Business advertisers are reporting growing disenchantment with declining online marketing results. One heretofore standard metric of page views is proving to be a less and less reliable predictor of marketing success. At the heart of it all is the growing difficulty in getting an ad message out to the desired demographic at a time when million of websites compete for that same viewer. In a recent USA Today article, columnist Roger Yu cited the following statistics relative to web-related advertising: 55% of media site clicks get less than 15 seconds of attention; 56% of all website ads are not seen at all; 24% of viewers scroll down for ads compared to 71% seeking article content; and 1/10 of 1% of banner ads are actually clicked. In response to this disturbing trend, web publishers are focusing on longer, more compelling story content, simplified web page design that highlights key items, and creating more embeds of videos, links, quizzes, and photo galleries. Pages are also more frequently “never ending” scrolls to keep readers engaged without going to a new tab or page. Google recently opined that 56% of ads are not viewed because either readers are not scrolling far enough or the ad is are too far down on a page.
Is your business experiencing declining response results from your reported page views and click-through rates? If so, it warrants reexamining your marketing strategy with your advertising and website resources. Most small businesses are finding that while they engage in plenty of “chatter”, that activity is not so readily translating into actionable business results. And that’s what advertising is all about.
Major retailers including Wal Mart and Target have formed a sizable retailer alliance championing a new initiative named Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) Digital Wallet. Described as a mobile commerce platform, the MCX application is intended to work with any smartphone. With the digital wallet concept, consumers store all of their card data on the application. This negates the need to carry around a stack of credit and debit cards. At purchase, the user selects the appropriate MCX digitized card they wish to use.
MCX developers like to describe this as a “game changing” universal processing platform because it is designed by retailers for retailers. They cite a better consumer processing experience and an overall lower processing cost as significant enhancements. Their goals also include integrating this payment app with a wide range of POS systems and being able to add loyalty program and coupon functionality.
MCX takes direct aim at other mobile processing options like those offered by Google Wallet, PayPal, and Square. It remains to be seen if there is room in the mobile processing space for everyone, or if winners or alliances begin to appear, particularly as smaller retailers become involved. For more information, you can go to mcx.com.
Everyone wants a share of your payment systems (digital) wallet. This year’s Black Friday online sales tally alone hit $1.2 billion, a 15% increase over 2012. The continued explosion in mobile device usage is creating a plethora of payment delivery system advancements and initiatives.
Facebook plans to test a new payment systems product that would allow online shoppers to make purchases on mobile apps using their Facebook login information.This capability would allow any shopper who has previously provided Facebook with their credit card details to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without entering billing information each time it is used for a purchase.
Another intitiative, like Square, Leaf makes software that helps small businesses sort, track and analyze their in-store transactions and access that information anywhere from the cloud. Unlike Square and others, Leaf makes and sells its own tablet that runs on a custom version of Android so it can have end-to-end control over the experience the merchant receives.While wanting to own the hardware and software, Leaf is attempting to build an open platform on which others can build apps. Leaf won’t actually process payments; it lets its customers choose from several payment processors.
Yet another much ballyhooed, but not fully-defined payments product is an app called Clinkle. Said to rival PayPal, it has considerable venture capital funding to speed its development. PayPal, too, is focused on expanding its mobile reach. On top of these options, there are a number of smart card ventures that seek to add all of your payment account numbers on a single card, whereby you choose which to use for any particular purchase. All in all, expect to see a change in how consumers pay and small businesses accept payments, particularly in the mobile environment going forward.
As an added means of attracting customers away from big box stores and ecommerce sites, local retailers are using online mapping technology from providers such as Nokia and Google according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. By uploading their store data to a mapping app, local retailers begin to show up in web searches with the neccesary street routing, specific location, and physical floorplan interior layout details. Other apps like aisle411 or Retailigence enable a store to upload inventory data so online and mobile shoppers can see if a particular item is in stock or matches an item on their shopping list.
This aggressive marketing and customer service strategy helps local retailers remove impediments to myriad shopping alternatives that exist for any particular buyer, product, or service. By anticipating and answering potential buyer questions and queries, a local business owner stands a better chance of gaining both a sale and a new customer. Executed aggressively, a comprehensive online and mobile outreach plan can be a great equalizer for any small business.
In their recent IPO disclosures, Twitter, Inc. indicated that users now exceed 231 million. Importantly, 70% of their advertising revenue comes from mobile devices. You might say that should come as no surprise given the nature of their business model, but that said, it also means your business needs to be a part of that dialogue. As a side note, many venture capital and other investor groups now carefully evaluate a company’s social media success while contemplating an investment. They see it as an important indicator of a company’s ability to leverage their brand, communicate with their customer and follower audiences, and further demonstrate their overall marketing savvy. In addition to ensuring that all general websites are mobile device-enabled, Western Equity LLC has secured domain names for certain mobile-only URL’s in anticipation of future PDA-specific marketing campaigns.
According to the Wall Street Journal, mobile device advertising continues to sky rocket. Current 2013 projections of almost $9 billion dollars already exceeds an earlier $7 billion estimate and almost doubles 2012 expenditures. As examples of this outreach strategy, Facebook has positioned themselves as a mobile advertising company and Proctor and Gamble reportedly increased digital media advertising to 35% of their overall budget.
The takeaway here follows previous Western Equity LLC posts. Your company needs a mobile-friendly web emphasis to reach potential buyers or other interested parties and your marketing and sales initiatives need to capitalize on this sea change in creating broad awareness of what you do and what you have to say or sell.