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You’ve been hearing Google preaching about the mobile experience for some time now. “Make sure your website is mobile friendly!” they say, and while being just ‘friends’ has its benefits, you really need a stronger connection than that.

Google have announced that all new domains will default to mobile-first indexing as of 1st July 2019. This isn’t unexpected, and is a logical step considering that mobile devices account for over 2/3 of internet traffic.

Google announced plans for mobile-first indexing in 2016, but for a lot of people, 2019 may be the first time they’ve heard of it. Mobile-first indexing is Google’s way of saying they are solely prioritising the mobile experience of a website when assigning organic search rankings, meaning how well your website performs on mobile is now the deciding factor of how well you can rank in organic search results.

“But I already own my domain!” you say. While this announcement specifically mentions new domains, an earlier Google announcement in December 2018 revealed that more than half of websites crawled are already subject to mobile-first indexing.

Look At His Little Socks

Urge to open an eCommerce site for dog socks rising… (Source: Tumblr/hypedogs)

But Why Is Mobile-First Indexing Important?

Access your Google Analytics dashboard and view your traffic sources. There’s a good chance you’re looking at a large slice of pie that illustrates you’re receiving a LOT of traffic from organic search results.

Let’s say you sold customised socks for dogs online. You receive 80,000 visitors per month, 40% of that traffic came from organic search (32,000 visitors), a 2% conversion rate and an average order value of $20.

1,600 visitors bought socks, with $32,000 in revenue.

What if half of that organic search traffic disappeared overnight?

Now only 1,280 visitors bought socks, netting $25,600 in revenue.

You just lost $6,400.

Don’t Panic

By not prioritising mobile-first indexing via improving your website’s mobile experience you run the risk of your hard-earned rankings slipping into the abyss of search results beyond page 1, resulting in valuable organic traffic being lost to competitors.

An eCommerce example was used above, however the same logic can be applied to lead generation websites (especially small business) or informational websites that generate advertising revenue. Leads have a quantifiable dollar value once you’ve determined their weight, but Display advertising is generally paid for by impressions (views), and if you’ve lost a sizeable number of eyeballs viewing because of fingers not clicking, your hip pocket will feel the pinch next.

Google PageSpeed Insights Mobile First Indexing

Ouch. Room for improvement?

So What Can I Do?

This is an important strategy to consider immediately, take the time to create a measured and rational strategy to accommodate mobile-first indexing to preserve (or improve) your organic search rankings.

Try these easy tests first:

  • Check your site’s Page Speed Index here, is the mobile score green? What are the most problematic areas?
  • Or, view your site on your mobile device, is it legible? Do certain items take up too much space on screen? Do you have intrusive popups?

If you’re not seeing promising results using these tools, or if you need a hand navigating the jargon, get in touch with us here at RGC Media & Mktng to discuss the best way for you to navigate 2019.

Feature Image: Talladega Nights (2006) 

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Sergio Brodsky, Sessional Lecturer, Marketing, RMIT University

Noisy, ugly and dirty. Advertising has polluted cities, annoyed consumers, and jeopardised its own existence. Beyond a mass-media cacophony, brand communications’ significant carbon footprint and runaway consumption are certainly contributing to what economists call market failure.

In the UK, for instance, advertising produces 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. That’s equivalent to heating 364,000 UK homes for a year, according to CarbonTrack.

In this sense, should messages such as a City of Melbourne campaign inviting people to cycle more even be allowed? On the one hand, it is better to communicate a solution (cycling) to the issue than not. On the other, if the communication contributes to the problem more than the solution, what’s the point of it?

Jerry Seinfeld’s 2014 infamous line at the Clio awards called out the advertising sector to its face:

I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.

Jerry Seinfeld’s speech about advertising at the 2014 Clio Awards.

Still, contrary to that sentiment, marketers and their brands can (and should) move away from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution for sustainable development and the industry’s own sustainability.

Offering A New Outlook

The urbanisation megatrend wholly underpins other forces shaping the way we live, now and in the future. Although cities occupy only 2% of Earth’s landmass, that is where 75% of energy consumption occurs. Advertising growth is also concentrated in big cities.

Because of increased demand for ever more comfortable lifestyles, urban infrastructures have been feeling “growing pains” for decades now. Whether it’s energy, education, health, waste management or safety, cities’ services are struggling to keep up with their larger and “hungrier” populations.

The strategic opportunity here is to reframe brand communications from the promotion of conspicuous consumption to becoming a regenerative force in the economy of cities. That means using brands’ touch points as more than mere messengers, but rather delivering public utility services. I’ve coined it Urban Brand-Utility.

For example, Domino’s Pizza’s Paving for Pizza program fixes potholes, cracks and bumps said to be responsible for “irreversible damage” to pizzas during the drive home.

This may sound silly, but the US National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission estimates that simply to maintain the nation’s highways, roads and bridges requires investment by all levels of government of US$185 billion a year for the next 50 years. Today, the US invests about US$68 billion a year.

The Paving for Pizza program fixes potholes that Domino’s says ‘can cause irreversible damage to your pizza during the drive home’. Domino’s Pizza

According to Bill Scherer, mayor of Bartonville, Texas: “This unique, innovative partnership allowed the town of Bartonville to accomplish more potholes repairs.” Eric Norenberg, city manager of Milford, Delaware, said: “We appreciated the extra Paving for Pizza funds to stretch our street repair budget as we addressed more potholes than usual.”

In Moscow, major Russian real estate developers approached Sberbank to collaborate on better infrastructure planning in residential areas. People’s opinions on local needs fuelled targeted campaigns, promoting loans for small businesses. The “Neighbourhoods” campaign generated nine times as many small-business responses as traditional bank loan advertising.

The ‘Neighbourhoods’ campaign sought people’s opinions on local neighbourhood needs.

In other words, people had their needs met. And neighbourhoods become more attractive as a result. The city increases tax collection from the new businesses being set up, which also reduces the costs of having to deal with derelict areas.

A Shift To Serving Citizen-Consumers

If we could see ourselves as citizen-consumers, as opposed to individual shoppers in the market, every dollar spent would enable business to tackle the issues that matter most.

Here’s a hypothetical situation. Let’s assume Domino’s Paving for Pizza program is taken to its full potential, generating a large surplus to the City of Bartonville by minimising the costs of repairing potholes. Rather than treating this as a one-off campaign, smart mayors would try to create a virtuous cycle, where the city retains 50% of the surplus, 25% is returned to the advertiser, and 25% goes to the agency and media owner – a value only unlocked by repeating the approach.

This way, marketing budgets are effectively turned into investment funds. The returns are in the form of brand cut-through, happier customers, social impact and more effective city management, as shown in the model below.

In a circular economy, products and services go beyond an end user’s finite life cycle. Similarly, Urban Brand-Utility looks at brand communications as closed loops by designing a system bigger than fixed campaign periods, target audiences and business-as-usual KPIs.

Brands with some level of foresight will be able to broaden their audiences from customers to citizens and their revenue model from sales to the creation of shared value. These will be game-changers for profit and prosperity.

Markets, choice and competition are not just a consumer’s best friend, but their civic representation. After all, as one of the tribunes asks the crowd in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “What is the city but the people?”

Sergio Brodsky, Sessional Lecturer, Marketing, RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Social marketers are saying that their biggest goal with social media is to increase awareness and more than half (59%) use social to support their sales and lead generation objectives according to the latest findings from the Sprout Social Index.

Developing a strategy that supports their organisation’s goals is listed as the number one challenge that they face (nearly half of social marketers) and 43% saying that a major challenge is properly identifying and understanding their social audience.

Planning and strategy are even more important than ever for a social media campaign to have true effectiveness and social listening, monitoring your brand’s social media channels for customer feedback and insights, will become even more important, a fact known to social marketers.

According to the report social marketer’s top goals for social include:

  • Increase Brand Awareness 70%;
  • Sales/Lead Generation 59%;
  • Increase Community Engagement 48%;
  • Grow My Brand’s Audience;
  • Increase Web Traffic 45%.

But how do marketers define engagement when measuring social success? 72% seek likes and/or comments; 62% desire shares and/or retweets; 60% seek interaction with consumers; and 34% desire revenue attribution. Inspiring consumers to take action (32%) and inspiring an emotional response were indicated by 29% of marketers.

What Social Platforms Do Marketers And Consumers Use?

Marketers Follow Brands On:Consumers Follow Brands On:
Facebook 89%Facebook 66%
Instagram 65%Instagram 41%
Twitter 50%Twitter 22%
Youtube 49%Youtube 35%
Facebook Messenger 44%Facebook Messenger 13%
LinkedIn 38%LinkedIn 6%
Snapchat 28%Snapchat 14%
Pinterest 28%Pinterest 17%

89% of marketers say they use Facebook as part of their brand’s social strategy.

What Does Your Audience Want?

To align your goals with consumer actions it is important to know how and why consumers are using social media.

The report revealed:

Why Consumers Follow Brands On Social Media

Why Consumers Unfollow Brands In Social Media


A good understanding of these responses is required to align your social media activity to truly engage with consumers and not alienate them with irrelevant or ‘spammy’ content.

Social Posts That Encourage Consumers Likes And Shares

What sort of posts are likely to elicit a positive response from consumers?

Type Of PostLike/Comment OnShare
Posts That Entertain67%55%
Posts That Inspire57%50%
Posts That Teach46%38%
Posts That Tell A Story38%37%
Discounts Or Sales37%38%

There’s been a shift away by consumers of discounts and sales and a flight to entertaining and inspiring content compared to previous surveys.

Whilst Facebook continues to dominate the social landscape, marketers need to dig deeper to understand their audience and understand that consumers want to be engaged and entertained before they buy.

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The proliferation of fake news and social media platforms’ inability to stamp it out is driving more Australians to engage with online news in private spaces like closed, curated interest groups.

The fifth annual Digital News Report (DNR) produced by the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra was released this week and showed that while Facebook remains the most used social media platform for news, but there has been a small drop in its use for news from 39% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. On the other hand, the use of YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram for news has risen and messaging apps are becoming a popular way to access news.

Key Facts

  • Using Facebook for news has decreased since 2016 (-9), while YouTube (+4), Snapchat (+3), and Instagram (+4) have risen.
  • There has been a drop in online news engagement across all sharing, commenting and liking activity.
  • The most popular mode of sharing news continues to be talking face-to-face with friends and colleagues (37%).

The report showed there has been a slight decline in most types of online news engagement from 2016 to 2019. While 63% of Australian news consumers have engaged in one or more online or offline news-sharing activities, there has been a slight overall drop in the past few years.

SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDS FOR NEWS (%)

SOURCE: The Digital News Report: Australia 2019

This corresponds with a decline in Facebook use for news which the report authors said was possibly due to increased concern about the unreliability of the online information environment. Most online news consumers in Australia (62%) remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet, which is higher than the global average (55%).

This lack of trust in the quality of news combined with a lack of confidence in expressing views publicly is also leading to lower engagement with ‘sharing’, ‘commenting’ and ‘liking’ of news all falling on recent years.

However, behind closed ‘doors’ where membership is often restricted and comes with community-defined rules of behaviour, it is a different matter.

More than half of Facebook users (59%) say they have joined and participated in a Facebook group and 68% of WhatsApp users says they are involved in a group on WhatsApp. Popular public groups on Facebook and WhatsApp are related to hobbies and local community issues, whereas public groups about news and politics are less popular (7%: Facebook; 6%: WhatsApp).

The rapid growth in the use of social media platforms for accessing news is continually creating an environment where social endorsements or so-called social signals such as comments, ‘likes’, or shares play a key role in the sharing and consumption of online news.

Younger news consumers, Gen Z and Y are more likely to engage with these social endorsements, while sharing a news story via email is more popular among older news consumers.

Key Report Findings

NEWS MEDIA PERFORMANCE

  • Two thirds of Australian news consumers (66%) agree the news media keeps them up to date.
  • Less than half (45%) agree that journalism is holding the powerful to account.
  • 44% agree the news media are often too negative.
  • 28% agree the topics chosen by the news media do not feel relevant to them.

POLITICAL ORIENTATION AND NEWS

  • Two thirds (65%) have low interest in politics.
  • Left-wing news consumers are much more likely to fact-check than right-wing.
  • More than half (53%) of right-wing orientated news consumers perceive the news to be too negative compared to 41% of left-wing consumers.
  • News consumers who “don’t know” their political orientation use the fewest number of news brands.

PAYING FOR NEWS AND DIGITAL CONTENT

  • Paying for online news (14%) is close to the global average (13%).
  • More Australians would rather subscribe to video streaming services (34%) than online news (9%).
  • There is a gender paying gap; 17% of men pay for online news compared to 10% of women.
  • 83% of news consumers encounter unwanted paywalls at least once a month.

FAKE NEWS AND FACT CHECKING

  • 62% of Australian online news consumers remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet.
  • 36% of news consumers say they have checked a news story for accuracy.
  • 26% of people concerned about fake news have started using more reliable news sources.
  • People who access five or more news brands are the most likely to fact-check.

TRUST IN NEWS

  • Trust in news has fallen globally, including in Australia.
  • Distrust in social media has risen from 45% in 2018 to 49% in 2019 and trust in social media has fallen from 24% to 18%.
  • Those who trust news avoid it less and are less worn out by it.
  • Trust is much higher among those who access online brands directly (65%).
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