Yamondo Partner Survey 2012

Be Better Online - the Swedish Yamondo Partner - conducted a survey regarding the development of the online marketing activities among the Global Performance Alliance. Yamondo now consists of 15 independent online marketing agencies and is handling around 1,800 clients worldwide. The network took a closer look at the results and the recent developments in the online market in order to find out what to expect in 2013.

Market Shares of Search Engines

A new marketplace among search engines in China is beginnig to take shape, according to the report published on October 2012 by CNZZ (China’s traffic statistics service provider, an Alibaba Group subsidiary). The new market share is as follows: 

Baidu

         

72.97%

Qihoo 360

9.64%

Sogou

7.83%

Google

4.72%

The software company Qihoo, known for its antivirus software 360 Safeguard, launched its new browser “360” in early 2012 and by August they launched its 360 search engine. From September to October 2012, Qihoo 360 moved from 7.3% to 9.64% percent of the Chinese market share and captured second place. 

During the same time period, Baidu market share went down from approximately 75% to 72.97% and Google moved down from 5.1% to 4.72%. 

Despite the tough battle developing between Qihoo, Baidu, Google and others, the fact is that internet penetration remains low in China and there is still plenty of growth. This new level of comptetion among search engines will only create more opportunities for companies that understand how to create an effective online marketing strategy and search engine optimization adaptable to the Chinese market.

The Importantce of SoLoMo

 

In 2013, SoLoMo (social, local and mobile) will become an even more important element of every SEO strategy. 

SoLoMo is the integration of social signals, local searches and mobile technology into one interactive channel that brings together consumers and merchants at a more personal level. The idea of mobile SEO or SoLoMo as something new will soon be obsolete. SEO will naturally evolve into a discipline that includes mobile, local and social. 

The importance of SoLoMo goes beyond the statistics and forecasts about the future of mobile technology. Recently, Starbucks created a mobile app, which provided directions, hours of operation and the phone number of the nearest Starbucks store, as well as mobile payment options, a loyalty program called “My Starbucks Rewards” and direct integration into Facebook. This is a great campaign, which represents a new way of branding that links consumers and companies into a more rewarding relationship. Find out what you can do within the Starbucks app.

 

Effects of Google's Panda and Penguin Updates

During 2012, search engine optimization (SEO) was transformed by the implementation of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. 

These changes will continue to impact search engine results. The difference between top rankings and being penalized is to produce websites with “authority”. Thus, a higher standard must be applied to produce high quality content that integrates smart link building, social media content and real organic content written on an ongoing basis. 

As expected with any new innovation, there was a lot exaggerated backlash against Google’s Panda and Penguin. However, if we analyze the figures a different story emerges. For example, in April 2012, Libako conducted a research of the websites affected by the first Penguin update listed on Sistrix’s blog and identified the 20 winners and the 20 losers. 

This study revealed that the biggest rank booster was the use of “authority links”. This authority comes from technical reports, articles or press releases published by highly qualified sources in each industry. However, the use of authority links should not exceed more than 15% of the link profile. For example, if we analyze the use of backlinks among those in the survey, we can determine the following:

 - 50% of all the winners: 1% to 14 % of their backlinks are authority links

 - 80% of all the losers: less than 1% of their backlinks are authority links

Current Challenges for the SEO Tools

Since September 2012, Google initiated a major review and implementation of the terms of service (TOS) ruling AdWords API (application programming interface). These changes caused hundreds of developers and SEO tools like Raven and SEOmoz to have their AdWords API access revoked by Google without prior notification. 

However, these changes to the AdWords API TOS did not apply to Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools or any other Google API. Google initiated a review process to re-issue access to third party developers using AdWords. Third party developers, including SEO tool developers, had to provide a lot of design documentation, screenshots and specific examples to explain their use of their API tool. Furthermore, Google wanted each developer to provide an automated list of clients for each API application.

On January 3, 2013, after 19 months of investigation, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled not to take legal action against Google. The conclusion of the FTC was “Google’s services are good for users and good for competition” and it did not manipulate search results to favor its products. However, a ruling from the European Commission is still pending on the same case. In the meantime, Google has agreed to make several concessions to be implemented in the next 60 to 90 days: 

- Websites will be able to opt out from Google Search and to be removed from
  specialized search results pages, such as local, travel and shopping, etc.

- Advertisers will be able to export their ad campaigns data from Google
  AdWords to a third-party service based on AdWords API.

We will have to wait and see how these changes will affect SEO tools in 2013.

Changes in the Social Media Environment

Facebook's Instagram recent announcement to change its terms of use caused an immediate protest from consumers and privacy advocates, leading to what is probably the first class action lawsuit against a company for changing its terms of service. 

Instagram, the popular service which allows people to easily share photos on the internet, as well as add filters and effects, announced on December 17, 2012, its intention to make changes to its terms of service effective mid-January. A consumer advocate law firm has already filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California against Instagram for breach of contract and other claims.

The new terms of service proposed by Instagram included a new clause in the service agreement, without any options to opt out, by which users had to waive their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit. The announcement was interpreted as Instagram’s intention to sell photos and other content without compensation to the owners. Instagram issued an apology indicating their intention was only “to experiment with innovative advertising without any intention to sell photos”, as they promised to search for a more clear language in the terms of service. 

The suspicons among consumer advocates remain strong because Facebook acquired Instagram for $715 million in early 2012. After all, Facebook has also been critisized in the past for changing settings to a point that users will not be sure of how to keep their information private. As expected, Facebook’s official announcement regarding the lawsuit against Instagram was "this complaint is without merit". Will Instagram learn from Facebook’s experiences and refrain from bluring the lines between privacy settings and advertising? Let’s see what will happen.

Blogging in Asia - A Booming Sector 

Happy New Year to all microbloggers!! The arrival of 2013 reveals a blogosphere that could be described as the global time square (or global public square). 

In a recent report by Twitter, the number of Tweets posted on New Year’s Eve worldwide were analyzed and the top five locations by city and time zone were the following:

Tokyo and Seoul (UTC +9):

         

33,388 Tweets/second

New York and Bogotá (UTC +5):

13,336 Tweets/second

Bangkok and Jakarta (UTC+7):

11,675 Tweets/second

London and Lisbon (UTC):

9,455 Tweets/second

Los Angeles and Vancouver (UTC+8):

7,137 Tweets/second

Total by the top five locations

74,991 Tweets/second

 

On New Year’s Eve, the blogosphere has been dominated by Asia with Tokyo and Seoul having 2.5 times more Tweets than New York and Bogotá. In fact, if we combine Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta, they represent 60.1% of all the Tweets per second posted by the top five locations. Already in July 2012 Semiocast, the Paris-based French research group, ranked Jakarta and Tokyo as the top two tweeting cities worldwide.

However, these figures do not even account for China’s role in the blogosphere.   Therefore, we must keep our eyes open for Sino Weibo  (新浪微博), considered to be the Twitter of China with approximately 368 million users in mid 2012. Due to its popularity the company’s name is often shortened for Weibo (微博), which means “microblog” in Chinese. 

Weibo also established its own new record on New Year’s Eve with 729,571 messages per minute, which represents an increase of 52% from the last record established in 2012 during the Chinese New Year. However, expectations are already high for Weibo to break the record again in February 2013, during the Chinese New Year. Perhaps, we may all be celebrating the “year of the snake” with a new Weibo record.

The Asian market dominates the blogosphere in terms of volume. Already the top two tweeting cities are in Asia. Furthermore, if we compare Twitter’s record of 327,000 Tweets per minute, obtained on the day of President Obama’s re-election, it is less than half of Weibo’s record of 729,571 messages per minute. The potential for growth is more than just a punch line. The sky is the limit, or perhaps the space is the final frontier, as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted to earth on New Year’s Day from the International Space Station: “Happy 2013 from orbit! Let's use Twitter to communicate like never before, see the year and the world through each others' eyes”.

The Power of Conversion Optimization

As each industry becomes more competitive, even a small company with a local market share has to implement an effective online marketing strategy. Thus, any changes in conversion rate optimization even in small percentages may reveal a more important story: one of success or failure. 

Every company within each industry sector has a different understanding of how to satisfy the demands of their online customers. Every marketing strategy aims for high conversion rates from each discipline: SEM, display advertising, SEO, affiliate marketing, etc. In terms of defining such a strategy, conversion optimization is perhaps one of the most overlooked disciplines. An example of a classic optimization process is the case of Steiff’s onsite optimization. 

In February 2011, explido’s conversion team initiated the optimization of Steiff’s online shop in order to increase the efficiency of its budget. After the expert analysis, two areas were identified as weak spots: the landing pages and the checkout process. 

The landing pages were redesigned in order to guide the customers through the entire decision making process, which leads to a purchase. This change alone generated an increase in the conversion rate from 13.22 % to 39.89% simply by adding product sub categories to the landing pages. Next, the improvements to the checkout process generated an increase of 11.06% in sales, simply by implementing guest accounts.

By implementing these adaptions the Steiff teddy bear will be bought even more and fewer kids have to be afraid of the dark as you can see in Steiff’s latest image movie.

 

New Technologies Influencing the Whole E-commerce 

The evolution from e-commerce into m-commerce or “mobile commerce” is only beginning. As technology continues to develop, this new shopping experience will completely revolutionize our life style.

The concept of e-commerce sitting down in front of a desktop computer “glued to a chair” is obsolete. The new concept is shopping for anything, anywhere, any time. The evolution into m-commerce integrates multiple channels of personalized information into one “omnichannel” shopping experience. In other words, a mobile user is not restricted by the mobile device, but instead the shopper is able to combine shopping at a retail store and at a virtual store, and at the same time integrate multiple channels of personalized information that include the following:

1) Social media enables users to create discussions and recommendations about products and services. However, the m-commerce platform allows users to shop at a retail store and at the same time access reviews about the product from other friends, be a part of the discussion and mark if you like the product. For example, there are several retailers like C&A which are beginning to display the Facebook like sign next to each product. 

Check out C&A's Social Media idea how to integrate Facebook.

2) Customized Apps for each retail store

Some retail chains are already developing mobile apps to enhance the shopping experience at the store by providing a variety of services such as a virtual product catalog, special sales, a floor plan to find the location of each item in a large store, personalized information from the user shopping habits, and in some cases integrating augmented reality into the app. For example, we can find an IKEA app that shows a floor plan of each store, and even integrates augmented reality to compare products and to follow instructions on how to assemble each item. 

This customizes IKEA shopping app helps you finding the right furnitures.

In the clothing industry companies have already developed virtual fitting rooms that could be used from a desktop or mobile application or from a virtual mirror at a retail store. These virtual mirrors allow shoppers to try on clothes, save a photo of the person wearing the clothes and share it with friends through social media or email. 

Cisco technologies shows us how the future of shopping could be.

3) Consumer / specialized shopping Apps (Affiliate Marketing)

There are already many companies integrating all the elements of affiliate marketing into mobile apps for smart phones. By using a mobile device shoppers can walk into a store, select an item and compare prices, find other locations nearby, get discounts and collect rewards points. In other words, all the elements of affiliate programs and local shopping information coming together into one useful app such as Shopkick, Clickthrough or Milo.

Have a look at how it can work with the partnership of shopkick and Visa.

How much increase would there be in the use of mobile applications and smart devices?

According to data published by Flurry Analytics, a company that tracks over 90% of all mobile devices running on iOS and Android, on December 25th 2012 there were more mobile devices activated than previously recorded. There was an increase of +332% in activation of mobile devices from 6.8 million on December 25th, 2011 to 17.4 million on December 25th, 2012.

In the third quarter of 2012, the number of smartphones in use worldwide already surpassed the 1 billion mark, representing only 1 out of every 7 people in the world. In simple terms, it took 16 years for the industry to reach one billion smartphones users worldwide. However it is estimated that it will only take a couple of years and by 2015, there will be two billion smart phone users worldwide. This accelerated growth does not even include other mobile devices like tablets.

Download the etire results from the Yamondo Partner Survey for getting more information or simply contact us.


List of References:

static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en//pdf/ google_ftc_dec2012.pdf

googleblog.blogspot.de/2013/01/the-federal-trade-commission-closes-its.html

finance.yahoo.com/news/instagram-furor-triggers-first-class-181048764.html

blog.flurry.com/bid/92719/Christmas-2012-Shatters-More-Smart-Device-and-App-Download-Records

blog.flurry.com/bid/92105/Mobile-Apps-We-Interrupt-This-Broadcast

www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121017005479/en/Strategy-Analytics-Worldwide-Smartphone-Population-Tops-1

www.libako.de/linkaufbau-studie-9-linkarten

www.internetmoguls.in/blog-2.13-is-the-time-to-go-solomo.aspx

searchenginewatch.com/article/2170864/Mobile-Forecast-Local-Dominates-Ad-Spend

blog.twitter.com/2013/01/celebrating-2013-in-global-town-square.html

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Yamondo Partner Survey 2012
Yamondo Partner Survey 2012

High potential for Mobile, Second Screen, Web Analytics, Real-Time Advertising and Conversion Optimization.