Monthly Archives: March 2016

GOOGLE TO ROLL OUT A MAJOR ADWORDS UPDATE TO SUIT THE REQUIREMENTS OF MOBILE ADVERTISERS

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Google’s reportedly in the process of rolling out a major update of it’s revamped AdWords platform to better suit the mobile marketing requirements of AdWords advertisers. It does make sense, since almost all Google searches now happen on mobile rather than the desktop. Google recently made an official announcement through an AdWords blog by stating that the update will take place gradually, over a couple of years.

So, what are the changes that marketers can look forward to with this new update? Well, Google just provided us with a glimpse of what businesses can expect. Here’s a snapshot of Google’s AdWords blog post.

What businesses can expect out of the update?

As per Google’s AdWords blog post, the update is specifically designed to cater to the needs of Google’s AdWords bound subscribers. The update is aimed at making it convenient for businesses to manage their AdWords campaigns and to help them locate their data more easily. Google’s official blog post on the same, reads as below

“At the end of the day, you need simple yet powerful tools that help you do more in less time. You should be able to complete your most important tasks, like managing ad extensions and building reports, all in one place. With less clutter and more intuitive workflows, you can quickly make the changes that move your business forward.’

When can businesses expect to see these changes go live?

Businesses will need a further invite from Google to use these new AdWords features, which may not happen anytime soon. Google’s AdWords blog reads as below

“Through 2016 and into 2017, we’ll continue to build out this new AdWords experience, and invite advertisers along the way to try it out and provide feedback. Invites will be sent based on a number of factors, therefore not all advertisers will be able to test the new experience right away.”

All AdWords bound businesses need to do is wait for their turn to be invited by Google to use it’s redesigned AdWords platform. If you receive the invite, do keep us posted about your experience of using the new AdWords platform.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

APPLE TO LAUNCH APPLE PAY SERVICE FOR MOBILE USERS TO BOOST M-COMMERCE ON ITS PLATFORM

mobile-payment

In an effort to boost m-commerce on the iOS platform, Apple is reportedly expanding the horizon of its fingerprint-enabled Apple Pay Service beyond apps, to mobile websites. This means that Apple’s secure fingerprint-enabled pay service that let shoppers complete their mobile transactions via fingerprints, instead of entering their credit card information, will now act as a payment gateway for transactions on mobile websites.

On one hand, the move will potentially cut into PayPal’s position of dominance and on the other; it will accelerate the speed of mobile transactions on its platform.

According to reports by Re/code, the fingerprint-enabled Apple pay service will be made available to Apple users just before the start of this year’s holiday season.

“The service will be available to shoppers using the Safari browser on models of iPhones and iPads that possess Apple’s TouchID fingerprint technology, these people said. Apple has also considered making the service available on Apple laptops and desktops, too, though it’s not clear if the company will launch that capability.”

The payment friction experienced during mobile transactions has been one of the major reasons behind the significant drop on the platform. According to the research done on mobile payment methods, mobile gadgets contribute to only 3% of online transactions in the US, which includes 7% of young mobile users.

According to last year’s US Federal Reserve study on mobile payments and banking, it was observed that only 22% of mobile users used their smartphones for carrying out an online transaction in past 12 months or so. Online user data security is the main reason why mobile users prefer not to make online transactions via their smartphones.

mobile-payment-survey

According to a survey in October 2015 by PYMTS.com, less than 17% of US iPhone users went on to try the new Apple pay system. More than security concerns, lack of awareness and uncertainty over the Apple pay-in procedure were being cited as the two main reasons by survey respondents for not using the system.

The limited or slow adoption rate of the Apple pay-in procedure by major online retailers is being cited as one of major reasons behind the slow growth rate of this payment system. In fact, major e-commerce ventures such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Kohl’s, CVS, Target and others are in the process of launching their own mobile payment platform such as CurrentC.

To add to users’ mobile transaction experience, Walmart recently launched its own payment platform. Whatever might be the future of CurrentC, it’s presence in the market is actually hurting the cause of Apple Pay and Android Pay platforms of being accepted by major e-commerce retailers.

Any fool-proof system that removes the consumers’ burden while doing an online mobile transaction is bound to attract a lot of attention. But for now it seems like the future of Apple pay system solely depends on the retailers’ and developers’ acceptance levels.

Apple Pay, Android Pay or Pay Pal – all these platforms are designed to add value to users’ mobile transaction experience. But as history suggests, the retailers and e-tailers often do not act in accordance.

For more information, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE FINALLY DECLARES IT’S TOP 3 SEARCH RANKING FACTORS

google-rankings

So, Google has finally revealed its top 3 ranking factors. Wanna know what are they? Read on…….

A week ago, Google’s John Mueller revealed why search ranking shortcuts may not help businesses in the long run. In that Google Hangout video, John Mueller was at his diplomatic best, skipping a lot of queries related to ranking high in Google searches. In that very same Google Hangout session, he went on to reveal that businesses, on a temporary basis, can do a few things to lift their search rankings but it may not last longer. Here is the entire video.

Post that session and after much speculation in media circles, Google finally revealed the top three ranking signals that can help businesses surge ahead in Google’s search ranking algorithm! Any guesses???

Well, as per Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, links, content and RankBrain feature in the list of Google’s Top Search Ranking Factors, but not necessarily in the same order.

It’s not surprising to see Google’s RankBrain Algorithm making it to that list, since Google’s webmaster, in his previous outings made it known of it’s existence as one of the ranking factors.

Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist, Google made it known to us in his recent Question hour video session.

“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

While contributing this information about the top three ranking factors, he didn’t follow any specific order as such, but just added on to the list.

1 & 2: Links & Content
3: RankBrain

As of now, we’ve got Links, Content and RankBrain as Google’s top three ranking factors; now officially confirmed by Google.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

BUSINESSES AT LARGE TEND TO NEGLECT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: MOBILE APP SURVEY

Customer feedback plays an important role in roadmap prioritization for businesses. Amongst the various sources available for customer feedback, mobile apps and e-commerce channels are some of the preferred online destinations, these days. However, there are businesses that are unable to effectively use this free flowing expertise in making more informed product decisions. Those businesses that do are rewarded in the form of customer retention.

According to a new study from Apptentive and SurveyMonkey, businesses that gather and share customer feedback through their mobile apps are less likely to implement on or respond to the feedback they receive. The SurveyMonkey Team came to the conclusion after carrying out an online survey in December, 2015, comprising of more than 1,200 consumer responses.

customer-feedback-study

As per the Apptentive Study, when customer were asked how they prefer to provide their feedback to businesses, 93% of survey respondents said they would oblige only if asked, while only 1% of the customers were found to give unsolicited feedback. The Apptentive Study comprehensively used some of the standard surveying practices for collecting data via in-app customer responses.

The survey drives home the fact that customer feedback is an essential ingredient for generating customer loyalty and that ignoring the same could jeopardize customer retention. It was observed that customers, who responded, expected businesses to take some sort of action in-return. It was found that 55% of respondents were of the opinion that they were less likely to remain loyal to the company if their feedback is ignored. Even so, 67% of the respondents claimed that their feedback goes unnoticed.

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One of the main reasons why consumers offer feedback is to help businesses improve their products and services, rather than to get something in-return. As per the survey findings, “the top two reasons cited were to help other customers, and to help the companies improve their service in order to grow their business.” Almost all respondents were of the opinion that they would be more willing to provide their feedback, if the businesses listen and act accordingly.

The above data shows how consumers want businesses to appreciate their observations by inculcating them in their services and improving upon their offerings. As such, it’s not possible for businesses to pass on every idea from the support desk to product development unit. But at least the businesses can acknowledge and respond to the customer feedback, which will enable them to maintain their goodwill and customer loyalty.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

MOBILE AD BUDGET UP BY 150% WITH PUSH-ENABLED USERS BEING MORE ENGAGED

mobile-user-agent

Recently, similar mobile app reports were released from Kenshoo and Localytics. The former one talked about the key trends noticed in app acquisition data of 2015, while the latter one talked about the engagement and customer retention benchmarks set in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Of the two, the Localytics report took into consideration global data, whereas the Kenshoo report selected 100 countries across the globe for data on the advertising spend and the number of app installs.

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According to the two reports, the ad spend to attract app installs in the fourth quarter of 2015 had increased by over 150%, as compared that in the fourth quarter of 2014. This data includes the click through rates, the number of app installs and the user based impressions, which also grew significantly during the same time period.

According to Kenshoo report, the seasonal price fluctuation had minimum or no impact as compared to the other digital metrics. The cost stability was at its normal best, conceding a meaningful price cut in the cost-per-install ratio. As per Kenshoo report, the ever so pricey iOS platform delivered low performance metrics in comparison to the Android platform.

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The most noticeable feature of the report was the rise of Instagram as an app marketing platform. According to the Kenshoo report, the low priced Instagram ads were also found to be less productive as compared to Facebook when it comes to attracting app installs. The company, however, didn’t share a similar viewpoint and stressed that its platform is indeed an effective medium for driving app installs.

According to the app install report, a maximum number of users (67%) removed apps from their devices in the second month itself, after using it for first 30 days. After the initial period of first three months of an app install, the retention rate of the customers dropped to 25%.

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Let’s see what the Localytics report suggests regarding the general app engagement

  • The average number of App Launches  — 11.48 average app launches on a monthly basis.
  • The average period of Session Length — 5.17 minutes on an average spent in any individual app on a monthly basis.
  • The average time spent in an app — 59.35 total minutes spent in apps on a monthly basis.

According to Localytics report, app engagement of the users who enable push notifications is likely to differ from those who don’t. Additionally, it’s likely that more than half of the users, who don’t have push notifications enabled on their devices may visit the app only once. The push notifications enabled users have a healthy average of 15.5 app launches on a monthly basis, as compared to the average 6.2 app launches by users who disabled push notifications on their devices.

Here are the top five channels listed by Localytics through which US app users acquire their apps

  1. Organic Channels
  2. Facebook
  3. Opera Mediaworks
  4. Tapjoy
  5. Instagram

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

PINTEREST REPORTEDLY WORKING TO BUILD SUPPORT FOR VIDEO ADS ON ITS PLATFORM

pinterest

Taking inspiration from Facebook, Twitter and Periscope’s success with video streaming, Pinterest is currently working on an interactive ad format, by including support for video ads on its platform. In fact, the company started planning on streaming live video ads on its platform after launching Cinematic Pins in May, last year. According to a recent report by Digiday, last year Pinterest allowed some advertisers to test their video ads on its image-sharing network. Besides that, the company is apparently working on building the video ad product and testing it internally.

According to information from credible sources, the company is building support to autoplay video ads on its platform, whenever a user pauses over the video feed. As of now, the company is still determining the ideal video length on the platform.

As per Digiday report, the company is in the process of adding more resources to its platform to co-exist with the already existing Cinematic Pins.

Pinterest is trying to replicate the success of the number one ranked social networking platform, Facebook, which is currently attracting over 100 million hours of video playback on a daily basis. But to attract the same kind of audience response on its platform, Pinterest, the fourth-ranked social networking site will have to compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Periscope, to name a few

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE TO INCORPORATE SITES’ HTTPS ADOPTION RATES IN ITS TRANSPARENCY REPORT

https

Google recently made it clear to businesses that it prefers indexing HTTPS pages on priority basis. To ensure that businesses are indeed following its HTTPS site module, Google plans to include HTTPS related information in its transparency report. In this report, Google will not only reveal encryption based stats, but also information pertaining to the most trafficked sites on the web.

“Our aim with this project is to hold ourselves accountable and encourage others to encrypt so we can make the web even safer for everyone.”

Here’s what Google will be revealing in its transparency report:

  • Google Sites: This weekly report on Google sites will cover the progress that Google has made towards achieving 100% HTTPS conversion of its sites.
  • Third-party sites: Besides Google sites, Google will track information pertaining to world’s top websites’ HTTPS connections. Google considers both it’s internal data and Alexa data to determine the world’s top websites across the web.
  • HTTPS Certificates: Since authorized certificates further validate the legitimacy of a website, Google enables you to cross verify the certification of your website via this tool.  The certification details of your website will cover information about the certifying authority including validity and date of certification.

A Look at the Top Third-Party Sites

Google dedicated this section to top websites that are running HTTPS by default (user discretion is advised before one visits unfamiliar domains, which may contain explicit content).

Google Wants Encryption for Everyone

Over a period of time, Google plans to achieve 100% encryption of domains across the web, but this will be possible only when sites take up the challenge to upgrade themselves. Listed below are some of the most common obstacles that sites face when upgrading themselves to HTTPS.

  • The age-old hardware and/or software versions that do not support the latest encryption technologies.
  • Government and companies that bar or downgrade your site’s HTTPS traffic.
  • Companies that aren’t willing or due to some technical reasons may find it difficult to implement HTTPS.

Google acknowledges the fact that it’s difficult to hit 100% HTTPS encryption on the web, but the ever increasing malicious content on the web makes it an important next step. Google is hoping that businesses will follow its suit once it achieves total encryption of all its own domains.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

A GOOGLEBOT CRAWLER UPDATE FROM IPHONE TO ANDROID SMARTPHONE USER-AGENT IS ON THE WAY

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April 21, 2015 is a date that a lot of businesses find hard to forget. The day is best remembered as the Mobilegeddon day, when Google rolled out a mobile friendly algorithm update which took a lot of businesses by surprise. The SMEs’ chronic lack of preparedness is what really did them in on that fateful day.

And as they say, history repeats itself. Cometh April 18, 2016 Google will be updating the smartphone user-agent of Googlebot crawler from iPhone to Android platform. As such, businesses don’t need to worry because according to Google, the change in the user-agent will have no impact on 99% of the websites.

Yet to save themselves from future embarrassment, SMEs need to constantly monitor their website for changes taking place post Google user-agent update or better still, stay prepared well in advance to handle any changes that occur in Googlebot crawler update.

SMEs especially, need to watch out for this new Googlebot smartphone user-agent crawler updated string, which is as given below:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

The updated string a bit different from the Googlebot smartphone user-agent string which is currently running, as shown below:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

As you can see, the only visible difference between the two strings is that in the first string Google replaced the Apple iPhone, and in the Safari string the user-agent has been replaced with Android and Chrome.

About the change in the user-agent, Google says it’s being done so that the renderer can adjust itself with pages that use new, evolving web technologies. Google added that the change was needed to keep up with the ever-evolving web technologies. The change in the user-agent string shows that it is more similar to Google’s Chrome than Apple’s Safari. However, Google says that the user-agent change will have no effect on 99% of businesses and that it’s only the remaining 1% of businesses, especially the SMEs, that needs to prepare in advance. Businesses can make use of Google’s Fetch and Render Tool to ensure that their online presence stays intact post the Googlebot crawler update on April 18, 2016.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

THIS IS WHY YOU MUST USE HASHTAGS

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The hashtag is a tagging system used in social media to categorize content & deliver relevant search results. Just adding a hashtag in front of any keyword or phrase, transforms it into a hyperlink. When clicked, it leads to all the content containing that same hashtag. Adding hashtags makes your content public as it becomes viewable to anyone on the network, even if they are not connected to you.

Hashtags are extremely effective when used properly and can provide you with many benefits. Some of them are listed below:

1. Increase Brand Awareness

You can boost your brand awareness by adding hashtags to your content. It will enhance the reach of your posts by luring the audience that is searching for content mentioning the same keywords or phrases. For example, Apple launched a new phone & everyone is searching for it on social media using the hashtag #AppleNewPhone. So if you post information about the new phone & use the same hashtag, you will be able to cater to those thousands of information hungry searchers, even when they are not following you or connected to you by any means.

2. Elevate Promotions

Product-based hashtags not only help you with promotions but also let you monitor your progress. Use product-based hashtags if you are launching a new product, as it has proven to be powerful in raising awareness. You can also encourage other social media users to use your hashtags by offerings some kind of reward in return.

3. Seek Out New Trends

Hashtags are also great for finding out current trends in your specific industry. All you have to do is click on a hashtag & you will be able to see the discussions carried out by your competitors, customers & everyone else who is part of your industry.  Of course, not every result will be relevant, but you will get the required information for sure.

4. Start Your Own Conversation

You can start your own conversations through hashtags. Of course playing around with popular & trending hashtags will save you some time & promotional efforts. But that doesn’t mean that you are compelled to follow others; you can first promote your hashtags and then try and start an entirely new thread. You can use it either for commercial purposes (Direct branding) or for social welfare (Indirect branding).

5. Organize Social Dashboards

Keeping track of relevant & trending hashtags allows you to stay on top. There are many websites that allow you to organize trending hashtags into columns, thus providing you with valuable insights into news related to your niche. You can either search for trending topics and then create content around it or you can do it the other way around.

Final Thoughts

Hashtags are very easy & effective in categorizing, finding & enhancing the reach of your content. But don’t overdo it, otherwise it will hurt the readability of your posts. Use relevant & trending hashtags and keep track of all the popular ones so that you can utilize them to the maximum.

For more info on how to effectively utilize hashtags, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch with you right away.

WHAT ONE REQUIRES TO BE POPULAR ON YOUTUBE, REVEALS A GRAPEVINE STUDY

youtube

There goes an expression, “Stars are not born, they are made”. Well, it indeed is a fact that talent alone is not enough to make you popular on YouTube with its millions of subscribers. In fact, it’s not at all as easy as it may seem. So, what does one require to be popular on YouTube?

According to Grapevine’s survey, of a total of 1,861 creators on YouTube only 2% have over 100K subscribers, 9% have in the range of 5K to 10K subscribers, while the remaining 89% creators have less than 5k subscribers on their YouTube channel. The survey was conducted by a company called Grapevine Logic that provides a platform for brands and social creators to collaborate and work together seamlessly.

how-big-are-youtube-channels

Let’s see what Kimberley Bond, Grapevine Logic’s co-founder and community director has to say about the creators hitting the 100K subscriber base on their YouTube channel.

YouTube creators are certainly not born overnight, and it takes a lot of work each and every week and each and every hour to build your channel to celebrity status.

Becoming an overnight YouTube sensation is not just about acting endearingly in front of a webcam and uploading it on your channel. It is more about years of dedication and hard work in spite of knowing that it’s tough to reach a base of thousands of YouTube subscribers.

how-quickly-youtube-channels-grow

To attract YouTube subscribers, creators dedicate a lot of their time doing research to finalize the video content before uploading it on their YouTube channel. As per Grapevine’s study, 70% of YouTube creators with at least 100K subscribers devote at the most six hours of their time in creating a video. The remaining 30% of YouTube Stars devote at the most eight hours of their time in creating a video to upload on their YouTube channel.

“As [creators’ subscriber bases] get larger and more people are watching, there’s pressure to be of a certain quality level,” adds Bond.

With the increasing subscriber base, the pressure level keeps mounting on creators to create something new so as to keep their audience glued to their channel. According to Grapevine Logic’s survey, 50% creators with a 5k subscriber base upload at the most two videos on their channel on a weekly basis. Whereas, 75% of the creators with less than 5k subscribers, upload only one video per week. The remaining 22% of the creators only upload one video on a monthly basis or even less than that.

For more info, email us at sales@ebrandz.com.