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SnapHawk Blog

SnapHawk believes that an informed client makes better decisions. In the ever evolving world of digital marketing, it takes serious effort to stay on top. Here at the SnapHawk blog, you'll find updates on the latest developments in digital marketing and tech trends so you that you can stay connected and informed about important issues that impact your business.

Viewing entries tagged Google

Fear of Change in Social Media

Running Scared?

To be blunt: Facebook users cannot bear to leave the site after years of commitment. I find the recent major changes just as annoying as the next person but we learn to adjust and adapt because we can’t imagine actually erasing the history contained within one account. Many may threaten to shut down their accounts but when the mouse hovers above the “delete account” button and the site asks “Are you sure you want to delete your account?” they just can’t seem to follow through.

Hulu giving competition run for their money in streaming video businessThe masterminds behind increasing Hulu’s paid subscribers should give themselves a pat on the back. Reaching their goal of 1 million users 3 months ahead of the predicted target date says a lot about Hulu’s marketing and business strategy.

After taking a look at Hulu’s strategy and successes I wanted to point out a few aspects of their strategy that we at SnapHawk believe exemplify an effective marketing strategy aimed at targeting key audiences and listening to customers.

Google has rolled out a new preview function for organic search results which allows users to view a portion of the landing page without actually visiting the website; they simply need to click the magnifying glass icon next to the search link.  The preview tool highlights text related to the user’s search input, making it easier for a user to quickly compare search results and decide which page looks most useful. The new feature will undoubtedly affect website traffic, but whether for better or worse is a matter of debate.

Internet experts have long tailored search results to individuals based on previous user data.  Google’s newest search feature one-ups that technology by attempting to predict what a user wants before he even finishes his query; in essence, Google Instant attempts to read his mind.

Google Instant constantly searches as the user types his query, providing results even before he finishes a word.  Clicking “search” and pressing enter are no longer necessary with this time-saving tech tool.

Do I have your attention? Stand out like a purple cow.A lot can be learned from successful author, marketer and blogger, Seth Godin.  One of Godin’s key points throughout his written work and in his blog post topics is that the best way to market a product is to generate buzz.  Often times this buzz is generated through word-of-mouth where friends spread the word to other friends, inherently building a trust factor into the marketing surrounding an idea or consumer good.

Marketing and advertising have traditionally been known to interrupt us during activities we would prefer to do more than watch an ad.  Commercials on TV, pop-up ads on the Internet, and distracting billboards on the highway all tend to get in the way of our everyday lives, leading us to ignore and disregard them at any opportunity.

Choosing the right keywords is the key to SEM success.One of the crucial fundamentals to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is implementing an effective strategy for optimizing your keywords.  An effective keyword strategy will help your Web site appear near the top of the results page when your potential customers are searching for a product or service that you can provide.  Here are five basic keyword strategies that will have a huge impact in helping potential customers find your Web site when they need to.

1)    Use Google’s Keyword Tool. This tool allows you to analyze competition and get an idea of the cost-per-click (CPC).  It also gives you the opportunity to find highly-searched keywords or phrases that have little competition.

iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android smartphonesIn the past year or so, the world of gadgets, devices and consumer technology products has expanded and astonished shoppers around the world. Time and time again we learn that technology keeps advancing faster and doing more exciting things than ever.  Here’s a quick look at the coolest, most revolutionary products to hit the market in recent memory:

Smartphones that are even smarter. We all know it: smartphones have been on the market for a while now.  But there’s no doubt their presence is growing, and they’re getting more advanced every day.  Touch screens are becoming the norm, and there are over 70,000 “apps” available in the Android Market and 200,000 available in Apple’s App Store which can do pretty much anything you could want or imagine (within reason).  Now that 23% of all mobile subscribers have a smartphone, people are using these devices more and more for Internet searching and browsing.  And even though Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android are getting most of the buzz, RIM’s BlackBerry is still the U.S. market leader.  The growth of the market size and fierce competition leave us with no doubt that smartphones will be hot gadgets for a long time.

Apple and Google are two companies that specialize in innovation.There’s a quote by Czech author Milan Kundera that I’m fond of.  He states, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”  While this assertion is easier said than done, it’s certainly a powerful idea that can help us understand what it is that generates customers for a business.  To delve a little deeper, let’s look at some examples of companies that truly take this idea to heart.

To start with, innovation is what moves businesses forward.  If you don’t innovate, you’ll get left in the dust.  Google has made a living off coming up with the newest, coolest technology that consistently meets its customers’ needs.  Apple, too, is infamous for coming out with innovative, high-tech products so sleek and user-friendly that some people go fanatic over them.  On the other hand, Blockbuster is a business which is failing because of its inability to innovate.  Once the leading video rental store in the country, Blockbuster failed to adapt to new technology, and as a result, has seriously struggled to compete with newer companies such as Netflix and Redbox.  Now Blockbuster is close to bankruptcy.

Search Engine Marketing

Think how your behavior has changed. Looking up a telephone number... Yellow Pages, online search, or mobile phone? The Yellow Pages hard copy is significantly smaller than it was even 2 years ago. Need information about a customer or a competitor. Where do you go? Shopping for a product or service. Where do you go?

The shift has happened from offline marketing to online marketing. Newspapers, television, radio and magazines have lost substantial segments of their audiences. Consumers and businesses have shifted their behavior from traditional offline to online and this shift will continue at a rapid pace...

Bing Homepage ImageEver since Google began dominating the search engine market, many up-and-coming search engines have come and gone.  But as far as we can remember, none have stormed the market with as much vigor as Microsoft’s Bing has in this past year.  In fact, Bing’s driving force seems largely to compete with Google to be the world’s largest and most popular search engine—a bold move to say the least.

Right from the get-go, Microsoft made clear intentions it wanted to make a huge push in the search engine market when it decided to rebrand its current Live Search.  On June 1, 2009, Microsoft launched Bing, and announced that they would spend between $80 million and $100 million on a marketing campaign for its latest search engine.  So far it seems to have been a fairly successful strategy, as Bing grew its US search engine market share to 13%, putting it in 3rd place just slightly behind Yahoo!.  With the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal already finalized and in transition, Bing will soon power Yahoo! Search making it, at last, a viable competitor with Google.  That would give Bing a 26% market share compared to Google’s 65%, though with Bing’s current pace of growth, a market share of 33% is very possible in the near future.  Bing’s growing market share is especially important to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) professionals, as a competitive market may mean lower prices for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, leading to a greater number of businesses adding SEM to their advertising model.

Have you ever thought about the way your office space motivates workers, promotes their creativity, or increases productivity? Twitter reinforces their bird-centric branding with designs like the one at left, and we’ve all heard of extraordinary work facilities like the GooglePlex, Facebook’s HQ, or Pixar’s campus which have revolutionized the definition for “cubicle.” Now game rooms, cafeterias, work out centers, colorful paint and super-shiny and sleek furniture are part of the mix. And don’t forget Red Bull London’s office with an enormous slide for traveling between floors. Now that’s introducing a playful vibe into the workplace!

Talk about taking branding to a whole new level. Do you think your mind would gravitate more strongly toward your company’s unique qualities, vision and overall marketing strategy if you were surrounded by physical reminders throughout your day?

Perhaps you’re not ready to make the plunge toward a totally-futuristic office design, but you want to incorporate something a little new and funky. Check out these wild and off the wall products for introducing a little zaniness into your space. You never know: it may spark more imagination than you expect!

AnalyticsThe analytic capability now possible for measuring online behavior is astounding, and it’s only going to get better.  Amazingly, we are only in the infancy period of what is actually going to be feasible with website analytics in the future.  Even now, analytics enables smart business decisions and advertising that is more relevant, targeted, and cost efficient than anything in marketing history.  With all of the powerful tools available, though, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of data that’s out there. 

Mark Jeffery’s Data-Driven Marketing gives techniques to simplify this abundant data with 15 metrics.  Five of these easy-to-understand metrics are directly related to search engine marketing (SEM), and can help you determine which strategies are effective and which are allowing you to lose money.  Of course there are other metrics out there, but Jeffery’s are important to consider in the ongoing evolution of website analytics, and are relatively simple and easy to apply.   Below is a brief overview of how each metric can work for you.

Where will search engine optimization be ten years from now?Whether you’re new to SEO or you’ve been dealing white-hat strategy for awhile now, you’re probably curious about where online marketing is headed. Here’s a quick look at some emerging trends and predictions for what’s to come:
•    Social expansion. “Social media optimization” is already a hot buzz word in the online world, and it’s only going to get bigger as we move toward the future. Not only will you need to know how to publish a first-rate Web site, but you’ll want to build skills for developing viral Twitter campaigns, gaining Facebook friends, creating popular YouTube channels, crafting killer mobile apps, and writing expert blog posts. Get ready to blend your expertise in new ways, but also to face the challenge of dividing your skill sets appropriately between different buckets. Optimization is not the same as marketing, which is not the same as analytics, after all. And as one blogger has admitted, not only must social media experts be ready to deliver great content across a variety of channels, but that content should be portable – meaning that video files, PDFs, and audio files are available for convenience and speed to any visitor. The Future Buzz has a great graphic on how SEO and social media empower each other cyclically: check it out here.

What's a more ridiculous scenario? Dr. Evil taking over the world or Google?Any time Google introduces a new service, or even announces its plans to do so, a familiar echo is heard by Internet users and industry experts across the globe: “Google is taking over the world.”

Of course very few people actually think Google is trying to control the world, but it seems very clear that they have plans to expand their business into virtually every market on the Internet (and then some!).

Bing and YahooIn February 2010. the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission approved the partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo! announced in July 2009 to consolidate their search engines into a single powerhouse that will potentially rival Google.  According to the agreement, Microsoft’s Bing will now serve as the search engine on every Yahoo! site.  Additionally, Microsoft will take charge of all paid ads while Yahoo! will regulate sales support for high volume advertisers.  So what does this mean to those in the search engine marketing business?

Essentially, if this partnership means Microsoft and Yahoo! can better compete with Google, then it will ideally mean lower prices for online advertisers across the Web.  Considering Google currently receives 65% of search engine queries, compared to Microsoft’s 17% and Yahoo’s 11%, this new partnership could start to chip away at Google’s overwhelming dominance.  If that starts to happen, Google will inevitably have to lower their paid-ad prices, making the clients of search-engine marketing agencies around the world ecstatic.

Microsoft adExcellence CompanyYahoo! Search MarketingGoogle AdWords  BBBOnLine Reliability Program