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Avoiding a Website Relaunch Disaster: Tips for a Smooth Migration

By SEO, Web Analytics

Why do website relaunches often end in disaster?

Websites are crucial for businesses. They are often the first point of contact between a company and its customers. A well-designed, functioning website can result in a satisfied customer and a poor website experience can result in a lost one. For this reason, companies invest heavily in their websites, ensuring they are always up-to-date and compliant with the latest standards. However, website migrations – whether to a new platform, URL structure, or content management system – are complex processes that often meet with disaster because they are rarely created with SEO in mind, resulting in significant traffic and revenue loss. So, we are sharing why website migrations so often go wrong, and what to do to prevent it. 

SEO is Key to a Website’s Success

Lack of SEO planning severely impacts the website’s performance after migration. SEO experts need to be brought into the process early. SEO consultants understand what changes to make, how SEO will be affected, and plan accordingly. For example, SEO tags should not be removed or changed without thought and consideration. Any change can have a significant impact on Search rankings.

In addition, you will want to ensure that URLs do not drastically change, and that broken links do not occur due to the website migration, as this could damage SEO efforts significantly. Without proper planning and assessment of risks before website migration, disastrous consequences may await a business or organization who has not adequately prepared for the move. By understanding the potential pitfalls of website relocation and allowing enough time to make all necessary changes with the advice of an SEO expert, businesses can prevent costly disasters from occurring during migrations. 

The Forgotten SEO Aspect 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains a crucial element of successful online marketing. Companies invest considerable effort and resources in optimizing their websites to attract high quality traffic and generate more business. While much emphasis is placed on headlines, keywords, and content optimization, redirects, URLs, and meta data are often neglected. Redirects ensure that visitors are directed to the correct pages even if the URL structure or page address changes. URLs need to be short and descriptive so search engines can quickly find them. 

Similarly, optimizing metadata helps search engines and readers find your site as quickly as possible by providing valuable information about the content of the pages. In other words, attention needs to be paid not just to what is published on your site but also to how it is accessed and found through different links. By accounting for all these SEO elements, you will maximize your chances of reaching potential customers who conduct online searches by minimizing any missing content through which clients could stumble upon your website. 

How to Avoid Website Relaunch Disasters

While launching a website can be an exciting milestone for any organization, it is essential to recognize the risk of potential disasters that results from the launch process. To reduce the chances of these automated or manual errors, organizations should:

  • Consult an SEO expert before making any changes. It will help ensure that you implement all redirects properly and that page loading time speeds remain fast and consistent. 
  • Pull metrics from platforms such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics to track user behavior before and after going live to identify potential problems early on. While migrating a website, create a proper redirect plan to ensure users will reach their intended pages upon visiting the new site. 
  • Make sure to implement redirects correctly before going live and that websites are continuously monitored both before and after launch. 

By following these steps, organizations can avoid major catastrophes resulting from website launches. 

How to Execute a Successful Website Migration

Migrating a website from one domain to another is always a delicate process, requiring an expert understanding of SEO and web development.  

  • All traffic metrics, such as page views and session length, should be pulled before the migration to create a baseline representation of performance before and after the new website goes live. 
  • Moving, planning, and execution of the content to be kept live on the new website should be carefully considered and monitored throughout the entire process. 
  • To mitigate traffic losses, implement a proper redirect plan and avoid SEO crawl errors.
  • UX and technical aspects should be preemptively checked in the staging environment before being deployed into the production server for go-live.
  • Implement the developed redirect plan within the go-live phase to ensure a smooth transition with no SEO-related issues popping up later down the line. Multi-step verification among stakeholders throughout the process through harmonious teamwork would help deliver successful outcomes. 

If you execute the above steps, your website team will have peace of mind that the SEO performance will remain intact moving forward. You can guarantee that all SEO issues are resolved at each stage before transitioning into the pre-production server for final Q/A and then going into production for the launch phase with minimum discrepancies resulting from the above-mentioned transitions and possible setbacks from an SEO perspective along the way. 

An effective transition plan should include efficient tracking mechanisms such as analytics tags integration or tracking engine tool used by client organizations that help assess post Go Live accuracy rate of migration outcomes desired/expected ones. The bottom line is that all key stakeholders must communicate and collaborate effectively during the transition phase for smooth switchovers during migrations. Follow the best practices like unified style sheet(s), strong back-end designs, well-thought-through redirect plans, etc. Armed with the right set of tools, and experienced SEO professionals equipped with organized thought processes, your website transition results in yielding higher ROIs. 

As you see, website migrations are a delicate process, and they should be handled with care. If not, they can lead to disaster. If you take the time to plan and execute your migration correctly, you can avoid common mistakes and have a successful launch. 

Are you planning a website migration? Acronym’s team of experts has successfully migrated dozens of websites and knows what to do to make your website launch smoothly. If you need assistance with your website’s relaunch, contact us today. We are here to help.

POV by Ulrich Franke, Managing Director, Europe GmbH

Google Launches the Helpful Content Update

By SEO No Comments

Google is launching a new sitewide algorithm update this week called the “Helpful Content Update” to improve the visibility for sites that have content written for people and to devalue content written primarily for SEO and manipulating search engine rankings.

The new “Helpful Content Update” is automated using a machine-learning model that rewards websites providing high-quality, informative content that is useful to end users and satisfies user intent. This change will have a significant impact on SEO, as Google will now place a greater emphasis on quality, useful content. We believe this update will have a strong impact and will cause some fluctuations in the SERPs like we had with the launch of Penguin ten years ago. 

Should You Worry About the Impact of the Helpful Content Update?

If you own or manage a site that publishes large amounts of content offering little value to end users that does not satisfy their information need, then yes, you should be worried your website traffic, rankings, and key performance indicators might be significantly impacted. The signal is weighted, meaning some sites will be hit harder than others.

Keep in mind this update is sitewide. Therefore, if Google determines a large portion of your website’s content is considered ‘search engine-first,’ Google can lower the rankings of all the content on your site, including high-quality pages.

Why Is Google Doing This? 

Google Search is always working to better connect people to helpful information. Unfortunately, the web is filled with SPAM due to people offering low quality content and information to manipulate their search engine visibility.

Google is a machine with modern day AI based algorithms and E.A.T (which stands for: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust) is a very important signal that should be included in your SEO strategy and help Google provide the best information to end users that satisfies their information need.

What Should You Do Next?

At Acronym, we are firm believers and practitioners in always creating content for end users first as opposed to search engines. To ensure your website is prepared for the Helpful Content update, here are a few tips:

  • Monitor your website’s rankings and engagement metrics carefully, and make changes as needed. If you are hit by the ”Helpful Content Update”, Google advises to remove unhelpful content from your site i.e., 404, etc. It may be worth creating fresh new content that is useful and helpful to end users.  If you have a section of your site i.e., a blog or community that has a lot of content, monitor it over the next few weeks to determine if you notice any trends or step declines in rankings, traffic and KPIs.   
  • Work with your SEO lead to make sure your content is high quality and informative and conduct a content audit to make sure your content is written well and satisfies the information need for end users and provides value.

According to Google. focus on providing value to your users with people first content. To ensure you’re creating content that will be successful with our new update follow our long-standing advice and guidelines to create content for people, not for search engines. Answering yes to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?
  • Write for your audience, not for Google. Don’t try to game the system by including keywords or phrases just for the sake of ranking higher. It simply just does not work anymore and could end up getting your site in trouble.

How do you avoid taking a search engine-first approach? If you answer yes to some or all of the questions, this is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you’re creating content across your site:

  • Is the content primarily to attract people from search engines, rather than made for humans?
  • Are you producing lots of content on different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Are you writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience?
  • Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
  • Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don’t).
  • Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question that has no answer, such as suggesting there’s a release date for a product, movie, or TV show when one isn’t confirmed?
  • Use other marketing channels to promote your content, such as social media, email marketing, and PPC advertising.
  • Be different. Focus on providing fresh content, unique ideas, facts and information that others are not talking about in their content strategy. 

How Long Could It Take If Impacted?

According To Google, sites that are impacted could find the effects to last several months.

“Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long-term, the classification will no longer apply.”

Even if you fix the section, since it is a sitewide update, it could take months for your site to recover. If you need assistance with this up date or any other performance marketing campaign, please contact us. Our experts are here to help.

POV by: Winston Burton, SVP, SEO, Acronym.

New AdWords “Conversions for Optimizations” Empowers Reporting and Bid Automation

By Paid Search, SEO, Web Analytics No Comments

Google is rolling out a new Conversions for Optimization setting in AdWords over the next couple of weeks that isolates a conversion action for reporting and bid automation.

With the Conversions for Optimization setting enabled, you’ll now be able to set bid strategies for specific conversion actions.

Google AdWords Conversions for Optimization

Optimizing Google ads is another way of saying you are improving the relevancy of your campaigns. This requires understanding how your ads connect to what your potential customers are searching for and how your messaging is carried through your campaigns—from click to conversion.

With the Conversions for Optimization setting enabled, brands can set bid strategies for specific conversion actions.

For example, if you’re tracking content downloads and sign-ups, you can set up bid strategies to optimize only for the higher value sign-up conversions.

The new reporting columns that come with this change are applicable and can be used with nearly any bid strategy, including Target ROAS and Enhanced CPC.

When the “Optimization” conversion setting is enabled in a campaign, New Conversions Optimization columns show performance for the optimized conversion type, even if you are bidding manually.  Essentially, you can isolate the conversion data for the conversion type that is most important to you in the reporting even without having to use bid strategies.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Acronym’s, SVP, SEO, Winston Burton, offered his perspective.

“This is great news for paid search practitioners. ​

By default, the Google Ads system will optimize toward any conversion. ​An advertiser will likely have multiple on-site actions that are valuable to the business (product view, add to cart, email signup, sale, etc.). But, each operates at differing values; this leaves the advertiser in a position of trying to manually match different conversion types to ad delivery data, applying estimated values to conversion actions to hack the ROAS bidding system, and overall, not as accurate as they could be. After all, the behavior that leads to an email signup is likely not the same as that which leads to a completed sale.” ​

Now, brands can optimize their bidding strategies based on the desired conversion metric as the “Conversions column” will show the total number of conversions accrued.

If you need assistance with your paid search or SEO campaigns, contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Ten Important SEO Trends To Leverage Before The Year’s End

By Insights & News, Mobile, SEO No Comments

Staying current with SEO trends is like hitting a moving target while sitting in a roller coaster. From changes in algorithms updates to evolving search behaviors — the goal post is always moving as the tactics to boost your rankings look different from year to year.

With only twenty-five weeks remaining this year, brands should make sure they’re leveraging the most important SEO trends of 2022.

1. User Intent. Understanding the buyer’s journey and how to ensure your content connects at each stage of the funnel is more essential than ever before. At Acronym, we combine data insights with a neuromarketing approach so we take advantage of the emotional triggers behind purchase intent and intersect that with the keywords that feed search algorithms.

2. Content Quality. If your content isn’t valuable, it won’t convert. It’s that simple. Make sure you are creating the right kind of content in the most desired format so it’s seen at the right time for conversion.

3. SERPS. Google’s continued focus on SERPS creates both opportunities and challenges for brands. IT’s important to consider intent when optimizing for SERPS.

4. Visuals. Search engines continue to reward sites with unique images that feel authentic. In fact, SERPS will become more image-focused this year.

5. Automation. Finding the right tools for analysis, research and content creation is becoming increasingly important to improve efficiencies and results.

6. Machine Learning. We are seeing rapid advancements in natural language models and content generation. AI is also driving strategic planning as tools like Acronym’s KO and Synergy help brands to see the full picture of SEO opportunities.

7. Mobile and UX. Mobile-first indexing and exceptional UX will continue to drive the complete journey from consideration to discovery thought engagement and conversion.

8. Sustainability. Google is adding enhancements to incentivize sustainable shopping habits. Brands that meet this need will see early wins.

9. IndexNow. The days of waiting for search engines to crawl websites are over as IndexNow delivers those results immediately.

10. E-A-T Scores. there is no doubt misinformation is creating trust issues online making is more important than ever to ensures E-A-T qualities in your content and link-building.

If you need assistance with your SEO strategies, please contact us today. We are here to help.

Acronym is a Finalist for Two U.S. Search Awards

By Acronym News, Paid Search, Programmatic, Social Media No Comments

Acronym is Recognized for Best Use of Local Search and Best Integrated Campaign

The U.S. Search Awards short list was released on Friday and Acronym nabbed two wins as a Finalist for The Best Use of Local Search and The Best Integrated Campaign. Winners will be announced on July 29th.

The recognized campaign for the Best Use of Local Search campaign spotlighted our work with a luxury hotel brand that sought to increase non-brand local Search rankings and traffic for 700 individual property websites, including hotel/resort, residences, spa, restaurant, and bar listings — all while driving measurable revenue through local, organic Search efforts.

Acronym developed and executed a framework of best practices for local listing optimizations, including each location’s most desired non-branded Search terms and gave the individual property listing managers clear and tailored processes for ongoing efforts to drive lasting results.

The average non-brand local rankings for individual properties increased by 29%.

The individual property website traffic increased by 8% and property revenue from local organic Search also increased by 8%.

Local property managers are continuing to implement Acronym’s processes, and we expect these results to continue to increase month-over-month as additional content is optimized through local search engines. 

Meanwhile, the recognized work for Best Integrated Campaign spotlights how Acronym helped Wharton Executive Education grow their audience, improve prospecting efficiency, and limit the barriers to entry for programmatic content while ensuring the brand’s presence across premium publishers to drive more online applications.

Acronym streamlined prospecting and awareness through seamless buying to dramatically improve efficiencies by creating strategic programmatic content alignment with publishers on premium websites including sites like Finance.Yahoo.com, USAToday.com, Newsweek.com, Forbes.com, SFGate.com, CNN.com, NewYorkTimes.com, NewYorkPost.com, HuffPost.com, CBSNews.com, WashingtonPost.com, BusinessInsider.com, and more.

This new approach to display and programmatic advertising reduced time spent on media buys, drove efficiencies, and increased performance, enabling Acronym to limit barriers to entry, buy directly on premium sites more efficiently, lower barriers to entry and develop a new process that performed the way you would through direct site buys, programmatically.

This is the third recognition for Acronym’s work with Wharton this year. Last month, U.S. Campaign named Acronym a Finalist for the Best Use of Digital/Programmatic and the social media campaign supporting Wharton’s Live Online Programs was named Agency Campaign of the Year by Sprout Social.

If you’d like help developing the right local Search, Programmatic or Social Media campaign for your brand, please let us know. Our media teams are ready to help!

Google Parameter Tool Discontinued

By SEO No Comments

Parameter Tool: What Was It? 

For many years Google’s URL Parameter Tool was among the most effective controls available to webmasters and SEO leaders. Launched in 2009 to help Google understand how parameters for dynamically generated URLs related to their canonical roots. The tools served as a way for webmasters and Search marketers to communicate directly to Google on how to treat or ignore various scenarios involving specific URLs or combinations of URL parameters. 

In March 2022 Google announced that the tool will soon be deprecated and today, the tool is no longer accessible via Google Search Console. 

How will this impact webmasters and SEO Leaders?  

According to the announcement “Google became much better at guessing which parameters are useful on a site and which are —plainly put— useless.”  

Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the vast number of websites that relied on the tool to control how certain URls were (or were not) indexed; have lost an efficient and useful positive control mechanism. Unless other steps are taken to ensure correct indexation occurs, these domains are now open to be indexed solely at the discretion of Google bots. 

It is true that in many cases Google does and will correctly determine which URLs are meant to be served and which URLs are meant not be indexed, however there are situations and scenarios that still require human judgement and control. So, what do we do? 

Sweat the Details 

With the Parameter Tool now gone, the only levers remaining to SEO leaders and webmasters are canonical tags, hreflang tags (where applicable), and robots.txt directives. 

Each of these can still be highly effective in signaling to Google which areas of a given site need to be hidden from Google index, which URLs are meant for different countries, and which single URL is a primary version in a set of near identical URLs. So, it’s critical that webmasters and Search marketers take the time to review these facets of their SEO plan to ensure they’re communicating their intent with precision and accuracy. 

If you need assistance with managing your search ranking within Google, please contact us. We’re here to help.

POV By Michael Gleyzerov, Manager SEO 

What You Should Know About Google Analytics 4

By Analytics One Comment

What is GA4, and Why is it Important?  

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s latest web and app analytics solution offering reporting and analysis capabilities. The new tool delivers an increased focus on predictive analytics, data visualization, and insights generated through machine learning. This solution is meant to replace its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA or GA3).   

Google recently announced they will retire UA on July 1, 2023 for free accounts and on October 1, 2023 for 360 customers. There are several reasons Google is moving forward with GA4 despite its limitations. The primary reason is that it does not make sense for Google to maintain two parallel tools with different measurement models. Secondly, the European Union’s increasing scrutiny on Google’s data privacy practices almost necessitates a new approach to privacy, and perhaps a fresh slate free from problematic data collected previously. No matter the impetus, the announcement will affect all users of Google Analytics.  

What Does the Announcement Mean? 

This move forces marketers to migrate to Google’s latest analytics tool on shorter timeline than expected.  

Google confirmed data will still be available to view and export for at least six months after the retirement date, which gives marketers until the end of 2023 to export any data they may want from Google Analytics. Starting in 2024, it is likely that the data will be deleted from Google’s servers, and therefore inaccessible in the interface or via API.  

Of course, there will be challenges springing from this transition. Since the announcement, Google has not provided a straightforward way to: 

  • Directly upgrade UA to GA4 
  • Directly import UA data into GA4 
  • Find equivalents for out-of-the-box reports in GA4 without customization 
  • Easily migrate reports using the Google Analytics spreadsheet add on or any other third-party tool that leverages the API 
  • Prepare report consumers for changes in tracking methodologies, or shifts from historic reporting or patterns 

Acronym recommends taking proactive measures to ensure that these challenges are considered in your migration plan. 

What Are the Implications? 

GA4’s approach to data collection and reporting differs drastically from UA in a few ways that markets should understand:  

Event-Based Data Model 

UA uses a page view and session-based model for reporting on behavior with different types of hits (events, eCommerce, and social interactions) being grouped into these scopes. In contrast, GA4 is an event stream with every interaction captured as a single type of event. Unlike the familiar event schema (category, action, label) we know from UA, all events are simply captured as events requiring marketers to rethink their current tracking strategy. What is available, however, are event parameters, which are metadata that can be captured with events to provide further information about a given interaction.  

Reporting 

Some of the reports available in UA do not have an equivalent in GA4, so replication or rethinking of current reporting may take some time. However, GA4 does offer flexible reporting within the out-of-the-box reports and the option to create custom reports in the Explorations section. Additionally, the concept of views has not been implemented in GA4 yet, requiring marketers to use segmentation to filter out the data they need. 

Increased Flexibility 

Migrating to GA4 should be considered an upgrade with several new features that UA cannot offer. Sampling limits, a long-standing issue in UA reporting, are much higher at 10M events per query for free accounts and up to 1B for 360 users. Additionally, BigQuery streaming exports are now unlimited for both free and paid users of GA4. Lastly, web and app experiences can now easily be analyzed together within the same property providing a more complete view of your users.  

Differences notwithstanding, the motivation for migration is clear – data collection will cease and previously collected data will be deleted by 2024. Organizations need to start planning sooner rather than later for this reality. 

What Do You Need To Do? 

Create and execute a game plan to configure and install GA4 over the next couple of months. You should aim to have as much data in GA4 as possible to compare trends against UA.  

Acronym recommends using the following as a base for your game plan: 

  • Develop a KPI roadmap. GA4 is substantially different in its approach to data collection, so now is the perfect time to revisit your stakeholder’s requirements to ensure there are no gaps in reporting. 
  • Update your documentation. If you have existing documentation surrounding your implementation, ensure that is accurate and complete. If you do not have any existing documentation, now is the perfect time to make your (and your team’s) future lives easier! Take the time to document your KPIs, implementation details, and configurations, including for any new requirements from your KPI roadmap. This is the prefect time to map out the UA events and goals to their counterparts in GA4. 
  • Configure the GA4 interface. Create the property if you haven’t already. Then, configure data streams, select your conversion events, and implement any other customizations you need.  
  • Update your tag management system. Using your updated documentation, make any necessary changes within your tag management system of choice and test thoroughly in your lower environments.  
  • Publish, monitor reporting, and adjust! Although GA4 and UA data will never match exactly, it is important to thoroughly review the data in GA4 to ensure that it aligns with your expectations and historic trends found in UA. If it does not, then review your implementation and configuration and tweak as necessary. You should keep UA enabled during this period, though Acronym recommends keeping it enabled until Google deprecates it.  
  • Finalize the GA4 configuration. Once you are satisfied that GA4 is implemented properly, add connections with any additional Google products you use, update your user lists, and re-label the previous UA properties to ensure stakeholders use the GA4 property moving forward.  
  • Provide training for your business teams. GA4’s interface and reporting model is drastically different than UA, so other stakeholders will need training and direction on how to properly use the tool. This is also the perfect time to set expectations that the data will not line up exactly with what was previously seen in UA. 
  • Finally, understand your historical analysis requirements & build a data export plan. Although UA properties are not disappearing immediate, Acronym recommends exporting historic data from these properties. The exported data not only allows for reporting continuity within external reporting systems, but also prepares for the end of 2023 when the UA data will no longer be available. There are several methods for exporting data, and Acronym can help with selecting the correct method and exporting data into your business intelligence tool(s) of choice. 

Of course, every organization is different and there are always additional details, considerations, and customizations that you must consider when tailoring the tool for your business. No generic guide is a substitute for an individualized or expertly created plan.  

How can Acronym help? 

Acronym’s teams of expert data architects, analysts, and engineers can help with the entire process of migrating to GA4. We strongly believe that the most successful Marketing programs are built on an Analytics foundation that is custom tailored to each brand’s unique needs. We leverage our knowledge of the industry and tool’s best practices, interview your relevant stakeholders, and perform a website discovery process to create a comprehensive and prioritized list of Key Performance Indicators, relevant and thorough documentation, as well as the full configuration and QA of the GA4 deployment.  Once GA4 is fully deployed, our team of data engineers can provide guidance and the muscle power to properly export UA data ensuring you have access to the historical trends you need. Contact us today to learn more.

POV By Philip Lawrence, VP, Digital Analytics, Acronym

The Rise of Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Financial Brands

By Content Marketing, Uncategorized No Comments

With the rise of cryptocurrency, digital payments technology is forcing the financial system to change. Banks, which were once the biggest powerhouses that controlled the financial system and are starting to feel less powerful and want to regain control of valuable market share in an ecosystem that they once dominated. Crypto platforms like Coinbase and Crypto.com, to name a few are making billions from selling and managing Cryptocurrency, while banks and financial institution have been slow to adopt and left in the dust. 

It’s no surprise that the banks tried to regulate the cryptocurrency industry but failed. There are now more than 220 million global cryptocurrency users as of  June 2021 according to Crypto.com Research 

Things Have Changed

We live in a digital world. In years to come all assets are going to be in a digital format. With exponential growth of the number of people using cryptocurrency worldwide, if you can’t beat them join them. Banks are now scrambling to catch up and make a profit in this new financial ecosystem of digital currency, since more and more people and businesses around the world are embracing digital currencies at a rapid pace and even governments are getting involved because everyone knows there is serious money to be made. Even in the Caribbean, Jamaica is rolling out its central bank digital currency after a ‘successful pilot’ worth 230m Jamaican dollars, according to the Guardian,  the pilot for the country’s prototype central bank digital currency (CBDC) began in May 2021 and ended on 31 December 2021.

What Should Banks and Financial Institutions Do? 

The answer is simple. Get involved and get involved fast. Since we’re moving at a rapid pace, banks and financial institutions should get more involved in digital currency as quickly as they can. Currently, cryptocurrency is a threat to banks because it allows people to bypass banks for transfers, sales, and other purposes by connecting people instantly without an intermediary. If I wanted to transfer money to bank account using Coinbase or any other platform, the fee is much less than if I conducted the transaction with a bank. With Coinbase, you sell crypto instantly, pay a small fee and transfer money to PayPal for free – if you have connected your PayPal account.   

Some banks are starting to take Cryptocurrency seriously.

For example, look at what is happening with Bank of America, one of the largest US banks. Engineers at Bank of America filed the largest number of patent applications in the bank’s history, including hundreds involving digital payments technologies. This should serve as a wake-up call for other banks and financial institutions.

“The bank sees potential in blockchain, and we’re currently a leading patentholder in the space with more than 160 patents.”

Bank of America spokesman, Mark Pipitone, to the New York Times.

JP Morgan, also one of the largest banking institutions, introduced JPM coin which did not quite work out because it was tied to the dollar and now it is only used internally to transfer money and other assets between the banks.

Regulators, who were not ready for the surge in crypto currency are trying to create new rules that will control the use, which will probably be written to benefit them and give them a slight edge if regulation happens in the future.   

Now is the Time for Crypto Content

For banks and financial institutions that are curious about cryptocurrency, it may be worth testing the waters and spending time educating your employees, shareholders, and customers. Cryptocurrency can be volatile, especially during a pandemic and its reputation has been impacted by the rise and fall of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, as well as security concerns. However, there is great potential with Crypto, less red tape, and more transparency.

Now is the time to build out a strategy for your own cryptocurrency offering services and supporting content. Here are some of the crypto-driven initiatives financial institutions should consider:

  • Processing payments, loans, escrow service and facilitating international cash transactions via cryptocurrency.
  • Helping customers invest by developing online learning courses to advise on the types of crypto and earning potential.
  • Developing crypto-based growth assets and transactions. 

We recommend adding cryptocurrency to your content strategy to satisfy the information need and connect with customer searches. Another opportunity for banks is holding money i.e., digital wallets. There are some crypto whales that store a lot of money in different virtual wallets provided by non-banks. If the banking industry can figure out how they can offer a better, more secure service, there is an opportunity to surpass non-banks in this area.     

Additionally, banks could potentially invest in developing new tools that would help with the adoption of crypto by their current customers like ROI, etc., They could also offer interest-bearing crypto accounts, where customers could invest the crypto on the back end or through other financial tools.

Wrapping Up

Cryptocurrency is becoming an increasingly important trend for financial brands and payment processors, banks and financial institutions should continue to embrace cryptocurrency as most major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco will begin directly accepting cryptocurrencies as payment in the near future and major credit card companies, etc. Regulation will improve overtime and user adoption will continue to increase and banks should offer cryptocurrency services, including exchanges, savings accounts, and payment accounts which will become the new norm.

If you’d like assistance in developing a content plan that connects your brand to the cryptocurrency trend, let us know. We’re happy to help.

POV by Winston Burton, SVP, SEO.