Seattle Interactive Conference (SIC) brings together some of the industry’s leaders and front runners to discuss online technology, creativity, and emerging trends. This year, some of the running themes throughout the conference revolved around mobile, transparency, and the importance of an omni-channel (no longer just multi-channel) presence. These are a few takeaways.
Common Mobile Myths and Misconceptions
Myth: The majority of mobile usage occurs on-the-go with Generation Y users.
Actually, a whopping 75% of mobile usage occurs in-home, with the dominant user being moms with kids between 0-5 years of age. This audience spends 22% more time on their smartphones than Millennials do!
Myth: Mobile usage is typically categorized by utility with the user focus being on the mobile device, and only the mobile device.
In truth, of the time spent on mobile devices, 41% is actually just “me-time,” where the user is passively consuming content – typically, while consuming content on multiple screens.
Myth: People don’t do research or convert on their phones.
But they do! Mobile conversions have longer lag between exposure and conversion, indicating that mobile users research for longer periods of time than they do on desktops. Also, 1/3 of conversions come from a mobile device. As a paid search manager, when I’m pitching Bing/Yahoo! to clients, one of the key selling points is that it takes up about 30% of the U.S. market share, which is a huge audience to miss out on. Now, the same logic can be applied for mobile, with mobile taking up about 33% of all conversions in the United States alone. Mobile advertising is going to be an integral part of the future of mCommerce.
Myth: Cookies don’t work on mobile devices.
Cookies do work on mobile devices – to an extent.On Android web sessions, 3rd party cookies work the same way as desktop. On iOS mobile web, 3rd party cookies are pre-set as disabled, though 1st party cookies do work. On a mobile app, click conversions can be tracked, through view conversions cannot be.
Myth: Hyper-Local Targeting works best on mobile devices.
Hyper-local targeting on mobile devices is actually a bit challenging. 25% of mobile impressions are on-the-go, and less than 8% of mobile impressions have latitude and longitude tied to it for precise accuracy.
Local Search and Thumbprints
Ensure that you have unique pages for each location you operate. Google needs to be able to identify each location individually so that it can create a unique card for each location you operate. To do this, make sure your location information is coded with schema. In addition, adding tactics such as authorship on your organic listings can help with rankings and credibility from Google, as well as the added bonus of improved CTRs and allowing you to take up additional real estate on the SERP. You also want to make sure you include NAP (name, address, phone) information on every page for that particular location. This, in essence, acts like a thumbprint for that location. You want this thumbprint to show in as many places as possible because as Google crawls the pages, the more mentions of this thumbprint, the more credibility your location can gain with Google.
However, if your thumbprints vary for the same location, Google can end up seeing these as multiple locations and create separate cards for them, or may not see them as relevant as others. This can make your brand look bad if, for example, someone gets incorrect information from one of the Google cards. If you are using call tracking numbers (CTNs) on your pages for tracking and performance data, it is recommended that you use a no index tag on those particular pages or Google will see the differing phone numbers as different locations.
Transparency and How to Use Transparent Dialogue to Challenge Your Critics
When you create content, be prepared for the types of responses you may get – whether positive or negative. Make sure that if something comes up that needs escalation, that you get the right people involved, do an honest assessment of your content and responses, and own the forum for response. Frame the conversation and activate your stakeholders. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, know when to have fun. Sometimes taking things a little less-seriously can turn the whole situation around.
Establishing Your Brand on the Local Search Frontier
Mobile is inherently local – about 1/3 searches have local intent and therefore, mobile becomes a huge importance in local strategy. To begin your local search strategy, create a baseline presence for your brand. While the algorithms have become considerably more complex, Google is still trying to answer the question – what are the most popular businesses in a given area? Google can help assign popularity via the Google knowledge graph and shows them not only through organic listings, but also local listings and features such as the Google Carousel.
In order to have a strong local presence, you need to accomplish three things: 1) Connect your Brand with your Location, 2) Connect your Website and your Brand, and 3) Connect your Website and your Location. Create local listings through Google Places or Bing Business Portal. Make sure you are writing compelling and creative content that is crawlable. For example, if you add a video testimonial, include a written transcript; write a Q&A of the top 10 questions that people ask in-store or on your Facebook page and include it on your website. Work on building relationships, rather than try to buy them. With the consumer-driven evolution of content, try to establish an emotional connection with your brand and a two-way relationship with your customers. Here, utility and shareability are the most important factors.
An Omni-Channel Presence – Blurring the Lines Between the Physical and the Digital
Retailers are instrumenting the physical space, while online retailers are going digital. However, many consumers are looking for a holistic experience with brands. You should look at the integrated retail experience. Try to understand your customer; think outside of the purchasing funnel. How does your company engage the user online and offline? Having an omni-channel presence is important for the omni-channel consumer, and cross-device customers are typically more valuable. If someone is engaged on multiple devices, they may also be more engaged with the brand. As people jump between screens, the user wants the experience with the brand to be consistent, not necessarily by feature, but from an experience standpoint. Identify ways that a user may want to interact with your brand on a specific device and try to understand how you can fit the pieces together to create a cohesive experience.
Something interesting that I learned in college was that The Matrix film trilogy was just a small piece of The Matrix storyline. The entire Matrix chronology includes the three films, in addition to comics, video games, and animated films. Together, they all create the story. The same thing can apply to your overall marketing strategy. Connect all of the devices for an entire brand experience. For brick-and-mortar stores, getting past the showrooming can be a challenge. Moving away from the siloed channels and creating a more holistic brand experience across all devices can help you improve both the online and offline experiences.