– A Recap of Google Marketing Live 2019 in San Francisco

Last week I had the fortune of being able to attend Google Marketing Live (GML) in sunny San Francisco.

GML is Google’s annual event for marketers where they showcase the latest in advertising and announce many (many) new product developments.

While the full list of product announcements from Google can be found here for Google Ads and here for Google Marketing Platform, there are a couple in particular that really stood out for me. Predominantly because they open up the competitive landscape between Google, Facebook and Amazon as they all fight for the marketers dollar:

I did want to share the key themes that I think will shape the marketing industry over the coming years as we move into a brand new era for advertising and customer experience.

THE TWO KEY THEMES WERE:
1. Privacy
2. Anticipation

Privacy

The overarching and pervading theme was privacy, or put another way, responsible marketing. If I was playing buzzword bingo on the word ‘privacy’ during many of the keynotes and presentations I would have been very busy.

But all jokes aside, privacy is the new normal. I was impressed to learn how privacy is the core design principal for all of Google’s products moving forward. If they can’t solve a problem or provide a solution in a privacy complicit way, then the product (or feature) doesn’t get built.

Firstly the idea that one day we will be able to measure absolutely everything with 100% accuracy down to the individual customer level is gone.

This has massive implications for marketers. Firstly the idea that one day we will be able to measure absolutely everything with 100% accuracy down to the individual customer level is gone. That’s not to say that marketers should not pursue a complete view of their customers based on their own first party data (more on that soon). Being able to bring in all the data from multiple platforms (3rd party data) to understand the entire customer journey across devices, networks and platforms is technically not possible in a privacy-first world.

The implications are that marketers will need to get comfortable with having incomplete data. However the good news is that with the massive advancements in machine learning, predictions can be made from aggregate data that help us develop a more complete picture of the customer journey and customer preferences.

Anticipation

This was Google’s word for personalisation. Being able to anticipate the customer needs, wants and preferences and provide them a solution at the precise moment they need it.

Google has embedded personalisation into all of its new ad products and innovations and is making it easier for marketers to target those users at the right moment through some of its audience buying features in Google Ads and in Display & Video 360.

From a Google perspective, having so much unique data on all their users and having a unique insight into users intent enables them to offer many valuable advertising solutions for marketers and turn those ads into a relevant and rewarding experience for their users.

Without a robust first party data strategy and a centralised marketing data store there is no personalisation.

For a marketer, the key to personalisation is first party data. Without a robust first party data strategy and a centralised marketing data store there is no personalisation.

My take away around personalisation is for owned platforms by the marketer (think website, ecommerce store, app etc) your first party data is the fuel that will drive personalisation and anticipate customers needs. There maybe some enrichment available from 3rd party data sources but this will become less over time as privacy continues to drive to the fore.

For earned or paid platforms like Google marketers will need to rely on sharing their anonymised 1st party data (in a privacy complicit way) with the platform to assist with more accurate targeting and personalised advertising but there are limited opportunities for data sharing back the other way. Ads Data Hub is solution available to Google’s enterprise customers using Google Marketing Platform that does provide some anonymised data back to advertisers that can be used to complement and extend their understanding of the customer journey in aggregate format.

If you’d like to learn more about more about any of the ad innovations from Google Marketing live or how to harness the power of your first party data please reach out to myself or feel free to hit up the team at Datisan here.

It is a tremendously proud and exciting day

for our teams and for me personally, as we announce the consolidation of 2 of our businesses, Traffika and Datisan into a single unified business under the Datisan brand.

10 years ago almost to the day, I founded Traffika in the spare bedroom of our home. In a short period of time Traffika grew into a premium digital marketing agency with big names clients along the east coast of Australia, Asia and the USA. We partnered and grew well known Australian brands like Lorna Jane, 2XU and many more along with global giants like Alibaba.com and Evernote.

Like any business, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing and we’ve had our fair share of challenges and learning opportunities along the way.

Much of our early success can be attributed to 3 things:

It’s this 3rd point that has helped Traffika to continuously adapt to remain relevant for a decade, leaving behind many of our counterparts and competitors. Once again we are evolving and consolidating our offering – through Datisan.

The exponential change that is disrupting industries, markets and brands is accelerating. The convergence of cloud, big data, AI, IoT and XR is decimating traditional methods of marketing at an accelerated pace.

Our view of the world is that the marketing agency model of the past is dying, and dying quickly.

Brands that do not rapidly modernise their marketing will quickly become obsolete. In the new world, marketing that doesn’t harness the full power of cloud, AI and data won’t stand a chance against those that do.

We believe we need to disrupt ourselves in order to help our clients transition into this new world.

So today, we announce that Traffika will become the Audience business unit within Datisan under a modernised service offering.

The 3 pillars of Datisan’s new offering are:

Cloud – enterprise scale serverless data platforms, AI and machine learning tailored for marketing.
Martech – tools and platforms that unlock intelligence & enable integrated and seamless marketing and customer experiences.
Audiences – activation strategies and programs supercharged with data and AI.
Datisan’s offering is totally unique in the market and provides our clients with strong competitive advantages in this rapidly changing world.

I’d like to thank all of our past and present clients, partners and team for your part in our journey so far and would welcome you along our journey still to come. It’s only just beginning!

If you’d like to know more, please feel free to reach out to me personally or any of our team here. 

Why, in 2016 are we still just talking about integrated digital marketing?

Why, with all the available technology and resources we need to make it happen, aren’t we just doing it already?

We’ve been talking about integrated marketing for years now. It was 1989 when the American Association of Advertising Agencies coined the term “integrated marketing communication” defining it as “an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.”

Since then, we’ve talked a lot about what integrated marketing means. Today, most marketers understand the concept of integrated marketing as creating a seamless customer journey across online and offline marketing channels. But despite acknowledging our need to adopt an integrated marketing strategy before our competitors beat us to it, we still know very little about how to actually implement one, and we see even less of a fully integrated strategy in action.

And there’s a very good reason for that. It’s really hard.

Despite being able to simplify the process (which we do later in this guide), carrying it out requires the synergy of many moving parts working together, and this is where many brands come to a standstill.

Due to the sheer scale of it, an integrated marketing strategy cannot be executed successfully all at once. It’s a work in progress that starts with integrating a couple channels together at a time, until all of the pieces align.

It is my goal in this guide to help marketers feel confident in their ability to approach an integrated marketing strategy, through a prioritised, piece-by-piece process.

After reading this, hopefully you feel equipped with a collaboration of resources that all work together to help you understand the one question we’re still asking ourselves in 2016: How do I actually implement an integrated marketing strategy?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHAT IS IT?

Integrated marketing is the practice of making your online and offline marketing channels and activities work together to create a consistent, seamless brand experience for your customer that aligns their needs, wants and desires with your intended commercial outcomes.

HOW IS IT DONE?

An integrated marketing strategy can be brought to life in three well-considered steps.

STEP 1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

An integrated marketing strategy begins with an intimate understanding of who your target audience is – not just overall, but within each of your local stores, and for each of your products or services. This is achieved through the creation of customer personas, which are research-based depictions of your audience that identify their demographics, emotional drivers, search behaviour and motivators and demotivators when it comes to making a purchase decision.

STEP 2. ALIGN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY TO THE MARKETING CYCLE™

So you know who your audience is and how they go about discovering solutions, finding information, seeking validation and making purchase decisions. Now it’s time to begin developing complementary strategies that seamlessly move your potential customer through a journey that brings together their needs and your business objectives. Using the Marketing Cycle™, you can identify what goals to focus on, and which digital discipline can help you achieve it.

Awareness: Your target audience becomes aware that you have a product or service that suits their needs.

Channels that raise awareness: Content Marketing, Data Analytics, Search Optimisation, Online Advertising, Customer Experience

Interest: Customers begin to find meaning in your brand/product/service, and consider it as a solution to their needs.

Channels that garner interest: Content Marketing, Search Optimisation, Data Analytics, Social Media, Online Advertising, Customer Experience

Desire: Desire focuses on playing to your customer’s emotions and demonstrating why they need your brand/product/service.

Channels that build desire: Content Marketing, Search Optimisation, Data Analytics, Social Media, Online, Advertising, Email Marketing, Customer Experience

Action: The action phase ensures that customers are armed with all the information they need so that when they’re ready to act, they choose you.

Channels that encourage action: Search Optimisation, Data Analytics, Social Media, Online, Advertising, Email Marketing, Customer Experience

Loyalty: Customers become repeat purchasers and establish emotional ties to your brand.

Channels that nurture loyalty: Content Marketing, Data Analytics, Social Media, Email Marketing, Customer Experience

Advocacy: The ultimate goal of customer experience: Customers recommend you to their friends, raising a new wave of awareness and thus the cycle repeats itself.

Channels that promote advocacy: Data Analytics, Social Media, Email Marketing, Customer Experience

Step 3: Use the Right Tool for the Right Job

Whilst there’s an abundance of digital options and platforms through which you can try to reach your customer, ultimately they all flow back to just 7 Digital Disciplines. An effective integrated digital marketing strategy is simplified by focusing on just these 7 core digital disciplines, and ensuring they integrate with each other and your offline marketing channels to produce a seamless customer experience.

Content Marketing: Content Marketing helps address and answer your persona’s needs through engaging, quality content which can be in a variety of formats from website copy, blogs, emails, videos, infographics, eBooks and more. These can reach your audience through a number of channels including your social media platforms, email newsletters, and promoted via online advertising in order to reach your customers at the right time and in the right place. To ensure brand consistency, the same messaging, tone of voice and content themes / topics should flow across your offline marketing mediums, such as billboards, magazines and radio advertising.

Search Optimisation: If content marketing holds the answers your customers are looking for, search optimisation is what helps them find that content, whether that be organically or paid via products like AdWords. Without it, your content marketing and lots of other business information would be buried deep in the internet, never to be found. A big part of integrated search is also making sure that while content includes the relevant keywords and themes that your customers are searching for, it’s also delivered in a neat, easy-to-consume way across all devices, and business information is consistent with your local stores and offline marketing campaigns.

Data Analytics: Data Analytics measures everything and validates the performance of your online and offline marketing campaigns. It underpins all 7 core digital disciplines, and can be used to bring together your online data with your offline data to create a holistic view of the performance of your integrated marketing strategy and provide insights and intelligence with value far beyond the measurement of a single marketing campaign.

Social Media: Social Media helps build a community around your brand at a number of different levels. At a brand level, social connects to your customer at both an emotional (i.e. telling your brand story) and functional level (i.e. providing customer service). Local customer should never be overlooked and for brands with local stores or operations a local social presence is key for engaging and serving customers locally. Not only are your social channels are an important place to connect with local customers, but also promote your online and offline promotions, as social media is often the first place a customer looks for you once they’ve garnered interest.

Online Advertising: Online Advertising is essential for helping you reach the right people at exactly the right moment, and for positioning your brand in the public consciousness. In addition to being an effective way of promoting your content marketing, online advertising also plays a critical role in connecting you with customers who may have discovered you offline. It’s important to run online ads around messaging and promotions that you’re running in offline marketing campaigns.

Email Marketing: Harnessed for good and not evil, Email Marketing helps you stay in touch with your customers and nurture them through the purchase journey and ultimately into brand advocates. Email newsletters are most effective when they are highly personalised around your customer persona and individual customer behaviour. Your email database itself should be built through a mix of online and offline activities.

Customer Experience: Customer Experience is the overall perception a customer has of your brand and is a product of every single interaction they’ve had with you over the course of their journey. Needless to say, customer experience integrates all 7 core digital disciplines and every possible offline activity, from seeing a billboard to being shown to a change room in store. To create a seamless customer experience, brand messaging must be consistent across all channels and the customer must be at the centre of all activities.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IN ACTION

To give you a better idea of what an integrated digital marketing strategy actually looks like in practice, we’ve put together this story about a man named James, and his integrated journey to buying a new pair of shoes.

Check out the infographic or read through the transcript for tips on how to facilitate an integrated customer experience yourself.

Transcript:

Meet James.

James is a 22 year old elite University runner and an aspiring Olympian. He wasn’t planning on buying a new pair of running shoes until one evening, on his way home from practice, an interesting billboard caught his eye that said “Go Everywhere Faster” with an image of a man racing through busy New York city streets and a sub-headline that read, “next level performance runners”. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to catch the brand name but the tagline stuck in his head.

Later that night while watching his favourite sports program on television, James took out his tablet and Googled, “Go everywhere, faster” in hopes that he’d find the running shoes from the billboard.

As he searched through the results, a commercial came on that looked immediately familiar. It was the same man from the billboard, running through the streets of New York. James watched as the title “Elite Feet – Speed of Light Runners” and the slogan, “Go everywhere, faster” appeared on the screen.

James immediately returned to Google and typed in “speed of light runners”. An ad popped up for Elite Feet with an image of the running shoes from the commercial and billboard. He clicked on it and was taken to a landing page that explained more about the shoes.

In theory, the shoes sounded great but as an athlete, James knew that the proof was in the pudding.

The following day, James was on Facebook when he saw an ad promoting the Elite Feet Facebook page. He liked the page and started browsing customer comments and reviews. He even went on YouTube to watch some customer testimonials and unboxing videos.

Overall, the feedback for the Speed of Light runners was great and James decided he should go try them on in store.

Using Google Maps, James headed to his nearest Elite Feet location where he was able to walk around in the Speed of Light runners for a few minutes. Although he was impressed with the style, quality and alleged performance, James still wasn’t convinced that these “performance runners” really could improve his performance, and he told the friendly sales associate that he simply wasn’t sure if he really needed them afterall.

As the days went on, James gradually lost interest in the idea of purchasing the shoes until he saw a Facebook post about a study on performance runners. He clicked on it and it took him to the Elite Feet blog, where he read the study and a few more blogs and infographics afterwards.

By then, James had a much better understanding of the importance of performance runners for elite athletes, and how they could help with his training. He swiftly added a pair to his shopping cart and paid through PayPal.

James received a thank-you email that included a free eBook about running. He continued to receive emails every few weeks with really great content around preserving his runners, improving his performance and how to push through training ruts.

Impressed with his new runners and the service he received throughout his customer experience, James continued to follow Elite Feet on social media where he was kept up to date with special in-store events and promos. He eventually became a strong advocate of the brand, recommending his fellow athletes to them.

EXAMPLES OF WHO’S DOING INTEGRATED MARKETING WELL

As we said in the beginning, it’s 2016 and integrated marketing hasn’t quite moved from concept to practice yet, mainly because it’s a massive thing to actually do. Instead, many brands choose to implement small changes that deliver an immediate impact and ROI, but unfortunately, those things by themselves don’t change the customer experience.

The best way to approach an integrated marketing strategy is really in pieces. Start to integrate a couple channels together, and prioritise each piece based on how much it improves customer experience, or limits negative outcomes.

Need some inspiration to get started? Check out these examples of brands who are doing a great job integrating parts of the puzzle.

1. Seventeen Magazine Pioneers The Customer Persona
If you want to see customer personas done right, look no further than Seventeen magazine who first developed and shared their target persona in 1950. Based on survey data from teens and their mothers, “Teena” was an awkward adolescent who looked to her favourite magazine for advice on all things teenager. Read more about Seventeen’s persona development, and 6 other brands who’ve nailed the persona concept here.

2. Snickers Flawlessly Incorporates Brand Messaging Into Their Content Marketing
It’s over 5 years old, but Snicker’s “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign is a master of message consistency. The concept flows seamlessly across their social media channels, TV and online ads. It’s also at the heart of their content marketing, with two dedicated YouTube spin-off campaigns: “You’re Not YouTube” asks YouTube personalities post videos of themselves pretending they’ve filmed them while ridiculously hungry, and “Who Are You When You’re Hungry” sees fans showing their alternate hunger persona.

3. How Domino’s Uses Data & Mobile To Enhance The Customer Experience
Imagine re-ordering your favourite meal just by texting a pizza emoji to Domino’s. This is just one of the many ways the pizza giant is integrating data with everything they do to create a personalised, fast and entertaining experience.

And if you thought ordering via text was cool, you can also order via Twitter and pretty much any other device as shown in this commercial.

As if the ordering experience wasn’t cool enough, mobile app and desktop users who are waiting for their delivery can pass the time by completing a fun questionnaire about pizza, that is every bit as fun for the customer as it is useful for the Domino’s data team. They can also watch as their pizza’s being cooked in real-time, and track their delivery guy using a GPS tracker. Suffice to say, the future is here and it smells delicious.

4. Shazam Uses Offline Marketing To Create A Custom Mobile Experience
What started off as a popular music discovery app is now revolutionising the way we experience traditional advertising. Shazam has always been acutely aware of the importance of mobile experiences, and now they’re using their own visual recognition marketing platform to allow mobile users to scan logos, QR codes and other “Shazamable” items embedded in things like commercials and magazine ads, to be instantly transported to an interactive mobile experience. Learn more about how they’ve partnered with Disney and HarperCollins to bring these experiences to life, or watch this showreel to see some of the Shazamable ads they’ve done!

5. How Stuart Witzman Tag-Teams Their Remarketing Strategy
Dynamic social media duo Facebook and Instagram have helped remarketing reach a whole new level, and high fashion brand Stuart Witzman are showing us how it’s done. The famous shoe company were one of the first to take advantage of the ability to tag-team via Facebook and Instagram. They set up video ads on Instagram and then targeted people who saw those ads with product ads on Facebook to help close the sale. Read more about the Stuart Witzman case study here.

6. Atkins Is Hungry To Integrate Data Into Their Content Marketing
You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Weight control nutrition company Atkins knows their customers need proof that their plan will work for them, which is why they fuel their content marketing and social media with tonnes of facts, stats and studies. Check out their Facebook page for examples of the kinds of data-driven posts they use to nurture their customers.

7. Save The Shopping Cart: How Forever 21 Integrates Email & Remarketing With Their Checkout Process
Many brands get frustrated by abandoned shopping carts, but when integrated with other digital channels, they can be a huge opportunity to recapture customers, upsell and build loyalty. International fashion retailer Forever 21 run an admirable checkout process that sees customers receiving engaging emails once they’ve abandoned carts. The emails recommend other products they might like, and work alongside Facebook remarketing to remind the customer of what they’re missing out on. Here are some screenshots of email and Facebook remarketing they’ve targeted one of our team members with:

8. How Mass Nutrition Integrates In-Store Promos With Social Media
One of the greatest powers of digital marketing is its ability to build online communities around your local stores, ultimately driving more in-store foot traffic and sales. Australian vitamin and supplement retailer, Mass Nutrition, does a terrific job of this. They have social media profiles set up for each of their locations, and incentivise their audience to come in-store by posting photos of the friendly staff, seminars, promos and events.

9. How Coffee Chain Tim Hortons Is Bridging The Online-Offline Gap, One Emoji At A Time

One of the greatest barriers to adopting an integrated marketing strategy is bridging the online-offline gap. But one company is well and truly on their way to closing it up.

Iconic Canadian coffee franchise Tim Hortons is on a mission to create an endless user experience by equipping customers with a range of digital tools that drive them in-store, back online and over to a local community to relive their experience all over again. So, how do they do it?

Let’s start with their very own “EHmoji keyboard”. This features exclusive Tim Hortons emojis of some of their best selling products and cult favourites that help spread brand awareness and desire on the most popular digital device – mobile. No doubt many Canadians will be racing to their nearest Tim Hortons drive thru after receiving this text:

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.28.46 PM

The franchise also boasts an innovative TimmyMe app that helps customers find their nearest location, quickly access menu and nutritional info, tap their phone to pay via a Tim Horton’s gift card, and even organise a coffee run to be picked up via drive-thru or in-store.

But it’s the “Every Cup Tells A Story” website that really shows just how dedicated this brand is to integrating their in-store experiences with digital in order to build an online community. The site encourages fans to share a story about a Tim Horton’s memory or experience they’ve had. Selected stories are often shared on Tim Horton’s various social profiles, encouraging a wave of advocacy through user generated content that is a)cost-effective, b)viral and c)awesome.

As you can see from the case studies above, marketers are really just getting started with linking together the various online and offline channels in a synergistic way that adds value to the customer experience, but it’s a great start and you gotta start somewhere right?

I’d love to learn about your examples of brands that are doing a great job of starting or leading the integrated digital marketing charge. Just drop me a line with your comments or questions below.

Consider the following:

Where does this leave us?

We find ourselves in the midst of a digital business revolution; one that is transforming businesses, industries and even entire economies.

In our home country of Australia, the rapidly growing digital economy has been valued at $79 billion (5.1% of GDP), making it bigger than traditional industry sectors such as agriculture, retail and transport.

As the generation of data and technology increases exponentially, and the collection frequency becomes higher due to efficiencies in storage and transfers, collecting data by the second is now the norm. Using algorithms to further automate and understand all of this data, businesses can make better and smarter decisions than ever before.

Unfortunately, not everyone is taking advantage of these extraordinary advancements, and given the rate at which we’re now able to collect and analyse data, falling behind in the digital business revolution is as easy as failing to adapt.

The Challenge of Change

Participating in the digital revolution requires change; acquiring new skills and knowledge; new systems and processes; new partnerships; new forms of collaboration and investment in new people, programmes and technologies. Change on this scale can create uncertainty, doubt and many other real or perceived barriers to progress.

The problem we now face is that the revolution is here, but not everyone is equipped to deal with it or even to participate.

For some larger companies, change is not a challenge. To put things into perspective, if the world’s largest 500 companies were one country, it would be the largest economy in the world with a combined revenue of over $17 trillion and workforce of 42 million people… just think about that for a moment.

Companies of this size are equipped to deal with the digital business revolution and to succeed through it. They have spent years embracing digital technologies and marketing techniques, with huge resources at their disposal so they can finance change programmes and test new methods.

Unfortunately, things look very different for smaller businesses and many private, modestly sized companies. It’s much harder for them to find the money, time, resources and confidence needed to comprehensively explore, test and adopt new techniques and technologies.

When examining what prevents people from adopting digitisation and participating fully in the digital business revolution, our extensive, global research has identified 7 distinct barriers, all of which are inherent in businesses, industries and economies of all sizes.

Although these barriers may manifest themselves differently from business-to-business, industry-to-industry and economy-to-economy, the impact of not addressing them consistently results in serious impacts for economic and industry development.

In the context of marketing, the 7 barriers manifest themselves as:

  1. Lack of Awareness: Lack of awareness around the purpose, role and connections between different digital marketing techniques and how to apply them.
  2. Unclear Targeting: An unclear understanding of who your target market is and their exact needs at each stage of their customer journey.
  3. Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt: Embracing new and evolving marketing techniques is often accompanied by some element of fear, uncertainty and doubt that can stall progress and success.
  4. The Complexity Factor: The perceived concern or worry that digital marketing will add an extra layer of complexity to existing marketing needs, including more platforms, channels and activities to manage.
  5. Technology & Resource Gaps: Gaps in technological capabilities or general lack of resources, including time, can prevent the support of a modern digital marketing strategy.
  6. The Cost Deterrent: The perceived concern about increasing total marketing budget or the cost of investment in new activities.
  7. The Paralysis of Choice: The abundance of digital marketing disciplines, channels and platforms can be a confusing and overwhelming challenge.

The Scale of it All

The digital revolution is not only impacting businesses, it’s transforming entire industries and economies. The barriers to adoption are manifesting themselves similar to the digital divide; the gap based on socio-economic differences between those who have access to modern information technologies and those who do not.

In an interview discussing the digital divide and comparing the ability of countries to share information and technology, Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of INSEAD’s European Competitiveness Initiative, said of countries who have hit a wall in the adoption to ICT, that “they are not receiving the benefits of the changes made in ICT…there are obstacles to receiving those benefits, especially in talent and skills”.

When businesses are able to embrace change and tear down these barriers, they can grow and evolve with their customers, as opposed to getting left behind by ambitious start-ups who are perhaps more hungry to improve their capabilities and more agile and nimble to accommodate change.

Take for example the staggering growth of two modern start-ups turned household names; Airbnb and Uber. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, and Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, have only been able to forge ahead by being innovative while the traditional hospitality and transportation industries remained stagnant in the face of change.

The success of Airbnb and Uber demonstrate the importance of not just adapting but adapting quickly. When comparing the readiness of countries to embrace ICT in the digital divide, Beñat Bilbao-Osorio, Senior Economist of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network at the World Economic Forum, said the reason why some countries are lagging behind is not only because they aren’t leveraging ICT properly but mainly a result of “other countries going faster than them and moving ahead in the rankings”.

We see this same issue with businesses who are struggling to adopt digitisation. For many of them, failing to innovate is only half of the problem. Doing so must happen before their competitors establish a significant head start, or risk falling behind.

So the question becomes, how do we close the gap between businesses who are able to participate and succeed in the digital business revolution and businesses who aren’t, or to put it even simpler: How do we ensure that no business is left behind in the face of digitisation?

Tearing Down the Barriers

Fundamentally, there are only two things preventing the adoption of digitisation; barriers and the timeliness in which they are addressed.

Identifying which barriers stand in the way is crucial, but at the same time, the longer one waits to tear them down, the greater the probability that new or existing competitors will beat them to it.

Closing the gap between adopters and non-adopters of digitisation requires a readiness to embrace change and an acknowledgement that the impacts organisations can sustain by not participating fully in the digital business revolution far outweighs that of any barrier.

Our vision is to see an ever more diverse and inclusive range of businesses, Governments and institutions realising the full potential of digital marketing, because currently, all but a privileged few are still just scratching at the surface.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is your business adapting fast enough to the change the digital business revolution is forcing upon it? Just drop me a line in the comments below.

Whether it was to conceal a pimple or make your vacation photos look even more gawk-worthy, chances are you’ve dabbled in Photoshop for one reason or another.

In the digital marketing world, we can’t imagine life without it. So on it’s 25th anniversary week, we look back on the industry standard for graphics editing and reflect on how Photoshop has changed the world.

(Click, don’t squint!)

1. Changed the Industry: Photoshop heralded the era of digital photo manipulation. Before the digital tools that Photoshop offered, the industry relied on expensive machinery and expert production staff. Over time Photoshop has lifted many workflow and creative limitations, lending endless possibilities to what professionals can do with the software.

2. Changed Publishing Access: Pre-Photoshop, digital image retouching cost thousands of dollars and required outsourcing. Photoshop helped people achieve the same caliber of graphic design and publishing on their Mac that was previously inaccessible or unaffordable to them.

3. Changed How We Think About Images: “It Must Have Been Photoshopped!” Photoshop has made people skeptical about the authenticity of images, turning the product name into a verb that indicates something doesn’t look real or is possibly too good to be true.

I knew the influence it had on the world when Photoshop is used as a verb. It gives me a little thrill every time I hear that.- Thomas Knoll, Co-Creator

4. Changed How We Advertise: Early advertisers retouched photos by hand to improve the look of products or to create attractive proposals. Photoshop brought more extensive tools to market with greater ease of use, allowing advertisers to create beautiful content for content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing and virtually any other marketing campaign.

5. Changed the Film Industry: Photoshop and the film industry have always gone hand in hand. Co-creator John Knolls was working at Industrial Light and Magic (the company behind Star Wars) when he and his brother Thomas developed the software. When PS 1.0 first shipped, the film industry was an early adopter, using it extensively to create digital composite shots. Today it’s widely used for special effects and “beauty work.”

ILM was the first place I went to that had a computer graphics department. So in a way, George [Lucas] had kind of fostered the creation of Photoshop. – John Knoll, Co-Creator

6. Changed How We Think About the Human Body:

95 percent of the human images we see are retouched. – Jennifer Berger, Executive Director of About-Face

Unfortunately, the extent to which the media uses Photoshop to beautify the human body has led to disillusionment about what society thinks is normal.

7. Changed How We Entertain Ourselves: With the rise of social media, Photoshop is being used to create viral content like memes and as a general source of entertainment. There are even hashtags and websites dedicated to Photoshop fails and disasters. It has become an inescapable part of pop culture.

What are your thoughts/feelings/experience with Photoshop? Leave us a comment below!

MOBILE SEARCH IS GOING STRONG!

Incase you haven’t noticed, smartphones are getting bigger- so big that they hardly fit in our pockets anymore and when they do, they bend (talking to you, iPhone 6 Plus).

As a result of these larger screens, we’re starting to abandon tablets and desktops for browsing, opting instead to just use our phones! Recently I upgraded to a Nexus 5 and my colleague time-warped and got herself a Blackberry with a 4.5 inch square screen. The point is, neither of us have touched an iPad since we upgraded our smartphones because with a screen that big, why bother browsing elsewhere?

Google is very aware of the growth of mobile, as well as the issues with mobile browsing. For example, how often have you been served a desktop page that’s impossible to use without some pinch and zoom magic, or struggled with trying to click on a button that’s too small or too close to another button?!

This kind of user experience is just not OK, which is why recently, Google have launched an assault on bad mobile experience. Their first plan of attack? Releasing a whole a range of new tools to help webmasters and developers improve the mobile experience offered to their users.

And while these tools are being dropped almost daily, Google has been making MASSIVE changes along the way, some a little more subtle than others.

In this BIG mobile search history lesson, we recap all the major developments in mobile organic search in the last 12 months as well as some tips for ensuring you stay mobile-friendly at all times. So get ready because I’m about to take you back to school!

Class Schedule

As you can see from the list below, it’s been a very big year for mobile. Most of us may not have noticed some of these changes, or even realised that mobile results and desktop results can be different for the same searches!

So to keep this post mobile-friendly, we will provide some brief commentary around each change below.

  1. Changes in rankings for smartphone results 
  2. New Googlebot for crawling smartphones 
  3. Make your site more mobile-friendly with page speed insights 
  4. Understanding web pages better 
  5. Android App Indexing 
  6. Faulty redirects
  7. Modern websites for modern devices 
  8. Tracking mobile usability in Google webmaster tools 
  9. Helping users find mobile-friendly pages 
  10. Mobile-friendly test

1. Changes in rankings for smartphone results

To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.

We snuck this one in from 2013, because of it’s an incremental part of the mobile search story.

In June 2013, Google stated that in their effort to help improve the mobile search experience, sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users would not rank as highly.

They did their part by providing recommendations and advice for fixing common errors, but stressed the importance of webmasters testing their site on as many different mobile devices as possible.

This was one of the first moves from Google to tell webmasters and businesses that a change was coming, and that webmasters were responsible for facilitating a better mobile experience.

2. New Googlebot for crawling smartphones

Over the years, Google has used different crawlers to crawl and index content for feature phones and smartphones.

For those who don’t dabble in search engine optimisation, a crawler is basically a computer program that ‘crawls’ the web (follows links, discovers new websites and new content) and crawls web pages.

This particular announcement was centered around telling people that there have been some issues around Google’s mobile crawler, and that they recognised the importance of smartphone devices as well as the large difference in capability between feature phones and smart phones.

Therefore they made the decision to retire the Googlebot-Mobile as the crawler for smartphones, instead just using Googlebot. This was one of the changes that seemed insignificant, but was actually indicative of the importance of responsive principles in web design, with a focus on a seamless experience across devices, because they were going to use the same crawler for both smartphone and desktop pages.

3. Make your site more mobile-friendly with page speed insights

To help developers and webmasters make their pages mobile-friendly, we recently updated PageSpeed Insights with additional recommendations on mobile usability.

Google have always been the big brother to websites, helping with a range of free tools including Google Webmaster tools and Google Analytics, and the roll out of the PageSpeed Insights Mobile tool was one of the first mobile centred tools from Google, helping webmasters understand issues with how pages were implemented, as well as highlighting poor user experience.

It tackled important mobile issues such as configuring the viewport to help mobile browsers recognise the site’s intended page layout; ensuring page content fits the width of your viewport to allow for easy scrolling; providing the proper text size to facilitate an easier reading experience and using tap targets that are large enough and far enough from other tap targets to press easily.

4. Understanding web pages better

Traditionally, we were only looking at the raw textual content that we’d get in the HTTP response body and didn’t really interpret what a typical browser running JavaScript would see. When pages that have valuable content rendered by JavaScript started showing up, we weren’t able to let searchers know about it, which is a sad outcome for both searchers and webmasters.

Another one of those updates which seems to have gone un-noticed. It’s funny how whenever there’s an algorithm update marketers lose their minds, but lots of major publications did not even mention this change.

In my opinion, this was one of the biggest and most important announcements from Google, possibly of all time! They were basically saying we want to start ‘looking’ at webpages, instead of just crawling them they wanted to start capturing the layout of the page, the colours and the fonts.

Essentially, Google wanted to start seeing webpages the same way a user would. This is massive because the look and feel of a webpage is crucial in providing a great experience, not just the text content on these pages.

5. June 25, 2014 – Android App Indexing

App deep links in search results help your users find your content more easily and re-engage with your app after they’ve installed it.

A big emergence from smartphones has been the growth and use of apps.

In this update, Google announced that they would start indexing and serving app content in search results.

This was a pretty big deal, as the internet, search engines, and apps had all remained fairly separate up until this point, meaning publishers with a good amount of content in their apps could not submit these to be indexed in regular search results.

Android app indexing aimed to better integrate the app ‘ecosystem’ within search results, by helping publishers connect pages of their website to relevant parts of their app so users could better find content and more frequently re-engage with an app.

6. Faulty redirects

Have you ever used Google Search on your smartphone and clicked on a promising-looking result, only to end up on the mobile site’s homepage, with no idea why the page you were hoping to see vanished?

There are a couple of different ways to serve your website to people on different devices (desktop, mobile, tablet). You can have a separate mobile website, you can have a responsive website that changes based on the device, or you can ignore mobile and simply have a non-mobile optimised website.

Often websites that have separate mobile and desktop pages use the ‘user agent‘ of the device or the mobile browser version to redirect the visitor to the piece of content specific to their device. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that either some of the desktop content is not represented on the mobile website, or that a visitor will get redirected by default to a mobile homepage.

This is very annoying for the visitor and for Google, particularly because their business revolves around helping people find answers, so when a visitor gets sent to an irrelevant page because of the device they are browsing on, it’s a bit of a #searchfail.

To combat these issues, Google started indicating in search results if a result might actually redirect a user to an irrelevant page (often the homepage) as well as highlighting faulty device redirects on Google Webmaster Tools.

7. Modern websites for modern devices

A common annoyance for web users is when websites require browser technologies that are not supported by their device. When users access such pages, they may see nothing but a blank space or miss out a large portion of the page’s contents.

Similar to the faulty redirects, this change in Google’s search results was made to highlight to visitors that some components of the page may not work properly since the implementation of the page is not mobile-friendly, for example it uses Adobe Flash, which is not compatibility with iOS or Android devices (4.1 or higher).

It may sound like a minor change, but it’s all part of a bigger picture of Google’s new focus on mobile search, in which they need to get websites to change to still be able to deliver great results to users on mobile devices.

8. Tracking mobile usability in Google webmaster tools

A mobile-friendly site is one that you can easily read & use on a smartphone, by only having to scroll up or down. Swiping left/right to search for content, zooming to read text and use UI elements, or not being able to see the content at all make a site harder to use for users on mobile phones

In November 2014, we witnessed one of the most significant changes being the integration of mobile usability recommendations into Google Webmaster Tools.

This new feature was designed to address and problems mobile users might be facing on your site so you can take targeted action on them.

In addition to red-flagging the issues, the report also directs you to resources on how to fix them, enabling webmasters to really take control over the technical health of their site.

The mobile usability report was crucial for helping webmasters and website owners understand and improve their mobile user experience.

9. Helping users find mobile-friendly pages

Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content? This usually happens when the website has not been optimised to be viewed on a mobile phone.

Shortly after the mobile usability report, Google announced that they would be adding a “mobile-friendly” label to mobile search results.

A site would receive the mobile-friendly label if it met certain criteria as determined by the Googlebot, including appropriate text size and easy scrolling. The label looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.59.39 am

Google claimed that the labels were “[the] first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience,” signalling that the mobile-friendly journey had entered a whole new phase, and one in which customers could finally see the fruits of our labours.

10. Mobile-friendly test

At last, we have reached the holy grail of the mobile search history lesson; the ability for webmasters/website owners to check and confirm that their websites and pages on their website are in fact deemed mobile-friendly.

As part of the mobile-friendly label launch, Google also rolled out a  mobile-friendly test which works by analysing a URL and reporting if the page has a mobile-friendly design.

Many webmasters might think that their site is mobile optimised if it can be loaded on a smartphone, but this is not correct.

The mobile-friendly test gives you black and white advice around whether your site is currently mobile-friendly, and what to do if it is not. Bonus: If you’re robots.txt file is blocking a range of files, chances are Google will return a ‘not mobile optimised message’. Log into webmaster tools and use the robots.txt tester to see if you have blocked anything important (especially css files).

This test was the ultimate proof of just how serious Google are taking mobile, and how much more serious they want us to take it as well.

What does it all mean?

Mobile is rapidly accelerating to the point where a customer’s first experience with a brand is often on mobile. But unfortunately, many websites still don’t prioritise it.

It might be hard to imagine a world without laptops and PC’s but the reality is, we’re almost living in one. The average person checks their phone over 1,500 times each week, making them our go-to-device for almost everything these days.

Google have helped make us aware of mobile issues that our customers may face and they’ve even given us the free tools we need to fix them, but the truth of the matter is, many may continue to ignore the importance of mobile until it’s simply too late.

Many marketers might see that a bulk of their conversions come from desktop, as well as seeing poor mobile conversion rates and think that mobile is not important. But what this kind of thinking ignores is that in the search world, mobile is more often than not the first interaction a user might have with your brand.

And that brings me to the ultimate takeaway from this mobile search history lesson: Striving to be mobile-friendly is not just about wanting to creating a great mobile user experience; it’s about realising that we have to.

In our second Machine Learning episode, Dr. Glenn explains what role big data will play in the future of machine learning and personalised technology. Find out what effect this will have on advertising and what marketers can do to prepare themselves.

In this episode:

So far on our Big Data journey…

Transcript:

Cat Matson (Chief Digital Officer, Brisbane Marketing): Welcome back to Traffika TV and welcome back to you, Dr. Glenn, this time to talk about personlized advertising and more about machine learning.

Dr. Glenn: Thanks Cat, good to be back again.

Cat: I’m very excited about this particular conversation. Last episode we talked about the future supermarket, the supermarket of five years time where our shopping trolleys are going to look different, they’re going to scan our products as we put them in, and we’re going to be able to be advertised to as we’re walking down the aisles. What I want to focus on today is the technology behind that and how personalised advertising is going to work. So before we get into the geeky stuff, can you tell us what personalised advertising is?

Dr. Glenn: Well Cat, personalised advertising is really taking your consumer data (this could be your purchases that you make whether online or in store, and perhaps through a FlyBys or rewards card), that data gets stored and then it’s remarketed to you based on what your preferences are and what your behaviours are, and essentially on what products you like best.

Cat: Nice. I already know how that works if I’m doing my shopping online, but if I’m actually pushing my trolley down the aisle, how am I going to see those ads as I’m walking through?

Dr. Glenn: Well Cat there are probably two ways that you could do it. If you look forward a couple of years, we could use flexible displays in shops or supermarkets. Currently they are available in the labs; they are only semi-transparent though, but they are very bendable so you can bend them around anything you like. Just imagine in the shops, you can have just a strip along a shelf or wrapped around the end of the aisle to display some specials. They can be displayed virtually anywhere.

The other type is holograms. You could have a display of a person or a product advertising to you as you walk past or essentially you could walk right through them, couldn’t you?

Cat: Obviously the role of data is going to become critical in order to advertise appropriately. Tell us more about how that data will need to be used in order to give us that quality, personalised advertising experience.

Dr. Glenn: Let’s take a step back and consider this term that we often hear- what is actually “Big Data”?

What it is, is a collection of everything that we do. At the moment we can collect data very well and very fast. We can store it in huge volumes. But we can’t quite analyse all of that data just yet. So that’s where we are in the evolution of the big data timeline, if you like. And I think that’s where the key is, to analyse that data. Because there is so much data that is generated each day by each person, we need machine learning algorithms to actually go through the data and pick out the golden nuggets of information that we could use perhaps to remarket to our customers.

Cat: It’s boggling and breathtaking at the same time. Now for all of this to work, when I walk into a store, the store is going to need to know it’s me and not some other nondescript middle-aged woman. How’s it going to do that? How’s it going to know who is walking into the store?

Dr. Glenn: There’s one technology we could actually use for that, and it’s facial recognition. You’ve probably been to the airport and have been through customs, where you have to stare at that light glows at your face and it looks back at you. That’s just picking out the biometric features of your face, so why not do that in a supermarket? The technology is already there. Currently in Japan they are able to do 64,000 facial recognition images a second. So that kind of technology, again research based but then applied in the commercial sector into a supermarket, can then just pick out anyone in a supermarket and match them to your customer database.

Cat: That is just stunning. And I guess to scale it back a bit, there’s no reason why when we pick up that shopping trolley, we don’t use something like our thumbprint to log in and pull up our shopping list, right?

Dr. Glenn: That’s correct.

Cat: So we have many variations of how sophisticated technology is going to get in the coming years.

Dr. Glenn: Really what it comes down to is cost effectiveness. It’s just taking that commercial and scaling it down to the smaller ones.

Cat: So if this is the future of machine learning, and the machines are getting smaller… On one hand it seems to me that we’re going to have a smaller need for humans. What’s the impact of all this going to be on customer service, particularly in the bricks and mortar stores?

Dr Glenn: I think bricks and mortar stores actually become more important, Cat. At the end of the day it’s the interaction with the person that you like and that you go back for. If you go into a store and you don’t like the store or the person, you tend to not go back.

When we think about online, at the end of the day the shopping process is kind of similar. You have items in the cart, you put in credit card details and you make your purchase. But when you go to bricks and mortar stores, it’s quite different; you’re interacting with a person and they’re building that customer relationship with you and that’s what drives people back to bricks and mortar stores. I think that will become even more important as we go forward.

Cat: We’ve covered a lot of boggling information in this episode. What do we need to be doing right here right now with our data so we can at least start preparing for this fantastic future?

Dr. Glenn: Cat, I think we need to start with just making sure we collect the data in the first place, otherwise we can’t use it. That’s the basics. For the smaller and even medium businesses, make sure you’re collecting your data. If you’ve got a website, you want to be collecting that data most likely through Google Analytics, and make sure things are tagged correctly. Once you’ve got that data, you can then go through and analyse it to find out what your customer journey is, what they’re purchasing, what they prefer, and then you can add some smarts to it and say, “Ok, I’ll put a machine learning algorithm over this to find out how to best target and market to these people.”

At the end of the day, the big players are already doing this. It’s filtering down from the big players, to the medium and it’s starting to get down to the smaller businesses. So you’ve got to start getting prepared because if it’s starting at the top levels, you’re going to be competing against them very soon. It pays to get onto it sooner than later.

Cat: And the beautiful thing about this technology is it’s not just for the bigger players, as you say it’s Google Analytics and we all have access to that, so it’s just getting smart about how we’re using that data.

Dr Glenn: That’s correct, like anything in technology, as you go forward it gets cheaper to implement and over time it gets smarter, but you have to get onboard. You have to make that effort to start collecting and analysing that data. That’s the key to it all.

Cat: Dr. Glenn, thank you once again for coming onto Traffika TV and talking about the very juicy stuff when it comes to personalised advertising and machine learning.

And thank you viewers for watching. If you have any questions for Dr Glenn please leave a comment and don’t forget to subscribe to Traffika TV for more of our Machine Learning series.

Here at Traffika, we love brands that are uniquely inspirational and we’re very fortunate to work with one of Australia’s most beloved brands, Lorna Jane.

Recently we sat down with their Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Manager, Jessie Dean, to chat about how the power of digital marketing has helped Australia’s leading fitness brand achieve global retail success.

Watch what she has to say in our Traffika TV Inspiration video, and don’t forget to subscribe for more stories like Jessie’s.

Transcript:

Intro: The power of digital is it allows you to deepen your relationship with your customers because you get to learn so much more about them and you’re getting that two-way communication.

Hi, I’m Jessie Dean, Digital Marketing and E-commerce Manager at Lorna Jane.

I lead up our social team who have done an incredible job over the years to bring our global social audience to over 1.5 million followers. I also work with our Move Nourish Believe team who lead up our Move Nourish Believe website which is our blog platform to share our philosophy around active living. I also work with our e-commerce team to drive our sales globally.

Being digital takes down those barriers and makes it a lot easier to access the global world of retail, rather than just being defined by Australia. We are fortunate here that we ship all around the world and we have customers on both our Move Nourish Believe website and lornajane.com.au from all around the world.

I guess one of the other challenges we face is always striving to be different. You always want to stand out in the news feed from what everyone else is doing, so having to constantly think of new ways to stand out from all of the noise that’s going on in social and in the digital world.

I think the most exciting part about working in digital is all of the opportunities. There’s constantly new technology coming to market and I’m very fortunate to work with a brand that’s so open to trying new ideas.

Incorporating digital into our business has opened up that two-way communication stream with our customers so we can get instant feedback on what they like, what they don’t like, so we can create products for what they want and we can write content that’s going to support them in their active journey.

There are so many tools you can use now through Google Analytics, Radian6, Facebook insights. I’d say the biggest opportunity would be getting more customer insights to provide our customers with more personal and relevant products and information and making it more of a personal experience, whether that be online or in store.

Moving websites or changing URL’s as part of a redesign is both an exciting and scary time. Your website is getting a new home or a flash new look, which can have a range of impacts on your visitors and ultimately your business!

But with all this excitement comes the danger of missing some important steps. So before you pack up all of your belongings and start your big move, make sure you’ve followed this website migration checklist to ensure that you properly communicate the migration to search engines. Not communicating the move properly to search engines can have disastrous effects!

Are You Really Moving?

First thing’s first: Are you actually moving to a new domain, or is your website just getting an upgrade? For example if your website’s homepage is changing from lets say www.example.com.au to www.example.com, then you are actually moving to a new domain, which is different from simply redesigning your current website.

If your website is just getting a bit of an upgrade then the root domain may not change, only the internal link structure. This means that your website might stay at www.example.com but maybe your pages will get new URL’s, for example www.example.com/product1 might become www.example.com/products/product-one.

Either way, you’ll want to follow these steps, however just note that moving to a new domain, such as from .au to .com or .org, can have a massive SEO impact, whereas going through a website redesign isn’t nearly as drastic. In both cases the addresses/locations of your content is changing, so you will want to complete some form of migration planning!

Content Audit

One of the first things you should do, and often the step that gets overlooked is to complete a content audit. The aim of this audit is to quickly identify the gaps in content/topics on the new site by comparing it to the content/topics that were covered by the existing site. To complete this there are a few things you should do:

As you sift through all of your content, you should be deciding whether or not you want to keep and transfer it as is, transfer and update it or get rid of it altogether. Remember, this is a fresh start for your site and the perfect opportunity for you to do some housecleaning and clean out your content closet. Doing so will give visitors a chance to explore more quality content easily without being bogged down by fluff. Another big warning is not to be too cutthroat. Generally content is the first casualty of a website redesign, and often the ramifications of removing this content is not fully understood.

Keep in mind your traffic is composed of people visiting pages, so if you have some pages that are still getting page views but have not been migrated, you will lose this traffic.

Content Audit Desired Outcome: Create a clear picture of where the gaps are, where the opportunities may be and make sure that this is considered in your content strategy for your new site!

Content Matching

Now that you’ve done some cleaning and re-arranging, you need to ensure the new content matches the old content. This also means trying to match the purpose of the content through title and meta description, on page title and even things like using the same terms in the content.

In addition to matching content, it’s important to decide where this content will live on your website. If you have bold plans for your new site, you might choose to host certain content under a new category or tab. This will most likely be the case if you’re undergoing a redesign. In this event, you should make sure every page on your old site is at least redirected to a similar page on your new site (with similar content).

Otherwise, to keep a consistent and seamless user experience, you will want to use page-to-page redirects which is when your old pages are redirected to the corresponding pages on your new site.

Content Matching Desired Outcome: Ensure that old content and new content match and provide an improved user experience, both from a content quality and look and feel perspective. Basically make sure that the content on the new site is just as, if not more awesome than the previous site!

Redirects

Your aim is to make the transition invisible and seamless to the user, and to make sure that Google knows that your new pages should get the same quality signals as the pages on your own site. When you’re moving your site, pesky 404 (File Not Found) errors can harm the user experience and negatively impact your site’s performance in Google search results. –Google

By now, you’re starting to get a good idea about what content you need to move and where it’s going to live on your new site (or redesign.) The question now is how exactly should you move it?

As previously discussed, you will either want to move content to a similar page, or to a closely related page. A good rule of thumb is to think “if a user was looking for page a, will they be happy if they end up on page b?”  Either way, each page should be redirected via a 301 permanent redirect. 301 permanent redirects tell users and search engines that a page, a piece of content or even an entire website has moved permanently to a new location. It’s also your way of telling search engines to show your new URL in search results and asking them to pass any link equity on to the new page.

Redirects are probably one of the most crucial elements when you are redesigning or migrating to a new website, so make sure that all your old pages are redirected and keep an eye on not found errors in analytics! Do this by looking for page titles or URL’s that contain ‘not found’ or ‘404’ in analytics, or by completing a crawl of your existing website before the migration with a tool like screaming frog. Then try recrawling those URL’s after the migration to ensure you have moved all of them correctly. Remember to ensure that 301 permanent redirects have been implemented and not 302 temporary redirects!

Redirect Desired Outcome: You want to ensure that all of your important old pages have been redirected to new pages which closely match the content or purpose of the old page. A list of old URL’s matched to new URL’s is something that should be created!

[box type=”alert”]Incorrectly using 302 temporary redirects sometimes means that Google and other search engines do not adjust their index, meaning your old pages will still surface in search results, and your new pages wont be able to benefit from the popularity and authority you have established in your old content.[/box]

SEO Check

Now here comes the fun part. You think you’ve finished all the hard work and you’ve moved everything across town… But you still need to check that your new site has the same basic SEO ingredients or will it hold back the discovery of your content!

Below are some basic SEO checks you should make sure you’ve completed:

Ensuring your new site is as SEO friendly as possible means that your investment in a new website will get a better return!

 SEO Check Desired Outcome: Making sure your new site communicates effectively to search engines and will aid in ensuring a high level of organic visibility for your content is vital to get the most out of your investment. Often SEO can get overlooked when there is an entire site to be built!

Telling Google

You wouldn’t just pack up and leave home without telling your parents or family, would you? The same goes for moving sites. Whenever you move something, whether it’s just a piece of content or your entire domain, you need to tell Google what you’re doing. 301 redirects are a good start as they help Google understand content has moved to a new location permanently. However, also take care to do the following:

Telling Google Desired Outcome: The aim here is to make sure that search engines can figure out that your website or its content has not disappeared, but that it has moved! Ensuring that no 404 errors are occurring, and that all your old pages have been redirected correctly will mean that your new content (whether it’s at a new domain or a new URL) surfaces in search results.

Data Check

In any migration, data is your friend! Don’t make assumptions about your visitors experience on your old or new website, and don’t think you can guesstimate which pieces of content are the most important. Looking at your data before the migration and post migration is absolutely crucial to make sure you have not missed anything. Below is a simple checklist of the most important insights you should be looking for:

  1. Check that old pages are not still getting traffic.
  2. Monitor your events & goals to make sure that conversion tracking is still working correctly.
  3. Pay attention to your bounce rate. If your bounce rate has significantly increased since the website migration, it might be an indication that users are frustrated on your site or perhaps cannot navigate it easily. It may also suggest they are landing on the wrong pages, which may suggest your redirects have not been relevant enough.
  4. Dig through your content reports in analytics looking for ‘not found’ or ‘404’ in either page titles or URL’s to make sure visitors are getting to the right place.
  5. Check your site search data to make sure that people are finding the content they are looking for.
  6. Check your organic search data to make sure the migration has not done any damage by looking through organic search impression data (through google webmaster tools or the seo report in analytics) as well as looking at changes in sessions (previously called visits) from organic search.

Data Check Desired Outcome: The data check is a great way to diagnose issues and correct them. It also helps you better understand the impacts of a new website on your visitors and your business.

The Final Say

Don’t RUSH! The biggest mistake we notice is that people are too eager to either switch domains or redesign their site, either because their developers are pushing them or they’re just overcome with excitement.  Keep in mind that a new website costs you a pretty penny, and by rushing into it, you’ll just end up dumbfounded when your traffic drops, or visitors are bouncing, or customers are telling you your new site is frustrating! So take your time.

Resources:

Below is some more detailed information from Google and some other great sources to help you along the way!

  1. Best Practices When Moving Your Site
  2. How to Move Your Content to a New Location
  3. Web Site Migration Guide
  4. How to Properly Move Domains

Have a question about migrating your website? Leave me a comment!