I’ve never been a huge Cadillac fan. The brand is heavily dated and the cars were not necessarily advanced, high quality nor fuel efficient. Having said all this, I applaud the outdated brand on attempting to attract younger buyers and more tech-savvy buyers (re: the “Tesla crowd”) with their new ELR. But, even better, is the PHENOMENAL commercial featuring Neal McDonough. The commercial is very well produced, moving quickly to tell a story about hard work and the American dream, and oozes coolness – nothing I would have ever associated with Cadillac… but I suppose that’s why it only works (barely) with the ELR.
Does anyone really use Google+ on a daily basis like they do with other networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? If you look at the numbers, the answer is not really. While millions have created accounts and profiles, few return to the site with the type of voracity they do with the “big three”. Why? Well, this is not Google’s first attempt at building a social network, and it won’t be it’s last. It’s a segment of internet usage they are desperately trying to conquer, but with limited success.
So here’s my advice for Google and Google+ users:
As a user (or business), if you put content there, Google features it prominently in search results. Therefore it’s important to invest in a presence, even as an individual, especially if you are trying to build a brand. But no one actually goes there compared to other sites. Google will most likely find a good place for it, but it will go through a few more iterations until they get it right. In some sort of weird “circle of life” on the internet, I actually think it’s best served to be a personal portal – which was Yahoo’s original service and what Google aspired to NOT BE. But then Google launched its iGoogle portal years ago only to ditch it a few years later. A personalized portal that aggregates all your social stuff from other sites (like YT, Twitter and even FB), could be quite interesting. Think of it like our communities page – but for individuals. And it would have your past searches, bookmarks, calendar, docs, photos and a recommendation engine. A digital junk drawer.
If you’re thinking about taking your search marketing to the international markets, my first word of caution is that what works in the USA does not necessarily translate to success overseas. There are a number of reasons for this – different types of technology (international markets may be more mobile dependent or have lower bandwidth); new competitors in the decision set; varying consumer sentiment; and so on.
So my next piece of advice is to make sure you are really good at local search. If you don’t have that locked down, reconsider going international until you do. International search simply introduces lots of complexity that you shouldn’t try to tackle until you’ve mastered search in your own back yard.
Still ready? Here are five pointers to consider:
- Local domains for your search ad copy and landing pages. Dave Lloyd over at Adobe penned a great article for ClickZ on the topic. Simply put, make sure your ads have a local domain extension. So if you are advertising in the UK, make sure you have a UK-familiar URL, such as myLandingPage.co.uk or similar. You can always have the funnel ultimate redirect back to your main .com; even better, to your main .com with a local directory such as myWebSite.com/uk.
- Have a dedicated landing page for the specific market. So using the UK example, you should have a special landing page that has the region in the meta data, header tags and body copy so that the machines, search engines and humans interacting with your landing page know without a doubt you are providing an offer to people in the UK. Make sure your headlines and copy are tailored for the market’s culture and language.
- Localize your search ads. When you are writing your search ad copy, make sure you use proper language consistent with the market. If you’re speaking to the UK, consider little nuances like “colour” versus “color” or “internationalisation” versus “internationalization”. And be wary of clichés, expressions and humor that might not be understood in the market. Stick to the facts and be very clear/concise in your ad copy. And, certain words have different meanings (even in the same language). Rubber typically means something different on the streets of LA than the streets of London.
- Display ads should be similarly tailored. Don’t assume that if it worked as a display ad in the USA, it will work elsewhere. That goes for all elements – animation, the type of people and images featured, how they appear and are positioned and even animals — all influence how different cultures interact with advertisements.
- Understand how locals think. My best quick advice is to start searching for your keywords using overseas search engines (google.co.uk) and see what types of ads your competitors are using. Hit their sites so you get remarketed to and then start browsing local websites to review banner ads. You’ll probably see some immediate differences. You need to understand your audience in the target market and what makes them different from your USA market. This will help you zero in on creating personalized and engaging ads (and landing pages).
And of course with any digital campaign remember the basics:
- Don’t start until you understand what your objective is.
- Don’t start until you understand how to measure the results.
- Test, test, test.
Yesterday I wrote about the interesting results of several studies on the effect of Gmail’s new “tab” features, specifically is it pertains to mobile/small-screen devices. Today, a great analysis of the 3-million user ReturnPath study came through to my own inbox by way of Ayaz Nanji at MarketingProfs.com.
Not surprisingly, fewer marketing messages were tagged as spam; instead being tagged as promotional. While that’s a slight improvement, the real victory is getting to the inbox – which now requires end-user action (setting a particular vendor’s messages as inbox-worthy).
The report also goes on to indicate that very few people message around with their tabs – demonstrating the lack of understanding of this feature among users. The whole purpose is to customize how you consume email; but users seem to be content with what Gmail defaults to – great market research by Google (probably); but also a growing gap in knowledge among consumers as gmail becomes pervasive.
When Gmail rolled out it’s tabs for email organization, it defaulted most promotional material to the “Promotions” tab. If users were only passively engaging with brands sending that were sending them emails, chances are that those emails are going to this new tab and not the true “inbox”.
Then came the studies… were users opening messages still? Were they clicking messages? What were they doing?
I’ve seen a lot of mixed reports, some spelled doom, others not so much.
“Gmail tabs affect the click performance of marketing campaigns — creating what Epsilon calls an out of site, out of mind scenario, reducing the effectiveness of email marketing programs.
The study suggests that consumers viewing Gmail emails on a smartphone could put a major strain on marketing programs, according to the study. I disagree. Promotions will have a better chance of earning clicks and conversions when viewed on a smartphone. You’re much more likely to view all the emails because they are not segregated within Gmail tabs.”
This is an important point. The majority of all email is now consumed on a mobile device; split between a tablet and a smartphone (unequally). Both of these devices create a hybrid view of email, combining it all (versus completely separate tabs on a desktop). So on these mobile/small screens, a marketing message is more likely to be viewed even if it gets categorized as a promotion.
Another point I’d like to make is that Yahoo and Hotmail are legacy free systems dating back to the early 90′s… users of those accounts from “way back then” may tend (I have no data other than my own experience and some anecdotal stories from friends/colleagues) get more spam to those accounts than newer, Gmail accounts. And, many people switched from Yahoo/Hotmail to Gmail as a way to reduce spam and start anew. So, I would opine that it’s possible folks using Gmail get less spam on average, and are more engaged with brands from the start (because they are more selective). This may wear off over time…
Regardless… it still means that it’s worth educating your customers that they can add you to their gmail inbox so all messages go there instead of the promo tab. My University emailed all gmail-based student accounts with instructions on how to do this (students are our customers) – we included step-by-step instructions and screenshots.
But it also doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got to send high quality, meaningful content.
And, you’ve got to track more than just opens and clicks – but actually the call-to-action (how many things you sold, or signups you got from the link). Use that as your data point to compare campaigns. If you haven’t set up link tracking, here’s an instructional video I did for MarketingProfs on the topic.
And finally, when’s the last time you peaked at your spam/bulk folder? I know for me it was yesterday. I think all scan these folders regularly because they still contain messages that get caught in the filters (false positives). So I have to check or I miss important (or at least semi-important) messages. My reply may just be a day or two delayed.