Author: Lisa King

Lisa King joined CDG Interactive as a Project Manager in December 2007 and transitioned to a role as a Marketing Strategist in December 2008. Prior to joining CDG she worked for Randstad USA managing their Washington DC Technical & Creative office, at an Internet start-up, a think tank and a trade association. Lisa brings this breadth of experience to every project. She has served as president and board member of DC Web Women. In addition, she is pursuing an MS in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech and holds a BA from SUNY Empire State in Modern Intellectual Thought.

Video-on-mobileIt’s no surprise that Google properties account for 66.7% of search queries, making Google the most popular search engine. What may surprise you is that many people go directly to YouTube (a Google property) and begin their searches there – it’s the 2nd most popular Google property for search.  As video becomes more popular and easier to upload and stream, particularly on mobile and especially tablets, video is going to become a more and more important element of many businesses’ digital presence.

What does this mean for businesses?

The short answer: the creation of shareable video content needs to be part of your marketing efforts.  (Fun fact: 92% of videos viewed on a mobile device are shared.) Here are a few quick tips to start building out your video assets, and getting them seen.


Finding the budget

Fortunately, you can now make many videos without a huge budget. In fact, most people don’t expect high production values from short, informative videos and screencasts. Just be sure you have enough time and resources to shoot and edit the video. Don’t expect that you’ll capture anything all in one go.

Getting ideas

Make sure your video has a specific purpose, and that it conveys something that can’t be communicated as well or better in other ways. You can get inspiration for your video content from several sources:

  • Search analytics from your website - what questions are driving visitors to your site and what questions are they typing in the search box on your site? Can you provide an answer in video form?
  • What can you show rather than tell? If your site has directions or explanations about products or services (how to hang curtains, how to take better photos, how to accessorize an outfit, etc.), see if you can demonstrate those activities on video. It can be a great learning tool for your customers.

 Creating & Publishing your Video

No matter where you get your ideas, and no matter what you’ll be showing in a video, here are some tips to help you create an effective video:

  • Think about the audience you want to reach – tailor your content to their sensibilities. Your video should be neither to elementary nor too complex for your desired audience.
  • Sketch out the story or tasks to complete in the video.
  • Practice ahead of time to be sure you don’t leave out any steps.
  • Speak clearly and take your time .
  • Include contact information at the end of the video.
  • Edit, edit, edit.
  • Don’t include music you don’t own. (You don’t want your video taken down because of copyright violations.)
  • Promote your video on your social networks and customers.

A Few More Words of Wisdom
At CDG, we have found that short, single task videos are more effective than longer videos. Rather than providing an entire product tutorial, break up the most common questions into short, question specific videos. This also allows you to target the search terms for each video more effectively and make the specific videos more shareable (not to mention more suitable for mobile viewing.) Other good ideas:

 

  • To improve the searchability and the accessibility, post it with a transcript.
  • Add keywords to your video - consider what specific keywords people will look for in a video (versus a Google search).
  • Share your videos – once you posted your videos on Facebook, be sure to promote them. Post them to Facebook and on your website

Not sure how which content is video-worthy or how to create winning videos for your company? Contact CDG Interactive. Our award winning creative team can help.

 

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Worldwide, mobile now accounts for 10.01% of total web traffic. In the US, more than 120 million people now own a smartphone, and 48 million people own a tablet.  Half of all local searches are currently performed on mobile devices.

Clearly, you've got to make sure that your site is ready to welcome traffic from mobile devices, and to provide those visitors with a great user experience.

Even if you're not ready to completely overhaul your site, there are several quick and easy steps you can take to vastly improve the mobile experience.

Here 5 fixes you can implement right now to ensure your mobile visitors stay on your site:

  1. Control Pop-Ups: Either eliminate pop-ups for mobile users or ensure they are resized to not be larger than the screen.  Visitors will spend little time scrolling around looking for a way to close the window. If you must use a pop-up for some reason, be sure to watch your bounce rate for mobile visitors in your web analytics to ensure you’re not losing visitors.
  2. Push Your Buttons:Test the target areas of buttons and links for touching with fingers. Most websites were designed and built for clicking with the more precise mouse which allows for items to be placed in close proximity. At the very least, ensure that your purchase and cancel target areas don’t overlap and can be touched separately.
  3. Select the Right Keyboard: In any situation that requires user input, make sure your site serves up the correct keyboard to match the input you/re requesting from users – using the options for email, URL, telephone numbers and numbers will help your mobile visitors provide the correct information with fewer typos, resulting in fewer errors and less frustration.
  4. Turn Off Auto-Correct: Disable the auto-correct function for form entry. Nothing is more frustrating for a visitor than having to re-input information because the device “knows” better.  Depending on the form fields, you may also choose to turn off auto-complete and auto-capitalize.
  5. Never Think You're Finished: Okay, this isn't exactly a quick fix, but it's important. Between new products and user expectations, mobile standards are constantly evolving, so you can't simply "fix it and forget it." You need to keep vigilant and continually evaluate whether your site is still performing optimally, and whether you can improve it. (That goes for us too! At CDG, we regularly revisit and improve previous work.) 
If you need help refining what you’ve done or aren’t sure where to get started, CDG’s mobile development and design teams are ready to help. Contact us to get started.

This is the second in a series of posts about rethinking the museum experience to attract a new audience.

Art of video gamesIn the past, when a museum mounted an “interactive” exhibit, it typically meant that attendees could touch what was on display. Now interactivity has a newer and richer meaning, and museums are scrambling to keep up. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has jumped into the fray with The Art of Video Games, not only allowing visitors to interact in the traditional sense (you can play Myst, PacMan, Super Mario Brothers and other games), but also incorporating social media, QR codes and webcasts.

I had a chance to catch up with Georgina Goodlander, the exhibition coordinator for the Art of Video Games, who said that the exhibit was an outgrowth of Smithsonian 2.0, a brainstorming conference that addressed ways the Smithsonian can continue to interpret its mission “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” in the digital age.  “Video games are a huge part of American culture and they are an art form,” said Goodlander.

The concept of allowing online participation in the exhibit was introduced early in planning stages; curators developed an online voting system to determine which games would be included in the exhibit. (The exhibit features one game from each of 5 stages in video game development: "start," "8-bit," "bit wars," "transition," and "next generation.")

The voting site was promoted on Twitter and the museum’s blog as well as the website announcing the upcoming exhibit.  Goodlander said that the voting exceeded the Smithsonian’s expectations and sparked interesting discussions, not only on the museum’s blog, but also on gaming forums.

Commenters debated the question of who should be able to answer the question “What is art?” and wondered whether the online voting would skew toward the best-selling/most popular games. (They didn’t). “It was clear that people though carefully about which [video games] should be represented in the Smithsonian,” Goodlander said.

Continue reading "The Smithsonian Gets Interactive: Exploring The Art of Video Games" »

Local searches account for 20% of searches on computers and 40% of searches on smartphones, according to Google. And those numbers are projected to keep growing. If your business’ online presence isn’t optimized for local search, you are missing out on customers who are looking for you.

Fit bodyLuckily, it’s not that difficult to fix. You just need to post a few key pieces of information in the right places.:

  • Your address
  • Business hours
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Photos of your business

CDG’s clients have seen great results from optimizing for local search. A Zumba and yoga studio located in Sterling, VA, Fit Body ‘n Mind, made these changes and saw changes in their traffic within two months, including:

  • an increase in referral traffic from local sites including Yelp (100% increase) and MeetUp.com (164% increase)
  • an exponential increase in search traffic that did not include their name (from 9 to 200)
  • an equally remarkable increase in search traffic that included their location “springfield, va” (from 5 to 114)

What these statistics tell us is, that prior to optimization, customers had to know they were looking for Zumba and Yoga Studio by name. Post-optimization, people who searched on “Zumba in Springfield VA” or “Yoga in Northern Virginia” we finding our client.  So, how do you get similar results? Read on.

Continue reading "Four Easy Fixes Guaranteed to Help Customers Find You on Local Search" »

Christmas ornamentsThe weather's warming up, and it's time to start thinking about summer vacation, barbeques, and . . . the holiday shopping season.Yes, you read that right. It's not even June, but you should already be thinking about your end-of-the-year holiday strategy.

More than ever, that strategy needs to include a smart and efficient use of mobile platforms. Shopping in general is becoming more mobile-centric, and even more so during the holidays, when shoppers want to make the most efficient use of their time and dollars. If you (or anyone other decision-makers in your company) need convincing that mobile is a must this holiday season, consider these facts:

  • Up to 65% of consumers confirm store hours and location, prices or product availability using their mobile phone before even heading to a store.
  • 52% of US consumers use their mobile phones to search for information such as product reviews and competitive pricing while they are in the store.
  • Mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search by 2016. This trend has led Google to launch a new smartphone-specific crawler to return search results targeted for smartphone users.

If you don’t already have a mobile strategy in place, the time to begin planning and executing for mobile is now. Otherwise you’ll discover that it’s too late to be ready when the holiday shoppers should be lining up at your store (virtual or otherwise).

And of course, "mobile strategy" is not just a fancy way of saying "mobile website." Yes, a mobile-optimized website is a good start, but it comprises only part of a comprehensive mobile strategy. An effective mobile strategy will include a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Optimizing your listings in review sites, Google Places, location-based social media (such as FourSquare)
  • Testing new search strategies for the smartphone crawler as people search differently on their phones than on their desktop computers
  • Creating mobile-specific PPC in addition to search optimization efforts
  • Using mobile-specific functionality such as click-to-call and geo-targeting
  • Incorporating QR Codes or short URLs in off-line channels to help customers find your mobile presence

If you need help getting "mobile-ized" for the holidays, contact CDG. We'll help you assess the behavior of your current mobile visitors, set goals, develop and optimize your mobile strategy and measure your success.

Photo Credit: Joe Buckingham on Flickr

This past weekend I spoke on a panel at the DC Science Writers conference about measuring return on investment for social media. It’s definitely a hot topic. With all of the time and resources organizations are pouring into in social media, they’re naturally asking—how do we know if it’s all worth it?

There’s no shortcut to getting an accurate picture of your ROI. It takes planning, consistency, and ongoing engagement. But don’t get too worried, here are 4 steps to help you start assessing your social media ROI.

Continue reading "Assessing Your Social Media ROI in 4 Steps" »

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