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The Cost of Not Being Mobile Friendly is Apparent

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(Posted on Dec 15, 2014 at 08:51AM by William Cosgrove)
How people access their e-mails today is yet another reason that shows us the importance of having a mobile friendly website. It is no longer an option but something you need to implement. 

With the amount of people accessing the internet on mobile devices the risk of losing out to competitors is becoming more and more apparent and the cost of not being mobile optimized greater than cost to implement. 

Ensuring scalable content can be delivered to mobile devices is an important and now low cost part of any business or enterprise as more and more people demand such experiences across virtually all industries. All your devices are important – that’s why it is a must that your interfaces are as easy to master as possible from a common dash board.


Follow these 10 essential mobile-friendly email tips to ensure that the emails you write display properly on any device, so that they get opened and read more

Are All QR Codes Created Equal?

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(Posted on Aug 19, 2014 at 05:06AM by William Cosgrove)
The QR code has had a rocky road over the past two decades. Initially developed for the automotive industry in Japan in 1994, a QR code – or quick response code – is an optic label that contains information about the item to which it is attached, and can be read by machines. It has become widely popular outside its original intended use due to its fast readability. QR codes can also contain more information than the standard barcodes used on most products.

In South Africa, QR codes have been heralded as the next great marketing tool, accused of being an overly complex piece of technology that no one wants to use, and dismissed as an unsightly and impractical addition to marketing collateral that adds little value to the marketer’s campaign or the customer’s experience thereof.

For the most part, you only really found QR codes on print advertisements and billboards in South Africa. Marketers used them as a way of drawing consumers away from printed material into a digital experience, but all too often these experiences were little more than mini-websites that were bizarrely not optimised for mobile phones. People got tired of being taken to poor digital experiences, and stopped using QR codes. Marketers soon abandoned them. Even in the US, in technologically advanced cities like San Francisco, only 11% of consumers even knew what a QR code was – and this was in 2011!

A sudden (worldwide) explosion

Over the past few months, however, you will have noticed QR codes springing up everywhere as newly launched mobile payment services gain traction among consumers. Snapscan is the most famous example and can be found at any of more than 10 000 stores and merchants countrywide, but any recent dining experience would also have exposed you to Zapper, while a trip to a vida e caffe for your morning latte would have introduced you to FlickPay. QR codes, it seems, are suddenly everywhere.

The 2014 Nielsen Mobile Wallet Report, which sourced data from nearly 4000 smartphone users who have used their phone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days, showed that consumers are quite comfortable with QR code based payments.

Interestingly, less than a third would pay for goods by scanning a QR code at a store, while nearly half of all respondents were comfortable to do it the other way around: by presenting a QR code on the device’s screen for the cashier to scan. This type of mobile payment is also by far the most popular, currently beating out NFC (as found in Google Wallet and Isis) and the Square model of payments, where a device is attached to a smartphone to enable credit card transactions (as Absa’s Payment Pebble and Emerge Mobile’s iKhokha do locally).

Quick maturation is the key to lasting success

So are QR codes here to stay? It all depends. QR codes can present some serious security issues that need to be addressed if they are to survive in the long term. Think about it: by scanning the code with your phone, you automatically initiate a process that could be anything. That static printed QR code at the organic farmer’s market? You might think that you’re just quickly paying for your organic free-range eggs, but a criminal may have pasted his own code over the merchant’s and all your sensitive password and mobile banking details could already be in the hands of a fraudster.

Turning the process on its head: QR codes generated ‘in-app’ on a consumer’s own handset that are then ‘read’ by a scanner at the till point actually offer an additional layer of security to the end-user, when compared to card payments in particular. Opportunities for manipulation of the code are eliminated by either the merchant or the consumer, and no personal information is handed over during the transaction.

Not only that – point-of-sale integration unlocks opportunities for additional ‘in-app’ QR code initiated services that can add even more value and convenience to the consumer’s life. Regular customer? Have a free coffee. Redeeming a coupon or voucher? Easy – just scan your QR code at the till point and enjoy the rewards.

The current generation of prevalent QR code based payment apps have created a thriving ecosystem of alternative payments that has opened consumers’ minds to the possibilities of a cashless future.

It is imperative that all stakeholders evolve their QR code -based apps and services to ensure consumers (and businesses) are as protected as possible, while still offering the most value in terms of convenience and experience. Anything less will put consumers off, and force the search for an alternative technology solution, which may take another 20 years to gain traction.

Image: Bauke Karel via Flickr.

Reposted from Memeburn

Smartphone is the Godzilla of Global Goods

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(Posted on Jun 17, 2014 at 05:00AM by William Cosgrove)
Talk about a growth market. A new survey by eMarketer indicates that smartphones are where the action is: by the end of 2014, 1.76 billion people are expected to own and use smartphones monthly. That’s growth of more than 25 percent over 2013. And that is one global Godzilla.

The data indicates that by 2017, more than one-third of all people around the globe will be smartphone users. eMarketer’s estimates for smartphone users tally the number of individuals who own and use smartphones (not the number of smartphones each of those individuals might have).

In fact, smartphone usage has already saturated more than half of the population in many countries—or will in the next few years.

“By 2015, we project that 15 countries worldwide will have seen more than half their populations adopt smartphones,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “The embrace of this technology among the approximately 500 million people in these countries who will be using smart devices by the end of next year will have a significant influence on media usage, ecommerce, and marketing.”

Consumers in Asia-Pacific will account for more than half of all smartphone users this year, eMarketer estimates, totaling 951.0 million.

South Korea is the world leader in terms of smartphone penetration, where smartphones were in the hands of more than half the citizens by 2012. Australia followed closely behind, becoming the only other country in Asia-Pacific to have more than half its population using smartphones in 2013.

Japan is expected to reach the 50 percent tipping point in 2014. Though China will not reach majority-smartphone status until 2018, its smartphone user base is already the largest in the world by far—totaling 521.7 million this year.

Western Europe—the region with the second-largest number of smartphone users, with 196.6 million in 2014, eMarketer estimates—saw three Nordic countries reach 50 percent penetration last year, and this year, the Netherlands and UK will join them. In 2015, a raft of other countries, including the rest of the EU-5, will make the majority smartphone jump.

Like the UK, the US will also reach majority-smartphone penetration among its population this year, a major milestone for two of the most advanced internet markets in the world. The US remains the second-largest smartphone market worldwide, behind China, totaling 163.9 million users in 2014, eMarketer estimates. The US will retain that status until 2016, when India is projected to nab the second place spot. Canada will be soon to follow, with smartphone users surpassing 50 percent of the population in 2015.

By Michael Essany


Also read Your Mobile Solution-Don't get it wrong

 

Geotargeting drives key brand engagements even when stores are closed

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(Posted on May 19, 2014 at 03:51AM by William Cosgrove)
While much of the talk around geofencing has focused on driving foot traffic with an ad delivered to a nearby customer, a growing number of retailers are recognizing opportunities with geofencing after stores close or when a location has shut its doors for good.

The trend points to the growing sophistication of mobile marketing, with brands increasingly looking beyond simple location to take into account other factors that can drive more contextually relevant experiences for consumers. For example, by geofencing stores that have recently shut down, retailer Ashley Stewart hopes to retain customers by driving them to another nearby outlet or to its mobile site.

“Geofencing - or location based targeting - can be an effective tool when stores close,” said Pehr Luedtke, CEO of Spotzot, San Francisco. “Retailers can geofence an area around the closed store and alert consumers to nearby locations, and even provide special deals to those consumers if they go to another store.

“It's a way to maintain loyalty,” he said.

Customer retention
Ashley Stewart recently announced a Chap. 11 bankruptcy restructuring plan that includes the immediate closure of 27 stores and a likely sale of the company. The chain has 168 locations across 24 states.

Holding onto existing customers is critical for the retailer during this period of upheaval, with location-based targeting on mobile one way it is looking to retain them.

The retailer is currently working with Spotzot on a campaign that will launch in the next few weeks in response to the fact that some stores have been closed.

For the campaign, Ashley Stewart will put a geofence around the closed stores and leverage Spotzot to deliver coupons to nearby customers and direct them to the closest open Ashley Stewart outlet or online to its Web site.

“We want to geofence customers who shop at those stores and use Spotzot to get customers to shop at the nearest location or to transfer onto the Web so that we don’t lose that customer,” said Larry Gray, CRM director at Ashley Stewart, Secaucus, NJ.

“That is a very big project for us,” he said. “It is very important to us.

“It helps us to reduce our churn and customers lapsing from the business and it gives us the opportunity to send new customers into the store that remains in the market.”

Better than direct mail
Ashley Stewart is also considering delivering coupons to customers nearby competitors’ stores in a strategy known as geoconquesting.

Ashley Stewart has been ramping up a coupon-driven mobile advertising program over the past six months with a several different providers.

Mobile couponing is becoming increasingly important for the retailer as direct mail prices continue to increase.

“It is a very important strategy,” Mr. Gray said. “It is a regular part of our couponing.

“We are reducing our direct mail with the postage rate increases, we are reducing that end of it and really pushing on this end of it,” he said.

“It is definitely more efficient than our direct mail — I would say two to three times more efficient. It is probably maybe a quarter of the budget and then there is may be 50 percent that is direct mail and then there is email that rounds things out.”

Situational targeting
1800Flowers is also trying to use geo-targeting in more contextually relevant ways.

When a recent geotargeted campaign delivered to users within a mile of 100 franchise retail locations revealed significant click-through rates between midnight and 4 a.m., when stores were closed, the ads were tweaked to include a click-to-call button and a buy online button.

The results proved to 1800Flowers that geotargeted ads are not only effective when retail stores are open.

The retailer also gained a competitive advantage since other brands were not likely tailoring their efforts towards consumers who were out and about that late at night.

The lesson from these examples is that using geofencing to deliver ads should not simply about a location but needs to also take into account a user’s context.

However, geotargeting during off hours is likely to be more limited simply because there will be less traffic near a store during these hours.

“A great use case would be for a closed store to send a message to the customer saying the store was closed, but “you can browse our inventory/order from us at our website” and/or point them to a different location,” said Janna Badalian, marketing director at MobileSmith, Raleigh, NC. “This keeps customers from having to walk up to a door only to find the store is closed, as well as provides an alternative to drive sales.

“Retailers haven’t fully embraced geofencing yet, since it is so new,” she said. “That said, people are coming up with new use cases for it all the time, and not just for retailers either.”

Final Take
By Chantal Tode associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York




Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.

Local Marketing- Do You Have it Right?

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(Posted on May 16, 2014 at 06:08AM by William Cosgrove)
Today’s Local marketing must bring together and blend both traditional, internet and mobile marketing strategies.  It needs to be a comprehensive plan that works to drive traffic within a specific geographical area to your business where a specific product or service is offered.

Local Marketing is not just an event or a campaign, but instead should be a continually evolving process. Local area marketing gives your brand the opportunity to leverage your messages to create a solid community of loyal customers who live or work close to your market area.

Advances in integrated digital technology have provided business the tools to directly market through their own websites.  The process of executing your marketing campaigns has never been easier, faster or more cost-effective. Marketing Automation allows businesses to use their site as the center for conducting all their marketing initiatives to make them more efficient and give them more control over their initiatives, save time, and reduce the need to look outside for solutions.

Local area marketing provides the best opportunity for your business to connect with your customer base off and onsite and through your social media channels to show them that you actively support and give back to the community and are concerned with your customers’ needs by promoting workshops on product and service related topics and by posting relevant content to educate, inform and answer questions regarding your products and services.

It is knowing which messages to market and where to market to your customers based on local knowledge and trends. This is the key to Local Marketing that turns campaigns into success stories. A great resource for obtaining this knowledge is within your organization-your employees.

First, you need to determine all of the local keywords for your business. These keywords need to be specific to your geographic area. This is also known as location-based keyword usage. Your site should have keywords that include your city, county or other relevant geographic information.

Keywords and phrases need to be included on every page of your website to increase your site's SEO ranking when potential customers perform local searches.

Next, promote your team.  People like to do business with local people- and be consistent, reinforce your marketing messages, have a local marketing program in addition to your stand-alone campaigns.

Consider an onsite social network. Companies with private social networks can experience better employee relations, customer service, reduced customer complaints and increased brand loyalty. Think of having a central place in which to read and understand your customers’ concerns, wants, needs and expectations.

Part of your integrated platform solution for your site must also include mobile. Fully integrated sites that include a mobile solution attract more visibility and therefore more traffic compared to using different solutions and vendors to fill your needs – And with mobile it is widely expected that in the near future, local searches will account for the bulk of all mobile searches annually. If you don’t already have a mobile solution integrated into your website's platform you’re losing ground every day.
 
And let’s not forget another very important ingredient that provides for local businesses to get found and that is listing in online directories. Listing in online directories is not complicated and by listing in as many as you can you will exponentially increase the probability that you get found in online searches.
 
These are some of the reasons that your business needs to have a comprehensive local marketing strategy in place to compete in today’s marketplace. What can you add that will help in forming a successful local Marketing solution?

 William Cosgrove


(Photo Courtesy of ADXmedia)

What's Your Mobile Solution?

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(Posted on Apr 16, 2014 at 05:13AM by William Cosgrove)
Delivering marketing messages and content on mobile platforms has become essential as part of any digital marketing solution.

You need to have a mobile solution that responds to all device screen sizes for optimal viewing. Some websites are recording 30-40% of all traffic from mobile devices.  Responsive design is what is trending today for website mobile solutions because of its ability to adapt to any screen but adaptive design does have its place depending on the experience you are looking provide.

Whatever your preference or need may be, having a mobile solution today is essential if you want to successfully compete in today’s digital marketplace. Find out what is going to work best for you by knowing the differences so you can make the right decision in choosing your mobile solution.

One thing is certain. If you are not reaching the mobile user you are losing a lot of traffic to your website.

More than 50% of the pages for local search visits are made on mobile phones and local search is projected to surpass desktops by 2015. And according an exact target 2014 mobile behavior report 76% of  smartphone users and 70 % of tablet users search for something on the internet at least once a day.

There are other considerations that must be included as part of your mobile solution such as having an easy way to find or contact your location, easy navigation, search and reviews. Your mobile should be integrated with and serve as an extension of a well constructed online website to engage this rapidly growing and important segment to increase your visibility and increase sales.

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk


Also see MOBILE SHOULD BE A SEAMLESS PART OF YOUR WEB STRATEGY

Majority of Content Sharing to Social Networks now Occurs via Mobile

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(Posted on Apr 11, 2014 at 03:29AM by William Cosgrove)
Some 52% of “social sharing actions” – sharing of website content such as articles, photos and videos via social networks – occurred on a mobile device during the first quarter of this year, reveals this in a new report.

Mobile took the lead on the back of a quarter-over-quarter growth rate in sharing that was more than twice as high as desktop’s (28% vs. 11%). While the iPhone (25%) remained the top mobile device used for sharing, Android smartphones (17%) narrowed the gap.

This had previously indicated that social sharing behavior was more prevalent on mobiles than on desktops, but this is the first release to state that mobile has overtaken desktop in sharing volume.

The new data comes after a recent report from comScore [download page] showed a “multi-platform” shift last year. Looking at the distribution of digital media consumption, comScore demonstrated that multi-platform users (those who use both mobile and desktop devices) grew from 48% share of the digital audience in February 2013 to a majority 56% share in December. With another 8% in December counting as mobile-only, that left just 36% of digital media consumers visiting from desktops only.

Meanwhile, the ShareThis report also notes some trends in the social channels used for sharing:


  • Twitter (+43%) saw the fastest growth rate in Q1 sharing, with most activity by 31-35-year-olds;
  • Sharing to Reddit (+25%) also grew quickly, with the heaviest activity in the 18-30 age group;
  • Sharing to Facebook (+14%) and LinkedIn (+12%) was led by older users (50+ and 41-50, respectively); and
  • After rapid growth last year, sharing to Pinterest increased by only 5% in Q1.
Email continued to decline as a social sharing channel (-25%), while content sharing growth was higher for Hispanics than for blacks and whites across Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest.

The top sharing channels, in order of overall shares, were:


  • Facebook;
  • Twitter;
  • Pinterest;
  • LinkedIn; and
  • Reddit.
About the Data: The analysis is based on sharing behavior across more than 120 social channels using ShareThis tools enabled on websites reaching 95% of the US online population on desktop and mobile devices.

Given that the data pertains to use of ShareThis tools, the results do not account for copying and pasting of links.

Topics: Alternative Connected DevicesBoomers & OlderConnected Device ComparisonsEmail,HispanicMobile PhoneOnlineSocial MediaTabletYouth & Gen X

By MarketingCharts staff

Your Mobile Solution-Don't Get it Wrong

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(Posted on Apr 10, 2014 at 05:13AM by William Cosgrove)
We all know that mobile is playing an increasingly important role in online marketing today just ask the 85% of people who say that mobile devices are a central part of everyday life and further illustrated below by this demographic smartphone ownership survey published by Pew Research January 2014.
Daily Activities on smartphones and tablets (Marketing charts February 2014)
Furthermore,  according to web and mobile measurement firm comScore 55% of all time spent with online retail as of June 2013 occurred on a mobile device, 45% occurred on desktops and laptops. Specifically, smartphones accounted for 44% of retail Internet minutes while tablets accounted for 11%.

We can all agree on the importance of mobile today but we also know to keep in mind that statistics can be misleading depending on who is using them and what they are trying to accomplish.

This article seeks to address all the talk recently on the popularity of mobile applications and put it in perspective and to address an apparent content deficiency on many mobile platforms which today is one of the most important media forms for driving customer engagement.

First, the fact is in a lot of cases having a mobile app for most businesses is not going to provide much if any marketing benefit in reaching consumers. So before you make an investment in building your own mobile app make sure you know what the statistics are really saying and if it is right for you to act on, and if building your own app is going to provide you with any real or long term benefit.

Is a mobile app a substitute for a mobile Website/mobile-optimized Website?

According to Canalys., the total number of apps through the Apple App Store and Google Play, just two of the largest, offer over 1.6 million mobile apps. So unless you build an app that is going to take the market by storm or is needed in order for your company to operate- what do you think the chances are that you app will even be found?

If you build a specialty app that is available to download from your site consumers first need to find your site to download it.

After you know and understand mobile apps and which ones that are dominating mobile and by first having in place the tools to provide good organic search rankings and social media initiatives you should conclude that by being involved through having a fully integrated mobile solution for your website is probably your best plan of attack and should be your first priority.

In this piece from Marketing Charts “More Data Shows That, In Mobile, Apps Rule the Web”, Pay particular attention to the chart highlighting the top 10 Smartphone applications and you realize that your money, in most cases, is better spent in utilizing the most popular existing mobile applications through your own mobile website instead of building your own mobile app. (mobi Thinking.com)
Further justification comes from this statement from Marketing Charts that states -“There’s one important note: while apps are dominant in terms of overall consumption, there’s reason to believe that individual properties have greater reach among mobile owners through their mobile websites than via their apps.”

“Through their mobile website” In my opinion is confusing and should read “Through their mobile  soloution.” Because today’s platform technology makes it possible to integrate mobile as an extension of a website platform negating the need for a separate website for mobile that enables any or all of the content on your website accessible from mobile.

A properly integrated mobile solution is a make-or-break opportunity for brands. An integrated mobile solution makes it easier for consumers to access content on smaller screen to find and tap relevant information.  (Graph courtesy of Cars.com insights)

But as pointed out in this graph 67% of respondents surveyed stated that mobile-optimized websites are more user-friendly but are not meeting demands in terms of accessible content- a problem to which as I have stated above are viable solutions.
You need a mobile solution today if you want to compete effectively in the online marketplace especially when it comes to local marketing according to a study from BIA Kelsey where mobile local search volume is on pace to intersect desktop local searches in 2015, and exceed desktop searches in 2016. (This projection includes both web and in-app searches.”)

It is very important that you get it right so look at mobile solutions that are part of a fully integrated marketing platform or can be fully integrated into your current website platform and are compatible with all IOS and Android devices. (Seamlessly Integrated Mobile)

By being properly informed the right decisions can be made that can avoid costly mistakes and provide the information on which to make sound investment decisions. And there are technological solutions to addressing the issues and concerns addressed here that will best serve your needs to provide the best ROI possible. So work with someone who is just not looking for a sale, will give you the broad picture and who will work with you to find the best overall solutions for you. 

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk

Do you need a Mobile Solution?

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(Posted on Mar 4, 2014 at 06:01AM by William Cosgrove)
Delivering marketing messages and content on mobile platforms has become essential as part of any digital marketing solution.

You need to have a mobile solution that responds to all device screen sizes for optimal viewing. Some websites are recording 30-40% of all traffic from mobile devices. This should not be ignored. If you are not reaching the mobile user you are losing a lot of traffic to your website.

More than 50% of the pages for local search visits are made on mobile phones and local search is projected to surpass desktops by 2015 and increases outside the U.S. and England because a higher percentage of people who use mobile phones as their primary or only device to go online.

Mobile subscribers worldwide:

There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, estimates The International Telecommunication Union (February 2013). That is equivalent to 96 percent of the world population (7.1 billion according to the ITU). And is a huge increase from 6.0 billion mobile subscribers in 2011 and 5.4 billion in 2010.

 Mobile subscribers in the developed world is rapidly reaching saturation point with at least one mobile subscription per person. Mobile penetration in developed nations is around 128 percent of the population. This means market growth is being driven by demand developing world, led by rapid mobile adoption in China and India, the world's most populous nations. Mobile penetration in developing nations is around 89 percent of the population, according to the ITU.

At the end of 2012 there were 5.2 billion mobile subscriptions in the developing world (76.6 percent of global subscriptions). Mobile penetration in the developing world now is 89 percent, with Africa being the lowest region worldwide at 63 percent.

 Portio Research – in the excellent free Mobile Factbook 2013 predicts that mobile subscribers worldwide will reach 7.0 billion by the end of 2013, 7.5 billion by the end of 2014 and 8.5 billion by the end of 2016.

 Over half of the world’s mobile subscribers are in Asia Pacific. Portio estimates that Asia Pacific’s share of the mobile subscribers will rise from 51.3 percent in 2012, to 52.3 percent in 2013 and 54.3 percent in 2016. By 2016 Africa and Middle East will overtake Europe as the second largest region for mobile subscribers.


List of countries by number of mobile phones in use

Picture
Courtesy of Wikipedia
 
 
William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk



 

The Time is Now for Local Marketing

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(Posted on Feb 26, 2014 at 06:54AM by William Cosgrove)
Local area marketing gives your brand the opportunity to leverage your messages to create a solid community of loyal customers who live or work close to your market area.

Local area marketing provides the best opportunity for your business to connect with your customer base to show them that you actively support and give back to the community and are concerned with your customers’ needs by promoting workshops on product and service related topics and by posting relevant content to educate, inform and answer questions regarding your products and services.

It’s knowing what messages to market and where to market to your customers based on local knowledge and trends; this is the key to Local Marketing that turns campaigns into success stories. A great resource for obtaining this knowledge is within your organization-your employees.

Promote your team.  People like to do business with local people and be consistent, reinforce your marketing messages, have a local marketing program in addition to your stand-alone campaigns.

Advances in integrated technology has provided business the tools to directly market through their own websites. Marketing Automation allows businesses to use their site as the center for conducting all their marketing initiatives which makes your business more efficient and gives you more control over your initiatives, saves time, and reduces the need to look outside for solutions.

Part of your integrated platform solution for your site must include mobile. Fully integrated sites attract more visibility and therefore more traffic compared to using different solutions and vendors to fill your needs – And with mobile it is widely expected that in the near future, local searches will account for the bulk of all mobile searches annually. If you don’t already have a mobile solution integrated into your website's platform you’re losing ground every day.

The following article by ZOG Digital fills us in on just how important mobile is to have as part of your total marketing solution.

William Cosgrove
Bill Cosgrove Straight Talk

 

Mobile: The Future Of Local Search

HOW BUSINESSES CAN INCREASE SALES WITH LOCAL AND MOBILE

The time for businesses to jump onto the mobile search bandwagon is now. Waiting, even just a few short months, will put businesses at a disadvantage that will impact future sales. Mobile use, especially when it comes to local search, is growing at an increasing pace that will force marketers to adapt and optimize in the near future.

According to a new study from Nielson, Americans spend more than 40 hours every month surfing the web, watching videos or using apps. That’s more time than they spend using any other media device, including gaming systems and desktop computers, except for live television. A study from InMobi shows that outside of the U.S. and the U.K., mobile media is even more prominent than television.

 
Picture

 
The reason smartphone market penetration and mobile use is important to businesses is because of the expansive use of local search. Local search creates moment of interest connections between searchers looking for specific products or services nearby and local businesses. Overwhelmingly, those local searchers, both on mobile devices and at home, buy something from a business they found online.

Local SEO, which optimizes local search results, puts businesses in front of local consumers with the greatest possible visibility. In essence, local search helps businesses drive live foot traffic and sales by creating a digital presence that can be easily found by local searchers looking to make a purchase.

Local search via smartphones are about to outnumber local searches on desktop devices. According to research fromBIA Kelsey, mobile local search volume is on pace to intersect desktop local searches in 2015, and exceed desktop searches in 2016. One important note to remember, this projection includes both web and in-app searches.


 


 
The research assumes the number of mobile searchers per smartphone user will grow from 14 a month to 42. It’s also based on the number of mobile search users growing from 44 percent today (about 118 million smartphone users), to 75 percent (225 million users) by 2016. This is a massive amount of mobile searchers and opportunities for businesses to create moment of interest connections with local customers.

How Businesses Can Build a Presence Using Local SEO

The advent of local search opens new opportunities for businesses to create visibility with the potential consumers that surround them on a daily basis. To create that visibility, businesses must first focus on creating a digital presence using local optimization techniques. Then, a business can tailor its digital offerings toward mobile users. By optimizing mobile offerings with content that is geared toward the usage patterns of these local searchers on the go, businesses can create greater visibility for themselves. As the number of local searchers on smartphones continues to grow, this visibility now will create exponentially higher dividends in the future.

The first thing businesses need to do to create a local digital impression is claim search engine listings and upload location data to online directories.

The three biggest search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing, all have their own, unique local listing opportunity for businesses. Claiming a listing on each of these sites can improve local visibility for businesses when users conduct local searches.

Online directories are important because each directory is a mention of a business, and the more mentions each specific location has, the more credibility it is given by search engines. Large data aggregators like Infogroup and Localeze will populate popular and niche directories like Citysearch and Tripadvisor. Additionally, the search engines look to these data aggregators as an influence on their own local results.

For both search engine listings and online directories it is important for businesses to complete all of the available fields with the most detailed information possible and keep that information both accurate and consistent across every platform. Small changes in addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation or anything else will cause search engines to question the accuracy of the information and potentially cause the results not to show in searches.

There are also on-site efforts businesses can take when attempting to create a greater local impression. The most common mistake businesses make is not having a separate web page for each location. Search engine crawlers see local information on individual landing pages differently than if the information is stored on a single page or in a mapping program. When spread out, search engines consider the local information to have more credibility and authority, therefore giving it more prominence in search results.

How to Optimize Digital Content for Mobile Users

Optimization for mobile includes adjustments in strategy, design and content. Mobile users, with smaller screens and no keyboards, have different needs and abilities than desktop searchers, so businesses must adjust to them instead of expecting searchers to change their habits.

Mobile strategy includes creating a unique mobile keyword strategy. Mobile searchers use different keywords when on their mobile devices compared to when they’re at home. The reason? Because they have different need, they’re searching on a smaller screen and because they don’t have a keyboard. To find the keywords that work for a specific business, marketers need to think like consumers and use the analytics already at their disposal, which may have the ability to break down what search terms mobile users use to find a specific site.

One way businesses can adapt their digital offerings for mobile devices is by updating their website to an adaptive design. Adaptive websites automatically adjust based on a user’s screen. 72 percent  of consumers expect brands to have mobile-friendly sites. As new devices sizes are unveiled and tablet popularity increases, this will hold true for all screen sizes. Look into responsive design today to begin optimizing your multi-screen digital presence.

Consumers desire different content when on the go compared to when they’re at home. Businesses should focus on what their local consumers want, and create mobile content that caters to them, which may include easy to use location finders, searchable product information, consumer reviews or simple basic information about hours of operation and pricing. The key is to provide what consumers demand.

Together, adjustments in strategy, design and content will create a richer and more valuable experience for mobile users. Search engines recognize this, and give prominence to businesses that optimize for mobile over businesses that done.

Conclusion

In less than two years, local searches and mobile devices are expected to outnumber local searches on desktop devices. Local searches, specifically those using a mobile device, convert into in-store sales at a high rate. Therefore, businesses should be actively working to gain visibility with these local searchers on mobile devices. To do that, businesses must optimize for both mobile and local SEO. Businesses that neglect either mobile or local, or both, will be at a disadvantage compared to competitors that are already optimizing their mobile offerings.
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