October 17th, 2011.
Findings from Marin Software’s Paid Search Quarterly Benchmarking Report, suggest that if you use one of the new tablets, as opposed to a PC, it’s possible to increase the click through rate on paid ads by more than a third. The research was based on a mapping of how much was spent on paid search by almost a thousand agencies and advertisers across the world, giving a total for all of £1.3 billion.
More than 90% of the annual cost of spending on paid search came from PCs, tablet users spent only 2% and the other 5% cam from smartphone users. The trend tracking was undertaken in the third quarter. According to the report the CTR or click through rate for the ads on tablets was much higher than on PCs. However, when it came to the advertiser’s average CPC or post per click the rate on tablets was 29% less than on smartphones and PCs. The volume of clicks for advertisers with Bing and Yahoo was up 43%, yet there was a drop of 10% in CPC.
The growing use of tablets could mean a shift in advertisers’ strategies for paid search ads, according to Ed Stevenson, the Managing Director of EMEA and APAC for Martin Software He further added may change their strategies for advertising and spending to cope with the shift in browsing habits to things like the iPad. More importantly, advertisers may need to work on device specific programs to improve results. Coincidentally this report was released at the same time as the quarterly report from Google, stating that in the three months finishing the end of September, earnings rose to £6.16bn ($9.72bn), a rise of 33%.
I recently went to a talk on the different forms that e-tailing is taking over and beyond the traditional e-commerce site.
Below is a distilled version of the talk with just the best bits. A lot of these examples are only availabe in the US at the moment but by reading this you are getting ahead of the curve!
(The talk was by the big cheese at Pod1 – Fadi – so credit to him for researching it all)
E-commerce via Apps
Start accepting cash and card payments with Square. No contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs. Effortlessly manage the money you take with an easy and intuitive interface. US only at the moment and only for payments less than $60 but one to watch for sure.
See corporate video
And a review on how it works
Google shopper (Android only)
This APP allows you to scan barcodes, the co
vers of books and media, and even search by voice – the app will tell you where you can buy the same product and at what price. Pretty nifty if it works!
It took 12 months for the location-based social network to attract one million users and by stark contrast; the second million only took three months. Ever since February 2010, the site has been registering over one million ‘check-ins’ a week.
See how it works:
New e-commerce software
Vendr create POP-UP shops – They say that you can create your e-commerce site within 15 minutes. These are basic obviously sites now but I guess they will improve. In any event they will probably do for many home based businesses.
from their site: “Works with your current website: Add a “store” button to your blog or website, and your store will simply pop-up over your content — no more sending your customers elsewhere to make a purchase. Vendr functions as a part of your existing site. ”
Alvenda software allows you to create e-commerce shops within sites such as Facebook – Alvenda’s first customer, 1-800-Flowers.com, launched during the Mother’s Day holiday in 2009 and recognized a 10.5x lift in shopping activity by making it easier for people to shop.
New E-Tailing concepts
Cutting out the middle man – Harnessing the power of social media to revolutionise product manufacture and pricing.
For furtniture design and manufacture: You choose what makes it into our collection. Vote for your favourites and the most popular will be made available to order.
Buy early, pay less
The earlier you buy an air ticket, the less you pay. Now you can do the same with wine. Save £££!
WhipCar is the first service in the world where a car owner can rent out their vehicle for money, whenever they are not using it. WhipCar pairs sensible drivers with spare car time
The format of this year’s conference is tons better than last year. The atmosphere of the Brewery is great, and the food (which is also outstanding) at the break times gives people a chance to talk to each other and network. It has been much easier this year to meet people and talk to other designers.
It’s really hard to choose a favourite speaker because they’re all so great! I think jQuery for Designers is probably going to have the most impact on my day to day work because it has encouraged me to take a new step into jQuery.
The design clinic time was great, and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to designers you really respect. I got some great feedback from Mike Kus, who has to be one of my all time favourite web designers because of his original work.
Definitely had to be font.com’s sponsor slot. Not only were they the ugliest slides of the day, the introduction was dated (we know about using @font-face already) and then followed by a whole sales pitch on why we should all buy their service. It was very amusing to see the tweets coming in during the talk!
Don’t get me wrong, their service is great and no doubt I’ll be using it soon, but the talk and presentation definitely gets labelled the worst, after everything else was so amazing.
More to come tomorrow, but in summary…
(I’ll add links to slideshows and downloads as I get them)
Play. Destroy. Create. from Brendan Dawes
I loved his reference to maths and nature, and seeing how he had turned that into something new. It’s about observing things like the trend of technical stuff to non techy people. Some of the things he was showing was simply play to explore and provoke reactions. He encouraged us to play, have passion and love what we do!
How to Get Started with CSS3 from Dan Cederholm
After doing a lot of CSS3 work already, I wasn’t expecting to get much from this session, but was very pleasantly surprised. I now have a list of things I want to try, tools to use, and new ideas generated from this session. Definitely ideal for people new to CSS3, but still lots of great stuff in there for those of us who have already been using it.
Accessibility in Web Design Robin Christopherson
I’ve seen Robin speak a few times, and each time he has something new and very informative. This time he encouraged mobile versions of websites, as the format of them is also much more accessible. He also encouraged the use of Text Captcha because it’s accessible, free and offers a comprehensive API. You Tube are now also providing automatic captioning on their videos!
Making things usable is not enough – we should also make them enjoyable. Don’t compromise on the base needs for t»he user, but look for ways you can add that extra layer of emotive enjoyment – like the Mailchimp quotes!
UX Masterclass with Web Standardistas Web Standardistas
This flowed on really well from the Emotional Interface Design and looked at the secret for making something that is usable really great. The secret is YOU!
Smart Tips for Wireframing Brad Haynes
As much effort needs to be put into offline follow-up as your website itself. You are the main event of your website, and whether or not you follow up enquiries is a huge reflection on your organisation as a whole.
I like to use a website contact form because they’re quick and easy. It’s not always convienient to pick up the phone, especially when you may be on hold for half an hour.
Lately I have had a couple of enquiries for Camden City Council. Although I get an instant confirmation email (from firstname.lastname@example.org) it includes a disclaimer reading “If you do not hear directly from the team involved within 10 working days you may contact the Central Complaints unit direct on….”
If it was suitable for me to call them then I would have in the first place, but for whatever reason I have chosen to email them, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a reply. I still have not had a proper response from them about my enquiries.
These are just 2 examples; unanswered enquiries happen all the time. It’s so common that you’re probably thinking “Well that’s what you get from filling in an enquiry form.”
But I have huge faith in websites, and I know encouraging contact is the main goal of many sites – so why is this rudeness acceptable and website enquiries go ignored?
Janey at Basically Black is an example of how to do offline follow-through well. We recently did a survey of her customers and almost everyone said how friendly and helpful she had been with choosing sizes, placing orders and managing returns.
It’s no surprise she’s seeing a lot of repeat customers and verbal recommendations – and it’s a shame others are missing the trick.
April 20th, 2009.
A bold statement to make maybe, and a few months ago I would have laughed at anyone making such a claim, but over the past few weeks and months Twitter has evolved into something unique that Google, and indeed no other search engine has managed to achieve.
Lets get one thing straight – Google is still the search engine to beat when it comes to archiving vast quantities of historical information and giving users a simple interface to retrieve this stored data. If you want to find expert reviews of that new LCD TV that you’re thinking of buying, research your homework, find that website that you can’t quite remember the URL of, look for a good cheesecake recipe, and whole host of other search query types, then Google is your first port of call.
However, where Twitter is coming into its own is enabling its users to get real-time access to information from real people.
Three main factors have contributed to Twitters strength in this area and will act as barriers to entry for others,
1. Twitter turns users into publishers – on Twitter people are the key. Everyone using the service is a publisher. Posting information, ideas and facts that effect and relate to them.
2. Achieved a critical mass – over the past few months the enormous growth of the Twitter user base means that with the huge amount of information being published every day by a massive number of users now increase the chances are that someone will have posted on the subject you’re looking for, and if needed you can even contact them directly.
3. Mobility – The concise nature of the service means that it is one of the first web services that is truly suited to use away from the computer and gives people the ability to post and access information on the go.
One of the first examples that brought home the power of the service to me personally was when travelling through London a couple of weeks ago only to experience the usual travel chaos.Â A quick Twitter search on my phone revealed that depressingly there had been a fatality, and the station was unlikely to reopen for some time. With the use of Twitter I was even able to meet up at a bar with some friends who were also stuck in the area, and we then got updated via a Twitter travel service when the station had reopened.
Twitter isn’t just suited to turning miserable Friday evening travel chaos into drinking sessions. Even the major news outlets are waking up to realise the power of the service. During the G20 protests in London, Sky News, who were the first to announce a dedicated Twitter correspondent, dispatched three ‘Twitter reporters’ into the area who were tasked with reporting up to the minute news via their Tweets and the use of Twitpic for images. While following the progress of the events on both TV and the major news corporations websites, I increasingly found that is was Twitter search that was providing information far in advance and in many cases in more detail than was being provided though traditional sources.
It’s not just real-time national and local news where Twitter gives access to information that other search engines don’t. It’s also a great resource for “real peoples” product and service experiences. People are now far more likely to Tweet about their opinions on purchases than they are to blog about them or add their views to a reviews website. Consumer electronics, airlines, hotels and internet services companies have all been on the good and bad side of Twitter publicity. An added dimension is given by the ability for these companies to contact their users directly.
With user growth and usage being directly proportional to the volume of information continued growth can only mean increasing the services usefulness as a search engine.
Mainstream media has been among the first industries to wake-up to the potential of Twitter, and on the whole have embraced it as an additional news channel.
So what is next for Twitter? I can see their real-time search results taking on additional dimensions, perhaps some form of relevance ranking, additional sorting options and further integration to tie it more securely to the service. Monetisation of these search results is probably not too far away
Apparently there is a recession.
The media will have it that the world is in meltdown and that it’s armageddon out there.Â
Woolies, MFI and Adams have gone to the wall.Â Well honestly, I am not surprised.Â Woolworths and MFI were awful businesses stuck in a time warp and deserved to die.Â They were slothful and easily out done by more dynamic competitors.Â MFI have done nothing in the last 20 years to dispel their brand image of producing low quality, dated furniture.Â Â Woolworths were kidding themselves if they thought that people actually enjoyed entering their shops.Â They may have been cheap but even the bargain hunters appreciate clean, well presented shops.Â I never went into Adams but they looked pretty dated even though they were relatively new.
Other companies are retracting as well.Â Marks and Spencer are closing some food halls but so what.Â They had over expanded in the good times.Â The fact that they are closing a few poorly performing shops isn’t the death knell.Â It’s just a little tightening following a gluttonous expansion.Â And maybe it means that the consumer, who is a little more careful these days would prefer not to pay an excessive premium for nearÂ identical products being sold next door.Â
The care free spending attitude has changed and retailers need to adapt, but it doesn’t mean that people won’t spend money if the product is well priced and well presented.
This all reminds me of a previous hullabaloo in 2000 when the .com bubble burst.Â The world’s press then tried to write off the whole Internet as a busted flush, when in fact there were many businesses doing very nicely online thank you.Â It was only the news grabbers who had borrowed millions to set up spurious, hubristic .com world beating websites that failed to succeed.Â They were poorly thought out businesses and poorly executed.Â They too deserved to die.Â There were many smaller, prudent businesses making a decent return throughout this period.
So, as before and as now there may be some troubled waters but there is no reason for retailers to panic.Â (Though for bricks and mortar businesses, they need to renegotiate their exorbitant rents with their landlords).Â This is especially true online.Â People still have money and they would prefer to spend it online. Anecdotal and personal experience shows that online sales on most websites are growing.Â Latest sales figures from those retailers that have reported on Christmas sales also supports this:
John Lewis – online sales up by 27%
House of Fraser – online sales increase of 150%Â (1.7 million visitors over Christmas period)
M&S – online sales up by 29% (although down 7.1% overall)
Ocado – up 97%
Sainsburys – online sales up 27%
Thorntons – online sales up 25%
Next Direct – up 1.1% increase since last year
Aldi visitor traffic up 64% year on year
Play.com Sales up 20%
Our own clients at Datadial have also reported record online sales.Â
The big question for these retailers is how to return to charging full value for their products and services and to get away from the omni present discounting.Â This is the subject of my following blog.