Facebook Timeline

Fresh from Facebook, this video introduces Facebook Timeline – described as a New Kind of Profile:

How Google Search Works

I often find myself trying to explain to people how Google’s search engine actually works. This video explains it in relatively simple terms – so please watch and enjoy!

I provide clients with a range of search engine optimisation and search marketing services – and understanding how Google generates results is an essential key to maximising your returns from search engine marketing. Hopefully this short video will increase your understanding.

Client News – September

Wow, it was a busy summer here at Mike Groves Online Marketing

Firstly I’ve helped launch a new website for CompliGlobe who are SEC Compliance Consultants. The new site promotes CompliGlobe’s range of Compliance Consultancy and Hedge Fund Compliance services, as well as featuring details of their specialist briefing events and publications. We’ve also launched The Regulation Blog which aims to keep our readers up to date with the latest developments in the the financial regulation and compliance landscape.

I’ve also been working with media agency ARM Direct on the launch of their new site, showcasing their DRTV and media buying expertise. In addition to several ongoing PPC Search campaigns there are also several other projects in the pipeline, so watch this space for further news.

MyBuilder work to help riot victims

MyBuilder.com have launched a campaign to help victims of the recent riots. Over 300 tradesmen across the country have offered at least half a day’s labour free of charge to riot victims, which translates into almost half a year of free help.

MyBuilder.com are trying to recruit further willing and able workers and get their message into riot affected communities. More information is available at www.mybuilder.com/riot-repairs

The Social Media Revolution

The social media revolution is here – well in truth it’s been ‘here’ for a while – but nevertheless this updated video from the renowned author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business still shows some mindblowing stats that demonstrate just how social media impacts the world. Whilst it’s very US oriented it’s still worth viewing. Enjoy…

3D Dilemma

3D or not 3D…. that is the question!  Do I take the plunge into the world of 3D TV now – or wait until the price point drops and the quality improves?

Way back in the late 70s and early 80s it seemed like everybody had a video player – and we didn’t.  “We don’t need one” was the standard parental response, although as a parent now myself I’m convinced that cost was also a factor, as well as the uncertainty of what you were buying into. For the record we eventually got a VHS player although I’m sure we had no idea whether it was a better bet than the technically superior Betamax.

These days the changes in technology present new choices at an ever increasing pace – so I’m now considering whether 3DTV is worth the investment and coming to the conclusion that the answer is no – or at least not yet.  And it would seem that I’m not alone.

Whilst 3DTV has the backing of the major UK broadcasters such as Sky, Virgin and the BBC with its plans for a 3D Wimbledon final, it seems that consumer reaction has been rather mixed. This is driven in part by the scarcity of content – and possibly down to the fact that it’s not perceived as an enhancement in the way that colour followed black and white, or even in the way that HD has taken off.

Let’s face it, 3D movies have had more than one big fanfare, but still seem to be viewed almost as a novelty than a standard way of watching movies. And I suspect the same is true on TV. HD brings some programmes to life more than others, but on the whole there is a discernible increase in the viewing experience. 3D can bring a wow factor but more often than not the content is almost driven to show off the 3D capability rather than being quality content that’s further enhanced by the new technology.

That said it seems that many manufacturers will be building 3D into all their new sets, even if they are just used for good-old 2D viewing. Figures suggest that 1 in 3 households will have 3D ready sets by 2016 which is a relatively slow take up. This in turn can deter investment in content leading to an inevitable slowing of the whole process.

Maybe 3D TV lacks its ‘killer app’ which may not be TV at all – but the growth in 3D gaming. Pester power could be the key driver, as kids clamour to play the next generation of 3D games. We shall see. As for me, well I’m not going 3D yet – maybe I’m becoming more like my Dad than I ever thought I’d be!

Ten Top Tips for Effective PPC Search Engine Marketing

It’s widely recognised that Pay Per Click search marketing (PPC) is an invaluable form of online marketing. A well-managed PPC search campaign helps connect your business with potential customers in exactly the right place, and at precisely the right time, by delivering relevant ads when people search for terms related to your products and services. And, having already searched for relevant terms, these searchers arrive on your website as potential customers and not just browsers.

PPC search marketing is also constantly evolving, whether it’s Google introducing new tools for both consumers or marketers, or consumers demonstrating changes in how they search, the devices they use, and what they search for.

So the following is not a definitive Top 10 tips for PPC search, but more a selection of 10 tips based on my own experience of planning and managing PPC search campaigns, and indeed training staff and clients to manage PPC search campaigns. Hopefully you’ll find something useful for your campaigns.

1. Understand your objectives
Before commencing any campaign it is essential you understand what the campaign needs to achieve. Some campaigns may have multiple objectives and your search campaign should be structured accordingly to allow full control – anything from high visibility branding (ensuring your adverts are in top position) to direct sell (controlling bids to come in at a set cost per conversion).

2. Long-tail keywords are key
Any campaign can be set up with 50 very generic keywords on a broad match setting and cover a whole range of search queries a customer may make. This, however, is a very expensive and inefficient method which can prove very costly with little control. Expanding out to a large number of long-tail search queries will not only help to improve the quality score of a campaign but will also enable very specific ad creative to be displayed against a relevant search query.

3. Group your keywords into relevant campaigns & ad groups.
Relevant grouping of keywords ensures that many variations of ad creative can be used which relate more closely to a customer’s search query and also mean that bids can be quickly amended to reflect high conversion rates or seasonal activity. Setting up the campaign to reflect the website you are sending customers to is an easy and effective starting point and means that you can deep-link to a web page which mirrors the search query used and enables you to display ad creative which is relevant to the page a customer lands on. For example creative saying ‘get a quote now’ should send customers to a (preferably pre-filled) quote page whilst creative saying ‘find out more’ should send customers to an information page with a clear call to action once they have found what they are looking for.

4. Make sure your campaign uses negatives.
Effective use of negative keywords will help to ensure your adverts do not appear against non-relevant search queries. Running regular search query reports will help to identify phrases which customers are using and clicking through on which may not be relevant to your offering.

5. Good creative = good click-through rates = good quality score.
Regular optimising of ad creative will also greatly assist in improving a campaign’s quality score. Adverts on sponsored listings are much quicker to update than natural listings and allow advertisers to quickly and easily promote last minute offers or seasonal messages. Online creative can also be a great and inexpensive way to test sales messages which you may be looking to use in an offline campaign – the advert with the best click-through rate will be a good indication of which terms are most popular with customers.

6. Target different customers in different ways.
No one customer is exactly the same and any marketing campaign needs to reflect this, whether it’s a different terminology they use to undertake their search query, or the time or day they are likely to search (weekend research leading to Monday purchase). All of these potential customers will use different search phrases, be attracted to different sales messages and require different information to help them make their purchase decision.

7. Deep-link your campaign.
Nothing annoys a customer more than having to search again when they have been very specific in their search enquiry but get sent to a non-specific landing page. Deep-linking from a search listing to a page which is relevant to the customer’s enquiry will greatly improve the conversion rate.

8. Be ‘on trend’.
Remember to take into account seasonality and special events which customers will be searching for. Ann Summers are a good example of an advertiser who have used current events or topics with cheeky ads to create stand out for their campaigns. Another example might be using royal wedding related keywords and creative in the run-up to William and Kate’s big day.
Be aware, however, that using event or seasonal related creative without any real relevance to your product can be confusing and may attract the wrong customer. Valentines related creative is great if you are advertising a romantic holiday but not so relevant if you are advertising car insurance!

9. Track everything.
PPC search is probably the most measurable online media format and the key to a great search campaign is detailed tracking. Everything can be tracked from the individual keyword to the creative used and even through to the preceding activities a customer undertook online before they made the final conversion.

10. Think beyond the search network.
Google Search is only part of the Google network upon which advertisements can be placed. It’s possible to run some very effective campaigns using content targeting (your advert appears against relevant editorial pieces on a website) and site targeting (you can choose which sites your advert appears on). For both of these forms of advertising you’re not just limited to the standard text ad creatives but can utilise a variety of formats, including Flash animated creative of all sizes and even rich media video.

Smartphone Market expected to grow by 50% in 2011

The global smartphone market is growing four times faster than the overall mobile phone market according to the latest projections by the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC’s research suggests that the worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011, with sales likely to exceed 450 million units in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010.

This growth is being driven by an ever-growing number of both consumers and business users switching feature phones for more sophisticated smartphones. And Google’s Android operating system is likely to take over as the leading smartphone operating system in 2011, having swiftly achieving the number 2 position last year. It’s also highly likely that an Android powered handset will be the first entry into smartphone ownership for many consumers as handset manufacturers and mobile operators continue to grow the market.

This growth will fuel the trend of continuing growth in internet access via mobile devices. This in turn will see marketers need to respond to changing consumer behaviour with innovation and invention.

Half of small business users accessing email via iPhones

New research from Intermedia, the world’s largest provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange email accounts, indicates that 48.5 percent of small business users who access email from their smartphone now use an iPhone.

Intermedia’s customers are primarily small and mid sized businesses, over half of whom use smartphones to access their accounts. Nearly half (48.5 percent) of the company’s customers who use a mobile device to access their work email are using iPhones. Another 25 percent use BlackBerry, while 12.75 percent use Android-based devices and 13.75 percent use other mobile platforms, including Microsoft’s Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7.

Intermedia also noted that iPhone users send more emails per user on average, while Android users receive more emails on a per user basis.

Facebook change business pages

This week Facebook changed the way that Facebook business pages work – making them more like the new personal profile pages introduced a short while ago. At first glance the main changes are that the tabs have gone from the top of the page, replaced by navigation links on the left hand side. Meanwhile photos replace the tabs at the top of the page.

As well as changing the way pages look there are a number of other key differences. Probably the most significant is that once you have converted your page to the new format you will be able to choose whether you post as yourself or as your business, by simply checking or un-checking a box. This means you can now use your business page to post on other business pages (but not on someone’s personal profile) and, if you so wish, your page can also “like” another business page. Other changes include notifications when someone posts or comments on your page.

Check out Mashable’s view on the changes.