Digital Marketing in NZ: Breakthroughs I’d like to see in 2015

published by on 16th December 2014 under Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, Technology

Title_Jumping_Over

It’s that time of year again… when the digital community are making predictions on the technologies
and tactics that will be HOT next year. While these predictions may or may not be realised, here are breakthroughs I believe New Zealand businesses should be making right now (and in 2015) to remain competitive, no matter what.

 

  1. Digital transformation needs to be driven from the top. Digital expertise at C-Level and on company advisory boards is a must.
  2. Online business must have a clear value proposition. We have too many ‘me too’ online businesses. Differentiate and stand for something. What is it that you do better than anybody else out there? Compete on more than just price.
  3. The international threat to New Zealand eCommerce Retail is real. New Zealand retailers must recognise this and think bigger. As it has been said, sometimes the best defence is a good offence. Although based in NZ, businesses must take advantage of global marketplaces to drive growth.
  4. A great customer database is a must. The more segmented and personalised the better. I am amazed at how many companies in NZ are still not sending relevant, customised communications by email. The technology exists to do so. Take advantage of it.
  5. People with good digital expertise in NZ are scarce. Perhaps companies should focus on core business and outsource to ‘best of breed’ companies those things that can be outsourced. A good external partner can be significantly more valuable to driving growth than the wrong internal hire.
  6. Recognize speed, agility and innovation are competitive weapons. The ability of a business to learn, adapt, test and optimize is a key determining factor on where they will be in the market 12 months from now.
  7. Businesses must leverage technologies and automation where possible to gain efficiency and increase effectiveness. Often with our No.8 wire mentality, NZ business are slow to invest and just make do. Don’t let that thinking hurt your growth opportunities.
  8. Companies must do a better job at listening to and learning from customers. Work to improve the customer experience across devices and channels. This should be ‘always on’, not a one-time event.
  9. Live, breathe and understand your organization’s digital data. Become expert in finding insights in that data. But most importantly, act on that data and improve business and marketing performance.
  10. Know why you are employing various digital tactics. Ask the ‘why?’. Focus on what will make the biggest difference. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.

 

Too often we busy ourselves with various digital marketing tactics when many of the larger questions remain unanswered. In 2015, lets do the basics right. Let’s lift our game and compete effectively online.

Searching for toys online – NZ toys industry SEO report

published by on 28th November 2014 under Industry Reports, Research

Toys seo industry report

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Which toy stores are maximising their market share online?

Find out which stores are taking the lead in the toy industry in organic search and how they’re doing it.

FIRST has investigated the organic search engine rankings for NZ consumer searches focused on buying toys online in New Zealand, utilising FIRST’s Ranking Based Reach (RBR) analysis framework. In addition, a consumer survey was carried out to discover where Kiwis go first to find new or used toys and what is most important for them when ordering toys online.

In this report we discovered

  • Toyworld is leading the RBR in organic desktop search, leaving Mighty Ape and Fishpond quite a bit behind. In mobile the picture seems quite similar, with a bigger change at Bebabo which wins six positions in mobile. 
  • In general, search results are broadly dispersed among a wide range of competitors. In this competitive market, a few toy stores have recognized the urgency of ranking well in organic search, nevertheless there are still many companies which are not at all present within natural search. 
  • We discovered that toy-related search terms show seasonal peaks in November and December. Therefore, optimising search strategies according to consumers seasonal search behaviour (and special occasions) is a key requirement to sell more. 
  • In our survey we revealed that most people would search on Trade Me first to find toys online, followed by 26% of Kiwis who would directly go to the website of a known toy store. Moreover we discovered that the “Quality of the toy” was considered as the most important factor when ordering toys online. 
  • A digital strategy that integrates both organic and paid search should be a key customer acquisition and revenue driver for toy stores.

 

rbr seo industry report new

 

FIRST uses its bespoke metric called RBR (Ranking Based Reach) to estimate how well each company is ranking in search engines. RBR provides a simple way to compare a website’s search engine rankings with its competitors. RBR is an estimate of the percentage of available search traffic a website will receive for a set of phrases – this gives the sites share of search or reach. It is weighted based on the popularity of each search phrase and the relative click through rate (CTR) of each ranking position.

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Websites included in this toy stores SEO industry report comparison:

* fishpond.co.nz
* iqtoys.co.nz
* toyco.co.nz
* toyplanet.co.nz
* toyworld.co.nz
* thewarehouse.co.nz
* trademe.co.nz
* mightyape.co.nz
* farmers.co.nz/toys
* bebabo.co.nz
* babycity.co.nz
* jumpinjacks.co.nz
* funtoy.co.nz
* crackerjacktoys.co.nz
* babyfactory.co.nz
* toysrus.com
* babystuff.co.nz

* includes all websites under the relevant domain name (eg, including www.)

 

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Searching for a gift online – NZ gift industry seo report

published by on 13th November 2014 under Industry Reports, Research

gifts-seo-industry-report

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Which gift providers are maximising their market share online?

Find out which providers are taking the lead in the gift industry in organic search and how they’re doing it.

FIRST has investigated the organic search engine rankings for NZ consumer searches focused on buying gifts online in New Zealand, utilising FIRST’s Ranking Based Reach (RBR) analysis framework. In addition, a consumer survey was carried out to discover for which occasion Kiwis ordered gifts online most frequently and for whom they would buy gifts mostly.

In this report we discovered:

  • New Zealand owned and operated company “Not Socks” is leading the RBR, closely followed by global player “Gifts”. Gift provider “RedBalloon” on third position with quite a big gap to the second position.

  • In general, search results are broadly dispersed among a wide range of competitors. In this competitive market, a few online gift providers have recognized the urgency of ranking well in organic search, nevertheless there are still many companies which are not at all present within organic search.

  • We discovered that gift-related search terms show seasonal peaks in December and at the beginning of the year. Therefore, optimising search strategies according to consumers seasonal search behaviour (and special occasions) is a key requirement to sell more.

  • In our survey we revealed that nearly 3 out of 4 Kiwis have ordered a gift online already and that gifts would be ordered for birthday’s most frequently. Moreover we discovered that the quality of the gift and money back guarantees played an important factor for most respondents when ordering online.

  • A digital strategy that integrates both organic and paid search should be a key customer acquisition and revenue driver for gift providers.   

RBR-gifts-seo-industry-report-small

 

FIRST uses its bespoke metric called RBR (Ranking Based Reach) to estimate how well each company is ranking in search engines. RBR provides a simple way to compare a website’s search engine rankings with its competitors. RBR is an estimate of the percentage of available search traffic a website will receive for a set of phrases – this gives the sites share of search or reach. It is weighted based on the popularity of each search phrase and the relative click through rate (CTR) of each ranking position.

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Websites included in this gift providers SEO industry report comparison:

* acquisitions.co.nz
* funkygifts.co.nz
* giftguru.co.nz
* giftideas.co.nz
* giftloft.co.nz
* gifts.com
* mygoodness.co.nz
* notsocks.co.nz
* raptaboutgifts.co.nz
* redballoon.co.nz
* redcurrent.co.nz
* thinkgeek.com

 

 

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5 Universal Analytics Event Settings in Google Tag Manager

published by on 7th November 2014 under Google Analytics

We all have very busy lives so I’m going to make this post nice and short, with screenshots that hopefully will make these universal analytics event set-ups pretty straight forward. But please let me know if you have any questions on any of these event settings :-)

1- PDF Downloads

OK, let’s start with a very simple event: click on a .pdf document.

  • Tag: Universal Analytics, Event Track Type

PDF download event tracking

The .pdf link is used as the event label with the {{element url}} macro, which is created by default in GTM.

  • Firing rule:

pdf download firing rule

Tip: you can change the extension in the {{element url}} macro to whatever you need such as use {{element url}} contains .doc, as long as it’s a link.

 

2- Clicks on Email Addresses

We will use the {{element url}} macro again, but this time we’ll search for “mailto” in the link.

  • Tag: Universal Analytics, Event Track Type

email click event tracking

  •   Firing rule:

Firing rule for clicks on email

Tip: Change this to ‘tel:’ to track clicks on phone numbers – obviously you must use the tel: URL scheme to make this work, like this:

<a href= “tel:+6499201740″> Call us</a>

 

3- Outbound Links

I like to distinguish outbound link to Social networks from the other outbound links. To do that instead of using 2 event tags with 2 different Event Categories (Social pages / Other outbounds), I use a lookup table macro like this:

Outbound type macro

Then I use this macro as the event category in the event tag.

  • Tag: Universal Analytics, Event Track Type

outbound event tag

  • Firing rule:

Outbounds firing rule

 

4- Form Submission

To track form submission as an event, you can use the Form Submit Listener tag. This tag is one of the Auto-Event Listener tags (Click Listener, Link Click Listener, History listener, etc.). You need to create them first if you want to use them in firing rules for other tags. However this is no longer needed in version 2 of Google Tag Manager. See here for more information on Event Listener and the upcoming changes to GTM.

For the folks using the old interface, here is the Form Submit tag you need to create:

screenshot-www.google.com 2014-11-07 11-46-03

You want this tag to fire only if the form submission is successful (Check Validation box) and on all pages (or at least on pages where you have a form).

  • Tag: Universal Analytics, Event Track Type

Below the tag you would typically use for a enquiry/contact form:

screenshot-www.google.com 2014-11-07 11-56-59

  •  Firing rule:

Contact form submitted rule

 

5- YouTube Videos

This one is a courtesy of Stéphane Hamel from CardinalPath, brilliant.

I’m not going to repeat his great post here but basically his solution consists in creating:
1. a “YouTube Listener” Custom HTML tag
2. a  ”YouTube is present” Custom JavaScript macro
3. 2 Data Layer Variable macros for the UA event action and category
4. And of course the UA Event YouTube tag

Conclusion

Here you go: 5 event tracking tags, which will hopefully give you more insights on your user behaviour. Google Tag Manager is a very powerful and flexible tool, which can give you access to a whole set of analytics insights while minimising the development work.
What do you think? Any other ideas of user interactions you’d like to track? Please get in contact!

International SEO with rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”

published by on 23rd October 2014 under Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

international-seo- relalternate-hreflang-1

Don’t miss out on search traffic

Does your business have identical or very similar websites targeting different countries and/or languages? In Australasia, it is a very common situation for businesses to have one site for New Zealand, and another basically identical website (with perhaps just currency and pricing changes) for Australia.

While this is great, it can cause some SEO issues. Effectively you have duplicate content. For example the two pages:

  • www.example-biz.co.nz/catagory-a/product-x
  • www.example-biz.com.au/catagory-a/product-x

most likely contain almost identical information about this product, except that one has the price in NZD and one has the price in AUD, and they may have different shipping costs. While it is very unlikely that Google will ever punish you for this “duplicate content”, you may very well miss out on some search traffic unless you take some extra steps to optimise things a bit.

By default, each of the two example pages is considered completely separately by search engines. They will both need to earn some links to help with their search rankings. While Google is pretty good at showing the .co.nz version of the page to people searching from New Zealand, they aren’t perfect at it. I have seen situations like this where a search for a specific product name returned the Canadian version of the page, even though there was a valid NZ version of the same product page available (perhaps the Canadian page had more links and was outranking the NZ page even though I was in New Zealand).

 

increase organic traffic

Adding code to tell Google what you want

It is possible to tell Google (and other search engines) that you have these types of alternate pages, just by adding a little bit of code to the <head> section of each page. For our example pages above, the code to add would be:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-nz” href=” www.example-biz.co.nz/catagory-a/product-x” />

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-au” href=” www.example-biz.com.au/catagory-a/product-x” />

NOTE: the same two lines of code would be added to both pages.  The two lines together tell Google, these are two alternate versions of this page, and I want you to show the first version to English language searchers from New Zealand, and the second version to English language searchers from Australia.

Searches from other countries

But what about people who search from another country (perhaps the United States) and what about searchers from New Zealand who don’t speak English (perhaps a tourist from Japan)? If you have the resources to create translated versions of your pages in different languages, then you can add them to the list of alternates:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”www.example-biz.com/de/catagory-a/product-x” />

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”ja” href=”www.example-biz.com/ja/catagory-a/product-x” />

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es” href=”www.example-biz.com/es/catagory-a/product-x” />

Where the first version is to be shown to German language searchers, the second version is to be shown to Japanese language searchers, and the third version to Spanish language searchers regardless of where in the world they may be searching from.

“Catch them all” syntax

The syntax also allows for a catch all, so if none of the above language and location groups work for a specific searcher, send them to the default catch all version of the page.

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x-default” href=”www.example-biz.com” />

So is it really worth the hassle to implement this change on your website? One of our clients has seen a 60% increase in their organic search traffic since they implemented this change a few months ago. Your results may vary, but yes, I believe it is worth the hassle.

Want to learn more about how to implement this hreflang syntax for your website? Google provides a great resource here or contact us here at FIRST for assistance. Also take a look at our post regarding 5 things to consider for your international SEO strategy.