Online Advertising to Grow 70% by 2021, Forrester Says
Market research company Forrester projected that between 2017 and 2021 online advertising in the US will grow by nearly 70%.
According to Forrester, the growth of online advertising will be driven by the rapid expansion of social media advertising and mobile advertising. Here are some of the key findings of Forrester:
Amazon’s Ad Business & What It Means for Your Business
Forrester forecasted that Amazon’s ad business will reach over $2.5 billion by 2021. The market research company may have undervalued Amazon’s ad business.
According to eMarketer, the total online advertising spending in the US is expected to grow from $72 billion in 2016 to $113 billion by 2020. In the US alone, eMarketer said Amazon is projected to generate $1.65 billion in ad revenue in 2017 and $2.35 billion in 2018.
The $2.35 billion estimated earnings of Amazon in the US market in 2018 is just a fraction of the $22 billion that Facebook and $40 billion that Google are estimated to earn in the US in 2018.
In the article "For Amazon, Online Advertising Can Drive Revenues" published by Forbes, Trefis Team wrote that if Amazon’s ad business is able to take hold of 20% share of this market by 2020, it could generate ad revenues of more than $20 billion.
“Amazon has a strong edge in this space given its relationship with brands and a huge data base of the shopping preferences of its customers,” Trefis Team wrote. “If Amazon focuses on online advertisements, this segment can become a profitable revenue stream for the company in the long term.”
Search Advertising for Amazon.ca Vendors
In October this year, Amazon launched Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) – the company’s search advertising solution for vendors on Amazon in the Canada marketplace.
Amazon reported that 76% of Amazon website visitors use the search bar to find an item. According to measurement and analytics company comScore, Amazon.ca alone attracts over 15 million unique visitors each month – equivalent to close to half of Canada’s total digital population.
Given that the search on Amazon.ca is predominantly used by shoppers to find products, advertising on Amazon is worth exploring today or in the near future. Similar to Google search, search advertising on Amazon can make your product stand out among the competition – driving consideration at a crucial time when a customer needs to decide.
Amazon currently offers the following 3 advertising solutions to Canadian sellers:
1. Sponsored Products
This advertising solution allows businesses to organically promote on top and within Amazon search results. Ads under the Sponsored Products are targeted using keywords to correspond to the search terms used by customers, giving exposure to your product and helping customers in their decision journey. Below is a sample of an ad under Sponsored Products.
2. Headline Search Ads
This ad solution uses targeted keywords to help drive brand awareness. It features 3 products and a brand logo within a prime spot which is at the top of search results. Below is an example of Amazon’s Headline Search Ad.
Using Amazon’s Headline Search Ads can direct shoppers to Amazon Store. An Amazon Store is a do-it-yourself solution that allows you to create your own business store within the Amazon.com platform, giving your customers an easy way to visualize your products. Amazon Store is free and completely self-service for any Amazon seller who is also a brand owner.
3. Product Display Ads
In Product Display Ads, Amazon sellers are allowed to advertise listings via surrounding media on product detail pages. This reaches shoppers when they’re about to buy – the time when they add an item to their shopping cart.
This ad solution is targeted to individual products, product categories or shopper interests. Below is an example of Amazon’s Product Display Ad.
You can manage your Amazon Marketing Services advertising budget in 3 ways:
1. Pay Per Click
In pay per click, you decide how much to bid on an ad click. You won’t be charged more than that amount per click.
2. Pay Per day
In pay per day, you decide how you’ll spend for a day. You won’t be charged more than your daily budget. Once your daily budget is reached, your ads will simply stop running for the day.
3. Pay Per Campaign
In pay per campaign, you have the option to set budget at a campaign level for Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads. Once the campaign budget is reached, your ads will stop running.
What About Ads via Amazon Alexa Voice?
To date, Amazon doesn’t allow third-party developers to make money from their Alexa apps, through the use of VoiceLab’s “Sponsored Messages” – brief ads that were designed to be interactive.
VoiceLabs CEO Adam Marchick, in a blog post described interactive voice ad this way: "For example, a consumer would be asked if they were going to watch the NBA finals game airing that day. If the user said yes, it would let them know to tune in for the 6pm start time. If not, the Sponsored Message would let them which channel to tune into at 10pm for all the highlights.”
Amazon shut down VoiceLab’s Sponsored Messages project with its May 21st policy change. Amazon, however, allows the following ads in Alexa Voice:
How Customer Service via Social Media Channels Can Improve Online Reputation
Want to improve your organization’s online reputation? The answer may lie in improving your organization’s customer service via social media channels.
Whether it’s praising a company for a great service, venting frustration about bad service or seeking a response for help for a particular service issue, more and more consumers are turning to social media channels.
A study conducted by Research Now and commissioned by Twitter found that 61% of users surveyed see Twitter as the right environment to discuss customer service queries with brands. Forty percent of companies in the retail industry had recently used the platform for customer service; 33% for travel and 28% for telecoms, according to the study.
In another study focused on telecommunication brands, Twitter in partnership with TNS found that those who had received a response from a brand had almost 3 times higher brand preference than those who hadn’t received a response from a brand. The Twitter study also found that consumers are willing to pay an additional $20 or more to travel with an airline company that responds to their Tweet in less than 6 minutes.
According to Twitter, delivering great customer service via its platform “drives and builds customer loyalty”. The company said that 96% of users who turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again.
Social Media Servicing vs. Social Media Marketing
A study by J.D. Power showed that consumers see social media channels of businesses as a means to engage in customer service. The study found that 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site to engage in customer service (answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems), compared with 33% for social marketing (brand awareness and affinity).
A study by the American Express (PDF) found that consumers are increasingly impatient to wait for customer service via phone or in-person (at a retail store, at a restaurant or at a service provider's office).
The American Express study showed that 1 in 5 or 22% of consumers are only willing to wait less than 5 minutes on hold when they contact a customer service center by telephone, while average consumers are willing to a maximum of 13 minutes. In person, consumers are also willing to wait an average of 13 minutes for customer service help. The American Express study also found that over 1 in 5 or 23% of consumers have utilized social media to get a customer service response.
"Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them,” Nielsen and NM Incite said in their Social Media Report. “The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media.”
The Nielsen and NM Incite report found that 33% of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
The Research Now and Twitter study showed that consumers expect brands to respond quickly to their queries. The study found that 24% of users consider speed as the most important attribute for customer service on Twitter, while a quarter agreed that it’s important. Seventy-one of Twitter users expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of Tweeting, according to the study.
“Twitter is about what’s happening now,” Twitter in the blog post "Customer Service on Twitter and the impact on brands" said. “That means when it comes to customer service, users expect brands to respond quickly.”
The Future of Customer Service: Chatbots
Responding to consumers’ queries on social media channels is time-consuming and needs more manpower. Many of the queries of consumers are also repetitive. To remedy these issues, brands have engaged chatbots. A very simplistic chatbot is the one that answers your call whenever you call a company’s hotline number. Think of the “Press 1 for …. Press 2 for …. Press for…” response.
Chatbots have come a long way. Their capabilities now go beyond simplistic responses. Facebook, for instance, launched in April 2016 the “bots on Messenger” – a platform that allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, from answering commonly asked questions to selling goods and services via Facebook Messenger.
According to Facebook, in just over two months after the launched of the bots on Messenger, over 11,000 chatbots were launched on Messenger and over 23,000 developers have signed up for Wit.ai's Bot Engine – platform offered by Facebook for developers to create customized chatbots.
For example, it’s now easy to request an Uber ride via Uber’s chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform. There’s no need to open the Uber app. To request an Uber ride, you simply search “Uber” on Messenger, start a conversation, tap the car icon and then you'll be able to see a fare estimate along with your driver's name, vehicle make and model and license plate number.
As of November 2017, Facebook reported that 2 billion messages are sent and received between consumers and businesses each month via Messenger (including both automated and people-initiated) and there are 100,000 monthly active bots on the Messenger platform.
Facebook said 53% of users who message businesses via Messenger say they are more likely to shop with a business they can message. According to telecom company Globe, using a chatbot on Facebook Messenger provides meaningful and efficient customer service. The telecom company said it successfully increased employee productivity by 3.5 times and reduced calls to its hotline by 50%.
Given that Facebook Messenger has a wide reach, developing a chatbot for your company via the Facebook Messenger is worth considering. Your organization’s customized chatbot can create real-time and scalable customer service experience that feels personal for your customers. This modern way of connecting with consumers comes with a price though, including Facebook fees and the cost for the developer who’ll develop your organization’s customized chatbot for Messenger.
Is Your Brand Ready for Voice Search?
As the market for speakers with personal assistants heats up, voice search intensifies as well.
Smart Speaker Market
Even before Google entered the smart speaker market, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in the middle of 2016 that 20% of mobile queries were voice searches.
In late 2016, Google joined the smart speaker market with its smart speaker called “Google Home”. This market was initially dominated by another tech giant Amazon with its smart speaker called “Echo”. Google Home’s personal assistant is called “Google Assistant”; Amazon Echo’s personal assistant is called “Alexa”.
Almost every tech company that has personal assistant like Microsoft (Cortana), Apple (Siri), and Samsung (Bixby) is developing a smart speaker. Just recently, Chinese internet giant Baidu unveiled its smart speaker called "Raven H". According to Gartner, worldwide spending on virtual personal assistant (VPA)-enabled wireless speakers will reach $2.1 billion by 2020, up from $360 million in 2015.
"A significant number of households could therefore have more than one unit, or even one per room," said Werner Goertz, research director at Gartner. "With smaller form factors, price erosion over the years and potential subsidization models, we expect that 75 percent of households with VPAs will have one, 20 percent will have two, and five percent will have three or more devices by 2020."
According to MindMeld, 61% of users had adopted intelligent voice assistants in the 12 months prior to October 2015. MindMeld found that the popularity of voice assistants has grown due to the hands-free feature, enabling many to do other tasks, in addition to conducting hands-free online search and online shopping as well.
The total global sales of smart speakers in 2017 is expected to reach 4 million units, with an estimated 60% of all smart speakers sold this year will run on Amazon’s Alexa platform, while Google’s Assistant will account for 20% of the sales, according to Strategy Analytics.
How Will Smart Speakers Change Consumer Behaviors
The widespread adoption of personal assistant-enabled speakers could result in an increase of online shopping orders initiated from a smart speaker instead of a laptop or mobile device, Gartner projected.
With Google Home, for instance, you can shop everyday essentials – from food supplies to toiletries. Shopping via Google Home can be done from participating Google Express retailers like Walmart, Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market.
To shop via Google Home, you only have to say, for instance, “Ok, Google, order paper towels.” Setting up the shopping feature of Google Home can be done by going to the Google Home app, navigating to “More settings” and then scrolling down to “Payments.” From there, default credit card and delivery address can be set-up.
Google markets its personal assistant-enabled speaker to “understand your context – location, device you’re using, etc.” It currently understands English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese and Korean.
According to Google, if, for instance, you decide to visit Vancouver, you can ask Google Assistant these questions:
Check the weather: “Ok Google, what’s the weather in Vancouver?”
Check flight schedule: “Ok Google, show me flights to Vancouver on Saturday”
Choose an adventure: “Ok Google, what should I do in Vancouver?”
Places to eat: “Ok Google, what are the best restaurants in Vancouver.”
"Vendors that are able to create an intimate, familiar relationship with the user will be able to contextualize ordering to the extent that preferred products will be proposed, and processing details will already be captured,” Gartner said. “As a result, the user's propensity to purchase products and services using VPA systems should increase, transactional friction could be reduced and the overall user experience would be improved."
How to Prepare Your brand for Voice Search
Given that voice search is a growing trend, here are some tips to prepare your brand for this technological advancement:
1. “Sounds Like” Issue
Comedian John Oliver and his staff created parody websites of the three major credit reporting companies EquifacksDOTcom for Equifax, experianneDOTcom for Experian and tramsonionDOTcom for TransUnion.
“It would clearly be a horrible thing if these actual companies were mistaken for these fake companies. But don’t worry – 95 percent of the time, that won’t happen. And apparently that’s good enough, right?” Oliver said.
While the parody websites of the 3 major credit reporting companies tried to get the message across that millions of people have their reputation tarnished because of major errors on their credit reports as a result of mistaken identity, this parody also showed that variations in pronunciation can affect voice search.
In voice search, take into consideration the variations in pronunciation for your brand name or key search terms. Add these variations of pronunciation to your keyword optimization strategy.
2. Rise in Longer-Tail Searches
In the last 2 years, there has been a rise of longer-tail searches. When people search online by typing words on their computers or mobile phones, shorter keywords are words. But in voice search, people tend to use longer-tail searches. For instance, if one wants to visit Vancouver, one may type in the search words “things to do Vancouver”. In voice search, people tend to use natural language like “What should I do in Vancouver”.
To improve your brand’s visibility via search results, ensure that you offer the closest answer to the voice query.
3. Question-Based Search Phrases
In voice searches, the queries tend to be in the question formats. Questions that start with the word “what” are fairly common. While voice queries expressed in question format may not immediately convert into sales, content that answers these questions could improve brand’s engagement and goodwill.
Anticipate the questions of your consumers by researching the most commonly asked questions about your brand or product and try to optimize answers for the natural language query version.
Artificial intelligence is now a reality within our midst through personal assistants like Assistant (Google), Alexa and Siri. Tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple and Baidu are continually optimizing their virtual personal assistants to better understand the natural language of humans. Don’t allow your brand to be left behind this modern way of reaching out to your customers – via voice search.
How to Reach Last-Minute Shoppers this Holiday Season
Mobile shopping might have given shoppers the opportunity to shop early for the holiday season, but this technological innovation hasn’t changed consumers’ old habit of procrastination.
It’s never too late to launch your online campaign for last-minute shoppers. According to Google, holiday shoppers redouble their online search to find stores open nearby once it’s already too late to ship.
Here are the top 3 approaches to reach out to last-minute shoppers this holiday season:
1. Target Relevant Keywords
Let’s take a look at the search words used by holiday shoppers as compiled by Google itself.
Use of Broad Search Words
While majority of consumers have something specific in mind when they use Google search, more than 40% of searchers still use broad terms like "living room furniture” or "women's athletic clothing".
Use of “Where to buy” Search Words
In the last 2 years, mobile searches for the keywords “where to buy” have grown more than 85%. Examples of these searchers include “where to buy gift boxes”, “where to buy cards” and “where to buy ugly Christmas sweater”.
On Christmas Eve of 2016, mobile searches for “where to buy Hatchimals”, “where to buy NES classic”, “where to buy Cards Against Humanity” and “where to buy coal” rose. The “where to buy” searches specifically peaked from Dec. 18 to Dec. 23 after the shipping cutoff.
Use of “[Fill in the blank] brands” Search Words
While shoppers have something in mind to buy, they’re open to different brands. During the 2016 holiday season, mobile searches for “[fill in the blank] brands” increased. Examples of these keywords include “makeup brands” (up by 150%), best purse brands” (up by 140%) and “men’s watch brands” (up by 70%).
Use of “Store hours” Search Words
Mobile searches for “store hours” also peaked on Christmas Day 2016, with top searches including “what grocery stores are open on Christmas”, “what stores are open near me on Christmas,” and “what stores are open right now.”
“[fill in the blank] to avoid” and “is [fill in the blank] worth it” Search Words
Consumers don’t only want to know about particular items, they also want to know what specific items or products to avoid. According to Google, mobile searches for “[fill in the blank] to avoid” have increased by 150% over the past two years, while mobile searches for “is [fill in the blank] worth it” have increased by more than 80% in the past two years.
The keywords provided by Google are just general guidelines of what holiday shoppers want. In choosing the best keywords for your online campaign, it’s important to make the keywords relevant to local searchers. Based on a Google study, 4 in 5 consumers conduct their online search with their location and proximity in mind.
2. Target Mobile Phone Users
Google has offered marketers the following relevant numbers about mobile-first shoppers:
A Google study showed that 76% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a local store within a day and 28% of those searches resulted in a purchase.
3. Use Omni-Channel Approach
A 2015 to 2017 study by YouTube – video sharing platform owned by Google – showed that “shop with me” videos have grown in popularity, with watchtime rising more than 10 times in the last 2 years on mobile alone. By watching these “shop with me” videos by random YouTubers, consumers tapped the opinion of others in deciding whether to visit your store or not.
The YouTube study also found that “store tour” videos have soared in popularity, with watchtime growing by over 10 times the past 2 years. With “store tour” videos, your customers can virtually explore your store prior to physically visiting the store.
Shoppers nowadays aren’t satisfied with text or still images alone. Consumers now want to know more about the product beyond the typical product specifications. This explains the amount of time spent watching those unboxing videos of mobile phones on YouTube. Consumers want to see videos about your products or your store. Videos may be time-consuming to make, but these compliment well with your other online campaign.
4. Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaign
The best way to save time and find last-minute holiday shoppers is through PPC campaign, in particular, Google AdWords as Google enjoys the biggest market share in terms of mobile searches.
These Google PPC numbers tell the story:
“Ultimately, showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen,” Google said. “By being there, your brand has the chance to address consumer needs in the moment, help move someone along their decision journey ….”
Don't have time or resources? Our experts will help you grow this holiday season and beyond. Call us today (888) 807-6278
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Benefit Your Healthcare Facility
A few years back, business reputation was earned by word of mouth. Today’s business reputation still relies on word of mouth – just the digital version of it: online reputation.
Once you put up a business, your customers are bound to talk about your products and services. Instead of telling you, your staff or other customers in person, they’ll tell the whole world about your business online – through online reviews.
How Patients View Online Reviews
Online reviews of healthcare practitioners are particularly sought out by patients. Patients are increasingly turning to online reviews about healthcare providers, just like they do for other products and services.
Fifty-nine percent said healthcare provider rating sites are “somewhat” or “very” important, this according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services," researchers said in the article "Public Awareness, Perception, and Use of Online Physician Rating Sites" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For years, the academic community and healthcare providers themselves have dismissed online reviews. But the rise of popularity of online review sites like Yelp has forced the issue of online reviews to the forefront. At the end of 2016, the Yelp platform generated a total of 121 million reviews, 6% of them about health care providers.
"After years of academic debate over the role and value of patient-satisfaction scores and reviews of health care providers, Yelp, the online powerhouse of documenting customer satisfaction, is forcing the issue," Dr. Vivian Lee said in the article "Transparency and Trust – Online Patient Reviews of Physicians" published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Although this free and familiar platform can generate an impressive volume of feedback data, physicians do not always respond positively to the sudden exposure of sometimes negative reviews."
Other online reviews like Google can’t be dismissed. If someone searches your healthcare facility, for instance, Google reviews appear next to your organization’s listing in Maps and Search.
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Your Organization’s Advantage
Dismissal of online reviews is a passive reaction. Some healthcare providers, however, take their reactions about negative reviews to the next level – to the point of violating patient-clinician confidentiality.
A California dentist reprimanded a patient who accused him on Yelp of misdiagnosing her. “I looked very closely at your radiographs and it was obvious that you have cavities and gum disease that your other dentist has overlooked. … You can live in a world of denial and simply believe what you want to hear from your other dentist or make an educated and informed decision.”
In Canada, the clinician’s confidentiality duty is both a legal and ethical obligation. Canada has privacy legislation that requires the consent of an individual before his or her personal information can be collected, used or disclosed. The Canadian Medical Association's Code of Ethics, in particular, requires physicians to protect their patients' personal health information.
Instead of dismissing, reacting negatively to online reviews, it pays to be positively pro-active in dealing with online reviews. Here are simple steps to claim and improve your healthcare facility’s online reputation and online reviews:
1. Provide Consistent Contact Details
One of the ways to improve your organization’s online reputation is by providing consistent contact details. Across different online platforms, provide consistent contact details, consisting of your organization’s name, address, phone number and website – collectively known as NAP + W.
By providing consistent contact details across different online platforms, Google can validate the information and include this data in its algorithm – giving your organization’s contact details and your organization’s website better visibility in its search result pages.
There are companies that collect contact details of businesses. Google and Yelp subscribe to these data providers. Google, Yelp and similar organizations also scour the internet for contact details of businesses and then add them to their databases. This explains why your organization’s contact details find their way to Yelp, YellowPages and other sites even if no one in your organization created a listing on these sites.
2. Solicit Reviews
Another way to improve your organization’s online reputation is to solicit reviews. While it’s unethical to solicit good reviews, it’s proper to solicit reviews. It’s an established good practice for businesses to solicit reviews in order to get valuable performance feedback for learning and improving. In the past, companies get feedbacks from customers by asking them to drop their written comments into a suggestion or comment box.
After every visit to your healthcare facility, send an email to every customer, asking them about their experience. The email soliciting a feedback is similar to the suggestion box. In the email, provide a link to top review site like Yelp for them to share their positive experience. If they’re dissatisfied with the service, provide a link that goes back to you and your staff. Some healthcare providers offer dissatisfied patients another visit at no cost to correct or remedy the situation.
By providing a link to a top review site, your organization increases your positive reviews. And by providing a link to your organization if they’re dissatisfied, negative reviews can be prevented. We don’t live in a perfect world. By inviting your patients to come back to your facility, your organization will have another chance to offer a better service. This also gives your patients an opportunity to voice out their dissatisfaction directly to you and your staff, instead of blasting your organization over the internet.
3. Provide Staff Training about Good Customer Service
Providing top-notched healthcare service isn’t limited to the clinician’s expert hands. Your healthcare facility will be evaluated by your customers, not just based on the skills of clinicians, but also by the service offered by other personnel in your organization – from cleaning personnel to the receptionist. It, therefore, pays to train your staff to do the best they could from cleanliness to being courteous to customers.
Customers won’t hesitate to give your organization positive reviews if they receive top-notched service from clinicians right down to the receptionist.
Need help with call quality screening and a complete review process automation? Give us a call today to get started and get more positive reviews.
Importance of Online Ads Placement
Billions of the world’s population are now online. If your company plans to turn to online ads to draw customers, ads placement is an important consideration.
A new report from Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO) and Dow Jones showed that nearly half of consumers stated they would have second thoughts about purchasing from a company or would boycott products and services if they encountered company's ads within or alongside objectionable digital content.
The CMO and Dow Jones report also showed that nearly half of brand advertisers report problems with where and how digital ads are viewed. A quarter of the CMO and Dow Jones survey respondents stated that they’ve specific examples where their digital ads were shown within or alongside offensive or compromising content.
The new CMO and Dow Jones report shows the risks associated with programmatic advertising.
"Our member research shows that clients are going to be putting more pressure on their advertising and media-buying partners to provide greater due diligence, control and monitoring when it comes to ensuring ad placement efficacy through automated platforms," Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, said. "They want to see greater ad spend effectiveness and better attribution from a performance measurement standpoint. They will also likely dictate which channels are pre-approved and shift spend to those that are most trusted and proven."
What is Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is a billion-dollar market. According to Zenith Media, programmatic advertising grew from $5 billion in 2012 to $39 billion in 2016, at an average rate of 71% per year. Zenith projected this market to slow down in the coming years as “it consolidates its dominance of the display market”. The programmatic advertising market is projected by Zenith to grow at an average of 28% a year from 2017 to 2018 – hitting $64 billion by 2018.
This advertising model was first promoted as a means to reach target audiences as cheaply as possible, without taking into consideration the quality of the sites in which the ads appeared.
Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of online advertising, where a software program is responsible for picking where the ads run. Before this automated process, advertisers have to personally negotiate where their ads will run alongside with and manual insertions are done. This automated advertising method speeds up and scales the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
In addition to ads running within or alongside videos, programmatic ads also include Google Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising, which is powered by algorithms, to serve highly targeted ads at audiences.
YouTube Programmatic Advertising Fallout
n February of this year, The Times ran a story that revealed that brands unwittingly fund extremists groups through online ads.
The Times report showed that on YouTube, the online advertisement for the Mercedes E-Class saloon was shown alongside a pro-Isis video that had more than 115,000 views. A video owner earns an average of $7.60 for every 1,000 views and YouTube takes a 45% cut of the earning.
The online ad for Sandals Resorts, the luxury holiday operator, was shown alongside a video promoting al-Shabaab, the East African jihadist group affiliated to al- Qaeda. Ads for Halifax, Churchill Retirement, Honda, Victoria & Albert museum, Thomson Reuters, University of Liverpool and Waitrose also appeared alongside extremist videos posted on YouTube.
As soon as Google, the owner of YouTube, was informed by The Times, the tech giant took down some of the videos. AT&T and Verizon were some the companies that suspended their ads on YouTube over the placement of their ads in extremist videos.
In an interview with Recode, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said that the company’s YouTube ad controversy where brands found that some of their ads have run alongside videos promoting terror was overblown.
“If you look at it from an advertiser perspective, the error rates we’re talking about – I’m careful in saying this, because I don’t want to take away from the importance of the problem and that we need to get it right – but the numbers are tiny, tiny,” Schindler said.
Even as the Google’s chief business officer said that the problem is “tiny”, the company, he said, is heeding the call to remedy the issue.
"We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values,” Schindler wrote in a blog post published on March 21, 2017. “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.”
How to Ensure Your Brand Safety in Programmatic Advertising
We have seen the negative side of automated advertising method as shown in the YouTube fallout. But we can’t deny the fact that programmatic advertising can speed up and scale the ad buying and selling process in a way that humans can’t achieve manually.
Advertising channels like Google search, YouTube and Facebook have the responsibility to ensure that ads don’t run within or alongside fake news, offensive, derogatory, hateful, inappropriate and non-contextual media content.
In today’s digital world, there’s no going back to the bygone days of manual advertising. The online world is simply too big to ignore. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology, projected that mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach 4.3 billion globally by the end of 2017.
Drawing customers to your business through programmatic advertising entails added responsibilities on your side. These include choosing the right digital marketing service. The right digital marketing service will ensure that your business ads don’t run within or alongside objectionable digital content. It can better manage and control ad placements, as well as track and monitor digital advertising placements.
Contact us today if you want to ensure the safety of your brand in a programmatic environment.
Here is how to Increase Web Traffic through Social Media
Worried that your organization’s website isn’t getting enough traffic? The answer may lie in social media platforms.
According to a report released in the 1st quarter of 2016 by analytics firm Parse.ly, social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon – drove more traffic to news sites (46%) than search engines (40%).
An earlier report from content marketing hubShareaholic showed that the top 8 social networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube) drove 31.24% of the overall traffic to sites for the 4th quarter of 2014, up from 22.71% for the same period in the previous year.
Facebook is the dominant source of social media traffic.
According to Parse.ly, for the 1st quarter of 2016, the lion’s share of the traffic to news sites from social media came from Facebook (41.4%) and bulk of the traffic from search engines came from Google (39.5%).
According to Shareaholic, for the 4th quarter of 2014, one-fourth or 24.63% of the social referrals to sites around the web came from Facebook. Shareaholic, which tracked Facebook’s traffic referrals from 2011 to 2014, noticed a 277.26% increase, from only 6.53% in 2011. Behind Facebook, Pinterest came in as the 2nd top social media referral site (5.06%), followed by Twitter (0.82), StumbleUpon (0.50%), Reddit (0.15%), Google+ (0.04%), LinkedIn (0.03%) and YouTube (0.01%).
Unlike Parse.ly which focused on news websites traffic, Shareaholic sourced its data from diverse sites, including food, sports, parenting, tech, design, marketing, fashion and beauty, religion and general news.
According to nonprofit medical practice and medical research group Mayo Clinic, its top social media referral site to mayoclinic.org in the first quarter of 2017 was Facebook which accounted for 78% of the traffic from social media, followed by Twitter (7%) and StumbleUpon (6%). Mayo Clinic added that in the 1st quarter of 2017, Facebook was also its dominant social media referrer for appointment requests.
Penetration Rate of Social Media, Facebook in Canada
According to statistics portal Statista, as of January 2017, nearly 37% of the world’s population had an account on at least one of the social networks. In North America, approximately 66% has at least one social media account. In Canada, over 20 million people are expected to have a social media account by 2018, Statista projected.
According to Statista, global internet users spend an average of 118 minutes each day surfing social networks, while Canadians spend 107 minutes each day accessing social media from any device.
As with the rest of the world, tech giant Facebook is the most popular in Canada in terms of penetration, with three quarters of Canadians having an active account on this platform. Facebook is also the most visited social network via mobile, Pinterest taking the 2nd spot and Twitter taking the 3rd spot.
User base of Twitter in Canada is projected by Statista to grow from over 3.3 million in 2012 to 7.6 million users in 2020. The professional platform LinkedIn has the highest penetration rate, according to Statista, among residents in Alberta and British Columbia.
Given that Facebook has 1.32 billion daily active users on average and 2.01 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2017, and given Facebook’s value as the dominant source of social media traffic, here are some strategies that you can use to drive Facebook traffic to your organization’s website:
1. Take Advantage of Facebook Links
In the About page, photo and video descriptions, comments (where relevant), make sure to include links back to your organization’s website.
It’s essential to include links back to your organization’s website in all social media pages of your organization, including Facebook, as social media sites are favored and have high ranking in search engines, including Google. If your organization hasn’t done much to the website, for instance, failing to regularly update the site via blog posts, and your organization has other social media pages, when people search your organization via search engines, links to these social pages show up higher than your website.
2. Provide Brief Quote or Excerpt from Blog Post
When posting links to blog posts, provide a brief quote or excerpt to give the readers a heads up what to expect when clicking on the link. Pick a portion of the blog post that best describes the topic. Use this as a way to entice the reader to click on the link to the blog post.
3. Post Frequently
According to Facebook, based on an experiment that it conducted with 29 media partners, increasing post volume by an average of 45% over a week resulted in a 76% increase in outbound clicks, 47% increase in fans and 10% increase in likes per post.
4. Upload Videos with a Call-to-Action
According to Facebook, more than 4 billion video views happen on Facebook each day. Post videos on your organization’s Facebook page. Be sure to add a call to action to your video to drive viewers to your organization’s website.
5. Use Facebook Ads
It’s a good practice to supplement your Facebook strategies with Facebook ads. Over the past few years, there has been a drop in “organic” or non-paid Facebook post reach. Your organization has no control on who views your Facebook posts. More often, this social media platform gives priority to posts that organizations paid for to be promoted. As it’s becoming increasingly hard for non-paid posts to get the needed exposure, the better option is to make use of the Facebook ads.
The focus must be driving traffic from social media platforms, not to social media platforms like Facebook. Remember that the role of your organization’s social media pages is only to supplement your organization’s site. This site is your very own – your organization has complete control over it. Your organization’s social media pages, on the hand, are only “rented”. Driving traffic to your organization’s site, not to social media pages ensures that if one of these social media platforms were to change its business model today or close its business, your organization still has a venue to engage with your audience.
When you need help generating more targeted web traffic, connect with us and we will be more than happy to help.
How Online Reputation Can Prevent Social Bias
Diversity is valued in today’s modern society. Social bias, however, comes out naturally for some people. A new study from Stanford University (PDF) shows that online reputation can offset this social bias.
Stanford University Study
To test for evidence of bias, the Stanford University researchers created an experiment-specific online platform. For this new platform, the researchers recruited nearly 9,000 users of Airbnb – an online platform that enables people to rent-out their homes or apartments – to play a behavioral game where participants have to invest a certain amount for various individuals based on mock profiles. The amount of investment for a certain individual serves as a measure of trust.
The researchers divided the nearly 9,000 participants into two groups. Group 1 participants were shown mock profiles of individuals with similar and different demographic than their own. Group 2 participants were shown profiles of individuals with similar and different demographic and added information about reputation – conveyed by star ratings and number of reviews.
Results showed that Group 1 participants invested greatly in people with similar demographic background. The more similar the demographic background, the more the participant invested or trusted such individuals, succumbing to social bias. Participants in Group 2, on the other hand, invested significantly in individuals with better reputations even though these individuals have completely different demographic background than their own.
The behavioral game created by Stanford University researchers revealed that profiles’ reputation prevented humankind’s affinity for favoring people similar to themselves.
The researchers weigh the results of the behavioral game with 1 million actual interactions between hosts and guests on the Airbnb online platform. The Stanford University researchers found that Airbnb hosts with better reputations attracted more demographically diverse guests.
"Our findings show that reputation systems can significantly increase the trust between dissimilar users and that risk aversion has an inverse relationship with trust given high reputation," the researchers wrote.
Homophily: Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Homophily – the penchant for favoring those similar to ourselves – was first coined by researchers Lazarsfeld and Merton in the 1950s.
Homophily, however, wasn’t invented in the 50s. Plato observed in Phaedrus that “similarity begets friendship”, while Aristotle in Rhetoric and Nichomachean Ethics noted that people “love those who are like themselves”. The proverbial expression “birds of a feather flock together” unmistakably expresses the full concept of homophily.
There’s a wealth of literature that shows that homophily is evident in relationships that range from the closest ties of marriage, friendship, career support at work to mere initial contact or appearing with people in a public place.
Relevance to Your Business
The findings in the Stanford study and the idea of “birds of a feather flock together” can be applied in your business in the following ways:
1. Build Better Online Reputation to Build Trust
In traditional e-commerce business, social bias isn’t a factor that drives selection as transactions are relatively anonymous.
If you’re working in sharing economy such as working as an Airbnb host or working in the health care sector where there are more personal interactions, there’s that danger of social bias.
According to the Stanford researchers “social biases figure as major hurdles to the growth” in services with more personal interactions “as they influence users’ perceptions of trust and risk”.
As shown in the Stanford study results, online reputation can counteract the natural behavioral tendencies that may lead to social biases. It’s, therefore, important to build a better online reputation through impressive star ratings to eradicate cultural and social boundaries and to attract new customers.
“The fundamental question we wanted to answer is whether technology [review or rating platforms] can be used to influence people’s perception of trust,” lead author of the Stanford University study Bruno Abrahao told the Stanford News. “These platforms can engineer tools that have great influence in how people perceive each other and can make markets fairer, especially to users from underrepresented minorities.”
If you notice homogeneity – same demographic – among your current clientele and you want to open your business to those with different sociodemographic background, it pays to build a better online reputation via impressive star ratings on credible online review platforms.
2. Use the Concept of “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” to Your Advantage
The principle of homophily or the concept of “birds of a feather flock together” is double-edged. On one hand, it’s positive; on the other hand, it’s negative.
“Homophily limits people’s social worlds in a way that has powerful implications for the information they receive, the attitudes they form, and the interactions they experience,” researchers McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Cook wrote in the study "Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social" (PDF). They added, “Homophily in race and ethnicity creates the strongest divides in our personal environments, with age, religion, education, occupation, and gender following in roughly
On the flip side, you can use the idea of “birds of a feather flock together” to improve your brand. It’s a matter finding similarities that don’t reinforce social biases. You can use the “birds of a feather flock together” concept, for instance, in getting reputable online reviews.
The study "How Online Reviews Influence Sales" (PDF) by Spiegel Research Center showed that online reviews written by verified clients are perceived as more credible than reviews written by anonymous reviewers.
“The verified buyer badge shows that the reviewer is a real consumer and not someone who was paid to write a review or someone who has an axe to grind against the company,” Spiegel Research Center said.
The trust placed by would-be clients in verified clients shows how the concept of “birds of a feather flock together” works, that is, people trust more those who have similar experience.
It’s important, therefore, to build a good number of impressive star ratings, not just in random online review platforms but in credible online review platforms – this means platforms where most of the reviewers, if not all of the reviewers, are verified clients who paid for the product or service.
Connect with us today to see how we can help your business grow by applying best industry practices.
Why Business Listing Accuracy is Important
Business Name. Address. Phone number. These 3 – jointly called as “NAP” – are the holy trinity of information.
Your business name, address and phone number are of utmost importance for those who may plan to buy from your physical store or those who may want to contact your office prior to visiting your store.
An example of a business listing or business directory is Google My Business – a free business listing or directory offered by Google. This business directory integrates 3 Google products: Google Maps, Google Search and Google +. It allows consumers to find your business or organization’s contact details. It also shows your customers how to get to your store or office with its travel directions for a variety of transportation modes.
Benefits of Accurate Business Listings
Based on the Google-Oxera study (PDF), accurate business listings result in the following:
1. It can help your organization’s online reputation.
The Google-Oxera study showed that businesses whose listings are verified, specifically on Google My Business, are twice as likely to be considered “reputable” by consumers.
2. It saves time.
The Google-Oxera study revealed that consumers save 0.74 minutes per record when they see a verified business listing. The study estimates this time-saving consequence to be worth around $9 for each consumer over a year for every type of business they locate using Google.
3. It increases homepage clickthroughs.
The Google-Oxera further found that accurate business listing produces more consumers’ online activity. The study found that accurate business details generate at least 30% increase in homepage clickthroughs.
Prevalence of Inaccurate Basic Business Information
Inaccurate business names, addresses and phone numbers are prevalent on the internet. A Yext survey revealed that 65% of large businesses in the UK have incorrect addresses listed online. This problem isn’t limited to large businesses, as 67% of smaller businesses have incorrect addresses listed online. The inaccurate information doesn't stop there, according to Yext, as 33% of large organizations in the UK list incorrect phone numbers, and 61% of small businesses face the same problem.
A Mediative and Placeable (PDF) report showed that 80% of Canada's top retailers have inconsistent, inaccurate or missing basic business information online.
Negative Effects of Inaccurate Business Listings
1. Inaccurate business listings can drive away customers and contacts.
A Google and Ipsos MORI survey (PDF) revealed that 4 in 5 smartphone and computer/tablet users conduct local searches on search engines, specifically about local store address, directions to the local store and business hours.
The survey further revealed that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within 24 hours, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. Despite the growth of online retail, therefore, the truth remains that offline spending on products and services aren’t losing ground.
Imagine a customer driving all the way to your supposed store address, only to find a notice that you’ve moved to a new address or said customer simply can’t locate your store as it’s the wrong address. Or picture a customer, who after finding your organization’s phone number online, contacts you with this number and said customer can’t contact your company because that number is an old one or the number is simply wrong.
The responses for these two scenarios are immediate: inaccurate address and phone number drive away would-be customers and contacts. Even your existing customers will turn their backs against your business if you don’t update your new address or phone number.
2. Inaccurate business listings result in financial losses.
According to the Mediative and Placeable report, if 5% or 100 branches of a 2,000-branch home improvement store with $57 average daily ticket, 5,000 local searches a month and a 1% click-through rate (CTR) have inaccurate phone numbers, it could mean an annual loss in revenue of $1.6M from customers who opt to shop elsewhere.
3. Inaccurate business listings can do damage to your business’ search engine optimization (SEO).
According to Moz’ 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors, the following inaccurate and missing business data negatively impacts your business’ SEO:
If search engines notice that your organization has incorrect and conflicting business addresses and phone numbers, your organization’s website is less likely to rank high on search results. The reason for this demotion is that search engines are simply trying to protect their reputation as well. If their search results show incorrect and misleading information, their customers would similarly leave them.
"Inadequate syndication of location data across the third party ecosystem leads to poor placement in search engine results and the loss of online site visits," the Mediative and Placeable report said.
The following factors are responsible for basic business data inaccuracies:
1. Change in Location and Phone Number
Inaccuracies of location and phone number can stem from a recent transfer to a new address or a change of phone number.
2. Typo Error
Many inaccurate business addresses and phone numbers are the results of typo error or mistakes in typing the words or numbers.
3. Substantial Number of Business Addresses and Phone Numbers
Specifically for large organizations – those with hundreds and even thousands of branches, manually ensuring that addresses and phone numbers are accurate can be burdensome.
4. Substantial Number of Business Listings
In today’s digital economy, your business name, address and phone number don’t appear on one site alone. Depending on your location and type of business, your organization may have to deal with hundreds of business listings within niche based categories. New sites could also pop-up anytime and existing sites could get your business name, address and phone number from several sources.
5. Lack of Time to Claim and Regularly Update Business Listings
Claiming a business listing like Google My Business takes time. Aside from Google My Business, there are other business listings that are equally as important like Bing Local, Facebook, Apple Maps and TripAdvisor.
Connect with us today and we will show a simple, automated way to keep your listings up-to-date, attract new customer, and win against competition.
How to Remove Your Sensitive Personal Information from Search Engine
There are things in our past that we would rather forget like an ugly divorce proceeding and personal bankruptcy.
Canadians were taunted about their ugly past when the Romanian website Globe24h.com republished the Canadian court and tribunal decisions that are also available on Canadian legal website CanLII.org.
Unlike CanLII – a non-profit organization created and funded by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada – which doesn’t index its web content for search engines, Globe24h allows search engines to find its web content. Because of the indexing of the Globe24h content, personal information like full names, children’s names and other sensitive data of a number of Canadians appeared prominently on search engine results.
Forty-nine Canadians complained against Globe24h from October 2013 to April 2016 before the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. While the complainants understood that the court and tribunal decisions would be published somewhere for record purposes and to aid the courts and legal profession in understanding the development and application of the law, they didn’t understand why these decisions would appear as a result of a casual search on a search engine like Google.
In January this year, the Federal Court of Canada ordered the owner of Globe24h to remove all Canadian court and tribunal decisions containing personal information and “take the necessary steps to remove these decisions from search engines caches”.
The court ruled that the claim “to make law accessible for free on the Internet” by the owner of Globe24h can’t be considered journalistic as the owner “adds no value to the publication by way of commentary, additional information or analysis”. Globe24h has ceased operation since then.
Right to be Forgotten
Google.com was registered on September 15, 1997. In its close to 20 years of existence, it has become the world’s most popular search engine. Seeing your tense divorce proceeding, with personal details, including the names and birth dates of your children on search engine results is understandably a disturbing experience.
In 2010, a Spanish national filed a complaint against a Spanish newspaper, Google Spain and Google, Inc., asking the three entities to remove the data relating to his personal bankruptcy case as this had been fully resolved for a number of years and, therefore, any reference to the case was entirely irrelevant.
On May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (PDF) ruled in a landmark decision popularly called “Right to be Forgotten” that citizens in EU countries have the right to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. The court clarified that the right to be forgotten isn’t absolute and should be balanced against other fundamental rights, including freedom of expression.
The EU Court’s decision leaves the responsibility to search engines to assess case by case the sensitivity of the data in question to the individual's private life and the interest of the public to access such information.
The right to be forgotten is accurately defined as "a right to be delisted from search results” by Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Google in a blog post dated May 19, 2016. According to Walker, across Europe, Google reviewed nearly 1.5 million webpages and delisted around 40%.
Another case is pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, this time, asking Google not only to delist certain webpages from Google’s search engine results in one particular country but also in every country in the world. Google opposes the worldwide application of the right to be forgotten.
"For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,” Walker said. “As a company that operates globally, we work hard to respect these differences.”
While the question of whether the right to be forgotten should be applied worldwide with regards to requests from EU citizens is still pending before the EU Court, the Supreme Court of Canada already ruled on the question of worldwide delisting of webpages from search results.
In a decision dated June 28, 2017, the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada ordered Google to globally de-index websites of the company named only as “D”. The case arises from the patent dispute between D and another company named “E”. D and its representatives have ignored all previous court orders made against them, left Canada and operate their business in unknown locations.
“D is only able to survive – at the expense of E’s survival – on Google’s search engine which directs potential customers to D’s websites,” Justice Abella, writing for the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, said. “This makes Google the determinative player in allowing the harm to occur.”
In their dissenting opinion, Justices Côté and Rowe said that the order against Google to de-list the websites of D is rendered ineffective as D launches new websites to replace de-listed ones. "Courts should avoid granting injunctions that require such cumbersome court-supervised updating,” Justices Côté and Rowe said.
Canadian citizens can request Google to remove sensitive information from its search engine results. As a rule, the search engine giant will remove child sexual abuse imagery. It’ll also remove content in response to valid legal requests such as copyright notifications.
On a case-to-case basis, according to Google, it may remove personal information after asking the following questions:
Google also recommends contacting the website owner. “Even if Google deletes the site or image from our search results, the webpage still exists and can be found through the URL to the site, social media sharing, or other search engines,” the search engine giant said.
The company added that it usually doesn’t remove content that can be found on official government websites as the data is already publicly available.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.