Let’s Face It: Negative Reviews Drive Customers Away

Let’s Face It: Negative Reviews Drive Customers Away

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 at 9:21 pm    

Negative reviews: If you’ve been in business long enough, chances are you probably have one. No big deal or is it? While the impact of one or two negative reviews can be minute, a handful of negative reviews can hurt your site and your Google ranking.

In a nutshell, your negative reviews have the potential to drive customers away.

Alarming Algorithms

Google has over 200 factors that govern how it ranks websites, everything from being mobile-ready to how fast your website loads. An abundance of negative review information, on the other hand, is likely to cause Google’s algorithms to pick up all of that negative feedback.

In fact, in what is known as the Décor My Eyes situation from as far back as 10 years ago, Google has used legitimate negative reviews as a means to rank businesses. Therefore, if you have a handful of negative reviews, that can alarm Google’s algorithm in your search engine results page (SERP).

As a result, lots of negative reviews drive potential customers away from your business because they won’t ever see you on the first SERP after they have searched for keywords related to your business, product, or services provided. If customers can’t find your business online, you are throwing away a viable source of revenue. In this day and age, you can’t afford not to do business online, and knowing the influence of negative reviews keeps you ahead of the competition.

A recent study conducted by Moz found that it only took one negative review of their product or service for a business to lose around 22 percent of interested customers. As you acquire more negative reviews, the chance of losing more customers goes up further. For instance, three negative reviews can result in 59.2 percent loss in customers, and four negative reviews increasing the percentage of lost customers to 70 percent.

While the basis of how Google’s algorithm works is not an exact science, it is no secret that ratings based on reviews affect your Google ranking. And when it comes to negative reviews, Google is going to try to push customers to those businesses who are rating well.

 Be Proactive

All is not lost. A great way to deal with customer assessments is to become proactive when responding to reviews, both positive and negative. The importance of your online reputation cannot be underscored.

Even if we weren’t susceptible to the way Google ranks our business pages, we want to show potential customers that we are proactive in not only thanking customers for their kind words but alleviating and addressing any of our dissatisfied customers’ concerns as well. That’s just good business that should be rewarded as excellent customer service is key to a business’ survival.

Here is a quick checklist on how to be proactive when responding to reviews:

  1. If you feel that a customer is experiencing a negative situation with your business, try and resolve the issue before it ever goes online. Being apologetic and empathizing with customers can go a long way towards making a compromise.
  2. Respond to reviews as quickly as possible. Develop a strategy as to how you will respond to all reviews. Customers love businesses that rely on swift and thorough communication for problem-solving.
  3. Take your conversation offline. After responding to the initial negative review, ask the customer if they can send you a direct message so that you can try to fix the problem without other potential customers getting a glimpse of your bargaining power.
  4. Encourage customers who have had positive experiences to leave you a review! Your tenured customers will more than likely be happy to go to bat for you and give a quick assessment of just how awesome you and your business are.

 

If you need a digital marketing agency that understands the nuances of online reviews and reputation management, reach out to Cobalt Digital Marketing today.

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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™. 

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The Scoop on Facebook’s Free Service Aimed to Help Businesses Suffering From COVID-19

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 at 2:51 pm    

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As states slowly begin to open, local businesses are still faced with many obstacles to overcome. After being closed due to shelter in place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are scrambling to get back into the good graces of shoppers with real questions at the back of their minds:
Will my customers come back? How do I sell my inventory when customers aren’t coming to my business?

How do I recover from this?

Needless to say, it can be a nerve-wracking time for any business owner worried about what the future has in store for them, and while not every business has the ability to open to full capacity and operation today, they now have a glimmer of hope in how to sell their product, and this very familiar hope is someplace where consumers spend a lot of their time: Facebook and Instagram.

Digital relief is on the way, courtesy of the biggest of the social media giants. Facebook is launching a new eCommerce service called Facebook Shops that will help turn local business profiles into digital storefronts. You will finally be able to get your products in front of consumers even if you haven’t had the chance to open your store yet, and today, we are going to tell you how.

Source: Plunge in Retail Sales as COVID-19 Spreads

But First, A Little Context to Facebook’s Decision

Facebook, along with the Small Business Roundtable, recently reported that a third of small businesses across the country have stopped operating altogether, signifying how the pandemic has been especially hard for small companies. The survey also reported that an additional 11 percent of those surveyed expressed that their business could go under within the next three months if the pandemic continues.

Despite this terrible news, the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders have resulted in record sales for eCommerce companies, prompting many companies to make the move to become digital entities. As more and more consumers shift to buy products and services online, it would be imperative that your company also follow suit if it hasn’t done so already.

Facebook understands this and believes that helping local small businesses remain relevant online will help them stay afloat. There are currently more than 160 million small businesses using the company’s apps, and if you’re not utilizing Facebook as a way to sell your products, you’re missing out on many potential sales.

Introducing Facebook Shops

The Facebook Shops tool is designed to help small businesses set up shop on the site and sell products across their apps, even Instagram. On Facebook, if a customer visits your shop, they will be able to see your business story, your featured products, and buy those products in their apps.

Facebook Shops will team up with big-name eCommerce entities like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics, with the objective to turn the new platform into a top-tier shopping destination that provides a welcomed relief to business owners that suffer from the concerns that current small businesses are now facing during the pandemic: low sales and few customers.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that they decided to do this as a means to help small businesses stay relevant amidst so much turmoil because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs,” Zuckerberg said. “I’ve been personally working with our teams on Facebook Shops every day for the last couple of months so we could accelerate launching it to small businesses who could use tools like this now.”

With Facebook and Instagram expanding their eCommerce services, this platform will be a godsend to small businesses that are aiming to rebuild as the pandemic continues to shape the way we live our lives. By opting in to this free service, even if stores or restaurants have yet to open up completely, customers will still be able to order products online where they can later be shipped, and many small businesses that have never moved their product online will have easy access to do so for the first time.

So just how exactly does it work?

Facebook Shops will have an organic theme built for speed, utilizing an available network of tools that manage the customers’ shopping experience from beginning to end while empowering business owners to decide what level of integration they choose.

“On top of that, we’re building a bunch of features across our apps to help people discover things from small businesses that they might want to buy,” Zuckerberg stated. “We’re building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where you can find and buy products you might be interested in. Soon, we’ll also be launching new live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow you to shop on live in real-time.”

Looking Into the Future  

While Facebook Shops will use artificial intelligence to improve consumers’ experience, eventually augmented reality technology will enhance how users will shop on the platform. In addition, Facebook will automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click through to purchase when they find things they like.

“Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room,” Zuckerberg said in his post.

Couple this daring move with Google offering free product listings in search results as a digital commerce lifeline for both merchants and consumers and you’ve got something that shows a trend in how big tech companies will be stepping up to help small businesses stay relevant. Now, two of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the world are connecting your website and products online to help you reach consumers.

What does this all mean? In the big picture, both Facebook and Google are realizing that more customers will continue to not only spend more time online but also do more shopping there as well. 

If harnessed correctly, your small business will have effective tools to help you serve your customers moving forward while attracting new customers as well. If you haven’t done so already, you can start building your online presence across Facebook and Instagram and use their Messenger and WhatsApp tools to communicate with your customers regarding specific business changes due to the pandemic or any particular sales that may be available.

Using Google in conjunction will only enhance what you’re doing on the Facebook end. You’ll now have the ability to reach new customers through ads on social media and best of all, set up an online store experience even if your physical storefront is still closed. These tools are currently open for business and will help you position your company as more and more customers get used to the notion of shopping online.

This graph created by SEMrush details several retailers’ traffic spikes during the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak. Source: semrush.com

Opting Into the Service

Facebook Shops can be accessed on the business side of your Facebook and Instagram profiles. Signing up for the service is simple and quick, and it allows you to capture the essence of your brand, down to the color optimization, cover image, and what products you want to feature.

What is important, however, is that you have a Facebook and/or Instagram account for your business in place, as customers can access your shop via your business page or profile. Customers can also find you via your Facebook Stories and any ads that you may be running as well.

Once your page is all optimized as you see fit, customers can peruse through your entire selection, choose what they want to purchase or save it for later, and order it straight from the Facebook or Instagram Shops page–if your business has enabled checkout in the United States–or be routed to your website to make a purchase there.

If your customer has a certain question regarding one of your wares, they can use Facebook Shops to reach you via WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct for support. Later on, a customer can use these services to make a purchase directly from you.

Make the Most Out of These Uncertain Times

Nothing is more important nowadays than helping out your fellow neighbor, and at Cobalt Digital Marketing, all we want is to just pay it forward to a community that has helped us become the marketing agency that we are today.

When times are hard, good deeds don’t go by unnoticed, and the fact that these tech giants are using their power and resources to help give small businesses a chance at surviving through these unprecedented times is something that we are grateful for.

However, staying up to date with SEO and Google ranking can be a full-time job on its own, so aligning yourself with a digital marketing company that has proven knowledge in converting leads into sales could help take this burden off of your shoulders.

The Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can help maximize your business’ online presence via Facebook, Instagram, Google’s SERP, and Google My Business.

 

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Source: cnbc.com, Semrush.com

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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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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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Don’t Let Bad Digital Ads Eat Up Your Budget: What You Need to Know About PPC

Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2019 at 2:12 am    

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most effective methods for promoting your company’s products and services online. 

At its heart, pay-per-click advertising in one of the fundamental tools needed to get to the top of Google’s search results. By strategically bidding on the proper keywords, you can see substantial traffic to your website from individuals looking for the specific product or service your PPC ad is promoting.

Not sure what the best strategies are for making your PPC ad effective? Worried about spending exorbitant amounts of budget and not reaping any benefits in return? Or do you simply have no idea what PPC can do for your business? Look no further than the good folks at Cobalt Digital Marketing give you a rundown on PPC ads and how they can be a vital element of your digital marketing strategy. 

How Pay-Per-Click Advertising and Digital Marketing Connect

Where PPC gets difficult is in choosing the right keywords, testing the effectiveness of different versions of your ad, and maximizing your budget so that your ad gets the most conversions at the lowest cost. Doing all of this effectively requires an understanding of both your target audience and the digital tools they use to search for products, services, or information.

Thankfully, our agency developed the Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ to ensure that each client we work with has a strategic process for developing a keyword strategy that helps drive their search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. 

Not only does the Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ help make our clients’ PPC ads more effective — leading to higher conversions and more sales — but it also helps them use digital tools such as AdWords in a much more strategic way to maximize their ad spend.

Here are a few key areas to focus on to improve your company’s pay-per-click advertising.

1. Develop a Keyword Strategy

Depending on the industry you’re in, there can be heavy competition for certain keywords that you’ll want to target via PPC. Generally speaking, the more generic the keyword then the higher the competition and the higher the cost-per-click. The different types of keywords range from commercial keywords that will attract high-intent buyers who are ready to buy, to keywords that attract low-intent buyers but which can be used as part of a remarketing strategy beyond the immediate search.

Developing a keyword strategy is about knowing your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. If you are an industrial machine manufacturer, for example, you have a much smaller audience than a smartphone manufacturer. In that case, the keywords you choose might get more eyeballs with a generic keyword, but you might get more actual conversions with a more specific long-tail keyword that is sure to attract your target audience.

You can use a keyword generator or other keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush to help with your keyword research and discovery process. These tools can help you compare different keywords, their search volume, and provide other competitive information such as opportunity score. What’s most important is that you prioritize the keywords you are searching for and thinking strategically about which keywords will get the most conversions at the lowest cost. 

If you need support with this, the Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ helps you do all of this in an integrated way guided by a well-thought-out keyword strategy.

2. A/B Testing Your Pay-Per-Click Ads

Because there are so many variables in search results, it is important to have different versions of your ad copy and to test different combinations. For example, switching different headlines with different bodies of the text. At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping track of results and making adjustments to your keywords based on those results.

The goal of any keyword campaign is to turn clicks into conversions. You may notice that some ads get lots of clicks and few conversions, and vice versa. A/B testing will help you identify the specific problem, whether it is with the ad copy itself or maybe the keyword you chose is simply not attracting the right audience. Results are not always clear-cut, so it is important to use A/B testing as an ongoing best practice to keep your pay-per-click ads effective.

3. Focus on Google’s Quality Score

Google uses complex algorithms that manage the keyword bidding process and Quality Score is one of the most important metrics to note. Basically, Quality Score is how Google rates the quality and relevance of your keywords and pay-per-click campaigns. A higher Quality Score means you will pay a lower cost-per-click and also will be ranked higher in the ad auction, which means your ad will be seen by more people.

As we said above, it’s not only important to know your audience but to know the digital tools they are using to search for products, services, and information. Google is by far the most commonly used tool for those purposes and it’s vital that you understand how its keyword system works to ensure a high Quality Score and effective pay-per-click campaigns. The more relevant you are with your keywords and ad copy, the more you will be rewarded by Google.

Cobalt Digital Marketing: Make It “Snow” This Holiday Season with PPC Ads

Search engine marketing and specifically – Google’s pay-per-click advertising system – is one of the most effective tools any company has in promoting its products and services digitally. Good SEM strategies depend on keyword strategies as the “engine” that narrows down your audience gets your ad to the right people at the right time. 

The Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ is a complete approach to digital marketing that gets the most out of your keyword campaigns and helps you get more results while maximizing your ad spend.

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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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Surprise! Google Algorithm Updates Are Shaking Things Up.

Posted on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 at 12:48 pm    

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Whenever Google rolls out with a core update to its search algorithm, it’s usually a big deal for businesses, institutions, and digital marketers alike. As per usual, however, mum’s the word regarding a recent update to their search algorithm or how it might ultimately affect search engine optimization (SEO).

Usually, that’s for us catalysts to find out.

Our McAllen digital marketers at Cobalt Digital Marketing have put their heads together, using expert Google skills, a little elbow grease, and some good, old fashioned SEO know-how to find any insight on this sudden update. Staying on top of the SEO game is so important to your ranking on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) to prevent catastrophic consequences to your web presence and, ultimately, your business’ bottom line.

Unofficially Dubbed the “Turkey” Update

For the better part of the last month, what started as a few whispers of an “unconfirmed November update” within dark corners of SEO forums eventually turned into a tweetstorm of discussion within the SEO community.

Many marketers, web developers, and business owners noticed unusual shifts when their traffic numbers took a drastic drop in ranking and expressed their concerns. Within these observations, this update only seemed to affect smaller U.S. based websites, and the ones that took a significant hit revolved around the food, travel, health, and lifestyle blogs respectively.

As for Google themselves, it took them a few days to officially put out a statement via Twitter thread. While they did not specify what changes were made to their algorithm, they simply stated that these kinds of “routine” updates happen on a regular basis–which of course they do–and that if there is no major announcement prior, website owners should not have to prepare for anything in terms of adjustments.

Google’s Recommendations For SEO 

As mentioned, any update Google makes is a big deal, especially if it’s in distributed as a curveball.

Since three out of four Google users do not go past the first results page when looking for a specific topic or service, local businesses and institutions heavily depend on digital marketers and SEO experts to place their website on the first search engine results page (SERP).

With that said, Google has previously panned out a number of suggestions for SEO specialists and website owners if their pages were affected at any given point due to an update:

1. Original, Accurate, and Relevant Content Is Key – One of the main things Google has emphasized to its users is to ultimately focus more on creating the most relevant, accurate, and original content that best pertains to what the user is looking for, rather than just focusing on keywords.

While keywords are important, however, your webpage should also focus on precision and consistency with the information being distributed. Users expect to find credible content when they search, so ultimately running a trustworthy and reliable page would, over time, benefits your business, raising you to the top of the SERP as more people visit your website and trusts you as an authority in your particular niche.

2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize – As mobile technology grows in popularity, it is absolutely necessary for digital marketing to adapt. This means keeping page load times short (often by compressing images), optimizing your site to be mobile-friendly (able to be viewed and formatted for smartphone or tablet users), and giving your content that sleek visual while addressing the walls of text.

3. Compare With the Competition – While nobody likes to think about what their competitors are doing, analyzing the successes and failures can give you crucial insight necessary to implement a digital marketing strategy that can work, giving you a better edge in building revenue for your business.

The Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ Means Adaptability in a Volatile Environment

Our McAllen digital marketers of Cobalt Digital Marketing are always one step ahead of the game as we are always constantly watching out for curveballs that might be thrown at the SEO community.

Our dedicated catalysts strive to build lasting brands from the ground up, designed to ultimately increase your online audience engagement and sales through our successfully proven and award-winning Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Our catalysts are renowned for their attention to SEO updates. So much so that our Cobalt Lab helps other digital marketing companies create content that complies with these SEO updates so that they retain happy clients.

Not only can we create a custom-made formula based on what your goals are for your company or business, but our new service, Cobalt Alpha, can easily help business owners, freelancers, or other creatives build a sleek, professional website all on their own with all the tools you need in a manner of seconds.

 

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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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