Internet Devices That Act Like Mobile

It seems that this past Christmas season the commercials on TV were one of three types, Mobile Phone commercials, car commercials, or the new internet enabled home virtual assistant devices such as:

  • Google Home
  • Facebook Portal
  • Amazon Echo (Alexa)
  • and a variety of other emerging devices

These devices, commonly situated on a table, shelf or counter top, act more like a mobile device than a non-mobile desktop computer.  They  are used because they are instantly accessible and can perform functions with a minimum of effort.  Unlike a desktop computer, which they may be positioned directly beside, they do not offer the variety of input methods such as keyboards and mouse clicks.  So input, and output, are somewhat restricted.

 

alexa voice search internet device

Alexa used to access internet via voice search

 

Google Home Internet Search

Google Home Voice Search

Mobile phones were also pushing their many capabilities adding to the ways you can access the Internet and interact with your devices, besides touching the keyboard.  This ads both Siri and Cortana to the list of personal assistants that are changing how voice search and voice commands are a rising trend (see Siri Told Me to Call You).   If you are wondering what Cortana is, it’s search box in the lower left corner of your Windows computer that can be accessed by typing in the box or speaking via your computer’s microphone.  It can be used for everything from putting your computer into sleep mode to requesting an internet search.

Now consider the primary method in which users interact with all these devices, it is your voice, and for most of these devices, interaction is 100% voice, no screen, no keyboard.  So while many of these voice activated virtual assistants offer home automation features such as turning your lights on an off, changing the settings on your thermostat, they are more commonly being used to obtain Internet search results.  A quick query like “Hey Alexa, what will be the weather this afternoon? seems simple enough but it can go well beyond simple and basic information.

As we as consumers seek more and more convenience and instant response, often we opt to rely on the more convenient source of information available as the authority source.  When using these internet enabled virtual devices, we interact as if they were a mobile device we are having a conversation with.  The conversation is like a Q&A interview and most often the answers are a single result, the result the device (the search algorithm behind the device) determines as the single best response.   The conversation is the key distinction in how these devices are changing the way in which marketers need to think to about their website content and how to capitalize on the rise of devices that act like mobile.

Siri Told Me to Call You

I had a recent event that was quite interesting, and an event that I had somewhat predicted just a week prior.  Several weeks ago I was speaking to an industry group on the topic of Websites and Digital Marketing.  During my presentation I highlighted the rise of voice search and how it might be a trend worth considering.  Voice search on mobile phones and tablets, voice search on computers, and voice search on the new internet enabled virtual assistant devices (more on these in a later article).  The image I used in the presentation is shown above.

A couple quick stats I shared in my presentation is that web search activity on mobile devices is now greater than 50% of all web search activity (since 2016).

  • The younger demographic of 18 to 34 uses their phone as their primary device
  • 55% of Millennials use voice search at least once a day
  • In the 35 to 50 demographic, 49% search the web on their phone at least occasionally

The main point I was making on the topic is that search activity is changing, the devices are changing and the way that people respond to search results is changing.  In my example, I described how I am seeing more people contacting Netnotic Marketing from their phones ( and other non-desktop devices) as ever before but also that the search strings resulting in traffic to my site is changing.  The example I used talked about a recent customer who called me because “Siri told me to call you”.  This new customer was looking to improve the Search Engine Optimization for their website in Saskatoon so they queued up Siri on their mobile phone and asked for “Saskatoon SEO”.  Siri returned a list of results, of which my website was the top results, so the customer called me.  In the following conversation, I asked the customer what brought them to Netnotic and their response was, “because Siri told me to call you”.  I always ask customers (and new leads) what lead them to contact us and we are definitely noticing a upswing in the interaction with new search devices.

So the key point for digital marketing here, in my case for Saskatoon SEO, is that we need to be very aware of how devices lead to new behavior, and new behavior may be changing how we optimize our websites to capitalize on these new trends.  We will be talking about both the rise of new devices that act like mobile (sort of) as well as the rise of voice search in a couple of coming articles.

Google AdWords Message Extensions

The hottest new feature within the Google Pay Per Click advertising platform is Message Extensions.  With Message Extensions you are letting your customers communicate with you in the manner in which they prefer.  In this case, they are choosing to communicate with you by text message from their mobile phone to yours.


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The online user is increasingly becoming a mobile user.  As the phone becomes the primary device for search activities, marketers must adapt and prepare their own marketing channels to be Mobile First, to take advantage of how mobile users communicate.  Many mobile users prefer to text first as compared to talk first so given the choice, texting will be chosen.  Some mobile users will decline to communicate unless they can text, or if text is not available, email.

Message Extensions in AdWords enable people to see your ad, click, and contact you by text message. With one click of your ad, people can contact you for an appointment, to get a quote, request new information, or schedule a service.  Message Extensions work within your existing campaign structure so there is no need to set up a new campaign or AdGroups just to enable the messaging feature.  All you need to set is the schedule for when the message extensions will display, such as during business hours on weekdays, and the mobile phone number to which the text will be sent.  The media charges from Google for each message sent from an ad are the same as if an ad link was clicked through to your site.

Make it more convenient for your customers and give them the communication method they prefer by setting up Message Extensions.

For assistance on setting up and managing your Google AdWords program, Netnotic Marketing now offers our Digital Marketing Packages which provide a bundle of digital marketing services including Google AdWords program management.

Saskatchewan Mobile First Website Data

The Saskatchewan internet and search landscape is shifting to mobile devices.  We have compiled a study of Saskatchewan based websites and the comparison of traffic (user sessions) access the websites by desktop or by mobile device.  The websites used in this study form a cross section of industries, company size, and is split between B2C and B2B marketers.

Definition of Mobile Device

When we did our comparisons, we treated tablets as desktop computing devices.  Our rationale is that the manner in which tablets are used plus the display size tend more towards a desktop computer than a mobile device, that is, a smart phone.  From our own anecdotal observations plus those reported in numerous other publications, tablets tend to be mobile around the house or around the office.  They are an extension of the desktop browsing experience, chosen more for form factor than for true mobile capabilities.  As a result, our numbers for mobile then may be somewhat understated as compared to other reports which may lump tablets and smart phones together as mobile*.


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Business to Consumer Mobile First Website Data

The overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2C companies studied was 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  Some company websites reached as high as 61% and 59% of all traffic from mobile phones.  For these companies, a Mobile First strategy is imperative as otherwise they risk exposing over 1/2 of their user base to a poor user experience.

SK B2C websites mobile vs desktop

 

Business to Business Mobile First Website Data

Surprisingly, the overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2B companies studied was also 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  (I had secretly hoped there would be a sizeable difference in the stats.)  One company website reached as high as 78% all traffic from mobile phones while several others were extremely balanced at 50% to 50%.

 

SK B2B websites mobile vs desktop

 

Saskatchewan Mobile First Compared to the Rest of the World

It was reported that in November of 2016, the world reached the tipping point of greater than 50% of internet use by mobile as compared to desktop.

* If tablets were included with smart phones in the mobile category, then the percentages of total mobile to total desktop would be 44% to 56% for B2C and 43% to 57% for B2B.

4 Steps to Starting with WordPress

The Get Started Guide to using WordPress can be summed up in about 4 easy steps (assuming you already have a web hosting account).

  1. Install WordPress to your site
  2. Add your Theme
  3. Add an SEO Plug-In
  4. Add Your Content

Each step has some best practices.  Without getting into deep level WordPress customization, here is what we recommend.

Install WordPress to your site

Most of the world uses the cPanel webhosting platform.  Within the cPanel is a simple button to click to install WordPress.  It will look like this:

wordpress-web-host-softaculous

There are a few simple questions to answer on the form that follows.  Whenever possible, use the defaults that are suggested.


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Add Your Theme

Near the bottom of the install form/screen, you can choose the initial Theme to install with WordPress.  A Theme is a set of website design files and functions that work together to add style and feel to your website.  You can scroll through and choose a home page that catches your attention.  Select the Theme, then be sure to add your email address to the box below the INSTALL button (yes, poorly placed), then click the INSTALL button.

Add an SEO Plug-In

Assuming you want to attract visitors to your site, we strongly recommend adding the Yoast SEO Plug-In for WordPress.  It’s simply the best SEO tool available.  Reasonably easy to use and very powerful.

Adding plug-ins is generally a step I would recommend for non-newbies, but follow these steps to add Yoast.  It’s well worth the effort.  More about using Yoast in a later post.

  1. From Your Dashboard, down the left had side, click Plugins – Add New
  2. In the search box, enter Yoast SEO
  3. Click on Yoast SEO and Then Install
  4. After the install, click to activate Yoast using default settings.

wordpress-plugin-install

wordpress-yoast-seo

We will spend more time on Yoast SEO for WordPress in the future, plus much more time on some of the best Plugins for WordPress.

 Add Your Content

Begin adding content to your website by writing a couple of Posts and a couple of Pages.  These are different content types that you will become familiar with.  A Post is what my also be called a blog article or a news post.  This page you are reading now is a Post.  Posts can contain text, images, links videos and are generally used for topical or timely information.  Pages are similar.  WordPress can contain the same types of content but are usually available in the website’s main navigation menu.  The Post articles are usually found in a listing of topics or by dates within a sidebar on the website.  There will be more about how to organize your content at a later date in a later post.  For now, when you add your pages, they will automatically be included in your website navigation menu in the default menu position for your WordPress Theme.

 

This is a beginners guide to getting a WordPress site up and running. We will be posting some more advanced WordPress advice in the near future.  Some future articles include Beginners Guide to WordPress SEO, WordPress Content Organization, WordPress Post Categories and Tags, WordPress Plug-Ins You Must Have plus many more.

SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for goose hunting enthusiasts.  The responsive website SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com is a new web site for goose hunters to find Saskatchewan goose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanGooseHunting.com

Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for bear hunters enthusiasts.  The responsive website Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com is a new web site for moose hunters to find Saskatchewan moose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at Saskatchewan-Bear-Hunting.com

SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com

A new site for outdoors enthusiasts.  The responsive site SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com is a new web site for moose hunters to find Saskatchewan moose hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanMooseHunting.com

Web Development – Responsive Parallax site for Impact Energy

Just launched in January, a newly built website for a new client, Impact Energy.  The website delivers a number of key features such as responsive design, parallax layout, response forms, and many others.  See our portfolio article for more information

Football Trivia Game Challenge

Following on the releases of the Baseball Trivia Challenge and Hockey Trivia Challenge, as part of the Sport Trivia Challenge, we have just put the finishing touches on the Football Trivia Challenge.

The Football Trivia Challenge was built for sports fans who just love football a little bit more than all other sports.  Answer all the questions correctly and you will end up in the Hall of Fame.

The Sport Trivia Challenge website was designed with a Mobile First approach.