Brands Can Now Target Consumers Through Emojis

The 2015 Oxford word of the year is continuing to give marketers a unique way to engage with their target audience. Despite this “word” being more of a symbol, it is proving to resonate with consumers, especially in the food industry. What exactly is this popular engagement tool? Emojis.

“Emojis have emerged as a new language in digital media. The medium, once dominated by text, has moved more toward visual media, with emojis as the means of communicating tone and sentiment on messaging apps and social media among consumers,” according to a January 2016 article by Adweek.com.

Even though these popular tagline symbols rose to popularity within our text messages, many national brands such as Bud Light, Taco Bell, and Dominos are jumping on the emoji target marketing trend. These well-known brands are using emojis that correlate with their products (the beer glasses, taco and slice of pizza) on social media ads and within their email marketing efforts to promote engagement.

For example, in 2015, Dominos Pizza took using the emoji a step further and turned it into a profit opportunity on Twitter. Domino’s Emoji Ordering campaign consisted of consumers using the pizza slice emoji or the hashtag #EasyOrder within their tweet to Dominos, which allowed consumers to place an order in seconds. Consumers could then confirm their order in a direct message on Twitter.

Most recently, Twitter announced that ads on the social media platform will now allow emoji targeting. Brands can now target consumers on Twitter who have recently used or interacted with a particular tweet that includes a certain emoji. For example, an ice cream shop can now target those who have recently interacted with the ice cream cone emoji on Twitter. The idea behind this new tool is the same as using targeting keywords, but instead of targeting through content, brands will be targeting objects, food images or cartoon figures. As of right now, brands can only target one emoji at a time and the only way to get access to emoji targeting is to go through one of Twitter’s official partners: AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode, or 4C.

Even though inserting an emoji at the end of your sales pitch or sentiment on social media seems easy enough, there are a few things that brands should keep in mind.

  • Become familiar with available emojis: In order to make sure you are using emojis that correlate with your business goals or products, it is important to know what is available. There are approximately 1,851 emoji characters to date. This figure includes the various skin tone modifications for each emoji.
  • Make sure it is relevant: If you are selling ice cream, you most likely won’t want to use the pizza emoji, unless you have invented pizza flavored ice cream. By using emoji icons that represent your product or brand, the more power your message with have.
  • Communication is key: One of the main reasons consumers interact well with brands who use emojis on social networks is because it shows the human quality behind the brand’s message. By staying on top of your social media network interactions, your consumers will be able to get a feel for your brand’s tone and overall sentiment.
  • Your response is important, too: Interaction on your brand’s social channels is key to building a strong network and gaining the trust of your audience. Emojis allow brands to interact with consumers in a different way. Instead of just liking a particular post, brands can incorporate an appropriate emoji within their response that will communicate a particular emotion with their followers.

With more and more emojis being added to the different social platforms, possibilities and growth opportunities for brands already using emojis in their marketing efforts are endless.

How to Optimize Voice Search Results

What time is it? Where is the closest movie theater? How many ounces are in a gallon? Regardless of what you may be looking for or wondering about, consumers of all ages are now turning to voice searches for information instead of physically typing their query into a search engine.

“We weren’t surprised to find that teens—always ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology—talk to their phones more than the average adult,” according to voice search survey Google conducted in 2014. “More than half of teens (13-18) use voice search daily—to them it’s as natural as checking social media or taking selfies. Adults are also getting the hang of it, with 41 percent talking to their phones every day and 56 percent admitting it makes them feel tech savvy.”

With more and more people using this hands-free type of search method to find what they are looking for online, how do SEO experts stay on top of this growing trend? With the voice search method only gaining popularity, the SEO industry has to now look outside text-based search queries and start thinking along the lines of making everything more conversational.

“We are starting to see our clients become interested in optimizing for voice search, so this is something SEO’s are working hard to figure out right now,” said Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive.

Here are four tips that are important to consider if you want to continue to appeal to those who are looking for quick information in a more conversational tone.

1) Focus on Long Tail Keywords
Since many consumers do not articulate in the same way when they use voice search as they do when they physically type a query into a search box, it is important to focus on natural phrases. By making these long tail keywords more conversational, they will be found easier when a consumer is using voice search to find a particular service, product or location.

2) Become Familiar With Schema Markup
To make sure you are being as successful as you possibly can in your particular industry or product promotion, be sure you are well-versed with schema markup. Schema markup is a powerful SEO tool. This semantic vocabulary when applied to your website will index all of the information and will help search engines return the most useful results to the consumer. Being familiar with this HTML add-on will help search engines make sense of the context of your content. If you have high quality content that can be easily interpreted, you will not only rank better in traditional searches, but it will also help your content be recognized as a reliable source through a voice search.

3) Be Sure to Optimize Your Website’s Microdata
When consumers are using voice searches, they are typically looking for a quick answer, such as directions or how close they are to a particular product or service. Be sure to optimize your website’s microdata by ensuring that information such as the address and directions to your location are accurate. If this information is not correct on your website, you run the risk of not showing up within search results and missing out on potential business opportunities.

4) Create Useful FAQs Pages
When consumers are using voice search to ask general questions, they are typically framing their questions with “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” or “how.” In order to stay competitive within the search results for such requests, create or adjust your FAQ pages to be more conversational. By framing your FAQ pages in a more conversational tone, it will help your content show up as a reliable source within a voice search.

With advancements being made everyday with voice search technology, consumers should expect to see new and improved aspects of this search method over the next few years.

“Though it’s already helping a lot of people save time and simplify their days, there’s also potential for voice search to do a lot more in the future,” according to the Google post.

Do you want to learn more about voice search technology? Check out our blog post that compares voice search and traditional search.

Bing News Announces PubHub Form Requirements

Bing recently announced that publishers can now expand their reader base by submitting their news related sites to Bing News through the Bing News PubHub. In order to submit a news site, you must fill out a form on the Bing News PubHub page. The form asks you to include the following information:

  • Website URL
  • Target audience
  • Publication type
  • Content type
  • Business address
  • Website description
  • RSS link
  • Sitemap link

Once you have inputted all of the necessary information into the form, you will be asked to include contact information. In order for the website you are submitting to be accepted, you need to ensure that the website is verified within Bing Webmaster Tools and that everything on the website falls within their guidelines.

Once submitted, Bing will review your information to see if it would be a strong addition to Bing News. Some of the main criteria that Bing News requires of submitted content is that it is newsworthy, original, shows authority and is readable not only in regards to grammar and spelling, but also in overall design.

Submitted news articles that feature job postings, DIY projects, advice columns, weather forecasts, stocks data or product promotion, will not be accepted.

What Will the AdWords Redesign Do For Marketers?

Google recently announced at the Performance Summit on May 24th that they “redesigned AdWords from the ground-up” and reconsidered how everything from bidding, measurement and overall workflow functioned. The redesign will allow marketers to have a better way of connecting the digital world and physical world. This shift is especially important since the mobile-friendly marketing era and the role our smartphones play in our daily lives is only increasing.

“With location-related mobile searches growing 50% faster than all mobile searches, it’s clear that consumers are moving seamlessly between online and offline experiences. So it’s important to help marketers think this way too,” according to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Google Ads and Commerce, in a Google Inside AdWords blog post.

One of the biggest changes marketers will see in the redesigned AdWords is the new expanded text ads. This adjustment will give marketers overall more space and give them the opportunity to display more information about a particular product or service before the consumer even clicks the ad.

“I am incredibly excited for these new changes Google announced,” Dan Grossman, a PPC Account Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “The extended headlines and description lines are going to be a major wake up for advertisers and agencies to totally revamp their creative. Since we have more room to work with, our messaging can get incredibly granular based on the goals we have for the client.”

Another adjustment Google is getting ready to make revolves around how marketers handle the bidding process.

“In the next few months, you’ll be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type — mobile, desktop and tablet,” according to Ramaswamy.

Being able to set these individual bid adjustments will allow marketers to anchor the base keyword bid to a particular device that is proving to be the most valuable, as well as setting bid adjustments for other devices. This adjustment will allow for more flexibility for marketers to optimize specific devices.

Another way Google is trying to connect the digital world to the physical world is through promoted pins in Google Maps. These promoted pins will allow for a more customized experience for consumers when they are searching for a local product or service.

“We’re currently developing and experimenting with a variety of ad formats on Maps that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate the world around them,” said Ramaswamy. “For example, Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving route.”

These local business pages will also be able to display product inventory and special offers to interested consumers to draw them in to a particular location.

Out of all the recent adjustments to AdWords, Grossman says he is the most excited for the A/B testing.

“Trying out longer call to actions or being able to show a full product title in the description line could do wonders for click through and conversion rates, but we won’t know until actually testing it out,” Grossman said.

With all of the recent advancements in our mobile-friendly marketing era, and with new tools being created every day, it is important to make sure your businesses is benefiting from the advancements. In order to stay competitive, ensure that you are building your website, ads and setting your overall business goals to meet the expectations of the fast-paced consumers who want information and want it now.

Not sure where to start? Contact the Intertwine Interactive PPC team today!

Did you miss the live stream of the Google Performance Summit? Check out this video to learn more about the recent changes to Google Ads and Analytics.

Voice Search vs. Traditional Search

Do you own a smart phone? Have you ever asked it a question and received a very helpful answer? If so, you have most likely participated in vocal search, an alternative to the traditional finger-to-keyboard method of search. Do you know how much the two search methods differ?

What is voice search?

Voice search occurs when you speak into your phone or device, and an application searches for the words you spoke. The main distinguishing factor between voice and regular search is that regular search requires the user to actually type in the search terms with their fingers or device pen.

According to a Google report, approximately 55% of teens and 45% of adults use voice search on their mobile phones. The study was originally taken at least two years ago, with numbers more than likely to increase as mobile devices improve and get easier to use.

There are a couple of ways voice search is capable in the world today: 1) Google or another search engine provides a “voice search” button option on its site which is activated when pushed; and 2) mobile devices provide virtual personal assistants (e.g. Apple Siri, Android Cortana) that search for terms spoken by the user.

How does voice search affect SEO?

Traditional search and SEO focuses on keyword terms and how your website ranks for them. Voice search tends to focus more on searching in a conversational way, sometimes making a keyword focus less important in search. Using voice search could potentially cause completely different websites to rank than if a user searched the traditional way.

As voice search becomes more popular, search engines are working to include better-optimized results. In 2013, Google launched the Hummingbird algorithm update, which provided a new “conversational search” activity with the search engine. While some people would search for only a few specific keywords, Google’s Hummingbird update worked more with searches spoken in a conversation (such as with a mobile app). Since their algorithm updated toward semantic context, Google has made big strides to improve voice search for users.

Promoted Pins Tested in Google Maps

Over the years, Google has been testing ad placement and location extensions within Google Maps, and they are not planning on quitting any time soon, especially since we are living in an age where no one is usually more than 10 feet from their mobile device.

During Google’s Performance Summit on May 24, it was announced that Google is testing the “next generation of local search ads” within the Google Maps app and the mobile web. This shift is said to bring a more “branded and customized experience” for marketers who are using Google Maps to promote their business.

Google is currently testing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” within the popular map app. Users will now be able to see branded pins along their inputted route or within a close proximity of their final destination. This type of promotion is going to sound familiar to those who use Mapquest frequently since they have been using this type of promoted location finder for a few years already.

This new ad format will also allow for more customization for marketers. Businesses will be able to upload a variety of content, depending on the service they provide. A great example of this new feature is if retailers have an inventory feed going to Google, they will be able to include local product inventory within the app. Markers are also able to promote discounts and special offers to encourage users to visit a particular location.

These new features within Google Maps are being tested in the hopes that it increases foot traffic and conversations. Google stated that ever since they launched the Store Visits metric within Adwords back in December 2014, the company has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” since its initial launch. As of now, the Store Visits metric has continued to be only available to large retailers and brands, but Google stated that they would like to make this data available to smaller businesses over time. Overall, it is a huge interest of Google’s to be able to provide more online-to-offline metrics to marketers of every size.

Markers who are interested in testing out this new map feature will need to use location extensions in order for the promoted pins to show up properly. However, Google made it clear that this new feature is still being tested, so it is very likely that marketers will still see a shift in its format over the next few months.