Softline Solutions https://www.softlinesolutions.com Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:11:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ProfilePic-50x50.png Softline Solutions https://www.softlinesolutions.com 32 32 2020 Social Media Marketing Trends https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/2020-social-media-marketing-trends/ Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:04:42 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8517 Social media has become a way of life for most people, particularly millennials and Generation Zers. It’s a powerful platform full of opportunity for businesses that know how to leverage...

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Social media has become a way of life for most people, particularly millennials and Generation Zers. It’s a powerful platform full of opportunity for businesses that know how to leverage it. 

When it comes to staying in front of your audience where they are, it’s clear that social media is an extremely important tool. Over 3 billion people use social media, often to discover products and engage with brands. Staying competitive means staying on top of what’s trending. What are some of the most important 2020 social media marketing trends?

Meaningful Connections Matter

Social media users are often wary of posting in a public arena. The trend in 2020 is to make meaningful connections rather than interacting in a superficial way. Brands need to create an exclusive environment in which it’s safe for people to share posts and stories away from public view. One example is on Instagram, where the “List” feature allows users to interact with a select group of friends. Building relationships is becoming much more important than simply promoting products or services.

Increasing Video Marketing

Video continues to be an important trend in the world of social media marketing. Your 2020 marketing strategy will need to include engaging videos that capture the attention of your prospects in a matter of seconds. Snapchat is enjoying success with its Discover shows. IGTV, Instagram’s video-sharing tool, creates a great opportunity for you to share information about your brand through video content. 

Diversify with Newer Social Media Platforms

Social media marketing used to primarily focus on Facebook, but the trend is to reduce focusing on this one platform and diversify. Younger social media users favor newer platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Advertising on smaller networks such as Reddit, Quora and Twitter may give you advantages such as lower competition and possibly lower cost. 

Trends on Instagram

Instagram is growing in importance as a marketing strategy, but marketers need to be aware of changes to the platform. Instagram is always evolving with the intention of giving users the best experience possible. It’s no longer ideal to add 30 hashtags to every post. 

In 2020, Instagram is testing removing likes. The Instagram algorithm prioritizes posts based on communication, frequency, and engagement. Creating reliable Instagram Stories helps you to start a conversation with your audience. The new algorithm uses metrics such as the number of replies and the amount of time spent on other people’s profiles. You’ll need to comment and send reactions to people in your target audience.

Planning Your 2020 Social Media Strategy

As you make changes to your social media strategy in response to new trends in both organic and paid strategies, continually test to see what works best. Is your current social media marketing strategy as effective as possible?  Are you having difficulty determining where your focus should be?

Recognizing when you need guidance in this area is a smart marketing strategy. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Softline Solutions to make sure you’re making the most of this important aspect of your marketing. We can help to eliminate frustration and confusion so that you can meet your online potential.

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Using Google’s Maximize Conversions Bidding Strategy https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/using-googles-maximize-conversions-bidding-strategy/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:45:11 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8509 Google Ads currently offers many automated bidding strategies. Maximize Conversions is one of the strategies in Smart Bidding that sets bids automatically to get the best results possible using your...

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Google Ads currently offers many automated bidding strategies. Maximize Conversions is one of the strategies in Smart Bidding that sets bids automatically to get the best results possible using your planned budget. It can factor in many different signals such as demographics, time of day, historical data and more.

This can be a great way to obtain the best possible results if you’re comfortable spending your entire daily budget. To leverage this strategy effectively, it’s important to track conversions, especially those that match up with your cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS) goals.

How Maximize Conversions Works

Advanced machine learning is the key behind this bidding strategy that optimizes your bids automatically. This fully automated strategy chooses a CPC bid based on the goal of the bidding strategy without factoring in individual keyword bids. It customizes bids for each individual auction.

This bidding strategy will always try to spend the full allotted budget each day as a way to achieve the most possible conversions. If you’re in the habit of spending less than your full budget, you should check your daily budget amount before you end up significantly increasing ad spend.

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Maximize Conversions

If you’re ready to start using Google’s Maximize Conversions, there are some things to keep in mind. It takes about two weeks for algorithms to determine how best to optimize a campaign. You may find that performance doesn’t improve or even dips during the first week or two, but you’re likely to be able to recognize improvements after algorithms have fully calibrated. Don’t give up on this strategy too early. Whenever you implement a new bidding strategy, plan to test it for at least 30 days.

There’s always a chance that a new bidding strategy isn’t right for your business, so always run a new strategy as a 50/50 split test before rolling it out to your entire campaign. The original bidding strategy should run for at least 30 days before trying to compare with Maximize Conversions, whether it’s Manual CPC or another of Google’s Smart Bidding Strategies such as Target ROAS or Target CPA.

Getting Expert Help with Bidding Strategies

When it comes to digital marketing, the one thing you can count on is constant changes that can impact bidding strategies and their effectiveness. To stay competitive, you need to stay on top of the many different bidding strategies that are available to you. Machine learning makes increased efficiency possible as long as you know how to leverage its power. It’s a tool that makes it possible to work smarter and not harder.

Consulting experts in the field of PPC and other digital marketing strategies can make a huge difference in the success and profitability of your business. Rather than struggling on your own to keep up with everchanging trends, consult the experts at Softline Solutions today. We can help you plan and implement profitable campaigns so that you can meet your online potential.

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Harness the Power of Google Smart Bidding https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/harness-the-power-of-google-smart-bidding/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:41:36 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8507 As a busy digital marketer, you probably feel like there’s never enough time to do all that you want to do each day. At Softline Solutions, we recognize that automation...

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As a busy digital marketer, you probably feel like there’s never enough time to do all that you want to do each day. At Softline Solutions, we recognize that automation is one of the best solutions to the challenges of time constraints. Google Smart Bidding is a powerful tool that should be leveraged to help get closer to your performance goals by working smarter and faster.

Machine learning makes more and more automation possible. Many marketers feel uncomfortable about relying on automation, but machine learning has a powerful capability of capitalizing on user intent to optimize conversions based on factors such as demographics, browsing history, geographic location and more. Machine learning algorithms factor in many more parameters that affect results than can be computed by an individual or even a team.

Choosing a Bidding Strategy to Test

In Google Smart Bidding, there are several different bidding strategies to choose from. You can customize your settings to your unique business goals. Depending on your specific goals and budget, you may choose one of the following strategies or a combination of multiple strategies:

Consider the available bidding strategies along with your marketing goals. In most cases, it’s a good idea to implement a combination of these strategies and run a 50/50 split test for 30 days or longer. Your effort should be focused on increasing efficiencies, especially if you have a limited budget.

Determine Next Steps by Analyzing Performance

Tools available in Smart Bidding can give you clear insight into your bidding performance. Whenever you implement a new strategy, keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for algorithms to calibrate. As you transition into smart bidding, limit the number of changes you make so that you can get a clear picture of the effectiveness of your strategic changes.

At the end of at least 30 days, compare how much you’re spending on each strategy. Is one campaign costing less but resulting in similar conversions? Compare the efficiency of a strategy such as Maximize Conversions with Manual CPC. If the cost and conversions are similar, run another 50/50 split test for an additional 30 days. If you find that using a strategy such as Maximize Conversions results in less ad spend but significantly better conversions, you can end the split testing and focus just on Maximize Conversions.

Need Expert Help with Google Smart Bidding?

The world of digital marketing changes rapidly, and you need to be ready to change with it in order to stay competitive. Taking advantage of all that machine learning makes possible is a smart business strategy. It’s also a smart business strategy to recognize when you need expert guidance in order to leverage the tools that are available to you.

The experts at Softline Solutions can take the stress out of Google Smart Bidding and help you to leverage its power. Get in touch with us today so that we can help you create, manage and grow profitable campaigns using this important tool.

 

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How Page Load Speed Affects Both UX and Marketing https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/how-page-load-speed-affects-both-ux-and-marketing/ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 19:55:31 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8503 The speed at which your visitors can access your content matters. In a world that’s becoming more and more fast-paced, website visitors are likely to click away from a site...

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The speed at which your visitors can access your content matters. In a world that’s becoming more and more fast-paced, website visitors are likely to click away from a site that doesn’t load in a matter of seconds. You can lose as many as half of your potential customers if the site takes too long to load.

Page speed can impact everything from user experience to Google marketing campaigns to search engine rankings. Marketers need to be aware of page load speeds on smartphones and tablets as well as laptops or desktops. Web pages must be optimized for all devices, especially since as many as half of all web searches are done on a mobile device.

User Experience

The overall user experience when your site is visited, whether on a PC or a mobile device, can affect the audience’s impression of your brand. Users who encounter slow page loads or a frustrating check-out experience will not only click away but won’t return to the site which can result in increased abandonment rates and decreased revenue.

If your website isn’t easily and quickly accessible by all devices, users may leave the page long before it finishes loading. Keep in mind that even though internet speeds are increasing, not all users will have access to increased speed.

Google Marketing Campaigns

As a marketer, you’re probably aware that page speed is a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. You might think this only applies to SEO, but it also applies to PPC campaigns.

Google expects that users who find your site through a Google marketing campaign have a positive landing page experience. Google analyzes the landing page experience of people who arrive at a landing page using a combination of human evaluation and automated systems, and this analysis affects your Ad Rank and your CPC.

Finding Your Page Load Speed

Making sure your web pages load quickly is an important part of an effective marketing strategy. Google makes it easy to see where your website stands with its free tool Page Speed Insights. This tool can check the performance of both PCs and mobile devices along with offering suggestions on how the page could be improved.

The performance of different metrics is analyzed. A score is provided which summarizes the performance of the page. A score below 50 is slow while medium speed pages are given a score between 50 and 90. If your page scores 90 or above, your page load speed is considered fast.

Expert Marketing Help 

Page load speed is a key factor in the credibility of your brand and is important regardless of what type of business you’re running. Improving your page load speed can make a big difference in the success of your website or blog.

If you need help with page load speed, graphics or content, get guidance from the experts at Softline Solutions. With our help, you can improve your UX and marketing results so you can realize your online potential.

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Pay Per Click the Smart Way: A List of Smart Google Ads Features https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/pay-per-click-the-smart-way-a-list-of-smart-google-ads-features/ Mon, 30 Dec 2019 16:42:42 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8470 Pay-per-click advertising is one of the most powerful tactics in digital marketing, but it can also be complex and time-consuming. Using this marketing strategy gives you the opportunity to be...

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Pay-per-click advertising is one of the most powerful tactics in digital marketing, but it can also be complex and time-consuming. Using this marketing strategy gives you the opportunity to be noticed by a wider audience online. When PPC is working efficiently, the amount of money you invest in clicks is worth it, because a visit to a landing page is worth more than you pay for it.

All too often, marketers have a hard time maximizing the potential of PPC. Because of the learning curve involved in PPC, many marketers end up not being as successful as they could be using this strategy. To succeed in PPC, there’s a lot to learn such as targeting, keywords, negative keywords, geo-targeting and more, and you have to determine when to bid and when not to bid. It may feel like a full-time job trying to run a PPC campaign.

A Simple User Experience

Google Ads Smart Campaigns are designed to simplify things for marketers, particularly small businesses that may not have a dedicated marketing staff. It’s a smart way for busy marketers to become more effective using PPC. This approach is much easier to navigate, particularly if you have limited time or experience in working with PPC. Whether you’re brand new to the world of Google Ads or an experienced marketer, you can benefit from the smart features in Google Ads.

Smart campaigns have a simple user interface, allowing you to see everything you need at a glance. In the dashboard, you can see a preview of your ad along with the goal of the campaign, impressions, clicks and amount spent. At the bottom of the page is the information needed for location targeting and to control your budget. You don’t have to manage a large number of reports, tools or bidding modifications.

Smart Display Campaigns

Smart display campaigns in Google Ads allow marketers to target ads in a way that’s most likely to lead to conversions without requiring set targeting. These campaigns use the power of machine learning to automatically connect your business to targeted prospects and set the right bids to reach your performance goals.

Smart campaigns are easy to launch, and everything you need to know is easily accessible. This allows you to create targeted ads and connect with relevant customers in minutes. This platform can help you optimize your performance based on the action you specify.

Image Picker

Fresh images can go a long way toward helping prospects get a feel for what products and services your business offers, and they can help your brand stand out. The Image Picker tool within Smart Campaigns suggests images to a business and creates ads using existing ad copy.

This feature can help marketers focus on decision-making and strategies while Google handles testing which image works best. In other words, using this feature you’re able to A/B test up to three images and Google selects the best performers. For business owners who have limited time to manage their accounts, this feature can be extremely helpful.

Automated Bidding Strategies

Smart Bidding in Google Ads isn’t brand new but it’s continuing to evolve and grow more powerful. It’s an important feature for business owners who don’t have time to oversee every keyword bid and ad variation. It takes the guesswork out of bid setting and it eliminates some tedious tasks.

Machine learning is a data-driven approach and is the key to this helpful tool. It’s a method of leveraging a computer’s power to find patterns in data and make informed decisions based on these patterns. Machine learning can pick out tiny variations in user behavior and increase or decrease bids to meet your specific target. Factors that it can identify include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Prior website interactions
  • Interest and preferences

A variety of automated bidding strategies are available to help you meet whatever goal you have, such as increasing visibility, increasing site visits, getting more conversions with target CPA or meeting a target return on ad spend. The advanced machine learning available in Smart Bidding factors in many more variables that affect performance than an individual or even a team of individuals could compute.

Google Smart Shopping

Machine learning is also used in Google Smart Shopping. For this type of campaign, display remarketing and standard shopping are combined, and a variety of ads are shown across networks. Smart Shopping pulls from your product feed in order to test different combinations of the text and images you provide and shows relevant ads across different Google networks including Google Display Network, Google Search Network, Gmail and YouTube.  

Product shopping ads, display ads, and local inventory ads are eligible for Smart Shopping campaigns. Machine learning determines which products to advertise and how much to bid and selects the ad with the highest conversion value. 

This system of automated bidding and ad placement reduces the amount of time you spend working on optimizing campaigns. It’s a great tool for marketers with limited time or resources. Add as many products as are applicable to your campaign for the best results. The more products there are to pick from within a campaign, the better the chance of increased performance. It takes about 15 days for the system to maximize the conversion rate.

Getting Expert Guidance in PPC Campaigns

When you use the available smart features in Google Ads, it can add simplicity and improve your ability to be smart with your PPC strategies. If you feel like you need help mastering some of the aspects of PPC, having the guidance of experts in the field of PPC can help you to attain your desired ROI.

The PPC experts at Softline Solutions can help take the stress out of your campaigns and also help you take full advantage of this important digital advertising strategy. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you determine the best way to improve results and realize your online potential.

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Mobile Advertising in 2020 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/mobile-advertising-in-2020/ Mon, 16 Dec 2019 23:44:09 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8451 Mobile advertising continues to be an important strategy for engaging with customers and prospects. In 2020, it’s imperative to market your business to mobile device users. It’s a way to...

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Mobile advertising continues to be an important strategy for engaging with customers and prospects. In 2020, it’s imperative to market your business to mobile device users. It’s a way to get in touch with people while they’re on the go and enables you to reach people in real-time with personalized messages targeted to their location

The trend is for people to be more and more connected with their smartphones and other devices. This makes it easier for marketers to reach prospects on this platform than on desktops, laptops or tablets.

The Growth of Mobile Usage

The use of desktops as a way to search the web is decreasing, and the use of smartphones is growing dramatically. In the U.S., 81 percent of people use smartphones and as many as 96 percent own a cell phone of some kind. Many of these people use their smartphone as their primary means of online access, and as many as one in five smartphone users don’t use any other means of accessing the internet.

Other interesting facts about mobile usage and how it might affect your marketing efforts include:

  • Approximately one-third of mobile searches are related to location.
  • Six out of ten Google searches are done on a mobile device.
  • The average CTR from a Google search on a mobile device is about a full percentage higher than those done on a desktop.
  • About half of users who search “near me” on a mobile device end up visiting a nearby business found via this search.
  • About 75 percent of shoppers use mobile devices during physical shopping trips.

A prospect can come to a conclusion about your website and your business in only a second or two. Prospects who are disappointed in their mobile experience may lose interest in your business altogether. 

How Mobile-Friendly is Your Website?

Consumers have come to expect that all businesses have a website and a social media presence. Consumers also expect that your website will be mobile-friendly, so your digital marketing plan needs to focus on enhancing the experience of the mobile user. If your site is too difficult to use or too slow to load on mobile devices, your prospects will turn to your competition. 

As many as half of clicks from pay-per-click advertising come from mobile devices. If landing pages that you’re sending prospects to aren’t optimized for mobile, you’ll lose the leads you could have had from these clicks. To check how mobile-friendly a landing page is, input the URL into Google’s mobile-friendly test. This can help you to determine if there are any issues you should know about such as slow loading speed. Pages that load slowly often result in shopping cart abandonment. Today’s consumer expects sites to load within one or two seconds and will click away if this doesn’t happen. 

Mobile Advertising Strategy

Because of the volume of prospects that you can reach through mobile marketing, having a well-planned mobile advertising strategy in 2020 is extremely important to the success of your business. It’s a good idea to create mobile-preferred ads that are only shown to people searching from a mobile device. Send mobile users to a mobile landing page that loads quickly and uses short succinct messages.

Ad extensions increase an ad’s CTR and also contribute to your quality score. They expand your ad with additional info that may give people a reason to choose your business. Extensions add important information such as location, prices, callout text, and additional links.

Search Optimization in Mobile Marketing

One way to reach more people is through the strategic use of mobile search engine optimization. The trend toward increasing mobile searches and decreasing desktop searches is likely to continue. People use their cell phones for everything from searching for a product to reading reviews to completing a purchase.

An important trend in 2020 is the increasing use of voice search, especially among millennials. This includes smartphones and smart speakers. To optimize for voice search, focus on the way people speak, not the way they type. Use long-tail keywords and include phrases such as your target keyword plus “near me”.

Paid Search Marketing for Mobile

When you plan your paid search marketing strategy for mobile, consider targeting Bing and Yahoo. Even though as many as 95 percent of mobile searches are done on Google, that means there’s still another 5 percent that is done elsewhere. This represents literally millions of people.

There are over 130 million users on Bing and approximately one-third of search clicks done on Bing are done on mobile devices. On this platform, competition is lower and so are prices.

Providing a Positive Mobile Experience

Mobile marketing gives you the opportunity to connect with consumers wherever they are. A positive mobile experience helps consumers to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

In 2020, things to keep in mind when planning your mobile marketing include:

  • Email marketing – Mobile users check their email while on the go. When running email campaigns, consider the experience of your mobile users.
  • Video content – Mobile users may be more receptive to video than text. Videos can break through the noise and provide information about your brand in a memorable format. Providing mobile-friendly videos is a great way to boost user engagement.
  • Artificial intelligence – AI is a powerful tool that can help you collect accurate consumer data to target spending habits. Chatbots make instant and intelligent conversations with mobile users possible at any time day or night.

A positive mobile experience is targeted, personalized and interactive. Continuous testing can help you to fine-tune the mobile experience of your prospects.

Implementing Mobile Marketing in 2020 and Beyond

When you look at your overall marketing strategy moving into 2020, be sure to include mobile marketing as part of your strategy. With technology evolving in the direction of increased use of smartphones, your business has to evolve with it in order to stay competitive.

Marketing trends are continually changing, and it can be very difficult to keep pace. If you need professional guidance with your mobile marketing, the experts at Softline Solutions can help. Make your mobile advertising strategy work for you in 2020 and beyond. With our help, you can realize your online potential.

 

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7 Signs Your Pay Per Click Campaigns Contain Wasteful Ad Spend https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/7-signs-your-pay-per-click-campaigns-contain-wasteful-ad-spend/ Mon, 25 Nov 2019 23:22:23 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8415 Pay-per-click advertising can be a powerful and effective way to market your business, but it can also be a competitive marketing strategy which can be tricky to master. The goal...

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Pay-per-click advertising can be a powerful and effective way to market your business, but it can also be a competitive marketing strategy which can be tricky to master. The goal of paid advertising is low cost, high ad rankings and maximum return on investment. Mistakes or oversights in PPC can easily result in wasteful ad spend.

The way to avoid overspending in the world of PPC starts with diligent account management. The Google Ads recommendations tab is a tool that includes suggestions that may help to improve your campaign performance. What are some signs that your PPC campaigns contain wasteful ad spend?

Low Click-Through Rate

The ratio of clicks to impressions on your ad is known as click-through rate (CTR). It measures how effective your ads are at getting prospects to click through. A lot of factors can affect the CTR of your ads, including ad positioning, keywords, and call-to-action copy.

Low CTR can lead to wasted spending because ads with low CTRs typically end up costing more for fewer clicks. This can also affect your impression share, which is how often Google displays your ads, and it can negatively impact your quality score.

Low Keyword Quality Score

In Google Ads, Keyword Quality Score can have a big impact on the cost and effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Google determines this number based on a combination of factors including your CTR, ad relevance and landing page quality, which includes how quickly or slowly your landing page loads. This metric is used to determine where advertisers rank on a SERP and how much they pay.

Higher quality scores can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI), and they usually go along with a lower cost per conversion. Making the effort to improve your quality score by taking actions such as focusing on keyword research and improved ad text can help reduce wasteful ad spend. Quality score can also improve by organizing ad groups around a clear theme and using branded keywords.

Low Return on Ad Spend

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is how much revenue your business earns for every dollar spent on PPC advertising. It’s calculated based on revenue divided by advertising dollars spent. This calculation can help to tell you whether your ads are profitable. ROAS should be higher than $1:1 for your business to be profitable. The higher the number, the more effective your advertising campaign is. 

When ROAS is low, it’s a clear sign that the money you’re investing in a particular campaign isn’t being used effectively. This information may indicate that you need to lower your advertising costs.

High Cost Per Conversion

PPC advertising costs money but spending too much on conversions is wasteful, so it’s important to know what conversions are costing you. Do extensive keyword research for your industry and find out the typical cost of keywords related to your business. This can help you to set a monthly budget along with a target cost per conversion. 

Continually monitor your cost per conversion and look for ways to lower it. Keywords should be reviewed on a regular basis to determine which are generating conversions and which aren’t so you can pause the keywords that aren’t generating conversions. It can also be beneficial to determine what time of day you usually get the most conversions, which may be a clue regarding the best days or times to show your ads.

Using Broad Keyword Terms

Setting your keywords to broad match types sets you up to have your ads displayed when a query is only minimally related to your keywords. Broad match type can lead to a high volume of leads, but not many of them end up being truly targeted leads. Using broad match keywords can help to build your audience but using too many of them can cause your spend to be higher than it needs to be when you’re trying to attract targeted prospects.

Irrelevant Ads

If your ads don’t match searchers’ intent, they may be considered irrelevant. Irrelevance can be recognized when having a very large number of campaigns or too many ad groups. Too many ads or campaigns may be stretching your budget too thin, and most likely includes ads that aren’t targeted.

Setting negative keywords can help to reduce the amount of irrelevance in your ads. This helps to eliminate the possibility of showing your ads to people whose search intent isn’t related to what you’re offering. Using broad search terms without using negative keywords is likely to lead to wasteful ad spend.

Lack of Clarity

PPC success relies on close tracking of conversions. If you’re not closely tracking your business, the clarity that you should have on your advertising strategy is lacking. For best results, the data you should be studying represents the last 90-120 days of activity. Anything older than that may not be based on current campaigns.

Lack of clarity may include not being sure how to set a budget, how to bid properly, and/or adjust bids if necessary. It can be challenging to determine how much you should be spending or how to divide your budget between multiple campaigns. Learning an effective PPC strategy can be a complicated process, and it can be beneficial to obtain guidance in this area.

Getting Expert Guidance in PPC Campaigns

When the money you’re investing in PPC isn’t leading to the desired ROI, it’s time to evaluate your strategy and identify where there may be wasteful spend in your campaigns. If your results are falling short, recognizing when you need expert guidance in this area is a smart business strategy.

PPC can be complex and it’s important to minimize or avoid wasteful spending and to be sure your advertising dollars are being used in the best way possible. If you need professional guidance with your PPC campaigns, contact the experts at Softline Solutions. We can help take the stress away from your PPC campaigns and make them more effective. With us in your corner, you’ll be able to make this important advertising strategy work for you so you can realize your online potential.

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Digital Marketing for the New Decade: 10 Tips for Digital Marketing in 2020 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/digital-marketing-for-the-new-decade-10-tips-for-digital-marketing-in-2020/ Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:51:58 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8404 Technology continues to change and evolve at an amazingly rapid pace. Learning new techniques and technologies may feel like a juggling act at times as you try to pay attention...

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Technology continues to change and evolve at an amazingly rapid pace. Learning new techniques and technologies may feel like a juggling act at times as you try to pay attention to changing Facebook and Google algorithms, along with changes in PPC, marketing automation and SEO strategies.

For your digital marketing campaign to remain effective in 2020 and beyond, it’s imperative to stay up to date on upcoming trends. What are the digital marketing trends you should be aware of as we enter a new decade?

Personalization

Personalization is becoming increasingly important as a marketing tool. Consumers have little or no interest in seeing generic ads that aren’t related to what they’re looking for, and they’re coming to expect that the ads they see will be geared to them.

For marketers in the upcoming decade, this means paying attention to insights into who your customers are, their behavior patterns and buying intent. By increasing the relevancy of your ads, your customers are more likely to have a positive response to your marketing efforts, because personalized ads can help make them feel you’re speaking directly to them.

Voice Powered Search

Voice assistants in smartphones and devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo help consumers with a multitude of search functions, and an increasing number of people use voice-activated devices as part of their daily routine. Businesses need to rethink their digital strategies to include being found via voice search.

In the coming decade, the number of searches performed by voice search is likely to continue to dramatically increase. Marketers need to be aware of this trend and optimize web pages for voice search using long-tail keywords. Producing audio content can help to improve brand awareness. Think of keywords users may speak rather than type and write in a conversational tone.

Video Content

Video marketing isn’t new, but in the coming decade, it will become an even more important marketing tool. Using video to promote your products or services can reach new prospects and increase engagement with existing customers. Video dominates social media, and live videos on Facebook Live or Instagram Live often draw more interest than recorded ones.

Shoppable Posts

As we move into 2020, social media continues to be a huge part of any digital marketing strategy. There’s a growing tendency for people to use social media to search for what they’re looking for, and shoppable posts make it easy to tag posts with products. This is a great way to drive traffic to your product pages.

Social Messaging Apps

The power of social media as a marketing tool won’t be slowing down or going away any time soon. The new decade brings an increase in the use of social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. There’s an increasing trend toward communication on these apps between businesses and customers. 

Businesses use these apps to build relationships, educate customers about their products and provide customer service. It’s a very personalized form of marketing, and many customers like being able to have direct contact with businesses.

Augmented Reality

Immersive technology such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) continue to grow in popularity. The expected trend is for AR to outpace VR. This technology can allow users to interact in a 3D environment and to envision the benefits of using a product. This is a powerful way for businesses to enhance customer experience in 2020 and beyond.

Smart Bidding

Recent updates to Google Ads indicate that PPC account managers can anticipate automation and smart bidding to be the trend in the new decade. Google smart bidding uses machine learning to help make more accurate predictions and optimize for conversions. Reporting tools offer additional insights into bidding performance and this automation can improve performance and save time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, creating huge opportunities for improved communication and for businesses to understand how customers find their products and services. This growing technology analyzes behavior and search patterns and is the driving force behind services such as chatbots and product recommendations. AI can help businesses cut costs and attain a competitive advantage.

Predictive Analytics and Augmented Analytics

Predictive analytics is becoming more and more sophisticated and is being used to identify buying patterns in order to predict what’s likely to happen in the future. It’s a great tool for increasing personalization and targeted marketing.

Machine learning and natural language processing are used to enhance data preparation, analytics and business intelligence in augmented analytics. This form of analytics uses machine intelligence to help people and businesses work smarter and faster. 

Content Marketing Dominates SEO

In the coming decade, content marketing will continue to be an important tool for demonstrating your expertise to both potential customers and existing customers. When high-quality content is used strategically, it continues to be a marketing method that dominates SEO so that your brand can be found in search engine results. 

Content marketing will continue to be an important tool for generating leads. Well-researched and regularly updated content can help your business build authority so that your audience will see you as a trusted resource. The trend in content marketing in 2020 and beyond is long-form content along with videos and interactive content.

Digital Marketing in the Coming Decade

Digital marketing is being transformed by the rapid progress of technology. Machine learning, AI, immersive technologies and automation are changing the way businesses interact with their audiences and analyze data. These trends are extremely powerful as long as you keep up with them. Strategies that have worked up to now may not be as successful as they’ve been in the past.

It can be overwhelming to plan a digital marketing strategy that keeps pace with continually changing trends. If you need professional guidance with your digital marketing, whether you need help with PPC, analytics or interactive content, contact the experts at Softline Solutions. We can help take the stress out of digital marketing changes, and with our help, you’ll be able to realize your online potential.

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Features Being Removed by Google Adwords https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/features-removed-google-adwords/ Sun, 27 Oct 2019 18:41:57 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8372 Google Adwords is a form of pay-per-click advertising that offers an effective way to drive targeted traffic to your website. It’s a powerful and profitable tool, but to remain competitive,...

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Google Adwords is a form of pay-per-click advertising that offers an effective way to drive targeted traffic to your website. It’s a powerful and profitable tool, but to remain competitive, you need to stay on top of changes as they happen. 

This year some features are being removed by Google Adwords, included removal of the average position column and removal of accelerated ad delivery in some campaign types. How will these changes impact your business, and what will replace these features that are being retired? 

Removal of Average Position Metric

The average position metric was one of the original search metrics and was used as a reporting indicator of where an ad fell in Google search results. It was a statistic that compared how your ad ranked against other ads and determined the order that ads appeared on a search page.

Analyzing your ad position using average position was intended to give you an idea of whether to increase or decrease your bids. These metrics could help you to understand changes in click-through rate and how they may have been related to changes in the position of your ads.

Google continues to evolve, and this sometimes means changing how they display their search results. Average position reflected an ad’s rank compared to other ads, but the actual location of an ad on the page wasn’t always clear. This meant that average position didn’t tell the whole story regarding where your ads were showing, and for this reason, it began to lose its usefulness. Google announced the decision to retire average position metrics in favor of a new set of metrics. 

New Metrics That Replace Average Position Columns

Average position was removed from Google interface on September 30, 2019, but new metrics were added in November 2018. The decision to sunset average position was only made once Google had determined that they were able to introduce new metrics that provided better information to advertisers.

New metrics pertain to search engine results page visibility and auction performance. They include:

  • Top impression share – This shows the rate in which you turn eligible top impressions into impressions that actually appear at the top of the results page.
  • Absolute top impression share – This is based on the rate in which you turn opportunities to appear at the very top of the search engine results page into actual impressions at the top of the SERP.
  • Top impression rate –  Based on top impressions divided by total impression, this metric shows the percent of your ads that appear above the organic search results.
  • Absolute top impression rate – This is the percent of your impressions that appear in the #1 position.

These new performance metrics are intended to provide a more accurate picture of where paid ads appear on a search engine results page. Having a clearer idea of where you appear on the results page can help you make much more informed bidding decisions.

Removal of Accelerated Ad Delivery

Your ad delivery method can determine how long your advertising budget lasts. Accelerated ad delivery was an option not used by most advertisers. It was an option that allowed you to show your ads mostly early in the day if that’s when you believed your audience was most receptive to them. You may also have used it to maximize impressions and increase click volume rather than allowing Google to have control over when your ads were shown based on their signals.

Accelerated ad delivery had a lot of drawbacks. It could spend your budget rapidly and exhaust your budget early in the day. Your ad may not have been shown to other prospects who might have seen your ad later in the day, or to prospects in certain time zones.

Google made the decision to remove the option for accelerated ad delivery for search campaigns, shopping campaigns or shared budgets starting October 14, 2019. Advertisers using this type of campaign are automatically migrated over to standard delivery. Google believes that accelerated delivery was not producing desired results in most cases, and that standard delivery is more likely to get more clicks and more conversions.

The Impact of These Changes on Your Business

The important question for marketers and small business owners is how will these changes impact your business, particularly when it comes to PPC strategy? As metrics change, advertisers have to rethink bidding strategies that may have become outdated. Changes to metrics may require updating reports that are presented to shareholders. Removal of accelerated ad delivery is an example of a way in which machines are being used to determine how ad campaigns get optimized.

Like other aspects of running a business, things are constantly changing, and marketers have to adjust to changes as they happen. PPC advertising is one of the most effective ways of marketing your business, as long as you thoroughly understand everything that’s involved. If you miss important details of what needs to be done including updates and changes, it can have a big impact on your profits or advertising expenses

Professional Management of PPC

The continual changes in PPC advertising can absorb a large amount of time if you strive to learn what’s required to master them. With the removal of key features and the addition of new metrics, it may not be an option to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them.

An easier method of staying on top of changes in Adwords and other PPC strategies is to rely on the expertise of professionals in the field of advertising. At Softline Solutions, our experts can make sure you have all the important information you need in order to stay on top of the new trends in Google Ads and PPC strategies. Our experts can also help you to avoid overpaying for clicks. With experts in your corner, your business will be able to handle changes in Google Adwords seamlessly. When you work with us using our simple and sophisticated PPC solutions, we can help you to reach your online potential. Get in touch today!

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Instagram Marketing Trends in 2019 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/instagram-marketing-trends-in-2019/ Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:24:25 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8317 Instagram continues to grow rapidly and now has over one billion monthly users. This means that it pays to build a presence on this platform as long as you get...

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Instagram continues to grow rapidly and now has over one billion monthly users. This means that it pays to build a presence on this platform as long as you get to know your audience and what they want along with what type of content gets the most results.

All forms of social media are continually evolving. At one time, Instagram was mostly a platform where people could share videos and pictures with friends and family, but it has grown into an effective marketing channel. What do you need to know to leverage the power of Instagram marketing, and what has changed in 2019?

Engage with Your Audience Using Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories continues to be a huge marketing tool with millions of people viewing stories every day. Stories give you the ability to share videos and photos that (like SnapChat) disappear after 24 hours. Fun disappearing content promotes interest and can be used to grow brand awareness. Individual videos have a maximum roll time of 15 seconds, but you can split a longer video into 15 second segments and play one after another.

Instagram is also adding eye-catching animations to their stories, which gives marketers an even better opportunity to grab audience attention. Flashy animation is much more likely to capture audience interest, so prospects or customers stop and watch rather than breezing by. Another eye-catching option is the use of stickers such as flowers, lightning bolts and rainbows to add color and personality to your posts.

Cultivating Authentic Relationships: Influencers and Micro Influencers

As a marketer, your goal on any social media platform is to grow your audience, and to do this you need to consistently post helpful and authentic content. The trend in 2019 is to get away from automation and move more toward authentic and genuine experiences and relationships. Influencer marketing continues to grow, but influencers have gotten more authentic and personal in 2019.

If you intend to work with influencers, work toward building genuine relationships. If influencers truly love your product, their approval will be transparent to their followers, which can in turn grow your following. A new trend in 2019 is to target micro influencers, those with a smaller but very targeted following. Micro influencers are those that have less than 100,000 followers. When these influencers promote a product, it sounds more like a trusted recommendation from a friend than an advertisement.

Leveraging the Power of Video with IGTV

Improvements to IGTV, Instagram’s video-sharing tool, make it an increasingly powerful option for marketing. IGTV now supports both vertical and horizontal videos. The ability to produce videos in landscape format makes video creation easier and also makes it easier to repurpose on other channels.

Another important change to IGTV in 2019 is that content creators can now publish previews of IGTV videos to their Instagram feed. This creates a better opportunity for viewers to discover brands through video.

Grow Your Following with Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a powerful tool that can bump your stories to the head of the feed. Using this feature, you can broadcast live videos to other users on the feed. Most Instagram users follow at least one business. Those that follow yours will get a notification when you go live (unless they’ve turned off notifications).

Live videos can expose your brand to new followers, and your video can then be posted to your Stories, where it’s available for 24 hours. Since a large number of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog post, Instagram Live offers a powerful way to reach your audience and grow your business.

Practices to Avoid on Instagram

The internet is loaded with spammers, and Instagram has zero tolerance for the practice. Anything that looks or acts like a spammer or a fake account can be banned or blocked. While this is intended to be protective for Instagram users, an inexperienced marketer can make an unintentional mistake and end up being banned, sometimes with no idea what they did wrong.

An important first step is to make sure you’re very familiar with Instagram’s community guidelines. When you have a business account, make sure you don’t set your account to private. Don’t share random pictures that aren’t relevant to your brand. Being relevant is key in business posting. Make sure to preview your posts and avoid publishing typos or low quality photos.

Growth methods that rely on automation no longer work. Recent updates are intended to combat automation such as fake likes or fake followers. Using bots or hashtags that are broken or have been banned can cause your content to appear spammy.

Analytics and Tracking ROI from Instagram

Using Instagram as a marketing strategy only makes sense if you know what’s working and what’s not working. Take advantage of all available tools on Instagram. Using Instagram Insights, you can obtain a breakdown of the demographics of your followers and view engagement data such as which of your posts are most popular and when your audience most frequently uses the platform. This information can be used to monitor growth and plan your Instagram strategy.

You can get detailed information on the performance of a particular story by clicking on the story and swiping up to see available insights for that story. If the story has been archived, you can access it from your archives.

Planning Your 2019 Instagram Marketing Strategy

Being able to take advantage of the power of Instagram marketing requires knowing your audience and having a strategy to increase engagement and ROI. The trend in Instagram marketing in 2019 is targeted, personalized content. People are looking for a genuine experience and will simply unfollow if that’s not what they’re getting.

Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool, but only if you know how to take advantage of what’s available. It can be confusing to take advantage of all that Instagram has to offer. If you need professional guidance with your Instagram marketing, whether you need help with graphics, IGTV or Instagram Stories, get guidance from the experts at Softline Solutions. With our help, you can improve your marketing success and realize your online potential.

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