Is it worth it?

It’s a question we all ask ourselves multiple times per day – even if it’s just unconsciously – ‘is it worth it?’

If your customers are thinking for too long about whether you’re worth their time, their money, their social reinforcement or their verbal recommendation then you need to be working harder at giving them more reasons to shorten the time they spend evaluating you.

You see this evaluation most frequently in the supermarket. People paused in aisles staring at one or dozens of similar brands trying to decide which one they’ll buy.

Take a look at your business and what your company puts in to the market. Find the opportunities where you can engage with your current and new customers in brand appropriate ways, perhaps even where your customers don’t expect you to be, but when you’re there, it becomes a natural and welcome addition.

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Australia loves Mitchell Johnson thiiis much.

With the return of the urn to Australia, thanks to a dominant Ashes 2013 display at the Gabba, the Adelaide Oval and the WACA, it’s been interesting to also see how it’s been playing out online in the Search habits and interest of Australians.

Perhaps for Mitchell Johnson, it’s an extra Christmas stocking-stuffer that he’s more searched and mentioned than any other Australian cricket player this Ashes series – even knocking Michael Clarke off his usually dominant number 1 position.

Below, is a graphic of from Google trends of Australians searching for Mitchell Johnson vs. Peter Siddle vs. Michael Clarke.

Australian Cricketers Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Michael Clarke search past 12 months in Australia.

Search volume for top Australian cricketers, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Michael Clarke in Australia, over the past 12 months.

The 2013 Social Rich Media Benchmark Report

 

A new Social Media benchmarking report has compared 2000 Facebook posts, which had exposure on more than 2 billion impressions, from companies to determine the most effective combination of types of posts (updates, questions, polls), those that are sponsored vs organic and those with and without imagery.

As a quick excerpt, I’ve extracted one of the key slides, which demonstrates Paid vs Organic engagement across multiple post types. It’s interesting to see the ‘discovery’ nature of Social media coming through pretty strongly here. In notes, photos and offers – consumers are more than happy to engage with Paid posts from company’s (which they may or may not be following).

Paid vs organic engagement rate by post type - Facebook.

Paid vs organic engagement rate by post type – Facebook.

Download the full report, free, here.

 

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I also run a Google+ page, check out Digital Optimisation Reports for the latest analysis and studies of best practice Digital marketing and optimisation from around the world.

 

 

“To help us show you better ads, tell us what you like”

Facebook ads

Facebook’s plea for more information to show you target ads.

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m curious. Very curious. I’ve hidden plenty of Facebook ads in my time. From FOREX trading companies to pregnancy advice (not sure how that one got there), all the way through to ‘win an iPad!!!’ I’ve blocked it all. And every time I do it Facebook makes an almost pitiful plea, to help them make more money from my personal information. If you’ve ever hidden an ad, or advertiser, from the right handside of your Facebook feed, you too will invariably have seen the words “To help us show you better ads, tell us what you like.”

Googling around, it seems not many people have actually gone through with it. The typical response I’ve seen in a few places is:

“To help us show you better ads, tell us what you like”… “I’d like no ads”. Funny. But it’d be less funny if Facebook started charging a monthly fee for access, so let’s assume that ads are going to be around for a while.

There are a few things about Facebook’s request that are interesting to me:

– Aside from my belief the click through rate on this must be staggeringly low, I can’t imagine that the completion rate is even worth talking about.

– Is this the worst or the best timed message on the internet? Sure the user has just hidden ads which annoyed them, but Facebook are offering the user the chance to not be so annoyed in the future – I honestly can’t decide if it’s genius or folly.

– What’s in it for me? As the consumer who will – post completion – just be shown more ads which hopefully are more relevant, what benefit am I really deriving from this exchange of time vs. ads?

– What’s in it for me part 2 – When Facebook are already making record profits, where’s the incentive to provide more information to help them make even more money?

Going where (probably) no one has gone before.

So what happens when you click on the link? What does Facebook ask? What don’t they know about me already that they need to know to show me even more relevant ads? Well there was only one way to find out.

I’ve clicked so you don’t have to.

The first thing you see is the screenshot below – the recommended pages.

Facebook recommended pages

Facebook recommended pages

I have to admit as first stages go, this was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting some sort of uber ‘let’s get to know you portal‘. Instead it’s just the typical ‘click on some pages we think you may or may not like, that are already pretty popular‘. Another part of the experience that makes this underwhelming is that Facebook aren’t really wanting to know me, they just want to be able to categorise and filter me based on existing parameters.

Note the language too “Get updates from your favourite businesses and brands.” OK, but not all updates from ‘my favourite’ businesses are advertising, and as a user I’ve just told Facebook I’m willing to give them more info about me to give me a better advertising experience. C’mon Facebook, this is your chance – ask me anything, let’s sit down and have a good ol’ chinwag!

Never the less, and putting all disappointment aside, I clicked on a random selection of pages and bravely ploughed on to step two. But….

Disappointingly short, and a missed opportunity.

Disappointingly short, and a missed opportunity.

OK, so that’s it. I’m actually really disappointed. Granted I don’t think that Facebook’s request for more information is particularly great – especially given that the general public probably couldn’t care less if Facebook make more money from more targeted advertising or not (except for the stock holders) – but this just feels like such a huge own goal… such a missed opportunity. If Facebook are going to go to the trouble of giving users the opportunity tell them more information to hopefully have a chance of seeing marginally less annoying ads at least do it better.

Yes the participation rates are probably incredibly low for this section of the website, but for those people who care, and are actually are willing to give Facebook more information for this purpose I can’t believe it just takes people to the ‘recommended pages’ link which is accessible at all times in a user’s page anyway.

So there you have it. It’s not a link to be scared of, but it doesn’t appear to be worth doing anyway, because in all probability the chance of you clicking on ‘Like’ for a page about George Takei, the local pizzeria, or some movie you may like and seeing less ads for baldness cures, FOREX trading systems or ‘local sexy singles in your area’ are really slim.

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Check out Digital Optimisation Reports on Google+ for the latest analysis and studies of best practice Digital marketing and optimisation from around the world.

Mobile Internet Usage Grows 36% Year on Year.

According to the latest research from Statista, mobile phones now account for 17% of total global web usage – excluding tablets.

Perhaps even more importantly than the raw number though, is the growth trend as the global year on year increase in mobiles as a % of internet traffic is a whopping 36% in just 12 months.

And it’s not just the Year on year growth which is important, in Asia for example, we can now see that more than 1 in 4 internet experiences now happens on a mobile device. In Africa approximately 1 in 4 internet based experiences now happens on a mobile device, and in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand etc) and North America, roughly 1 in 6 experiences is a mobile one.

The just released global mobile internet traffic statistics, graphic below, demonstrate the explosive growth and fundamental shift in consumer behaviour globally as technology and the internet diffuse faster around the globe.

Global, Oceania and Australian mobile internet growth 2013

The biggest year on year growth has been seen in many areas of the world where many may not be expecting. with Africa’s mobile internet growth rising 52% YoY, South America growth mobile internet usage 53%, and Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) 45%.

For the populations of Africa and South America in particular this new avenue of access not just to content, education and research within their respective countries, but more broadly globally can’t be underestimated. It’s an absolutely massive growth opportunity for many industries within and external to, those continents.

For my Australian readers, as a proxy for Oceania, according to this data we can now say that mobile accounts for at least 14.6% of internet usage in Australia, which is a 45% year on year gain on 2012 mobile internet usage. And the opportunities in Australia can’t be underestimated either.

For the data lovers, below is the table of global and broadly continent focused mobile internet usage and statistics.

Mobile internet as a percentage of all internet usage
% Mobile internet usage 2012 % Mobile internet usage 2013 YoY mobile internet usage growth
Worldwide

11.10%

17.40%

36%
North america

9.40%

15.20%

38%

South America

3.20%

6.80%

53%
Europe

5.90%

9.70%

39%
Africa

11.30%

23.70%

52%

Asia

18.80%

26.60%

29%

Oceania

8.00%

14.60%

45%

 

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Check out Digital Optimisation Reports on Google+ for the latest analysis and studies of best practice Digital marketing and optimisation from around the world.

From IE to Chrome in just 6 years.

Way back, long ago, in a time long forgotten by most, Internet Explorer ruled the world.

The year was 2008. The song ‘Low‘, by Flo Rida and T. Pain was the number 1 single the Billboard Top 100 list, it was the year Barack Obama defeated John McCain and became President of the United States of America, and it was the year that Internet Explorer was, according to The Economist and StatCounter, the world’s most dominant web browser worldwide. A few plucky countries were dabbling with Firefox as their dominant browser, but by in large things were good for Internet Explorer. Surely Microsoft wasn’t too worried about Mongolia, Finland and a few other countries shifting their allegiance.

Global internet browser usage, 2008

World Wide dominant browser usage – 2008

But by 2011, just a two years later, all hell had broken loose in the desktop browser wars. Chaos reigned. No longer could Microsoft look out across the globe, like so many mighty Empire’s that had come before it safe in the knowledge that it was managing the world’s browser needs. A plucky young Fox with a firey tale, coldly gripping the world in it’s mighty claws that had shifted the balance…. forever.

World Wide dominant browser usage 2011

World Wide dominant browser usage 2011

Most notably, the formerly conquered British colonies and Commonwealth clung on to their beloved Microsoft Internet Explorer, but Russia and much of Europe had now fallen under the spell of Firefox.

But, the story doesn’t end there…oh no… Google, that tiny company whom no one had really heard of unless they were shopping for a gifts for grandma, or were desperately searching ‘hangover’ after googling for vodka just 48 hours earlier, deployed the big guns, and in a global pincer movement released the internet version of The Kraken, with Google Chrome. It’s taken less than 18 months since 2011, but Google Chrome, as you can see below has now gone from being the dominant browser in just eight countries is undeniably the world’s foremost browser… even the furthest reaches of the globe weren’t immune: Australia’s favourite internet browser is Google Chrome.

World Wide dominant broswer usage 2013

World Wide dominant broswer usage 2013

Below is a chart demonstrating the steady rise and fall between 2008, when Google Chrome was launched, and June 2013.

Global browsers rise and fall over time

Global browsers rise and fall over time

And yes, this was written in deliberately sensationalist language. Check out Digital Optimisation Reports on Google+ for the latest analysis and studies of best practise Digital marketing and optimisation from around the world.

The new opportunities in the new Gmail

It’s been just a few weeks since the new Gmail inbox has been rolled out globally. And some have already declared it to be “the best thing to happen to email since the oldGmail“, and appropriately that ‘best thing’ has been spearheaded by the team at Gmail. Already in the short time it’s been live, MailChimp’s analysts have said they’ve seen a drop in open rates, however others, such as the team at Hubspot and ExactTarget have said they’ve either seen minimal or no impact at all to open rates.

what is the new New Gmail ?

Why the change and how does the new Gmail inbox work?
The Gmail team have taken Google’s 300 year plan ‘to sort the world’s information’ and applied it to what the Gmail team clearly recognised as a problem. And, what is that problem? It’s two fold.

First is that with additional storage comes additional lethargy to deleting old emails, this creates bulk and completely un-required weight to your email account.

The second problem is that relatively low value communications such as Facebook notifications of a friend tagging you in a picture of sushi and Sale reminders from that store you’ve never quite managed to get around to unsubscribing from, sit directly alongside and even get in the way of your really valuable information such as flight reminders, hotel confirmations, meeting requests and other tangibly valuable communications.

The primary change you immediately notice is that Gmail is now pre-sorted. Pre-sorting is based on a users history, frequency of contact and engagement, as well as who the sender is. Users no longer need to use the filters and folders on the left hand side which they  may have been carefully crafting over the last couple of years and most importantly for the changes are likely to mean a reduction in searching through potentially thousands of old emails for that one that was saved because it was important.

Check out this explanatory video from the Gmail team for a short overview.

How many tabs can I have?
At this stage it appears users can have up to 5 tabs, and three come turned on as standard. The five tabs are:
Primary (default) – What users will see by default when logging in. Featuring comms from people you know, and starred messages.
Social (default) – All social sites are sorted in here – twitter, Facebook, G+, Instagram etc
Promotions (default) – Where most marketers emails will now go. Sales, promotions, and information from companies.
Updates – notifications and service updates (changes to twitter terms of service or Google’s Play store etc)
Forums – updates from forums and online communities.

“We do much more than promotions…I want to be in the primary tab!”


Getting into the Primary tab
Reading the list above some email marketers may have just experienced a cold sweat, exclaiming ‘Promotions! We do much more than promotions, my email is important, I want to be in the primary tab!’

The good news is this, if you’re making genuinely content rich valuable emails then chances are you’re already on your way to getting into the primary tab. There are two known ways of getting into the primary tab:

– Your email subscribers can drag your email from the Promotions tab and into the Primary tab.

– Google continues to learn and those email subscribers who have higher frequency engagement will increase the likelihood of your email being assigned to the primary tab naturally by Google.

Avoid being spammy. I haven’t been able to find anything concrete about this, but if the updates to SEO (as evidenced by Penguin) is any guide, being spammy is a big no-no and could result in being penalised at some point down the track. Requesting  your users  physically move your email to the primary tab is one such example. It feels cheap and it’s a fairly obvious ‘gaming the system’ mentality that I’m sure Google have already considered how to tackle. Additionally, if you’re only going to get your subscriber base to do something, it should be spent on asking them to do something much more useful like engaging with the content and products you’ve lovingly laid out in the email.

The consistent theme for Email, Social, SEO
Email marketers have been content focused for much longer than old-School SEO’s and to some degree Social media managers. Email databases live and die on the quality of content delivered. Even for those who know this fundamental truth it’s still important to step back and think more broadly about what this change means for email and Social and SEO.

These changes represent a fundamental shift in not just the role content plays, but ups the level and importance in the quality of it. Once again Google is pushing a better experience, and as marketers we can’t sit on our laurels and churn out ‘Top 10’ lists, Infographics and ‘How to’s’. This is consistent with the Penguin changes to SEO, and the basis of Social Media.

Summary
The new Gmail is better for users, sorting what Google knows is important without hiding what you’ve signed up for. The opportunity for your business to stand out is more than ever reliant on your content strategy and strong engagement. Getting content right, and integrating it into Social and SEO objectives gives you the best chance of your email thriving.

 

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Check out Digital Optimisation Reports on Google+ for the latest analysis and studies of best practice Digital marketing and optimisation from around the world.