eCommerce Search and eCommerce Social in 2015: What’s different?
By Danielle Savin, Director of Digital Strategy & Digital Marketing
It seems like we’ve been reading for years about the impact that Search and Social Media have on eCommerce sales. However, both search and social are moving targets; retailers need to constantly keep up with new technology and processes, the relentless march of Google algorithm updates, and the improvement in the industry’s collective knowledge and best practices.
Read on for a view of what’s happened with search and social over the last year.
Search in 2015
One thing you need to address right away is Google’s new mobile-focused algorithm which took effect April 21. Search ranking will now favor sites with good mobile experiences. Sites with no mobile or poor mobile sites will rank lower. This means that your investment in SEO will not be fully realized.
One technical aspect of SEO not to overlook is rich snippets which provide a small sample of a site’s content on SERPs. Because they make it more enticing for users to click on your listing, you need to make sure they’re enabled on your pages.
If you’re a retailer of luxury or expensive merchandise, you’ll want to take advantage of local search. Research shows that shoppers for high-end goods still want to conduct these transactions in-store. Local search, initiated last July by Google, combines standard search and map results, giving preference to nearby stores when a user conducts a geographic search such as “furniture stores in…” You’ll need to build out individual pages for each store with store hours, phone number, location, directions and other relevant information.
Product ads will continue to be important because of their high placement on search pages. They’re particularly helpful to shoppers since they provide price information along with visuals. To maximize their benefit, you need to make sure that the feed of product data and images you provide is easily readable by Google so your ads get served. We’ve also seen Google expanding the range of queries that will result in a product ad being shown.
Social Media in 2015
The big news in social media is pay-to-play. Starting in January 2015, Facebook started pushing paid social media marketing. Now organic promotional efforts will be penalized on the site. Other social platforms such as Pinterest and Polyvore, which now offer CPC models, are quickly getting on the bandwagon in the search for new revenue streams. The trend will only continue. To have your brand stand out, you might want to look into becoming an early adopter.
When it comes to how much you should budget for social media, be prepared to invest almost 13% of your marketing budget. Most of your spend will probably be on Facebook which is still the largest direct monetary driver (as it drives top of funnel traffic). Overall, you’ll still need to choose the social platform that’s most appropriate to your brand (i.e. where do your customers hang out the most). If you’re in Fashion, Accessories or Home Décor, then you’ll also see a high return from Polyvore.
For brick-and-mortar retailers, organic isn’t entirely dead; Google+ is a great way to grow your presence. For local optimization, you’ll need to have an individual Google+ page for each store. Video will be the dominant content format for social because they are so highly shareable. Make sure your content and calls to action are strong when you create a video ad. Tutorials and other informative videos are more relevant to your customers than a recycled commercial. Social networks will give extra exposure to videos uploaded to their platform because they keep users on their sites longer.
Winning the eCommerce race requires continuous effort over time. Smart companies should be employing these marketing strategies year-round. To learn more about Search and Social for your eCommerce site, contact us.
Danielle Savin is the Director of Digital Strategy & Digital Marketing at LYONSCG, working with client teams to help define scope and recommended approach for major digital projects and retail strategy for clients. Danielle has spent over 15 years in the eCommerce industry and has seven years of digital consulting experience. Danielle loves traveling and is a champagne enthusiast.