YourWebDude - YWD

17 May 2017

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What Digital Marketing is


I still get asked this question; What is digital marketing? Working in the online industry you expect everyone to know this, right? The truth is that there are a lot of people (business owners) that are confused as to what online marketing is. Why wouldn't they, it changes so quickly that is hard to keep up. So, to make it clear what all this magic is, here are my thoughts on the subject.

From Wikipedia

"Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them."

For example; if you want your ads to display to young mothers in New York City that are looking for a new stroller, you can. And, you can see how many of the young mothers reacted to the ads.

Full article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_marketing

Digital marketing has a significant advantage over its conventional counterpart. Tracking, with online advertising marketers, have the ability to track results fo each of their campaigns. In some cases, this is done real-time.
For a small business, this ability to track results is very helpful when managing resources and a tight budget. Very quickly you can find if your campaign is working, if not you can address the part that is not performing and avoid wasted resources.

Another fact that makes digital more useful than traditional marketing is that the mediums used for traditional marketing are fading rapidly, at the same time online and social advertising is on the rise. As a small business, you should put your money where it will have the bigger bang.

Digital marketing covers a myriad of different avenues, a list too long for a single blog post. Therefore, I'll only concentrate on the parts that every small business owner needs to focus.

Mobile

For the small business, mobile needs to be the priority for all online campaigns. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 mobile internet use is on the rise, today more than 65% of internet traffic is on smartphones.
Most people prefer to do their social media, searches and email reading on their phones. Unfortunately, the mobile experience is different from the desktop experience, and the same is for the user expectations. You can't just do the same for both; mobile needs to be to the point and easy to find.

Paid advertising

Very efficient way to get traffic, there are plenty of channels to advertise depending the demographic you are trying to reach. From banner ads to single post in social media feeds, all the major networks (Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) work hard to give the best possible content to the user. This policy means that your ad will display to the person in need of your product/service and avoid the less interested.
It is pretty easy to escalate the spending on any online ad campaign. Fortunately, most networks provide excellent monitoring tools that help you to spend your money efficiently.

Organic advertising

The advertising that you don't have to pay and the one where you don't sell, but share your knowledge.  There are benefits to sharing with everyone what you know; it makes you a thought leader in your field, and it adds transparency and confidence to your brand.
Two main parts make up organic advertising; Content and Social Media Marketing. Content Marketing is the support material created about your products or services. This material can be things such as; Articles, Blogposts, White papers, How-to Guides, Videos, Infographics, Memes, Photography, Case studies, etc. Anything of value for your potential client, which will help them find the right solution.
Social Media Marketing is the distribution of the valuable content you created. Since for small businesses creating new content on a regular basis can be pretty taxing on resources, curating on topic articles and videos from external sources is a great option for maintaining for social media feeds fresh and current.

Digital marketing has many advantages for businesses; it serves via the internet and displays on all devices. Digital marketing does local, thanks to geolocation you can target potential customers when they are near or in your store. With 40% of the world population online you don't need to worry about reach. Speaking about reach, with what Google and Social Networks know about people is very easy to target your customer base. In fact, Google and Facebook are working hard to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time.

So, next time you need to advertise, would you get a newspaper ad?

Questions? Place them below in the comments.

1 Aug 2016

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Why iOS web traffic is still higher than Android

Why iOS web traffic is still higher than Android


Ever since Apple released the iPhone in 2007, it has dominated the web traffic for mobile devices. It is only in the last quarter of 2015 that Android devices surpassed iOS ones on global website traffic, although by a small margin.
In North America, Apple's iPhone is still the dominant one, even though there are close to three times more Android powered devices out there. Logic would dictate that the reverse should be true, all smartphones can surf the web.


Taken from The Mobile Web Report Q4 2015 by DeviceAtlas deviceatlas.com

There isn't a clear reason as to why people with iPhones tend to browse the web more than Android users. I found that most of the explanations revolve around user experience. iPhones' iOS provides the better web experience, and some reports prove the point.

One of the reports; Chitika Insights produce a report in 2014 (Full Report) which shows an interesting statistic; app traffic is higher than web traffic for Android phones and the opposite for iPhones. Below is an extract of the report with their explanation for this discrepancy.

"It’s likely that Apple users, in aggregate, are simply more likely to use their browser throughout the course of a given day. Safari has regularly earned praise for its functionality on mobile, and, perhaps more importantly, Apple makes it the default browser for any link clicked on an iOS device. This familiarity may predispose iPhone users to more often trust in their browser when performing tasks, as opposed to finding and using an associated app." Full article.

Wired Magazine has a different answer in an article from 2013. They thought age and user behavior were the factors:
"iOS users skew slightly younger than Android device owners. 19 percent of iOS owners fall in the 18-24 year old age bracket; 16 percent of Android owners do. Perhaps culturally, these folks tend to be obsessively glued to their touchscreens every waking and non-waking moment of the day more so than older mobile device users. 
Android owners also seem to use their devices more on the go, while iOS users will settle in for long sessions on their smartphone. Two-thirds of online activity on Android phones is conducted over a cellular connection, Comscore found, while more than half of all time spent online on iPhones happens over WiFi. 
Unsurprisingly then, Android users regularly consume more data than their iOS-using peers. With this in mind, it makes particular sense that Android users would watch less high-bandwidth video than iOS device owners." Full article.

The age gap seems bigger today and for the "user behavior" part, although all phones are faster that they were then, there are a lot of underpowered Android phones out there.

Which brings me to the next points, hardware, and OS. Apple has had a limited number of models available to the consumer at any giving time, which all of them share the same OS. Even the lowest model iPhone is a powerful device. Another contributing factor is that iPhone owners are more likely to upgrade to the newly released version.

On the other hand, Android has many different manufacturers with different models that try to appeal the full economic spectrum. The majority of Android smartphones are low-value phones or entry phones, which they can't compete with an iPhone for User Experience. There is also the fact that Google allows phone manufacturers to modify the OS to fit their business needs. This practice allows Android to have massive adoption, but it also created the fracturing of Andriod. Today there are many different versions of Android on various phones. Not all Android smartphone are equal.

Another interesting fact is that it seems that iPhone owners tend to spend more online. Even on the desktop, people with more income tend to use the web more; this could be another reason why iPhone owners spend more time surfing.

"According to a report from IBM Commerce, nearly 40% of all online traffic the day after Thanksgiving came from iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads. 
Only 17.3% came from Android. 
But that's not all: 27.7% of all online sales came from iOS devices, and only 8.3% came from phones and tablets running Android. 
iOS users also spent and averaged $125.83, significantly more money than Android users, who spent $107.60, according to IBM." Full article.
Taken from Tech Insider article

Summary
Apple is known for the care place on every detail of their products. User Experience is where Apple products excel, the iPhone is no exception. From the very beginning, Apple knew that the web was the ultimate destination, and they made sure every link in any app or email would open Safari in one smooth flow. Having tried Andriod products, I have to agree with the critics the web experience is not as seamless.

30 Jun 2016

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3 things that make Tumblr great for Small Businesses

3 things that makes Tumblr great for Small Businesses


I like Tumblr; I'm always recommending it to friends and clients. Although it isn't a fit for every business, it does have good qualities, which we cannot ignore. Tumblr is a blogging platform, a website CMS (way easier to use than WordPress) and a social network. With Tumblr, you can also have your custom domain (your business web address) and the best part, it is free. All of this makes it the perfect platform for a small business to host their website, blog or both.

Tumblr has an ad-based revenue model as most social networks do. Tumblr resisted having ads from the beginning, and the advertising part of the business still lacks tracking and targeting features found on most online advertising system. Due to this below par advertising system; revenue generated for Tumblr hasn't been stellar. Fortunately, this situation can be easily remedied, just look how Facebook managed to turn around their lack of revenue on mobile.

There excellent opportunities on Tumblr, here are some good posts on how to do business with Tumblr.




Tumblr is a social network with a blogging platform, and it has great potential for marketers, but for this post, I'll try to make my case for the benefits of a website platform. 

1_ Price; it is free
Can't beat that price, but will it stay this cheap once Yahoo sells it. That's anybody guess,  for now, and the near future it will remain like this. Tumblr also has an advertising revenue model, although it doesn't have the Facebook suite of features, Tumblr does have the reach of 420 million active users. Also, they own a lot of data; from visitors and accounts. Data is what Google and Facebook transform into revenue and Tumblr can do it as well.

2_ Your Website
You can host your site, blog or both. Also, since it is pretty simple to setup a new account, it is ideal for marketing campaigns support with quick build microsites. Best of all you can use your domain and not have to use the tumblr.com domain.
You have to keep in mind that Tumblr is a blogging tool that supports complementary pages to your blog. When thinking of using Tumblr for your business website, remember the blog part is always at the front. Having the blog this prominent can be a good thing; it creates an incentive to keep coming up with new fresh content. And new fresh content is what Google likes.

A couple of useful posts to get you going with a Tumblr website:


3_ Design
Tumblr has Themes; you can pick from the hundreds of Themes available and some of them are even free. If you choose a Theme that is close to your brand, you can modify the code to get it just right. Mind you, programming (HTML) knowledge is required when editing the Theme code.
Being able to modify the code also means you can start from scratch and have a unique look and feel for your site. Tumblr offers help on how to get started building your Theme; How to create a custom HTML theme.
Before you learn HTML and Tumblr's programmatic framework take a look at what's already available; tumblr.com/themes.
Developers and design studios create the Themes; I'm sure if you contact them they will be able to help you with your own. For the right price.

A couple of useful links on designing for Tumblr:


4_ (Bonus) Post whatever you want
As mention above, Tumblr is a blogging platform and having fresh periodical content helps your SEO. What can you post? Just about everything. By default, you have the option to Text, Pictures, Links, Video, Audio, etc. You can also connect your Instagram or Facebook account to share the same content on multiple platforms. The automation tool IFTTT (https://ifttt.com), supports Tumblr. Hence, more options for you on what you can post on Tumblr from your other social media accounts.

Summary
For the small business with few resources Tumblr makes a lot of sense. A robust blogging platform, which allows you to showcase the best your company can offer without the help of a development team or agency.

A few examples of the many brands on Tumblr

Nestlé
IBM
Universal Music
J Crew
The Economist

If you have any questions on setting your website on Tumblr, don't hesitate to ask. Use the comments or the contact form.

14 Mar 2016

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Trading Personal Information for Online Convenience 


Even before the internet, we were willing to share our personal information for convenience. Anyone over the age of 30 can likely recognize the once familiar sound of their credit card being carbon copied during a retail transaction. Fast forward to the introduction of today's e-commerce and subscription-based giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google, form submissions of personal information were forced to become much more secure.  Although we value our privacy, we can be too quick to share our information. Some people are still willing to email their credit card information (I hope you aren’t one of them.)

The Internet made communications easier, more convenient; but even when Edward Snowden revealed that the US government was reading our emails, we didn’t stop sending them. Are you ready to give up email so the NSA can’t read them? Of course not, the instant convenience of email communication has become a necessity. The same logic applies to Facebook and Google. We all know that both of these companies know us very well on a personal level. They know what we like, what we read, who our friends and relatives are, where we live and what birthday we'll be celebrating next. Are we going to stop using Google? Not likely it's our go-to source for finding everything and anything we are curious. What about Facebook? Probably not we love how easy it helps us keep in touch with friends and family.

The reality is that much of the personal data we share online makes our lives more convenient. Most of us like it when Amazon and other websites point out, “you may also like this”. We expect Google and other apps to know where we are and to deliver appropriate local search results or directions. And who doesn’t enjoy it when you don’t have to fill in your address details every time you come back to your favourite on-line shopping site?

Increasingly, sharing of our personal data online is providing us with even more benefits, outside of these simple conveniences. Take, for example, Use-Based car Insurance (UBI). By choosing to share your driving patterns, you can get a customized and often lower rate based on your monitored driving habits.  

As with this example, we often have control over what we share. We should be aware of what we are sharing and what exactly we get in return to correctly assess the risks. For example, it may not be wise to broadcast to all of social media when you are going on vacation and leaving your house unattended. However, Facebook security settings are easy to modify so that you can share your trip updates with an only a close circle of predefined friends and family (and your TV doesn't get stolen.)

Maybe you don’t want every application on your phone to always know where you are (there are many legitimate reasons to keep your whereabouts private.) For this, location settings are options that you can easily manage. For example, we all like to take pictures with our phones. By default, our mobile phones proceed to add the location to the photos. When you share them on Instagram or Facebook, it automatically publishes the location where you took the picture. For some, this is a very convenient feature it saves you from explaining where were you at the time you took the photo. But if you don’t want to reveal this, you can just turn it off and leave all your friends guessing where you ordered that sushi for lunch today. By the way, this applies to all mobile phones.

So if you haven't already, start taking control of what you share. Your personal data belongs to you, and it is valuable. You can manage the privacy settings for every application both on your mobile device and on your desktop. If you can’t find it in the settings, just ask Google and guaranteed you’ll find some great how-to information.

Taking ownership of your personal data and privacy is your responsibility.  Next time a website ask you for personal information, take the time to think about it and decide what you get in return is worth it.