exceeding Twitter and LinkedIn
Understanding the Basics
- Mobile app for micro-content storytelling
- Photo and video is 1 to 10 seconds long
- Content posted disappears within 24 hours
Snapchat is Twitter meets Youtube
Creating Content as a brand, it must be:
Geofilters & Business: You don’t have to be on Snapchat with Geofilters as a business. This is a great tool for event marketing.
Converting and measurement
- Great for flash sales
- Make sure you implement Bitly URLs for proper tracking
The future of Snapchat:
- It’s definitely growing
- It’s working on better ad platforms
- Looking to go public in the next year
- Looking to sell more than a billion dollars in ad revenue
Using Intent Signals to Understand, Develop and Measure Audiences
By Mike Clarke, Head of Brand Measurement, Google
In this session, attendees will learn about some of the ways we can use search data to accomplish all of this.
Google emphasizes the meaning of moments, and how can you be there during these moments. Here is the breakout of these moments:
- I-Want-To-Know Moments = Two thirds of question-related searched “what, when, where, how, why, who” are happening on mobile.
- I-Want-To-Go Moments – 90% of searches for “what time does ____ open/close” are happening on mobile.
- I-Want-To-Do – Two thirds of “how-to” searches on YouTube are on mobile devices.
- I-Want-To-Buy – Mobile phones saw 115% year over year in shopping ads.
- I-Want-To-Watch-What-I’m-Into – The number of hours people spent watching videos on mobiles is up 100% year over year.
Intentions help unlock insights
- What types of insights can Google help you with?
- Zeitgeist – Culture
- Google Predict – Google searches are getting intimate and a lot of it is happening on a mobile device.
- Google Trends & Google Correlate – Search terms over time and in relation to one another.
- Google Consumer Surveys
Make sure you are testing out the free tools that Google offers to help increase performance and tracking.
Death to Boring B2B Marketing: How Design Thinking Drives Success
By Cliff Seal, Lead UX Engineer, Salesforce
- The issue
- The solution
- The plan of action
B2B Marketing is hard. Why?
- You’re selling to opaque audiences
- You get complacent or end up doing what works, or what everyone is saying what works.
“What is the biggest problem marketers face?”
“How to keep up with trends to drive higher quality leads.”
Keeping up with Twitter is not following the trends. Maybe you’re bored. Trends aren’t challenging. Vendor balancing isn’t interesting. Ridgid tools aren’t supportive.
#B2BProblems – Just own it
- Grow into its own creative potential
- Put data in its place
- Compete in relevancy not volume
Teach the business owner something new about their needs and challenges.
Design thinking lets the best ideas float to the top. Your ideas don’t necessarily mean your own, but helping facilitate good ideas. Think past the obvious and start asking the right questions is the first step.
Here’s how to start:
- Redefining goals – What is it that I am trying to enable my customer?
- Knowing and embracing your constraints – Frame your creativity by defining what the boundaries are.
- Identify the contexts that can accept failure.
- Start talking to actual people to get insights.
Click the link below to see Cliff’s presentation:
Death to Boring B2B Marketing: How Applying Design Thinking Drives Success
As the morning comes to a close we are extremely excited for the last half of the day, and definitely ready for some lunch!
Lunch today was filled with great conversations about international SEO and what a world without Google looks like. We are making friends in NYC and seeing lots of familiar faces now in day two.
The next set of sessions were broken into mini-sessions. Here is the recap:
Session #3 – Everything You Need To Know About Redirects
- Only 302 is fast and helpful for site migration and ranking
- Not all redirects are the same
- Don’t use 301 or 307 redirects (not recommended)
- PageRank officially shut off by Google in April 2016
- You need to analyze your incoming redirects for SEO purposes
- 303 is for mobile
Click the link below to see Christoph C. Cemper’s presentation:
Everything You Need To Know About Redirects By Christoph C. Cemper
Session #3.1 The Power of Google Featured Snippets in 2016 – Analysis, Case Studies, and Recommendations
If you can get a featured snippet, it can drive a ton of traffic. 73% of Google traffic came in through this during a test conducted. Knowledge graph can also provide a big impact.
- You don’t have to rank to get the snippet in SERPs
- No! Structured data is not a factor – They surface organically
- Provide a concise and clear introduction for each page on their site (located at the top of the each page)
- Snippets can be personalized – location, personal data, etc.
- Bulleted list – can turn into featured snippet
- Favorite tools – SEMrush SERP features module
- What’s better than featured snippets? Featured videos!
- Know your site. Surface your own featured snippets (you can also check Google Search Counsel)
- Analyze pages and content
- Find more in your industry/niche
- Track the traffic changes
- Use images, bullets, and numbering
- HTML Tables
Click the link below to see Glenn Gabe’s presentation:
The Power of Google Featured Snippets in 2016: Analysis, Case Studies and Recommendations by Glenn Gabe
Session 3.2 Better Safe Than Sorry With HTTPS
The good, the bad and the terrifying. HTTPS Everywhere. Google has been promoting this. It is a ranking signal (maybe not a strong one) but one of. They started showing https by default (unless you have conical setup). There’s a lot of guides and checklists for this if you are interested (see the slides for details).
Click the link below to se Patrick Stox’s presentation:
Better Safe Than Sorry With HTTPS By Patrick Stox
- Don’t recommend against HTTPs as an SEO
- People are not adopting to HTTPs (.1% have made the switch)
- The goods:
- Data integrity
- It’s scary because it’s a site migration and a lot of things can go wrong
- Everyone is talking about AMP because it loads content for HTTP/2 and caching (of course)
- Many sites do not have HTTPs set up properly
Session #4 – Automate Your PPC With AdWords Scripts
This session involved helping make scripts seem simpler. Upload to Google AdWords to make Bulk Operations that you can still manage.
Click the links below to see their presentations:
Step Into The Future: Automate Your PPC With AdWords Scripts By Marcela De Vivo
The Secret Codes of AdWords Scripts By Steven Hammer
Advanced Tips for Working with AdWords Scripts By Frederick Vallaeys
- Scripts can – schedule and execute task, fetch urls and send emails, talk to external data sources like Google drive and spreadsheets. Some examples are:
- Modify bids by weather – Increase or decrease by weather.
- Link checker – Bad URLS – *some are free by the AdWords script team.
- You can use them to track Quality scores and help to generate reports, manage keywords by increasing and decreasing bids, etc.
- Code makes us sound like secret agents.
- Think about script in the sense of what we do everyday. We manage ads by rules. It can be simple or more complicated.
- There are variables to consider when developing scripts.
- PRO TIP: STAY ORGANIZED AND THERE’S NO UNDO BUTTON – RUN IN EDITOR FIRST!
- You get better results when you combine computers and humans.
- You have to update scripts as adwords updates.
- Execution time limits
- Find trends between different accounts.
- Upload scripts into your MCC to avoid your clients from stealing them.
- So much techy goodness today! We are definitely geeking out here at #SMX. Excited for another day of search fun tomorrow!
Google made a BIG change that impacts how advertisements appear on search results pages. Google will no longer serve text ads on the right side of organic results, with an exception!
Google rolled out a HUGE change to remove ads on the right side of search results. In exchange, the ad placement is only at the top and/or bottom of the page. There could be as many as four ads above the organic search listings which Google calls “highly commercial queries.”
Let’s Break This Down for You:
Instead of showing up to 11 ads on a page, there is only room for 7 ads. This is a decrease of 36% of ads that show on a search results page. This new feature has affected users worldwide in all languages.
Why Did This Happen?
Google’s right side experiment has been in the works since 2011, according to Search Engine Land reports. This experiment has led up to this big change to test if bottom ads could be launched in larger markets.
There is an Exception!
Ads will not appear on the right side of desktop results with the following exception:
Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes: use existing Merchant Center product data to decide what will appear in the results. These ads are separate from texts ads with two rows of products. Shoppers can find the best match before clicking to make a purchase.
Example: If you sell slippers and have a text ad for slippers on sale, a customer could see both of your ads on the same Google search results page. See the screenshot below
This is how a search engine results page would appear before Google made the update. There are advertisements displayed on the right side.
Look at the difference of how search results are displayed on Google when using a desktop. There is a huge change in the user search experience.
What does this mean for your business?
- For business, this will mean there is an even larger focus on search engine optimization. The organic space is more valuable than ever before. Organic listings will be pushed down even further down the search page.
- For paid search advertisers, this change will trigger higher priced cost per click (CPC) due to demand. The top of the page search is going to become more expensive.
- This affects the experience that users have using Google. Sidebars stood out clearly as ads; now the change makes it hard for users to distinguish ads and organic results.
- This change fits with Google’s mobile first strategy where marketers need to deliver mobile-friendly experiences. Google will deliver search rankings to sites that are optimized for mobile.
- To achieve optimal results in paid search advertising campaigns, you must adjust and optimize. Quality score will become more of a factor with ad placement.
- Landing page quality will affect your optimization. Conversion matters to ensure that your landing page converts.
The data above demonstrates cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rate (CTR) in Feb 2015. Fast forward a year, we’ve included the data for CPC and CTR for March 2015. These samples show the difference in cost from a year ago. We are noticing that the click-through rates have gone up by 200% or more. While CPC average went up a bit from $1.59 per click to $1.61 per click. This is a very small price to pay to see your click through rate go thru the roof.
However, there are benefits to paid search from this change. Ads can use call-out extensions, site link extensions, location extensions – which were only a benefit for top-of-page ads. The quality of the search will get better as the advertisers are competing for less space.
Google has completed the removal the right side of the ads and replaced with top/bottom ads on search results pages as of February 22, 2016. This update will provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.
Let’s Talk About What This Means for Your Business!
Contact Us to make an appointment with one of our digital experts to talk about Google’s latest update and what we can do to help your business on the Web.
Screenshot Source: http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news2/google-to-remove-ads-from-the-right-side-of-the-search-results-page-500767-2.png
Today marks exactly three decades since Steve Jobs launched the Apple Macintosh, two days after the now-iconic 1984 commercial teased the computer to the world during Super Bowl XVIII. Apple put together a video to celebrate its 30 year milestone – you can watch it below. Happy birthday Mac!