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WebCroppers Marketing
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The agency for all your local digital marketing solutions
The agency for all your local digital marketing solutions

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It’s no secret that the holidays are the biggest time of the year for businesses. Many small shops rely on the burst of traffic that the holiday season tends to bring. That’s why you need to prepare for the holiday season by ramping up your website for proper Holiday SEO.

We recommend reading this guide to help you prepare

http://www.webcroppers.com/holiday-seo/
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Have you ever been captivated by search results because of the visually dynamic rich snippets that appeared once you landed on those results in search engines like Google? Follow this link for an example.

http://www.webcroppers.com/get-featured-snippets/
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This was a PR that should have been edited better - so we chose to put it here.

The Era of Search Paid Ads is Over - Long Live Display Ads

Google Search was launched on September 15th, 1997, making it 20 years old this year. The project was initially created to search through and compile publicly accessible documents and databases with only written text into one easy to access database.

In 2004, Google went public and began monetizing its pet project as a marketing tool. After the world markets collapsed in 2008, it created a power vacuum for many industries that were considered titans (AIG, Ford, and GM). In essence, it shook the power struggle occurring between old world money (banks, insurance, manufacturers) and the new world (internet and technology based companies).

Before the dust settled, Google seized an opportunity from the chaos and pushed its novel product to companies and individuals world-wide. The premise was for businesses to be able to quantify their marketing efforts. This would in turn allow for better measurement of consumer acquisition and in theory lower costs with increasing efforts wherever there is a positive customer acquisition marketing effort.

Between November 2008 and December 2009, Google quietly doubled its stock, thanks to one cornerstone product, Search Ads. This growth has yet to be repeated for Google in such a small amount of time.

[SOURCE: https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:GOOGL]

As late as 2016, 55% of people didn’t know which snippets on Google search were paid ads.

[SOURCE: https://varn.co.uk/07/26/varn-original-research-55-people-dont-know-paid-ads-google/]

To this day - search ads are one of the most trusted forms of advertising for consumers and advertisers, due to their simplicity, transparent consumer intent, and incognito serving capabilities.

[SOURCE: https://contently.com/strategist/2017/01/09/print-ad-trust/]

Advertisers love them so much that it has become a standard practice for internet news agencies to dedicate entire press rooms for changes occurring to important products.

[SOURCE: http://searchengineland.com/2016-paid-search-biggest-changes-266326]

The power behind search is immense, if not unstoppable. Google Stock at the time of writing this article was at its highest peak ever witnessed (993.27 , May 26 ,2017) and had increased over 100 points in the span of a month and a half (April – May, 2017).

The point of all this is that Google search ads are 20 years old, at their peak and are facing inflating prices - with lower returns.

This is where display ads come in. Despised by advertisers and consumers for years while being advantageous to Google (allowing them to reach a wider audience for minimal cost). Display ads give Google the opportunity to curtail inflation without reinventing the wheel while promoting consistent ROI. Online banner ads, mobile phone ads and digital pop-ups all round out the least trustworthy format when it comes to decision making. All three of them at their core are display ads. So how in the world can this happen?

Pricing, Timing, Relevance & Reach.

Display ads through the AdWords Display network have been neglected for a long time, primarily because they were too expensive. Google couldn’t guarantee that the ad was served to the consumer, making advertisers question, “So what did I really pay for? Instead of paying $1.00 for a thousand impressions - advertisers were paying $1,000's for a few irrelevant clicks and millions of fake impressions.

[SOURCE: http://www.siliconbeat.com/2017/04/19/google-reaches-22-5-million-adwords-settlement/]

You didn't know why the user was on the site in the first place so it was impossible to get the timing right.

The relevance in the display ads was missing due to the department squabbling between designers and operators while focusing on high CTR instead of relevant messaging. In many cases - there were no departments and it was one individual taking on multiple roles.

The reach of display ads was also limited due to early manipulation of AdSense code which prompted chilling regulations and oversight by Google which in turn prohibited content worthy users joining the program as well as the early warfare waged between different display ad vendors.

[SOURCE: https://www.recode.net/2017/1/25/14375750/google-adsense-advertisers-publishers-fake-news]

What is making Google look to over avenues is the inevitable inflation to search CPC's as well as the drop in return on investment seen across the board of hundreds of small businesses. For the last five years - retail revenue has increased 2.45% while advertising has doubled to $72.5 billion.

[SOURCE: http://searchengineland.com/adwords-brand-cpcs-rising-heres-can-225648]

[SOURCE: http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKBN17S2V3-OCABS]

They attempted to stem the tide with purchasing YouTube in 2006 and began to route traffic through it's sub-domain to fluff up quarterly numbers while promoting video format advertisements.

[SOURCE: https://www.recode.net/2017/3/24/15044282/googles-youtube-advertising-boycott-brands-programmatic]

They then began to slowly and quietly focus on old pieces of inventory. By 2010 AdWords unveiled it's "new" re-marketing program.

[SOURCE: http://searchengineland.com/google-now-offering-remarketing-to-all-adwords-advertisers-38786]

This new program allowed advertisers to follow consumers with either a text ad or an image ad. The Analytics program was revamped in a follow up patch to better consolidate the power of re-marketing. Lists of people who visited your site or performed a specific action were initially created through the AdWords interface, however - because Analytics is a platform for mining and understanding user behavior, the lists began to evolve at a rapid rate because of how Analytics is installed on a site and what data it can glean from any given user. Helping advertisers better understand and target any and all of their visitors.

[SOURCE: https://www.portent.com/blog/ppc/google-adwords-remarketing.htm]

WebCroppers spokesman, Eugene Feinman, gave a little background on the shift based on his company’s experience with it.

“The move to allow Analytics to control re-marketing lists was something that would increase relevancy (what demographic profile does the consumer belong to) as well as timing (you could exclude whoever you wanted to) – further settings on the AdWords side were expanded to help control the timing and relevancy as well. Frequency capping was introduced so that the consumer does not receive banner blindness. Responsive ad creation was created to form a bridge between text and display while alleviating the need for extensive communication between the designers and the AdWords/Analytics teams. This would allow for rapid – event oriented marketing that would boost relevance in the eyes of the consumer without increasing the workload for the advertiser.”

In the health industry alone, there is a differential of 653% on prices between display and search. Generating more active display advertisers would stem the inflating price issues facing search ads.

SOURCE: [http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/02/29/google-adwords-industry-benchmarks]

Granted, with Search Ads you can see intent behind the consumer within hours; based on the queries typed by the user. But with the expansion of Analytics, you can create the same understanding by having the right employee or agency pulling the important data for your business to create a user profile no matter if they came from search or display. Information such as demographic, gender, age, and ad placement exclusions/inclusions to increase the effectiveness of your display ads while lowering prices.

Extending your reach with display ads to rival the inventory served by search ads seems to be a daunting task. To tackle the task of increasing reach of display ads you would have to figure out the following three: flexible format, device-friendly, and easily automated. Each second, Google processes over 40,000 search queries (roughly 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide). Search ads are so simple, so easy to manipulate visually - that you can do all three things listed above to put it in every nook and cranny that you can find.

[SOURCE: http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/]

To be able to compete with 1.2 trillion searches per year - you would truly need to immerse the consumer with your brand wherever they go, or on whatever device they use.

On October 24th, 2016 AdWords unveiled their latest display format which is a hybrid of text and display to satisfy the recent trend of native advertisement.

[SOURCE: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/07/27/responsive-display-ads]

This move for responsive ads is aimed at beginning to solver for the format, device, and automation problems needed to overtake Search. On top of all this - until recently, Display Ads were missing a major factor, control. “Who should decide what format to display and on what device?” and “At what point does the data dictate a change when it sees a drop in consumer interaction with said ad?”

To resolve these issues, Google unveiled the concept of machine learning and artificial intelligence into its new tool “Google Attribution” on May 23, 2017 at its annual Google Marketing Event.

[SOURCE: https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/05/23/google-attribution-ai/]

By allowing machines to make the decisions based on user engagement, it allows Google to tackle avenues it has never been able to tap into with search.

Google search ads may be facing inflation and an over-estimated return on investment, but with updated tools such as Analytics to improve timing & relevance and introducing new ad formats to extend it's reach, with a pinch of AI & machine learning, display inventory through the display network should prove to be a very enticing venture for it's price point.

Pricing, timing, relevancy and reach - Google has never been closer to achieving all of them and reinventing itself by reusing its oldest - most worthless piece of inventory.

http://www.webcroppers.com/

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The rise of 'near me' search queries is something that should intrigue every marketer out there. One particular aspect of 'near me' queries are those relating to food. We can see this through Google Trends under the Related Queries section.

Top 5 related queries to 'near me' are:

1. Restaurants
2. Restaurants near me
3. Food
4. Food near me
5. Stores near me

Following after those are:

6. Pizza
7. Pizza near me
8. Walmart near me
9. Restaurant near me
10. Chinese near me

Granted these are predominately oriented towards the United States as the search query is written in English - but even countries such as Australia and Canada are correlating 'near me' queries with food.

In the United States out of the 10 related queries, only 2 are not directly associated with food.

Focusing back on just the United States - a lot of the reasons for this is because a sizeable population within the United States lives in what is considered a 'Food Desert' - the USDA defines food deserts (not to be confused with desserts, the delicious taste-bud after party) as "... parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.".

According to a 2009 study, 23.5 million people live in these areas. Disproportionately placed within low income areas.

In a 2006 study done by Yeh, Ming-Chen & David L. Katz titled "Food, Nutrition, and the Health of Urban Populations" people living in the poorest social-economic status areas have 2.5x the exposure to fast-food restaurants compared to those living in wealthier areas.

Three years after that study in 2009 the University of Pittsburgh presented a study to highlight the correlation between individuals who don't own a vehicle for transportation that live near fast food restaurants to having excess body mass index and weight gain. Adults in these areas under those qualifications were as much as 12 pounds heavier than those who lived in neighborhoods that lacked fast food restaurants.

Working backwards from queries allows us marketers to research and dive into social and economic problems facing consumers that we might be able to alleviate or incorporate within our messaging or targeting approach. Every marketer should take the extra time to question why certain queries are becoming more relevant. Use all the tools possible to map our correlations and indications for what the consumer really needs. Listen to the data - the same way you listen to a customer.

Using the AdWords Keyword Planner - 'Restaurants near me' accumulated approximately 9,140,000 searches per month in the United States.

'Food near me' accumulated approximately 5,000,000 searches per month in the United States.

Simply looking at those two queries, combining it with the reality that are 'food deserts', the populations within those areas and the studies correlating fast food to low income areas and fast food restaurants to unhealthy eating habits we are able to format a road map to create an argument that as of 2017 there is a demand in the United States for close proximity, fast food restaurants which deliver affordable and healthy foods.

Selling a product of necessity is always easier than creating a demand of desire.

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Google recently announced the opening of similar re-marketing audiences to the search ad format. This signals either high confidence within their search product and ability to form look-alike audiences to achieve similar historical performance or it spells the beginning of the end to an advertising product that has revolutionized the way the marketing world works. Search has been over crowded for a few years now so this could be a way to weed out inexperienced and semi-dedicated individuals and agencies.

https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/05/find-your-next-customer-with-new.html
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Creating an optimized e-commerce page can be a pain for many small store owners. Don't hesitate to reach out in order to save time and money in the long run by hiring experts to do it for you.

http://www.webcroppers.com/creating-optimized-ecommerce-page/
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As Facebook prepares to invest into 'Facebook's Instant Articles' (IA) - Google will surely look to increase AMP exposure. Ultimately, both companies are fighting it out to be the one who serves content the fastest. Our advice of the day is simply this - make sure your site loads under 1 second. If it can't, find out what's stopping it and transition. It might take a year, it might take a few months. But the long term benefits far outweigh the short term costs.

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-instant-articles-hits-speed-bump-2017-4
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Get your money's worth from the display network by leveraging Google's cheap CPC's from the display side while hitting your local market without breaking your wallet.

Average CPC's on display range from ~0.20 to ~0.50 for 50 mile radius targeting. I'm sure that there are niches out there that can get even cheaper traffic. Combine that with Googles moves on implementing AMP and you have a combination for success by creating environmental authority checks to keep the display traffic clean.

If a company understands how to implement AMP through Analytics AND have their Adsense shown through the the AMP pages - they are better on average than the people who run celebrity blog posts simply to gain traffic that cannot be monetized and only racks up impressions.

Hopefully this allows the Search side to breathe a little by shifting advertisers.
Location extensions help people discover local businesses as they use Google.com and Google Maps to find places they love. Starting today, eligible Google Display Network ads will automatically include information like photos, business hours, and your store location, making them more useful to shoppers who are nearby or show interest in your business location. For example, a foodie browsing cooking blogs might see local information for a bakery, making it easy for her to visit your physical store and make a purchase. In fact, early testing has shown that advertisers see an increase in clicks to their business, with 60% of clicks on this extension related to directions or store information.*

You can learn more about locations extensions in the AdWords Help Center: https://goo.gl/60RoQm. If you don’t want to show local information in your display ads, you can disable them here: https://goo.gl/NX3C2k

*Google Data, A/B test comparing clicks in Display campaigns vs. the same campaigns including new Display location extension formats from a randomized sample of Global display ads served and tested for statistical significance at 95% confidence, n=4K, Jan-Feb 2017
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Local digital marketing has been made even more efficient and easier for the small 'ma and pa' shops.

Data Studios is one little secret that can make a big wave considering that there are million dollar companies such as Tableau who have tried to corner the niche market of data visualization.

http://online-behavior.com/analytics/data-studio-segments
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A new year calls for new strategies. What impacts your content the most? Here are some tips to break out for 2017

http://www.webcroppers.com/impacts-content-strategy-2017/
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