AMP is coming to Google Search and Display Ads

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On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, the search engine giant announced a beta test for AMP pages for Search and Display ads during their Marketing Next event. Google stated the beta test would plug Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, into search and display ads. Google’s mobile web already has fast loading pages due to its AMP program, but now Search and Display ads will get AMP-enabled landing pages as well.

So, how does it work? Advertisers who have created landing pages in AMP HTML will be able to designate these pages as their mobile landing pages in AdWords. Once the mobile user clicks on a search ad, the ad will direct them to an AMP landing page. This page will load up to 5 seconds faster than standard display ad builds, resulting in improvements in user performance and conversion results. These AMP-enabled pages will also address advertisers’ view-ability concerns for display ads. Google is already working on building this technology into the Google Display Network, so be on the lookout for AMP ads!

Facebook Launches Another Clone to Snapchat

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The competition for top app continues! Facebook Messenger is the latest Facebook app to mimic the popular photo-disappearing app Snapchat. Snapchat is known for pioneering popular photo-sharing features enjoyed by billions, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to outshine them. Messenger Day is Facebook Messenger’s latest clone of Snapchat’s popular Stories feature. Messenger Day allows users to add photos and videos where friends can view and reply to them for up to 24 hours before disappearing. The target is to create a more casual means of communication between friends and family with the goal of increasing engagement on Facebook’s main app.

Facebook has a long history of attempts at trying to outdo Snapchat’s Stories feature. In February, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp revealed a new feature called Status. WhatsApp’s Status feature allows its users to share images, GIFs and videos for up to 24 hours. Last August, Facebook-owned Instagram released a Snapchat-inspired Stories feature as well. Instagram Stories has become a huge success for Facebook with more than 150 million users daily.

It’s safe to say Facebook seems to be on the right track at competing with Snapchat for user growth. Snapchat’s share price even dropped slightly the morning Facebook announced the release of Messenger Day. Facebook’s Messenger Day has already starting rolling out on iOS and Android devices, so be on the lookout for the newest update!

Apple Introduces the iPhone 7

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It’s here! The highly anticipated iPhone 7 is now available, for Apple lovers and everyone in between. According to Apple, there have been many changes added to the iPhone 7, from newer advanced camera systems to louder speakers. The question still remains has Apple listened to its users when asking for a longer battery life? Yes! As of now the iPhone 7 battery life is described as having the best battery life ever in any iPhone. Along with all the current technology updates to the iPhone there has also been a new color added to the bunch, jet black, which has a glossy finish. The rose gold, silver, and black are still available for users who like a more matte look.

The first water resistant iPhone has already sold out in jet black, according to CNN Money, and it has been predicted that the jet-black iPhone will not be the only one to sell out. Unfortunately, there will be a shortage in the iPhone Plus before you can even select a color, but Apple has released a statement apologizing to those who do not get the phone they want in a timely manner. For those of you who love a big screen, the iPhone Plus is the perfect phone for you. The iPhone Plus now comes installed with two cameras to be able to fully capture a scene.

The 7th iPhone does not come with a headphone port, but only a charger slot. What does that mean if you want to listen to music and charge your phone? You can’t. So now iPhones will come with a set of headphones with a lightning connector at the end instead of a headphone jack, charger adapter, a lightning connector for those of you who have headphones without a lightning end, and lightning cord. Many are wondering why the headphone port was removed, but it will no longer be needed because in mid-October Apple will release “Air Pods”, their first Bluetooth headphones. The starting price is at $159 so many may pass on the idea on paying for another set of headphones, but for the tech-savvy population they will not be available until next month so hang in there.

Voice Search Technology Exploding

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What started with Siri in 2010 has quickly transformed into a growing industry that involves all the big tech players, including Apple, Google, and Amazon. Voice search has not only grown over the last three years, but it has exploded. In one year, voice search went from zero percent of searches to 10 percent, and as of June 2016, it now accounts for 20 percent of searches. That is huge growth in a short amount of time, and that percentage can be expected to continue to grow.

Consumers are using voice search in a few ways, which Hound, a voice query app, has divided into the following four categories:

  • Personal Assistant — creating events, shopping lists, reminders, making calls, or sending texts
  • Fun and Entertainment — listening to music, social media, searching video, or playing games
  • General Information — web searches, news, recipes, or banking and finance.
  • Local Information — finding restaurants, shopping, directions, home services weather, or traffic

Voice-controlled Personal Assistant and the General Information searches are the majority of voice queries.

With this change in how consumers are searching, businesses are going to have to employ new strategies in order to keep up. Since certain voice searches are bypassing the opportunities for competitors to try and attract your attention with high organic listings and paid advertisements, new strategies need to be developed to ensure that small businesses don’t get left behind in the new voice search era. Some things to consider include online reputation, search result rankings on search engines other than Google, and long-tail keywords.

Online Reputation:

Amazon Echo relies on “Skills,” which is Echo’s version of apps, to provide data for its searches. This can leave small businesses at a competitive disadvantage due to lack of capital to create a comprehensive application like big brands and franchises are able to do. This means the best way to compete is to optimize your presence on vertical sites that have applications, like Yelp, for example. Yelp is especially important since it is also the skill that Echo accesses when looking up local businesses such as restaurants or retail shops.

Search Rankings:

Being on the first page of Google is great, but what if a user is searching via Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo? Where does your site rank on the non-majority search engines?

Amazon Echo is the leading personal assistant at the moment and its default search engine is Bing. It’s important to make sure you have good standing across all of the top search engines, not just the majority leader — Google.

Search Queries:

Queries, when using voice search, tend to be more conversational, longer, more nuanced, and actually reveal a greater intent than basic searches. For example, a user who is typing may search for “ac repair near me,” whereas a user using a voice assistant may say, “There is a burning smell coming from my Trane ac unit.” Or instead of searching for a pizza restaurant near you, you will ask your personal assistant to order you a specific pizza from that app on your device. This is also the case with local service providers. Instead of searching for an electrician in your area, you will request your personal assistant to book an appointment with the highest-rated local electrician who is available during a certain time. This last instance can circle back around to our first objective: online reputation.

Since this is relatively new technology, competition, issues, and updates will undoubtedly arise, making it difficult to anticipate what strategies will work. However, if small businesses stay on top of the technology and actively participate as it grows, it lessens the chance of being left behind as this industry changes.

Web Technology Advancements: HTTP/2

Every once in a while, a revolutionary piece of technology surfaces that changes the way we live our everyday lives, and changes and tweaks are made to these technologies to continually make them better. Web technology has no doubt changed the way we live our lives, and though minuscule changes and advancements have been made over the years, one new change is being referred to as the greatest advancement in web technology in the last 20 years: HTTP/2.

If you look at a URL, like the one for this blog (URL), it begins with HTTP. The HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol – an application protocol for information systems – and is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. It works like a request. Excuse me, Internet. May I please see this information? Then the servers process the request and deliver the HTML files we requested in the form of a website.

Just like with any other type of technology, as changes are made, new versions are released. Well, HTTP/2 is finally here and it’s the first new version of HTTP since HTTP/1.1, which was standardized in 1997. This new update will bring advancements in speed, efficiency, and security to your website by using less resources and other major improvements, which you can read about here.

HTTP/2 is currently supported on 77 percent of browsers used in the U.S. and 68 percent globally, but with a few caveats. Internet Explorer 11 will only support HTTP/2 on Windows 10, and Firefox and Chrome will only support it over HTTPS. You can see how this could affect your website visitors by going to Audience>Technology>Browser & OS in Google Analytics.

If you’ve been following our blog you’ve seen our posts about search engine optimization and how page load speed affects your rankings. This now means you could see a boost in your search rankings as a result of your site loading faster with HTTP/2. Website speed also provides a better user experience and has been linked to increases in leads, sales, and conversion rates.

There has yet to be a proven downside to upgrading and industry influencers are shouting from the rooftops encouraging people to make the switch. As Savannah’s Web design company, we are doing our due diligence to ensure this is the right move for our clients and potential clients. Feel free to give us a call at (912) 921-1040 if you have any questions about HTTP/2 or about how it will affect your website.

Image Recognition Tool Changes The Way Brands Use The Visual Web

When managing a brand’s social media, it is imperative to track the user-generated content (UGC) that is being curated about the brand. Whether it’s positive or negative, you need to know what is being said. That task has become increasingly difficult as the way people use the Internet changes.

Text, hashtags, comments, and other types of tagging have made it relatively easy for marketers to track what people are saying, however, users are now using less text and more photos, making the tracking process more difficult. According to Brian Kim, Director of Product Management at GumGum, 80% of images that feature a brand are never seen by that brand, but thanks to Mantii, that’s about to change.

Mantii is a new image recognition tool by display advertising platform GumGum that finds photos across the Web that are relevant to a brand, even if they aren’t labeled with hashtags or captions. It can even track imagery associated with a competitor’s brand. Intrigued yet?

This image recognition tool can help PR firms, agencies, and brands control their visual identity as it relates to UGC, from tracking campaigns and social reputations to connecting with top influencers and gaining user insights. This new ability will change the way marketers use social media and the visual web.

Further reading:

http://www.adweek.com/brandshare/new-image-recognition-tool-will-change-how-brands-use-social-media-166522

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150826005655/en/GumGum-Launches-Mantii-Real-Time-Image-Recognition-Social#.Vfru0dNVhBc

http://adage.com/article/digital/social-media-visual-invisible/298720/

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