Be ready for Search shifting to Mobile – specially smartphones

3m to read / 

We know that Search is shifting to mobile – particularly to smartphones. Google tells us in a new research on cross-device habits that a growing number of consumers browse the web and search on multiple platforms through the day. What the research also tells us that a fair number of those consumers actually just go mobile – by passing the desktop experience altogether. Is your brand ready for this trend?

Before you consider mobile in your brand strategy, or focus on it even more, if you are already there, it's important to know your audience, your target, your customers. Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing.

Mobile-first world today

It's really a mobile-first world today. People expect answers quickly, in the immediate. Consumers today turn to the nearest device to make a decision, learn something new, or get something accomplished, Google tells us. Google calls this micro-moments. "Connecting the dots across these micro-moments is necessary for marketers to tell a single story across devices, channels, and formats".

Search needs to yield results there and then

People are impatient. And, they are empowered with the immediate – thanks to their smartphones. They want to know, they want to find results right away, And they are turning to mobile. Google reminds us that "nearly 40% of people search only on a smartphone in an average day as they look to meet immediate needs. As a result of this shift, more Google searches are happening on smartphones than computers".

Transform your digital marketing by Being 'Right There, Right Then'

Marketing Land tells us that users are increasingly spending more time on smartphones than on desktop.

"Users spend 170 minutes on their smartphones daily vs. 120 minutes on PCs and roughly 75 minutes on tablets (for those who own tablets). The four most common physical locations that smartphones are used, in order, are:

1. Home
2. Work
3. Stores
4. Restaurants and Bars

More striking, however, is the finding that 27 percent of people are smartphone-only users (on any given day). Google also reports that of those people who conduct searches on an average day, 39 percent search only on a smartphone and 32 percent search only on a desktop".

As a marketer or digital marketing strategist for your brand, you need to be ready. Following are some useful tips from Search Engine Watch on how to effectively focus on mobile search as part of your strategy...

  • The AdWords interface will show you what portion of your clicks and conversions come from mobile vs. desktop, and if 10 percent or more of a campaign come from mobile devices, consider targeting separately.
  • Google allows for targeting by specific devices, operating systems, and carrier (with further tablet targeting options expected later this year), which is important because the end user mobile search experience is different on a mobile phone than it is on an iPad/tablet.
  • Mobile searching lends itself to shorter query lengths and hyper-local results. Google’s mobile keyword selection tool offers great assistance for getting started when choosing your ad keywords.
  • The searcher’s attention span is limited, so make mobile specific ad copy short and sweet. Include clickable phone numbers and/or geo-targeted maps to enhance your CTRs and conversions.
  • Landing pages from mobile search clicks should reflect your conversion goals. If you want them to call you, download something, watch a video, and/or view a map, optimize these pages accordingly.
  • When launching new campaigns, it’s best to start with an aggressive bidding strategy, which will allow you to establish a strong quality score off the bat. Securing position in the top two paid results is imperative with the limited viewing area on mobile devices.

Focusing your digital marketing strategy on mobile is no longer a nice-to-have. You really need to amp up your mobile marketing efforts – particularly with search engine marketing if you want to win over your target audiences.  That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Now read these related posts on Mobile and Search:

• 4 Pillars of Mobile Marketing you need to focus on to succeed

• 5 Simple Ways to get your Mobile Marketing Done Right

6 Ways to Be There in Today's Search Driven World

6 Types of Social Media Posts to Engage your Audience

3m to read /

Here are some ideas for social media posts that help your brand keep your audience engaged. You should not be posting content that's focused purely on your brand – that's boring. But even if you post on topics that are interesting, that somehow connect to your brand, you still need inspired content buckets to use to vary it up a bit. Here are a few content types that you can use to keep your audience interested and engaged:

Before you start, you really need to know your audience. Your customers, your targets are looking for content that helps them, content that is useful to them, in context of your brad or product. It is critical to realize that Customer Insights is your First Step in any Digital Marketing. Once you are armed with that insight, you can develop posts that serve to those areas of interest...

1. How-To 

'How-to' posts have immediate value for your audience. They are practical, it helps them with their daily lives or solves a particular problem they may face. 'How-to' posts also makes your brand look an authority on the topic – and you become a go-to source for information and inspiration. You'll need to think about your audience and not just interaction with your brand. What do they really need to know, versus what you want to tell them? Think of them first, not your brand. Think value.

2. Tips 

Tips are simple posts that could be quick lists or small nuggets of information for your audience. They should be readable quickly – one should be able to skim over them. Tips are tactical and different from How-To posts because they don't need to explain a whole process in detail. Tips are highly ever green and shareable, and have key word value as well. 

3. Lists

List posts are for quick, immediate consumption. They can be shared easily, and people consume these "listicles" far more readily and easily than any other type of posts. They are optimized for web and mobile consumption and get shared more often. Good list posts are not long. The points can be one liners and can easily be converted to visuals. List posts can be built around your brand or product, but should ideally, go beyond that in providing value.

4. Tools

Tool posts are like Tips and How-To posts, but these don't necessarily have to be your brand related directly. You can curate these from around the web if you need to. Grab hold of useful sites, plugins, and downloads that make your life easier and share them with your readers. Keep the content useful and relevant to your topic and your brand.

5. Influencer content

You can get relevant and insightful content from influencers in your domain. Influencer content adds credibility to your brand and also builds relationships with the right influencers you use. They in turn can help build audiences and engage them for your brand or product. You can simply curate influencer content and serve it up for your audiences on relevant topics, or get the influencers to participate and contribute to your content.

10 Essential Steps to Influencer Marketing Success for your Brand

6. Thought leadership

These are point-of-view posts that establish your brand as a knowledgeable authority on topics that your audiences find relevant. The purpose of these posts is to demonstrate understanding and command of the topics you want to lead on. These may not have tactical impact on your audience, but have larger corporate impact as a brand. They make your company look great and reliable. They should be transparent and open, and have consumer/customer value as an end goal, and should not be about corporate drum beating.

6. Interactive and participatory

You can have your audience participate and contribute to your posts and your content overall. User generated content and opinion goes a long way in convincing your audiences about your brand or product. It's so much better that just one-way posting from you. Mix it up with polls, ask for UGC (User Generated Content), request them to share their opinion, create quizzes, and ask your audience to develop content with tips, experiences and hacks.

Keeping your content types varied and interesting is key to engagement.  That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Now read these related posts on content and social media:

8 Must Have Steps to Unleash the Power of Content Marketing for your Brand

Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful

7 Useful Social Media Post Ideas for winning Content Marketing

Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

Brands need to think engagement rather than advertising in our Always On world

4m to read / 

In today's battle for attention, the focus in marketing is digital – and digital is all about being Always On and engaging the audience in a dialog, rather than the one-way shouting we call advertising.

Consumers have shifted their media consumption patterns in favour of the online world. Attention is scarce, and people simply do not trust brand messages any more. User generated brand content therefore becomes key – and that content is Always On.

But the reality is we’re mostly stuck in the traditional advertising vortex. Even online. We’re still so taken with creating ‘advertising’ that we forget that the dynamics have been shifted. The consumer has moved the goalposts from receiving one-way communications to interaction and engagement. They want to be part of the action, the give and take. And if you aren’t giving them relevance, experience, and a genuine value-add for their time spent with you, they aren’t taking the bait.

Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing and these insights about your audience will tell you that it's really about engaging the audience rather than throwing advertising spends at them

Because the focus has shifted from the brand to the consumer, you really need specialized skills to stay in tune with this new consumer out there. The Always On one. Read Why every brand and every agency needs a Digital Insights Manager.

Consumers want value

What we tend to forget is the fact that consumers have always been unpredictably outside thin slice channel silos. Our game has always been about value. Value in exchange for time. The digital marketing trick is about creating value – rich experiences, rewarding content, engaging, useful things delivered to them – where they want it, and when they want it. At their whim. At their convenience. Look at all the digital things we do every day – email, sms, phone calls, downloads, blogs, information gathering, googling – each one delivers something useful, something valuable. This is the core remote flicking fighter. This is the new model. If you build this, they will come.

Engagement vs Advertising

Engagement vs Advertising in digital code is Pull vs Push. Theirs vs Ours. The traditional online model (I know those two words together sound like oxymorons) is about awareness building. I have a new product, and here’s a ten page microsite that glorifies it, while also telling me about my vision, my mission, my CEO’s bio, and of course my ‘contact us’ details. And I have spent a considerable sum of my (miniscule) online budget on banners across various portals that I believe you go to, to drive you to my said microsite, and you better click through, or else. And, wait, since I am so 2020 ready that I have also put my microsite address on my print ads. Well, well.

No, because that just does not work. Well, it did nicely enough for a while, but it no longer cuts the ice. Today, it’s about building something that is interesting, something the consumer will gladly spend time with, and if done right probably even advocate. I’m not saying this is the death knell of all display advertising. Some display ads have a simple message ‘free upgrade’ , ‘5% interest’ and ‘$99 to London’ will get clicked through if it is in a relevant channel. But overall, our online communications needs to be way, way beyond advertising. It needs to be fresh, fun, fabulous as an experience.

Brand to consumer is all about the wow

What we tend to forget often that we are in the wow business. All of us. Offline mainstream creatives, suits, brand managers, CEOs et al. Brand-to-consumer communications is all about wow. We have a wow gadget, an unbelievably comfortable sofa, a juice so fresh it’s still on the tree, a free-lobotomy-with-nose-job offer, and for the CFO – yes, we’ve made a small but remarkable profit in the middle of a bust year kind of wow. So, the, how come when we tell people about all this, we forget the wow?

Evolving technology for better engagement

The magic of digital is the technology it sits on. Ever changing, ever evolving technology. The tech spine allows us to build a nice sexy body around it if we want. Use it cleverly and it can be rewarding – for both brands and consumers. Technology and the newness of it, the fresh wow bits it can deliver allows us to better entertain, better engage, better wow. Like the way Mini used augmented reality applications in their print ads – that led to quite a wow experience for the consumer. And it doesn’t all have to be all tomorrow’s leading edge today. We simply need to see how social media today is all about engagement. Not about selling. Improve your social media engagement. Move from Selling to building Relationships.

Which brings us to my final point. We the guilty – the advertising fraternity – have so long ignored what the consumer wants to see, hear, feel, do and chased the Cannnes and other metalware glory , that we’ve lost sight of the consumer as creative possibility.

Lo and behold the new creative director – the 19 year old YouTube upload kingpin out of Muscat. Guitar hero, garage band expert, iMovie editor and brand ambassador par excellence on YouTube. And, he is willing to work for you on a pro bono basis. And no, your brand does not have to be green or preach tree hugging, but just open. Meet John Doe or Salma the blogger or Bob the facebook fiend – the social media sneezer. The one with self empowerment to make or break your brand. And he is a no-label free spirit who does not believe in advertising. But ask him to be part of your engagement plan, and he will happily take up your flag. The engager. The non advertiser. Your new ambassador.

That's the way it is today. The shift has happened. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

More reading on Always On marketing

7 Essential Pillars for your Digital Marketing Strategy

Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.