Monthly Industry Roundup: November 2019

Location3 Celebrates 20 Years

Last week we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Location3! We gathered friends old and new to look back on the company’s start in New York City, where Andrew Beckman founded the company in 1999, and to look forward to another 20 years of fun, hard work, and success!

3 Tips for Omnichannel Success During the Holiday Season

Market research company eMarketer is projecting December 2019 to be the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday shopping season. That’s good news for retailers, but with the right preparation, good news can turn to great this shopping season. In 2019, that preparation should involve a strategy for omnichannel success, ensuring that you connect with potential customers at every digital touchpoint. Here are a few tips for locking down your holiday strategy.

1. Tighten Up Local SEO

One of the foundational elements of any holiday digital strategy is local SEO, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses. Google search remains the primary driver of traffic and sales to retail sites. Be sure that your business name, address, and phone number are accurate on your Google My Business listing.

Remember to update holiday hours, use Google Posts to maximize online visibility, and manage your online business reviews. All of these simple tactics can be the difference between getting a customer into your store or the same customer going to the competition.

2. Content As More Than Just Awareness

Traditionally, content marketing is seen as a play for brand awareness — a top-of-funnel strategy that captures the attention of the customer before handing off to more direct sales strategies. But holiday shopping offers a unique experience, where consumers aren’t just casually browsing. The holiday shopping journey is shorter and more highly motivated. That means you should have new content ready at all touchpoints. 

Consider producing explainer videos that will differentiate your products from competitors. Another winning content strategy during the holidays is to use more sales-aggressive copy in emails, newsletters, or social media. If possible, combine that copy with your consumer data to produce personalized content that displays urgency. Content can make a hard sale at this time of year if you’re prepared.

3. Mobile Experience More Important Than Ever

Retailers must not underestimate the value of the mobile experience. According to Google, 61% of online holiday purchases in 2018 were made via a mobile device. That means an even greater majority are using mobile devices to search, evaluate, and compare products before making those purchases. Is your page speed up to snuff? More than half of visits are abandoned if the page takes more than three seconds to load, according to Google. Use this simple test to find out if your site is mobile-friendly.

Study: Search Behavior Follows Pinball Pattern

According to one study, the coveted top ranking on a Google search results page is losing value. That’s because users, according to the Search Meta-Analysis Project, tend to bounce their attention from one image to the next in a non-linear pattern on search results pages. The researchers call it a “pinball pattern”, and it’s driven by an increase in the presentation of videos, product carousels, and other types of rich media on a search results page.

The analysis used eye-tracking technology and usability testing to examine 471 search queries made by participants from 2017 to 2019. The study showed that users adapt their gaze to what is presented to them — that is, they identify images or other visual elements that direct them on how to read the page. How a user adapts their gaze can have significant effects on the organic results nearest to the most impactful images or visual elements.

Here’s an example of the pinball pattern as shared in the study:

This gazeplot shows a study participant’s eye gazes as he searched for the best refrigerator to buy. The numbers represent the order of the fixations. The participant’s gaze flicked around between highly salient elements. First, he focused on the prices in the sponsored shopping results on the right, and then skipped down and to the left to read the featured snippet. He then bounced back up to result #3 and #1 (both ads) before glancing down to the People Also Ask element and to result #6 (the first organic result).”

While this puts less emphasis on securing the top spot in the SERPs, it remains the ideal position. The study also confirms that being on the first page of results is paramount. But it also highlights the need for brands and businesses to create dynamic content that will carry the most weight on a search engine results page in 2020. This includes high-quality images, videos, optimized ads, and featured snippets.

Digital to Boost U.S. Local Advertising in 2020

Investment in digital media continues to rise with BIA Advisory Services estimating that total U.S. local advertising revenue will reach $161.3 billion in 2020, an increase of more than $8 billion from 2019.

Traditional media revenue, however, is expected to rise only 1% from $93.2 billion in 2019 to $94.4 billion in 2020. Linear television and radio are still the preferred outlets for political advertising, but digital media, specifically mobile and social advertising, are making significant gains. By 2024, BIA Advisory estimates that $44.6 billion will be invested in mobile and social advertising with around 40% tied to social.

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