Trends In Web Traffic – Shift To Smartphones

 Close up of a man using mobile smart phoneSmartphone Usage Is Rapidly Increasing

Do you ever study the Google Analytics data for your website? If the answer is no, we recommend you begin reviewing analytics data on a regular basis. One of the trends you will find in your analytics data is a very definitive shift in the origin of the web traffic on your site. Historically, the vast majority of people who accessed our clients websites, did so using either a desktop or laptop computer to make the connection. Over the past few years, that trend has dramatically shifted. The number of people accessing those same websites via a smartphone or mobile a tablet device, is simply staggering.

technologies in officeIn March of 2015, comScore reported that 184 million people in the United States owned smartphones. That number is expected to continue rising over the coming years. Ten years ago, many of the mobile phones in the market were not web enabled. They were simply used as communication devices. Over the past few years, we have seen people trading in older mobile phones for new, high tech, web enabled smartphone devices, such as the I-phone and Samsung Galaxy series. With the improved technology, people are finding it far easier to surf the web, directly from their mobile device. Wireless phone companies have recognized that fact and are increasingly offering mobile plans that are designed to allow people to surf, talk and share data usage via family plans.

IphoneEarlier this year, it was reported that Apple held a 41.9% market share, in the smartphone device market. Samsung came in a strong second, with a market share of 29.3%. That would lead you to believe that the Apple smartphone platform is the most popular, however, the statistics actually show that the Android platform is the overall leading platform in the smartphone arena. The Android folks enjoy the number one position and have 52.3% of the market using their platform.

Modern communication technology mobile phoneWhat are people doing on these smartphone devices you ask. They are shopping, listening to music, watching videos, texting and using social media apps to communicate with their friends. The top 15 smartphone apps in the market currently are Facebook, YouTube, Google Play, Google Search, Facebook Messanger, Google Maps, Pandora Radio, Gmail, Instagram, Amazon Mobile, Twitter, Itunes Radio & Icloud, Apple Maps, Google + and Pinterest. Facebook holds a commanding lead in the mobile app market place. They have achieved a 71.1% reach share with their Facebook mobile app. YouTube has consistently maintained a strong second place position, with a reach of 57%.

Why is this important to me you ask. It’s important because many of the folks using these smartphone devices are using them more and more frequently. Meaning, they are becoming far less dependent on their desktop or laptop devices for Internet access. With traditional patterns of Internet usage shifting from desktops and laptops to smartphones, marketers are having to find new ways to reach their target audience. Businesses have always had to adjust to market trends, but, never in the history of our country has technology driven such rapid changes to shopping habits and patterns.

Buying air tickets via smartphoneDo you have a mobile friendly website? If the answer to that question is no, you could find yourself in real trouble in the near future. Google and other search engines are adjusting their search algorithms to meet the ever changing needs, wants, preferences and surfing habits of their customers. The search engines must pay attention to these evolving trends. If they don’t, they run the very real risk of producing search engine results that are less relevant for their end users. Loosing relevance is not an option for search engines like Google. Their entire existence depends upon providing the most relevant answers possible to the questions and information requests people are querying about. Google execs realize that if people can find other tools that provide a more relevant answer than Google does, these people will likely migrate to using those other tools.

I say all that to simply advise that you need to make your web content mobile friendly. You need to do that today and not a year from now.  The search algorithms are looking for highly relevant, mobile friendly content to serve up to smartphone device users. If you don’t have a mobile website, you could find yourself in the position of watching your hard earned web page rankings becoming less and less valuable. If you will check your Google Analytics data, I am pretty sure you are going to see the increase in Mobile device usage that we are talking about.

graphs and chartsNot sure of how to find the information I am talking about? Open Google Analytics. In the left side navigation column, slide down to the “Audience” tab. Right click that tab with your mouse. That will open all of the sub categories available under that section. Mouse down to the tab that says “Mobile” then right click that option. You will then see another set of sub categories, including one that says “Devices”. Click that tab. You are going to see all kinds of information about people who have visited your website, using some form of smartphone or mobile device. You can look at any date range you want by going to the top right of that reports page and adjusting your date settings. You can also click the “compare to” box, located just below the date range and compare your selected date range to the previous year or previous period.

We tell our customers that the answers to the questions that perplex us most are often found while analyzing the Google Analytics data. Our team uses that information to ensure that we keep our marketing approach, tactics and strategies on the cutting edge. Customers we serve are flourishing, especially the florists we work with. We ensure that they are using the top e-commerce platforms in the industry. We ensure that each customer has a fully functioning mobile website, that runs in tandem with their primary online storefront. The sites we place our clients are equipped to deliver content to any type of device, in a manner which generates maximum value for each flower shop owner.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly give us a call at Flyline Search Marketing®. We can either help you in building a new site, or can at least give you some advice on what you need to do to update your platform.flyline_search

 

 

The Digital Advertising Arena Holds Great Promise

Blue www and EarthSmart Firms Go Digital

Business owners who insist on sticking to the old traditional way of selling are finding it harder and harder to compete in today’s fast paced environment. We meet folks like this everyday. They are honest, hard working people. They have each built successful businesses by the sweat of their brow. Almost all of them feel they understand their business better than anyone else, yet they find themselves wondering why their revenue growth has seemingly stagnated. Most are afraid of change and thus stuck in proverbial quicksand. They know change is needed, but, don’t have any real  idea of what that change should be.

Please don’t mistake what I am saying. These are some of the brightest folks you will ever meet. Most are college grads, all have built successful businesses and lead happy, productive lives. Yet they all seem to find themselves at that same intersection in the road. For years their businesses have grown and flourished. The need to change approach has arrived though and they are simply not sure which fork in the road is the right one to go down. Change seems to be one of the hardest things for the human mind to wrap itself around. Many find it so much easier to just ignore the need for change because they are comfortable with how they have done things over the years. They know that change sometimes brings pain. Change means reinvestment in the business. Change means they are probably going to have to work more hours, like they did when they were first getting started with their businesses.

0f0d452One of the smartest folks I am blessed to work with is a man named Charles Carithers. He is the owner of Carithers Flowers. Charles has built one of the most successful flower shops in the southeastern United States. We have been right there by his side, helping him to accomplish that impressive feat. Charles often says, there are two key things that he focuses on. The first is reinvention and the second is marketing. He is convinced that maintaining a keen focus on these two things has helped him to grow Carithers Flowers into the successful flower shop that it has become.

Depositphotos_8588374_s (2)Lets talk for a minute about the reinvention piece of the equation for a minute. If you are the owner of a flower shop, or any other business, you probably have certain practices and procedures that you have historically followed in running your company. Many of you have spent years of your lives, honing these practices and operational procedures into a fine edge. You are proud of that accomplishment and have made money sticking to what has worked to keep your business growing all these years. Now, all of the sudden, things have started to change. You are seeing less walk-in traffic in your stores. Competitors are popping up in your industry and they seem to be very tech savvy. These firms have deployed websites. Armed with a website and a high tech work team, these new kids on the block are fast gaining ground on your business and that concerns you. The truth is, they will catch up to you, and pass you, if you don’t embrace change!

businessmove2Reinvention can mean a lot of things to different people. For the sake of this discussion, I choose to think of it as a means of challenging yourself, and your employees, to find ways to drop the traditional methodology in favor of a different way of doing things. Here is one example of how Charles Carithers approaches reinvention. For years, he built his business around the traditional brick and mortar approach to growing a flower shop. As his business grew, he opened store after store, all over the Atlanta area. To provide flower orders for each new store, he traditionally counted on walk-in traffic and wire in flower orders from BloomNet and other sources. This approach worked for years and Carithers grew into a huge flower business. Then one day, Charles realized that growth had stagnated. Instead of living off his past success, he smartly realized that change was needed. He quickly began to dismantle the traditional business he and his family had worked so hard to create. Charles hired our firm to help him compete and evolve his firm, using growth opportunities offered via the new digital advertising space.

What I am telling you is this. Charles literally scraped the traditional business approach and started all over again. Most would never have had the courage, nor the conviction to do such a thing. It’s not unusual to see business owners unload and sell off their businesses at that point. Most would never have the energy to go through the pain of the reinvention. That is what I love about Charles Carithers. He isn’t afraid of any challenge! Instead, he embraces change and makes it a part of his operational strategy. The employees who work for him have come to realize that change is a good thing. He challenges them all to find ways to be better at what they do. His management style and approach is designed to encourage employees to evolve and to compete and I am telling you, it is working!

Marketing signNow lets talk about the marketing piece of the equation for a minute. I am going to use flower shops as an example for the sake of this part of the discussion. Many of the flower shop owners I meet tell me that they are willing to dedicate 5% of sales, back to a marketing program. I ask them where they came up with 5% of sales as the magic number. They give me all kinds of reasons for it, but, at the end of the day they are just trying to do what others in their industry are telling them they do. Most flower shop owners belong to various floral groups. These floral user groups share information about tactics and strategies and things like marketing budgets. Oh I don’t blame flower shop owners for going to these group meetings. They do learn lots of things that are helpful.

If it were me, I would watch what innovators like Charles Carithers are doing. If I owned a flower shop, I would also study what the largest florists in the industry are doing. That would require spending time and energy analyzing companies like 1-800 Flowers, FTD, Teleflora and ProFlowers. These firms are all enjoying huge success in the flower business. Yes I agree. Studying these firms isn’t rocket science, it’s just common sense. A number of these large florists are public companies. That means they are required to publish an annual report. These annual reports include information about those firms strategies. They also contain statements about anticipated benefits and future financial projections on revenues, operating expenses, market trends, cash flows and uses of cash. That means you can glean information from their annual reports to help you better understand how much they spend on marketing. Let is suffice to say, they are not reinvesting 5% of their sales back into marketing. In fact, they are spending more like 12% – 15% of sales on marketing.

 

Peruse The 2014 Form 10K Annual Report Filed By FTD

 

Let me ask you this question. Does it make more sense to follow the lead of ultra successful florists, or should you stick to the traditional way you have always managed? I guess the answer to that question will lie in whether you are open to change or stuck in quicksand. Business owners with an open mind can evolve and win. If you choose to avoid the fray, you may find yourself owning a company that is becoming increasingly less productive and valuable. My advice, embrace change and evolve. The new digital advertising arena is kind of rocket science stuff, but, it offers change and possibility for growth and success.

Image converted using ifftoanyIf you are ready to take the next step, but, realize you aren’t knowledgeable enough to head in that direction on your own, give us a call. We can help you. Our approach is unique and our track record of success is on record for all to see. When we agree to take on a new client, we don’t just view ourselves as a vendor. Instead, we focus on becoming an extension of the business owner. To that end, we seek to find business owners who are actually looking for a strategic partner, and not just another vendor to do a task. When we find those types of folks, we step right in and take ownership and responsibility in helping them grow their firms. Not to sound redundant, but, our work, effort and performance are second to none! Ask companies like Carithers Flowers, Veldkamp’s Flowers, Flowerama of Columbus and Allen’s Flowers. We have helped these firms to achieve new levels of success. We also help lots of firms in other industries, such as; Gwinnett Medical Center. All will tell you that we have stepped right in and played a major role in helping them to implement growth strategies and achieve their goals. For us, it’s about relationships and driving success for those we serve. We see ourselves as servants and appreciate the chance to be part of the team. Money is a secondary component and not what motivates us. We just love finding family owned businesses who are worth spending our life energy to help. We enjoy helping other families and thrive on bringing these types of businesses back to a vibrant state. It’s friendship, trust and respect we seek, not a paycheck.

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