30 Jan 2011

Google Is Giving Original Content Priority in Search Results

When you make a search you might have experienced that your search result (SERP) is full of pages which apparently have the same content. What you want is most likely the webpage which initially published the information. You click on the website you think might be the right one but instead you get to one of the websites which just scrapes content of other websites and publish it in order to attract traffic. These types of websites are worthless to you and your customers. They are a nuisance. And sometimes there are so many of them that you might never find the information you are looking for.

Earlier this week Google took action
Google is aware of this problem, Matts Cutts, Google's Principal Engineer, said in a blog post 21 January:

"And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content."

Google has now done something about this earlier this week, according to Matt Cutts. Google has improved the search results.

Original content will have priority
A search result is generated through a complex algorithm which we won't go into here. However, Google is able to tweaked this algorithm in order to manipulate the search result. Google has now tweaked this algorithm which should give original content more priority. This will also help companies if their competitor just copy the content. The company which was first to publish the content will have priority.

So you and your customers should be able to get better search results which will make it easier to find the information and products you and your customers are searching for.

See the whole blog post by Matt Cutts.

23 Jan 2011

Online Shoppers Don't Want to be Retargeted

Do the consumers have to share personal information on your e-commerce site? If you demand that they share personal information it might prevent you from increasing your online revenue. A survey from Baynote reveals that online shoppers are unwilling to share personal information with retailers in order to personalize their shopping experience.

How likely are you to share personal information for the sake of getting a more personalized shopping experience?
I am not willing to share personal information 37%
I would consider sharing personal information but prefer not to 47%
I would definitely share personal information 16%
Source: Baynote (January 2011)

In other words 8 in 10 are hesitant or unwilling to share personal information with retailers. A surprisingly high number and a fact we should take into account when designing the online shopping experince.

The reason many websites request personal information is to be able to retarget the consumer. If a visitor is shopping for a product but leaves the site without purchasing, the company needs personal information to retarget the visitor. In other words retargeting is the practice of targeting a consumer with ads after they have clicked on a product on a website but did not end up making the purchase. If you, for example, have put a pair of trousers in the shopping basket but did not make the purchase you'll see ads for the trousers when you're surfing different and unrelated sites in the future.

Consumers don't like it
The retailers and e-commerce professionals think the retargeting technique a great possibility to increase revenue. What do the online shoppers think? Unfortunately, they don't think it's so great. On the contrary, if retailers work with retargeting it might have great impact on the company's image. When asked how the consumers relate to the idea of retargeting, the consumers are quite clear, they don't link it.

When asked: "Whether you experienced retargeted ads or not, please indicate whether you agree or disagree with each of the following statements as they relate to the idea of retargeting."

It turns me off that specific retailer
Strongly disagree   6.0%
Somewhat disagree   7.4%
Neither agree nor disagree 38.4%
Somewhat agree 27.5%
Strongly agree 20.7%
Source: Baynote (January 2011)

I find them an invasion of privacy
Strongly disagree   5.6%
Somewhat disagree   6.5%
Neither agree nor disagree 34.3%
Somewhat agree 25.3%
Strongly agree 28.3%
Source: Baynote (January 2011)

Potential after all
The two above mentioned statements show that consumers don't like it but there might be some potential after all. Some consumers find retargetting useful and think it leads to additional purchases.

They lead to additional purchases
Strongly disagree 17.9%
Somewhat disagree 10.9%
Neither agree nor disagree 35.5%
Somewhat agree 25.5%
Strongly agree 10.2%
Source: Baynote (January 2011)

I find them useful                
Strongly disagree 17.5%
Somewhat disagree 15.3%
Neither agree nor disagree 34.7%
Somewhat agree 22.5%
Strongly agree 10.0%
Source: Baynote (January 2011)

Is the lesson that you can work with retargeting but do it in subtle way without attracting too much attention to it? Perhaps the solution is to put a time limit on so the consumers are only exposed to the ads for a week after the visit. 

See the whole Online Holiday Shopping Experience Survey by Baynote.

16 Jan 2011

This Year Social Media Is Integrated into the Business

Last year was the year of trial and error. This year, however, it seems to be the year where Social Media is to be measured and integrated into the business. The Altimeter Group has asked 140 companies where they were to invest in 2011.

And the result is that Social Media is finally taken seriously and becoming an integrated part of the business.

What internal social strategy objectives will you focus most on in 2011?
ROI measurements                   48%
Internal education and training 37%
Determining an organisational model 35%
Applying social insight to product roadmap 35%
Getting buy-in from stakeholders 32%
Developing a monitoring solution 30%
Getting tools and technologies in place 26%
Increasing budget 25%
Policies and procedures 22%
Source: Altimeter (2010)

See Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter's presentation on Slideshare and get more insight into Social Media.

9 Jan 2011

Companies Benefit from Social Media

Your company or organisation does benefit from Social Media. In a recent study from SAS Institute and Harvard Business Review companies all over the world (2,100 in this survey) are certain that their company or organisation are getting value from their Social Media investment. This is supporting my earlier blog post in which companies claimed to be satisfied with their Social Media ROI.

In the survey, half the companies in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia think Social Media are increasing awareness.

What have been the three primary benefits that use of Social Media has brought to your organization?

Increased awareness of our organization, products, or services among target customers                   50%
Increased traffic to website 30%
More favorable perceptions of our organization, products, or services 26%
Ability to monitor what is being said about our organization 23%
Development of targeted marketing activities 21%
Better understanding of customer perceptions of our brand 20%
Improved insights about our target market 19%
Identification of positive/negative comments 18%
Increase in new business 11%
Identification of new product or service opportunities 11%
Have not derived any benefits at this point  11%
Ability to measure the frequency of discussion about our organization  9%
Early warning of potential product or service issues  8%
Source: SAS Internet (2010)

And it doesn't stop here. In the future, we'll see companies investing more in Social Media.

Which of the following social media analytic activities do you plan on doing in the next two to three years? (Check all that apply)?

Integrate your social monitoring solution with other marketing solutions                   41%
Conduct customer sentiment analysis on feedback collected via social media 36%
Use a social media monitoring solution 33%
Use predictive analytics 27%
Measure the impact of online conversations 26%
Maintain a repository of social media/online conversations 18%
Analyze social media across multiple languages 12%
Other 10%
Source: SAS Institute (2010)

Social Media is a valuable marketing tool which needs to be integrated into the marketing activities and the analytics part needs to be improved. In the survey just half (51%) are aware of Social Media Analytics, which are the tools used for measuring, analyzing and interpreting the results of interactions between brands and consumers across digital channels. However, among the experienced users 75 per cent are aware of the concept.

Download the report The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action at SAS Institute.

3 Jan 2011

Two-thirds of Online shoppers Have Paid to Download Content from the Internet

Some years ago everybody was downloading music and videos illegally from the Internet, it seemed. At least this was the popular assumption in the media. But this might have changed. Now 65 per cent of all Internet users have paid to gain access to digital content, according to Pew Internet. The most popular digital content are music and software which 33 per cent have downloaded. It's been popular for a long time to buy plane tickets and cloths online but this survey shows that intangible/digital products are also popular among online shoppers.

Digital products shoppers have purchased online:

Product Percentage who have bought      
Music                   33%
Software 33%
Apps 21%
Digital games 19%
Digital magazine, newspaper, article or report 18%
Video, movie or show 16%
Ring tones 15%
Digital photos 12%
Premium content (on site with free material) 11%
E-book 10%
Podcast  7%
Tool or material to in video game  5%
Cheat codes (shame on you:-))  5%
Access to websites, eg dating service  5%
Adult content  2%
Source: Pew Internet (December 2010)

25 per cent have bought just one of the products mentioned above. However, 16 per cent have purchased six or more types of digital content.

The average amount the online shopper pays for the digital service is about $47 (€38, £30) per month, including subscription. However, most shoppers are spending about $10 (€7,5; £6) per month.

Download the report 65% of Internet users have paid for online content at Pew Internet.