Hyphen founder and CEO awarded Qlik Luminary for the second consecutive year!

 

We are delighted to announce that Rory Miller-Cheevers is part of the Qlik Luminary class of 2017!

 
The Qlik Luminary accreditation is awarded is for those who utilise the Qlik platform and display outstanding industry intelligence and progressive business practices.
Hyphen and Qlik have established a prosperous relationship with Qlik technology an integral part of the Hyphen platform. The Hyphen platform provides accessible data and insights in order to help track and achieve sales and marketing objectives.

Rory on his award:

“I am honoured to be part of the Qlik Luminary class again this year. It is a great recognition of the fantastic work Hyphen have completed for many clients and I am excited about progressing into the next year in partnership with Qlik.”

The New (And Last?) Google Penguin Update

In September 2016, speculations started to emerge in the SEO community of a major update in Google’s search algorithm, as many website managers reported changes in their site’s organic performance around the same period of time. Google has now given an explanation to these traffic fluctuations with the confirmation of the latest Penguin algorithm update. This is the 4th major Penguin update and it has started to roll out this past September. Google has confirmed that Penguin is now part of the core Google search algorithm, and that it now operates in ‘real-time’. Accordingly, it is very likely that this will be the last ever Penguin update resulting in sudden shifts in traffic.

But what is Penguin anyway? Lets have a quick review before we jump into the recent algorithm change.

Overview of Penguin

Penguin is the name given to an algorithm first launched by Google in 2012. It’s objective was to reward websites for having quality links pointing at them. By ‘quality’ links, we mean links coming from other websites that are properly managed and don’t engage in spammy or ‘black hat’ techniques. Until the recent Penguin 4.0. update, that also meant penalising websites for having spammy links pointing to them.

The penalties for websites engaging in spammy link building were done periodically rather than in real-time. Let’s illustrate what that meant with a simple example:

You are the manager of a website and you try to improve your site’s rankings by buying a bulk of low quality links from a less-than-reputable SEO ‘expert’ (or rather scammer). Penguin runs through your website, picks up that you have been engaging in spammy link building, and gives you a penalty. You see that your organic traffic drops, and you realise that you shouldn’t have tried to trick Google. You now decide to address the problem by asking websites to remove their spammy link to your site and by going into the Google Search Console to ‘disavow’ as many spammy links as you can find. After spending a lot of time cleaning up bad links, you would expect organic traffic to go back up. However, as Penguin used to run scans periodically, you would have needed to wait several months to see the impact of your efforts.

This is now no longer the case.

Penguin 4.0.

A big change with the new Penguin update is that the process of reviewing the quality of links to a website occurs in real-time rather than periodically. That means that the impact of making changes in your links profile can be seen instantly.

More great news if your site suffered from Penguin penalties: these may now be removed altogether. Indeed, with the update, Penguin will reward your website for good quality links, but may actually simply ignore spammy/low quality links.The details of how penalties work are still to be confirmed.

Finally, the new update should review link quality on a much more granular basis. That means that the impact of links should be seen more on the page level rather than across larger sections of websites.

Six SEO Mistakes That Can Damage Your Website’s Performance

Google and other search engines are an excellent resource for attracting qualified traffic to your website. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to ensure that they are delivering the most relevant and high-quality websites in response to users’ search queries. That means certain practices can actually damage your website’s ranking if Google considers them to be synonymous with low-quality websites, making you appear in lower positions in search results. Or even worse: in some cases, if Google considers you are trying to ‘trick’ search engines to improve your rankings (also known as ‘black hat’ SEO) rather than following best-practice and focusing on quality, you may be banned from Google all together. Being blacklisted from Google means your website will never show in search results, and this is implemented by Google without warning. It is therefore crucial to understand what mistakes could result into penalties from Google on your website.

Google’s Search Engine: An Overview

Google is evolving all the time and its Search algorithm is updated regularly to improve the quality of results. These updates cause shifts in search engine rankings for everyone online. The result of this is that what works today, might not work tomorrow.  It may even harm your site.

A long time ago Google wouldn’t penalise people who made mistakes or attempted to use spammy techniques to improve their rankings. Instead, Google would simply withhold benefits and would not reduce your rankings or blacklist your website. Today, Google is much more serious about penalising those who make such mistakes and is becoming increasingly sophisticated at detecting ‘spammy’ or ‘black hat’ practices.

With that in mind, below is a list of mistakes that may cause your website to be penalised:

Mistake #1: Buying Links In Bulk

Ever come across an advertisement from an Internet Marketing company promising hundreds of backlinks to your website? They generally claim that this will turbocharge your site’s ranking for a very reasonable fee.

You will want to ignore anyone making this kind of claim. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. The backlinks provided come from sites that engage in spam and are far from reputable, or they are social networking accounts. Google will detect your links come from poor quality sources and will suspect you’ve been engaging in ‘Black Hat’ practices, resulting in penalties.

In addition to the quality of backlinks, Google will be quick to detect an unusually large amount of links suddenly being created, which indicates your link-building efforts are not organic, as they should be.

Instead of seeking such shortcuts to build your backlinks, work with reputable websites, build a relationship with them and write a blog post for them. Link building should never happen overnight.

Mistake #2: Joining Random Link Directories

Link directories that accept every submission usually provide low-quality links. You will want to avoid them in your linking strategy. This is not to say that there aren’t any good-quality, legitimate directories that can be helpful for your SEO efforts, but it is important to properly vet them before you submit your listing.

Generally, directories that advertise themselves as useful for SEO are to be avoided. These normally accept any submission from anywhere in the world rather than providing a useful list of relevant business listings. And –surprise surprise – they often charge a fee for your listing.

It is far better to submit your link to a small number of high-quality directories than it is to belong to thousands of low-quality link directories.

Mistake #3: Using Duplicated Content

Just a few years ago, it was an acceptable strategy to re-cycle content found either on different pages of your website or taken from third party websites to create ‘new’ content. You could either paraphrase existing content, or copy directly bits and pieces of content from elsewhere.

Now Google is a lot smarter and will count this type of re-cycled text as duplicated content, which is a big no-no for Google. It can and will hurt your search engine rankings. The only acceptable approach now when you’re adding content t a page is simply to create unique, high quality text every time.

Mistake #4: Keyword Stuffing

Again, this is another once-popular trend that can harm your site. Keyword stuffing is using a keyword several times throughout a web page to the point that it looks unnatural. An example of a keyword-stuffed sentence would be: “Buying blue paint is a great way to buy blue paint so that you can paint your house in blue thanks to blue paint.” – You get the idea.

This is done in hopes of getting a better rating by the search engines for this keyword. However, sometimes less is more. Not to mention, this is only a fraction of what goes into determining your site ranking. You are going to be better off creating high-quality content and simply placing your targeted keyword in the right places in a more ‘natural’ way.

Overusing keywords can lead to Google penalising or blacklisting your site. In fact, a legendary SEO fail that occurred years ago involved keyword stuffing on the official BMW German website, leading to the banning of the site from Google. The website was removed from the blacklist later on, but be aware that if BMW’s website can be blacklisted, yours can too.

Mistake #5: Overusing The Same Anchor Text

Google uses anchor text to determine what type of keywords to rank your website for. This practice is a small part of the algorithm that some people take way too seriously. Having your site come up for the same exact anchor text, again and again, can damage your rankings because Google concludes that these links were not created organically. Instead, you want to have a variety of similar key phrases that link to your webpage.

Mistake #6: Incomplete Sites

Google wants to show sites that know what they are doing. Having a site with pages are under construction or have many broken links will get your site penalised. The way Google sees it, quality is key. A web page with many broken links is not user-friendly.

The Good News

These mistakes are still common in the SEO industry. The good news is that so long as you are creating quality content that follow best-practice, sharing on social media, creating strong relationships with other websites, and building a user-friendly website, you will not find yourself in any sort of serious trouble with Google.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the expert team at Hyphen now.

5 Key Lessons You Can Learn from These Email Marketing Statistics

Email might not be the most hyped communication method around these days, but it can still be the most effective for many marketers and it should never be overlooked. Email allows you to engage an audience, leading to increased conversions and responses. Some marketers may be tempted to reduce their emphasis on email, believing that new social communication tools would make it less relevant. While social media has grown exponentially, the effectiveness of email to develop leads, build relationships, and convert sales has endured and is here to stay. It is easy to fall back on assumptions, though, so what do the statistics tell us about email marketing?

Automated Messages Increase Engagement

Automation is one of the major benefits of email marketing. A lead can enter a sales funnel, receive a series of emails that warm them up to your product, get further emails that reduce return rates and be more receptive to further offers. Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups suggest that the use of automated messaging leads to a 133% increase in the likelihood of a customer receiving a message that matches their position in the buying cycle. Receiving a message that is timely and relevant will inevitably increase engagement.

Mobile Is Key In Email Marketing

Google reported that Gmail now has over one billion users and, according to their last public statement on the issue, 75% of these users access their email with a mobile device. Campaign Monitor also revealed that a third of all clicks in an email took place on a mobile device. This data shows that there are huge numbers of mobile users accessing email, with many of them contributing to your click-through rate.

Email Campaigns Benefit From Personalisation

In order to offer more personalisation in your emails, you need to ask for more information from your subscribers. This takes place not only on the initial signup form of a lead generation campaign, but also later on in the customer journey. For example, it is a good idea to gather and utilise data on what type of products your users have bought, so you can tailor offers that will be more relevant to them based on their purchase history. Aberdeen Group research showed that the use of email personalisation led to a 10% increase in conversions and 14% increase in click-through rate.

Segmented Email Campaigns Offer Better Results

Email marketing allows for detailed targeting, with the chance to segment lists and deliver appropriate messages. Research from DMA found that 58% of a businesses email revenue came from emails that were targeted and segmented. Generic messages to a broad list still produce results, but you can achieve more when you segment people into different groups, create specific messages tailored to each list, and avoid treating everyone in the same way.

Email Still Converts Better Than Social Media

Social media has revolutionised the internet, altering the way people communicate with each other online. The perception might be that social media has replaced email in various capacities, but they may not be in the areas that matter to marketers. A study by McKinsey found that email outperformed both Facebook and Twitter when it came to obtaining new customers. While social media sites are great for communication and customer services, they don’t always produce the same results when you are trying to find and convert leads, which is what really matters for your bottom line.

These statistics might only tell part of the story, but it should be clear that email is not to be neglected in the hype of new media types. The rise of social media and mobile has not damaged email, with the platform adapting to new changes and remaining as relevant as it ever was.

How To Optimise Conversions On Your Ecommerce Store

According to a study by IBM, online shopping cart abandonment hit a rate of 68.95% in 2015 in the U.S. Other studies have reported even higher rates, indicating shoppers have selected items, but frequently do not go through with the purchase. Cart abandonment is not the only issue impacting conversions, though, with security concerns, poor sales techniques, shipping costs, and other factors all playing a part. Even making small improvements to the conversion rate can make a radical difference to your revenue, so the importance of optimisation cannot be ignored. The following tips can all be implemented to help you increase the conversion rates across your site.

Show Visible Trust Symbols

Trust symbols can include security seals, credit card logos, and registered business signs. Even if a visitor doesn’t closely review the symbols or even know what they refer to, their presence can put people at ease, indicating you are a trustworthy business that partners up with other reliable organisations.

Include Checkout Page Testimonials

Testimonials are commonly added to every sales page and if you’re a regular Hyphen blog reader, you have probably seen us recommending them over and over again. However, they are used much less less frequently on checkout pages and for Ecommerce stores, this can make a big difference in optimising conversions. The checkout page, as mentioned previously, results in high levels of cart abandonment, so encouraging the completion of the sale needs to be a priority. Subtle testimonials on checkout pages can reduce the second thoughts many people experience, resulting in higher conversion levels.

Offer Price Guarantees

A major reason visitors decide against making a purchase is the price. It isn’t necessarily that the price is too high, but people naturally question whether they are getting a good deal. If visitors leave to shop around and search for other offers, they may not return. A price guarantee usually involves matching competitors prices, so customers know they are not overpaying.

Implement Live Chat

One of the problems with ecommerce sites is the difficulty in adding a personal element. A physical store has an advantage of a salesperson giving assistance, even if many people don’t require it. Live chat software helps to provide this personal touch, offering an immediate response to any questions. Limited numbers will actually use the service, but it should certainly help with conversions for the people that want it. The downside of live chats is that you will always need to have someone online to operate it.

Show Prominent Shipping and Returns Guide

In most surveys, one of the biggest concerns of ecommerce customers is shipping and returns information. Visitors want to know what shipping charges are upfront, how they will affect the overall price, and how easy it is to return goods if they are not satisfied with their purchase. Prominently displaying this information can help to ease concerns, with a free shipping offer usually providing an immediate increase in conversions.

Allow Product Reviews

Some stores are reluctant to include reviews, worrying that a negative response could damage conversions. It is worth testing a review section, though, as it can significantly improve conversions across the whole of your inventory. Certain products might suffer from poor or average scores, but you will more commonly see customers doing a good job of promoting products when they have a good experience. Customers want transparency, and if you don’t offer reviews on your website, they might simply look for them on other websites and end up buying from them instead of you.

Compress Images and Code

Slow loading times are a frustration for site visitors, with a natural result being a drop in engagement and conversions. In most cases, a site can be improved to run faster, offering a more efficient service. Run your site through one of the various speed test services, such as  Google’s PageSpeed Tool, and look through the suggestions to make your website faster. A good place to start on an ecommerce site, partly due to the high number of images, is with image and code compression,

Offer Various Payment Options

Aim to make the payment process as simple as possible. One way to do this is to offer a number of payment options, limiting potential reasons for abandoning the cart. Some ecommerce sites use a service like Paypal that accepts the major credit cards without having an account. While an option like this makes sense, there will always be people who have an aversion to a particular service, but would purchase if you offered more choice.

Add a Phone Number

A phone number might seem irrelevant when options like email, live chat, and social media are readily available. Many customers feel comfortable seeing a phone number listed on the site, though, with the perception that the business is legitimate.

Efforts to improve conversions won’t always produce the desired results. Sometimes a technique that sounds logical will actually reduce sales, so you need to track and test every change you make. Usually, though, if you embark on a structured testing process, you will eventually end up with an improvement in conversion rate. In most cases, starting with the big changes will provide the biggest alterations, allowing you to then focus on the small changes and tweaks that add some extra revenue to the business.

How To Grow Your Ecommerce Business – 8 Marketing Tips For Success

Building brand awareness for your ecommerce business and reaching your audience effectively with your marketing communication requires effort, but the rewards can be significant. The truth is that well-structured ecommerce marketing strategies and tactics will swiftly expose your business to targeted customers and increase sales over time.

If you’re just getting started with ecommerce marketing tactics, or you are looking for new ways to increase your customer base, then keep reading because there are many useful tips for you here.

Below are some of our top tips you should use to expose your product to the right audience and increase your sales.

1. Start with Compelling Content

An essential source of high quality traffic for your ecommerce business is high-standard content channeled around products you want to market. It is therefore essential to invest time and resources into an effective content marketing strategy.

Ecommerce businesses need content to attract targeted traffic that will result in leads. With content, you can clearly expose everything you want your customers to know concerning any of your products. You can use well-structured content marketing strategies centered on your products to convince online readers to purchase them.

No marketer can deny the benefits of using content to build brand awareness, trust and attract new customers. It is also a great way you can build credibility and help your customers make the right decisions in purchasing whatever you are offering.

The mistake you must avoid is in making all of your content about your product. You need to mix it with some other topics that will impact positively readers. Make sure to offer them valuable content that they actually want to engage with rather than just showering them with sales-focused material that will end up irritating them.

2. Build Strong Email Lists 

Email is an important marketing tool you can use drive revenue. It is one of the most direct means you can employ online to reach your readers. It is very useful because your subscribers have given you full permission to reach out to them with your offers. So you can use this medium to communicate in a more tailored manner to an audience that is likely to be interested in what you have to say.

There are many ways you can build email lists but the most popular one is to freely give out well-written eBook or piece of digital documentation in exchange for email address.

You can also integrate subscribe buttons or pop-ups on your website and encourage your readers to subscribe. You may also want to give users who sign up to your email list a discount on your store to give them an extra incentive to sign up.

Of course, you can use your email addresses database to send out emails directly, but also to retarget these users with ads on other platforms like Facebook or display advertising.

3. Leverage Social Media 

Although not directly linked to sales, being active on social media is an excellent way of pushing your online content to an interested audience. You can also curate content from other sources and that are relevant to your audience’s interests to build an engaged audience base.

Scaling your social media follower base takes time, but it is a long-term project that will help you get your brand in front of people and create a great communication platform. It is also a great tool to remain ‘top-of-mind’ for your followers. First you will need to build a base of followers that could be interested in your product. Then keep posting useful content related to your industry or business but let it be posts that will interest them. No one is interested in a social media account that just blasts sales messages.

Examples of content you may wish to leverage are ‘how to’ guides, insight articles, industry news, company news, the occasional special offer, or simply entertainment-focused content. Use different types of content such as blog articles, photos, infographics, videos, quotes, news, etc.

4. Use Videos to Present Your Products

 The use of video to present products is quite often neglected in ecommerce. Yet it’s an effective way  to take your ecommerce business to greater heights. Online users watch videos more than they read articles. It takes little time and effort to watch a short video and your audience is likely to pay more attention to it than if the information were only written on a page.

You can shoot product videos providing customers with useful information such as how to use your product, the benefits they can get from your product, how to install or get the most out of your product and so many other things that can convince them to buy from you.

Besides, Google is friendly to videos. Having product videos gives you a chance to rank higher in search results than your competitors who are not using videos.

Note that although it is encouraged to use videos, you should also aim to provide the same information in text form.

5. Use Customer Reviews 

The use of customer reviews of products is a proven ecommerce marketing strategy you should use to boost sales. A recent study found that 54% of online buyers read online reviews before placing their order.

Online shoppers want to know what other shoppers think about a product they are interested to ensure they are spending their hard earned money on a quality item. This is particularly important in the online world because unlike in a physical store, your consumers can’t actually directly see, touch or try out the product. Instead, they need to rely on the opinions and experiences of people who have bought it before them.

6. Offer Reward Programs

It is generally much cheaper and easier to maintain loyal customers who will buy repeatedly from you than to acquire new ones. Therefore, you should invest effort into nurturing your existing customers and maximising their Customer Lifetime Value.

Providing reward program is a good ecommerce marketing strategy that will encourage new and existing customers to buy again from you.

 7. Upsell & Cross-Sell 

You are missing out on lots of sales if you are not utilising up-sells & cross-sells marketing tactics. Up-sells & cross-sells encourage customers to buy more products that they didn’t initially intend to buy. You can use it to close additional sales with customers that are in a buying mood. You can take advantage of having customers buy a particular product to sell them additional products that are complementary. This is used effectively for example by ecommerce giant Amazon. In the example below, I am looking to buy a GoPro camera:

AMZ1.png

Now if I’m in the market for a GoPro, I’m very likely to also need a few more items such as a memory card, GoPro accessories or extra batteries. That’s why Amazon presents to me a series of such products I can add to my basket in just a click. And I’m very likely to think ‘Right, I actually need a memory card for my new GoPro. I’ll just buy it now at the same time.”

AMZ2.png

 

8. Diversify Your Sales Channels

Who said you can only sell on your website? Explore other marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay. These marketplaces are established and trusted with great numbers of new and returning global customers. You can sell your product on their platform in addition to your website and increase your revenue.

Why You Should Start A Blog For Your Business.

If you have an online business or profile you certainly want it to be seen. In order to get traffic to your website, you will have to take some steps beyond just posting to your site and allowing it to sit there day after day hoping that someone will stumble upon it. Blogging is an excellent technique for getting traffic to your site because it will attract attention from customers who might not otherwise ever know that your business exists. It will also enable you to be positioned as an authority in your industry. Maintaining a high quality blog will help you convert sales, after the potential customers have begun to read your posts on a regular basis and got to know you better. You can rest assured that most people who follow your blog regularly will eventually find their way onto your main website.

The Benefits of Owning a Blog

Blogs attract the attention of people who are looking for information. They may want technical information, or they may be interested in current events in your field or niche. If you post humorous content they may begin to read it just to keep up with your latest posts.

You should always aim to place a link back to one of the pages of your main site and attempt to make your blog posts so interesting that the reader will want to look at your web site to further explore your business concept.

Once you get them to your site engaging content should take them to your services or products page where they will be able to get more information about what you offer, or even make a purchase. If you have an informative site they will be able to learn more about your brand. Writing useful and compelling content is a skill, so it’s important to spend time making sure your articles are high quality. A poorly maintained blog might actually hurt your business, because it can give it a poor image in the eyes of consumers, even if your actual offering is great. It is important that you continue to add new refreshing content to your site on a regular basis.

A well-constructed blog will label you as an expert in your field. This is important because it will increase your popularity. The blog may be read by a vast number of people so it can have a sweeping influence which will be either positive or negative. A good blog will cause people who might otherwise never learn about you to visit your website.

Establish your Identity

The blog will give you personality that your main site will not be able to provide. You can write it in your own style or hire someone to write it in whatever style that you wish, but it is important to get your tone of voice right. You will use it to reach the audience that you are targeting with your business or products by becoming a trusted communicator to them rather than just a nameless, formless entity.

When you post into your blog you are speaking directly to your customers and potential customers. Use it to speak in a natural, pleasant and informative way, rather than trying to sell them something directly. Your blog is part of your content marketing strategy, and should be a very soft-selling tool.

Customers will certainly appreciate you more if they see that they can relate to you personally. The well-constructed blog is one of the very few techniques available to you to communicate effectively with your customers. Customers will tend to purchase more product from you if you can generate a warm comfortable platform for regular interaction with them.

SEO Benefits

The blog which is frequently updated will help to improve the ranking of your web site which will serve to increase organic traffic in addition to the traffic generated through the internal links. Search Engines will connect the two sites making the linking together beneficial to both. Updating your blog frequently is also a form of site management. You as a web site or business owner should not pass up the advantages which a blog will give you. Just remember to add top quality content.

You should aim to include several ’evergreen’ pieces of content on your blog. Evergreen content refers to content that will remain as relevant today as in a few years. This includes articles providing explanations of a concept that will not change. It is important to spend time ensuring these evergreen articles are as well optimised as possible for search engines, because these are the types of articles that will bring you a constant stream of visitors for years to come.

For an overview of how you can make sure your blog articles are well optimised for search engines, check out our on-page SEO Checklist.

If you have any questions or feedback, get in touch with Hyphen now.

What Is Content Marketing?

In the early days of marketing, the preferred tactic for businesses to reach their target customers was mostly based on pushing advertising, promotional and sales-focused messages in front of an audience. TV, radio and print ads were favoured means of marketing a product or service. Today, however, consumers are often exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day and it is getting increasingly difficult for businesses to cut through the clutter.

When is the last time you actually paid attention to a TV ad without pulling out your phone or getting distracted by something else? And out of the thousands of ads you were exposed to in public transport in the last week, how many did you actually read and remember? Because consumers are exposed to such a large volume of information each day, marketers have to compete fiercely for ever-decreasing attention spans.

Instead of working hard to push their brands in front of consumers, a growing number of businesses use Content Marketing to get consumers to come to them.

Defining Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as follows:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

So the key concept of content marketing is for brands to use media that they own such as their website, social media accounts, or other types of publications, to distribute content that their target consumers actively want to engage with. The principle relies on an exchange of value between the business and the consumer: the business delivers content that is of interest, and in exchange, consumers give some of their attention to the business.

Content marketing is about communication without directly selling. Over time, businesses can establish a relationship with their targeted consumers and gain their trust. Content marketing should be employed on an on-going basis and be an integral part of a business’ overall marketing strategy. It is a vehicle for very ‘soft’ selling, while ‘hard’ selling can be restricted to advertising.

Examples

Providing valuable content to a target audience is not necessarily a new marketing concept. In fact, the tire manufacturer Michelin has first published its ‘Michelin Guide’ in the early 1900’s, where it provided travel tips to drivers. However, the internet (particularly Search Engines and Social Media) has turbo charged content marketing and made it an essential for modern businesses. Examples of content include:

  • Whitepapers, Case Studies, How-To Guides, and eBooks: These can be particularly relevant for B2B services companies that can showcase their expertise in a particular area.
  • Blogging: either to deliver informative, or more entertaining content depending on the business and its objectives.
  • Online tools: for instance, an A/B test statistical confidence calculator can be a great tool for a digital marketing agency to offer.
  • Infographics and illustrations
  • Non-commercial branded videos

This content should not only be reached by user via search engines when researching a particular topic, but also regularly pushed via the company’s social media accounts, email, and any other type of owned media.

Search Marketing Benefits

Content is king, not only to consumers, but also to Google and other search engines. Unique, high quality content published on a blog or website attracts inbound links and ultimately boosts a business’ online presence.

The better your content, the more it will be served via search engines, and the more it will be linked through to by third party websites. By creating great content, you are therefore not only providing something your target audience wants to interact with, but also improving the performance of your website.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss further, get in touch with Hyphen now.

The Beginner’s Guide To Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences are designed to target and reach people who already have a relationship with your business. These can be for example your existing customers or a list of leads, or users who have simply interacted with you on Facebook or other platforms. There are four types of custom audiences you can create and target on Facebook:

  1. Customer File: You can upload a list of email addresses to match them with users on Facebook. Your audience will be created from the email addresses that are matched to existing Facebook profiles. You can also upload a list of phone numbers, mobile advertiser IDs, or simply Facebook user IDs directly.
  2. Website Traffic: Used to target a list of people who have visited your website. You can also limit your audience to visitors of specific pages only. To be able to retarget your website visitors, you will need to add the Facebook Custom Audience Pixel to your website.
  3. App Activity: Used to target a list of people who have taken a specific action on your application.
  4. Engagement on Facebook: Used to target people who have engaged with your content on Facebook.

So let’s have a closer look at how you can set up a custom audience for your Facebook ad campaigns.

Creating Your Facebook Custom Audience

Create your custom audience by logging into your Facebook Business account and selecting ‘Audiences’ on the drop-down menu at the top-left side of the page.

 

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Once you reach the ‘Audiences’ page, click on ‘Create Audience’ and select ‘Custom Audience’.

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You will now be prompted to select the type of custom audience you wish to create.

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Customer File

This type of custom audience is used to target a list of customers who’s details you already have a record of.

If you have selected ‘Customer File’ to create your custom audience, you will now be able to upload one of the following customer files for targeting:

  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • App user IDs
  • Mobile advertiser IDs

You can upload these either via CSV file, or by copying and pasting your file directly onto Facebook. You will not be able to mix the different types of customer files into a single audience, so if you have a list of email addresses on the one hand and also a list of App user IDs, you will need to create separate audiences.

If you use the email service provider Mailchimp, you will be able to automatically sync emails addresses from this system onto your Facebook Custom Audience.

Website Traffic

This type of custom audience is used to target a list of people who have visited your website or specific pages of your website. In order to start tracking users on your website and build your Website Traffic audience, you will need to place the Facebook Custom Audience Pixel onto your website. Anytime a user visits your website, the pixel will add them to your audience for retargeting.

Adding The Pixel

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If you don’t already have your Facebook pixel on your site, go to the drop-down menu at the top-left side of your Facebook Business account, then select ‘All Tools’ and click on ‘Pixels’.

On the Pixel page, you will be able to copy and paste your unique pixel. You will need to add the pixel across your website on the pages you want to track within the <head> tags of the pages.

By default, your pixel will track Page Views. However, you can also add a bit of code to your pixel to track other events including:

  • View Content
  • Search
  • Add to Cart
  • Add to Wish List
  • Initiate Checkout
  • Add Payment Info
  • Make Purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete Registration

To learn more about Facebook pixels and how to track specific events, click here.

Creating Your Website Traffic Audience

Going back to building your audience in the Audiences tab, you will be given a choice of which visitors you wish to retarget. You can choose the number of days since users visited the site, as well as frequency, specific pages visited (or pages not visited yet), or people who haven’t visited a certain amount of time.

If you click on ‘Custom Combination’, you will be able to select targeting options based on events triggered by your users. For instance, you could retarget all users who have initiated checkout but did not complete a purchase with a discount to encourage them to buy.

App Activity

With this type of custom audience, you can target users based on how they have interacted with your app in the past. You can set targeting rules based on:

  • Action Taken: e.g. someone reaching a certain level in a game, or someone placing an order through your app.
  • Action Not Taken: e.g. You could target your app users who have not purchased anything on your app yet
  • Combined Action: e.g. you could target users who have placed an item on their shopping cart and initiated checkout, but never actually completed the purchase.
  • Segments: Allow you to segment your audience for instance by demographics or mobile device used.

5

Engagement on Facebook (New)

This type of custom audience is used to target users based on how they interacted with your content on Facebook. This targeting method has only been launched recently and is still being rolled out, so at the moment the options are still somewhat limited.

For the time being, the available options are targeting users based on their engagement on Facebook with:

  • Videos
  • Lead Adverts

We can expect more flexibility to be added in the coming months. For example, options might include liked posts, comments, shares, Facebook page visits over a set period… Only time will tell.

At the moment, for video engagement, you can set your targeting based on how much of your video users have seen, as you can see in the screenshot below:

6.png

You can either build your audience based on their engagement with one of your videos, or with several of your videos.

For Lead Adverts engagement, you can build your audience with users who have opened one of your Lead Adverts forms, and then segment based on the action they have taken on the form.

If you have any questions regarding Facebook advertising or digital marketing in general, we would like to invite you to get in touch with the Hyphen team now who will be glad to assist you.

The Key Google AdWords Product Updates Coming In 2016

Google recently gave marketers plenty of reasons to get excited about, with the announcement of a series of product updates and new features currently being rolled out to AdWords. Most of these changes were announced during the recent Google Performance Summit, where one of the key themes related to the growing importance of mobile.

Some of the new functionalities announced may offer significant scope for advertisers to reach their audience in a more effective way and optimise their activity more efficiently.

Hyphen is excited to investigate how these updates will help our clients achieve better results once rolled out. Below are some of the key new features being currently tested or rolled out by the company.

 

Longer AdWords Text Ads

Google is currently Beta testing a new format of text ads on AdWords providing 50% extra text space as well as a more prominent space for headlines. A summary of the changes being tested can be found in the table below. During the Google Performance Summit held last month, Google suggested these changes should increase ad clickthrough rates by as much as 20%.

1-adwords.png

 

The merging of the two 35-character description lines into one consolidated 80 character line is great news for advertisers who will now be able to focus more on tailoring the best message to drive clicks without the restriction of having to respect two separate character limits.

Bid Adjustments For Tablet

Device bid adjustments now include Mobile, Desktop and Tablet. We will be able to select which of the three types of devices is the base for modifiers. That means if Mobile is the most relevant device type for your audience, you will now be able to select your Mobile bids, and then set up percentage modifiers on bids for the other two devices. In addition, the range of bid adjustment will also be increased across all devices from -100% to +900%. Previously, device bid adjustments only ranged from -100% to +300%.

Demographics Targeting For Search Ads

This new feature will allow marketers to modify bids on Search campaigns according to gender and age, allowing for much more precision in targeting the right audience, optimising towards best performing segments, or offering more personalised messages to users. This new feature really is a big step towards improving the granularity of Search ads on AdWords.

Conversion Data Sync Between AdWords & Salesforce

Google has launched a new tool that enables to sync conversion data between AdWords and Salesforce, making it easier to bridge the gap between Search ads and lead generation. Click IDs from a Search ad can now be passed to Salesforce when a new lead is generated, making it possible to know exactly which campaigns or keywords are generating your leads.

Promoted Pins on Google Maps

This is great news for local businesses! After announcing that one third of all mobile searches are related to location, Google is introducing Promoted Pins on Google Maps.

With this new functionality, local businesses like shops and restaurants will be able to integrate paid ads seamlessly onto Google maps and drive more physical visits to their business.

 

googlemaps

 

Click To SMS AdWords Extension

Google is testing a new extension to paid AdWords ads on mobile allowing the user to send a text message to the advertised business. As seen below, a ‘Text’ icon is shown on an ad, and will open the text application of the user’s phone when clicked on to easily reach out to the advertiser via SMS.

SMS Extension

 

Responsive Display Ads

Google will now offer the option of using responsive display ads that adjust to fit any website. All marketers will need to do is write the headlines and text, and provide an image and URL, and Google will do the rest to adjust the sizes appropriately.

While this sounds like a real time saver compared to the task of creating each individual ad sizes needed, it will be interesting to see how this feature will actually work. The truth is, as marketers, having full control of the look and feel of each of your ads is crucially important, and this might be somewhat hindered when using the new responsive ad format. That being said, it might be a great way to get initial tests going on a campaign before getting display creative produced professionally.

Expansion Of The Google Display Network

30 more networks will be added to the Google Display Network, offering advertisers the opportunity to increase the reach of their display activity.