Digital Marketing In 2020 and Beyond: Cobalt Catalysts Boost Performance Standards

Digital Marketing In 2020 and Beyond: Cobalt Catalysts Boost Performance Standards

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2020 at 6:11 pm    

When you begin structuring a digital marketing plan, aligning yourself with a company that embraces growth and innovation is a critical first step toward securing the best return on investment for your products or services. Marketing is the practice of connecting with your audience at the right time, and with data showing 87% of buyers search for products to buy online, digital marketing has become one of the most valuable investment tools needed to reach this enormous market size.

Leveraging digital channels including search engines, social media, email, and other websites are avenues to reach existing and prospective customers, but alone, it’s not enough to maximize your business’s potential. Cobalt Digital Marketing has dedicated Cobalt Catalysts who focus on maximizing performance across platforms offering our clients the best ROI, and we are a Google Partner Agency.

The Benefits Of Working Alongside A Google Partner Agency

Teaming up with a Google Partner Agency, you gain greater confidence knowing you’re working with the best of the best. As a Google Partner, we track the latest trends and stay up to date with the latest product information to generate optimal results for our clients. How does this impact you? Through our experience, in tandem with our Google Ads product certifications, we provide the best Google Ads service for your business, and myriad of additional benefits including:

  • Tracking the Latest PPC Information: The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and a successful campaign strategy centers on staying on top of these changes and structuring a digital marketing plan that reflects the latest industry trends and developments. To maintain Google partner status, our agency undergos recertification exams to ensure our Catalysts have the skills and knowledge needed to drive your business needs forward.
  • We Use the Same Tools Available to Our Clients: Our success comes from working with businesses who trust us in bringing advanced strategies to ensure successful campaigns that resonate with consumers. At Cobalt Digital Marketing, we use these same strategies that make us an industry leader.
  • Offering Exceptional Service: As a Google Partner company, we comply with Google standards to maintain partnership status, which acts as an added layer to the already notable level of service Cobalt Digital Marketing extends to our clients.
  • Access to Beta Features: Prior to granting broad public access, Google tests numerous features such as the latest updates to Google’s Google Ads system. As a Google Partner agency, we have access to these beta features which we integrate into our clients digital campaigns. Doing so gives our customers an advantage over their competition.
  • Working Directly with Google: Working with us offers a direct line to the top search engine platform. As a Google Partner agency, Cobalt Digital Marketing works with a dedicated team offering direct communication to address topics pertinent to meeting the needs of our clients.

The Future Of Digital Marketing Remains Bright

While 2020 has been a roller coaster year for industries across the nation, one constant has been the exponential growth across the digital space. This year has seen our customers ad budgets expand on platforms such Google, social media, and OTT. Why is this important? It’s important because it signals our targeted messaging strategies lead to improved brand building. This coupled with our Cobalt Formula™ has been proven across industries to generate traffic, leads, and sales.

Having earned specialization in search ads and display ads, Cobalt Digital Marketing has the demonstrated expertise and sustained client performance that tells our customers we work hard to earn the trust of each and every business we serve. Blending website design, optimization techniques, and superior content with advanced data strategies, we’ve been able to learn all aspects of our clients needs and profitably fulfill them.

Creating customized content for conversion is another important aspect of what we do. As we’ve seen companies evolve and adapt to “new normals” in 2020, we haven’t missed a beat. Our success rests on yours, so we use every tool at our disposal to offer a multichannel approach that bolsters your business’s conversions.

Offering the Cobalt Formula™, we provide the know-how and experience needed for businesses of all sizes to be competitive and win within the digital landscape and beyond. Do you want to explore your company’s potential and learn about how our Cobalt Catalysts can help strengthen your brand’s awareness to a broad reach of consumers? Take the next step to giving your business a significant advantage over the competition alongside a team that employs creativity and ingenuity as part of their A game.

Our digital marketing strategies offer endless opportunities for continuous growth, and we forge strong business relationships with our clients to ensure they’re fully engaged in seeing the demonstrable results we offer.

Contact us to receive your digital marketing proposal, and let’s get started and work together to maximize your company’s ROI.

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Set Special Hours With Google My Business

Posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2020 at 5:18 pm    

Many of life’s lessons are layered in silver linings. For many of us, these uncertain times have taught us that we just need to refocus our vision. The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many customers to shop online–whether it’s for retail therapy or obtaining much-needed essentials–using their purchasing power as a means to adjust to their everyday lives.

From buying cars to online curbside pickup, the scope of how businesses work and cater to customers has definitely shifted. In fact, online sales have surged over the course of the stay-at-home orders the nation had in place, and with so many consumers getting accustomed to buying products online, that eCommerce momentum isn’t going to decline any time soon, even as we slowly reopen many facets of the economy.

The best thing your business can do is to capitalize on this momentum and start mapping out an online strategy to get these buyers to be aware of your brand and your product. There are many simple measures a business owner can take such as replying to reviews, maintaining an updated website and social media page, and even making sure their hours on Google My Business are up to date.

How to Optimize Your Hours for Google My Business 

Business owners should be aware that Google has premiered a new category within Google My Business that will allow them to set more hours for their company. These hours are characterized by types of hours, such as when supermarkets offer early morning hours for specific customers, specific access times a physician is available, or special pickup hours at a given business.

You can go into your Google My Business account and click on the tab labeled “Info,” go under your main hours, and you can select the option that will allow you to set “More Hours.” You then can select the pencil edit button to pick from a category of hours that includes access, brunch, delivery, drive-thru, happy hours, kitchen, pickup, takeout, and senior hours. With this tool, you have plenty of flexibility to set those hours by day, even if they occur at various times throughout the same day.

Always Looking Out for You, Especially During These Uncertain Times

With this update to Google My Business, your customers are now aware of any special hours that you have installed specifically for them when they look you up on Google, helping facilitate business during those hours. This update from Google is a boon to your business, especially during these uncertain times.

While this is an activity that you can do on your own, aligning yourself with a marketing company that knows how to reach both customers and potential consumers can be an effective way to not only implement the Google My Business special hours update but help you strategize other facets of your overall digital marketing strategy as well.

 

Cobalt Digital Marketing can help you optimize your Google My Business account, along with any other digital marketing needs, through our proven Cobalt Formula™. 

Contact Us Today


Secure Your Sales With Google for Free During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2020 at 4:20 pm    

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The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sense of doubt to just about every retail sector in America. The shelter-in-place orders have closed the doors to many physical stores that are now relying on digital sales and curbside pickup to stay afloat. 

Consumers, many of whom are staying at home as essential businesses are only allowed to be open, have flocked to purchase goods online, including everything from essential products to apparel to kid’s toys. If one thing is for certain amidst these uncertain times, however, people still enjoy a good shopping spree or bargain find. 

The Benefits of Marketing With Google

The key for businesses–for those who find themselves working with a limited scale of what they are accustomed to–is to continue engaging with these customers by implementing a strategic digital marketing plan.

That is where we believe digital marketing can separate your business from your competitors.

The silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic and utilizing a solid strategic content marketing strategy, is that Google will now show search results primarily consisting of free listings in an effort to help retailers connect with potential consumers. 

This is crucial because Google is the tool that buyers use to access countless shopping searches that affected businesses have in stock but are not necessarily discoverable online commodities.

What You Need to do in Order to Benefit

For those retailers who have been impacted, Google’s “freebie” is a lifeline to sell their merchandise to millions of people who need digital access to their shopping desires. Retailers can maximize potential sales by emphasizing their content marketing plans as well as their products, with the help of their paid digital marketing and Google’s free listing search to work in tandem and draw from a great reservoir of consumers. 

It is worth noting that if you are already employing Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of Google’s free listing. 

Those retailers who are new to developing Merchant Center ads can maximize their profits by working with a digital marketing agency that can walk them through the do’s and don’ts of the onboarding process that will develop over the course of the next month or so.

Google and Existing Partners Have a Variety of Tools to Help You Track Products and Inventory

Google’s adjustments will take place in America by the end of April, and the search giant is looking to expand the service worldwide by the end of the year. Local retail merchants will have access to Google’s help center to understand information regarding how to engage in free product listings and Shopping ads.

Google is also partnering with PayPal to help merchants synchronize their accounts, which will help your onboarding process run smoothly and ensure that you are getting a sound search engine results page (SERPs) for your business. 

It would be a smart move for merchants who wish to maximize their digital footprint to align themselves with an affluent marketing agency that can outline an efficient plan that utilizes search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and an appropriate digital marketing campaign that will enhance this great resource Google is offering to merchants all across America.

How to Set Up Google Merchant

Signing up for Google Merchant Center is as easy as having a Google account in hand and entering your business information in merchants.google.com. Everything from your business name to minor nuances like your timezone and familiarizing yourself with
guidelines can be filled out in this section. Reviewing the terms in the Merchant Center will help you on your way to start ranking on SERPs, which is going to help your organic traffic and overall sales.

Cobalt Digital Marketing understands how to navigate businesses through this time of uncertainty and implement an effective digital marketing strategy to go along with Google’s new objective of helping retailers sell products online for free to maximize your business on all fronts.

Our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can help your business get back on track while helping your customers find you!

 

 

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Part 2: Unlock the Potential of Google My Business During COVID-19

Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 at 3:52 pm    

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COVID-19 is bringing changes to all of our lives, so it’s no surprise that it has also changed the landscape of the way many companies tackle their digital marketing strategy. In truth, those that don’t act proactively with their content marketing strategy during this time are not seeing the big picture.

Despite the harm this virus has done, now is an optimal time to pick ourselves up and handle routine maintenance, search engine optimization (SEO), and content strategy. Now is the time to have discussions about keeping up with the current business climate and pouncing on revenue-generating opportunities once–and even slightly before–life returns to normal. 

If there is one thing businesses should be doing to get a leg up on their competition, it’s to proactively transform their Google My Business (GMB) and SEO into something that informs their customers about the appropriate coronavirus safety protocols, business procedures, and hours of operation you will practice during the pandemic, and your catalysts here at Cobalt Digital Marketing want to share some more of that helpful information with you so that you have one less thing to worry about at this time.

The Importance of GMB

 To understand the importance of GMB, you need to think of it as more important to customer acquisition and your bottom line than your own website. GMB has become such a force multiplier in 2020 that you can’t really justify sitting idle on the sidelines — even during a pandemic. Your business will benefit from a manager who is engaged and understands how powerful a search tool Google has become. 

 The tech behemoth has modified it’s search engine so that consumers see their results first, meaning that potential customers may never see your website. The key to harnessing this technology is to recognize the assets available to you so that you can get your foot in GMB’s algorithm door and then bust it wide open. Getting your content in front of as many people as possible is vital to customer acquisition. 

 Below we will explain how to use digital marketing to ensure continued traffic will come to your website during the current pandemic. Ideally, you should consider consulting with a reputable digital marketing agency on your content marketing strategy. Their expertise can help your business survive the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Game-Changing GMB

 To explain GMB strategy, first we will examine the ways in which Google has changed the way they operate their search engine results page (SERPs). Approximately eight years ago they altered their SERPs to ensure that users will interact with their paid content before ever reaching your website. The de-prioritizing of organic search results for paid ads is known in the industry as “No Click Searches.” 

 Never heard of No Click Searches? Well, you’ve probably seen them. No Click Searches occur when people search for information on Google, but they obtain that data without ever having to visit a website. 

 Google knows that they can only be so cunning when it comes to prioritizing ads over organic search results without clueing in users who might lose trust in the results. Instead, they’ve focused on getting potential customers to remain on the results page until they have to click on an ad. 

For example, you may have checked to see your local weather forecast only to see a No Click Search of Google already giving you the prediction in a text box. Because of this, the chances of you clicking on a website–be it AccuWeather, Weather Channel, or your local news station–is greatly reduced; they’ve already given you the information that you were looking for. If you pay close attention, you’ll likely notice more No Click Searches in your own life, and they’ll probably only become more common over time.

 No Click Searches are affecting local businesses more and more every day. Knowing how you can counter Google’s efforts will help your business not only stay afloat but remain relevant while Google ramps up their growth of No Click Searches. 

 The Data Behind No Click Searches 

 The truth is that No Click Searches equate to 47% of all search queries today. Google is so focused on offering users as much tangible information within their search results as possible that when a user inputs something that the search engine can’t answer immediately, Google has dramatically improved the chances that the user will click on a paid ad. It’s a win-win for Google, and it’s a meticulous and crafty way to add to their bottom line, while local businesses get phased out from attracting potential customers. 

 Companies who used to get residual traffic from search engines previously had to only worry about paid ads that appeared above the organic search results. Now, not only do you have to worry about paid ads, but No Click Searches as well. The data is staggering.

 Key leader and expert in SEO practices, Rand Fishkin, recently stated that, upon examination of all Google search queries, he found that the organic click through rate (CTR) was at 53 percent. Paid CTR accounted for 4 percent of clicks and No Click Searches accounted for the rest, at 47 percent. This means there were 15 organic clicks for every paid click, down from 20 only a year ago. For every 10 organic clicks there were 8.8 searches that resulted in no clicks at all. 

 This effect is even worse on mobile devices which will likely influence a large portion of your customer base. Due to the relatively small screen size of phones when compared to their desktop counterparts, No Click Searches account for a majority of all searches. Smaller screens help Google because ads take up a larger portion of the available screen on mobile phones, meaning fewer organic options appear at all. Google’s efforts to keep users from digging for organic results is also aided by ads that result in No Click Searches. 

 Organic results may not even be seen by potential customers until the bottom of the third screen. This goes to show the efforts Google has gone to to enhance their paid ads with No Click Searches.

 As a business owner, this can be frustrating because all the effort that you put into building your website and optimizing it so that it will rank at the top, or very close to it, could now mean very little. If you’re starting to wonder why your site has seen a decline in search engine traffic, it could be because of these changes.

 The biggest takeaway from this information is that the money that you’re putting behind your website and SEO aren’t bringing the bang for their buck like they used to, and many other digital marketing agencies may refuse to tell you that truth. Their livelihoods depend on you not knowing this information. Not with us, however. We believe that you and your company will be better off understanding the full dynamics of GMB in order to take full advantage of it.

 The Pinnacle of Google My Business 

 While Google My Business has been prominent for quite some time, Google has become more robust in their actions. Google has cultivated traffic results to their benefit, and they aren’t going out of their way to send someone to your website unless you pay for that with advertising. 

 The silver lining, however, is that customers are not only willing to speak to local businesses, they need to. The only drawback is that Google has built their search engine platform by having people connect with local businesses on their own terms. It’s frustrating, but the fact that GMB brings in more customers than your website means that it’s better to be involved than to be dismissive of Google’s methods.

 The fact remains that many people use Google in order to find answers regarding local businesses. Reviews are just as significant as recommendations and, when used correctly, GMB can be an excellent way to acquire customers.  

An effective GMB will result in new customers, the retention of existing clients, and a strong bottom line, all things that are vital to a business’ success. Now is the ideal time to post about what your business is offering: are you open during COVID-19, offering curbside pickup, discounts, delivery, telemedical services — anything that you are doing to service your customer right now should be addressed.  

Cobalt Digital Marketing Helps Businesses Connect with Consumers

 One of the best ways to harness GMB is to link up with a marketing agency that can devise an execution plan so that you can turn GMB into a tool for customer acquisition. Keeping GMB services updated during COVID-19 is essential for keeping your business in operation during this uncertain time.

Aligning your business with a reputable digital marketing agency to tackle your GMB strategy can help you and your business reach all of your goals. That is why Cobalt Digital Marketing is offering advice on GMB, SEO, and content marketing. We have the wherewithal to show you how to keep your business going while your competitors lose out on customer engagement and retention because of the lack of a plan of action during the pandemic.

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Cobalt Digital Marketing Can Help Your Business Weather the Pandemic By Maintaining Your Communication With Your Customers

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Protect Your Business Operations From the Coronavirus With These Recommendations From Google

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 at 9:11 pm    

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As we are continuing to monitor the current state of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on a day-to-day basis, the McAllen digital marketers of Cobalt Digital Marketing are coming up with the proper solutions within our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ in order to protect our clients’ needs throughout this worldwide pandemic.

Rightfully so, many businesses across Texas and the United States are taking the necessary precautions and sanitary protocols in order to prevent the spread of the illness. This includes everything from lowering the hours of operation, sanitizing their environment every so often, and minimizing certain services.

Additionally, Google sent out an email to Google My Business users in regards to what protocols business owners should take during this time period within their listings. With this being said, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the steps Google is recommending for fellow business owners to take in order to ensure their customers are aware of any changes made because of COVID-19.

Update Your Business Operation Information

With so many families and individuals relying on the internet and other forms of media to be kept up to date with any COVID-19 updates, Google has sent out an email to business owners urging them to update any necessary information in regards to the coronavirus affecting their operations.

In order to give out the most accurate information to its customers during this pandemic, the following listings should be updated via Google My Business:

  • Hours of Operation: If your business is minimizing its hours of operation or customer capacity, it is crucial to update this information online so your customers can be aware of the changes.
  • Business Descriptions: Updating your business descriptions will help notify your customers if there are any changes in operations and/or delays due to COVID-19.
  • Phone Number: This is only if there is a change in the phone number. If this information is already in place, no further action is required.
  • Coronavirus-Related Posts: It is recommended to create posts notifying your customers about any changes made to your business that are going into effect as well as any protocols and/or extra services provided in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Google have teamed up to launch its “Do The Five” coronavirus prevention campaign in order to inform its users of the essential steps we all need to take to prevent the spread of the disease:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Maintain at least 3 feet from anyone sneezing or coughing, a.k.a. social distancing.
  • Avoid touching your face, including the nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Cough into your elbow, if needed.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick, and seek medical attention early on, if needed. 

Cobalt Digital Marketing: Always Looking Out for Your Health and Your Business

At Cobalt Digital Marketing, part of our award-winning Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ is to stay on top of all of the recent changes made in digital marketing, regardless if made by Google updates or shifting global events. Your health and safety is our priority, and we want to ensure that communication between you and your customers remains intact during these scary times.

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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The Shocking Importance of Click-Through-Rate: Everything You Need to Know (And Tantalizing Tips to Improve It)

Posted on Saturday, February 15th, 2020 at 4:26 pm    

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Organic click-through-rate, or organic CTR, refers to the percentage of search engine users who click on a specific link during a search query. CTR is one of the main ways of measuring your digital marketing efforts on search engine result pages, emails, web ads, and other forms of content. Like any other form of data analytics, it isn’t enough just to understand the CTR percentage for a given link, page, ad, or website – you then have to utilize that information to make meaningful strategy adjustments that will help to get users to engage with your content or visit your website. At Cobalt Digital Marketing, our proprietary Cobalt Formula helps you dive deep into your data analytics to ensure that your search engine marketing is getting the results and conversions you need to acquire new customers and drive higher revenue. Click-through-rate is a key SEO metric and by understanding how CTR works, you can make strategic adjustments that have an immediate impact on your digital marketing efforts and bottom line.  

What does the research say about CTR?

Because click-through rate is such an important metric, digital marketers spend a lot of time tracking changes to search engine algorithms to understand how they will affect CTR and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Generally speaking, the higher you rank in a search engine query, the more people will click on your link and the higher your CTR will be, which will help you move even higher up in the rankings. Research conducted by Backlinko used massive amounts of search engine query data to understand, by the numbers, how CTR is affected by SEO techniques, tactics, and strategies. The study provides invaluable data about CTR and what it means for digital marketers in 2020:

  • The top result of Google’s organic search has an average 31.7% CTR and is 10X more likely to be clicked on than a link that ranks 10th. What this means is that if your company is investing in SEO, then you should aim for the top spot or don’t aim at all. Of course, that’s not always possible because your competitors are also investing in SEO, but no company stays at the top spot forever and they can be replaced by you if you have the right strategy (for help with this, consider using our Cobalt Formula for digital marketing).
  • The organic click-through-rates for spots 7 through 10 on a search page are relatively equal. In other words, it’s crowded at the bottom so always try to stay on top. Moving up one spot in search rankings can boost your CTR by 30.8%, but this also depends on your position. Moving from the #3 spot to the #2 spot is a major boost, but moving from #10 to #9 not so much, simply because few people scroll down farther than the #3 search result (in fact, the top three results get 75% of all clicks).
  • There are many small SEO techniques that can help boost your search engine rankings and CTR and help drive new business. Simply by framing a title tag as a question, for example, you can increase CTR by up to 14.1%. The number of characters in your title tag can also make a big difference. Titles with 15 to 40 characters have an 8.6% higher CTR than those with more (or less) characters. It’s also important to use keywords and even emotional language (“Get Awe-Inspiring Results”) that grabs peoples’ attention and will get more of them to click. In fact, CTR climbs by 45% when a keyword is included in the URL because it shows people that you have exactly what they need. This is what SEO is all about.
  • On the other hand, implementing a ‘power word’ (Amazing, Ultimate, Powerful), into the title tag can often negatively impact CTR and decrease it by 13.9%. It is important to have an SEO strategy that uses best practices in all areas of digital marketing, including copywriting. Our agency is fully integrated to provide the full-stack of marketing techniques, from copywriting to web design, to make sure you have the best possible digital marketing strategy.
  • When it comes to the more-specific SEO tactics, meta descriptions on the page can also make link clicks rise by up to 5.8%. While meta descriptions are not always used by Google, these short “previews” of text and content provide SEO optimized copy in the event that Google does use it. Otherwise, Google just pulls text from the link and it may or may not be SEO optimized or have the right keywords. Wherever you can, focus on copywriting that gets to the point and shows search engine users that your company has exactly what they need – if they just click on the link.

How an Increased CTR can benefit you.

An increase in organic click-through-rate should be an immediate priority for any business and serves two functions:

  1. The more clicks a link gets, the more traffic a site generates. A click-through-rate that increases from 10 to 20 percent generates double the amount of site traffic. Again, CTR is one of the most important (and also one of the easiest) ways to improve your digital marketing efforts.
  2. Click-through-rate can have a cyclical effect, as users are much more likely to click on your link the higher up you are in the results. The higher you are, the more clicks you get, which helps you keep moving up higher. It’s all about keeping up with search engine algorithms and making adjustments to your SEO tactics on an ongoing basis. If you are committed to increasing your CTR and search engine ranking, it will show up in the results. 

In order to grab the attention of your target audience, your links need to be SEO optimized, have the right keywords, with the right tags and descriptions, the right character length, and even the right creative finesse (this is where copywriters play an invaluable role). In other words, there is a proven methodology for increasing CTR, it just takes a little time and effort to implement it.

How can Cobalt Digital Marketing deliver?

Our McAllen digital marketing agency has the essential strategies needed to improve your organic click-through-rate. Our SEO specialists, content creators, and PPC team know exactly which methods will draw the most attention to your links.  We also offer help personalizing websites that fit your brand and promote the strengths of your business. If you wish to maximize the effectiveness of your advertisement, organic click-through-rates are the way to go. Let us help you build a unique website and attention-getting link that will raise your site traffic, ultimately bringing in new clients to your business.

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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The Future is Now in Digital Marketing: Social Media & Content Trends for 2020

Posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 at 12:57 pm    

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Digital marketing is an ever-changing set of guidelines, best practices, and strategies for reaching your customers — and potential customers — through their preferred channels. If your digital marketing approach is not evolving in 2020 along with the latest technology, then you will quickly be overtaken by competitors who know how to adapt to the digital “rules of the game.”

Our Cobalt team likes to think of ourselves as digital chemists, producing and fine-tuning the right mix of chemical reactions to get the results you need at that moment, whether leads, reads, clicks, or likes — this is what we call The Cobalt Formula™.

One of the most important areas of digital marketing to pay attention to is when Google changes its search engine algorithm and other products. Last month, we wrote about how an update to Google Ads now gives users specific insight into recent changes in their digital performance, such as the most likely reasons for impressions, clicks, and cost changes. This allows users to focus more on executing campaigns and reflects the growing importance of having usable data and intelligence that makes it easier and quicker to adapt your digital strategy, in real-time.

But Google is just one piece of the larger digital puzzle and all the other tech giants — from Instagram to WhatsApp and TikTok — are forging new social media and content trends for 2020 and beyond. 

Here are a few of the big changes to keep on your radar.

Changing the Way Content is Ranked

Instagram is testing the idea of making “likes” private rather than public. The company has said that this would be a “fundamental change” to their product and that’s why it’s only being tested for now. The purpose of this change would be to shift the emphasis on how content is ranked and measured; rather than amassing thousands or millions of likes, the focus would be on content quality and relevance.

Although it’s a small change, it points to bigger changes in the evolution of social media. People simply have too many social media channels and connections to follow regularly, and companies like Instagram need to make sure their daily feed is delivering the most relevant content from the user’s network. A funny video may have millions of likes, but there may be another piece of content that is more relevant to that user, at that moment, even though it has fewer likes.

The important takeaway here is that social media content has to become more relevant and easier to consume. It is a privilege to have access to someone’s social media feed, and more brands will be focusing on the quality of content over going viral or amassing likes from people who may not be their core audience.

Using Social Media for True Digital Commerce

One of the knocks against social media sites like Twitter has been its inability to translate content into commerce. But this is changing as content creators are becoming more conscious of how their content can be used to get people shopping right from their social media feed. 

The old days of stock photos are giving way to branded photos and videos where actors are wearing the products they are trying to sell. Facebook and other sites are making it easier to pin these products with links to an online store. In other words, users can see it, click on a link, and buy it within a few moments of seeing the product.

Besides the direct sales benefits of this change, it also makes it easier for marketers to sell their social media strategies and budgets to C-level executives, who may be wary about spending money on something without a clear return on investment. 

Social media is now part of the fabric of how we share all our activities — personal, social, and commercial — and if you aren’t thinking about how to monetize your social media posts, then you are going to miss out on significant revenue in 2020.

The Rise of Video Content in the 2020s

Just as the text-based chat rooms and discussion forums of the early Internet gave way to photo-driven social media, we are now seeing a rapid transition from text/photos to video, even on sites such as LinkedIn. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer Internet traffic — an astounding 15 times higher than in 2017.

This is being driven by the growth of smartphone cameras, video-based apps such as Snapchat and TikTok, and the application of next-gen technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). 

But it’s also about being more personal and authentic on social media. In a world where people are Skyping into work and video conferencing with family and friends, nobody wants to sit down and read a long string of posts on Facebook anymore. Both B2C and B2B brands are using video to be more personal and intimate with their content, and integrating more video from their fans and customers (UGC or user-generated content).

It’s no longer just about having a social media content plan with a certain number of posts a month, it’s about having a real conversation and being more spontaneous with different kinds of content. That might even mean fewer posts but better quality with each post.

The Evolution of Messaging Apps as Social Media

Finally, messaging apps are not only growing in popularity, but they are becoming social media channels in their own right. This was pioneered by China’s WeChat and Tencent which combined text messaging with in-app services such as bill payment and virtually anything else. The dominant messaging apps in the U.S. such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are evolving in a similar way.

The “dark social” dilemma — where users share links or others engage in other activity privately in a messaging app — is going away and brands will have to approach messaging apps as true social media channels, where they can track and measure results, and even provide customer service.

Twenty-twenty is the start of a new decade, and social media is no longer the “younger brother” of digital marketing. In a way, social media is now synonymous with digital marketing and the very idea of “content” is evolving in new and unexpected ways.

Is your brand prepared to adapt to the changing technology and get the most effective results from your digital marketing strategies? Let Cobalt Digital Marketing help you craft a social media and content strategy that delivers results and helps turn clicks into leads, sales, and revenue.

Don’t let 2020 pass you by with minimal revenue growth and less-than-mediocre search engine results.

Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Google Ads Update Now Gives You An Insight On Recent Performance Changes

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 1:09 pm    

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During the first week of December, Google Ads rolled-out a new beta feature that will allow users to see what changes are being made performance-wise within your Google Ads campaign(s). This new beta-feature, referred to as “Explanations,” was developed with the overall objective to save users time by getting straight to the point with precise performance change analytics and diagnosis – all in a single location. 

The McAllen digital marketers and SEO experts of Cobalt Digital Marketing are here to break down everything you need to know about this new Google Ads beta feature.

What to Know About “Explanations”

Explanations is meant to be the go-to solution within Google Ads to see what is currently affecting your campaign(s) and ad groups. 

According to Google, “You can view the most likely reasons for impression, click, and cost changes with the click of a button. This makes it easy for you to spend more time focusing on optimization, and less time investigating performance issues.”

As this feature is still currently being developed, there are a few things to take into account when using it:

  • It is only currently available for manual CPC and/or eCPC Search campaigns.
  • You are able to compare (2) two different time periods of equal length from the last 90 days.
  • It will only show those campaigns that have seen a significant change within Performance.

Key Factors and Areas “Explanations” Focuses On

  • Bid Changes: Will be able to show how many times your ad has been shown, where it was seen, and how any modifications made have affected your ad.
  • Bid Modifier Changes: Will focus on the changes that affect the performance on the campaign in terms of device bid modifiers, location bid modifiers, demographic bid modifiers, and audience bid modifiers.
  • Budget Changes: Will be able to tell you how any changes to your budgeting plan may have impacted the ad’s ongoing traffic. 
  • Budget Allocation: Will be able to tell you how spreading your budget through different entities may have affected your current performance.
  • Budget Exhaustion Rate: Will show you how changing your average cost-per-click (CPC) will affect your overall budget at the current rate it’s at.
  • Eligibility: Highlights how certain factors came into play within your ad’s traffic eligibility. 
  • Change History: How any recent changes or modifications affected the performance of your account overall.
  • Targeting Changes: How any changes or modifications in terms of location targeting, keywords targeting, keyword status, and adding/removing an audience will affect your performance.
  • Auction Competitions and Search Interest: How any changes or modifications made within search volume on search partners or opt-in/opt-out of search partners will affect your overall performance.

How to Access Explanations 

Accessing this feature within your Google Ads account is pretty straight-forward. After you have signed-in to your account:

  • Go to the navigation menu on the left and select Search Campaigns.
  • From the page menu, select either Campaigns or Ad Groups.
  • From the top-right corner of your screen, select the down arrow alongside the date range.
  • Select on the toggle next to the Compare option to turn on a second date range.
  • Choose the exact dates you want to compare within the top range.
  • Select Previous Period under Compare.
  • Hit the apply button to view the results side-by-side within your performance chart.
  • You will be able to detect a “%” change applied below the numbers in your performance metrics columns. You will see either a +X% or a  -X% symbol. Major changes will be able to be identified as they are marked within a blue highlight. 
  • In order to see the exact specifics within your performance change, select More Details.

While Google still works on fully developing this exciting feature over the next couple of months, the McAllen SEO experts of Cobalt Digital Marketing are able to utilize tools like these and ultimately take your business to the next level with our award-winning Cobalt Formula

How the Cobalt Formula Can Elevate Your Sales

At Cobalt Digital Marketing, our team of McAllen digital marketers, (or “catalysts” as we call them) are fully engaged with the idea of building brands from the ground up. 

With this idea in mind, our Catalyst will be able to develop the right Cobalt Formula for you, which will lead to expanding your online audience engagement. The Cobalt Formula can be tailored to best suit your business’ overall goals and aspirations. 

And with the right data analytics tools and resources, such as Explorations, we are able to provide the most effective results. The longer you hesitate on reaching your online audience, the more sales you are potentially losing. So why wait?

Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Quality Trumps Quantity & Other Tips to Handle Google’s Core Updates

Posted on Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 11:05 pm    

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In the fast-changing world of digital marketing, companies notice quickly (and nervously) when their website pages get “demoted” in Google search rankings. This nervousness is understandable because a high Google ranking is crucial to attracting visitors, subscribers, and ultimately, customers. The stats don’t lie when it comes to digital marketing:

  • The vast majority (87%) of shoppers begin their product searches online.
  • 81% of B2B purchasers search for content before they speak to a vendor.
  • Three out of four Google users never click past the first page of search results.

Today’s search-dependent (and time-strapped) users have to trust Google’s search algorithms to provide the most relevant, authoritative, and well-designed content on page one. Google takes this trust seriously and releases thousands of algorithm changes a year, and several “core updates” to fine-tune its results. A lower ranking following a core update doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve fallen behind in digital marketing, it just means Google has tweaked its product to make it better for users.

Here are some tips for improving or maintaining your site’s ranking when Google makes these core updates to its algorithms.

Focus on Quality Content and Best Practices

Rather than panicking every time your website gets demoted, Google advises companies to focus on the core goal of content marketing and search engine optimization. It’s not about riding the temporary ups and downs that occur naturally whenever there is a core update. At the end of the day, it’s about providing quality content that demonstrates Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (or E-A-T) and doing so on a consistent basis.

In a blog post explaining its latest June 2019 core update, Google compares search engine rankings to an ever-changing list of “best movies”:

“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.”

In other words, a great movie is a great movie is a great movie, even if a greater movie comes along in the future. Likewise in digital marketing, the best practice is always to produce great content that is as good or better than the current top 10 search results. Nobody stays in the top 10 forever; there is always great new content being created.

If your company is consistently producing top-notch content, then you don’t have to be overly concerned when a core update drops you lower in the rankings. Just keep doing what you’re doing by producing content that is fresh and adheres to E-A-T standards.

A digital marketing agency like Cobalt can help make sure you stay ahead of the pack with new content that maintains these best practices and helps shift the ranking order once again — with your company back at the top.

Focus on Brand, Not Just Pages and Content

Not only is content still king in 2019, but the way people consume and engage content has changed dramatically from even a few years ago. Users are more heavily influenced by their social media feeds and are more likely to engage content if they follow a brand on social media. Think of it this way ⁠— you are more likely to stop and chat with someone on the street if you’ve seen them before or know that they have similar interests.

SEO is still vitally important, and an important part of what we do as a digital marketing agency, but ultimately, SEO is a technique for computers and marketers, not for real people. Nobody searches for sneakers or attorneys while thinking about metatags and word counts. This is how digital marketers and search engines think about content, but real people are thinking about content as an extension of the brand.

Does your content make users excited about your brand and products? Is the content informative and well-presented? Does it feel authoritative and make users want to make a purchase or pick up a phone then and there, without looking around for other search results? These are the sorts of questions that help determine how users will engage content and how the search engines will rank websites and webpages going forward. (Google has provided a longer list of questions at its blog to help you adjust content production to ongoing changes to its algorithms).

Google’s core updates and other algorithm changes (in one year the company made 3,200) are evolving along with how users engage content. If your brand shines through your content, then users will keep coming back even if you’re a little lower in the search results. In fact, they’ll seek your brand out apart from Google, follow you on Facebook, and subscribe to your blog updates. SEO will always be important, but brand presence is becoming much more of a factor in your site’s ranking.

Partner with a Digital Marketing Agency for Better Results

There are some things only your company can do, such as defining what your brand stands for and making sure your content is consistent with these values. But the actual mechanics of producing great content on a consistent basis is a full-time job that requires the expertise and resources of a great digital marketing agency.

Google will continue making regular updates to its core search ranking algorithms, and a digital marketing agency can help you stay on top of these. But just as importantly, digital marketers can combine the technical aspects of SEO with the creative aspects of branded content and adhering to best E-A-T practices. Digital marketing is an art and Cobalt is dedicated to helping our clients get to the top of the rankings ⁠— and stay there.

If you are ready to invest in your business’ future by taking the plunge into digital marketing, no one does it better than Cobalt Digital Marketing. Armed with our award-winning Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ, our catalysts have the experience and creative chops needed to keep you ranking high on Google.

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Slam Dunk March Madness Marketing

Posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 4:33 am    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Friday afternoon across the United States there was a resounding chorus of “Ugggg! There goes my bracket!”. The social media channels lit up with posts, tweets, snaps and memes! Even my 9 year old lamented “There goes my Lambourghini!”. How could the numbers have been wrong? How did 15th seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defeat #2 seed Michigan State in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament? It’s March Madness at it’s finest!

For weeks leading up to “The Big Dance”, fans are consumed with analysis of players and teams. There are endless discussions of statistics, game theory and bracketology. Everyone has a theory on how to use the numbers to predict the outcomes. The odds, the overs, the unders, the spread, the best bets, the dark horses, the Cinderella stories…. and in the end 9.2 BILLION DOLLARS will be wagered.

All of this number frenzy is in pursuit of the perfect bracket to win money, prizes and bragging rights. This year, Warren Buffet upped the anti in his company pool to give the winner one million dollars a year for life! The Car Lister Bracket Challenge is offering a new Lamborghini. DraftKings, Yahoo, CBS, ESPN are each offering cash prizes and, of course, everyone wants to dominate the office pool. Truth be told, however, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

[bctt tweet=”The odds of picking a perfect #MarchMadness bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.”]

Upsets like the one on Friday are not uncommon. My family will never forget the 2012 game when 15 seed Lehigh University beat #2 seed Duke University. The big upset was even immortalized in a YouTube video. In 2006, 11th seed George Mason won game after game and shockingly made it to the Final Four! How could these upsets happen? It’s totally inconsistent with what the numbers predicted. The numbers!?!

Perhaps, THIS is the fun of watching March Madness each year? The games are fast and exciting. These basketball teams are comprised of players who are playing the biggest game of their lives or, in many cases, the last game of their basketball career. They play with heart and give 150%. Here we encounter the most important number and the reason why the other numbers aren’t consistent predictors of the outcomes.

This got me thinking about numbers and outcomes. The effectiveness with which numbers CAN predict outcomes in digital marketing is what makes THIS GAME so exciting. In business, however, WE are the teams and consumers pick us. The good news is that we can easily define the selection criteria based on data and then use specifically targeted and placed content to seal the deal.

So let me simplify it in basketball terms. It just takes a little bracketology. Here’s what I would put in my Final Four winning marketing madness data bracket. Measure these and use the data to predict the winning game outcome.

shoot & score

Yes, it is all about conversion, isn’t it? Be the team everyone wants to pick. Consumers in the end will go for the team that will do the most for them. Use your data to outline your company’s Customer MVP. Once you know who your MVPs are you can identify how to best fill their needs, overcome hesitations and be where they are to get them to engage and convert. Slam dunk!
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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