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  • #1195331
    Karen Francis
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    Hey John,

    I’m loving the questions :) The information Michael presents is great with down to earth language, I understand why you like him (the back of the turnip truck)

    While there is more for correlation on this topic with Google not wanting to reveal their 11 herbs and spices, there is enough indications for this to be regarded as an important element in how your website is seen in search results.

    From Google patents:
    Jan 12, 2016 Google Inc. “Modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback.”
    Have you seen the document? It’s almost 200 pages long and part of it talked about how a user engaged with websites

    From Google Quality Guidelines:
    “Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.”
    Why mention it if it doesn’t matter, it’s 1/4 of the basic principles they supply.

    From The Official Google Blog:
    Hackers caused Google to make changes in the algorithm last year due to the way they engaged on sites. “The algorithmic changes will eventually impact roughly 5% of queries, depending on the language. As we roll out the new algorithms, users might notice that for certain queries, only the most relevant results are shown, reducing the number of results shown.”
    So, if the site seems to have irrelevant engagement, it may lose rankings.

    Best practices for navigation – “Prevent useless URLs and minimize the crawl space by only creating URLs when products exist. This helps users to stay engaged on your site.” Again, why talk about engagement if its not important

    Back in 2013, they published information and guidelines about the mobile web “Avoiding these mistakes helps your smartphone users engage with your site fully.” Tips for Mobilegeddaon engagement years before it happened.

    From Search Engine Watch
    “User engagement metrics are not a solid ranking signal, but you shouldn’t rule them out. They signal to Google that your website is serving the answers or solution to what your users are searching for.” Google as a search engine, wants to deliver what the user is searching for.

    And well.. the real clincher is the Panda patents.
    SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR RELEVANCE SCORING (sorry for all caps, it’s how it was written)
    “One technique of the present solution provides a relevance score of a digital resource based on user’s interactions with digital resources. Another technique of the present solution provides relevance search results based on user interaction with content. Another technique of the present solution identifies phrases that are trending or are temporally popular based on aggregating multiple users’ interactions with an aggregate of content.”

    There are over 200 signals considered for ranking, but is user engagement one of them? Personally, I’m saying yes.. although I don’t know to what extent.

    #1195332
    JohnW
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    Karen Francis, post: 230501, member: 72549 wrote:
    Hey John,

    I’m loving the questions :) The information Michael presents is great with down to earth language, I understand why you like him (the back of the turnip truck)

    While there is more for correlation on this topic with Google not wanting to reveal their 11 herbs and spices, there is enough indications for this to be regarded as an important element in how your website is seen in search results…
    Hi Karen,
    We are so off-topic that I started a new thread where we can continue discussions here…

    Hope to see your contributions there when you are back from holidays.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1195333
    Aidan
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    I’d suggest that people stop guessing at what happens and listen to the folks at Google itself or indeed just think it through for a minute – User Experience matters highly to Google, that we know from search and AdWords and what they have told us through several channels. Note I said Experience not Engagement.

    The various writers at Moz, SEL and the rest are individuals writing about their theories, in many cases they are guest writers and their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the site owner…

    User Engagement on the other hand is too hard to attach solid KPI’s to given the many different search intents, different behaviour on mobile devices, the potential for gaming and the lack of GA info from so many sites.

    I can turn a 100% bounce rate into a near nil one purely by making a visitor click to reveal what he needs (a phone number perhaps) or make him go to a second page to see price detail. I could also use a one page website that will have a 100% bounce rate yet have all the info the user wanted giving him a good experience.

    Or I could use one of the alternatives to Google’s Analytics so they didn’t see any info about what happens on my site.

    Theories, guesses and rumours are all nonsense when you have clear reasoning from Google itself.

    #1195334
    JohnW
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    Hi All,
    To get back on topic about the value of social media, here is a new article that quotes various surveys…

    31 Mar 16: Want real results from social? Start paying.

    “According to The CMO Survey, 40 percent of CMOs say that social media is underperforming relative to the rest of the organization’s marketing efforts. Just 11.5 percent have said they can prove the impact of social media quantitatively.

    “Last year, a survey fielded by small business directory Manta showed that 59 percent of small businesses hadn’t seen any ROI from their social media activities. Among those that had seen ROI, 47 percent saw $100 or less in profits.”

    “Organic social isn’t dead. It’s dormant. Without your wallet, your efforts have a very slim chance of reaching your audience on Facebook, and soon, it seems like the chances will be similarly slim on Twitter and Instagram.

    “If you’re trying to figure out how to turn social media channels into something that drives real revenue, you have to spend money to make money. Then, you have to sync social teams up with the rest of the marketing organization.”

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1195335
    Aidan
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    Totally agree with those sentiments JW – I really don’t see much reach now for businesses unless they pay to play, organic reach on social for most businesses is now minimal. I guess it had to happen eventually as a natural effect of social media growth.

    I know several agencies now say no to those businesses looking for purely organic reach as organic is too hit and miss these days.

    #1195336
    JbytheBay
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    • Total posts: 38
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    “Last year, a survey fielded by small business directory Manta showed that 59 percent of small businesses hadn’t seen any ROI from their social media activities. Among those that had seen ROI, 47 percent saw $100 or less in profits.”

    I would be interested to know how many of these small businesses were actually measuring their social performance correctly. Did they correctly measure conversions via Analytics and have Brand Awarensess kpi’s in place?

    I would be prepared to place a bet that many of these companies received First/Last Attribution Sales from Social Media and didn’t even know it because they didn’t measure it.

    In fact if they were measuring it they would have divulged the fact that their first/last attribution sales from Social were negligible and they were not meeting their Brand Awareness kpi’s… not just say “it doesn’t work”.

    I think it’s sinful to write off a Marketing tactic when you haven’t properly measured its performance.

    About having to open your wallet, yes that’s true but not just for social, online marketing is becoming more competitive it’s simple price and demand dynamics at work. This is why Analytics is so important, you MUST know if something is working for you and spend your money accordingly.

    #1195337
    JohnW
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    JbytheBay, post: 230828, member: 77347 wrote:
    I would be interested to know how many of these small businesses were actually measuring their social performance correctly. Did they correctly measure conversions via Analytics and have Brand Awarensess kpi’s in place?

    I would be prepared to place a bet that many of these companies received First/Last Attribution Sales from Social Media and didn’t even know it because they didn’t measure it.

    In fact if they were measuring it they would have divulged the fact that their first/last attribution sales from Social were negligible and they were not meeting their Brand Awareness kpi’s… not just say “it doesn’t work”.

    I think it’s sinful to write off a Marketing tactic when you haven’t properly measured its performance.

    About having to open your wallet, yes that’s true but not just for social, online marketing is becoming more competitive it’s simple price and demand dynamics at work. This is why Analytics is so important, you MUST know if something is working for you and spend your money accordingly.
    Hi JbytheBay,
    I suspect the small business measurement problems are likely to include:

    • E-commerce is a tiny fraction of transactions. Eg 7.5% of USA retail sales.
    • Online payment functions not routinely offered by many small business categories (Eg. Services and trades)
    • Tracking problem 1: Many sites don’t have Analytics installed. (According to Google, it can’t use its stats because too few sites have it installed.)
    • Tracking problem 2: Many small businesses are too busy to worry about online stats.

    To me, the killer is the CMO survey which reported:


    “Just 11.5 percent have said they can prove the impact of social media quantitatively.

    12 years down the track and Facebook still can’t demonstrate ROI to 88.5% of corporate marketers.

    If the companies that are large and sophisticated enough to have a CMO, can’t assess social media results, what chance us wee folk?

    I’m not saying SM marketing does not work but I do believe there are a whole bunch of marketing communications issues that need to be assessed around if, which ones, to whom, how, when, why, etc. to use it.

    It seems to me that the numbers of folk reading his thread, is an indication of the small business owner’s confusion and perhaps scepticism on the issues.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1195338
    Glasshat
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    For some reason, small business owners can’t understand the fact that social media is not a SALES tool. It’s not even an advertising tool. You won’t get much out of it if you keep on pushing your discount or sales promotion offers.

    It’s a platform of conversations. People don’t log on to their Facebook pages to buy products or services. They go there to chit-chat. This is what entrepreneurs and marketers have to understand and use it to their advantage.

    Just like with any other marketing strategy, you identify who your audience is and then craft a message that engages them to do the desired action. Similarly, social media strategy should be focused on generating conversations (not likes) from your audience. Because that’s why they are there in the first place. And one way of doing that is to make an effort to learn what your audience wants to listen or read should I say. Then craft content accordingly.

    So in my view #1 thing people do wrong on social media is use it as a sales tool.

    #1195339
    JbytheBay
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    Hi John,

    When I look at 7.5% all I see is opportunity, 92.5% opportunity for growth.

    • E-commerce is a tiny fraction of transactions. Eg 7.5% of USA retail sales.

    If you looked at the graph for ecommerce sales representing this 7.5% (or in the one a few years old below 6%)

    http://33.media.tumblr.com/21f7d499867d9358063c45b8459118d3/tumblr_inline_mi357svVrm1qz4rgp.jpg

    you’ll realise there is no telling exactly where it’s going to peak on the right hand side, I will even go so far as to say that when it does peak, it will NEVER curve back down to 7.5% except for perhaps a catastrophic event. The reason I say that is because if there’s one thing we love more than our devices, it’s a good bargain.

    Here is also an interesting article about ecommerce sales growth overtaking brick and mortar sales growth

    http://marketrealist.com/2014/05/must-know-rise-us-e-commerce-sales-tapering-tale/

    I’ll highlight a section from this paragraph

    Online retail sales growth overshadows brick-and-mortar sales growth rate

    The percentage of e-commerce sales to total retail sales, increased from 5.5% in 1Q13 to 6.2% in 1Q14. Over the years, consumers have shown a growing preference for online purchases due to the convenience and lower prices offered by e-tailers.

    Reflecting the preference for click as opposed to brick, Staples (SPLS), the #3 online retailer in the U.S. (according to the Internet Retailer), announced that it was closing up to 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015 because almost half its sales were coming from the online channel.

    The other problems you mentioned I see as teething problems, online marketing is in it’s infancy, as it grows more competitive and your marketing has to be faster and sharper than the next guy, small business will have to take analytics on board or they will fail, a strong statement, I know.

    • Online payment functions not routinely offered by many small business categories (Eg. Services and trades)

    • Tracking problem 1: Many sites don’t have Analytics installed. (According to Google, it can’t use its stats because too few sites have it installed.)

    • Tracking problem 2: Many small businesses are too busy to worry about online stats.

    We’ve gone from let’s build lots of links and post plenty of stuff on social media, hooray we’re making money, to each of these areas now evolving into separate specialist areas.

    I’m not saying SM marketing does not work but I do believe there are a whole bunch of marketing communications issues that need to be assessed around if, which ones, to whom, how, when, why, etc. to use it.

    The answers to “which ones, to whom, how, when, why” varies according to the product, what works for (a), is going to fail for (b), and be mediocre for (c). It is the need to find the answers to these questions that gave birth to testing and measurement. Your answers are buried in the data, data given to you by your users, the only authority you should listen to.

    It seems to me that the numbers of folk reading his thread, is an indication of the small business owner’s confusion and perhaps scepticism on the issues.

    Agreed and rightfully so, you should be sceptic, until someone can show you mathematically it’s working or it’s not working you are throwing money down the drain. I’ve seen people pull figures out of their ear with comments like… let’s say you make such and such a figure… it makes me cringe and business people are smart enough to know this is not how you run a business.

    (sorry for my rant it’s a sensitive topic for me lol)

    regards
    Jeanette

    #1195340
    JohnW
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    • Total posts: 2,642
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    Glasshat, post: 230843, member: 78180 wrote:
    For some reason, small business owners can’t understand the fact that social media is not a SALES tool. It’s not even an advertising tool. You won’t get much out of it if you keep on pushing your discount or sales promotion offers.

    It’s a platform of conversations. People don’t log on to their Facebook pages to buy products or services. They go there to chit-chat. This is what entrepreneurs and marketers have to understand and use it to their advantage.

    Just like with any other marketing strategy, you identify who your audience is and then craft a message that engages them to do the desired action. Similarly, social media strategy should be focused on generating conversations (not likes) from your audience. Because that’s why they are there in the first place. And one way of doing that is to make an effort to learn what your audience wants to listen or read should I say. Then craft content accordingly.

    So in my view #1 thing people do wrong on social media is use it as a sales tool.
    Hi Fahad,
    Agree with Facebook being a medium where people want to chit-chat, except I feel you omited, “with their friends and family“.

    That adendum sets up the crux of the problem for Fb and its business users, viz. how to cut through the user’s desired information with some info about our business that is probably of little interest and relevance?

    An average Facebook user has been reported to have 130 friends. That’s a tight group to break into, particularly for low interest, infrequently needed business product and service categories.

    Consumer studies published in the last 12 months report that 25% of Facebook users “unfollowed” a brand in the last month.

    If a consumer has time in this busy life to Fb follow their baby sitter, baker, chemist, dentist, doctor, electrician, fitness coach, green grocer, homewares store, insurance agent, juice bar, kitchenware… plumber… real estate agent, etc. they are unlikely to get much done.

    Facebook and its business users have been trying to elbow into our personal chit-chat space for a long time now but Fb still can’t give most of its business users meaningful performance metrics.

    I suggest FSs ask these questions:

    • What does a client or potential client want to chit-chat with my business about?
    • When and how frequently do they want to chit-chat?
    • How long will they likely remain “engaged followers”?
    • How do I identify that the people I am chit-chatting with are relevant to my business?
    • What time/money do I need to invest in the process to build a relevant audience?
    • What value/benefits do I get for this investment?
    • How do I measure results?
    • Are there better marketing uses for my scarce time resource?

    One facet of Internet marketing that has not changed in the last 25 years is that most of the money spent on it has been wasted.

    IMHO, all that changes is that there are more and more glittering baubles to waste it on.

    I am NOT saying Fb chit-chatting is a waste of time. I am saying that for business owners who can’t set and measure performance outcomes it is likely to be so.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1195341
    JbytheBay
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    imilarly, social media strategy should be focused on generating conversations (not likes) from your audience. Because that’s why they are there in the first place.

    Fahad I respectfully disagree, I believe business shouldn’t try to convince customers they’re only there to chit chat. The lack of First name, last name is a dead giveaway you’re there to sell them something and not to chit chat…. so sell them something, but give them an incentive to buy it.

    On Social media consumers are in the early stages of the buying cycle not aware yet they actually need your product. The benefits of your product, how it can satisfy a need they are not yet aware of and an incentive to buy should be the focus and if that’s not good enough then it’s highly unlikely that person will buy from you within the next three months, no point sitting on there chit chatting.

    Personally I would cater my needs campaign to promoted content and have regular coupon/giveaway/sales campaigns restricted to users on this channel who liked my page.

    I fully respect Social Media as a discipline of it’s own and I believe with the help of a good Social Media Strategist it can contribute to sales and growth.

    #1195342
    JohnW
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    JbytheBay, post: 230852, member: 77347 wrote:
    When I look at 7.5% all I see is opportunity, 92.5% opportunity for growth.

    • E-commerce is a tiny fraction of transactions. Eg 7.5% of USA retail sales.

    If you looked at the graph for ecommerce sales representing this 7.5% (or in the one a few years old below 6%)

    http://33.media.tumblr.com/21f7d499867d9358063c45b8459118d3/tumblr_inline_mi357svVrm1qz4rgp.jpg

    you’ll realise there is no telling exactly where it’s going to peak on the right hand side, I will even go so far as to say that when it does peak, it will NEVER curve back down to 7.5% except for perhaps a catastrophic event. The reason I say that is because if there’s one thing we love more than our devices, it’s a good bargain.

    Here is also an interesting article about ecommerce sales growth overtaking brick and mortar sales growth

    http://marketrealist.com/2014/05/must-know-rise-us-e-commerce-sales-tapering-tale/

    I’ll highlight a section from this paragraph

    Online retail sales growth overshadows brick-and-mortar sales growth rate

    The percentage of e-commerce sales to total retail sales, increased from 5.5% in 1Q13 to 6.2% in 1Q14. Over the years, consumers have shown a growing preference for online purchases due to the convenience and lower prices offered by e-tailers.

    Reflecting the preference for click as opposed to brick, Staples (SPLS), the #3 online retailer in the U.S. (according to the Internet Retailer), announced that it was closing up to 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015 because almost half its sales were coming from the online channel.

    The other problems you mentioned I see as teething problems, online marketing is in it’s infancy, as it grows more competitive and your marketing has to be faster and sharper than the next guy, small business will have to take analytics on board or they will fail, a strong statement, I know.

    • Online payment functions not routinely offered by many small business categories (Eg. Services and trades)

    • Tracking problem 1: Many sites don’t have Analytics installed. (According to Google, it can’t use its stats because too few sites have it installed.)

    • Tracking problem 2: Many small businesses are too busy to worry about online stats.

    We’ve gone from let’s build lots of links and post plenty of stuff on social media, hooray we’re making money, to each of these areas now evolving into separate specialist areas.

    I’m not saying SM marketing does not work but I do believe there are a whole bunch of marketing communications issues that need to be assessed around if, which ones, to whom, how, when, why, etc. to use it.

    The answers to “which ones, to whom, how, when, why” varies according to the product, what works for (a), is going to fail for (b), and be mediocre for (c). It is the need to find the answers to these questions that gave birth to testing and measurement. Your answers are buried in the data, data given to you by your users, the only authority you should listen to.

    It seems to me that the numbers of folk reading his thread, is an indication of the small business owner’s confusion and perhaps scepticism on the issues.

    Agreed and rightfully so, you should be sceptic, until someone can show you mathematically it’s working or it’s not working you are throwing money down the drain. I’ve seen people pull figures out of their ear with comments like… let’s say you make such and such a figure… it makes me cringe and business people are smart enough to know this is not how you run a business.

    (sorry for my rant it’s a sensitive topic for me lol)

    regards
    Jeanette
    Hi Jeanette,
    I saw your post after I replied to Fahad. I rather think we are coming from similar positions.

    Like you, I’m concerned about performance metrics relevant to online marketing.

    How long do the social media platforms need to come up with relevant metrics? More importantly, can they? I’m generally underwhelmed by the types of metrics they provide like “amplification rate”. IMHO, they tend to be soft data that is open to many questions. Most gets a “poor but better than nothing” rating from me.

    I would contend that for many businesses, social media are more cost-effective channels for customer retention rather than for new client acquisition. When there has been an upturn in some client’s social medium’s activity, my experience suggests it related to a general topical info trending increase that had no immediate commercial intent, if ever. SM may help create awareness of a problem but they seldom seem to be where people go to research a supplier and/or purchase it.

    Then there is the cost side of the online marketing investment equation. IMHO, social media metrics that make no assessment of the businesses’ time and money spent on creating, interacting, managing the media’s performance and comparing achievement vs other forms of marketing communications, are meaningless.

    A suggestion to small business FSs about how to check SM use in their market. Search on Google for your business category combined with your primary customer target location.

    Now check the top ranked competing sites and visit their Facebook pages, if any.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • How many have links from website to social media platforms that no longer work?
    • How many started posting on SM with a rush that has since tapered off?
    • How many total posts have been made since they started using the SM platform?
    • Estimate the time and cost to create, post, manage this volume of posts
    • How many followers, likes, comments have been attained?
    • Check the commenter’s names. Do they look real and local? Is it a handful of the same people?

    I know these are very crude measurements but I’m always amazed at how many people spend so much time on online activities that even these crude metrics show are clearly achieving next to nothing. (The problems get more complex if there are a quantity of “likes”, “follows” and “comments” but I believe most FS small businesses are unlikely to find this an issue.)

    Sorry to rant back but I’ve been singing about the importance of online marketing metrics for a long time now. :)
    Regs,
    JohnW

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