Mobile Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:30:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 What’s Your Open Rate? How to Write Compelling Intros for Mobile Email Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/compelling-email-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/compelling-email-marketing/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22502 How many of your current marketing tactics are over five years old? Marketing is a fast-paced profession; even if you’re still using the same channels, odds are your strategy has changed. How about ten years old? Twenty? Thirty? It’s surprising, then, that a marketing channel nearly forty years old is still one of the most [...]

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How many of your current marketing tactics are over five years old? Marketing is a fast-paced profession; even if you’re still using the same channels, odds are your strategy has changed. How about ten years old? Twenty? Thirty?

It’s surprising, then, that a marketing channel nearly forty years old is still one of the most relevant for digital marketing. Email marketing has been a steadily effective channel for decades, and advances in technology only make it easier to track, personalize, and optimize your campaigns.

Ever-increasing mobile device use has helped keep email marketing relevant, too. One study suggests 20-75% of your email opens will be on mobile. The younger your target audience, the more likely they are to use their phone as a primary email-reading device. Combine a self-selected audience with new ways to deliver the content they opted into, and it’s easy to see why email remains popular. How popular? A recent study from Salesforce found that email marketing has grown 83% in the last two years, across B2B and B2C.

However, the more valuable a marketing channel is, the more crowded it will become. More brands sending emails means more competition for your audience’s limited attention span.

Your email has to do more than provide value—it has to compel a click within a very limited character count. Here’s how to write subject lines and preview text that make your email more likely to get read.

Subject Lines – Every Character Counts

Counting up characters for email subject lines wouldn’t have made sense in a desktop-only world. There’s a virtual acre of screen real estate for your beautiful subject line to sprawl across. On mobile, though, there’s precious little space to make your case.

The exact character count varies by device, and whether it’s held in portrait or landscape mode. You could have as little as 33 characters – or about a quarter of a tweet.

You don’t have to completely limit your subject line to that short, of course. Just put your most persuasive language at the beginning. Which of the following truncated subject lines is more enticing?

  • Happy 4th of July! Enjoy the weath…
  • We miss you! Are you ready to get…
  • Free shipping today only + disco…

Personally, I’m only clicking on the last one. Even if only to find out if it’s “discounts” or an actual disco.

Basically, skip the pleasantries, the cutesiness, and the bizarre assertion that your brand “misses” someone. You can include all that in your preview text (more on that later). Instead, get down to:

  1. The Offer: “50% off sock puppets this Friday!”
  2. The Mystery: “Why do CEOs hate sock puppets?”
  3. The Thought Provoker: “How do you feel about sock puppets?”
  4. The Joke: “Every sock can be a sock puppet.”

Keep it all about the reader, and you’re far more likely to get an open.

Preview Text – Undervalued Real Estate

A great deal of marketing emails start with “housekeeping” stuff – a standard header that doesn’t have much to do with the subject at hand. That means the preview text displayed on a mobile device won’t give the reader more reasons to read it.

For example:

“How do you feel about sock puppets? Download this message as a pdf. Check out our sock puppet YouTube Channel.

Versus:

How do you feel about sock puppets? Senator Kelly wants to outlaw sock puppets.”

If your email starts with “click here to view on the website,” “view plain text version,” or a set of hyperlinks to navigate your site, you’re missing an opportunity for engagement.

Generally, you have about 90 characters for your preview text. So make your first couple of sentence irresistible. If you’re personalizing your emails (and you should be), make sure the preview text will demonstrate that personalization.

A Personal Email Marketing Success Story

I have an email subscription that sends daily emails. It’s pretty much the only one left that I still allow that frequency of access. And I open every single one and click through.

The email comes from online store meh.com. They have a different deal every day, and the email is just to let me know what’s on sale. But they don’t just say “Hi Josh, we have sock puppets today. Click to buy one.”

Here’s a screenshot of the email in my Gmail app:

I didn’t censor the subject line—meh are masters at introducing mystery in their subject line. They don’t tell me what’s for sale. They invite me to guess. The email body includes a few similarly redacted comments, inviting me to play along before clicking the link to see if I guessed right.

Mysterious subject line, compelling preview text, and an interactive element, delivered to my inbox daily. For me, that earns a 100% open rate (and several purchases).

Keep Them in the Know on the Go

It’s possible (though unlikely) that you have been sending marketing emails for forty years now. But you likely have a few years of experience. While email is more relevant than ever, it’s time for us to refresh our approach to grab the attention of mobile users. Keep your subject lines short and hyper-relevant, make your case in the preview text, and you can earn a tap on your message.

Just make sure that email leads to a mobile-optimized website, too.


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Three Crucial Truths for Engaging Your Audience on Mobile http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/02/reaching-audience-mobile/ Wed, 22 Feb 2017 11:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21928 My eight-year-old son recently asked me why the icons for “phone” look so weird. None of these images look like a phone to him:           Smartphones have already killed payphones and landlines. Now they’re poised to do the same to desktops and laptops. Google is already reporting more mobile searches than [...]

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My eight-year-old son recently asked me why the icons for “phone” look so weird. None of these images look like a phone to him:

 

 

 

 

 

Smartphones have already killed payphones and landlines. Now they’re poised to do the same to desktops and laptops. Google is already reporting more mobile searches than desktop searches. Desktop internet use has stagnated while mobile eats up an ever bigger share of our internet time.

It’s clear that the future of content consumption will increasingly be on mobile devices. There’s definitely still value in long-form content for users to settle in with on desktops. But your content strategy should include a healthy dose of mobile optimized content.

To fully take advantage of the opportunity, we need to understand how people use their mobile screens and alter our content accordingly.

Here are three big truths you need to know to create compelling mobile content.

#1: Your Audience Is in between Activities

People reach for their phones to fill a quick moment in time. They’re in the doctor’s office waiting room, or boiling water for pasta, or (let’s be honest) in the bathroom. Most people don’t pull out the phone thinking, “I’m going to settle in and read for an hour.” They’re planning on being interrupted.

Plan your content for someone who could put away their device at any time:

  • Frontload the value. Don’t be coy or mysterious. Now is not the time to build tension for a big reveal later. The first few paragraphs should let the reader know what’s in it for them.
  • Keep It Short. Jacob Baadsgaard at Disruptive Advertising did a fascinating experiment on content length. They found while mid-length content performed best on desktop, the shortest version of the same content performed best on mobile.
  • Don’t be shy with the CTA. More likely than not, your mobile reader isn’t going to reach the end of your content. Embed your CTA early on in the text.

#2: Your Audience Is Extremely Restless

People on mobile phones are not renowned for their patience. Google reports that although the average mobile site loads in seven seconds, most users are ready to bolt after just two.

Even if your page loads in quickly, you have a drastically-reduced window of time to capture reader attention.

Show them your content is worth the investment:

  • Include optimized, eye-catching images. Librestock is a good source for unique, royalty-free photos.
  • Make your headline tweetable. Your headline should be as sharp and efficient as a well-crafted tweet. Give readers a what and why before they get to your copy.
  • Avoid backscrolling. Give each section a header, and make sure each stands alone—your reader should be able to stop and come back hours later without having to reread.

#3: Your Audience Wants to Be Entertained

Even with the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips, mobile audiences are starved for entertainment. It’s what keeps us scrolling through Reddit or Buzzfeed, looking for a worthy distraction.

Multimedia can be a great way to differentiate your content and grab attention. There are plenty of ways to provide a more compelling experience on a limited budget.

Try these tools and techniques for engaging multimedia on mobile:

  • Animated video. Turn your images into a slideshow with animated text. Programs like Ripl can create nifty video for free, with advanced options for a premium.
  • Interactive Quizzes. Sites like Qzzr make it easy to create quizzes that are naturally optimized to look great on mobile. Qzzr also provides stats for the quiz’s creator, including number of times taken, time spent, completion rate, and more.
  • Infographics. No discussion of compelling visuals would be complete without Canva. Their templates make it possible to make a scrollworthy infographic without having to get a design degree first.

Don’t Be a Payphone in a Smartphone World

The majority of your audience is looking for content on mobile. Serve them content that suits the medium: Lead with the value, don’t give them a reason to bounce, and try some engaging multimedia content.

Most of all, make sure your content leads to the next step. Because while mobile may account for 60% of online traffic, it contributes only 16% of purchases. A solid content marketing strategy can span devices and help guide your customer to a conversion.


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Does Your Website Pass the Mobile Test? http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/02/mobile-seo-test/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/02/mobile-seo-test/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:30:07 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21908 It is hard to argue that the adoption of mobile devices hasn’t exploded with popularity. Most searches are being performed on mobile devices, with more searches expected to continue on mobile. Mobile is not only important for organic performance but for conversions from all types of traffic including email and paid channels. It is important [...]

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It is hard to argue that the adoption of mobile devices hasn’t exploded with popularity. Most searches are being performed on mobile devices, with more searches expected to continue on mobile.

Mobile is not only important for organic performance but for conversions from all types of traffic including email and paid channels. It is important to understand your mobile traffic to focus on the channels that convert the most on those devices. For some websites, mobile devices might bring in the majority of your traffic but the conversions might not be as high as desktop searches, because of less focus on the mobile experience.

Today, most websites are built with a responsive design to help make it mobile friendly, but that doesn’t mean marketers should stop there. Instead, marketers should optimize the entire mobile experience to enhance conversions and overall performance. To help you out, we built a list of actionable tips to make sure your site is mobile friendly from three categories: SEO for mobile devices, mobile content, and mobile conversions.

Mobile SEO Tactics

#1 – Choosing the right mobile website setup

When choosing your website setup, make sure you understand what mobile design you want. There are three main types of mobile sites including:

  • Responsive design
  • Dynamic site
  • Mobile only site (m.example.com)

Google recommends using a responsive design for your website to help make sure it is mobile friendly, but any option works when done correctly.

TopRank Marketing tip: Analyze your audience to understand what the best option is for your site. Not all sites need to have a responsive design, considering a mobile only site can be tailored to your mobile audience easier in some cases.

 

#2 – Test your site for mobile friendliness

There are multiple ways to test if your site is mobile friendly including the Google Usability Test, Google Search Console report, and Chrome Developer tools. Use multiple tools to be sure that your mobile site is rendering correctly instead of assuming that your site is mobile friendly.

TopRank Marketing tip: Use the Chrome Developer Tools to get a better idea of how your website looks like on certain devices by selecting the “inspect” element. Then in the bottom left-hand corner, select the button that looks like a mobile device (see below).

The screenshot below shows the look on a mobile device. You can choose between a responsive site by pixel size or actual mobile phones by selecting the drop down at the top of the screen.

 

#3 – Optimize your metadata

Mobile SERPs (search engine results page) have less real estate for organic listings than desktop SERPs. It is important to understand the search landscape and SERP space available to market yourself over your competitors.

TopRank Marketing tip: Keep your title tags shorter and more concise to avoid your title tags being cut off in the SERP. It is best practice to keep your title tags under, at least, 70 characters for your title tags.

 

#4 – Optimize for mobile keywords

Have you ever conducted a search with a “near me” signifier attached to it? Near me searches are increasing and doubled in 2015 for all types of users, but especially for mobile users. Mobile keywords can also include more voice queries that people conduct with their phones.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make sure you conduct keyword research for mobile users and target mobile keywords. The search intent of a keyword query can vary based on the device people use so optimizing for all types of keywords will help increase your visibility.

 

#5 – Content for mobile devices

There are multiple types of content that should be considered when creating content for mobile users and your audience. Most marketers are already considering the type of content to write for their website on the attract, engage, convert model, but there sometimes is a lack of focus on mobile consumption habits. Mobile consumption habits can change depending on the industry, so it is important to consider how your audience interacts with your website.

TopRank Marketing tip: If you are are sending email campaigns, consider your audience’s mobile consumption habits. Most emails are consumed on mobile devices (see below). Create all your content that you are promoting via your email or social media channels to be mobile friendly.

 

Image via: cdn.emailtoday.com

 

#6 – Geotargeting on your mobile app

If you have a larger audience that uses your mobile app, you might want to consider geotargeting the users when they are close to a storefront, event, or at a specific location. Geotargeting is a great way to encourage action from your audience when they are located in the right areas at the right time.

TopRank Marketing tip: Consider using different imagery and messaging for users in different locations when they are using your app or website. Also, consider sending notifications to mobile app users to entice action when they are at a physical location.

 

Mobile Content Creation

#1 – Consider the content length and types

Consider the length and type of content you are creating for your audience, both on mobile and desktop. As we already covered, there typically is a difference in search intent for users on mobile devices compared to desktop computers. With that in mind, you need to be customer-focused and analyze where your audience is within the funnel for your content assets.

TopRank Marketing tip: Develop audience personas to understand the way your audience searches online. Personas can be a powerful tool when creating content for your website.

 

#2 – Make sure to communicate the value quickly

It is important to communicate your value clearly and quickly to mobile users. Often, banners sometimes push the value proportion below the fold, which may increase the amount of bounces on the page and confuse users where they are on your website.

TopRank Marketing tip: Reduce the amount of unnecessary space or elements on your mobile device to only include what is needed. Less is often more when you are dealing with the limited amount of space on a mobile device.

 

#3 – App optimization

Mobile websites are a must for your online strategy, but apps can provide even a better user experience. Not all companies need to develop and create a mobile app, but for the ones that do, you need to optimize those experiences. Apps should be tailored to solving the user’s problem or creating an unique experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Optimize your app for the user experience to solve your audience’s problem. After you create your app, make sure you optimize your App store listing to increase your visibility on other channels.

 

#4 – QR codes

QR codes are another solid tactic to add to the dedicated mobile experience. When used correctly, you can push users directly to a location easily with QR codes on psychical flyers or other traditional marketing materials.

TopRank Marketing tip: Test using QR codes on physical marketing materials to push people to a section online with their mobile phones that offers an experience dedicated to them.

 

#5 – SMS messaging

SMS messaging is a way to help you get in front of more of your audience via messaging apps. SMS messaging can be a powerful tool to send notifications to your audience that opted in to encourage specific actions or enhance customer experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make your messages personal to help encourage action. Also, make sure to include a clear CTA within the message to see the most value out of your campaign.

 

Mobile Conversions

#1 – Manually audit your layout on your responsive design

Your site might not be mobile friendly even though it might have a responsive design. A responsive site is typically better than a non-mobile site but sometimes issues can still arise. Some issues we typically see are videos not formatted to the correct screen size, the layout pushes the content below the fold, or the font size is too small.

There could be a vast majority of other issues with a responsive design, so make sure you optimize the layout of each page type.

TopRank Marketing tip: Look at what screen size is being utilized the most on your website within Google Analytics. Navigate in your Google Analytics dashboard to go to Audience ? Mobile ? Overview ? Screen Size to quickly analyze what screen size to optimize for first.

 

#2 – Consider your thumb reach

Make sure you consider the thumb reach to encourage action on your mobile design. Making your users reach and work out their thumb can create friction and a low-quality user experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make your CTAs within a thumbs reach to improve conversions. Also, consider using sticky headers to help mobile users navigate quickly through your site.

 

#3 – Site speed

Site speed has become more important as a ranking factor for search engines, and rightly so. A fast loading site helps provide a solid user experience and can help increase the crawl rate of the site by search engines. All marketers should be focusing on site speed as a priority item. Below are some tools to test your site speed:

TopRank Marketing tip: Test your mobile site with multiple different tools to get a holistic view on site speed aspects. Prioritize the site speed items to get the most ROI from the work instead of optimizing for every site speed item.

 

#4 – Image optimization

Similarly to site speed, optimizing images will help site speed and user experience. A responsive site often uses the same image that is not probably sized for each device screen.

TopRank Marketing tip: Use different image sizes that can be used at different viewports to pull in images that are the correct size for the device.

 

#5 – Form Optimization

Congratulations! Someone has decided to start filling out a form on your site. That is a great goal to accomplish, but nothing is more disappointing than losing that user after they choose to abandon the form. Optimizing your forms for mobile users is a great way to increase conversions.

TopRank Marketing tip: Adjust the type of the keyboard for mobile users to use the right one for the form fields. For example, use the keyword field to show numbers for phone number fields and a different keyboard for email fields.

 

Your Optimized Mobile Experience

Above are some actionable tactics that you might want to optimize for your mobile website. There are even more areas and opportunities to optimize on your mobile website than listed above. If you’d like to find out if your website passes the mobile test, contact us today to receive a mobile optimization audit.


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The Future of Search Engine Optimization: Top SEO Predictions for 2017 http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/seo-predictions-2017/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/seo-predictions-2017/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2016 11:30:11 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21681 In the past, the SEO battle was focused on either black hat, or white hat tactics. Black hat SEO was considered extremely aggressive and didn’t typically play by the rules of search engines. White hat SEO tactics on the other hand were typically closely aligned with search engine guidelines. Today’s world of SEO looks much [...]

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2017-seo-predictions

In the past, the SEO battle was focused on either black hat, or white hat tactics. Black hat SEO was considered extremely aggressive and didn’t typically play by the rules of search engines. White hat SEO tactics on the other hand were typically closely aligned with search engine guidelines.

Today’s world of SEO looks much different (and it’s about time). Instead of hyper focusing only on keywords or search engine needs, smart marketers are concentrating first and foremost on the needs of users. User experience as it relates to mobile accessibility, content structure and user intent on search engines have become the new norm.

Content is the reason search began in the first place. – Lee Odden

As many of you know, TopRank Marketing’s history is deeply rooted in SEO. Over the years, we’ve continued to incorporate an optimized approach to digital marketing by implementing integrated digital marketing programs that always follow SEO best practices.

But what does the future of SEO hold, is there more? We tapped into the minds of some great marketers to provide their predictions of what SEO will look like in 2017.

Experts Share Their Top Predictions for 2017

Doug Walker

doug-walker-seo-prediction

Senior Search Marketer, Dell
@dougwalkerseo


Companies will experience big wins by creating relevant and highly useful content. @dougwalkerseo
Click To Tweet


While I think it will be important to be up to speed with AMP and other important technologies, with continued content saturation, I think we’ll see even bigger wins by companies who can remain focused on the effort to:

1) Create stand-out content, completely relevant and highly useful to their target audience.

2) Successfully promote that content to drive consistent engagement in the form of links, social shares, news, and other buzz.

Troy Eaves

troy-eaves-seo-prediction

Senior Manager, Digital Media – Target Corp
@Troyville


In 2017, RankBrain will factor in more user intent signals than ever before. @Troyville
Click To Tweet


We’re already seeing RankBrain begin to ‘take over’ and factor in more user intent signals than ever before. I think that will continue to happen and increase in 2017 (specifically, time on site, bounce rates, etc.). I think CTR from SERPs will be a bigger factor in re-ranking URLs as people develop more affinity for the brands they like and click on them when they see them; regardless if they are in pos. #1 or #9.

I think people will try to optimize for voice searches because, well voice is here. I think links will still be important. I don’t care what article you read that says they are dying, they aren’t. I think social sentiment around brands, hashtags, keyword association (neighbors) across the web will help sort results.

If social platforms ever work together with Google, I could see platform specific searches influence rank on Google too.

Kevin Cotch

kevin-cotch-seo-prediction

SEO Analyst, TopRank Marketing
@KCotch


SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward into 2017. @KCotch
Click To Tweet


The most significant change for SEO in 2017 will be the importance of the mobile-first index for Google. Many sites are ready for a mobile-first index but unfortunately many others are not. Google is continuing its focus on mobile, and it has been increasingly important to optimize for mobile users. SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward in 2017 in terms of metadata and user experience.

Danny Goodwin

danny-goodwin-seo-prediction

News Writer, Search Engine Journal
@DannyNMIGoodwin


In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. @DannyNMIGoodwin
Click To Tweet


With the rise of Google RankBrain, AI and machine learning are becoming incredibly important to think about for marketers and SEOs who want to capture valuable search visibility and be found at key moments of the customer journey.

What do these types of algorithms reward? Engagement – how many searchers click on your result and how long they stick around on your website. While these aren’t the only signals Google looks at to determine the quality of its search results (and where your site should rank for specific queries), it is definitely important.

In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. Specifically: organic search CTR and time on site.

Even if improving your organic CTR and time-on-site doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it will still bring in more traffic that sticks around longer (and is more likely to convert). Write great titles that make searchers click – and reward searchers for their click by providing awesome, relevant content to match.

 

Optimize for Humans in 2017

Each of these experts shared great advice about different tactics that they predict will rule 2017. You’ll notice that the core message behind each of these predictions is the same: put people first.

By focusing on creating a great user experience and understanding what it is that your users want, you’ll start 2017 off on the right foot!

Disclosure: Dell is a TopRank Marketing client.

 


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Mobile SEO in 2017: What You Need to Know to Prepare for the Upcoming Year http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/mobile-seo-tactics/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/mobile-seo-tactics/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:30:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21664 Today, most online searches happen on mobile devices, not desktop computers. The advancements in technology and the ability to always being connected has led the charge for users to consume more information via mobile devices. Since most searches now happen on mobile devices, Google is making the move to go all-in on mobile. Google claims [...]

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mobile-seo-tactics-2017

Today, most online searches happen on mobile devices, not desktop computers. The advancements in technology and the ability to always being connected has led the charge for users to consume more information via mobile devices. Since most searches now happen on mobile devices, Google is making the move to go all-in on mobile. Google claims that their algorithms will eventually primarily use a mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages over a desktop version.

Google Switches to Mobile First

Google recently announced that they are switching the way that they index websites. Historically, Google has indexed websites based off of desktop sites. Now, Google will be using a mobile first index that will probably alter the results for desktop searches. Google has always encouraged webmasters to focus on mobile users and this index switch solidifies the importance of mobile optimization.

If you have a website that shows different content on mobile and desktop then you may want to consider making updates to your website. The biggest updates you should make is to:

  • Serve structured markup for both desktop and mobile sites
  • Verify the markup on both versions of the page
  • Avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant
  • Make sure your mobile site is crawlable and indexable by Googlebot

In the article, Google mentioned that you do not need to change anything if you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across your mobile and desktop sites. Also, Google states, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.” With Google moving all-in on mobile, it is more important now to focus on your mobile strategy.

Optimizing for Mobile Users

One of the most important elements of mobile SEO is conducting keyword research and creating content for mobile users. Often, organizations fail at thinking of the mobile user when designing a page or drafting content. It is important to think through all the types of searches your audience will conduct on any type of device. Mobile search queries typically include more conversational-based queries that are related to voice searches. Also include content that users will want to consume on their mobile devices.

When optimizing for mobile devices, make sure to take in account the lack of search engine result page (SERP) real estate. The amount of real estate on a mobile SERP is much smaller than desktop or tablet devices (as you can see below) so try to be concise within the title tags and other metadata. Besides optimizing the metadata and content, consider adding schema markup to the page to help show rich snippets on the mobile SERPs to gain more visibility.

mobile-serps

Another tactic to consider when optimizing for mobile devices is the pagespeed. Google has continued to put an emphasis on pagespeed especially for mobile devices over the last couple years. A slow loading mobile page provides a low-quality user experience, which can cost websites many valuable customers.

Designing for Mobile Users

Another best practice for mobile SEO is to avoid intrusive pop ups or interstitials. Google stated in an article, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” As frustrating as popups can be on mobile sites, there are research studies that show how effective they can be for gaining miro-conversions. If you choose to use popups on your mobile site make sure that it does not take up the majority of the content or is difficult to close by January 10, 2017. Below are examples of interstitials that make content less accessible that Google provided within the article.

 

mobile-seo

Another design aspect for mobile devices other than popups or interstitials is to make sure all elements are easy to click on. The layout should be thought through to avoid accidental clicks or any issue with scrolling through a page.

Impactful Technical Elements for Mobile

There are three main techniques you can serve a mobile site to users. Those three ways include responsive design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs. Each technique can provide a solid user experience for different reasons. Google does a great job explaining the differences of each technique.

Another technical perspective to consider for mobile devices is to avoid using Flash elements. Find other means to develop interactive elements so that users can use them on all types of devices. Another technical perspective is to not block CSS, JavaScript, or images from Googlebot. Googlebot wants to crawl those elements on the page so it can help elevate it.

Mobile SEO Should be at the Core of Your Digital Strategy

Overall, it is important to make sure your mobile site is optimized and provides the best user experience possible. Make sure to update your mobile site, if possible, as Google continues to experiment the updated mobile first index. If you currently do not have a mobile site, then you might want to begin thinking about developing one. There isn’t a sudden rush to complete, but an optimize mobile site can help increase your ROI for your online marketing channels.

Out of curiosity, how many of you read this post on a mobile device?

If you have questions about your mobile site or SEO strategy, contact TopRank Marketing to get your mobile SEO audit.


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Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Mobile Content Connects http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/4-ways-mobile-content/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/4-ways-mobile-content/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:30:15 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21556 How often do you use your smartphone as a phone? Personally, I think of it as more for avoiding human interaction than facilitating it: These days my desktop and home laptop are gathering dust; I can do it all on my phone. The only reason we still call them “phones” is “personal computation device” sounds [...]

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mobile-content-connects

How often do you use your smartphone as a phone? Personally, I think of it as more for avoiding human interaction than facilitating it:
phonechart

These days my desktop and home laptop are gathering dust; I can do it all on my phone. The only reason we still call them “phones” is “personal computation device” sounds too nerdy.

All of which to say: Mobile is the current and next frontier for content marketing. Reports show that 65% of digital media time is now spent on a mobile device. Not only that, all digital growth is now coming from mobile usage—expect to see desktop traffic stagnate or reduce while mobile traffic continues to grow.

So how do you create content that works as well on a 5-inch screen as it does on a 17-inch monitor? Here are a few guidelines.

Focus on the Center of the Screen

Eye tracking studies show that most people read in an f-shaped pattern on a monitor:

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking

The top left corner tends to get most of the attention, and the outer right edge gets virtually none. This pattern has informed web design for the past decade. We tend to put the most important information on the top and down the left side.

On mobile devices, however, there usually isn’t space for f-optimized content. Eye tracking on mobile shows people focus their attention on the center of the screen and on images.

For content marketers, that means:

  • Shorten your headline to fit on one line
  • Adjust your header image to put the headline front and center
  • Add a short blurb under the headline summarizing the content

If your reader has to swipe, shrink or tap to see your content, they’re likely to hit the back button instead.

Ditch the Interstitials

On a desktop, those pop-up windows with special offers do get results without affecting readership overly much. When the little “Do You Want 1100 Secrets about Cheese?” window shows up, it’s easy to click “Yes! Cheese Me up!” or “No Thanks, I’m Lactose Intolerant” and go about your day.

On a mobile device, though, interstitials tend to lead to bounces. It affects the user experience enough that Google will start penalizing pop-ups in January.

Instead of a pop-up, you can embed your offer in the content as an organic call to action based on what they’re already reading. That way you can enhance the content with a next-step offer, instead of obscuring it.

Think Scroll, Not Click

From an advertising perspective, content consumption on desktop is a page at a time. Each new page load is an opportunity to display new ads. So it makes sense to add page breaks into content; the more, the better.

For mobile users, though, each page break means tapping a tiny “Next” button with pinpoint precision. It ranges from a mild nuisance to a bounce-worthy offense.

It’s better to put your content all on one page and let readers scroll vertically through it. Swiping up to scroll is easier than playing target practice with a Next button.

If you can organize content in a slideshow, so users can swipe left and right to see it, that works, too. But the best option is still one long page.

Optimize Your Text

Mobile users tend to read content in shorter sessions than laptop or desktop users. Not only that, the time reading is likely to be full of distractions. Your content may be competing with another screen, another person, or a sidewalk full of pedestrian obstacles.

It’s best to make your writing efficient, skimmable, and resumable if interrupted. Here’s how:

  • Keep sentence structure simple. You don’t have to write like Tarzan, but avoid paragraph-long sentences.
  • Use headers to highlight your main points.
  • Break paragraphs every 2-3 sentences. If the text fills the whole screen with no white space, your reader can get lost.
  • Avoid vague paragraph starters like “Because of this [referring to the previous paragraph], we should…” Your reader will have to scroll backward, and may opt out. Keep the momentum moving forward, repeating points if you need to.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Increasingly, your audience is going to be searching for and consuming content on mobile devices. To avoid search engine penalties and high bounce rates alike, make sure your content is optimized for mobile. Put the most pertinent information front-and-center, get rid of interruptions, and make the text easy to consume. With the right content, you might persuade your reader to use their phone as a phone—to give your business a call.

What else does the future hold for content marketing? Check out our expert predictions for 2017.


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What Does ‘Mobile-Friendly Content’ Really Mean? http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/07/mobile-friendly-content/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/07/mobile-friendly-content/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:30:36 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20797 If you’re a 90’s kid, you likely have fond memories of Saved by the Bell and its star, precocious Ferris Bueller type Zack Morris. You could tell Zack was unique among the students at Bayside High. For one thing, he could stop time and address the camera directly. But more importantly, he had a cellular [...]

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mobile-friendly-content

If you’re a 90’s kid, you likely have fond memories of Saved by the Bell and its star, precocious Ferris Bueller type Zack Morris.

You could tell Zack was unique among the students at Bayside High. For one thing, he could stop time and address the camera directly. But more importantly, he had a cellular phone. Sure, it was the size (and probably weight) of a brick. But it wasn’t connected to a landline! That big rubberized antenna didn’t connect with a corded receiver nearby—it pulled connectivity out of thin air. Magical.

Fast forward to today, and kids who were born after Saved by the Bell went off the air are now entering the workforce. If they met Zack Morris, they would probably make fun of his hair, his clothes, and his giant phone.

Image via YouTube.

Image via YouTube

Mobile phones aren’t reserved for cool kids with time-stopping powers anymore. Whether we’re old, young, or middle-aged and trapped in a nostalgia loop, smartphones are our constant companions.

It’s high time for marketers to catch up with this reality. Over a year ago—an eternity in Internet time—Google announced that more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. That fact has led Google to include mobile friendliness as part of its ranking algorithm. They know more people are on mobile than ever before. And they are invested in providing a better experience for mobile users.

Being on Google’s good side isn’t the only advantage to being mobile friendly, though. The only reason Google prioritizes mobile friendliness is that it’s what users want. That is, it’s what your audience wants.

So, how is your mobile experience? Sure, you already have responsive design, but is your content actually optimized for people to consume it on a mobile device? Or is reading your site more like trying to catch Pokémon on Zack Morris’ phone?

Here’s how to make different types of content more mobile-friendly.

Optimize Video Content

Video is the rising star of mobile content. Thirty-five percent of viewers watched more video last year than they did the previous year. And 36% said they watched videos that last five minutes or longer every day.

If you want your audience to spend their precious data allotment on your video, it’s important to make sure the experience is a pleasant one:

  • Use a service that automatically optimizes the tech stuff. Don’t fiddle with bitrates and compression on your own. Go third-party with YouTube or Vimeo for a seamless user experience. If you want to host your own video, use Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming. It can adjust the video quality on the fly to match bandwidth capability, just like Netflix does.
  • Make sure text is readable. Mobile screens are small. Even the big ones are small. Don’t make your viewer squint to see the fine print.
  • Make it make sense without audio. Eighty-five percent of video on Facebook is played without sound. And even if your viewer has their headphones in, odds are they’re in an environment that makes listening difficult. Try watching the video on mute to make sure it still gets your points across.

Optimize Images

Load times are a major factor in someone engaging with your content or bouncing back to the search results. So it’s important that your content gets in front of them fast. At the same time, though, visual interest is another major factor in staying versus bouncing. So you have to have both a responsive site and one with visual appeal. To do that, make sure your images will load fast and look great:

  • Create images in a pre-optimized format. Use a tool like Canva to create images the right size and resolution for social media and email.
  • Use smart compression. You can compress .jpg files a bit without compromising their appearance. But too much compression leads to ugliness. Tinyjpg is a neat tool that compresses by reducing the color depth in ways invisible to the human eye. It’s downright spooky.
  • Use a tool for responsive resizing. If you have web development wizards on your side, they can help with responsive resizing from the server side. If you have to go it alone, a service like ly Display can do the heavy lifting.

Optimize Text Content

Yes, Virginia, people do still read text on mobile. It’s not all videos and images and virtual-reality roller coasters. But they’re reading for shorter periods of time and with much greater potential for distraction. So a wall of text will be even less effective than it is on a laptop screen. Here’s how to guide a reader through your text content without losing them:

  • Serve content in snack-friendly chunks. Think short sentences and short paragraphs, broken up by visual assets, video, embedded content from Vine, Instagram, or Snapchat, or at least white space.
  • Use headers for navigation. Make sure readers can skim the post and get a good idea of what you’re talking about. Think of the headers as the “trailer” to entice people to take in the whole post.
  • Include the main points in your conclusion. If your article starts to look like a time commitment, mobile readers might just swipe to the bottom and see how it wraps up. Make sure the relevant points and call to action are waiting for them.

Mobile Friendly is People Friendly

Regardless of where they encounter your content, you want your audience to have a positive experience reading or watching it. So make sure your brand is putting its best face forward for the 50% who will encounter you first on mobile. Give them responsive video content that makes sense even if their headphones are off. Make sure your images look great, display properly, and load quickly. And make sure your text is snackable, navigable, and skimmable.

What are your top tips for creating mobile-friendly content? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.


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20 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Busy Digital Marketers http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/20-must-have-mobile-apps/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/20-must-have-mobile-apps/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20547 The interconnectivity of today’s world means that digital marketers are never “off the clock”. Just because it’s a Saturday at 5pm, that doesn’t mean that there may not be a fire that needs to be put out, or a post that needs to go live. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic for marketers to be constantly tied [...]

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20-must-have-mobile-apps-for-digital-marketers

The interconnectivity of today’s world means that digital marketers are never “off the clock”. Just because it’s a Saturday at 5pm, that doesn’t mean that there may not be a fire that needs to be put out, or a post that needs to go live.

Unfortunately, it’s not realistic for marketers to be constantly tied to their laptops and wifi (especially during the summer months). Thankfully, the invention of smartphones and the handy applications that go along with them, make staying connected on the go a breeze.

Below are 20 must-have mobile apps for marketers who can’t always be at their computer, but need to stay connected.

Category: Social Media Mobile Apps

If you’re a digital marketer that performs any sort of social media marketing function, then the apps below are no brainers to keep you connected.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Instagram
  5. Google+
  6. Pinterest

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some social media management apps that can also be extremely handy:

#7 – Hootsuite: Marketers can schedule posts for networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all from this app. Hootsuite also includes a light reporting function that is free and more advanced reporting for a cost.

#8 – Buffer: If you’re looking for a user-friendly social media scheduling tool, then you have to check out the Buffer app. Users can determine how often and at what times are optimal for publishing and begin adding messages to the queue. Analytics are also provided for each post that publishes through the app.

#9 – Sprout Social: If you’re a Sprout Social user, then this handy app can help you stay connected with all of your social networks in one place. Messages are very easy to compose and publish, and the analytics are easily accessible.

#10 – Tweet Deck: It’s no lie that Twitter can quickly become overwhelming if you take your eye off of it for too long. Tweet Deck makes it simple to monitor and interact on the topics that matter most to your brand.

Category: Content Consumption Mobile Apps

Part of being a savvy digital marketer means constantly consuming content that helps educate and provide different perspectives. The apps below can help you do just that:

#11 – Pocket: When you’re sitting at your desk or on the train or bus, you may uncover articles that you want to dive into, but not at that time. Pocket allows users to quickly discover and save articles to read when you have more time.

#12 – Feedly: If you’re looking for a one-stop place for curated news then look no further than Freedly. With this app you can easily access all of your news channels into one source in an easy-to-read format.

#13 – Mashable: The latest and greatest marketing news can likely be found on the Mashable app. The pure amount of content that they publish on a daily basis will ensure that readers are up to speed with the biggest news articles related to digital marketing.

Category: Notes on the Go Mobile Apps

You never know when inspiration might strike, or when you might receive a document that needs to be shared with other team members for editing. These apps will help keep you organized and in-touch on-the-go:

#14 – Evernote: This app has the potential to keep you more organized than you ever imagined. Not only can you take notes on-the-go but you can also create to-do lists, and sync everything between your phone, tablet and computer.

#15 – Dropbox: Storing files on a smartphone can take up an incredible amount of memory. Fortunately, there are apps like Dropbox that allow users to upload photos, documents, videos and other file types and easily share.

#16 – Google Drive: Sometimes marketers need the ability to share, and even edit files on a mobile device. Google Drive provides a great platform for creating, editing, viewing and sharing documents from anywhere.

Category: Mobile Apps You Didn’t Know You Needed

#17 – Nimble: If you’re interested in learning more about prospects that you’re pursuing, partners you have meetings with or just want to see who to connect with, Nimble is an app that you need. Nimble helps manage your relationships and personal agendas by connecting with your contacts and calendars. You can also quickly find out more information about potential connections by using the app’s discovery tool.

#18 – Perch: Have a pulse on what’s happening in your office when you’re on the go, or on the road. Perch provides a face-to-face communication with your team wherever you are.

#19 – Google Analytics: GA can be a somewhat overwhelming platform if you don’t know what you’re looking for. However, this helpful app helps users check in on key metrics and monitor real-time data with a few simple clicks.

#20 – TeamViewer: If you’re the office IT guy or need to access someone’s computer remotely than this is an app that you need to download. You can easily access Windows, Mac and Linux systems to provide any support or gain access needed to help your team.

What Are Your Favorite Mobile Apps?

The list above only scratches the surface of mobile apps that are available for digital marketers. Which apps do you find help make you the most productive?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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4 Elements of a Mobile Strategy That All Marketers Should Pay Attention To http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/05/4-elements-mobile-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/05/4-elements-mobile-strategy/#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 10:30:47 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20432 I hate to admit it, but like most people today I take my phone almost everywhere I go. As a society, we have become very reliant our SmartPhones because they make life easier. I use my phone for the common purposes, but when I think about it,  it is incredible how much research and reading [...]

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mobile-strategy

I hate to admit it, but like most people today I take my phone almost everywhere I go. As a society, we have become very reliant our SmartPhones because they make life easier. I use my phone for the common purposes, but when I think about it,  it is incredible how much research and reading I do on it too. And I am not alone. According to Think With Google,

“Over two-thirds of smartphone users (68%) say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, and 30% admit they actually get “anxious” when they don’t have their phone on them. Millennials? They’re really attached. Eighty-seven percent always have their smartphone at their side, day and night.”

I might have a nasty habit of being reliant on my phone, but that’s because marketers have made the mobile experience easy for me. I’m much more willing to look at my phone for information when the experience is just as solid as I would find on using a desktop or laptop computer.

Whether you’re just embarking on a mobile marketing initiative or want to see if you’re on the right track, check out the four areas below that your team should be considering as part of your mobile strategy.

Mobile Digital Marketing Strategy

It is important to understand who your audience is and what type of activity they take while online. For example, some companies might be better suited for mobile traffic like local businesses compared to B2B companies. Regardless of the type of company, mobile has increased in importance. Consumers are more savvy online and are accessing websites on multiple devices. It is important to have a fluid and optimized mobile experience to engage your consumers.

There are really two areas of mobile strategy that we can focus on: mobile apps and mobile websites. Define your mobile target audience’s goals when developing your mobile strategy. Your mobile target audience will most likely have, at least, a couple different goals than desktop users.

#1 – Mobile App Strategy – There’s an app for that?

Have you ever heard the expression, “There’s an app for that?” Apple may have trademarked the saying for its own marketing reasons, but the statement points out that there are clearly too many apps available for consumers today. A mobile strategy isn’t just about having a mobile-friendly website. There are multiple other layers involved within the mobile market.

Often, the mobile experience is different than the desktop experience, which can help marketers  identify if a mobile app is even worth developing. In some situations, developing a mobile app is the correct decision especially if the experience tailored to a specific action(s). In other situations, there really isn’t a need to have an app developed for a specific action or user group. Instead, focus on creating a mobile-friendly website that provides a fluid experience between the desktop and mobile devices.

If you create an mobile app, take the proper steps to optimize the app store location page and build a campaign to promote the app. Optimize your listing by including keywords in your title and throughout the app description. Search engine optimization should not only focus on Google or Bing, but can expand to app store optimization or other locations online.  To help rankings within the app stores, focus on getting quality reviews and ratings. Also, look into ways to incorporate deep linking to get indexable app content within search engines.

#2 – Mobile Website Strategy – Is my mobile website content friendly?

The first step when creating a mobile-friendly website is to technically develop the site correctly. Two options to create a mobile website could are having a responsive website or an individual mobile (m.example.com). It is important to keep in mind what content you want to add to your website for your mobile users.

You will need to conduct mobile keyword research regardless of you are creating a mobile app or website to guide the correct type of content creation. Keywords can hold multiple meanings when comparing mobile to desktop users. Searcher intent holds more importance than the search volume for a keyword.

If you create a mobile friendly-website consider applying AMP (accelerated mobile pages) to your blog pages to help increase site speed for mobile users. AMP can be explained as html on a diet so that a web page can load almost instantly. Google and some social media platforms have placed more emphasis on accelerated mobile pages as they want to provide the a fast user experience to mobile users.

#3 – Mobile analytics – Make informed decisions for your audience

After you have developed your mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to track your mobile metrics. Just like any marketing decision, updates to your mobile strategy should have data to support your decision. Analyzing your mobile analytics is a critical step in your mobile strategy both when developing and ongoing. Google Analytics does a solid job with mobile reporting to helps us marketers make the informed decisions we need to make to delight our consumers.

The best place to start when looking at mobile metrics are the engagement metrics. Most websites have more mobile users than desktop users now. Although you may have a majority of your traffic from mobile, we can take it a step further by looking at the following metrics to judge the performance of our mobile strategy:

  • Bounce rate (and/or adjusted bounce rate)
  • Pages per session
  • Hard or soft conversions
  • Site speed on mobile
  • Page path
  • Landing pages
  • Top performing eCommerce products

You are now able to take the mobile metrics and compare them to desktop metrics to see how much discrepancies there are. The actionable data from Google Analytics will allow us marketers to make informed decisions on any changes that might be needed, like type of content on the mobile site/app, design, and usability.

#4 – Mobile Usability – Make the experience fluid

Just because something looks good on desktop doesn’t mean that it will work on a mobile device. Use actual devices or tools to identify potential issues when it comes to mobile rendering. Check to see how the mobile page renders even though your site might be mobile friendly. The page could look different on multiple devices even if it is deemed mobile friendly creating a poor user experience.

It is important to view how close are buttons/links are to each other. I unfortunately have fat fingers, which makes it difficult for me to click on the correct links even when I’m focusing intently. Ideally, you shouldn’t make any action of your mobile website/app difficult to perform. Making the experience as fluid as possible will help users take the actions you want them to make. Make sure to include A/B tests for your mobile design to also help make informed decisions about the aesthetic of the website/app. Google provided a great resource on some simple best practices when designing a mobile website.

Mobile Marketing Strategy to the Rescue

There is no question on how important mobile is anymore. If fact, marketers need to start focusing on how to use mobile analytics and strategy to provide a better experience for consumers. Mobile technologies will only keep evolving and we need to stay on top of the data to reach our target audiences. I might not need a desktop computer much longer if marketers continue to get better at providing the best experience for mobile users.

Header image via Shutterstock


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B2B Mobile Marketing for Demand Generation? Yes! Examples and Quick Tips http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/07/b2b-mobile-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/07/b2b-mobile-marketing/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:26:38 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18978 When you think of mobile marketing, visions of searches for store hours, maps and getting tips from Facebook friends about good restaurants probably come to mind – all consumer focused. But what about B2B marketing and mobile? Why mobile marketing for B2B demand generation: In many countries, including the U.S., more Google searches take place [...]

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B2B Mobile MarketingWhen you think of mobile marketing, visions of searches for store hours, maps and getting tips from Facebook friends about good restaurants probably come to mind – all consumer focused. But what about B2B marketing and mobile?

Why mobile marketing for B2B demand generation:
In many countries, including the U.S., more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. (Google). That means B2B demand gen content must be mobile friendly.  Also, 52% of B2B customers are using smartphones to research products for their businesses. (Forrester) so the demand is certainly there.

So which B2B companies using mobile marketing can we learn from?

Here are a few examples:

Fedex Access Mobile Magazine
ACCESS is a FedEx Corp publication available for mobile consumption through iPad, Kindle Fire and Android devices. The ACCESS mobile magazine app offers interactive features designed specifically for tablets and Android smartphones, including videos and dynamic slideshows.

Power More Dell Mobile
Power More is a Dell content platform that provides customized content to technology decision-makers optimized for mobile devices.
 (Disclosure, Dell is a TopRank Marketing client)

Gateway Emerson Mobile
Gateway to Emerson is an iPad app that is among numerous mobile apps and mobile optimized experiences launched by Emerson Electric Co.for their businesses including
Emerson Climate Technologies Apps
multiple iPhone and iPad apps for Emerson Climate Technologies.

3M Post-it® Plus App
3M’s Post-it® Plus
 app for iPhone and iPad enables users to capture images of their Post-it notes, share and collaborate with other business people.

To put mobile marketing to work for your own B2B demand gen programs, here are a few “quick hit” tactics to implement:

1. Optimize for Mobile: At a minimum, marketers can ensure their websites are optimized for mobile experiences. Whether the site is simply responsive and adaptable across devices, a dedicated mobile site is created or an app – B2B marketers should learn their customer’s preferences for mobile content discovery and consumption so those content experiences can be optimized.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use Google’s tool.

2. Faster Mobile Content FTW! Also, make sure your demand gen content loads quickly in mobile devices or it can suffer in mobile search engine rankings. Check your website’s page load speed with this tool from Google.

3. Make video mobile ready. Video is a top content type consumed on mobile devices, 61% of B2B users watch mobile video relating to their work (IDG). But some video formats and hosting platforms only work on desktops. Make sure your B2B video content is mobile friendly for the best possible experience for your prospects.

By creating content that can be discovered, consumed and interacted with in ways your B2B buyers prefer, you can optimize your ability to attract, engage and convert more leads, deals and revenue. That sounds like a perfect opportunity for B2B marketers, don’t you think?

Top photo: Shutterstock


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The Digital Marketer’s Mobile Optimization Checklist http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/mobile-optimization/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/mobile-optimization/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 10:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18687 Every good marketer knows that one of the key elements to success is making it as easy as possible for your audience to consume and share information. Part of creating ease of use is keeping in mind where and how your audience is spending their time. What degree of success do you think a marketer [...]

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mobile-checklist

Every good marketer knows that one of the key elements to success is making it as easy as possible for your audience to consume and share information. Part of creating ease of use is keeping in mind where and how your audience is spending their time.

What degree of success do you think a marketer would have if they were to plaster flyers at every Red Robin around the country, when the vast majority of their customers eat at In-N-Out in California?

So now we’re all hungry, but what does this have to do with mobile optimization? I hate to be the one to tell you, but mobile internet usage is something we need to be strategizing for now, not in the future.

According to comScore, 60% of all internet usage is made up by smartphones and tablets. Additionally, over 20% of millennials no longer even use a desktop to access information online. You read that right, they are 100% mobile.

Mobile optimization affects everything from creating a responsive website to making tweaks to your content marketing program to serve mobile users. The checklist below provides some helpful tips for staying on top of the mechanics and engagement strategies necessary for mobile optimization.

SEO

Responsive Design: Most savvy web developers and many new website templates are now including responsive website design as a standard offering. If you’ve recently updated your website and don’t want to invest in a complete overhaul to create a responsive website, you can setup a separate mobile site. However, always keep in mind that there are benefits and drawbacks to taking this path.

PageSpeed: Mobile users are searching for content on-the-go. There are some fairly simple best practices that you can implement to improve page load speed including:

  • Optimize your images so that they are smaller, and therefore load faster
  • Implement caching plugins
  • Use JavaScript sparingly

Use the PageSpeed Insights tool to test your website’s current performance.

Local Optimization: To ensure that your business surfaces in local results, be diligent about making sure that all of your contact information is consistent across the web.

Title Tags & Meta Descriptions: Your mobile audience is working with a lot less screen than desktop users. Try to be as concise as possible when drafting title tags and meta descriptions.

Content Marketing

Think Concise, Not Shorter: Mobile users need content that is scanable and impactful. Remove the clutter and format your content in a way that makes sense for your audience. This doesn’t mean that marketers need to cut down on the length of the content that is being published, but content should be presented in bite-sized chunks that are easy to consume.

Provide Great Imagery: Visual content performs very well on mobile devices. While you may not have given much consideration to blog or long-form content images in the past, here is your opportunity. A well selected image can be the difference between a consumer engaging with your content, or quickly moving on.

Incorporate Videos: Forrester found that when marketers included a video in an email, the click-through rate increased by 200% – 300%. Additionally, eMarketer uncovered that consumers are actually spending more time watching video on mobile devices than on desktops.

Social Media

Mobile Usage: In 2015, there are approximately 1.69 billion social media accounts that are accessed via mobile. When creating and publishing social media content keep your mobile audience in mind.

Mobile Friendly Apps: Many social media platforms offer mobile friendly applications and add-ons that can be easily integrated into brand profiles.

Get Visual: Incorporate visual elements as much as possible into social media campaigns across all platforms. Also, if it makes sense, utilize platforms like Instagram which present a great opportunity to incorporate images and videos into social media content.

Put Your Website to the Test!

Google provides a couple different tools that can help you determine if your website is mobile friendly, and provide access to some  applications that can help you become mobile if you aren’t currently.

The opportunities above only scratch the surface of mobile optimization. If you can currently check five or more of the items above off your list, you’re on the right track. If not, consider it an opportunity to increase your reach and better serve your mobile audience.

What do you find most difficult about implementing digital marketing programs that are mobile friendly?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | The Digital Marketer’s Mobile Optimization Checklist | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/digital-marketing-podcasts/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/digital-marketing-podcasts/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18639 Marketers are always looking for new and efficient ways to learn. As a marketer, I’ve recently begun working podcasts into my ongoing learning routine. I’ll admit, I resisted for awhile (which was dumb). I think it’s because I have an aversion to books on tape/CD, which comes from being forced to listen to children’s books [...]

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woman-listening-to-podcast

Marketers are always looking for new and efficient ways to learn. As a marketer, I’ve recently begun working podcasts into my ongoing learning routine. I’ll admit, I resisted for awhile (which was dumb). I think it’s because I have an aversion to books on tape/CD, which comes from being forced to listen to children’s books on repeat during annual family trips up and down the Oregon coast.

A realization hit me one day when I was reading entertainment “news” and taking a quiz to find out my spirit animal. I spend an exorbitant amount of time consuming a lot of content-light when I’m on the go, when I should be using that time to keep up to speed with what’s going on in my industry.

Do any of you feel the same way?

What Makes A Good Podcast?

For me, that answer is partially dependent on what setting I’m in while consuming the content. If I’m driving to work I enjoy listening to a podcast that offers quick tips and news highlights. However, If I’m walking my dog or sitting at my desk, I prefer listening to interviews or more in-depth analysis of marketing topics.

Ultimately though, the format is not as important as the foundation. A good podcast should have the same elements as any other form of content marketing and should answer the following questions:

  • What is it? Defining the topic that will be covered and the people involved.
  • How does it help the listener? Provide valuable information that helps solve a marketing problem that you may have.
  • What’s the next step? Encourage the reader to listen to more podcasts, implement the tips learned and then come back for more or visit other content marketing assets created by the podcaster.

Expert podcaster Jerod Morris believes that there are four elements that create a remarkable podcast:

  • Authenticity
  • Usefulness
  • Sustainability
  • Profitability

My (Current) Top 5 Favorite Digital Marketing Podcasts

Understanding what makes a good podcast is important because you can very easily begin going down the rabbit hole and spend an entire hour listening to information that gets you nowhere. Below are some of my favorite digital marketing podcasts:

  1. This Old Marketing Podcast: Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose have great banter and provide a healthy mix of content marketing smarts and lively discussions about the latest news.
  2. Marketing Smarts: MarketingProfs’ podcast features interviews with some of the top marketing experts in their fields. The in-depth interviews provide a real look at the subjects and their journey to success.
  3. The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast: Jason Miller of LinkedIn has only aired two episodes of his new podcast, but I’m already a fan. The way that Jason approaches interviewing his guests incorporates a lot of humor and natural conversation.
  4. Online Marketing Made Easy: Amy Porterfield is so easy to listen to. When she’s talking about social media, lead generation or content marketing, it feels like she’s speaking directly to me which makes it hard to tear myself away from listening.
  5. Unpodcast: Alison Kramer and Scott Stratten’s podcast is reminiscent of your favorite morning radio talk show, filled with humor, awkward tangents and oh yeah, marketing!

Best & Worst Times for Listening to Podcasts

Unfortunately, I now want to listen to podcasts all the time. Through a series of trial and error, I was able to uncover some of the best and worst times to integrate podcasts into your routine:

Best Times for Listening to Podcasts

  • When you’re sitting in seemingly endless traffic: hook up your smartphone to your car stereo and you’re good to go.
  • Hitting the pavement or the treadmill at the gym: catching up on Keeping up with the Kardashians can wait.
  • Walking your pet: I’ve found that listening to a podcast while walking my Puggle is better than music.
  • During your lunch hour: It’s finally nice out, so I’ve been enjoying spending some time taking a walk outside, listening to digital marketing podcasts and soaking up some sun.

Worst Times for Listening to Podcasts

  • While trying to write emails, marketing content or your name: podcasts and writing are not a good mix.
  • When you’re in an important meeting: this one should be obvious right?
  • When you’re reading a news article, book or pretty much anything: unfortunately you won’t retain much from either.

What Are Your Go-To Podcasts?

We asked, and you answered! Thank you to the members of our online community that shared your favorite podcasts with us. Below are some of the responses:

Amber Jones: Oh yes, I love marketing podcasts! They let me “tune in” and learn something new while I continue to be productive. My faves are Why I Social (hosted by Christopher Barrows), iSocialTalks (hosted by Brian Fanzo), and the UnMarketing podcast (hosted by Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer)

Craig Johnson: Marketing Smarts and HBR Ideacast

Doug & Emily Allison: Home Business Profits with Ray Higdon!

If you didn’t have a chance to tune-in earlier, now is your time to share. What are your favorite digital marketing podcasts and what keeps you coming back?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

Image: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine | http://www.toprankblog.com

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B2C Mobile Marketing Tips to Strike Marketing Gold http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/b2c-mobile-email-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/b2c-mobile-email-marketing/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 10:30:45 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18433 Confession: I am an email junkie. Ok, more accurately, I have is a strong appreciation for a well-crafted email campaign. My favorite types of emails to receive are on the topics of digital marketing, apparel and food. I’m Not the Only One Sorry marketers, the statistics don’t lie. Here’s a couple to whet your appetite: [...]

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b2c email marketing

Confession: I am an email junkie. Ok, more accurately, I have is a strong appreciation for a well-crafted email campaign. My favorite types of emails to receive are on the topics of digital marketing, apparel and food.

I’m Not the Only One
Sorry marketers, the statistics don’t lie. Here’s a couple to whet your appetite:

  • 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check email (Gartner)
  • 51% of email opens are on mobile devices (Litmus)
  • 68% of Gmail and Yahoo opens are coming from mobile devices (Litmus)

Unfortunately, other email marketers are not the only sources vying for the attention of your consumers. Mobile users have access to a seemingly limitless list of apps, content and sources for information.

As a busy consumer and marketer (which is exemplified by the number of unread emails in my personal inbox), I am quick to signup to receive email communications, but selective in which ones I actually read and act upon. Let’s dive a little bit deeper in the head-turning elements that make for a successful B2C email marketing campaign.

Who is the Email From?
Unless there is an individual or “brandividual” that is associated with the brand, send the email from the name of your company. When mobile users are scanning their email inbox, they’ll be looking for updates or offers from the names of brands that they’ve subscribed to.

email marketing from

Keep Headlines Succinct & Meaningful
Depending on the device that consumers are using, the number of characters that they will see in their email client will differ. First consider how many characters would be visible in their email snippet that is seen prior to actually opening the email. Believe it or not, that number can be as low as 15 characters. Next, you’ll need to inspect the length of the full subject line based on popular devices. Subject line displays also vary significantly by device.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a well-written headline that helps solve a problem, is aligned with my lifestyle or I can create a personal connection with. For example, Express, Chipotle and Content Marketing Institute have all sent me emails within the last week that fall under one of the categories above.

email marketing headlines

Use Eye-Catching Visuals
One of the key components of most B2C email marketing campaigns is the visuals. Once you’ve persuaded a consumer to open the email, it is essential that they stay engaged.

The visuals contained within the email should match the promise or message that was delivered in the email headline.

email marketing visuals

Email marketers also need to ensure that the visuals (and content) are optimized for different screen sizes. The Ultimate Guide to iPhone Resolutions provides a helpful overview of optimizing images for iPhones.

Be prepared for image blocking. Some devices and email clients will automatically (or based on user settings) block images from appearing in email campaigns. One option for overcoming this hurdle is making sure that the ALT Text used to label images aligns with the content of your email.

Season Content With Simplicity & Flair
Email content should be effortless for consumers to scan on-the-go. Use a combination of hard-hitting bullet points and bold statements to inspire action.

Be mindful of the size of the headline and body text. You may want to consider making this text substantially larger than normal, so that it is easy to see on a mobile device.

Above All, Make CTAs Stand Out
Undoubtedly, the Call to Action (CTA) is the most important part of an email. The entire reason you went to all the trouble of making an email campaign is to persuade consumers to act upon the message.

CTAs should be pronounced, spaced significantly and easy to read. When you’re including multiple CTAs in one email, the copy and visuals must be orchestrated in a way that clearly separates which CTA belongs to a specific offer or message.

email marketing cta

Give the People What They Want!
Ultimately, email marketing data is going to tell you when you’ve hit gold or felt flat. As is a best practice with any email campaign, begin running A/B tests for mobile to see what garners the best results.

What email marketing campaigns (good or bad) have resonated with you as a consumer? What have you found has worked best in your mobile email marketing efforts?

Top Image: Shutterstock


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Live Streaming Showdown: Meerkat Versus Periscope http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/04/meerkat-vs-periscope/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/04/meerkat-vs-periscope/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:30:49 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18388 Live streaming video services have finally hit the mainstream market, and are beginning to pick up steam. Many might compare their use to Dave Egger’s 2013 novel, “The Circle,” which explores the beginning of a transparent society in which politicians, public servants, and private citizens “go transparent” by wearing body cams and live streaming every [...]

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live video streaming

Live streaming video services have finally hit the mainstream market, and are beginning to pick up steam. Many might compare their use to Dave Egger’s 2013 novel, “The Circle,” which explores the beginning of a transparent society in which politicians, public servants, and private citizens “go transparent” by wearing body cams and live streaming every moment of their waking life. In the book, this technology is offered by a popular social media platform, and is adopted at an exponential rate.

Egger’s vision of a “live streaming” society is now coming to fruition. Live video streaming services like Meerkat and Periscope allow users to stream and share videos in real time. The overall market for digital video has also experienced explosive growth in the United States, with over 200 million Americans (just under two thirds of the population) watching videos online on a regular basis.

When it comes to the battle of Meerkat vs. Periscope, who reigns supreme and what do marketers need to know?

What Is Live Video Streaming?

Live video streaming services like Meerkat and Periscope allow users to post and stream live video content on social media. Live streaming has been used by journalists for years, but 2015 is the first year that this kind of technology has gained mass popularity with the public, thanks in large part to the ubiquity of cell phones and social media.

Meerkat vs. Periscope: Turf Wars Begin

Meerkat made a big splash when they launched their live video streaming service in February, 2015, two weeks before South by Southwest (SXSW). Early adopters loved Meerkat because of how well it integrated with Twitter. However, during SXSW, Twitter announced that they would remove Meerkat’s access to their social graph in favor of the live video streaming service Periscope that they quietly acquired in January, 2015.

Twitter’s decision to throw their weight behind Periscope has sparked intense online debates about which platform is better, and which will ultimately survive. Because Meerkat and Periscope are so similar both in terms of functionality and target audience, many people are convinced that one of the two platforms will inevitably fall out of favor.

Meerkat versus Periscope

Which Platform Do Users Prefer?

As the Meerkat vs. Periscope debates continue, sophisticated marketers should know a bit about each platform and the comparative value of each. Although these live video streaming services are similar, there are some key distinctions that might help you decide which app to try first.

Key Features of Meerkat

  • Meerkat has a chat functionality that’s useful for sharing links and comments with your followers. However, be aware that anything posted during a live stream will be automatically posted to your Twitter profile.
  • Meerkat shows the avatars of people who are watching your video at the top of the video screen. This makes it easy to find and connect with relevant viewers.
  • Meerkat videos are gone as soon as the live stream ends. This means that videos can’t be saved or re-purposed.
  • Many users prefer Meerkat’s commenting functionality, because it’s easier to find comments after they’re posted.
  • Meerkat early adopters were impressed by how well this platform integrated with Twitter. For instance, Meerkat users on Twitter could see which of the people they were following were Meerkat users. Meerkat users also received a notification every time someone they followed on Twitter was streaming, or scheduled a live video stream. Unfortunately, these features are being phased out since Meerkat lost access to Twitter’s social graph.

Key Features of Periscope

  • Marketers will appreciate the fact that Periscope shows you performance stats on retention, number of viewers, and average viewing time after your live video stream ends.
  • It’s difficult to find comments after they’re posted, because older comments disappear as newer comments are posted.
  • Meerkat was developed in a mere eight weeks, while Periscope was developed over the course of a year. The care taken in creation shows in Periscope’s aesthetically pleasing interface, and high quality video. Most users concede that Periscope offers the superior visual experience.
  • Both live video streaming services allow viewers to interact with you as you stream. The difference between the two services is that Periscope makes you open a text box to see who’s watching. Unfortunately, the text box partially obscures the video.
  • Periscope videos can be saved after the live stream ends. Having the ability to save live video streams makes it possible to re-purpose and re-share content, which is one area where Periscope shines.
  • As a native Twitter application, Periscope now has the advantage of being fully integrated with Twitter. It’s easy to follow people form Periscope, and you can choose whether or not to share your live streams on Twitter.
  • User’s report that they like Periscope’s blocking feature, which is something Meerkat lacks.

5 Ways Marketers Can Use Live Streaming Apps

Live video streaming services like Periscope and Meerkat bring video to the masses. While consumers have been using Meerkat and Periscope to show the world what’s inside their fridge, marketers may find some more compelling uses.

#1 Event Marketing: Marketers can now easily stream live at company or industry events. For example, you can provide a behind the scenes sneak peek, share the announcement of a game changing product/service or quickly interview influencers on the fly.  Make sure that you use the event hashtag in your stream title to increase your visibility on Twitter.

#2 Supplement Customer Research: Understanding how your customers are utilizing live video streaming both personally and professionally can be used to augment your existing customer research process. Remember to follow them on Twitter so you can be notified when they publish an upcoming stream.

#3 Newsjacking: Use live streaming as an opportunity to provide commentary on important news stories for your industry and customers. You may decide just to cover the relevant points, or add your own flavor with team commentary.

#4 Product Demos: Have a great new product and don’t think a Press Release will do it justice? Consider creating a “pop-up” product demo to share with your customers.

#5 Company Announcements: If someone in your organization has recently received a big promotion or you team has reached a big milestone, consider live streaming a candid video about your announcement. This provides a great opportunity to showcase your team and open the door for people to better connect with your brand.

Which platform do you prefer, and do you plan on using it for marketing purposes? Weigh into the debate by leaving a comment below!

Top Photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Live Streaming Showdown: Meerkat Versus Periscope | http://www.toprankblog.com

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4 Essential Tips for Content Marketers to Survive Mobilegeddon, Google’s Mobile Friendly Update http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/04/google-mobile-friendly/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/04/google-mobile-friendly/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:30:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18367 mobile content marketing

Accessing content on mobile device

Internet users are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, which means Content Marketers must adjust their strategies to create a better user experience for those drawn to the small screen.

The release of Google’s new mobile-friendly update, aka "mobilegeddon", has drawn a firestorm of attention to the need for improving website responsiveness and user experience on mobile devices.

There's a good reason for this: A recent study by ComScore and Millennial Media found that approximately 56% of digital content is now consumed via smartphones. Knowing that a large portion of your audience likely searches, consumes and interacts with content on their mobile device should inform how you execute on your Content Marketing initiatives.

The good news is, despite the apocalyptic headlines on many blogs, Google has stated that the new mobile-friendly update only affects:

  • Search rankings on mobile devices
  • Rankings of individual pages, not entire websites

Even so, mobile content discovery and consumption is universal and it's more important than ever to optimize for search and user experience with content on all devices. To help you save the day, we’ve compiled a list of 4 essential tips for content marketers to take a more mobile-friendly approach to content. Make Google happy. Make your customers happy. Everybody wins!

#1 - Understand Where You Are Now

Google has provided a very handly (albeit not 100% accurate) tool that can be used to quickly check to see if any website is mobile friendly. If you pass the test you’ll be shown a snippet of how Googlebot see your page as well as some additional resources on creating mobile-friendly web pages.

Google Mobile-Friendly Website

If your website fails the test, Google will provide reasoning for the failure as well as recommended steps for making the website mobile-friendly. Below is an example from Moz of a website that unfortunately did not pass the mobile-friendly test. In fact, this blog did not pass the test until recently, thanks to the efforts of Evan and Howie on our team to update our WordPress template.

Google Mobile-Friendly Fail

The third way you can assess if a website is mobile-friendly is by simply typing a query in your smartphone on Google. If the website is mobile-friendly it will be indicated just prior to the web page meta description.

website mobile test

#2 - Always Keep Your Audience in Mind

Google doesn’t make purchasing decisions, your customers do. So while it’s important to follow the guidelines that Google sets forth, your customers should always be top of mind when determining your Content Marketing strategy.

Rely on your data and what you know about your audience to help form the changes you will make to content in order to meet Google’s new mobile-friendly requirements.

#3 - Make Your Headlines Notable

Between smartphone apps, email and mobile web content, consumers are constantly inundated with digital content on their mobile devices. This means your window of opportunity to grab and hold their attention is very small. When crafting your content headlines, focus on:

  • Offering a teaser of the content to draw them in
  • Clearly articulating what they’ll find
  • Empathizing with their needs and pain points

#4 - Create Concise Content That is Easy to Consume

How your audience consumes and interacts with your website content on a mobile device can be much different than your desktop users. Keep in mind that your website must serve both mobile and desktop users in a way that is relevant. How can you make your website experience more meaningful for mobile users?

  • Website Home Page: Offer brief overviews and appropriate Calls to Action for the various focal points of your website.
  • Website Interior Pages: Provide a concise overview at the top of the page so that mobile users can quickly scan the content. As you move down the page you can dive deeper into your focus areas. This will ensure that both mobile and desktop users have access to the proper amount of content.
  • Blog Content: Focus your introduction on providing an overview of what they will find in the post. Again, this will allow your audience to determine if they want to consume the information on-the-go.

Google’s new mobile-friendly update shouldn’t be seen as an Armageddon-esque threat, but as an opportunity to better serve your online audience with content that is easy to find, consume and act on with mobile devices.

Hopefully the tips provided above take some of the fear, uncertainty and doubt out of the process and have provided a clearer path for making your content marketing efforts more mobile-friendly.

I am curious to know; What type of content does your mobile audience typically respond best to?

Photo: Shutterstock

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mobile content marketing

Accessing content on mobile device Internet users are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, which means Content Marketers must adjust their strategies to create a better user experience for those drawn to the small screen. The release of Google’s new mobile-friendly update, aka "mobilegeddon", has drawn a firestorm of attention to the need for improving website responsiveness and user experience on mobile devices. There's a good reason for this: A recent study by ComScore and Millennial Media found that approximately 56% of digital content is now consumed via smartphones. Knowing that a large portion of your audience likely searches, consumes and interacts with content on their mobile device should inform how you execute on your Content Marketing initiatives. The good news is, despite the apocalyptic headlines on many blogs, Google has stated that the new mobile-friendly update only affects:
  • Search rankings on mobile devices
  • Rankings of individual pages, not entire websites
Even so, mobile content discovery and consumption is universal and it's more important than ever to optimize for search and user experience with content on all devices. To help you save the day, we’ve compiled a list of 4 essential tips for content marketers to take a more mobile-friendly approach to content. Make Google happy. Make your customers happy. Everybody wins!

#1 - Understand Where You Are Now

Google has provided a very handly (albeit not 100% accurate) tool that can be used to quickly check to see if any website is mobile friendly. If you pass the test you’ll be shown a snippet of how Googlebot see your page as well as some additional resources on creating mobile-friendly web pages. Google Mobile-Friendly Website If your website fails the test, Google will provide reasoning for the failure as well as recommended steps for making the website mobile-friendly. Below is an example from Moz of a website that unfortunately did not pass the mobile-friendly test. In fact, this blog did not pass the test until recently, thanks to the efforts of Evan and Howie on our team to update our WordPress template. Google Mobile-Friendly Fail The third way you can assess if a website is mobile-friendly is by simply typing a query in your smartphone on Google. If the website is mobile-friendly it will be indicated just prior to the web page meta description. website mobile test

#2 - Always Keep Your Audience in Mind

Google doesn’t make purchasing decisions, your customers do. So while it’s important to follow the guidelines that Google sets forth, your customers should always be top of mind when determining your Content Marketing strategy. Rely on your data and what you know about your audience to help form the changes you will make to content in order to meet Google’s new mobile-friendly requirements.

#3 - Make Your Headlines Notable

Between smartphone apps, email and mobile web content, consumers are constantly inundated with digital content on their mobile devices. This means your window of opportunity to grab and hold their attention is very small. When crafting your content headlines, focus on:
  • Offering a teaser of the content to draw them in
  • Clearly articulating what they’ll find
  • Empathizing with their needs and pain points

#4 - Create Concise Content That is Easy to Consume

How your audience consumes and interacts with your website content on a mobile device can be much different than your desktop users. Keep in mind that your website must serve both mobile and desktop users in a way that is relevant. How can you make your website experience more meaningful for mobile users?
  • Website Home Page: Offer brief overviews and appropriate Calls to Action for the various focal points of your website.
  • Website Interior Pages: Provide a concise overview at the top of the page so that mobile users can quickly scan the content. As you move down the page you can dive deeper into your focus areas. This will ensure that both mobile and desktop users have access to the proper amount of content.
  • Blog Content: Focus your introduction on providing an overview of what they will find in the post. Again, this will allow your audience to determine if they want to consume the information on-the-go.
Google’s new mobile-friendly update shouldn’t be seen as an Armageddon-esque threat, but as an opportunity to better serve your online audience with content that is easy to find, consume and act on with mobile devices. Hopefully the tips provided above take some of the fear, uncertainty and doubt out of the process and have provided a clearer path for making your content marketing efforts more mobile-friendly. I am curious to know; What type of content does your mobile audience typically respond best to? Photo: Shutterstock

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10 Mobile Apps, No Make That 49, That Make Our Day http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/team-mobile-apps/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/team-mobile-apps/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:45:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16669 Recently Verizon Wireless asked me to share some of my favorite mobile apps. I sent them a list and 6 of them made the post. But it got me thinking: what mobile apps do other marketing and communications professionals use? I know mobile phones and apps are an inseperable part of everyone’s life and people [...]

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Mobile Apps

Recently Verizon Wireless asked me to share some of my favorite mobile apps. I sent them a list and 6 of them made the post. But it got me thinking: what mobile apps do other marketing and communications professionals use?

I know mobile phones and apps are an inseperable part of everyone’s life and people are often looking for new apps for both work and especially for fun. So I’ve included a list of my 10 plus 39 more that were suggested by my team mates at TopRank Online Marketing.

1. HootSuite – This is my on the go, social media command central. HootSuite gives me access to multiple Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and even VK (Russian). iTunesGoogle Play

2. LinkedIn – If you’re in business, your business needs to be on LinkedIn and I check Pulse every morning to see what my biz network is talking about, read messages and invites to connect. (LinkedIn is one of our clients too). iTunesGoogle Play

3. Instagram – This is easily my favorite mobile app for taking and sharing photos with other visual enthusiasts in my network. I love seeing what my friends all over the world are doing through their over-saturated and filtered photos. iTunesGoogle Play

4. Jelly – Got questions? Have answers? Then Jelly is for you. People ask ANYTHING on Jelly and you’ll get answers to some tough questions like the identification of artifact I bought at Chelsea Flea Market – it’s a decorated dung-dkar from Tibet. Who knew? Jelly did. iTunesGoogle Play

5. Evernote – This is an amazing app that stores notes, images, lists and reminders that sync across devices: laptop, tablet or another phone. I keep my travel itineraries, saved articles for reading offline and ideas and notes for my next book there. In fact, I’m writing this list on Evernote! iTunesGoogle Play

6. Flixster – This is my go-to app for finding what movies are playing where.  Auto location detection shows the closest theaters and there are always trailers and reviews to help make choices. For the kids of course. It’s always for the kids. iTunesGoogle Play

7. Comic Book – If you have photos and time to kill (car wash, waiting for takeoff/landing) then Comic Book will bring you joy. Choose any panel layout and add your photos with Halftone filters to make them look like real comics. There are pre-made graphics and fonts to add some Wow! Pow! Zoom! to your comic too – then you can share directly to your phone or share on Facebook. iTunesGoogle Play

8. Paper – This is a new news app from Facebook and I’m addicted. It’s basically your news feed visualized plus other pre-set categories of information from Facebook, with stories curated by their popularity. iTunesGoogle Play (unofficial app)

9. Fly Delta – I travel a LOT and the Delta app keeps me on time and serves as my boarding pass too. You can also change seats, check your miles, track your bags and book flights too. iTunesGoogle Play

10. Vine – Working in the social media world has dramatically shortened my attention span, to about 6 seconds. You can’t imagine how happy I was to find an app like Vine, full of 6 second videos! If you follow the right people, Vine is an incredible repository of creativity that I draw inspiration from. Plus now I know who Bat Dad is, how clever Samsung Mobile and Taco Bell are and I’ve become addicted to the magical voice of Emma Harriss.  iTunesGoogle Play

Here are some additional mobile app suggestions from a few members of our team:

Eliza Steely

Eliza Steely – Associate Account Coordinator

11. Snapchat – I use it for happiness.  I constantly send my friends goofy pictures, inside jokes, smiles, or quotes. Responses tend to make me laugh out loud, or question their normalcy though 🙂 iTunesGoogle Play

12. Google Maps – I am extremely directionally challenged. The app helps me get home J I also use it for finding things near me when I’m in a city I don’t know. The other day I used it to find a florist to send flowers to one of my dad’s clients, I’ve used it to find client offices, new restaurants, and even faster routes to work! iTunesGoogle Play

13. iFunny – Used daily. All the time. It’s just so funny! iTunesGoogle Play

14. App I love/hate the most: Shopular. I have a love/hate relationship with this app. It saves me money and points out deals in my favorite stores or even the ones I’m in, which I love. But it also shows me lots and lots of things I can buy—even though I probably shouldn’t (12 soaps from Bath and Body Works anyone?!). iTunesGoogle Play

Amie Krone

Amie Krone – Operations Manager

15. Starbucks – It keeps my card balance so I can pay with my phone and keeps my rewards handy so I can always cash in for a free drink! Caffeine is a must to keep going with my 2 kids 🙂 iTunesGoogle Play

16. Pandora – It keeps the music going – especially during workouts! iTunesGoogle Play

17. Food Network – I am always looking for new recipes to make & I’m awful at making lists, so I can be sure to get all the ingredients while at the grocery store. iTunesGoogle Play

Nick Ehrenberg

Nick Ehrenberg – Content Marketing Lead

18. Flipboard – Collects information from my various social/RSS feeds into a handy magazine-style format. It’s my source for keeping up-to-date on news and trends without opening several different apps at once. iTunesGoogle Play

19. Google Music – I uploaded my entire music library to the cloud a few years ago, allowing me to fill my devices with other content and stream everything online. No company loyalties here – I’ve got Google on my Android tablet and my iPhone. iTunesGoogle Play

20. Alien Blue – An unofficial Reddit client. I’m a Reddit addict, and this app makes it easy to peruse through the endless array of subreddits and AMAs. Perfect time waster! iTunes

Renee Whisnant

Renee Whisnant – Copywriter

21. Grocery IQ – This way both my husband and I can update our grocery list and both can go shopping when time allows. iTunesGoogle Play

22. WhatsApp – It allows me to text with my overseas friends and family members for free. iTunesGoogle Play

23. Timehop – It searches my social media past and reminds me of what I posted “this day in history”—just for nostalgic fun. iTunes Google Play

Brooke Furry

Brooke Furry – SEO Copywriter

24. The Nike Running app – not only does it log your distance while you run and show your calorie burn, but it keeps track of personal best times… and even provides motivation from stars like Ellie Goulding once you’re finished (not why I use it, but it’s kind of fun 🙂 ). iTunesGoogle Play

25. Google Maps – I’m ashamed, but I can’t get anywhere without it. iTunes – Google Play

26. SleepMachine – all the white noise you could want, so whether you’re at home or on vacation, you can tune out distractions and sleep soundly. iTunes

Ryan Rutz

Ryan Rutz – Associate Account Manager

27. Shazam – I use Shazam when I hear new music through friends or on the radio, specifically “The Current” in Mpls. I am so busy with so many other things that it is sometimes hard to stay informed on new artists and album releases etc. When I hear something good I ask about the artist and if it’s unknown or I missed the callout…I Shazam! I can then reference the tunes and purchase on iTunes when I have the time. iTunesGoogle Play

28. Soundcloud – I use Soundcloud because I started recording music with Logic Pro over the last few years since buying a guitar up in Seattle and letting the hobby spin into many instruments. A lot of my tunes are rough and short but Soundcloud gives me a hosted solution to see where I started and how much I’ve progressed. It acts more like a “progress log” versus a social network for music. iTunesGoogle Play

29. LinkedIn – I love building my network and learning more about innovation, product development, tech, business, creative, and more. LinkdeIn is the go-to for all of these needs! I stay in tune with where my friends are working, new skills acquired, and I throw endorsements and recommendations out there when needed or necessary to help those looking to ramp up their resume. iTunes – Google Play

30.  App I Hate (sort of) the Most – Snapchat – I have a love/hate relationship with Snapchat because the best images and video are sent via this app, but you only get a sneak peek. When you try and screenshot the image the user finds out. I guess that’s ok though. They just have to wrestle the phone out of my hands, guess my password, and remove the image from my photo album J The app is genius. I understand why Zuckerberg and team presented the acquisition offer. I have a few friends who are anti-social media for some reason (aka “against the grainers”) but they all have and love Snapchat! iTunes – Google Play

Carrie Daklin

Carrie Daklin – Copywriter

31. Hotwire – I am a vagabond and always in search of a new destination or adventure. I am also thrifty. So why would I spend $400 for a four-star hotel room in D.C., when I can get the same room for $100 simply by booking on the day of arrival? Sure, it requires some flexibility since in order to get those low prices you have to “blind book” — meaning you won’t know the name of hotel until after you’ve paid for it, but that is the adventure part! And I have stayed at some really lovely hotels I would not otherwise have been able to afford. iTunesGoogle Play

32. Pandora – Over the years I have created my very own station with all my favorites from the 60’s and 70’s. Everything from “Sh-boom” by the Crew Cuts to “Downtown” By Petula Clark to “Build me up, Buttercup” by the Foundations. I listen to it while I write. It gets me in my “zone” and with the added focus, I produce much better copy. iTunesGoogle Play

33. Facebook – I know, I know. But here it is: I have friends all over the country and all over (some) of the world, and I can’t simply pick and visit whenever I would like. Facebook is my ongoing (and private) conversation among my peeps and because of it I have been able to re-kindle many old friendships that have delightfully enriched my life. iTunesGoogle Play

Jesse Pickrain

Jesse Pickrain – Content Marketing Lead

34. Pulse – Love the content coming from the LinkedIn influencer program and Pulse lets me eat it up whenever I have a few minutes available. iTunesGoogle Play

35. CBS Sports Fantasy – This will be my favorite and most hated app over the next few months as I experience the highs and lows that come with being a passionate, yet mediocre fantasy baseball team owner. iTunesGoogle Play

36. Evernote – I’ve been doing most everything with this app, but the best part has been no more repeat trips to the grocery store. iTunes – Google Play

Evan Prokop

Evan Prokop – Digital Marketing Manager

37. Google Earth – just freaking cool. iTunes – Google Play

38. Uber – I’ll never take a regular cab again. Great social service too, one time a friend left his phone in the car, we tweeted them and the driver was back with it in 10 minutes. iTunesGoogle Play

39. iTunes Radio – recently usurped pandora as my go-to music service. iTunes

40. Find My iPhone – simple but incredibly useful for tracking down misplaced devices. iTunes – Google Play

jolina-pettice-toprank2

Jolina Pettice – Executive Director 

41. Walgreens – you can scan the barcode on your prescriptions to ping your pharmacy to refill it and within what timeframe. iTunes – Google Play
Hugely helpful and much easier than calling the pharmacy. iTunesGoogle Play

42. Pinterest – Quick place for creative inspiration, recipes, kids activities etc. iTunesGoogle Play

Susan Misukanis

Susan Misukanis – Co-Founder & President

43. Evernote – Organization on the go. And indeed it logs, sorts and backs up my every note! iTunes – Google Play

44. CorePower Yoga – With this app I’m down for yoga anytime, anywhere. iTunesGoogle Play

45. Flixster – All things movie theatre. No Rotten Tomatoes please! iTunes – Google Play

46. Pandora – If you can handle the commercials in this music app, there’s no need to put another dime in the jukebox baby! iTunes Google Play

MIke Odden

Mike Odden – Research Analyst

47. IMG to text– It is very helpful to get a screen shot of a document & have it emailed to me as editable text. iTunes

48. Tune in Radio – I like the 18.1 fm comedy channel – good humor. iTunesGoogle Play

49. Art Studio – For drawing on the go. iTunes

What mobile apps would you add: For work? For play?

I’ll leave you with an all new Marketing Cartoon from Tom Fishburne about this very topic:

Mobile apps Tom Fishburne

Top image: Shutterstock


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How to Create a Mobile Content Marketing Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/mobile-content-marketing-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/mobile-content-marketing-strategy/#comments Sun, 05 Jan 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16236 When was the last time your checked your mobile device? Ten seconds ago? A minute? An hour? (Wow, you have strong willpower.) Whatever the case, you know that mobile is already a significant influence in our lives. For businesses, it’s fast becoming a necessity for content marketing: 57 percent of mobile users wouldn’t recommend a [...]

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mobile content strategy, Greg Hickman, #NMXWhen was the last time your checked your mobile device? Ten seconds ago? A minute? An hour? (Wow, you have strong willpower.) Whatever the case, you know that mobile is already a significant influence in our lives. For businesses, it’s fast becoming a necessity for content marketing: 57 percent of mobile users wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile website.

However, creating an effective mobile content strategy involves more than repurposing desktop content to fit on a smaller screen. The magic formula, according to MobileMixed podcast host Greg Hickman, involves a restructuring of control between businesses and customers.

Hickman was adamant that if you’re not considering how, when, where, and what devices your audience is using, you’re wasting your time. Mobile is the fastest growing audience – by 2015, more people will access the Internet from their mobile device than their PC. You need to get your content ready to go anywhere — because it’s going to go everywhere.

Here are the four steps that Hickman outlined to develop an efficient mobile content marketing strategy:

1.    Understand the Behaviors of Your Mobile Audience.

It’s a myth that mobile users are distracted when using their devices. Hickman noted that more people are choosing the mobile device as their only form of accessing the Internet. Because of mobile, customers now have greater control over the format and style of content they consume. Businesses must now order their content marketing efforts to be optimized and easily digestible on mobile devices – and even seek to create exclusive content for mobile users.

2.    Mobilize Your Site With Responsive Design.

Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches — the amount of devices and resolutions available in today’s market is greatly expanding. How do you deal with different screen sizes? You could do nothing…and lose your mobile customers in the first five seconds.

Or, you could utilize responsive design plugins and tools to adapt with these devices. Responsive design is a fairly new practice which uses media queries to determine screen size, and adjusts the content accordingly. Some of the most common responsive design tools include:

  • Responsive WordPress themes – including Themeforest and Studiopress. These themes provide the responsive foundation for the entire site.
  • Responsive WordPress plugins: WPTouchPro, available starting at $50.

Alternately, companies can create an entirely separate mobile site (e.g., mobile.walmart.com, m.facebook.com), though development and maintenance costs can increase with separate sites.

3.    Design for touch.

Hickman argued that mobile sites should be built with the finger in mind. Use large buttons for call to action events, and make the targets big so they are easy to tap. Ideal mobile CTA buttons should be at least 44×44 pixels, the site should incorporate touch events (swiping, pinching, etc.), and text links should be spaced out. Ensure a smooth and unobtrusive experience for your mobile audience.

4.    Distribute your content through mobile.

How can you make your content more snackable for users? Learn to use numbers and short subheads to make content easier and more inviting. Hickman advocated for the “5-7 rule”, which requires all subject links to remain between 5-7 words in length (roughly 60 characters). Anything longer can be wrapped around a mobile screen – or even worse, cut off completely. Challenge yourself to write succinctly.

The mobile audience wants content on demand, and they don’t wait long before going elsewhere. Hickman noted that 74% of consumers will leave a mobile site after just five seconds – and 46% are unlikely to return if the site didn’t work the first time. The initial impressions are even more crucial in mobile, simply because there are so many other sources and distractions to draw away attention.

Your audience is already mobile. It’s your turn to choose to be mobile.


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Targeting Your Mobile Audience with Aggregate Data http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/mobile-targeting-via-data/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/mobile-targeting-via-data/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 22:49:00 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15997 Over a billion smartphones enter the market every year. They’re everywhere, and users are finding new ways to leverage them every day. Mine is rarely more than 3 feet away from me, and I use it for everything from research, social “creeping”, and shopping to email, an alarm clock, and my camera. One of my [...]

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Mobile Targeting Presentation #SESCHIOver a billion smartphones enter the market every year. They’re everywhere, and users are finding new ways to leverage them every day. Mine is rarely more than 3 feet away from me, and I use it for everything from research, social “creeping”, and shopping to email, an alarm clock, and my camera. One of my biggest pet peeves is when things aren’t mobile compatible. As it turns out, I’m far from alone.

When it comes to websites, 61% of users won’t return to a site if they have a negative experience and 40% will go to a competitor’s site instead. Add on to that the statistic that 90% of all purchasing decisions begin with online research, and it’s understandable why appealing to mobile audiences has become so important. But doing so is very different than appealing to traditional web users.

Lauren Moores of Dstillery and Ambrish Verma of Microsoft presented on why location is so important when it comes to targeting mobile users, and gave a few pieces of advice to help their fellow marketers target their growing mobile audiences in their SES Session:

Key Mobile Insights

Mobile is not only becoming increasingly popular, but users are relying on it for more and more things and using their devices to multitask. Here are a few key statistics offered in today’s session:

  • 44% of mobile search queries have a strong location intent
  • 84% of shoppers use mobile devices for search while shopping
  • Mobile users are relying more on apps than on browser searches
  • Retail queries on mobile drive better engagement than on desktop
  • There are 4 main reasons people use mobile: communication, looking for local information, getting instant answers, and app usage

Be Present During Each Step of the Consumer Journey through Targeting

The days of making one ad for everyone are long, long gone. Now mobile users expect to see what they want, when they want and in the format they want. On top of that, they want to save time, money and hassle. As a marketer targeting has become an essential way to help them do those things. There are 3 main kinds of targeting:

  • Device targeting: this makes sure your site and advertisements are optimized for the device they’re using. Device targeting provides some flexibility in budget allocation in terms of targeting certain devices. Device-targeted campaigns have been shown to result in higher click through rates. If you’re targeting mobile users, be sure to include a “click-to-call” button.
  • Day-time targeting: this ensures that your information is shown at the time it’s most relevant to the searcher. See when people are checking your site, reacting to your ads, and post around those times.
  • Location targeting and OS targeting: can be used to make sure your information is presented in the most optimized local and time context in order to provide an enriching experience to help users get what they’re looking for from mobile. Local ads can be targeted within a 5-to-100 mile radius of your store. Or you can use zip code, address or DMA.

Use Location to Target the Right Audience, at the Right Time

Location data is essential for capturing the physical patterns of consumers, especially mobile users. There are three key pieces of location information that can help you, as a marketer, find your audience:

  • The IP address can help you identify if it’s a wi-fi IP address or if it’s “out in the wild”.
  • Census-blocks are the most granular piece of census data that can be married with demographic data to provide more insight into those using your site.
  • Latitude and longitude are the key to targeting mobile. This allows you to create a lot of context about a particular user, or a group of users. In your app make sure you have an opt-in for users to access their location for your marketing purposes. On mobile web you will receive the users IP address, so it’s important to emphasize usage of your app.

Using location data, you can make a difference and change your marketing strategy in four areas:

  1. Creative: location can help you determine how to change your messaging, images and even content to appeal to your mobile users. Consider providing directions
  2. Audience Segmentation: location can help you understand where your users are and target those based on their proximity to you, those who will interact with you on a more frequent basis.
  3. Scale: location can help you go from digital to physical. It helps you find where searchers are over-indexing and under-indexing with your brand. This data can be used to scale your advertising by finding people on mobile and targeting them on desktop to expand your advertising and exposure.
  4. Visualization: location can help you visualize your audience in maps and in colors. You can identify where your brand action-takers are, creating an opportunity for you to expand your advertising in those areas. Sometimes you’ll be surprised by where your searchers and customers are!

Include Site Link Extensions

Site links are used to provide users much deeper and richer context. For mobile users it’s all about taking immediate actions in real-time and on-the-go. Guide consumers onto your ideal conversion path with Site Link Extensions. These can help increase click-through rates, and shorten the funnel to increase leads.  These can be used to link to social pages or to drive app downloads as well as pages on your site.

Key Takeaways

When considering a mobile strategy and site there are a few key things Moores and Verma advise you to keep in mind:

  • Define your mobile strategy with a focus on consumer experiences relevant to your business
  • Reach your customers via mobile site and apps to expand your reach
  • Optimzie for location and platform to improve ROI mobile campaigns with targeting
  • Use mobile ad formats to drive conversions with click to call, click to map and site links

I guess the old phrase “location, location, location” still holds true.

Do you use location targeting in your mobile strategy? How could you take it to the next level and make your mobile ads more tailored to those around you?

SES Chicago is winding down, but check back for a recap on the highlights from the conference and the key tips you need to know.


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Maximizing Usability and Findability Among Multi-Screen Users http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/multiscreen-usability-findability/ Tue, 05 Nov 2013 21:13:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15972 Remember the days of just watching TV? Or just working on your computer? How about finding what you needed from one source—like a book, phonebook, or one website? Those days are over. Completely. Google released a study earlier this year that revealed 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish their goals, using up [...]

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Web ArchitectureRemember the days of just watching TV? Or just working on your computer? How about finding what you needed from one source—like a book, phonebook, or one website? Those days are over. Completely.

Google released a study earlier this year that revealed 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish their goals, using up to an average of 3 different screen combinations each day. The key takeaway from their study? Content needs to be optimized for all channels so brands don’t run the risk of losing conversions from any one channel.

This new initiative has posed several challenges to marketers on how to make their site findable, and usable, to multiscreen users in order to retain conversions. Bryson Meunier of Resolution Media and Shari Thurow of Omni Marketing Interactive shared a few best practices and tips on how to create the best website architecture to achieve excellent multiscreen experience.

Decide What Mobile Configuration Strategy is Best for Your Site

According to Google, you have three choices when it comes to the mobile configuration of your site:

              1. Responsive Web Design: Same HTML & URLs but a different layout served through flexible layouts, dynamic grids and media queries

The main advantage of this popular site configuration is that it’s one site. However, there a significant disadvantage to a responsively designed site: the download time can significantly increase. Workarounds are available. But when you do a workaround, it requires more JavaScript which in-turn increases downtime (so realistically, it’s hard to avoid the decreased downtime).

             2. Dynamic Serving: Same URLS potentially different HTML served through device detection
             3. Dedicated Mobile Sites: Different HTML & Different URLs

You have the power to decide what’s right for your business based on user activity and what you feel fits your messaging and design best. In order to determine which web design is best for your brand ask yourself the following:

  • Are mobile users well-served by your current information architecture? If it is, changing your site architecture might not be the best idea, but again the choice is yours.
  • Do your mobile users use the same keywords as your desktop users? If you don’t have a mobile site, or even look into mobile keywords you could miss out on dozens of keywords. For example: mobile games, mobile ringtones, navigate to [insert brand name here] etc.
  • Mobile-only features won’t help users? For example Lowes provides an in-store map to help those of us (myself included) that get lost in stores easily. Enhanced mobile experiences have the added benefit of building link equity and increasing traffic.
  • Does your audience use smartphones? If not, Google does not recommend doing a responsive web design. Instead consider dynamic serving or dedicated mobile sites.
  • Is speed not important to conversions? It’s harder to make a responsive site fast than a dynamic serving site. mobitest.akamai.com is a great tool to see how fast your site is running on mobile devices. If your users are going to want an extremely fast experience, consider dynamic or dedicated mobile.

Follow Google Guidelines

Whichever configuration design you choose for your site, it’s important to follow Google guidelines to make sure your site isn’t penalized, hidden from searchers, or creating a negative searcher experience.

  1. Use switchboard tags with Mobile URLs. These tags help create a connection between your mobile & desktop sites ensuring that indexing and link equity are shared between the two
  2. Use vary HTTP header with dynamic serving. This header lets Google know that some of your content is for mobile and some is for desktop.
  3. Do not build a separate tablet-optimized site. Use responsive design if possible
  4. Don’t block Googlebot Mobile or Otherwise! If you block your site, searchers won’t be able to find it.
  5. Consider user experience. Google is starting to penalize sites for things like app interstitials, slow-loading sites, faulty redirects and unplayable videos

Cater Your Content & Site to Mobile Users:

There are several things that mobile users are going to expect from your mobile site in terms of usability and findability. Catering to those things can help enhance user experience and improve your mobile ranking. When it comes to your site make sure:

  • Clicks actually click. Accommodate for a finger, not just a cursor. It’s extremely frustrating to press over and over again on a button that’s not clicking. Make sure your site is working, and recognizes fingers. Bonus: make things look extra clickable on mobile sites because it’s harder to know what clicks and what doesn’t.
  • Information Sent is Validated: Always remember: Go. Know. Do. Where you want to go, what you want to know more about, what you want to do. Like an elevator when you press a button, you expect it to light up and do what you asked it to. Then you expect a direction sign telling you where to go. Mobile users what the same guidance. They want to have their information and queries validated.
  • Content is Organized Logically: there are several Google implications that originate from how you organize your site. But there are also user implications. Make sure your site is logical for mobile users because their needs will be different from those of desktop users. Information architecture should be decided before the site is built. If you don’t do it right, it can cost you a lot after launch.
  • Consider On and Off Page Criteria: Keywords, labels and design are the glaringly obvious on-page-criteria that are important to your site. But off-the-page criteria like link development, social and web searcher goals will factor into your success in mobile.
  • Popular Information is Included: Three kinds of content are very important to mobile users: quick facts, location and personal information. Mobile searchers want to know where things are or where they can find them, they don’t want to read pages and pages of text, and they want the ability to login.

Use Effective & Search Engine Friendly Design

Site design and layout will change based on your content–if you have huge images it will distort the rest of the page, the same thing if you have no images. However there are a few designs that are better than the rest:

  • MostFluid Design: If you have 5 or 6 navigation buttons this layout will work well. It’s a great layout for a mobile friendly responsive site.
  • Column Drop: Also an ok format for a mobile-friendly responsive site, but you have to be conscientious of where you put your call to action because it can get lost
  • Layout Shifter: Another design that is great for a responsive site. Also, great for sites that require huge images (i.e. food)

Labeling Systems

These will strongly impact your search engine rankings. They can help tell a search engine and users that your information is consistent. There are 3 kinds of labels that are important to your site content, navigation, and document. Content labels are things like your heading that tell a searcher “this page is about x”, the navigation labels & URLs also point out “this page is about x” (they both usually have a keyword in there somewhere), and document labels, like a title tag, also indicate “this page is about x”. That consistency is extremely important to website rankings.

Remember: don’t assume that responsive design is search engine friendly. Just because someone else uses it, or because there are a lot of benefits, doesn’t mean that it’s best for your site. A key take away from this session is that design isn’t universal, you really need to think about your content, your users and your graphics and design it based on those things.

Stay tuned for more from SES Chicago! We’ll be live-blogging sessions throughout the next three days.


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Mobile Marketing Tips from Google, ESPN & Medialets: Connect with Your Audience on the Go http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/03/mobile-marketing-panel-sesny/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/03/mobile-marketing-panel-sesny/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 20:17:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15019 The afternoon of Day One at SES New York featured a high-level mobile marketing panel  hosted byDana Todd, SVP of Global Marketing at Performics.  Michael Bayle, Senior VP and General Manager at ESPN Mobile, Eric Litman, Chairman & CEO at Medialets and Brendon Kraham, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy at Google shared the [...]

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SES New York Mobile MarketingThe afternoon of Day One at SES New York featured a high-level mobile marketing panel  hosted byDana Todd, SVP of Global Marketing at Performics.  Michael Bayle, Senior VP and General Manager at ESPN Mobile, Eric Litman, Chairman & CEO at Medialets and Brendon Kraham, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy at Google shared the stage and their extensive knowledge on the current and coming states of mobile marketing.

The following is a collection of mobile marketing tips and takeaways based on today’s presentation, plus liveblog selection from the panel. Note that this is not a verbatim transcript, but the highlights from the panel discussion.

Mobile Marketing Tips & Takeaways from Google, ESPN & Medialets:

  • The opportunities in mobile are huge and the future is exciting, but marketers need to get their basics down first. We have a long way to go to get compliant with today’s standards before worrying about what’s on the horizon.
  • Responsive design and mobile apps are both necessary, serve different functions, and are not interchangeable or competitive.
  • Think through what it is the consumer wants to do on the device and ensure your content and systems support your efforts in providing that.
  • Don’t get wrapped up in being a mobile company; think from the perspective of a mobile consumer.
  • Marketers need to come together and establish a standard set of metrics and a taxonomy if we’re to move forward with more accurate measurement.
  • Consider cross-device tracking and sequential usage; focus on ways to more accurately measure the effects of each.
  • Engagement can be an incredibly important metric; learn how to measure its effect and capitalize on your real-time audience.

Connecting with Your Mobile Audience: Highlights

Dana Todd: What is the biggest challenge in mobile and what is the greatest opportunity?

Brendon Kraham: ESPN reaches close to 60 million unique users monthly, 35 million of those on mobile. 20 million access them exclusively on mobile. They see the opportunity for partners who have succeeded on broadcast and print to succeed in mobile and digital, as well. Challenges are, the way that we measure, though that’s not anything we can’t overcome eventually.

Michael Bayle: Marketers that dive in, do it early, test and develop a strategy are going to win. We see this time and again; those who embrace the opportunity have a chance to get in early and build brands for themselves. There is an opportunity for brand preference to change through the experience in mobile.

Dana Todd: What are the challenges and opportunities for early adopters?

Eric Litman: There are audience goals that need to be obtained across a number of channels, and the number of those channels is ever increasing. People are putting more and more time into consuming and even creating media via mobile as their attention spans grow shorter and shorter. The lack of components for global organizations go across the entire organization: ensuring consistency across the organization, proper budget allotment, etc. You have these thoughtful marketers who are trying to close the gaps who are up against technology that might not be ready for the space and time, or other organizational challenges.

Dana Todd: We know people are using multiple screens, but we don’t know quite how they’re using them yet. Can you describe some best practices on the technical challenges in measurement?

Brendon Kraham: One example is in search; when you’re looking to use a marketing campaign to effectively distribute a download, for example, you can measure that investment to see whether it was actually effective or not. In video, the display doesn’t really look all that much different on different devices. Where you do see the differences are in interactivity. It might not make sense to drive people to mobile if you’re actually getting interactions in the ad itself.

Eric Litman: Reach and frequency are the fundamentals, yet they’re really not well done yet. People are measuring all these different things and what you end up with are these frustrated teams who want to do more, but are challenged constantly. Smart marketers need to push through this and overcome the measurement challenges. Audiences are moving to mobile faster than brands are able to fulfill their reach statistics on the platforms.

Brendon Kraham: We generally see three types of concerns over mobile.

  1. Upper funnel brand stuff – building interactive formats.
  2. Application download – it’s very direct response perspective and is unique to mobile, thanks to the prevalence of app downloads.
  3. The attribution model for mobile is unique and different. We can convert in different fashions. Marketers are looking at, how many conversions happen on the device itself? Yet with mobile, we have to think of the different paths to purchase.

Do you track and measure the effect across these different paths? We have to consider cross-device tracking and sequential usage – where someone starts a transaction on one device and completes it on another. You also have transactions in physical stores that were influenced by mobile and some way. HowToGoMo/fullvaluemobile is a new Google initiative to help marketers make more informed marketing decisions.

Dana Todd: In television, we’re okay with reach and frequency as metrics. Why are we all so uncomfortable in digital with a pretty good approximator that we model on?

Eric Litman: There’s a tremendous amount more data available about people now. Think of how many cameras you passed on the way to work or here today. Think of your social activity, your credit card transactions.

Dana Todd: How are media buyers approaching the media space?

Michael Bayle: On weekends, during NFL, we might see upwards of 350,000 fans engaged at any given minute. Let’s think about it: we don’t even carry those games. Social media has made this engaged audience metric so compelling, because you can’t go watch a sports game anymore at a later time without already knowing the score. Those people who are tuned in, in real-time, are incredibly important.

Dana Todd: How are companies thinking through convergence events such as live events, or in-store purchases? How are people planning for that as a crossover pathway?

Michael Bayle: Mobile commerce emulates digital commerce; 10% of e-commerce transactions now happen on a mobile phone. Then you have the secondary issue of mobile payments. These are opportunities to remove friction in transactions, but what’s interesting is the ability to bridge the gap between the online world and the real world. The days of actually buying that magazine or tictacs at the checkout counter are long gone. Mobile commerce is the number one area of exploitation in mobile.

Dana Todd: Google has made huge investments in Android and other areas; how is Google thinking of mobile and the connected experience?

Brendon Kraham: Consumers are on four screens; the simplest version of that is making sure the experience flows across the four screens. Responsive design is your absolute basic, low-hanging fruit; you need to make sure your audience can see your content, that it renders for their device. Marketers need to be present in front of the devices of their audience and the system should work more seamlessly to ensure the flow of that interaction and experience. Understand the behavior that is happening, comes to terms with it, and plan around it. Build a strategy around the behaviors we all exhibit using connected devices.

Dana Todd: Eric, talk to us about frictionless buying.

Eric Litman: It’s a huge opportunity for marketers to get right in terms of complexity. Marketers need to figure out how to allocate budget between those different screens and channels and it’s incredibly complex. We’re not that far from a world where companies like Google and others start to think of data from different channels as an output rather than an input. We’re getting closer to more responsive ads. Yet we can’t even agree in digital right now what an impression is, so as excited as I get about building the technology to do this stuff, it’s going to take a while for the market to get there. If you have a really smart, forward-thinking media team, they should absolutely lead this process. Or maybe it’s your creative team, go with whoever can get the job done.

Dana Todd: Mobile is unique; it’s where search was 15 years old. It’s completely different and requires a very specific technical set.

Michael Bayle: Agencies and companies just don’t have the talent yet. You have a double-edged sword; we have search specialists, mobile specialists – they know the topic from a technical standpoint and need to work with others to achieve what we need to do.

Dana Todd: Is there going to be something beyond HTML5? Are apps dying? Do we still continue to approach an apps strategy as well as responsive design for mobile?

Michael Bayle: At ESPN, we’re 50% audience each on mobile web and apps. You’re never going to have convergence between apps and mobile web, so you build both. Look at the Starbucks app, where they’re actually pulling out their app to pay, rather than using a credit card or cash. Apps can do more than mobile web can; you almost have to invest in an app, like you had to invest in a website 10 years ago.

Tune in to Online Marketing Blog and follow TopRank on Twitter for more tips, tricks and advice from SES New York 2013. Share your mobile marketing questions or comments below!


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