Month: April 2016

The Google Hunger Games

Gaining the number one position in Google search results is a bit like the Hunger Games. You are one of thousands of businesses wanting to seize that number 1 spot when someone searches “Bose audio.” There can only be one winner and competitors are ruthless and willing to do anything to triumph. The difference between the Hunger Games and SEO is that the aim of the game is not merely survival, it is to boost your ranking in Google’s results. Let’s take a look at the game and the tributes…

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Source: Cinema Blend

Other than the small minority that still use Yahoo! and Bing (yes these people still exist), most of us use Google to navigate the web. To give you an idea of how many people are utilising Google, according to DMR there are approximately 2.3 million searches per second! This means that it is really important for businesses to find ways to boost their visibility within Google search results. As we all know, the second page of Google doesn’t get much love, so having your website at the top of listings is ideal as browsers can find your business quickly, aiding in information search AND boosting the chances of conversion. Let’s take a look at a few ways this can be done:

Search Engine Optimisation…. chances are that you have heard of it at some stage, but what actually is it? According to Moz, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be defined as using strategies to increase a webpage’s ranking within search engine results. Essentially, the main goal is to make sure your company gets as close to the top of search results to increase the chances of internet users accessing your website. Results are ordered by search engine algorithms. Google uses these to order results based on the frequency of keywords, URL quality and relevance of content and web links.

To give you an idea, here’s an example of a past victor of The Google Hunger Games: Bose. Bose have used SEO techniques to ensure they are the first result on Google, surpassing opponents such as JB Hi Fi and Phillips Audio. This makes it easier for potential customers to navigate to their page.

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So what techniques can be used to outsmart opponents and reach the number 1 spot? According to Sen, there are two main approaches:


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lack Hat Approach

This is the approach that attempts to trick Google algorithms to increase the search result rank. This is done through repeating keywords frequently and hiding them to increase the level of relevancy, stuffing metadata full of keywords,         redirecting webpages and creating lots of inbound web links. Think of this approach as the Cato of Hunger Games: deceitful and ultimately ineffective.

 

fc6bc66eff2ddac9db3aabefc2e5e269White Hat Approach

This is the approach that uses genuine quality content to be organically ranked by the algorithms. Basically the white hat follows desired practice and has relevant metadata and titles, quality links and no hidden content. Google’s algorithms detect that this is a legitimate site and therefore boosts it’s ranking. Think of this approach as the Katniss of Hunger Games: although she had to work for it, Katniss ends up prevailing and     beating everyone else through being genuine and the best in the game. (And she is totally rocking the white hat look).

So what does that mean for digital marketers? Marketers can use genuine webpages to deliver quality content to consumers through the use of Google algorithms OR they can use undesirable tactics to increase the position within results. Generally speaking, the white hat approach is the way to go. We need to remember that marketing is all about value and most websites are another avenue to delivering value to customers, whether that is through reviews, product information or customer service. As such, artificially boosting your website’s ranking could mean that customers do not receive the most relevant content and any potential visit could end in a quick mash of the mouse on the back button to return to the search engine. Another thing to remember is that Google is constantly updating algorithms to work their way around the black hats and provide the most accurate ranking of search results. As such using the black hat technique is not only annoying to users of the search engine, but is also not productive in generating web traffic as the visitors leave quickly and the algorithms change to ignore these negative techniques.

Let me know if you have encountered any websites using the Black Hat Approach to boost their position within search results.

Emma

 

 

 

How connected is too connected?

The Internet of Things describes a network of connected devices that collect and exchange data to benefit the user experience. This all sounds really high tech and futuristic, but this is happening right now! Most of us have smartphones and wearable technology such as FitBits and Apple Watches, we are all very much a part of this collection of data. Obviously there are some really clear benefits to the Internet of Things such as improved convenience as a result of home automation, health benefits from the FitBit and overall increased productivity due to smartphones (PEW Research). This is a great way for marketers to gather accurate and real time information, but one question still stands… how connected is TOO connected?

I stumbled across this video on Facebook a while ago which addresses the issue of hackers and security. A group of hackers managed to compromise a gun and control it remotely, this is pretty scary stuff considering how common guns are in the US. The wifi connectivity leaves a massive vulnerability for hackers to exploit. In the video below, the hackers are only using the technology to disable the rifle or to change the target, but if they can do that there is nothing stopping them from remotely launching the rifle and causing all types of issues.

 

Even devices as innocent as baby monitors are at risk. Hackers are once again able to breach the security of these wifi connected baby monitors to have access to the video and audio. This video would definitely make parents think twice before purchasing wifi baby monitors.

 

It’s not just wifi guns and baby monitors that are at risk of hacking, hackers can compromise houses with home automation capabilities, smart TV’s, smart cars and the scariest of them all…. toilets. Satis toilets have been hacked in the past, allowing hackers to control flushing, opening and closing the lid, bidet features and air drying. Now that’s scary!

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Source: LinkedIn

On the other hand, the Internet of Things streamlines processes and makes connecting and using technology integrate more seamlessly into our daily lives. An example of this is how cars are now commonly equipped with technology to allow communication even when driving. The network that all these connected devices have created is really useful for digital marketers as it allows real time data collection, personalised marketing and faster customer service. Data collection is generally time consuming and expensive, but marketers can collect real time data from devices which can provide invaluable insights into usage (Benady). Marketers can also gather a consumers’ personal information and gather a better understanding of their demographics. In addition, customer service can be sped up dramatically, with live troubleshooting as the data is all easily accessible. And who wouldn’t want better customer service when things break?

Although the internet of things allows workflows to be synchronised and technology to make life easier, there are some significant security concerns and vulnerabilities that can be exploited. For marketers the Internet of Things can lead to huge opportunities for development and creation of value, but as consumers a lack of security is pretty concerning and leaves consumers with the question, how connected is too connected?

Really Ritson?

Mark Ritson, a professor of marketing told The Australian Financial Review , “If any marketer comes to me with a social media marketing budget I know they are an idiot, and poorly trained.” How does this statement make you feel? If you are anything like me, this probably sums it up….

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Source: Guardian Liberty Voice

I was pretty shocked to hear this from someone within the marketing field, especially as you would expect someone with Mark’s expertise in the area to understand how important social media is in marketing these days. According to statistic service, Statista, there are well over 2.08 million active users of social media worldwide. What marketer (aside from Mark Ritson obviously) wouldn’t want to tap into such a valuable resource?

Not only does social media have an incredible mount of users to communicate to, but it also allows firms to narrow in on specific segments of the social media population based on their likes and activity (Kaplan). Gone are the days where marketers could simply place an advertisement on TV or radio and sit back to count their dollar bills, consumers now find traditional media to be intrusive. We’ve all been in the situation where we are watching Masterchef grand finale and just as the winner is being announced, you guessed it, they cut to a Coles ad with Curtis Stone frolicking in apple orchards like a twisted scene from Baywatch. No one likes the intrusion and that’s why many consumers are turning away from TV and switching to playback services or Netflix.

Social media allows marketers to not only target the segment of the population that is most likely to purchase their product, but it allows users to receive advertising that actually might interest them. For example, I saw an event from 2XU compression pop up in my Facebook feed, believe it or not, I actually went along too! I 100% would not have gone to that event if it was published on TV or radio, especially as I don’t frequently use either of those mediums any more. The advertisement for the event was targeted toward my feed because I like 2XU’s company page, I fall within their target demographic and I am nearby the event. Traditional media doesn’t allow targeting like this and can mostly act as mass marketing.

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An interesting point Ritson brought up was that 63% of people trust TV as oppose to 46% trusting the ads they see on social media. Fair point, but with users on social media increasing and the TV viewing population decreasing due to streaming services, this statistic is definitely changing. Social media marketing is incredibly important, the most successful brands aren’t doing campaigns on social media for shits and giggles. IT IS ACTUALLY WORKING. Marketers not only need to prepare for the future where social media will be the most efficient way to advertise, but they need social media marketing now.

 

 

Mobile Marketing: Snapchat and Panicking Cats

How many times a day do you check your phone? The answer is probably a lot. Actually, now I’ve mentioned it you probably will want to check it now! Off you go, I’ll wait….

For most people their smartphone has almost evolved into another limb and has such importance that being without it can cause serious freak-outs. The little mini computer that is situated in most people’s pockets or bags, stores incredible amounts of personal data such as photos, credit cards, banking information and calendars. As mentioned by Kaplan, 90% of American’s own a smartphone.

Source: @onlyindahood

Now almost everyone has one of these personal devices so naturally it can be a really useful tool for marketers to tap into. BUT WAIT, before you get too excited about how much more accessible people through their smart devices, remember to proceed with caution. In mobile marketing you need to strike a balance between being non-invasive and relevant. Especially considering how personal our smartphones are. Customers don’t want to feel like their experience on their phone is being interrupted or that they are being tracked and watched.

Snapchat has successfully used mobile marketing through their lenses to allow users to create their own content. The lens acts by detecting the user’s face and overlaying interactive effects and images. This form of marketing is non-invasive and fun for consumers to use. For example, Snapchat introduced a terminator lens that detected the user’s face and overlaid graphics similar to those in the film. Not only does this promote consumer-generated media (CGM), but it also is not directly identified as advertising. This is a really positive aspect because if there is one way to make a consumer not be receptive to marketing, it is to make your campaign a straight up, boring ad!

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Source: Tech Insider

Mobile marketing occurs through a personal device and as such, should be much more personal. Sending advertising to huge amounts of users, whether this is mass marketing or geo-location based IS NOT effective. Marketers need to hone in on potential customers based on likes, frequent places they visit and what their friends are doing. All this makes consumers happy because they are getting useful marketing and not feeling intruded and makes marketers happy because it is more effective.