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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Google Unveils Callout Extension, Giving Advertisers more Space

Friday, September 5th, 2014

On the heels of introducing a major update to Google product ads, the company has now introduced callout extension, which gives businesses more space on their search ads. This additional space is valuable and could help you reach your customers and make your ads more effective.

What is the Callout Extension?

In essence, callout extensions are short pieces of text you can add to your Google search ads. They let you draw attention to products, services, deals and other elements that might help you attract more customers. There is a 25-character limit for callout text, so you will need to find ways to be direct and concise.

As you can see in the example below, this ad has the words “free shipping, 24-7 customer service and price matching” as a callout extension. The words appear below the main text in the ad and above additional links.

Do Callout Extensions affect Ad Rank?

Google has said that using a callout extension will have a positive impact on an ad’s rank. So, if you use this tool your ad could appear in more search results, be seen by more people and get more clicks.

When can I Use Callout Extensions?

Callout extensions are currently becoming available to all businesses. If you want to use them, you’ll need to be a Google search ad user.

How do I add Callout Extensions?

To add callout extensions to your ads, login to your AdWords account and choose the ad extensions tab. Then, you can add callouts to your account, a campaign or an ad group.

How can I use Callout Extensions Effectively?

If you decide to use callouts for your ads, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are using them to their fullest potential.

Stand Out

The additional text, even though it is limited to 25 characters, can help you make your ads stand out. Use eye-catching phrases and benefits and perks that will make people want to click on your ads. Discounts, free shipping, coupon matching and fast delivery are a few examples of benefits you can show off using the callout extension.

Choose the Right Ads

Be strategic about how you use callouts. Match the right phrases with the right ads for a winning combination. Think about the audience that is likely to see an ad, and then create custom callouts that will be effective with that demographic.

Use Keywords

This is another opportunity to use keywords in your search ads, so take advantage of it. In its announcement, Google suggests adding specific keywords as callouts to campaigns with more general keywords.

Test and Enhance

As you start using callouts with different key phrases, subjects, benefits and formats, you will start to learn what works for your business and market. Track your campaigns and results carefully so you can continually enhance your ads and callouts for the best results.

This new feature has a lot of potential to help you make your search ads more effective and see more results. If you are already an AdWords user, consider using the callout extension. If you haven’t started using search ads, contact us. We help all kinds of businesses use online advertising to reach their market and make more sales.

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YouTube makes More Sales than other Networks: How to Start Using this Power

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of Rego Korosi/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Rego Korosi/Flickr.

New research by Aol Platforms shows that YouTube brings more customer conversions than Facebook, Google+ and other social networks. The report shows that YouTube is a powerful social media tool that brands shouldn’t ignore as they strategize to build their customer base.

The Study

The research used information from 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions. It also tracked social purchase interactions to see which networks swayed people to make purchases and at what point in the decision making process they were the most influential.

After all the data was analysed and all the numbers were crunched, YouTube was revealed as the social network that was the most influential when it comes to introducing new products to consumers and helping people make a decision to buy a product.

Why YouTube Converts

So what is it about YouTube that makes it one of the best networks when it comes to making sales? First, YouTube is highly popular with more than 1 billion unique visitors a month and 100 hours of video being added every minute. But, that’s not all. YouTube reports that 80 percent of its traffic comes from outside the United States and that more than 6 billion hours of video are watched on its site every month!

Combined with a huge user base, YouTube’s ability to help businesses show instead of tell and evoke emotion like few other mediums can, it’s no wonder it’s a powerful marketing tool.

How to Use YouTube to Increase Sales

Now that you’re convinced that YouTube can help you make more sales in a way no other social media network can, how do you use it effectively?

Choose the Right Message and Goal

Video lets you accomplish things images, social media posts and written content can’t. It lets you incorporate movement, sound, audio and lighting to portray feelings and send messages in a unique way. Choose the right messaging and goals for your YouTube videos and use them to complement your social media campaign in ways other networks can’t.

Make Each Video Shine

Each of your videos should reflect your brand and be professionally made. Don’t skimp on things like sound or editing quality. Your videos will tell your market how to think of your business and if they are exceptionally made and high quality, they will be more successful.

Include Appropriate Calls to Action

Just like all of your other marketing materials, your YouTube videos should include a call to action. If your goal is to increase sales, your call to action should encourage viewers to buy a product, visit your store or download a free sample.

All of your YouTube videos should include the right message, be well made and include the right calls to action if you want them to help you meet your goals.

This newest research that illustrates how beneficial YouTube can be for your business gives us some insight into how to use it effectively. Since it is influential as people learn about new products and make buying decisions, you can use your account to promote your products and encourage people to become customers.

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Google Product Ads now Incorporate Local Availability

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones/Flickr.

Google has updated its product ads so now shoppers can see if a product is available near them and even browse related products at the same store. This new update will make it easier for businesses to bring in shoppers and even make more sales. It will be available to Google Merchant Center users and your business will be able to start using it soon.

Local Availability

When you use Google Merchant Center, you can update Google on what products you have available, how many you have in stock and what their prices are. You can do this for each of your store locations so a shopper can find out if the location closest to him has what he is looking for.

Now, people using desktop computers and smartphones may see ads from your business for your products. The ads will include information on the price, availability and location of the product.

This update makes it even easier for you to use ads to make sales, since your customers will know right away what kinds of products you have available at your locations.

Local Storefront

The second part of this new update is called local storefront. If a user clicks on one of your product ads, she’ll be directed to your online, local storefront where she can browse similar products, their prices and their availability.

This means you could make additional sales more easily. If someone finds an ad for a product she is looking for, she may also discover more, similar products she also wants to buy at your location.

How to Use the new Features

Right now, these features are being used by a select number of stores and brands in the United States. But, Google announced that they will soon be available to businesses everywhere. In order for your ads to display what products you have in stock, how many you have and what their prices are, you must use Google Merchant Center. The information you provide will stay up to date so your ads will reflect current information.

Businesses will pay for the ads on a cost-per-click basis, so your cost will depend on how well your Product Listing Ads perform. You will not be charged for clicks or interactions on the storefront interface. In other words, you will pay for the initial click from customers who then go on to browse the rest of your inventory, free of charge to you.

These new features will make shopping easier for customers while making it simpler for you to promote your products. You’ll be able to tell customers exactly what you have in stock and even let them see what kinds of related products you have in your stores.

This blend of online advertising with local search is a good fit for businesses that have brick-and-mortar stores and are working to increase their sales. You can prepare to use the new features by signing up for Google Merchant Center so that when the features are widely available you’ll be prepared to take advantage of them and enhance your advertising efforts.

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How to Publish Content that Works on LinkedIn

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Do you publish content to LinkedIn? Is it tailored for that specific market and working for your business? If you want your content to stand out, attract your market and help you meet your goals, you need to know a few things.

LinkedIn Users Read a lot of Content

LinkedIn published a report called “The 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report,” which is full of information that can help businesses learn how to use LinkedIn more successfully.

According to the report, which is based on an analysis of 2,701 LinkedIn users’ habits, people who use the site spend an average of eight hours a week consuming content that is professionally relevant to them. That’s a lot of time, which means you have the potential to get your market’s attention through content marketing.

Another interesting statistic in the report is that 43 percent of unique LinkedIn site visits were from mobile devices. That means nearly half of the people you reach on LinkedIn are expecting content, links and information that is easy to consume on a smartphone or tablet.

Why People Read Content on LinkedIn

Historically, LinkedIn has been used to connect with professionals, meet new people, network and learn about businesses. Those uses are reflected in the list of reasons people read LinkedIn content.

The report found that LinkedIn users read content published there to:

When you know why people spend time consuming content on LinkedIn, you can make sure your are publishing content that meets those needs, making it a more effective tactic.

Content Topics that Resonate

LinkedIn’s study also found what kind of content LinkedIn users spend their time reading across all online platforms. In other words, the researchers found out what kind of content LinkedIn users are reading on blogs, websites and other social media sites.

  • 41 percent of the time is spent reading professionally relevant content
  • 30 percent is spent reading news
  • 29 percent is spent consuming entertainment

Knowing that LinkedIn users are interested in content that is professionally relevant, about current events and entertaining, we can get an idea of what kinds of content businesses should add to their content marketing plan when it comes to using LinkedIn.

These statistics show us how time is spent across all platforms, but what kind of content are people interested in reading on LinkedIn?

According to the report, the content that is clicked on and shared the most is content that falls into one of three categories:

  • New Research
  • Breaking Industry News
  • Case Studies

All of these more generally fall into the category of industry-related content. People on LinkedIn are looking for and consuming content that is related to their professions, interests and industries.

Publishing content to LinkedIn can help you reach your market, but you’ll be much more successful if you know what kind of content to post. The majority of your content should meet users’ needs and fall into one of the three categories with the most clicks and shares.

As you more closely align your content and LinkedIn strategy with these statistics, you’ll find that you will reach more people, get more engagement and increase your presence on the site, helping you meet your business goals.

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Instagram just Became more Business Friendly

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Instagram has unveiled some new tools that will make it much easier to use, and a more valuable marketing tool, for businesses. This social network is one that is very visual and the company reports that it has 200 million monthly active users, 65 percent of which are outside the United States. There are 60 million photos and 1.6 billion “likes” shared on the site daily.

There’s a good chance part of your market uses Instagram and now with new tools, the site is easier for your business to use successfully.

The tools announced by Instagram are specifically for business accounts and you can use them as you post updates or run ads on the site. Instagram says the tools will be launched later this year.

Ad Staging: Collaborate for Better Results

The first new feature is called Ad Staging and allows you, as an advertiser, to collaborate with your creative team, save ads and preview ad campaigns before you even launch them. When your marketing, design, and social media teams can all work together on Instagram ads right inside the platform you can more easily coordinate your efforts.

Ad Staging could also make it easier for you to plan ahead and stay organised. When you can save and preview campaigns, you can make sure everything is ready to go well in advance so each of your campaigns will be more effective.

Account Insights: See Your Results

Most social media networks let businesses see basic analytics related to their accounts, and now Instagram does too. You can log in to see your impressions, reach and engagement, which can give you a detailed look at what is happening on your business account.

When you can easily access and track these statistics for your Instagram posts, you can find out if you are reaching your social media goals, like increasing brand awareness, reaching a larger audience and encouraging your potential and current customers to interact with you online.

Ad Insights: See your Impact

Instagram has also made it possible for you to find out more about how your ads are performing. Ad Insights lets you see impressions, reach and frequency for your ads so you can find out how effective they are and find new ways to be successful.

You can view these statistics for each of your ads, so comparing design, messaging, timing and other factors will be much easier. With this information, your Instagram ads have the potential to be much more powerful because you can learn from each ad and campaign and constantly improve your efforts.

These new business tools are a valuable addition to Instagram and will make using it for social media marketing, whether you are posting updates or using ads, easier and more beneficial.

If your brand is visual and you could capture your market’s attention with images of products, events, services or your location, Instagram could be a great addition to your social media strategy. Start using these tools as soon as they launch for the best results and to find ways you can enhance your strategy.

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New Google Tool lets you Track Phone Calls that Result from Ad Clicks

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Google has announced a new tool, called website call conversions, that makes it possible for you to track the phone calls your business receives after people click on ads. This ability can help you find out how to increase the number of calls you get and even make more sales.

Other AdWords tools like click-to-call ads, call metrics and calls as conversions can help you track the number of calls that are made when people call your business from an ad, but not the calls people make after exploring your website. Website call conversions gives you a way to track those calls.

How Website Call Conversions Works

Chances are there are a lot of people that see your ads, click on them and then explore your website before they decide to call your business. You probably already know this is happening but you don’t have a way to actually track and measure that activity.

With website call conversions, you can find out how many phone calls you receive when people click on one of your ads and explore your site before they make a call. You can track calls made when people click on your phone number or dial it on their smartphone.

When you add a snippet of code to your website, Google creates a forwarding number it uses to track these phone calls. You can even assign value levels to calls and find out what keywords and ads generated the calls.

Why this Information is so Valuable

The number of phone calls your ads generate is just as important as the amount of traffic they generate. Knowing how many phone calls your business receives due to ad campaigns can help you understand how to grow your customer base.

Learn What Spurs People to Call You

Website call conversions lets you find out what keywords and ads are most successful in encouraging people to call you. This can give you incredible insight that can help you generate more calls from customers who are interested in buying your products.

Design Better Campaigns

As you learn what drives phone calls, you can use that information to design better campaigns to get even more calls from potential customers. You’ll know which keywords to use and what kinds of ad designs and messages work best for your market.

Target your Efforts for Better Results

This new tool lets you assign value to calls that come from different pages on your website. As Google explains in its announcement, you may place a higher value on calls that come from a products page and a lesser value to calls that come from your home page. Then, you can find out which ads bring those valuable calls and then design more ads that are similar to generate even more valuable calls.

Google’s new website call conversions tool will make it possible for you to discover what keywords and ads are leading people to call your business, so you can generate more leads and increase sales.

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Facebook puts an end to Like-Gating

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen/Flickr.

A few days ago, Facebook announced some platform policy changes and one of those could affect your social media marketing strategy. Businesses will no longer be able to use like-gating to incentivise people to “like” their Pages.

What is Like-Gating?

According to Facebook, like-gating is the practice of requiring a user to “like” a Page before he can see some content or view specific tabs or applications. In other words, it’s the tactic of forcing people to “like” a Page before they can see exclusive content.

Businesses used like-gating as a way to build their Facebook following and increase their reach so that when they post content more and more people would see it.

What’s so bad about Like-Gating?

Facebook has explained that it is banning the tactic because it leads to inflated numbers of “likes.” The company said: “To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives.”

In the end, this will be good for your business because it means that the people who “like” your Page are more likely to do so because they have a genuine interest in your business. These are the people you want to target because they probably fall into one of your target markets and it will be easier to convert them from Facebook fans to customers.

Can I still Incentivise People for “Likes?”

This new ban doesn’t exclude all incentives. Your business can still require people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to your app or checkin at a place. So, even with the ban, you can still encourage people to “like” your Page if you are offering them some value other than exclusive content.

What should my Business do?

Always follow the site’s rules and guidelines when you use social media. If you are currently using like-gating tactics to encourage people to “like” your Page before they can see exclusive content or access some tabs on your site, you will have to find other ways to build a following.

However, you can still ask people to “like” your Page before they enter a promotion, login to an app or checkin at a place on your Facebook Page.

In short, this policy change means businesses will have to start working harder and smarter to get more “likes” for their Pages. The best way to do this is to offer quality content and make your account one that people in your market will want to follow so they don’t miss out on the latest news, tips and information from your business.

As you do this, you will find that your Facebook audience will become more valuable. The people who will “like” your Page will be those who are genuinely interested in connecting with your business and who are more likely to be the people you are trying to reach with your Facebook marketing strategy.

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Google Unveils News Publisher Center for Site Owners

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Google has launched a new tool called News Publisher Center that makes it easier for site owners to keep the search engine updated on changes to their sites. The new tool can help news sites gain better search rankings and therefore more traffic.

If you have a news site or blog, you may have noticed that it can be hard to get your pages to rank in the Google News search results. This is because when you add new sections to your site, the search engine doesn’t always come back to rank it and add it to its search results. But, the News Publisher Center is designed to solve that problem.

Why News Rankings Matter

If your site doesn’t appear in Google search results, you could be missing a large portion of your audience. One of the best ways to attract new readers and increase your traffic is to increase your site’s rankings so your pages appear in search results when users do searches for terms related to your site.

If you keep your site information updated with the News Publisher Center, Google will be able to rank your content and display it in search results as people look for the kind of content you provide.

With more readers, you can do things like:

  • Increase Ad Sales
  • Get more Comments and Engagement
  • Boost Product Sales
  • Raise Awareness
  • Gain Sponsors

News rankings matter if you want people to find your content and participate on your site.

Using the News Publisher Center

To start using the News Publisher Center, you need to verify that you own your website. This tool is only available for news sites. As of now, it is available to sites in the United States but will soon be offered around the world.

Once you have verified your site, you can start making it easier for people to find your content by telling Google when your site changes. In the center, you will be able to change your site’s name and choose labels that categorise what kind of news site you have.

Whenever you change your site’s structure by adding new sections, Google doesn’t always know that content is there. With this new tool, you can log in and add the URLs of new sections as you add them. You can also label these sections to make them easier to find on Google.

If you have a news site, log in now to make sure your site is verified and all your sections are there. Then, each time you update your site use the News Publisher Center to keep Google informed and make sure your readers can find your content.

The new tool was announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog where you can find more details about how to use it.

If you run a news site, you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to boost your rankings so you can get more readers and make your site more successful. Make sure you publish high quality content, use keywords naturally and log in to the News Publisher Center to keep Google aware of changes to your site.

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Most People Consider their Smartphone a Central Part of their Life, and not for Traditional Reasons

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

New research backs up the idea that we are very dependent on our smartphones and even proves that people aren’t using their phones for traditional phone tasks. Knowing how people in your market use their phones, you can more effectively target your customers and leverage your mobile marketing tactics.

Depending on your business, mobile marketing could play a key part in your marketing strategy and even help you reach more people. It could also help you accomplish things like increased brand awareness, site traffic and sales.

We’re Hooked on our Smartphones

Exact Target did some research into how we use our mobile devices. The company found that 85 percent of the people who responded to its survey consider their mobile devices a central aspect of their lives. The vast majority of people depend on their smartphone daily and feel that it plays a major role in their day-to-day lives.

We already know how prevalent smartphone use is. No matter where you go, people are glued to their smartphones reading news articles, using social media, sending text messages, playing games, shopping and browsing the Internet.

We’re doing more With our Smartphones

In Exact Target’s survey, 89 percent of the people surveyed feel that smartphones help them stay in touch with family and friends and keep up with events. The fact that people use their smartphones for more than making phone calls is no surprise, but the statistics that prove this theory are stunning.

According to a 2013 study by Nielsen, the vast majority of time people spend on their smartphones isn’t spent doing traditional things like making phone calls, sending text messages or accessing contact information.

In fact, the study found that only:

  • 9% of the time people spend on their smartphones is spent sending text messages.
  • 3% of their time is spent using the phone dialer.
  • 2% of their time is spent using the address book.

This means that just 14 percent of the time people spend on their smartphones is used to contact people. So what are people doing the rest of the time? They are using mobile apps.

Your Business and Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing can be loosely categorised into three areas: social media, Internet and apps. When you find ways to use each of these three areas to promote your business, your mobile marketing plan will be stronger.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are commonly used on the go. Make sure your social media strategy is mobile friendly by remembering that people on the go are looking for short pieces of information.

Make sure your website is easily viewed and used on the small screen of a mobile device and consider mobile advertising strategies like paid search ads and banner ads.

Finally, consider whether a mobile app can benefit your market. Not all businesses need their own app, but if you can offer real value to your market and promote your business through an app, this tactic could be very beneficial.

Mobile marketing is absolutely essential right now as the majority of people feel they depend on their smartphone every day and are using it to access websites, social media and apps.

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Mobile Ads Shown to be very Effective in Generating Clicks and Engagement

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A new study, done by xAd and Telmetrics reveals that mobile ads are very effective. The world of mobile marketing opens up all kinds of opportunities for businesses, from email marketing to social media marketing, and ads are a tactic that you shouldn’t ignore.

The following statistics come from the research and provide some insight into what mobile ads are capable of and how businesses can use them more effectively.

50% of Mobile Shoppers Say Ads are Informative or Helpful

Half of people who shop on their mobile devices say mobile ads are informative or helpful. This means that people are actually paying attention to ads and are happy with what they see. Your market is more likely to be receptive to your ads if they are strategically targeted.

Things like the ad design, copy and messaging need to be designed for your target market. Whenever possible, use social media and advertising platforms that allow you to target your ads to specific demographics.

More than 40% Clicked on Ads Because they are Relevant

More than 40 percent of users said they clicked on ads because they felt they were relevant. According to the survey, mobile users deem ads relevant when they speak to their interests, are related to past purchases, are locally targeted or include coupons.

40% Report Clicking on Ads with Half Taking more Action

Almost half of the people surveyed, 40 percent, said they click on mobile ads. This is a significant number and shows that when ads are well targeted, they can help you drive traffic to your site.

Of that 40 percent, half took more action like looking at the company’s website or looking for more product information after clicking on the ad. Once you generate clicks, you can encourage people to take more action if your content is relevant.

Half of People who Clicked on Ads wanted to Make a Purchase within the Hour, 70% Did

But, people aren’t just clicking on ads, they want to make a purchase. Half of those who clicked want to make a purchase within the hour, and 70 percent of them actually did. This statistic shows that ads can do more than help you drive traffic, they can help you make sales.

If you can capture attention and provide relevant information, there’s a good chance that people who click on your ads will become customers.

57% Who Clicked on Ads want to see a Business Phone Number

Interestingly, 57 percent of people who clicked on ads reported that they want to see a business phone number on the ad. While this seems like a small detail, it shows that a majority of the people who respond to your ads are looking for an easy way to contact you. Just adding your phone number could make your ads more effective and help you gain more customers.

Mobile Internet marketing is essential if you want to reach your market and grow your business. This latest research shows that mobile advertising can be a successful way to reach your customers, drive traffic and increase sales. If you haven’t already implement mobile marketing at your business, now is the time to get started!

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