What’s going on in the weird and wonderful world of digital marketing? Oh, all sorts of exciting things. Here’s my latest batch of random digital marketing news.
Digital marketing news
Direct mail generates more £ than ‘liking’ charities on Facebook
According to the biggest study yet into Facebook activism, there’s a serious flaw in the network’s effectiveness. Apparently ‘likes’ don’t translate into donations as well as expected, failing miserably to drive commitment to distant causes. The research team analysed data from the Save Dafur Facebook campaign, which achieved more than a million likes, revealing the money raised came to just eight US cents per ‘like’.
In contrast, the study found that direct mail tends to deliver dramatically better returns. In the words of the University of North Carolina-based sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, the research “does a great job in measuring whether an online campaign for a cause in a distant land is enough to get donations. The authors have clearly demonstrated that it is not.”
An invaluable marketing lesson: never assume something’s working just because everyone’s doing it. Test every marketing medium and method for yourself.
Bye bye to Google search’s underlined links
18 years down the line, Google has finally removed the last remaining element of its original 1996 design. If you’ve noticed the search results look a bit naked, it’s because the links aren’t underlined any more. In the words of Google lead designer Jon Wiley, “We’ve increased the size of result titles, removed the underlines, and evened out all the line heights. This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look.” He’s right. Nice job.
Fun with title tags
At the same time, Google’s new, cleaner SERP design means there’s less space for title tags, which means your current titles might get cut off at the knees. Thanks to Moz for creating a cool Tag Preview tool to reveal whether or not they need to be shortened. There’s also some excellent information in the post I’ve linked to about how to maximise the impact of the available space.
What are your competitors doing to create brilliant content?
Great content is the bunny. But what does ‘great’ mean in a content context? You can find out by seeing what ranks highest in the natural search for your top key terms and queries, giving yourself something tangible to beat.
Type in the kind of spoken search query someone would use via their mobile device’s speech recognition software and you’ll see Google’s Hummingbird algorithm work in action. Can you provide content that answers your customers’ most pressing spoken queries? If so, it might just help you steal ahead of any competitors who haven’t taken Hummingbird into account yet.
Why optimise video?
- Video accessibility is really important. Do you optimise your video content for users? Inclusiveness is the law. If a blind person, for example, visits your site and can’t tell what a video is about because you haven’t provided a transcript, they can take legal action. Which is fair enough. Your first step is to associate a written transcript with your film so everyone can enjoy it.
- It makes sense to optimise video for search engines too, because they can’t ‘see’ film. You need to make full use of key words and tags if you want Google and co. to analyse, categorise, rate and rank your film fairly and correctly. Make sure you use relevant search terms in the video’s title, use video tags to their full effect and include a comprehensive description of the video’s contents. Here’s a really good guide to video optimisation, courtesy of 8ms.com.
Leverage in-depth content for search
The brilliant MozCast Feature Graph reveals how 6% of Google’s search results link to in-depth articles. The word on the streets is marketers are increasing site traffic by as much as 10% through rich, deep content. Ergo, in-depth content is a jolly good thing.
But hold your horses… as with all things SEO, it’s wise to remove your marketing head, put on your consumer head and check it makes sense for users. Put humans first and you realise people love finding content that satisfies all their needs in one place. And in-depth content does exactly that. Because you’re pleasing users, you’re unlikely to fall foul of search engines. In depth content it is, then. Go create!