The Goal of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing and SEO are supposed to help make a lot of things happen for a site- boost your ranking in the SERP, increase your brand presence online, drive more targeted traffic to your site, build and maintain an online reputation, establish relationships with consumers and so forth. Some website owners decide to focus on one of these goals as the final measurement of success, but in the end it’s all about conversions. Each of those aforementioned points is a path that leads to an increase in a site’s conversion rate; they are a means to an end, not the end in themselves.

I’ve met (and still meet) plenty of website owners who still think that PageRank is the end-all-be-all measure of success, and that just isn’t the case. A site’s PageRank is only one of the thousands of factors Google takes into consideration when determining a site’s position in the SERP. Chances are by the time you are done writing up the report on how well your targeted keywords are ranking, the results are invalid.

Site owners should really be focusing on their conversion rate as a way to tell if their SEO is working. A higher conversion rate means more targeted visitors are being delivered to your site, which in turn means that you targeted the appropriate keywords. A higher conversion rate also means that your site is properly optimized. Visitors are able to find what they are looking for quickly, and the call-to-actions are doing their job.

I’ve had clients call me in panic, anxious because their site analytics showed that visitors were only staying on the site’s landing page for less than 30 seconds. They were certain this spelled doom for their site. But here is the catch- their sites were designed to encourage visitors to CALL the company. Once a visitor has the phone number and has made the effort to place a call, why do they need to hang out on your website?

It’s very easy to get focused on one or two factors (like bounce rate or number of pages visited) and lose the forest for the trees. That is why website owners need to look at their analytics as a whole (and with a grain of salt) to really understand and successfully interpret the data.

While a site’s conversion rate isn’t the only thing that matters, a higher conversion rate usually means more sales and more profits, which is the final goal of any business. A strong conversion rate is usually a good indication that all your SEO pieces are working together.

Writing by Nick Stamoulis

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Smartphone Adoption and Usage

Emineo Media Smartphone

In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adultEmineo Media Smartphones.

Our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who falls into either of the following two categories:

  • One-third of cell owners (33%) say that their phone is a smartphone.
  • Two in five cell owners (39%) say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform (these include iPhones and Blackberry devices, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems).

Several demographic groups have high levels of smartphone adoption, including the financially well-off and well-educated, non-whites, and those under the age of 45.

Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.

 

About the Survey

The results reported here are based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011. 1,522 interviews were conducted by landline phone, and 755 interviews were conducted by cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. For results based on all adults, the margin of error is +/-2 percentage points; for results based on all cell owners, the margin of error is +/-3 percentage points (n=1,194); and for results based on smartphone owners, the margin of error is +/-4.5 percentage points (n=688).

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Google+ vs Facebook

Computerworld – With its still-in-limited-field-test social network Google+, Google looks poised to challenge Facebook head-on in the increasingly important social media space. Some analysts give the edge to Facebook with its large head start — the company claims more than half a billion active users worldwide, half of whom log onto the site each day. Other pundits point to Google‘s large number of users across multiple products along with its engineering prowess as factors making it a formidable challenger.

How do the companies stack up head to head? Here’s a look at some of the available statistics.

Users

Google has a clear edge globally, according to ComScore Data Mine: Google reached a billion unique visitors worldwide in May, while Facebook rang in at 713.6 million.

Google’s lead is narrower in the U.S., where it had 155 million unique visitors from desktop and laptop computers in May compared with Facebook’s 140 million, the Nielsen Company reported. The Nielsen survey does not include mobile devices.

Facebook had a huge lead in time spent per person: more than 6 hours vs. an hour and 20 minutes.

However, Facebook users have been fairly unhappy with the social media site. Last year, it scored “in the bottom 5% of all measured private sector companies and in the same range as airlines and cable companies, two perennially low-scoring industries with terrible customer satisfaction,” according to the July 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Business Report. Google’s score of 80 (out of 100) was substantially higher than Facebook’s 64. New data should be coming out sometime this month.

Bottom line: Google is still the Internet’s leading brand in terms of number of users. Facebook has an enormous base of regular users who spend a considerable amount of time on its site — much more time than on Google. However, Facebook’s users were not particularly happy with their experience last year. It will be interesting to see whether Facebook’s customer satisfaction scores come in higher in this year’s ACSI.

Revenues

Google’s revenues are fairly straightforward, since as a public company it must report such data each quarter. Facebook’s are less clear, since it is still privately held. According to one estimate reported by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook had $1.86 billion in ad revenue last year and should top $4 billion this year. Google reported $29.3 billion in overall revenues last year (not just from ads).

Online ad market share

Source: eMarketer

eMarketer estimates that Google had 38.5% of the online advertising market last year vs. 4.6% for Facebook. The research firm estimates that Facebook’s share will grow to 7% this year compared with 40.8% for Google.

Bottom line: Google is considerably larger than Facebook in revenue and still growing, but Facebook looks to be expanding much faster.

Employees

This is a particularly tough metric, as Facebook doesn’t release that data. The latest estimate, from an in-depth profile of chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in the current issue of The New Yorker, came in at 2,500 employees. That’s close to double the estimates reported for early 2010. Google reported 24,400 employees at the end of last year, up from 19,835 in 2009.

Bottom line: As with revenue, Google’s employee count is substantially higher than Facebook’s, but Facebook appears to be growing more rapidly.

Conclusion

Many other factors will come into play to determine whether Google+ can successfully challenge Facebook in the social media arena, including the appeal of the new service and whether people are willing to leave an established network where they already have numerous connections.

Google is well positioned as an Internet brand with better customer satisfaction than Facebook, and is a larger company with more internal resources. However, Facebook is a high-growth company that’s likely on the verge of a public stock offering, meaning it has access both to a great deal of investor cash and top-flight employees hoping to cash in on that growth.

The most likely winner? Social media users, who will benefit from two strong companies battling to improve their products to either keep or win over customers.

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