How long should a digital marketing campaign last?

It’s about time

For smart business owners, marketing never stops.
That’s especially true in today’s digital world, where trends, technology and algorithms that drive search results change regularly. To keep up, your digital marketing strategy should include an ongoing effort.

But how long should an individual marketing campaign last?

Digital marketing isn’t a one-time effort, and while it can make an immediate impact, full optimization takes time. Even after you’ve achieved acceptable performance, ongoing optimization is critical to keep competition at bay and costs down.

One of the main advantages of digital marketing is the ongoing collection of performance data. By using Google Analytics and other post-click performance tools, you can see what’s working and what’s not, and shift resources and creative energies accordingly. Individual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help you make changes in ads, placements, keywords, match types, day parts, plus contextual, lifestyle, demographic and geographic targeting, among many other campaign attributes.

The effective length of a digital marketing campaign can vary widely based on factors such as your budget, industry, competitors, consumer habits and campaign style.

Still, there are basic guidelines that can be used as a starting point for setting up and measuring a campaign’s success.

Typically, it takes at least 90 days to build momentum around a digital marketing effort, most of which generally extend six to 12 months.

Like traditional forms of marketing, digital marketing requires frequency of ad impressions to make an impact. Customers need to see your brand and product or service images and message repeatedly before it sinks in. Repetition builds recognition, trust, and ultimately, preference. And this takes time. On the other hand, if a specific message or image runs too long, advertising fatigue could sink in. In other words, when people see the same ad too many times, it becomes white noise and they stop noticing it.

While a campaign may last several months, a specific message should change more often. Changing creative every 45-60 days is ideal. Research shows that 45 days is about how long it takes a consumer to retain and recall information.

Marketing efforts involving simpler products or services, or from recognized brands, may call for shorter campaigns. For example, political campaigns and promotions for concerts, shows and events should generally run for a shorter time.

Multi-channel campaigns typically contain one message spread out over most or all of your channels.
The following guidelines can be helpful in determining the length of a channel-specific digital marketing campaign:

Content marketing

• A content marketing campaign typically lasts around six months, depending on how frequently you post.
• Hubspot found that companies with at least 400 blog posts per year get twice the traffic as those with less than 400.

Search Engine Optimization
• A typical SEO campaign takes at least 12 months to be fully optimized.
• The first month is spent evaluating keyword performance data, competitors and your current SEO performance.
• The second and third months are spent on primary on-site optimization (website changes) as well as off-site optimization that includes social account updates.
• The remainder of the years is spend optimizing for specific terms including both on-site and off-site optimization including website changes, new pages and blog posts as well as off-site optimization including social media marketing, link building and online directory listing optimization. A competent digital marketing agency will also implement numerous proprietary SEO tactics based on years of experimentation and performance analysis.
• Improvements in organic rank will typically begin within three or four months.
• After a year to 18 months, improvements from SEO typically begin to level off. From this point, ongoing SEO is important to maintain rank and keep competition at bay. This is also a good time to focus on any new products, services or events.
• Search Engine Journal published a case study that showed it typically takes four to six months of sustained effort to generate 100 or more organic search results per day on a new website.

Paid search

• Paid search generally produces the fastest results for the lowest initial investment and is therefore, a good short-term strategy.
• Paid search is an excellent precursor to SEO in that it can identify top-performing keywords relevant to your market.
• It can complement an SEO campaign – for low-ranking organic keywords, Paid Search fills the gap.
• As your SEO campaign begins to generate results for specific keywords, you may choose to discontinue paid search for those terms.

Social media

• Social media is a good platform for communicating with fans and followers. By utilizing targeted keywords in social media communications, it also can support an SEO campaign.
• A smart social media effort should ongoing and integrated with a content marketing plan that includes blogging, PR, article submission and email marketing.
• Social media advertising is critical in order to build your fan base and generate website visits from targeted users outside of your current fan base. While the performance of social media communications can be difficult to evaluate, social advertising performance can be more easily measured if using Google Analytics or other tracking tools.

If you’d like to learn more about building and launching a digital marketing campaign, or if you’d like a free evaluation of your digital marketing strategy or performance of a current or recent campaign, feel free to contact us here at AdEdge at (203) 682-4585 or email us at [email protected].

Unethical digital marketing practices

Avoiding the unethical digital marketing minefield

The Internet allows marketers to reach a global audience, expanding their networks and growing their brands in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.

It also has created a much larger opportunity for scammers and unethical companies to take advantage of consumers and businesses.

Good marketing can involve education, promotion, persuasion, and even “puffery”, pushing the boundaries of persuasion by exaggerating benefits. While marketing must always be legal, it should also be ethical. Unfortunately, not all organizations work that way.

Above all else, ethical marketing is honest and transparent. It does not use deception to trick someone into buying a product or service. It does not involve subterfuge to convince someone to buy something they don’t need.

The American Marketing Association states that “marketers are expected to embrace the highest professional ethical norms and the ethical values implied by our responsibility towards multiple stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, peers, channel members, regulators and the host community.)” The AMA identifies core values as honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship.

Unethical behavior ignores the above values. There are many examples of unethical behavior, but most center on some form of dishonesty or lack of transparency.

We recently received an example of deceptive marketing from a company pitching website hosting services. We got a letter in the mail appearing to be an invoice. It included a due date and a balance of $180 for annual website hosting. The text of the letter stated, “This is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.” But the letter clearly was designed to appear to be a bill, invoice or statement of account due. This is a perfect example of legal behavior that is not ethical.

Similarly, some digital marketers have turned to the unethical practice of writing or buying fake reviews. As we have discussed here over the past two weeks, consumers increasingly are relying on consumer reviews and comments as they decide whether and what to buy. As a result, online reviews and endorsements are becoming ever more important to brands and marketers. Responsible marketers encourage real customers to leave positive reviews. Ethical marketers can hire or otherwise work with influencers, but they must disclose the relationship. It’s OK to pay someone to write or say nice things about your brand, but if you do, you need to let the consumers know you compensated them for their efforts.

Another common ploy that most of us have encountered involves phone solicitations where a company claims that, “We’re calling from Google. Your Google Maps (or Google Plus) listing is out of date and we need to update it”. There are a few reasons why any call like this is a clear red flag. 1) Google doesn’t call businesses about problems with their map listing. 2) What is the problem with the Google Maps listing? There rarely is one. 3) Here at AdEdge, we get calls like this all the time. Do these people thing a highly awarded digital marketing agency needs help with their Google listing? 4) Long story short, they are almost always looking to overcharge businesses for services they don’t need, gain control of their Google listing and then extort them additional moneys.

Have you ever been called by a company promising to “Get you at the top of Google”? There are a number of problems with this one. 1) Without keyword and competitive research, an organization is unable to determine if they can get you to the top of Google. 2) What keywords are they proposing to have you rank at the top for? Most will run your name a keyword. The problem with this is twofold. 1) Getting your business to rank #1 for your business name is very easy. 2) It is unlikely to generate any new business for you since most customer who search for you are already customers!

The same unethical digital marketing companies who promise you a top rank in Google often promote unethical practices in SEO called “black hat” tactics. One common example of this is offering to build thousands of inbound links to improve your SEO. Yes, inbound links are good for SEO but doing it in this way is not approved by Google. Google rewards one-way, inbound links from popular, relevant websites. If Google catches you practicing a black hat tactic, (which they almost always will) you will likely get banned from Google. You heard that right – a total ban from Google where you don’t show up at all for any search, not paid, organic or on a map. We’ve seen it happen. Don’t fall victim. Better yet, if you hear from an agency who is promising the world or something specific you’d really like to do, do you own search for a local, ethical and highly awarded agency like AdEdge Digital Marketing.
As a marketing technology still in it’s infancy, digital marketing is the “wild west” of marketing, complete with unique rewards …and perils. If you want to succeed, find yourself a trusted guide; a digital marketing firm with lots of experience and values that match yours.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build an ethical digital marketing effort, or if you’d like a free evaluation of your digital marketing footprint, and ideas to improve it, feel free to contact our principal, Anthony LoFrisco, Jr., board member of the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut from 2017 through 2019. Call (203) 682-4585 or email Anthony at [email protected] to schedule a call or a visit.

Working with influencers, part 2

Expand your influence

The Internet has opened your brand and business to a global marketplace. But it’s also allowed companies worldwide to compete in your space.

With so many choices, consumers increasingly are making buying decisions based on the recommendations of others on the Internet. They tend to rely on those they perceive as experts relating to the products or services they are considering.

As we discussed last week on this blog, an influencer doesn’t need millions of followers to effectively lead people to buy your products or spend time with your brand.

The power of an influencer is based on the size and loyalty of the audience, frequency of audience interaction and subject matter relevance.

About 80% of consumers say authentic content influences whether or not they follow a brand. More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing.

About one-fourth of daily Facebook users and 29% of daily Twitter users said they have made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation.

One study found that 70% of surveyed teens said they “…feel like influencers understand them more than traditional celebrities.”

Marketers increasingly are using influencers to direct fans and customers to their sites. More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing, and about half of marketers in the United States and United Kingdom spend at least 10% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing. Almost two-thirds of responding marketers said they plan to increase their infleuncer marketing budgets this year.

Influencer marketing is a collaboration or partnership between a company or brand and an influential person to promote a product, service or campaign. The marketer loses some control over the message, allowing the influencers to use their own style and personality to craft the language of the message. In return, the influencers lend their credibility and popularity within their niche to the brand and marketing effort.

So how do you find the influencers that best fit your brand and your customers?

* Know your audience. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Develop a campaign and use influencers who appeal to your fans and followers.

* Relevance. Look for influencers who share content that’s relevant to your brand and industry. Their audience is more likely to be in line with your target audience.

* Reach. Partner with influencers who have a significant number of key followers in your industry.

* Trust. Partner with influencers who are trustworthy and who your fans and followers already trust.

* Be consistent. Find influencers whose look, feel, tone and values compliment those of your brand.

* Do your homework. Influencers receive many offers. When you first approach influencers, show you’ve already put in the time to learn who they are and what they do.

* Reach out private and personally. Use direct message or email, but don’t send a mass emails or generic messages.

If you’d like to learn more about how influencers can impact your social media media marketing effort, or if you’d like a free evaluation of your digital marketing strategy or performance, feel free to contact us here at AdEdge at (203) 682-4585 or email us at [email protected].

How to boost organic Facebook reach

Extend Your Reach

You’ve worked to craft the perfect message with clear language and just the right tone to best communicate with your audience. You include a strong image and helpful links. Now you’re ready to send your message out into the world.

But how do you make sure your message is reaching as many people as possible?

Improving organic — or non-paid — reach is a constant challenge for digital marketers. The effort can be especially difficult on Facebook, where changing algorithms and an expanding number of competing messages can make it difficult for any individual message to stand out.

As a result, organic reach fell by 52% in 2016 and has continued to drop. The average organic reach dipped from 5.4% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2018. Another study of 43 million Facebook business pages found Facebook page engagements dropped by 50%.

Part of the reason for the decline is Facebook’s changing algorithms for determining who sees which messages. When announcing a change in January 2018, Facebook officials said the social media channel prioritizes content shared over Facebook Messenger, content that is liked or commented on, content that receives multiple replies, and “meaningful interactions” between users.

Following are 10 recommendations that can help increase your organic reach on Facebook.

Ask your followers to turn on notifications. Your followers won’t see all of your messages unless they adjust their settings. Show them how to set up their news feed to ensure they see all you have to say.

Include a call to action that encourages people to engage with your posts. The call to action could be a question designed to encourage comments or a request for readers to share experiences that relate to your topic. Another option is to share a group of useful links about a topic and ask your followers to share their own tips or experiences.

Create a community. You could make your Facebook page a hub for broader discussions. To help with this effort, try chats, blogs, Q&A’s and other points of interaction to encourage prospects to visit your Facebook page. The goal here is to create a page where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and reading content both from you and from your other fans.

Hold a contest. Caption contests, giveaways and other competitions can generate additional interest to your Facebook page and posts.

Direct people to your Facebook page from other channels. Adding a Facebook “like” button to your homepage, blog posts and other messages can help direct traffic to your Facebook page and posts.

Work with influencers. According to one study, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust a social media influencer than an ad or celebrity endorsement. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to find non-celebrity influencers in your industry. You also can look at who’s viewing and commenting on your posts and pages. Reach out to the people who have large numbers of followers and already are interested in your brand. Encourage them to share or comment or otherwise interact with your messages.

Be consistent. Produce reliable, quality content at a regular day and time. If your fans know when you are likely to post your next update, your biggest supporters likely will begin watching for your messages, coming to you if the information doesn’t show up on their news feed.

Vary your posts. This recommendation may seem like a contradiction to the previous suggestion, but it’s not. While you want to post at a consistent date and time, your messages shouldn’t all have the same look and feel. Mix images and video. Change up the kinds of messages you send. It is believed that Facebook prioritizes posts in new formats in the news feed.

Be visual. In one study, more than 60% of marketers reported that visual content is crucial for social media strategy. Facebook posts with images have 2.3 times more engagement than those without images.

Be emotional. Posts that draw emotional reactions tend to receive more attention and traffic. Positive emotions are most common in viral posts, but posts with negative emotions also can go viral, especially when they create a feeling of anticipation or surprise. The top five emotions mostly likely to produce viral content are curiosity, amazement, interest, astonishment and uncertainty.

What does 5G mean for digital marketing?

The Consumer Electronics Show was held last week in Las Vegas, bringing together the world’s leading minds and products in the fields of technology and consumer electronics.Among the most anticipated technology upgrades is the expected move to 5G cellular technology. All of the major cell carriers are working on upgrading their networks, with the rollout expected to take place in several phases over the next two years.

5G promises much faster network speeds than 4G, faster message sends and the ability to connect far more devices to a network. The upgrade is expected to make just about everything we do on the Internet via smart phones work faster and better, but it also promises to open up many more opportunities for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), which likely will connect to the Internet everything from your houselights to your garage door and even your toaster …if that kind of thing is important to you. It’s also expected to create many more marketing opportunities as more people and devices spend more time connected to the Internet, consuming more content.

The upgrade to 4G from 3G sparked an astounding increase in both mobile Internet use and digital advertising. 4G networks and the smartphones and other devices designed to fully utilize 4G gave consumers the power of supercomputers in the palm of their hands, allowing them to quickly and easily search the Internet for products and services, reviews, media and answers to nearly any question.
4G rolled out in 2010, but it was three years later that Snapchat and Uber debuted, applying and extending the faster network to previously unknown applications. 5G is likely to spark even wider changes.

Increased speed likely will lead to a greater consumption of Internet content, creating new opportunities for digital marketers.

IKEA and other retailers already are experimenting with augmented reality, enabling consumers to digitally view furniture in their homes or how clothes look on their bodies.

Existing technology is likely to get smarter. Smart speakers will do more, hear more, understand more and provide more and better answers. New technologies likely will be developed to take advantage of 5G’s increased bandwidth.

Like the roll-out of 4G, it likely will take several years before 5G is fully installed and several years more before devices take full advantage. But it’s important for digital marketers to pay attention to the changing landscape and begin making plans to take advantage of all that 5G will have to offer.

5G offers 3 distinct advantages over the current system:

Speed — With a top speed of 20 gigabits per second, 5G is 200 times faster than 4G’s top speed of about 1 gigabit per second.
Reduced Latency — 5G will allow devices to connect to each other and to the Internet much more quickly, allowing for an uninterrupted string of rich information, like video. With far less lag, devices will better support augmented reality, virtual reality, and other data-intensive applications.
Connectivity — A massive amount of data can be collected and transmitted quickly with 5G. This will allow for more data, live data, faster reporting and better capabilities for Artificial Intelligence.
Personalization — Faster connections will allow devices to transmit more data faster, allowing marketers to be much more specific about who they target, when and how they reach them.
Augmented Reality — The increased data limits likely will increase the capability of this growing technology. Cellphones already use AR with filters for Instagram and FaceTime.
Decreased use of ad-blockers — As load time becomes less of a concern, the use of ad-blockers is likely to decline. According to Hubspot, more than one-third of people who use ad-blockers today say they do it because of slow load times.
Better analytics — Faster and better data collection and transmission will enable digital marketing performance analytics to happen in real-time.
More Video — According to Vox, almost two-thirds of all videos viewed online are done so using home broadband. 5G will be able to download full length HD movies in seconds.

Sharing A Compelling Brand Story

Consumers are growing less patient for commercials and sales pitches. But they want to hear or read a story. Sharing a compelling brand story can be difficult if you’re looking to improve your brand image – maybe it’s time to start at the foundation and build up. It starts with where you and your customers spend the most time. We wrote about managing your professional brand on LinkedIn – you may want to start there.

They are interested in brands’ stories, but only if they are entertaining or compelling. If the story is strong enough, your viewers won’t care that it’s an ad.

The best stories are universal, enduring, compelling, and organized. If you create stories like this you’ll notice that they are relatable to everyone (within your target market), are easily passed from person to person, keep the reader’s attention, and have a clear and direct message.

Update How You’re Sharing Your Brand Story

The following are a dozen tips to help you tell a brand story that your customers may enjoy reading:

Who Wants To Know About Your Brand?

1. Know your audience. Tell a story that is compelling, by learning more about them. HubSpot released some helpful research when it comes to creating compelling brand content.

2. Focus on the customer. The customer must be the hero in the story, not your brand. Your brand is the guide that helps the hero accomplish the mission or goal. But the focus must be on your customer. User-generated stories are more trusted and more shared than brand-generated stories. Create a platform that encourages your customers to tell a story about their experience with your brand.

3. Use emotion. The ancient Greeks called this Ethos. Think of the stories told through advertising that have caught your attention and affected you. They probably evoked strong emotion, including humor, fear, loyalty or patriotism.

How Will They Hear Your Brand Story?

4. Make it entertaining. Give consumers a reason to come back for more.

5. Show, don’t tell. Develop characters and set the scene. Don’t tell the audience what to think or feel. Let them draw that conclusion on their own.

6. Keep it simple. Don’t pack too much information into a single story, advertisement or marketing piece.

7. Keep it succinct. You’re not writing a novel. Make it a quick in and a quick out.

8. Make it interactive. Generating a strong emotional response is interactive in and of itself. You also can ask for readers to share their own stories or experiences, take a poll, a quiz or give them something of value to download for free.

Share How Your Company Stands Out

9. Make a connection. Build a connection with your audience by finding out what matters to them, and then speak to this need.

10. Catch them quickly. The first sentence should catch the readers’ attention. Make it compelling.

11. Make it visually stunning. Did you know humans process images 60,000 times faster than text? That’s part of the reason why messages with strong visual elements catch our attention and are more likely to be read and shared. For a sleek new advertising design, take a look at our Guide For Improving Your Display Advertising.

12. Consider using video. According to recent research, companies actively using video have 41% more web traffic than those who don’t. Mini-ads are gaining popularity. The short, 6-10 second ads you see in YouTube (pre-roll ads) are a great example.

A Solid Brand Story For Strong Marketing

We want to hear how you are sharing a compelling brand story! Also, if you don’t know where to start, let’s talk. Undeniably, every company has a story to tell, but getting creating content for your brand is a whole other animal. Check our blog for ways to improve branding on your website, blog, social media platforms, digital ads or other digital marketing channels. Feel free to reach out to us at (203) 682-4585 or email us at [email protected] and ask for a free consultation.

The benefits of using interactive content

Find Your Voice

What’s your favorite way to receive information on the Internet?

For many people, it’s interactive content.

Consumers increasingly are becoming more sophisticated. It’s no longer enough just to create a message and share it with anyone you can. Consumers want to interact with and experience your message. They don’t want to read or hear your message. They want to share with you and your brand.
Give them content that will allow them to be social.

Surveys show that 85-90% of consumers want more visual and interactive content.
Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for socializing and meeting others with similar interests. Depending on what products or services you sell, being there to interact and “socialize” with prospective clients can help build your brand and nurture virtual, digital relationships with prospective clients.

Another likely reason consumers seek interaction with brands is because the digital marketing space has become so crowded. Over 70% of marketers are creating more content than they did just one year ago. Consumers are being bombarded with messages from all directions when they’re online. The messages most likely to get through the noise are those that are relevant, visual, interesting and interactive.

What is interactive content?

Interactive content is content that requests the participants’ active engagement. More than just reading or watching, interactive content requires active interaction, prompting viewers to respond or share or comment or post their own experiences.Interactive content is more engaging. Consumers want an experience, not a commercial.

Interactive content can boost traffic and sharing. Consumers like interactive content, and they share content they like.

Interactive content, including quizzes and polls, let users provide instant feedback and can boost brand loyalty.

Examples of interactive content include:

•Interactive info graphics — The brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text.
•Polls and surveys
•Calculators
•Assessments and personality tests.
•360 degree video tours
•Contests
•Photo Galleries
•Brackets

Find Your Voice

Hey Siri, why should I optimize my website for voice search?

The growing use of smart speakers and voice assistance programs has led voice search to become one of the fastest-growing ways consumers interact with the Internet.

A 2019 study found that two in five respondents said voice-activated devices are essential to their lives. It is estimated that in 2020, about 50% of searches will be voice searches. One study found that 19% of respondents said that they use Siri at least once a day. Another study found that 55% of teens and 44% of adults said that they use some form of voice search every day.

As of late 2017, almost one-third of the 4.6 billion Google searches each day were voice searches.
That number is likely to grow. Smart speakers are expected to be a popular Christmas gift again this year, and a growing number of devices support voice search.

More than 60% of 25-64 year-olds said they expect to use voice devices more in the future. 71% of wearable device owners say they’re likely to perform more voice searches in the future.
So, Voice Search is growing.

Hey Google, what does all this mean for digital marketers?

It means that you need to optimize your site for voice search. Otherwise, you will risk missing customers and potential customers.

Alexa, how do I optimize my website for voice search?

People speak differently than they type. Voice search tends to use longer phrases or sentences and is more conversational. Voice searches are generally “long-tail” questions. It’s the difference between typing “Fairfield, CT, weather” and asking “What will the weather be like in Fairfield Connecticut, on Friday?” or “Will it rain today?”

To catch the attention of voice searches, focus your web content and your SEO keywords on longer phrases and sentences. Consider adding full sentences as targeted keywords and adding phrases in your headers to address typical questions related to your business or industry.

Use natural-sounding language. As people increasingly interact with your site through voice search, it’s important to write in a way that is clear and understandable, whether your words are read or heard.

Provide clear, concise answers to questions. Voice search is looking for answers and writing that may be longer or in-depth than what text searches are looking for. However, longer does not equal long-winded. You still want to avoid jargon and unnecessary wordiness. Keep the language conversational and to the point.

Make sure your website is fast, mobile-friendly and secure. Whether the search is voice or text, search engines and consumers prefer pages that load quickly and look sharp on any sized screen. Many of the best practices for text search are still important when working with voice search.

Make sure your Google My Business profile is filled out completely. The more information you provide, the better search engines can find you and direct potential customers to you. Make sure the information is accurate and updated regularly to improve the natural rank of your listing on Google Maps.

If you would like to discuss how to expand upon your current Paid Search or SEO effort to include voice search, or if you would like to have a general conversation about which digital marketing tactics work best for your industry, feel free to reach out to us at AdEdge at 203-682-4585, email us at [email protected], or schedule a 15 minute call. From all of us at AdEdge, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Digital marketing trends for 2020

9 Hot Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

2019 has been a big year for digital marketing, and 2020 promises to be just as important.
Changing technology and consumer habits mean digital marketers must adapt their efforts, embracing new platforms and trying new strategies.

While it’s impossible to know all the new directions the digital world will take in 2020, several projections can be made with a high degree of confidence. Many of the trends that have gained popularity over the past few months are likely to continue to grow throughout the new year. Other forecasts are based on extensions of existing consumer behavior.

Following is a list of 9 likely digital marketing trends for 2020.

1. Mobile — For several years, consumers increasingly have been accessing the Internet on their phones, leading brands, marketers and search engines to adjust their strategies. This trend is not new to 2020, but it likely will continue to be a growing factor throughout the new year. Mobile phones and tablets are getting faster and more capable. Cell phone companies are working to roll out 5G technology, which will make the Internet much faster and accessible to all sorts of devices, including refrigerators and toasters (any old-timers out there remember the flying toasters?) The new technology promises many new marketing opportunities.

2. Stories — Storytelling is one of the oldest ways of sharing information. But it’s gaining new attention in our modern digital space, especially on various social media platforms. Snapchat initially focused on stories. Then Instagram, Facebook and now YouTube began allowing brands and individuals to detail their stories. Consider adding interaction to your social media stories. Add links, location tags and mentions for other brands. Use polls within your posts and on your website. Make the experience interactive and engaging.

3. Conversational marketing — Closely related to stories, conversational marketing involves engaging customers in real time, at the moment they have questions or want to discuss an issue. It means noting their needs and connecting them with solutions. According to the 2019 State of Conversational Marketing, 42% of people expect an immediate response (within 5 seconds) and 36% expect a response within 5 minutes.

4. Chatbots — improving algorithms and computer processing capabilities have allowed chatbots to be more accurate and useful. A chatbot uses artificial intelligence to allow a computer to answer questions asked by your viewers. They can be used along with FAQs and other parts of the webpage and can be programmed to answer common or simple questions. Although chatbots are useful for simple products or services, here at AdEdge, we have found live chat to perform better for more complex, higher ticket items …and better in general as long as there is a product/service expert available to field chat sessions.

5. Personalization — Consumers want personalized content products and emails. 63% of consumers say they are “highly annoyed” with generic advertising blasts. 80% say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. 90% say they find personalization appealing. Netflix and Amazon have mastered personalized content with tailed recommended products and movie titles. Chatbots can help by answering personalized questions. A basic way to personalize communication is to include your recipient names in newsletters and email blasts. Tailoring messages to your various stakeholders also can help. Don’t send existing customers or partners the same message or language you send to people who don’t yet have a relationship with you.

6. Interactive content — Consumers like interactive, engaging content. Look for ways in your social media and other interactions to provide opportunities for feedback. Quizzes and polls can allow your viewers to share their thoughts and interact with your brand while also allowing you to better understand your customers and potential customers.

7. Video — 70% of consumers say they have shared a brand’s video. 72% of businesses report video has improved their conversion rate. 52% of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in online decisions. Sites that include video are 50 times more likely to drive organic search results.

8. Voice search and smart speakers — The rise of smart speakers and interactive portals has created a new way for consumers to interact with search engines. About 55% of all American homes are expected to have a smart speaker by 2022. 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say their devices are used as part of their daily routine.

9. Browser push notifications — Here’s an example of mobile technology changing desktop interactions. Apps for several years have reached consumers to push notifications, alerting them news and updates. Updated web browsers now offer that same opportunity to websites. Studies have shown that at least twice as many people sign up for web push notifications as newsletters. The average newsletter recipient waits 6.4 hours before opening the newsletter, but with a web push, the viewer sees the message immediately. These push notifications can be used to alert viewers to new newsletters, sales and any other message you want to communicate.

How does encryption help with SEO?

Safe and secure

Keeping your website secure protects visitors while improving your rank in the search engines.
A new report breaks almost every day about an online security breach that has leaked access to usernames, credit cards and all kinds of other private information. Encryption can help prevent this and it’s critical if you take credit cards or other forms of payment on your website.
Anything with a username, password, or form can benefit from encryption. Even without these things, encrypting your site can improve it’s rank in the search engines almost immediately.

What is encryption?

Encryption keeps information secure. Without it, all text can be accessed, even if it’s hidden or masked on your screen. Encryption involves adding an SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which provides an extra layer of armor around your site, protecting you and your visitors from third-party snoopers, spammers, hackers and phishers.

What does encryption do?

The three layers of protection offered by a secure website are: 1) Protect user activity by keep browsing information private and data secure. 2) Thwart corruption or modification of files being transferred to or from the website. 3) Insulate against third-party attacks by confirming the (IP) identity of visitors.

Benefits for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In addition to the protections offered by a secure website, encryption is also an SEO best practice.
Speed — Secure sites load more quickly than non-secure sites. A faster load time improves clickthrough rates from paid and organic searches. If your site takes too long to load, the back button is just a click away and impatient visitors are more likely to bail.

Trust — Visitors who trust your site are more likely to browse longer. With secure sites becoming the norm, some users are becoming aware of and sensitive to insecure sites.

Google wants it — Since July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Non-HTTPS sites are now labeled as “Not Secure”, in effect shaming websites that are not secure. Google has since factored security into their algorithm and websites that are not secure are likely to suffer a drop in natural/organic rank.

Google first announced their plan to reward secure sites and demote non-secure sites on its blog in 2014, saying it would start with a relatively small test. The blog stated, “Over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” A year later, Google officials said HTTPS sites would serve as a tiebreaker between two otherwise equal site rankings.

Google has since reported that more than 70% of sites are now secure. A recent survey showed that between 80% and 85% of users would abandon purchases from sites that are not encrypted, and 82% of the surveyed group said they won’t browse non-secure websites.

If you would like a free evaluation of your website security, SEO performance and it’s ability to attract, engage and convert visitors, please contact us at 203-682-4585, email [email protected] or schedule an appointment to speak with one of our experts.