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What Google SERPs changes mean for your B2B company

By Jennifer Esty  |  February 27, 2016

The past few days have been busy ones for #serps, with digital marketers and search experts reviewing what is arguably the biggest change to Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) in years.

First, just in case you’ve been too busy to get into the details, a quick summary of the changes:

  • Up to 4 ads will now display at the top of Google search result pages
  • No more text ads on the right-hand column (note that other ad types are unaffected, for example product listings)
  • Up to 3 ads will now be displayed at the bottom of pages
  • The changes only affect desktop and tablet, mobile remains unaffected (for now)

So how these SERPs changes impact your paid ad campaigns?

The truth is no one knows for certain yet (except Google, who most certainly tested these changes to ensure commercial advantage).

A few things we do know:

For organisations bidding on highly competitive keywords, CPC (cost per click) is bound to go up.

That said, one of the reasons Google rolled this out was poor click through rates on right-hand text ads, so it’s likely if your ads were displaying over there, your campaign probably wasn’t optimal anyway.

But if you were previously happy to coast along on the right hand side with fewer click throughs but reasonable conversion, it is now imperative that you review and refine your paid search strategy, and quickly—just because it worked last week doesn’t mean it’s been working this week.

Another impact is that the changes might mean organic results for your keywords are pushed further down with a fourth paid ad appearing above any organic results.

That said, according to a Google spokesperson quoted in The SEM Post, this will only affect a small number of “highly commercial queries”. So for B2B companies with extended and complex sales cycles, this may have very little real impact—if only in the very short term.

So while the critical points for success will remain the same (high quality content, positive user experience, a focus on quality scores, and close monitoring of conversion rates), marketers ignore the changes at their own peril.

If there was ever a time to analyse and improve your paid search strategy, now is it.

Finally, keep an eye on more changes to come as something will no doubt replace the right-hand text only ads.

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Reacting to Facebook Reactions

By Jennifer Esty  |  February 26, 2016

By now everyone has seen, and maybe even ‘Liked’ the new Facebook Reactions, giving us five new ways to respond to newsfeed content.

Although users have clamoured for a ‘Dislike’ button since the beginning of Facebook, and many of them still are, Facebook Reactions have a richer and arguably more positive range of emotions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.

So richer than just a ‘Like’ and a more positive selection than the widely accepted six basic human emotions, as Fear and Disgust make way for Love and Haha.

But enough about the Facebook Reactions themselves, what do they mean for marketers?

First, all Reactions are created equal.

At least until Facebook can create an algorithm that accurately gives weightings to different emotions.

Which means if a user expresses Anger at a post, Facebook will consider that engagement equal to a Like or a Love.

Second, we won’t just know if someone Likes something, we’ll know if they Love it, or if it makes them laugh, or cry.

There will be more opportunity to gain deeper and more meaningful insight from customers, resulting (hopefully) in more sophisticated audience targeting and content development—and therefore more cost effective engagement.

But more choice for users also means that marketers have to be more sophisticated in, and take more time with, their content development.

After all, what does sad or angry actually mean for a piece of content and for the brand that publishes it?

In addition to demographic targeting, brands now need to consider what kind of Reaction they are looking for, cultivating, monitoring and adapting at a pace fast enough to keep up with their audience.

Brands will not only need to ensure engagement, but the right sort of engagement by the right sort of people.

Facebook Reactions will probably make us all better marketers in the long term, delivering better content to people who are genuinely interested in engaging with our brands.

But it’s not enough to count Likes and shares, Facebook marketing will now require even more analysis and monitoring—and a more sophisticated understanding of the desired audience and their engagement with a brand.

digital transformation events
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Digital Transformation Events for B2B Companies

By Jennifer Esty  |  February 14, 2016

We still have places available for our free digital transformation event in Reading on June 9.

Join us for an evening with industry experts from Google, Act-On, and Sharp Ahead to:

  • Understand the digital transformation opportunities available for your business
  • See how paid search can quickly enhance your digital presence
  • Explore the impact marketing automation software has on efficiency
  • Hear first-hand how Oxford Innovation digitally transformed their organisation

(Not to mention networking, nibbles and drinks.)

Designed for marketing and sales decision makers, this digital transformation event will take place in Reading on June 9.

The event will begin at 6pm.

More about the digital transformation events speakers:

Google Logo

Hear directly from the experts at Google how digital marketing can quickly and effectively drive awareness, influence purchase consideration and increase sales.

Act-On Logo

Marketing Automation experts Act-On will take you through the new buyer’s journey, focusing on the stages of modern marketing and how to turn your customers into advocates for your products and brand. He will provide top tips for content marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation and more.

Oxford Innovation Logo

Find out how Oxford Innovation achieved a 90% reduction in client acquisition costs, a 400% increase in qualified sales leads and are 110% ahead of target for sales.

We surveyed the digital presence of over 500 UK B2B companies. Based on this we think most B2B digital marketing in the UK is broken – that is, poorly done and hurting sales. Dr John Woods will present the survey findings along with quick fixes that B2B digital marketers need to know.

Contact us to book your place or read the 2016 Broken Report.