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Watch: Marketing Your Retail Business During Economic Uncertainty

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What do retailers in hardware, jewelry, and eye care have in common? On the surface, not too much. However, when COVID-19 hit, closing brick and mortar locations, business came to a screeching halt. This was a wakeup call for all retailers that had not prioritized creating an online presence to serve their customers.

Retailers across industries are facing many of the same challenges marketing their business during economic uncertainty. Now is the time to hit reset. The retailers that are and will be the most successful are transforming their traditional business models and leveraging digital practices to focus on brand and message, eCommerce, driving web traffic and embracing new technology to serve their customers.

In partnership with Reed Exhibition and MadConNYC, Mike Grehan, CMO and Managing Director at Acronym, led a candid discussion with experts across these three industries.
Watch to learn more…

Please welcome Dan Tratensek of North American Retail Hardware Association and representing the National Hardware Show, Trudi Charest of 4ECPS and representing Vision Expo and Sherry Smith of Edge Retail Academy and representing Jewelers International Showcase and Luxury JCK Events.

 

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Google’s Free Ecommerce Listings Have Arrived—Here’s How Brands Can Capitalize

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By Gregg Manias

Search results in Google Shopping will soon include free listings for sellers after the search engine announced it wants to help retailers connect with consumers, even if those merchants don’t pay for advertising.

“Solutions during this crisis will not be fast or easy, but we hope to provide a measure of relief for businesses and lay the groundwork for a healthier retail ecosystem in the future,” wrote Bill Ready, president of commerce at Google, in a blog post published April 21.

That means consumers will soon see two distinct ribbons of visual results for product searches for both paid and organic results. The important distinction with the latter, of course, is it will be free to merchants.

These changes will take effect in the U.S. by the end of April. Google plans to expand globally by the end of the year.

It’s the latest evolution of Google’s so-called Froogle offering, which morphed into Google Product Search and then Google Shopping.

Now we have free shopping listings.

But Google is also likely motivated by Amazon assuming most of the market share for search queries with purchase intent. And let’s not forget all the trouble it has had in the European Union over dominance of shopping SERPs—even when shopping ads haven’t satisfied the intent of the search query.

Free shopping listings address both: they help Google better capitalize on product searches and they level the playing field a bit more, which is likely to appease regulators.

Google said existing users of Merchant Center or Shopping ads don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings. (New users will eventually be able to access a streamlined onboarding process.)

But this is also another example of why every website—but particularly ecommerce sites—should implement schema markup. Those sites will soon have a big advantage over much of the competition.

That’s because schema augments the existing content and describes exactly what products and services there are and how they should be classified for ecommerce product listings. And the

more the machine knows about a product, the better it can support the contextual cues consumers search for. If they haven’t already, ecommerce marketers should add all relevant product markup, including: aggregated rating, reviews, brand, color, image and Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).

Another user benefit to consider is showing reviews, which already help retailers increase click-through rates and tell the search engine whether users’ intent was satisfied. From this we can intuit good reviews will likely help retailers boost their organic results in Shopping as well.

That being said, we know the data feed we use for paid advertising will fuel these organic results, which could mean reporting in Analytics will be muddied. That’s because we may not know what came from paid versus organic unless advertisers heavily customize by adding parameters that get removed when they are applied to paid results.

Then again, it may still be possible for companies to tag their paid ads with URL parameters to distinguish those from the organic listings. A potential source of confusion could be if advertisers have campaign URL parameters in their Google Shopping feeds and then Google leverages those campaign URLs for its free listings. However, historically, Google has been smart enough to know better than to do that, so it’s probably unlikely.

Gregg Manias is a Vice President of Strategy at Acronym. He leads Acronym’s eCommerce practice with a focus on marketplace strategies including Amazon, Walmart, Ebay and Home Depot.

abstract covid graphic

Understanding the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Data Visualization

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By Jonah Feld

We are not epidemiologists. We are experts in data visualization, and we put that expertise to use to better understand the COVID-19 crisis.

The New York Times collected this dataset, which it “made available to the public in response to requests from researchers, scientists and government officials who would like access to the data to better understand the outbreak.”

The following eight interactive visualizations combine this COVID-19 data with US Census data, allowing users to filter and explore critical information at a state and county level.

We took raw numbers for cumulative cases and cumulative deaths by county and by date and turned it into something that allows the user to explore to better understand the meaning of raw data.

We also created measurements, like ratios, rates of change, percentages, etc., that add context. And we added filters to let users narrow the scope to create their own visuals that answer the most important question in data interpretation: “Compared to what?”

Through these graphs, we hope to visually communicate how serious this disease is, as well as its overall impact to date and the effectiveness of efforts so far to flatten the curve.

We hope these graphs help us all better understand this difficult situation.

Stay safe.

 

 

Descriptions of the types of graphs:

Treemap: A treemap visually represent parts of a whole. Contrasted with a map, the states and counties are proportionate to the desired value, not land area.

Animated Scatter: An animated scatterplot is a fantastic visualization when a line chart won’t do. Click on a single dot to trace progression over time.

Racing Chart: A racing chart is like a flipbook of bar charts over time. For a single measurement, it communicates changes in comparative rank, differences, and scale in an easily digestible clip.

Historic Table: This sortable table shows most metrics through the point in time indicated in the date picker. Right-click on a state to drill down to county, or skip to all counties nationally.

Daily Chart: These charts show daily activity (rather than cumulative activity as of each date). The vertical orientation encourages comparisons of daily measures over a shared x axis for dates.

Log Chart: A logarithmic scale is best for representing exponential functions. A steady slope of a line represents a fixed rate of exponential growth, and the horizontal gridlines indicate a relative change in magnitude, typically 10x.

Since Inception: This chart replaces the dates on the x axis with the number of days since reaching a common starting point: either 100 cases or 10 deaths. By aligning start points, the differences in rate of growth are more easily observed.

Small Multiples: Small multiples, popularized by visualization guru Edward Tufte, are a matrix of similar graphs using the same scale and axes, allowing them to be easily compared.

 

Jonah Feld is a Director of Product Development at Acronym. He specializes in data visualization and data integration for Keyword Objects, Acronym’s proprietary Enterprise Keyword Management platform for professional search engine marketers. He has 17 years of experience in SEO/SEM, with a heavy focus on analytics and reporting, having worked at agencies and in consultative roles developing business intelligence solutions.

quibi graphic

Quibi’s Here! But Will it Stay?

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By Kate McNee

First, there was Netflix. Then there was TikTok. Now comes a fusion: Quibi.

Short for “quick bites,” Quibi is the newest video-streaming platform to enter the competitive space. Launched on April 6, it offers 175 new high-production movies and TV shows in 10-minute “bites.” It’s an enticing concept. However, the question of adoptability remains. Will binge watchers like consuming engrossing dramas in minutes-long pieces? And moreover, will they pay for it?

Like many things, the answers to these questions, and Quibi’s true potential, are on hold given the current COVID-19 climate. But the unanimous takeaway from Quibi’s first week is the timing is tragically terrible. While Netflix customers binge to whittle away hours of time, watching clips designed for on-the-go seems…counterintuitive. Case in point: the Twittersphere’s biggest complaint is that mobile-only Quibi can’t be projected onto bigger screens. Womp, womp. Luckily, Quibi’s CEO says they will be enabling this in the future.

In response to everything going on, Quibi made the savvy business decision to offer consumers an extended complimentary three-month trial. This probably helped the platform achieve the 1.7 million downloads it reported in the first week. However, this means our final judgments on the platform must wait. Quibi’s true purpose, the need Quibi is meant to fill, won’t be possible until life returns to its fast-paced normal. Then and only then will we know if Quibi is valuable enough to pay for.

Quibi’s leadership portends success. In 2018, the platform’s company was founded by entertainment juggernaut Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, who was looking for “the next big opportunity in entertainment.” In addition, Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and HP, serves as CEO. Branding Quibi as the “the third generation of film narrative,” the dynamic duo amassed close to $2 billion in investment capital before launch.

The platform has a truly differentiated product offering. Turnstyle, a technology that allows you to view content in different portrait and landscape perspectives when you flip the screen, is Quibi’s patent-pending feature. And I must admit, it’s cool. Imagine you’re watching your favorite drama. You’re captivated by a tight character shot but want a glimpse of the background. Turnstyle lets you do this, dynamically flipping between the two perspectives.

With mega-successful executives, high-profile investors, and an impressive array of Gen-Z heavy Hollywood talent – A-list celebrities include Liam Hemsworth, Chrissy Teigen, and Idris Elba – it’s no surprise that advertisers have caught on. The platform’s entire $150 million first-year ad budget sold out prior to launch, spurred undoubtedly by the fear of missing out on the “the next big thing” targeted to young people after TikTok.

Credit: Quibi

What’s pressing is the question of its place within the larger streaming mix. Quibi executives maintain the platform is more in competition with social networks than the ever-multiplying streaming platforms. Quibi’s quick mobile viewing does more closely mirror social media behavior than sit-down-don’t-leave-your-bed-for-hours Netflix consumption. However, this is exactly what confounds me. Miss a moment of a TikTok dance video because of a subway announcement? Not a big deal. Quibi’s high-production content, on the other hand, would require close viewing.

Take Survive, one of Quibi’s most publicized feature films. Starring Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner and The Walking Dead’s Corey Hawkins, the movie follows their quest to survive after their plane crashes on an icy mountain. With nuanced facial expressions and hushed dialogue, the film requires one’s complete investment. Are people in the mindset to give this while they’re on the go?

Even if you see this as a non-starter, there’s the fact that Quibi will only release one episode (ten minutes or less) of its full-length movies per day. I’m simply not sure ten minutes gives enough time for consumers to get invested in a television show and be drawn to returning. That’s just not a lot of time to learn about the characters.

But it’s not all bad news: what I do see as working for the platform is the five clips of episodic and unscripted TV series Quibi premieres each day. Most of the content is light-hearted and funny: Dishmantled challenges chefs to make dishes while they wear blindfolds (yes, where they come up with this stuff is the mystery). And this is exactly why I see it as perfect for this medium. While people are on-the-go, they’re looking to be quickly entertained and informed, and Dishmantled fits this bill. However, content will need to be high-quality and uniquely suited to this platform. If not, users will return to YouTube for this type of content for free. And “competing against free,” as Katzenberg has stated Quibi will be, is a big obstacle.

Credit: Quibi

In the digital age, it’s impossible to predict the future. Minute-long movie clips could end up peaking user interest, and revolutionize movie viewing for the Millennial/Gen-Z audience. But following the mega-hyped flops of Fyre Festival and Cats, I think it’s important to practice thoughtful skepticism about pre-released, influencer-backed offerings. A resume doesn’t spell success. Only adoption does.

Kate McNee is a Paid Social Media Strategist at Acronym, working across clients in education, hospitality, and construction. With more than three years of experience in social media strategy and execution from both the client and agency side, Kate leverages her background in social media content development, strategic planning, and platform execution to drive client business goals.

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4 Ways the Pandemic is Changing Advertising—and What to Do About It

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By Gellena Lukats

As I sit here, working from home, tenaciously pausing campaigns that took months to optimize across our paid media channels, it’s hard not to feel the impact of COVID-19, especially when each day we are frantically halting spend, relaunching, and ceaselessly shifting strategy. It feels like a standstill, and I hesitate to think long term, at a time where it appears short-term thinking is the universal norm for the industry.

But how do we weather this storm? There is not a one-stop-shop solution here, but I do have some advice you can cater to your own brand/industry based on my own experience.

Consumers need something to do with the seemingly limitless hours online, and they now more than ever before have the time to research your brand and product. Here are my four best tips for brands in this new normal:

1. Don’t be Swayed by Common Misconceptions

Misconception1: “I should pause all social media and run nothing”

Users are constantly on social networks, like Facebook, as they use these platforms to connect with friends/family they’re social distancing from, or actively following tweets for news content.

On LinkedIn alone, there was a 2017% growth in engagement from February 1 to March 17.

So now is not the time to pause, but rather focus on a new phase in the funnel: awareness and research. As more users are actively online, now is the time to share thought leadership and gain trust and reliability to be top-of-mind in the post-recovery period. Let the end user know you’re here when they’re ready to enroll in your school, or pivot towards online solutions like webinars or your e-commerce program. Topics like #remotework, and learning new skills are trending, so adapt and make yourself heard in a time when more users are online. Every user has tons of marketing emails from companies they gave their PII data to, and you don’t want to get lost in this over saturated market.

Misconception2: “It’s business as usual”

By ignoring the crisis, and not shifting your strategy, you run the risk of appearing tone deaf and self-promotional. Instead, be in the market, but provide a soft approach – focus on long-term success and pools you can remarket to at a later point. Push webinars and digital events, optimize the upper funnel and focus on reach vs. lower-funnel success metrics, and showcase your corporate responsibility initiatives. Now is not the time to look at cost metrics, but focus on your business objectives and brand positioning. Reduce spend as you pause conversion campaigns for products/services that aren’t applicable. For virtual consultations, use the appointment booking tool on Facebook, use messenger and lead gen for webinars, and be sure to let existing users know of any upcoming webinars or reminders with CRM lists. Nurture the end user to drive the last touch point action and focus on higher funnel actions during this time. Organically use Facebook and Instagram Live, and connect with your end user in the online medium they’re using. A lot of budget should still be focused on holiday spending – now is not the time to spend all your dollars, but to be mindful of how to use your tools for a greater purpose.

2. Be relevant

Instead of fighting against coronavirus, fuel your ad creative with content that is personalized to the social climate. Ikea has produced a Stay Home Ad, focusing on all the great memories that take place at home with consumers as the focal point. Ikea is not mentioned until the last frame, showcasing the brand’s commitment to providing value to consumers rather than promoting their company with a PRODUCT-focused unit. Their site also shows a commitment to home inspiration and safety information, while showcasing the online store and safe home experience. This strategic shift should apply beyond creative. There is an increase in buying online and delivery. Even older customers, who are most susceptible, will avoid stores and will now have to shop online. Think about messaging to cater to this new user in-market, and be prepared even in industries like travel. Even though the bottom line is affected now, great brand positioning will help fuel a strong recovery later.

3. Tailor your product/offering if you can

Google Duo has raised its video chat limit, Netflix has a party feature that lets users chat in real-time with friends, Apple has made video and music software free, and Snapchat has launched a discover section for coronavirus information, as well as an in-app mental health feature. It’s time to relate to your user, show them you care, and find a way to make your product relevant in this difficult climate. Not all brands can be Slack or e-commerce, but each brand has a place in this ecosystem. If you can tailor your product or offerings – now’s the time. There are segments from Freckle, which brings first-party data into segments you can push on many paid social channels from location-based data they have acquired. They have segments of users likely to be working from home, users that have been seen at big box retailers, and users known to dine at restaurants with segments that can be pushed to DSP, social, and SEM. This brings in-store offline attribution to a brand that typically works with foot traffic. Corona, on the other hand, just made an ad focusing on the beverage coming ashore. A poorly timed ad in this time frame, will slowly turn viral. The brand spokesman, Maggie Bowman, told Business Insider: “Our advertising with Corona is consistent with the campaign we have been running for the last 30 years and is based off strong consumer sentiment.” Sorry, Maggie, you need to tailor that ad and be relevant, but still be appropriate.

4. Showcase important information and announcements

Be transparent and visible by being at the forefront of the pandemic. Speak to the new routine checks and changes you are making to your programs, whether it’s updating packing procedures for online purchases, reassuring guests that your facility will reopen, or noting which precautions have been taken to allow for a safe hotel experience. Pin these measures to the top of your feed, and make sure to have the holistic message and announcements visible on your pages. Have an open forum of communication and respond to as many customer inquiries as you can – make your users feel safe, but PLEASE do not turn off your media now.

Consumers need something to do with the seemingly limitless hours online, and they now more than ever before have the time to research your brand and product.

Interested in learning more? Please contact us anytime for immediate assistance.

Gellena Lukats is the Associate Director of Paid Social at Acronym. She has over 10 years of experience in social both client and agency side, with a heavy focus on the CPG, travel, education and eCommerce verticals. She works across a variety of clients for successful campaign strategy and execution, adding to the cross-channel business solution at Acronym.

Inside Acronym – November 30, 2017

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Meet Acronym’s Sara Caban

Office Assistant and Receptionist

When did you join Acronym?

I joined Acronym in February 2016.

What is your title at Acronym and which clients do you work for?

I am the Office Assistant and Receptionist.

What are your specific responsibilities?

My responsibilities include greeting and taking calls, maintaining the office, organizing meetings, coordinating invoices, and much more.

What do you consider the most interesting things you do at work?

A variety of different tasks can come up daily which definitely keeps things interesting! As a resource to all of Acronym’s team members it’s cool to get a fuller view of everything we do here and to be able to connect with the team on a more personal level.

What do you like to do best when you are not working?

When I am not working, I like watching TV or YouTube, reading, and spending time with my family and friends.

You are going on vacation to a place where there is no Internet connection. What book or magazine would you bring with you?

I would bring my favorite book, Rant by Chuck Palahniuk.

Inside Acronym – November 16, 2017

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Meet Acronym’s Danny Bruh

HR Coordinator

When did you join Acronym?

I joined Acronym at the end of September 2017.

 

What is your title at Acronym and which clients do you work for?

I am the HR Coordinator, so I would say my clients are the Acronym staff.

 

What are your specific responsibilities?

My responsibilities include employee relations, benefits and compensation, training development, and recruiting.

 

What do you consider the most interesting things you do at work?

The most interesting part about working at Acronym has been getting to know all of the staff and learning from them. I come from a Social Work background, so being able to gain more knowledge about Acronym and the industry has been incredibly interesting.

 

What do you like to do best when you are not working?

When I am not working, I am either watching soccer games or, hopefully, traveling somewhere new!


You are going on vacation to a place where there is no Internet connection. What book or magazine would you bring with you?

If I had no internet connection and had to read a book…it would probably be Harry Potter.

The 15 Best Gary Illyes Quotes from SMX East

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At the recent SMX East event in New York, editors from Third Door Media sat down with Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes for an “Ask Me Anything”-style presentation.

In the 75-minute interview, they covered a lot of territory – the mobile-first index, schema, voice search, ranking factors, disavowing links and unicorns, to name a few. Here’s a compendium of Illyes’ 15 most insightful responses from the event:

On where SEOs should focus in 2018:

If you still have sites that are not mobile-friendly, do really focus on that. Not that the mobile-first index will [cause your site to] disappear from the Internet/search results…we live in a mobile-first world [and] even if…your business is not getting right now traffic from mobile, it might just mean you’re not getting it because you don’t have a mobile-friendly site. Perhaps fix that.

If you are already mobile-friendly and the content on desktop and mobile is comparable…and [you] already rank with your desktop site, make sure the mobile [site ranks] also. Structured data is still important [as is] metadata…also on the mobile site. Different types of media – make sure they are on the mobile site and perhaps that’s it.

On the mobile-first index:

We’re working hard to move sites that are ready into the mobile-first index. It’s a slow process, [so I] don’t want to give a fixed timeline. It will probably takes years until [there’s a] full mobile-first index and even then it’s not 100% complete.

“Mobile-first index” is a new thing as a phrase, [but we’ve been] telling publishers small and big to go mobile for perhaps seven years at least. If you did that, then you’re largely good to go — especially if you have responsive design. If you have a mobile site, the resources that would have to be put in to ensure you would do well in the mobile-first index is not that much. Look at content. If you have a small- or medium-sized business, I don’t think you have to invest too much.

On what impact the mobile-first index will have:

The mobile-first index sounds like a bigger splash than I think it will be. I think it will be similar to the Mobileggedon you guys created where the fear of it will be much, much greater than it should be.

I doubt that many sites will even realize they are in the mobile-first index at all.

On what schema does:

Right now, schema is used for learning connections between entities…When you’re reading a book, you don’t need extra context or data to understand you’re reading about quantum mechanics. If you’re reading War and Peace, you don’t have to learn the whole of Russian history to understand what’s happening. Similarly, the algorithms won’t need extra data eventually and should understand simple text and videos publishers put up and make connections.

On why schema is important:

For now, I will say schema is important. We do look a lot at what’s in the structured data and I do think that if we recommend it, you probably want to make use of it.

Schema in general is helpful for us to understand the content on the page and by using that in our search features, we’re helping users find what they’re looking for.

[There was] a survey on the whole “how search should work”-thing and I think that ultimately we should have at one point an algorithm that can figure out the same thing that schemas can provide us – [Google co-founder] Larry [Page] doesn’t believe in manual elections because we should be able to see something is spammy and just [not] include it in our index. Similarly, schemas are helpful for [that], but as algorithms become more advanced, it might not need it.

On how mentions impact rankings:

Mentions not necessarily help rank you better, but rank a little bit better indirectly. They give a better idea of what your site is about or what keywords a site should show up for.

Imagine the algorithm is like a human. If a human sees a lot of brand mentions on the Internet, it will…store [this] in its memory and associate that brand with something. Say you’re selling unicorns and your brand is mentioned with unicorns, so we might learn that your brand is a good place to buy unicorns.

On the relevance of search ads:

I click a lot on search ads… [and I] often find the ads we show in search results are more relevant to me as a user than the ten blue links. That is bad for web search, of course, and we should fix that, but to me as a user, [it’s not].

Bids correlate to relevance, the quality of the site and so on. The same or almost the same thing applies to ads as well – [if the] ads [are] on top, it invariably means they are more relevant for the user in some way than the ten blue links.

On voice search:

I don’t have numbers, but it’s growing…it’s growing really fast and becoming a very important part of search, as well as products like Home. We want to ensure people can search however they want since voice is becoming [more prevalent] and [we want to] ensure recognition quality is very precise.

On whether direct traffic helps rankings:

Search traffic in general is not something we would directly use in ranking…so we’re using other kinds of traffic and [when it comes to] direct traffic…we would see that through Analytics…and I can swear in front of a court we are not using that data for search rankings.

On Panda and on pruning content:

Ultimately, you just want to have a really great site people love. I know it sounds like a cliché, but almost [all of] what we are looking for is surely what users are looking for. A site with content that users love – let’s say they interact with content in some way – that will help you in ranking in general, not with Panda. Pruning is not a good idea because with Panda, I don’t think it will ever help mainly because you are very likely to get Panda penalized – Pandalized – because of low-quality content…content that’s actually ranking shouldn’t perhaps rank that well. Let’s say you figure out if you put 10,000 times the word “pony” on your page, you rank better for all queries. What Panda does is disregard the advantage you figure out, so you fall back where you started.

I don’t think you are removing content from the site with potential to rank – you have the potential to go further down if you remove that content. I would spend resources on improving content, or, if you don’t have the means to save that content, just leave it there. Ultimately people want good sites. They don’t want empty pages and crappy content. Ultimately that’s your goal – it’s created for your users.

On the featured snippet algorithm:

RankBrain is a general ranking algorithm, not focused on features – it is trying to predict what results would work better based on historical search data. Featured snippets have their own algorithms to determine what is a good result and makes a good featured snippet for a certain query.

The theme is we’re working around the clock to improve relevance to ensure we’re not showing something stupid as a featured snippet and we’re changing the underlying code extremely often. It’s a volatile code base that is constantly changing. The featured snippets we show can also change based on external signals like number of links…quality of links [can have] a dramatic effect on what we show on the results page.

On disavowing links:

I have a site with [about] 100,000 visits every two weeks and I haven’t looked at the links for two years, but I know I have some porn links because someone pointed it out and I’m fine with that – I don’t use disavow. If it makes you feel better, then use it, just make sure you’re not overusing it. It is a big gun and can destroy your rankings in a matter of hours if you are misusing it.

Don’t be afraid of sites that you don’t know. There are hundreds of millions – billions probably — of sites on the Internet. There’s no way you’ll know each of them. If they have content and are not spammy, why would you disavow? It’s extremely likely it won’t hurt you.

On black hat techniques:

Imagine you go to the spam report form [and you] file against your competitors. I know a few cases where [they] reported competitors and it resulted in a very deep review for both sites and we found [the site they reported] clean and the reporter was found doing stuff they shouldn’t. You have to be careful about what you report and make sure you’re clean.

On what he wishes websites would do more often:

As a user, I would like fewer ads…as a trends analyst for Google, I understand why, [but I] wish [they] would figure out some way to at least put ads on the site that are not blocking the user interface and are actually fast. Some sites load in the background four tracking scripts and ads and it slows down the site a lot and it’s an awful user experience. You wouldn’t do that for Google, why would you do that for users? Unless it’s a critical part of their lives and they can’t abandon you, they will if your site sucks.

The Forrester Wave for Search Marketing Agencies is out and…

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Acronym was ranked as one of the top 12 search marketing agencies by research firm Forrester.

In fact, The Forrester Wave™: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2017 report noted the 5 Strong Performers, including Acronym, offer a “competitive option.”

The report included an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of 12 vendors against 25 criteria in current offering, strategy and market presence.

Acronym scored the highest possible score in the following criteria:

· Collaboration
· Account Management
· Global Execution
· And Performance.

“Acronym did well in this year’s study due to its ability to collaborate with other agencies and internal stakeholders,” the report said. “It also received high praise from client references for its account management…”

Forrester said in conducting this research it found search marketing agencies have reached what it called “full maturity” because they have mastered SEO and paid search.

“Every agency in this Forrester Wave demonstrated that they have a good framework or methodology in place to create a client’s SEO strategy and each agency uses proprietary or third-party tools that help automate SEO tasks like keyword research or site auditing,” the report said.

What’s more, Forrester said non-traditional search engine expertise and agency strategy are key differentiators among search marketing agencies.

These are two key Acronym attributes. In fact, the news from Forrester comes on the heels of awards from two industry bodies lauding Acronym’s work in voice-activated queries, proving Acronym’s understanding of modern end user interactions across mobile devices and digital assistants, such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, is quite advanced.

“Acronym is leading the next generation of search agencies because we’re not only becoming more AI- (or, more specifically at this point, machine-learning-) led, we’re broadening our service offerings to clients,” said CMO Mike Grehan. “We were pioneers in the first generation of search agencies specializing in SEO and paid search. Now, we are focused much more on understanding searcher intent and consumer behavior throughout their journeys. That means we’re well positioned to deliver in social, display, content, discovery and more. Simply put: The path to purchase is fragmented today – and brands need a Strong Performer to navigate.”