Report from Shop.org Annual Summit

Category: Netelixir Updates

Few retailers have a robust plan ready for the “shortest runway to Christmas since 2002″.

I have had hour long meetings with 9 retail firms in the last 20 hours at Shop.org (Chicago). One thing that strikes me as surprising as well as concerning is the lack of preparedness for a very short holiday season (3 week time between Thanksgiving and Christmas). Most retailers that I met with are still unable to fully fathom the “impact of one less week – 25% less time” on online demand.

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SEO: Site Speed – It Does Matter – Part 2

Category: SEO

As an addition to yesterday’s post on SEO Site Speed, we have a few quick updates based on Google’s new Hummingbird update:

  1. The Hummingbird update actually happened 1 month ago; Google just announced it yesterday (September 26th)
  2. If you haven’t seen drops in rankings yet – you probably won’t, since the update has already been live for some time
  3. Any speculation about algorithm updates (August 21st, September 4th, etc.) can be attributed to this update
  4. Nothing has been dropped from the algorithm – i.e. site speed is still a very large part of rankings
  5. Google is trying to deliver results faster and even more accurate
  6. The update is geared toward ‘conversational’ searches – like how you would speak a question into your iPhone. Google is trying to identify the ‘meaning’ behind the words – not only trying to match words to searches

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SEO: Site Speed – It Does Matter

Category: SEO

Part 1 – Test Website Load Time

Google has been using site speed as a ranking factor in its algorithm for some time now. Luckily, there are some quick, simple things you can do to decrease your page load time and leverage the benefits for your site. Here we will share some free tools to check site speed, as well as give you tips on what you can do to optimize site load times.

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35 Executive attendees. 275 minutes of insightful presentations by some of the brightest minds in Retail + Digital Marketing industry. Grounds for Sculpture, a venue that has often been rated as New Jersey’s best kept secret (270 sculptures spread across 42 acres). Senior Retail & Digital Media Executives and Ivy League Academicians engaged in exciting and extensive sessions of networking and peer to peer insight sharing.

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We started NetElixir University on September 12, 2012. The purpose was to “democratize the digital marketing industry”. The goal – to train 10,000 businesses in the best practices of digital marketing. Our first event was the Search Marketing Workshop for Retailers. 15 executives from retail firms like Reed & Barton, Music and Arts and Haband attended our workshop. Over the past 12 months, we have conducted retail search marketing webinars – every month. Through our webinars, we have shared practical and proven search marketing tips with attendees (all retailers). Three of our webinars were co-hosted by eminent retail executives – Laura Jajko (VP, American Frame), Limin Zhao (Global PPC Manager, Lenovo) and Grace Yco (Digital Marketing Manager, Vix Paula Hermanny). Attendees loved the practical knowledge that was shared.

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A Coffee Chat on PLA – Product Listing Ads Optimization

Category: Marketing Dilemmas

Yesterday at NetElixir, experience and curiosity were the toppings for the fresh hot evening coffee for four enthusiastic search marketers. It all started during a casual coffee chat with Anser, NetElixir’s senior search marketer, who commented that Product Listing Ads are performing much better than text ads. Deb, another senior colleague, endorsed Anser by quoting that Google PLAs have outperformed text ads in terms of click-through-rate. He was referring to one of the Adobe blogs he follows – Adobe Blog on Digital Marketing. This discussion by Anser and Deb intrigued me and Keith, who were sipping the hot coffee with them. And this triggered a nice brief productive coffee chat on a few Product Listing Ads optimization tactics.

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Black Friday sales will start early this year… how early?

Category: Marketing Dilemmas

NetElixir research data indicates a 3 day shift in Black Friday sales (as well as related search queries) in 2012 (over same time in 2011). Retailers now start their Black Friday promotions even before Thanksgiving Day in an effort to garner a greater share of holiday shoppers’ wallets.

Black Friday Online Sales Trends
Black Friday Sales and Search Trends, 2012 vs. 2011

We expect Black Friday promotions (as well sales spikes + related search spike) to start earlier this year. How much earlier? Well, based on prior years’ trend analysis, the spikes should start around Nov 20/21 and at least 70% of online retailers will start their Black Friday weekend promotions on Nov 25 (Monday). (Needless to mention, the sales promotions will keep varying through the period leading to Cyber Monday).

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Online Sales Spike Prior to Labor Day: Facts

Category: Marketing Dilemmas

The week leading to Labor Day this year saw a significant spike in online sales for our retail clients. Y/Y sales grew (average) by 73% during this week. The spike was experienced by retailers across 7 retail categories from consumer electronics to home furnishings.

Some interesting SEM research facts pertaining to online sales (week of Aug 26) -

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Holiday Search Marketing Calendar: Why You Need One?

Category: Marketing Dilemmas

 2013 Holidays are unique because of 2 reasons -

  1. There are 6 less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas (the shortest runway since 2002).
  2. Online sales trends this year have been unpredictable, both in their “highs and lows”, often making predictions irrelevant.

One thing can be safely predicted though.. a short runway to Christmas will most definitely lead to more intense competition than ever before.

At NetElixir, we have been conducting holiday search marketing trends and consumer insights research since 2008. We have identified some “lead indicators (trends)” that enable higher holiday forecast accuracy.

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The NetElixir team was in full-force at eTail East 2013 in Philadelphia this week! We gave away an awesome new Lenovo Yoga to one lucky winner, Marit Weitnauer, Project Director at Eyes on Walls Art!

eTail attendees got a chance to win the Yoga by spinning the Wheel of SEM Facts at our booth and determining the # of entries they would receive in the drawing.

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