It's that time again. At CDG, we're beginning work on our fifth iAd. We've set the bar high for ourselves, and we're trying to out-do our extremely high metrics for user engagement and conversion rates. Let the concepting begin!
Above, the newest addition to CDG's design team, Marina Linderman, pitches ideas to Creative Director Matthew Snyder.
Matthew records the ideas provided by the design team. At this stage in our creative process, no idea is too out-there or strange. We'll edit and refine them over the next week as we hone in on a creative concept on which to base the iAd.
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
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
A Few More Words of
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
- 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
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.
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
Hard to believe, but the year is winding
down, and we’re starting to look toward all that 2013 has to offer. To that end, I was interested in a discussion
that emerged on LinkedIn’s Content Strategy group regarding content trends for
the coming year. Following are 3 trends mentioned in the discussion that I predict
will be the most interesting and significant for 2013.
- Mobile content – This one is
sort of a no-brainer. It’s no secret that mobile devices are literally changing
the way we experience the online landscape. According to a
recent Pew Internet study, more than 45% of Americans own a smartphone, 25%
own a tablet, and the vast majority of those people access the Internet
regularly—or even primarily—on their mobile devices. By now, many
design-related mobile conventions have emerged, but not so with content. Next
year people like yours truly will continue to grapple with how to best present
content in a mobile context. (Personally, I’m preparing myself by reading Karen
McGrane’s wonderful new book Content
Strategy for Mobile.)
- Content for responsive design –
Separate but related to mobile content, this trend is an outgrowth of the increasing demand for “responsive” online environments; that is, sites/apps that adapt
their display to the device on which they’re accessed. (So, for example, instead
of having a separate mobile website, you’d have a single site that automatically
displays differently on a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, etc.) Responsive design presents an enormous
challenge for content strategists and producers. In fact, I’d argue that it
requires you not only to write, prioritize, and optimize your content, but
actually to “design” its individual components (headlines, subheads, meta
content, product descriptions, long-form articles, etc.) with an extreme degree
of precision and attention to detail. This is something I particularly look
forward to tackling in 2013.
- Visual content – With Pinterest
really taking hold and becoming a legitimate force on social media during 2012,
it was inevitable that companies and organizations would look for ways to use
it to market products, extend brands, and gain a wider audience. Well-designed,
eye-catching, and compelling infographics are becoming an increasingly potent way
to get your message across online. Designers and content producers are going to
have to hold hands and do some creative collaborating to create visual elements
that aren’t only memorable, but sharable.
What do you think? What will you be working
on content-wise during 2013?
Remember, no matter what challenges lie in
store for you next year, CDG can help. Contact us & let's talk content.
This is the second in a series of
posts about rethinking the museum experience to attract a new audience.
In 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" »
The 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
CDG has a history of providing interactive solutions across a broad spectrum of dynamic industries. Few industries today are more dynamic than the energy sector. With the advent of deregulation energy companies—and their consumers—face the challenge of understanding how energy consumption is changing, evaluating options, and exercising responsible choices. Mike Koch, CDG's Director of Business Development and owner of Firefly Farms takes a look at what’s on the horizon for the energy industry and discusses how interactive media can help bring the picture into focus.
I am a small business owner, interactive marketing professional, capitalist, and committed environmental protectionist.
Over the last few months, these sometimes conflicting passions have led me to educate myself on an industry that touches our lives and wallets virtually every moment of every day: energy consumption.
One of the big questions consumers are asking themselves is: “How can I ensure what I consume is locally and sustainably produced?” Witness the resurgence in our local food markets.
Framing that question around energy consumption, I started to wonder how many of us as consumers even wonder where we derive the electric current that literally powers our lives. (Is it generated from oil? coal? wind? nuclear reactors? natural gas? Where is it generated? What is its impact on our environment?) How many of us don’t bother to ask the questions, and simply take for granted that the lights will go on and the devices will recharge?
Educating Consumers Online
The energy industry is a heady, politically-contentious sphere where long-held monopolies fight for survival and consumer behavior is hard to change. As one of many Maryland business owners who recently testified in the Maryland State Legislature regarding proposed Marcellus Shale Drilling—a.k.a. “fracking”—I’ve witnessed this contention first-hand.
However, in many states these energy markets are actively being restructured to increase competition and consumer choice. With active deregulation at work, residential and business alike need to understand our options and how to exercise the power of choice.
Continue reading "Looking at Energy: Choice, Responsibility & Connection" »
Being based in Washington, DC, we at CDG are literally surrounded by world-class muesums. (In fact, if we hurled a rock off of our balcony, we could probably hit the Phillips Collection—not that we would want to, of course.) Plus, we count the wonderful Muscarelle Museum in Williamsburg as a client. We’ve begun to think more and more about the online presence that museums provide to their audience, from online collections to logistical help to mobile apps. This post explores the realities and possibilities of the digital museum experience in the first entry of a new blog series.
So, there is this big idea brewing among the minds and talents who curate and run museums across the country. It’s about re-conceptualizing the function or role of museum websites in order to enhance the user’s online experience.
Up to now, the typical museum website has basically been used as a virtual replacement for the brick and mortar building it represents (as well as a logistical guide for potential visitors). That approach made sense back when museums were first venturing online.
But we are living in a culture where Internet and mobile technologies are evolving rapidly (read: daily!) and people’s expectations of an “online experience” are different than they were five years ago—or even two years ago.
Museums should start thinking about ways to re-position their websites to serve new functions in order to meet the demands of a mobile-savvy and social media-captivated audience. After all, visiting a museum website is not like physically being at the museum. Why should it try to be?
We wanted to start thinking about how museums can start to create a new type of user experience. And we came up with three guiding words: enable, enlighten, and engage.
- Enable: For every person that can visit a museum, there are literally millions more who can access it through technology, mobile or otherwise. Rather than merely replicate their collections online—although that’s a good start—museums could view their websites as a way to experience their collections and content in new and expansive ways. Using social media, museums can also proactively enable their audience members to not only experience content, but to share it with others. By allowing the visitor to comment, tag, or pin information, the museum will reach a much wider (social) network.
- Enlighten: Museums, and the people who curate them, are regarded as experts in their fields. But the majority of visitors (online and offline) to museums are not experts—most are unfamiliar with the academic language of art, history, science, etc. Most museums have educational programs or components, so why not extend that online? There’s no reason that museum websites can’t interactively educate users directly on their sites. By exploring innovations in online education, museums could attract a younger, more diverse audience that could eventually translate into more actual visits to the physical museum.
- Engage: Museums have one incredible asset when it comes to the digital space--content. They should take advantage of the possibilities inherent in digital technology and innovate on the ways users experience content. Videos, podcasts, streaming collections and apps are only a few of the tools that museums could use to create a truly unique online experience for users.
These are initial thoughts about expanding the online museum experience.
[Edit 9.20.12]: The next post in this series reviews the interactive Smithsonian exhibit "The Art of Video Games" and how it leverages viewer participation through social media and other channels. In a future post we'll also take a field trip to the Phillips Collection to give their mobile app a try, and see how it adds to the museum experience.
In the meantime, if your museum is looking for a digital solution, contact CDG.
It’s that time of year again. Turkeys, stuffing, pecan pie and, that most American of all traditions . . . holiday shopping. And no matter how stuffed they get at Thanksgiving dinner, people will be hungry for holiday deals. (Black Friday shopping has become an almost gladiatorial sport.)
This year, people will be turning to their mobile devices to look for bargains.
Google projects that 44% of searches for gifts and store location will be made from mobile devices this year, and 15% of Black Friday searches will happen on a smartphone.
Even though holiday shopping is right around the corner, it’s not too late to position yourself for a successful holiday season. Here are some tips to make sure it’s a happy holiday season for your business
Continue reading "Go Mobile this Holiday Season" »
As we’ve written about before, QR codes are rapidly expanding in adoption and use by mobile marketers. Just how widespread are they?
Let’s take a look at a day (and more) in the life of QR codes …
I open my pile of unread mail and among the catalogs and credit card offers I’m delighted to see I’ve received a Save the Date wedding announcement for friends of mine. There’s a QR code on the announcement; when I scan it with my phone, it adds the wedding to my calendar and also directs me to a microsite with the wedding registry.
I see they’re registered at Brookstone, so I decide to go to my local store to look at something from their registry. In the store, QR codes next to the product let me access videos and product reviews from other customers.
My friends are getting married in another state, so I have to travel to the wedding. When it’s time to depart, I check in to my flight on my phone; the airline issues me a mobile boarding pass that will be scanned at the gate for totally paperless ticketing.
After I park at the airport, I scan the QR code in the bus kiosk to alert the shuttle driver that I’m there so he can come to pick me up.
As I walk through the airport, I scan some of the QR codes on the store windows to access specials at restaurants and lounges.
I get to my destination and while I’m waiting for my bags, I notice a poster ad for a local restaurant. I scan the code to see their specials and another to call and make a reservation.
As I head around town, I don’t have to worry that my travel guide is out of date, because QR codes next to restaurant and attraction listings direct me to updated reviews, pricing, hours and information. I can even access Google Maps with specific spots marked for excellent photo opportunities.
It’s a great wedding and I’m glad to see my friends so happy. But when I get home I have just one thought—how can I incorporate QR codes into my next marketing campaign?
To see several of these examples and more, check out CDG Interactive’s presentation “Real World/Digital World: 11 Ways to Bridge the Gap With QR Codes” on SlideShare.
- What are your favorite examples of QR codes?
- Are you using QR codes in your marketing campaigns?
Amp up your marketing efforts by reaching mobile customers with QR codes. CDG Interactive can put together an effective marketing strategy using mobile, social, search and more. Contact Us to learn more.
[Image of Save the Date card with QR code from QReate &Track.]