[Video]: Taking Control of Your Presence on Google

The Building Blocks of Local Search

There is a growing number of consumers turning to online search to find local business information. And, with the rise of connected mobile devices allowing consumers to search on-the-go, this trend is only going accelerate. For multi-location brands and local businesses, local search results are a great an opportunity to connect with a massive audience of interested consumers.

Watch our video to learn how you can optimize your brand for local search.



Related content: 5 steps to optimize your brand’s presence for local searches on Google

A Look at Paid Search Advertising in the Era of Voice Search

Have you had the pleasure of listening to your friends or coworkers shout commands into Amazon’s Echo device powered by Alexa yet?

“Alexa, play Passionfruit by Drake.”

Even if you don’t own an Alexa-enabled device, chances are you’ve heard similar commands. Maybe you’ve even heard the word “Alexa” so much that you can’t bear to hear it again.

Whatever the case, we’re now in the middle of an era where voice search has become a reality. Digital assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are completely changing the way we search.

The benefits of voice search are tangible and easy to see, but what does the rise of voice search mean for brands and advertisers? Or, more specifically, how will marketers need to adapt to create ads in the era of voice search?

Natural Language Processing has transformed search

With the advent of better Natural Language Processing (NLP)  – technology able to recognize conversational language – marketers are faced with an interesting quandary: Produce relevant results, or get left behind.

The evolution of NLP has made it so that searchers are no longer bound by a keyboard, but rather, are able to articulate exactly what they’re looking for without having to repeat specific words to get the results they need.

And it’s only going to evolve more and more. By 2021, it’s estimated that close to two billion people worldwide will be actively using digital assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant.

Just think of where we’re already at with voice search and the devices they power:

  • Voice-activated remotes like Roku and Comcast
  • Voice-activated assistants like Cortana in Nissan vehicles
  • Voice-activated Google searches on mobile phones

This trend is only going to continue. Expect more and more internet of things (IoT) integration into our lives, especially when driverless cars start becoming more ubiquitous.

The current state of paid search

As marketers, we’re well-versed in how paid search ads operate — we create ads that entice people to click on them and, hopefully, convert. Generally, we know there are two specific things we can work on to improve ads if they’re not converting – revising ad copy and updating images. The general structure of text ads hasn’t changed for years. The specific mechanisms (radio, billboards, TV, internet, etc.) may have changed a great deal, but the format basically stayed the same… until now.

Incorporating ads into voice search

“Marketers need to think about screenless advertising and playing in a world where they can create closer connections because customers are actually speaking to [the company].”

Amazon has already been pushing customers to use Alexa to make purchases with voice commands. This push aligns with the direction Amazon has been moving in for awhile – trying to remove every barrier standing between their customers and a purchase (think of those Dash buttons that you simply need to push a button to place an order).

What role will ads play in this type of purchase flow?

Using Amazon’s Alexa as a model, let’s try and establish what future voice search ads might look like.

The most obvious difference between voice search and conventional search engines is that users won’t always be able to see search results, which may act as a barrier to conversion. (Note: Amazon recently unveiled the Echo Show, which provides a 7-inch touchscreen as part of its offering. That way, you have all the same flexibility you have with the voice search, but a visual component as well.)

When a consumer performs a voice search, the command is probably going to be more specific, and more conversational, since we can’t instantly see what the ad says to confirm before purchase. So, in order to effectively serve ads that match searcher’s voice commands, marketers need craft ads that reflect the change in search behavior.

How do we do that?

Companies like Microsoft are already betting on a future of “screenless advertising” by shifting their focus from making ads that are just visually appealing to users.

“While that effort and quest isn’t going to go away, screenless advertising will be an important complement to this, as people and consumers start speaking to their personal assistants in a variety of physical environments, but mostly while they are on the go,” said Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft’s VP of Advertising Sales and Marketing, in an interview with AdExchanger.

“Marketers need to think about screenless advertising and playing in a world where they can create closer connections because customers are actually speaking to [the company].”

Where do we go from here?

For marketers, this is an exciting shift, because it allows us to deliver more relevant messages and offers to our customers. Instead of using lots of text to produce ads that might not produce conversions, we can begin to shift towards creating ads that produce meaningful connections to our customers and give them the things that they’re looking for.

Ultimately, that’s how we can embrace voice search as a means of delivering exactly what our customers want.

[Guide]: 5 Steps to Optimize Your Brand’s Presence for Local Searches on Google

Helping Businesses Connect with Local Consumers

A guide for optimizing your brand’s presence in Google search results

On average, Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches globally every day. And, thanks to smartphones and other connected mobile devices, consumers are able to conduct these searches from anywhere. This guide offers some useful tips to help businesses connect with the consumers conducting these searches.

Related: [VIDEO]: Taking control of your presence on Google


The obvious benefit of searching from a smartphone is the ability to find anything, from anywhere, at anytime… This provides local businesses with a great opportunity to connect with local consumers. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Local search is a highly-competitive market with result pages fractured between map listings, web results and paid ads.

Download our guide and learn how to dominate Google’s search results by:

  • Optimizing Google local profiles
  • Managing local listings and citations
  • Optimizing websites for local search
  • Implementing inbound marketing efforts
  • Monitoring your company’s online reviews

A guide for optimizing your brand’s presence in Google search results

Reaching Millennials with Digital Advertising

A Throwback Top Stats of the Week

In our May 2015 edition, we examined how Millennials consume digital media and provided a few solutions to help advertisers reach young adults.

Defining “Millennial”

It can be difficult to accurately describe the term “millennial.” The tangible parameters are easy enough to define – a millennial is generally considered an individual born from 1980 to 1997, roughly between the age of 18 and 35. But the phrase has evolved to symbolize much more than that. Millennial has become a buzzword rife with less-than-favorable connotations, a stereotype for a generation that hates stereotypes.

At 28 years old I’m one of the maligned generation’s middle children. And I’m OK with that for the most part. As a digital marketer, part of my job is understanding different audiences, and the numbers show my generation is far more complex than the stereotypes suggest.

According to NPR, the millennial generation is the largest in the U.S., making up 28.7 percent of the population (baby boomers are second at 23.7 percent); it’s also the most diverse (43 percent nonwhite), the most educated (34 percent with at least a bachelor’s degree) and the most independent (average age of first marriage – 27 years for women, 29 for men vs. 20 and 23 in 1960, respectively).

The Digital Generation

If millennials do have a defining characteristic, it’s the distinction of being the first digital-native generation. Comprised of millions of young adults who grew up with the Internet, millennials are more comfortable handling a smartphone than a pencil and a pad of paper. Millennials spend so much time with devices that 68 percent report suffering from “digital eye strain.” Our obsession with all things digital is causing us to go blind, and it’s like we don’t even care…

#1: 85 Percent of Millennials Own a Smartphone

One of the reasons millennials spend so much time squinting at digital devices is the fact we have one on us at all times. Smartphone usage among millennials is the highest of any demographic or sub-demographic in the U.S., according to a study by the Pew Research Center. And millennials (classified as ages 18-29 in the Pew study) use their phones for a variety of tasks:

  • More than 90 percent access social media sites
  • Three-fourths watch digital video
  • Almost two-thirds listen to music or podcasts

Mobile advertising solutions are particularly appealing for brands looking to attract younger adults. Brands can reach millennials with mobile search ads, display ads on mobile websites, in-app ads, etc.

#2: 83 Percent of Millennials Have a Facebook Account

Of the 90 percent of millennials who use their phones to access social media, the majority are probably logging on to check Facebook. As shown on the included chart, Facebook usage is high among millennials across all sub-demographics, according to research from Harvard University.

This consistency makes Facebook an ideal platform for brands to place ads with broad appeal. But for products with more precise appeal, brands may want to target sub-demographics on other social platforms. Let’s look at a real-life example: Kraft Foods became one of the first brands to advertise on Pinterest when they started running promoted pins in 2014. The company wanted to focus on younger, adult women and was promoting food products requiring visually appealing ad creatives.

Kraft chose Pinterest because it provided a more targeted audience and was well-suited for sharing food tips and recipes. Kraft said they were able to reach women ages 25 to 34 more effectively, noting most were inexperienced cooks who wanted to learn by using their recipes.

#3: 70 Percent of Millennials Prefer to Use Search Engines to Research Products

Search engines are far and away the most popular method for U.S. millennials to research products and price compare, according to a 2015 study conducted by The Media Insight Project.

Another study by Principal Financial Group looked at what channel millennials (ages 25-34) prefer to use when researching specific verticals. Search engines were the preferred method to look up information on each vertical, including insurance companies, retail stores and financial institutions.

Paid ads on major search engines like Google and Bing are an effective way to target the millennials conducting these searches. In verticals like retail and financial institutions, searches are often conducted with local intent, meaning the searcher wants to find a nearby location. Advertisers can take advantage of these ready-to-convert customers by developing hyper-local paid search campaigns.