Smart Solutions Blog
From Smart Solutions
You probably have heard that Google has upgraded AdWords by rolling out Enhanced Campaigns. The announcement is significant because all advertisers who currently use AdWords must transfer their campaigns to the new format by mid-2013. While advertisers have mixed feelings about the new format, there are definitely some pluses for multi-channel (online and offline) local businesses. Before we share the two biggest pluses, let us first explain Google’s rationale for the change.
Google’s Rationale for New AdWords Campaign
Google, in partnership with Nielsen, found that consumers are increasingly moving fluidly between devices throughout their day to search, shop and progress with buying decision. This new “constantly connected consumer” is bringing advertisers the opportunity to target them more relevantly based on added context, i.e., time of day, general location, and the type of device they are using. Each context signal, they believe, provides powerful insights into what a prospect might be looking for and where they are in the researching and buying cycle.
Now for the pluses for local businesses.
First: Chance to Geotarget Prospects nearest You
Potentially, you can improve your Adwords results by using a broad target location in unison with bid refinement in select areas. Before, you had to set up a new campaign for every location you wanted to bid differently on. Now, with enhanced campaigns, you can reach those most likely to stop-by, shop and buy from you by increasing or lowering bids based on a target location. The sample below shows an adjusted—and higher—bid for 2.0 miles around each location extension.
Second: More Offline Purchases with Offer extensions
Timing is everything when it comes to an offer. With new offer extensions, you can drive offline purchases and higher foot traffic with a redeemable offer shown on your search ads across devices. When a prospect clicks on your offer, they will see details including your company brand and your locations, plus how they can redeem the offer.
Smart Solutions is helping businesses of all sizes embrace the new campaign format and evolve their marketing strategy to take advantage of the new Adwords campaign. We can help you too reach customers nearest you and drive more online/offline purchases. Contact us for more.
From Smart Solutions
Yesterday morning, we were excited to get an email announcing the analytics tool that we’ve been waiting for—Pinterest Web Analytics seem to have come along with the new Pinterest update.
This is a feature that business Pinterest users have been anticipating for some time, and the wait is finally over! We’ve started exploring through the data, and we’re pretty impressed with what they have to offer.
Analytics only go back until November of 2012, but from then on, you’ve got a pretty good list of how you’ve been performing on Pinterest. You can only view analytics if your site is verified through Pinterest.
Pinterest analytics give you four different categories—your basic site metrics, most recent pins, the most repined of pictures from your site, and the most clicked images to get back to your website. You can also export the data, through the button on the end.
Go exploring for yourself! Make sure your site is verified, and then click around through the analytics Pinterest offers and get familiarized with it. This is going to be a great tool as times goes on, so the time to understand it is now! If you’d like some help managing your business Pinterest account, contact us and we can put together a plan.
From Smart Solutions
Social media channels don’t stay the same for long—this is a fact that anyone who has had a Facebook for longer than a year knows. They update on a regular basis and there’s no reason to not embrace the change.
However, every change comes with a few ups and downs, and when it comes to marketing on Pinterest, these are the changes that you’ll need to be on the lookout for.
Update on Pinterest Updates:
Aww, shucks, Pinterest changed on us! They’re still in the process of updating all their new features and it looks like links and hashtags are once again clickable inside Pin Descriptions!
We’re looking forward to what other changes Pinterest throws our way too!
Pinterest Updated Links in Pin Descriptions
This is probably one of the biggest deals for people marketing on Pinterest. If you’re simply pinning for fun on your personal profile, this isn’t a big deal. If you’ve used the pin description to link to your website content, it’s a big deal. This side by side comparison (a random pin we found on our Pinterest Home Page) shows the difference. Even hashtags are no longer clickable. Once Pinterest officially goes to the new look, you’ll only be able to navigate to the original site that the image was pinned from.
Pinterest Changed the Way Profiles Look
While the new Pinterest profile doesn’t look very different, there are some significant changes. One of the major ones that we’re not particularly fond of is the way the URLs are displayed. Although it is a smoother, cleaner look—the verified link back to our site isn’t as pronounced. As you can see in the pictures below, the Pinterest update got rid of the red check mark by the verified website. This drew a lot of attention and clicks, contributing to traffic to the site. We’re going to miss the little red dot.
Do You Like the New Pinterest?
You can preview the new Pinterest and switch back and forth before Pinterest goes official with it. Try it out, play around with the new look and let us know what you think! From a business perspective, do you think the new Pinterest update will work for you?
We manage Pinterest page for pages for several of our web marketing clients, and we’d love to chat with you and see how we can make the social media site work for your business, as well! Contact our web marketing team and we’ll set up a meeting to talk about it!
From Smart Solutions
There’s an ongoing debate inside the online community on whether YouTube or Vimeo is the best video platform, so we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring.
Unfortunately, it’s not a debate that will ever have a definitive answer—it’s simply another question of audience and goals. While YouTube has a significantly larger and wider chunk of visitors, Vimeo holds its own with a particular crowd. Check out what we have to say below and choose for yourself which video platform is best for your business.
Audience – YouTube vs. Vimeo
The YouTube audience tends to be the pop culture crowd. These are the people who are watching trailers for new movies, checking out the latest music videos and uploading videos of their cats doing tricks.
The Vimeo audience puts their emphasis on art, culture and sophistication. A lot of people would call the Vimeo users the “hipster” crowd. People who scroll through Vimeo on a regular basis are usually looking for inspiration for a new project, or checking out their friends’ latest uploads.
Goal – Vimeo and YouTube
After analyzing the audience of the two video platforms, you need to decide what you want to get out of a video platform. Are you showcasing your latest work? Are you trying to promote a product? Are you trying to hold a contest?
If your goal is mainly art-related, or targeted to a small audience of viewers, Vimeo works great. It’s a beautiful platform, allows for longer videos and has a smaller community of more dedicated viewers.
If your goal is to reach the masses, promote a product to the world or get lots of viewers, your best bet is YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine in the world, owned by Google and super easy to use.
Both sites are great for their particular audiences and goals, so there’s no one better to decide which one to use than YOU—the company’s owner.
We’re always open for a chat with you about putting together a video marketing strategy for your company, so give us a call or send us a contact request if you have any questions!
From Smart Solutions
2012 has come to a close, and we’re taking a look back at some of the things that stood out to us this year. A LOT happened last year in SEO and social media—and we can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for us!
Each of these items made a huge impact on web marketing in their own way. And each of them will have a continued impact that we need to be aware of! What should we do about each of these changes? Read below:
The Pinterest Explosion
2012 may forever be known as the year Pinterest took over the world. Since January of 2012, Pinterest users have increased DAILY by 145%. The site gained visitors and users like crazy, and businesses picked up on it pretty quickly. Most major brands now sport a Pinterest page and a large amount of traffic from the website.
What can we learn? Although the Pinterest rush will slow down, it’s a website that many brands should have a presence on. Even if you’re only pinning a few pictures a week, it’s worth it to claim your brand name and keep up to date on things happening there.
This new feature that followed behind Google+ has made an astounding difference in search results. That little picture that shows up beside listings on Google’s SERP has increased click-through rate, rankings and engagement for people implementing it.
Where do we go from here? Google is going to continue integrating the Google Author results, and making Google+ more prominent. Get involved by getting the code on your site and becoming more active on Google+!
And you can add the Smart Solutions Google+ page to your circles, as well!
Mobile Usage Skyrockets
And once again, the numbers are astounding on mobile usage! On our own website, mobile was up 4.9% from last year, taking over 11.3% of our visits. Our customers’ websites ranged anywhere from 8% to 22% more mobile visits over last year.
On the “to do” list for this one is this: get responsive design or a mobile site! Make sure your website looks good, no matter what size of browser is visiting it!
Google Penguin first reared its head in April of this year, and affected sites that had gone overboard with linkbuilding and keyword stuffing. Many sites saw a downfall in visits from search traffic when this algorithm change was implemented.
Going forward, the most important thing we learned from this update was this: the importance of a quality site. Keep your code clean, your title optimized and your content fresh and Google will smile on you. Over-optimize, keyword stuff and build sketchy links and Google will knock your site down in their index.
From Smart Solutions
Here are a few Google Analytics tricks that we love and we think you will too! These are three tools inside Google Analytics that we use on a regular basis, and that you can use to help your reporting and tracking be a little more effective.
Google Analytics Advanced Segments
With the myriad of buttons available for you to click inside the Google Analytics interface, many tend to get left out in reporting and tracking. One of those is the Advanced Segments button. It’s in the top left corner of your analytics screen. By clicking that button and selecting up to four segments, you can see exactly what you want to see—whether you want to track your Paid Search Traffic, Returning Visitors, Visits with Conversions or just Mobile Traffic!
Compare Weeks, Months and Years in Google Analytics
You don’t always just want to look at one set of time when it comes to tracking visitors on your site. Instead of just looking at the month of November, why not see how it compares to the month of October? Or better yet, what about November of last year?
If you choose this option, GA will highlight your traffic from last year in orange, and compare it to this year’s in blue. This is a huge help for businesses who have seasonal traffic, who can’t accurately compare month to month.
A/B Experiments with Google Analytics
If you haven’t set up an A/B test with Google Analytics yet, now is the time! This tool can be found under the Content section in GA, and is probably the best way to figure out what your visitors think about your business website. We wrote a blog post back in 2011 about A/B testing, and we can help you set it up inside Google Analytics if you have any questions!
Those are just three of the many tricks that Google Analytics has to offer. Although we give monthly reports to all of our clients, we definitely suggest that everyone take a look inside their analytics, and learn a little bit more about the visitors browsing the site, how your site is performing and what you could do better!
Contact Smart Solutions for more information on getting a business website that performs better!
From Smart Solutions
Two full days of networking, listening, asking questions, tweeting and taking notes have come to a close, and it’s time to look over everything that we learned—which isn’t easy. There are a few things that stood out throughout the conference, though—and we’ve outlined them here! At the bottom of this post, we also have a link back to the Bend WebCAM live blogs, so you can get more in-depth information on each individual session.
Don’t Neglect Social
The rising importance of social media was discussed in almost every session this year—but as a supplement to SEO, not replacing it. Many speakers (Danny Sullivan, Marshall Simmonds, Eric Enge) also stressed the importance of a Google+ account and optimizing it with keywords, connecting it to your website and setting it up for Google Author.
There was one entire session on Pinterest this year, from Andy and Matt at Avalaunch. The session outlined the history and development of the visual social network, and gave ideas on how to optimize your website for it (don’t use flash!). They also gave us a great site for tracking Pinterest analytics: Pinerly.com.
And of course, throughout the entire conference, we were all tweeting and taking pictures and posting to Facebook all the things we learned!
Accept Google Algorithm Changes
Danny’s opening keynote was extremely helpful on a lot of subjects, but there was one thing that stood out the most in his presentation: Google is going to keep on updating their algorithm, so just live with it. It may be harsh, but it’s true! Google is still the number one search engine—and will be for a while—so if you can’t accept their algorithm changes, you’ve got a problem! Danny had a lot of other insightful things to say, and it was awesome having him at the conference!
Interactive and Connected Marketing
The time of throwing out information and hoping someone hears is far behind us in 2012. We’re deep into an age where people expect their ads to be tailored to them, to relate to their circumstances and to interact with them. You’ve got to know your customers and how they want to be marketed to. Make it more personal, use video and let your customers get involved in your brand!
SEO is not a Project
This was a favorite point of ours—from Marshall’s session on Bootstrapping your Search Marketing Program. In his session, he made sure to stress that SEO should never be viewed as a one-time project—but as a part of the ongoing content structure. Each company should have a strategy for ongoing site search engine optimization.
Slow Down with Digital Marketing
In Cal Wexley’s session entitled “Thinking,” he made it very clear that it was time for all of us to stop publishing for the sake of publishing, and to go back to simply being creative. Create ideas that are simple and repeatable—and try your best to be the best part of somebody’s day!
So often these days, businesses get focused on pushing out content and getting their name out into the public space, that they forget to spend time thinking and figuring out just what it is their customers are looking for. Slow down with your marketing—and think!
Bend WebCAM 2013
Bend WebCAM was once again worth every penny, and we were so happy to be a part of it! And it might be a little early, but be sure to block out October 24th and 25th of 2013 for next year’s event!
Check out the live blogs for more information on the sessions at Bend WebCAM 2012.
From Smart Solutions
Google and Bing are tracking votes in real time, as well as hosting fun front pages today; Facebook is counting votes according to its own application; and countless other websites around the web are joining in on the Election Day excitement. First, get out and vote – then watch as everything unfolds.
(Click the pictures to go to each of the respective pages)
Google – their Election Day Doodle, and an interactive map that gets updated in real time!
Bing – their colorful homepage and another map to keep track of how the election is going.
Facebook – their fun map that keeps track of users that use their voting application.
When you work in the area of Internet marketing, you get used to lots of change. New networks to pay attention to, new ways to market your business, new tools to help you measure successes, and new designs on all the websites you use the most.
Social media websites tend to get hit the most with new designs, and Linkedin is the latest to get a new design on their business pages. We just updated ours this morning, and it looks pretty good! The design may remind you of a certain other social network that recently hit one billion members, but we think it’s a step in the right direction for Linkedin. Their old design wasn’t much to look at, and this one is a huge improvement.
They don’t make this design easy on you though—the new area for your main profile picture (just to the left of your business name) is an odd size. We sized our image to 374×174, and that seemed to fit well. However, our logo isn’t usually that size, so it took quite a bit of adjusting.
The cover photo is somewhere around 646×221, and offers a chance to brighten up and keep visitors more interested in your Linkedin business page. (to the right are a few examples of how businesses are using the cover images so far!)
If you’re one of the administrators on your company page, you’ll see that Linkedin has placed this cream-colored box across the top of the page! Administrators have it easier than ever with sharing and editing on the new business pages, and overall, we think it’s a great change.
Are you ready to start optimizing your new Linkedin business page design? Head on over and check it out, or interact with the new design on the Smart Solutions Linkedin page.
Ads are everywhere online, and growing steadily on social media channels. Log into Facebook, browse Twitter, search Linkedin, watch a video on YouTube—you’re going to see ads. While you may not click on many of the advertisements marketed to you, you do see them, and chances are you remember them.
But are they viable? Are Twitter Ads and Facebook Sponsored Posts a quality investment of your marketing budget? Let’s examine three of the top social media advertising options available to businesses today.
This is a form of advertising that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Not just seeing ads in our Twitter streams, but Twitter pushing us to pay for our own ads.
You can choose one of two types of ads—either Promoted Tweets or Promoted Accounts. Choose your type based on what you want as a result: Either increased views on one tweet, or an increased amount of followers to continue tweeting to over time.
Twitter Advertising isn’t something that we recommend for small businesses, because it isn’t a time-tested advertising method yet. However, for medium to large-sized businesses with a little extra in their marketing budget, we say give it a try!
Want to see who else has benefited from Twitter advertising? Check out the success stories.
While it can seem like Facebook is too big for small business advertising, it differs from Twitter in one (very important) area—it’s more personal. The way Facebook is put together allows for a more personal experience that Twitter simply doesn’t have. Geo, gender, interest and age targeting allow you to zone in on the exact audience you want to see your ad on Facebook.
Facebook also allows for a few different types of advertising. One is the typical ad to the right of your screen, which links to either your business Facebook page or an external URL.
Another is the promoted status, which will show your ad to friends of the users who like your page. This is a great option to choose if you have a promotional campaign running for a certain product or service.
Check out some of the businesses that have benefited from Facebook Advertising: Facebook Ad Success Stories.
Ads on Linkedin
If your company is specifically business to business, advertising on Linkedin might be your best bet. Linkedin is the social network for professionals, and people are more likely to be looking for business services on a site like Linkedin, as opposed to Twitter or Facebook.
Ads on Linkedin look a lot like those on Facebook, and can link to any URL you’d like—a company page, personal page, products/services page, careers page or an external URL.
Linkedin also offers a very cool feature—up to 15 variations in your ad, in order to test which style of ad is best for your audience! Facebook allows you to do several ads as well, but not as easily or quickly as Linkedin’s service.
Not convinced? Take a look at some Linkedin success stories!
What Social Media Advertising is Right for You?
We’d love to discuss it with you! Give us a call or send the web marketing team an email, and we can talk about how to make social media ads work for your company.