Posts Tagged ‘Google’



March 26, 2019

THIS WEEK (MAR 25-29) – Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover. Even better, invite your business friends to get my blog via email. You will find the sign up link (no charge) on the top right of my blog.  


If a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load, most users will leave it, according to a Google research study. So, I checked my Crater Lake Country mobile website speed with their new Test My Site Tool with competitive benchmarking and analysis. My site took 4.3 seconds. While I work on improving this, I think everyone needs to test their mobile site speed. Email me and I will send you the link


Last week I attended a tourism conference (good job, Travel Southern Oregon) and the Medford VCB introduced a new logo and branding effort. In looking at their material, I was curious that cannabis pharmacies were not mentioned at all. Our research reveals that buying pot is an attraction to some visitors. Research respondents even commented on how many pot shops there are in Medford, “They seem to be on every corner.” So, should buying pot be a visitor attraction? What if an attraction is not socially acceptable to all? Food for thought: In Amsterdam they are ending guided tours of their red-light district (19 million took tours last year). Amsterdam’s deputy mayor, Udo Kock, stated that it’s “outdated” to allow tourists to gape at sex workers’ windows and view them as an attraction. This “attraction or not an attraction” is one reason you need independent research when developing a branding approach. Don’t trust your instincts, find out what your visitors think.


In the most current PEW Study (January 2018), 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook, unchanged from a 2016 study, but up from 54% in 2012. With the exception of YouTube, used by 73% of adults, no other social media platform comes close to Facebook in usage. Around a third (35%) say they use Instagram, while smaller shares say they use Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp.


HubSpot’s blog asked this question recently. They said there was no perfect answer. Brilliant insight. So, after falling for their “click bait” headline, I continued exploring their post and discovered that there are a dozen research studies by various sources that do provide some insight into the “best time” for posting. Drum roll please. Facebook and Twitter both see high engagement at 9:00 AM, whereas one of the best times to post on Instagram is 5:00 PM. LinkedIn caters to business audiences, with an ideal posting time of 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Pinterest sees high engagement as late as 4:00 AM.

Until next week, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.



October 8, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for the week. Email me ( if you need more info on any subject.

SEARCH TURNS 20 YEARS OLD – Kind of hard to believe, but Google Search is now two decades old! The impact of search on your marketing can not be underestimated. Today, people are constantly searching: 84% of people are shopping at any given moment online and in up to six different categories according to Google Research. Online search has destroyed the print Yellow Pages. If you are spending any money on yellow page ads, think again.

Also, search has also gotten very personal: Google reports a 60% growth in mobile searches that refer to yourself “find the best computer for me” in the past two years. Over half of Google searches are now conducted on mobile devices. Want to know more about how search is impacting your online business? Join our website study (see story below).

TRAVEL WEBSITE STUDY LAUNCHING – Our 6th Annual Destination Website Research Study launches this month (October). We currently have five research partners, but we have room for more. If you want to discover the importance of search and why people come to your website, what website info has the most value, and if online visitors will become real visitors (economic impact of your website), join our study. Contact me ASAP.

IS IT TIME TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER? – As the fourth quarter begins, we are getting more requests to help with end-of-the year customer surveys. It makes sense. Understanding your current customer is critical in planning 2019 marketing programs. Whether you are designing your own survey or working with us, survey creation is a critical task. So, before hitting “send” with an online survey provider, contact us. With the help of our Research Director, Dr. Nick Lougee, we can help you design (or review) a survey that gets the most from your data. Plus, we can tell you how to prevent respondent fatigue, optimize survey language and more.

MORE CHALLENGES FOR FACEBOOK – Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research reports in the Wall St. Journal that his analysis of Nielsen’s U.S. Digital Consumption Trends reveals that the numbers are down (again) for Facebook: had a 14.3% share in August, down from a 16.9% share in August last year. Does the drop-off reflect user concerns around data privacy? Hard to say. Where are these people going? Google’s properties accounted for 56% of the growth in digital content consumption in August. Its share rose to 32.8% from 29.4% in August 2017. For 2019, you may want to rethink your digital investments in Facebook and Google properties.

WHY ARE PEOPLE POOR? – It seems it is all about your political view, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Democrats (and Democratic leaners) say the reason someone is poor has more to do with circumstances beyond their control (69%) than a lack of effort (18%). Republicans (and Republican leaners) say that people are poor because of lack of effort (48%) rather than circumstances (31%). Among all adults, 52% say it is circumstances, 31% say it is a lack of effort; 12% say these two reasons are equal contributors. No matter what you believe, it points out the importance of shaping national policy, so please vote November 6th.

Ok, see you all next week.



June 11, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts that could help you this week.

IT’S OFFICIAL – HAVE A BURGER – Last Tuesday, June 5th, the IHOP breakfast food chain — International House of Pancakes — announced on Twitter their plans for a name change to IHOb. Well,  the b stands for burgers (it is official today). Not sure why someone would want to rebrand into a burger joint, but the marketing news here is that they got tremendous media coverage and exposure by using social media for a stupid no news story. Social media is becoming the 24/7 go to media for sharing PR news. Why? Because today most people (93%) say they get some news from social media (see the next story) and you can publish what you like – no gate keepers here.

STATE OF THE MEDIA – Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on U.S. news media since 2004. Their latest report is being released via a series of fact sheets, starting with public broadcasting and digital news. This is quality research and it is worth the time to review. Here’s some of the more interesting findings from their digital news fact sheet:

Roughly nine-in-ten American adults (93%) get at least some news online (either via mobile or desktop).

A slight majority of high traffic news outlets (57%) use apps. However, websites are moving away from apps because most website today are mobile friendly. Is your site mobile friendly?

News outlets are adopting many engagement methods. About eight-in-ten (83%) offer newsletters, and 86% have an official presence on Apple News. A large majority (71%) release podcasts, and 63% allow comments on their articles.

Web news outlets use social media. Nearly all have official pages or accounts on Facebook (100%), Twitter (100%), YouTube (94%) and Instagram (89%). However, only about one-in-ten (14%) have an official channel or account on Snapchat, down about 10 percentage points from 2017.

I could go on and on… but the fact sheet is too lengthy for presenting here. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing information from them. Here’s a link to the Digital News fact sheets.

WANTING TO SAY THE RIGHT THING – If you are conducting consumer research, here’s a term you should know: Social Desirability. This is when users feel the need to shift their opinion to provide an answer based on societal standards they feel more comfortable with. One of the reasons we review surveys or conduct them for clients, is because we know how to avoid social desirability bias. If you would like more information on this survey danger or other survey challenges, we would be happy to provide it. Contact me.

THE IMPORTANCE OF “NEAR ME” SEARCHES – Google recently shared some facts about the use of “near me” searches. Beyond the typical “restaurants near me” or “gas station near me,” Google is seeing growth in “near me” searches for almost every kind of items. From “cowboy boots near me” to “where to get a facial near me” and “tarragon near me.”

If you want a crystal-clear example of purchase intent, “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% over the last two years. These include things like “where can I buy stamps near me,” “places to buy scrubs near me,” and “where to buy vinyl records near me.” Today’s impatient consumers want things the moment they need them — which is typically “now.” Google has also seen more than 200% growth in mobile searches. for “open” + “now” + “near me” (for example, “stores open near me right now” and “pharmacy near me open now”).

The challenge for marketers is to make sure you’re giving people the answers they’re looking for as quickly as possible. This research clearly shows why yellow page advertising is practically dead, especially for consumers under the age of 50.

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE – As I’ve mentioned, Peter Sage runs a well-written political blog. If you love the world of political marketing, Peter has some interest takes. I found his recent post (Friday, June 8th) on Congressman Greg Walden spot on. Peter points out at that language and tone are more important than political reality. Totally agree. In marketing, what you say is NEVER more important than how you say it to your target audience. This is why research today is so important for shaping messages. Here’s a link to his blog if you want to read more. 

That is all for this week. Let me know if there are any specific research or marketing questions you are thinking about that I can cover in my weekly update.



March 26, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Each week I highlight market research that could make your marketing efforts stronger. Want to conduct your own research? Let us help.

CHANGING GENERATIONS – With kids “Marching for Our Lives” and parents and grandparents joining them this past weekend, it is interesting to look at how generations have changed in the past 50 years. PEW Research offers an interactive research look at how today’s young adults compare with their grandparents five decades ago. In my opinion, politicians are about to be blindsided by Millennials’ new social beliefs that were on display this past weekend. Click here to go the story.

DO YOU USE RETARGETING ADS? – Most marketers that use Google AdWords, use some retargeting ads – these are ads that show up on someone’s computer after they have visited your website. I think these annoying ads are a major negative marketing tools. However, if used sparingly and strategically they do have a place. Need to learn more? I think Google’s retargeting article is a good place to start. Click here to read.

WHY DO PEOPLE NOT READ YOUR ADS? – How can you make people notice your ads? When I published my PowerShift Marketing Book, I stated that “What you say, and how you say it, is more important than where you say it.” My point was that ads that are more relevant to the viewer will always have greater engagement, no matter where they appear. I ran across an article from Google’s VP of Agency and Media Solutions, Tara Walpert Levy, that spells out how the bar for relevant, attention-worthy ads is rising, along with consumer expectations. Tara’s focus is online video ads, but the lessons are relevant to all advertising. It is worth a read, click here.

WHO ARE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS TODAY? – Householders aged 30 to 34 were once the nation’s leading first-time home buyers. But their homeownership rate has fallen by a stunning 11.7% since the homeownership peaked in 2004. Our research review  shows three reasons: 1) Limited supply and cost of starter homes in major urban areas, 2) Lack of income growth, and 3) Lack of social desire to own a home. Here is the current Census Bureau homeownership rate by age, 2017 (and percentage point changed since 2004 peak):

Under age 25: 22.6 (-2.6)
Aged 25 to 29: 32.1 (-8.1)
Aged 30 to 34: 45.7 (-11.7)
Aged 35 to 39: 56.4 (-9.8)
Aged 40 to 44: 61.8 (-10.1)
Aged 45 to 54: 69.3 (-7.9)
Aged 55 to 64: 75.3 (-6.4)
Aged 65-plus: 78.7 (-2.4)

SURVEY FOR GOOD – Do you live in Jackson Country, Oregon? Then I would like to invite you to join our new Southern Oregon research panel. Check it out right here.



October 1, 2015

There has been a seismic shift of advertising dollars from traditional media to digital advertising. The primary reason is that digital allows for more targeting and perceived accountability. While I still question a lot of the metrics, as I point out in my book, the internet is the best one-on-one marketing tool ever invented.

A good example of this is the Google’s new ad capability to target specific emails. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, that Google will now let marketers target ads to specific people using their email addresses. This new approach comes alongside another program to be called “Similar Audiences,” which will allow marketers to target ads to people who “look alike” to their existing customers. A similar feature has been popular among advertisers on Facebook.



July 28, 2015

As I point out in my Powershift Marketing book, if you are one of the first companies in a business category, you can build up such a strong lead position, that new competitors have a tough time entering the market. Google+ has just learned that marketing lesson.

Launched four years ago, Google+ wanted to become a major competitor to Facebook, Twitter, and other established social networks. In late 2013 Google+ said they had 300 million monthly active users. Not bad, of course, Facebook had over one billion active users and now has 1.4 billion.

Google+ began to falter big time when Google decided to make it a requirement that you have a Google+ account and profile to log into most Google services, including YouTube. (Marketing Lesson: don’t try to tell your customers how to behave!). So, now it is over.

Brad Horowitz, head of Google+, announced Monday that users will no longer need a Google+ account to engage with others on Google products. Instead, any Google email or account will do. “In the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google,” the company said. Smart move, just about five years too late.



March 23, 2015

Since I own several websites and I’m a marketing coach, I am often asked “how can I get more website traffic?” I usually answer by  sharing conventional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) wisdom, more links and more content. But here’s the real reality today. You have to play the game the way Google tells you to play.

The Federal Trade Commission, which is considering antitrust charges against Google, outlined in a document by FTC  staffers, who spent more than a year investigating Google, numerous issues, but this one is the key:

(FROM A WALL ST. JOURNAL STORY): The report said Google was “in the unique position of being able to make or break any web-based business.” Google’s prominent placement of its own properties and demotion of rival sites in its search results “has resulted in significant loss of traffic to many competing vertical websites,” the report said. 

Increasingly, this means that you need to buy Google advertising. Yep, Google may say they are constantly changing things to improve the organic search experience but, as a public company with hungry stock owners, they need to improve profits more. So you need to know all you can about Google.

If you haven’t completed Google’s WEBMASTER ACADEMY course, start there. It comes in modules that cover: (1) Tips on creating a Google friendly site, (2) Lessons on how Google Search and Google Webmaster Tools work, and (3) Plenty of quizzes, videos, examples and resources.

So, before you hire an SEO consultant, do your homework. Take the course and then buy Google advertising.



October 24, 2013

Online advertising has grown to a $120 billion market. The ability to target specific consumers has driven this growth. The driving technology for this approach is “cookies” – tiny trackers that companies attach to your website to monitor people’s browsing.

That’s why Google’s announcement that they are considering a switch to a system that would create its own anonymous identifier for each individual would be a huge game changer. As reported by the Wall St. Journal, Mike Anderson, chief technology officer of Tealium, a software company that helps advertisers track users, said advertisers might be willing to trade in cookies for an identifier because it could help them create more detailed portraits of consumers. Right now, advertisers may place cookies on websites, but each uses a different code, so they can’t tell whether they’re tracking the same user.

Mozilla has already announced plans to launch an automatic cookie blocking feature on its Firefox browser. Microsoft has also launched a “Do Not Track” feature on its latest Internet Explorer browser. Apple Safari browser has blocked cookies since 2003.

Bottom-line: By this time next year, the world of online tracking will be vastly different and so will online advertising.



September 27, 2013

If you have a website, you want to be on page one when people search on Google, Bing or Yahoo. This task, called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), was never easy but hundreds of companies made a good living promising you they could do this for you. Conventional SEO wisdom (outlined in my book) – more content, more relevant links, and more key words within your site copy – still works, but SEO is getting much harder now that Google, is a public company.

What does this have to do with SEO? Google became the King of Search because they had one mission: to be the search leader by using constantly changing algorithms to find and display the most relevant websites. But now they have a new mission: increasing advertising revenue! If they are going to keep their owners (stockholders) happy, they need to show constantly increasing revenue.

This was clearly the message shared at a recent SEO Conference in San Francisco. If your small company wants to be on page one, you may have to buy it. While Google doesn’t distort organic listings to make money, their driving mission is now to make money. It’s that simple. Google, Bing and Yahoo make money by paid and display search, not from being good search engines or helping you move up in organic search. Yes, optimizing your site for search is still important. But now the Google sales team is as important as Google’s programming team. And that means you need to rethink SEO, especially if you are paying consultants to work the system. Your money might be better spent buying exposure.



June 3, 2013

If your daily life revolves around access to the Internet, as mine does, it might surprise you to learn that more than half of the world’s population doesn’t use the Web. That’s a big potential market. That’s why Google is on a not-too-secret mission to control every aspect of a person’s connection to the Web across the globe. A recent Wall St. Journal story by Amir Efrati puts Google’s efforts into perspective.

Google is working to connect a billion or more new people to the Internet in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In the U.S., it has deployed fiber-optic cable systems in Kansas and plans to build similar systems in Missouri, Texas, Utah and elsewhere. Google also hopes to launch Wi-Fi networks in those markets. And last year, Google held talks with satellite-TV provider Dish Network to partner on a new U.S. wireless service. Plus, Chief Executive Larry Page has spearheaded secret research on alternative methods to provide more people with Internet access for years.

The company also makes smartphones and tablets (Motorola Mobility) and owns Android, the most-used mobile operating system in the world. Soon it will be selling Google Glass, a wearable device that could transform computing. Of course, they continue to be king of search, maps and website data (Google Analytics).

The depth and scope of Google’s efforts are a dramatic example of Powershift Marketing; i.e. keeping your foot on the gas and taking daily action to stay ahead. What are you doing this week to stay ahead of your competition?