Consumers Shopped till their Fingers Dropped

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The prediction that mobile searches and sales would escalate during the 2011 holidays came true. According to IBM, in December 2011 these numbers were double what they were for the same period last year.

14.6 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site launched from a mobile device, compared to 5.6 percent during the 2010 holiday season. Sales from mobile devices reached 11 percent versus 5.5 percent for the same period a year before.

Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic with Android coming in third. But as we posted earlier this week, Android shot ahead of iOS in market share in December, and is catching up to Apple in users.

A Marin Software report showed paid search clicks from mobile devices and tablets doubled over the third quarter to 10 percent of all paid search ad clicks. The click through rate on tablets was also 38 percent higher than on desktops.

Consumers have fallen in love with mobile shopping. Most reports show these numbers are only going up. On Christmas Day activations from both iOS and Android devices came in at more than 6.8 million devices, up from the 1.5 million devices earlier in December.

This phenomenal growth should drive businesses to make sure their websites load quickly and correctly on their customer’s iOS or Android powered devices. For example, the maximum page size for a mobile page is only 20 kilobytes. Vital information must fit within those limits in a powerful, concise way.

If you missed out this holiday season because of a slow site, don’t let it happen in 2012. Contact Fahrenheit Marketing today. We can review your site and help you get more traffic in the upcoming year.

Mobile Could Top 22 Percent of Total Search Spend Next Year

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A recent report released by Efficient Frontier (EFF) and Macquarie Capital predicts that paid search from mobile devices (including tablets) will comprise between 16-22%of total ad spend in 2012.

EMarketer also projects that 2012 search ad revenues in the US will reach approximately $17 billion. Given EFF’s projections, this means mobile spending will be $2.7 to $3.7 billion. Tablets account for half of clicks within mobile search, and nearly half of the revenue, while delivering 3 times more conversions.

Google is reaping most of the rewards from the rise in mobile search. According to the EFF study, Google receives roughly 96%of mobile search ad expenditures, while Yahoo/Bing combine for nearly all of the remaining 4%.

EFF’s report also compared average search query lengths of different platforms including: desktops, mobile handsets, and tablets. Desktop searchers tend to use the longest queries, followed by tablets, and then mobile handsets. However, as voice search becomes more popular, it will be interesting to see the changes in mobile search queries.

2011: The Year Online Marketing Changed Forever

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We’re nearly two thirds of the way through 2011 and we’ve already seen major developments in search marketing that will shape the way that users, companies and search engines will interact for years to come. Here are some of the biggest changes so far in 2011:

Quality Content is Now a Requirement

Plagued by complaints that content farms, spun articles and scrapers were outranking legitimate sites, Google released Panda, the most aggressive algorithm change in the last five years. The update sent a clear message to the search marketing community that the days of using low quality content for junk sites and easy links were numbered. The algorithm change has largely been successful but some argue that legitimate sites have been affected by the penalty as well.

Big Brands Aren’t Immune to Google Penalties

It was once believed that with one or two exceptions, big brands were immune to search penalties. Until the beginning of this year, the most recognizable company to receive a penalty was BMW and that was only for their German language site. The prevailing idea was that even if a brand was caught engaging in less than reputable tactics, Google wouldn’t penalize them out of a fear of potential litigation and damage to business relationships.

In a span of two months JC Penney, Forbes and were given penalties for a wide range of infractions including paid links, link farms and offering incentives for links. Though Google has now lifted their penalties it sent a clear message that big brands have to be vigilant and fully understand who is managing their online presence and what methods are being used to improve it.

Mobile Search and Optimization is More Important Than Ever

For the first time ever, smartphones outsold personal computers and local search is increasingly shifting towards mobile users. This means that businesses need to make sure they have sites that are mobile friendly and can be found through local search portals. One industry that relies heavily on local search but often creates sites that provide a poor user experience are restaurants. Their use of Flash and usually poor navigation is why we wrote a post highlighting best practices for restaurant web sites.

Human Interaction is a Ranking Signal

In 2011 human interaction became a ranking signal shifting the dynamic from automated ranking to moderated / social ranking. Google implemented personal blocklists, consumer sentiment and the ability to +1 a site in SERPs while Bing displays Facebook activity to users that are logged in. The human element of search engine optimization will eventually force sites and their associated businesses to provide a better overall experience with their online presence and real life product or they run the risk of fading into oblivion. This new level of influence can be exploited by spammers and competitors so it will be interesting to see how search engines deal with the darker side of human interaction.

The Media Has Become the New Way to Report Competitor Tactics

The New York Times and other media outlets are quickly becoming a new tool to report spam and questionable competitor practices. The Times has published multiple SEO-related stories this year including the JC Penney exposé that led to a sitewide penalty. They have also covered allegations of paid links in the online flower industry and wrote the story on DecorMyEyes that led Google to implement sentiment analysis into it’s algorithm. Disgruntled SEOs and marketing managers are starting to find that when Google doesn’t listen to their spam reports, they can go through PR departments and make sure that Google listens.

Search Continues to Increase Among Smart Phone Users

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A recent study by Performix shed new light on the way consumers interact with mobile search on their smartphones. Many people would expect most mobile searches to take place away from the home, but study findings showed the opposite was true.

The study consisted of a February survey of over 500 respondents, each accessing the web on their phones at least once a week and performing mobile search once per month. The study identified that mobile search is most heavily used in the home, both in the evenings and on weekends. Many users performed mobile searches while watching television (66%), and even while sitting in front of a computer (45%). According to study data, 81% of users reported the use of mobile search at home in the evenings and 80% of those users did mobile searches at home during the weekends.

Consumers appear to be largely satisfied with the results of their mobile search experience, and are performing searches at a rapidly increasing rate. The following statistics were uncovered during the survey:

75% of users claimed that the use of mobile search makes their lives easier
63% said that accessing mobile search has changed the way they gather information
32% said that they now perform more mobile searches than searches on their computer
3% of users claimed to be either not very, or not at all satisfied with the results of their mobile search

What does this mean?

The growing popularity of mobile search provides companies with an additional means of reaching their target audience. With an effective SEO strategy, companies are now able to reach the consumer both inside and outside of the home. Consumers are increasingly willing to divide their attention while performing other daily activities such as watching television or running errands. This mobile search trend offers companies a lower-cost alternative to traditional television marketing and point-of-purchase advertising.

Smart Phones Outsell PCs for the First Time Ever

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Smart phones are now outselling PCs according to fourth quarter shipping data. In the last three months of 2010, manufacturers shipped 100.9 million smart phones compared to 92.1 million computers. Smart phone shipments were up 87 percent year-over-year while PC shipments only posted a 3 percent increase. PC shipments have been affected by the growth of tablets and while increases can also be tied to the fact that consumers replace phones faster than computers.

While phones and computers have traditionally served different needs, the convergence of technology now allows phones to use applications and browse the web while computers can now make calls using programs like Skype. Businesses, especially those that are location based, need to recognize that more and more mobile visitors are accessing their sites and having flash intros or designs that don’t display well on can cost you customers from poor user experiences.

Mobile marketing presents a great opportunity for businesses through apps, mobile friendly designs and local search. Fahrenheit can design a custom mobile marketing approach and provide application development. Contact us for more information.