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Digital marketing news for small businesses: March roundup

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We’ve reached the end of another month, so it’s time for our round-up of some of the interesting digital marketing news and reports we’ve spotted throughout March. What will these news stories mean for your business?

Only a third of mobile ads conform to best practice

If you’ve not yet explored the opportunities offered by mobile advertising, you might be interested to learn that a new report by On Device Research and Celtra has found that only a third of mobile adverts adhere to creative best practice.

That “best practice” equates to ten guidelines for great mobile ads, such as featuring eye-catching product shots, including the brand’s logo in every frame, including some humour and interactivity, and of course including a compelling call to action. With two thirds of mobile advertising campaigns failing to do at least six of the ten items on the list, this suggests that a well thought-out campaign created with these best practices in mind stands a good chance of success. Download the best practice report here and find out more about what it takes to create an effective mobile ad campaign.

Mobile video is on the rise

On the subject of mobile, campaigns that include video are on the rise. According to a new report by AdColony dubbed ‘The Appiness Index’, “51% of UK media buyers and planners are now using mobile video for campaigns”. With 68% planning to increase their spend on video, the report found that building brand awareness and engagement are seen as some of video’s biggest benefits.

However, just 47% of respondents reported feeling confident in their use of video. The survey revealed numerous concerns; 42% admit to being unable to find the right technology partner to make a success of mobile video, while 37% of respondents were worried about AdBlock and 27% are concerned about the transition from big to small screen videos.

Coupled with the perceived benefits of mobile video, this relative lack of confidence suggests significant opportunities for those who can invest the time to master the use of video in their marketing campaigns. Your business may lack the budgets commanded by the big brands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with mobile video marketing – particularly if you have a young target audience (in the 15-21 bracket), for whom 70% of the report’s respondents believe video is most effective. Here’s an interesting introduction to the subject from Google, and here are some tips on getting started in video marketing.

Changes to exact match in Google AdWords

If you use Google AdWords to drive traffic to your website, it’s worth noting that Google has made some changes to how the “exact match” function works this month. It now ignores words that don’t influence a search query, such as “but” or “the” – but only when they don’t change the meaning. For example, the “in” in “hotels in London” would be ignored, but the “to” in “flights to London” wouldn’t be, as it differentiates the search term from “flights from London”.

Search queries that have the same words in different orders will also be treated as exact match in the wake of these changes; “women’s shoes red” would therefore be considered the same as “red women’s shoes”. Again, the meaning of the search term is taken into account, so that, for example, “London to Paris” wouldn’t be deemed the same as “Paris to London”. You can read more details on these changes from Google here, and here’s a useful breakdown of what the changes mean for your PPC campaigns.

8% of search queries are questions

This nugget is among a whole host of search statistics released by SEO specialists Moz in a report on The State of Searcher Behavior, which has some interesting findings for anyone marketing a business. This particular finding reveals that search terms that begin with typical question openers, such as “Is…”, “Why…” and “How…”, make up 8% of searches, showing that getting your website ranking well for these kinds of searches has the potential to drive lots of traffic.

Blog posts are great for capturing this kind of traffic, as you can dedicate a whole post to answering the question its title. This boosts your SEO performance by providing useful content that’s relevant to what readers are searching for. Take a look at the rest of the findings over on Moz and you might find some other useful insights that could help shape your online marketing strategy.

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A collection of articles written collaboratively by members of the UK Domain Team.

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