Late last week, Google announced that they will be removing the right rail ads from desktop searches, and now will only serve ads at the top and bottom of the SERP (very similar to the current mobile ads layout).

First, let’s get one thing straight: Whenever Google says they are testing new changes, the only number they are looking at is total ad revenue. Meaning the removal of the right rail ads has shown an increase in ad dollars in Google’s pocket. Google is certainly banking on the increased in cost per clicks for positions 1 – 3 offsetting the ad revenue from the right rail ads. Simple economics say decreasing supply will increase demand and drive up costs.

That increase will come from the fight for relevancy for the top three or four positions, depending on the search query. If your ad is not listed above the organic results, you can expect a large decrease in your ad impressions coming from desktop searches. I pulled data from several accounts to see what we can come to expect when Google pulls the trigger on the change for all search queries. To do this I pulled an average position keyword report for non-branded search terms and filtered them by desktop vs. mobile.

More than 95% of mobile impressions are from ads in positions 1-3, and more than 97% of clicks come from top three positions. When looking at desktop volume, 72% of impressions and 77% of clicks come from ads in position 1-3. I would expect the desktop numbers to shift more in-line with what we are currently seeing in mobile. Meaning 20% of desktop impressions will be virtually removed from the mix unless you can pay a premium to get your ads in the top three positions.

For years I have worked with advertisers that rely on being creative with their ad dollars, meaning they often could not afford top placements but were able to generate cost effective traffic in positions 4-8 on the right rail of the SERPS. This change will either result in these vendors needing to ante up to compete, or needing to find more cost effective advertising channels because the cost of desktop search does not justify the return.

I do anticipate those with strong organic search presence will experience a click increase from the change because there will be less ad options available to end users. This is certainly one of Google’s bigger moves in search over recent years and should be monitored closely to understand how this could shift your ad dollars and account performance.

Winners

Google, Google Shareholders, SEO

Losers

AdWords Advertisers (specifically small- to mid-size budget companies)

Are you prepared to be a power player? Or do you need to refocus your attention on SEO? Flying Cork can help solidify your strategy. Reach out to learn more.

As if we weren’t connected enough, the latest generation of wearables has given people the ability to check their emails right on their wrists. Wearable technology (i.e; smartwatches) gives us yet another way to stay connected 24/7, which means more opportunities for companies to communicate with their customers.

With this being said, don’t let your strategy go out of style. Rather, make sure it’s trending thanks to these quick tips!

Smartwatches are you guessed it…smart

Smartwatches have made reading emails as simple as checking the time. Yet, with a 38mm-sized screen, it’s going to take a different approach to be sure your consumer is really seeing the message.

In most cases, adding images to your emails is important; however, with smartwatches the opposite holds true. Instead of image-heavy content, plain text alternatives should be utilized to ensure your message is getting across to your intended audience. Additionally, many email clients will automatically block images by default which means even more importance on “Alt Text” for your images.

The small screen also means added importance for clear and concise calls to action. Don’t focus on graphics or links as much as you would in your standard campaigns. Use short, impactful sentences to catch the user’s attention, and quickly spur them to your single call to action.

Moreover, new spam and blocking options make it easy for a smartwatch user to apply filters and ultimately unsubscribe from your notifications. With no keyboard accessibility, be careful about what action you’re asking a user to complete. Don’t request large amounts of information or the completion of a submission form. Ensure your message is relevant, and most importantly, be sure your “unsubscribe” option is readily available to avoid a negative user experience.

Don’t confuse customers with illegible links

An iOS device automatically deciphers certain information like phone numbers, locations, and dates. This information is then seen as a blue link, which, when clicked, can trigger events such as launching your map app or creating a calendar event.

When crafting your message, consider the placement of these event triggers. For example, listing a date too close to a location could cause a customer to accidentally click on the wrong link and open the wrong app. Not a huge error, but one that could create an unsatisfied subscriber. It’s important to test your message to ensure that links are legible and not placed together.

Place a larger emphasis on the “From Name”

When being read from a smartwatch, some of the more widely used email applications automatically format their inbox to place large emphasis on the “From Name”. The “From Name” is the largest and boldest part of the message, as well as the first text shown. Make sure a familiar name is being used that lets your customer know who you are right away so your message doesn’t get tossed in the trash.

Create new ways to measure your campaign’s success.

Since most emails on Smartwatches default to plain text, open tracking are not displayed and loaded. In addition, clicks cannot be tracked because there is no web browser. Creativity will be needed to figure out new ways to measure metrics. For example, one idea could be to start measuring the number of phone calls received from a campaign!

With the ability of many smartwatches to track footsteps and heartbeats, creative ways to engage your consumers is essential. For example, offer a discount if someone walks 1,000 steps in one day (Congratulations on a healthy day! Get 10% off a large salad!). Find new offers that show your customer not only that you’re on top of the latest technologies, but that you understand how to communicate with them. An added bonus for you: Create customer tracking links, and you’ll know who is opening what offer on what device, so you can constantly measure and tailor your strategy accordingly.

The Clock is ticking!

There’s no time better than the present to tailor your marketing efforts to wearable technology. Not sure where to start? Flying Cork’s team of email specialists can help you craft the right message for your audience- no matter where they’ll be reading it!