Catchy Headlines The Biggest Draw For News Article Readers

Source: September 28, 2012 by MarketingCharts staff

Visually-focused content may be on the rise, but a catchy headline is still the biggest factor enticing Americans to read an online or print news article, according to new research released in September. Harris Interactive asked more than 2,000 adults what factors would make them more likely to read an article, with a catchy headline (54%) coming out on top, beating an interesting picture with the article (44%) and interesting data or research which supports the article (43%).

There was some variety in the responses by age and gender. For example, while those top 3 factors maintained their order among Echo Boomers (18-35), Gen Xers (36-47), and Baby Boomers (48-66), interesting supporting data or research took top billing among Matures (67+), ahead of catchy headlines and interesting pictures (55% vs. 52% for each of the latter).

Looking at the gender breakdown, catchy headlines are more likely to lure women than men (58% vs. 50%), while interesting data or research proves more appealing to men (47% vs. 40%), and in fact is more likely to draw men than an interesting picture (43%).

Infographics More Appealing to News Junkies

Despite the proliferation of infographics, overall, just 28% of the adults surveyed said that an interesting infographic would make them more likely to read an article, with this result relatively consistent across age and gender.

There was more variety in response when segmenting by news interest. Self-described news “junkies” – for whom news is a favorite leisure time activity – are far more likely than the average to say that an interesting infographic will pique their interest in an article (40% vs. 28%). By comparison, infographics appeal to 29% of people who have a moderate interest in the news, and just 17% who aren’t interested in the news.

News junkies are also more likely than the average to be influenced by the author of the article and interesting data or research supporting the article. Somewhat surprisingly given their affinity for infographics, they are far less likely than average to be drawn to an article by an interesting accompanying picture.

News junkies account for 13% of the survey sample. Another 69% like to keep up with the news, but say it’s just one of many ways that they spend their leisure time. The remaining 18% are not really interested in the news, preferring to spend their leisure time with other activities.

Other Findings:

  • According to the Harris Interactive survey, males are far more likely to be news junkies than females (17% vs. 9%).
  • Asked to best describe how they typically read the news, whether online or in print, a plurality of respondents (34%) said they normally just read the headlines, but maybe 1 or 2 stories in full. One-quarter said they skim the full article.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 20, 2012 among 2,307 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

72% of Consumers Want Mobile-Friendly Sites: Google Research

, September 26, 2012

Click here to find out more!

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Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly annoy users and that’s bad business. Consumers are doing more on mobile devices, including shopping and product research; when they do, users look for content to meet their on-the-go needs.

A recent Google survey of mobile users found that 72 percent of mobile users say it’s important to them that websites are mobile-friendly, yet 96 percent have visited a site that doesn’t work well on their device.

Almost three-quarters of respondents said they are more likely to revisit a mobile-friendly site. Users are five times more likely to abandon the task they are trying to complete if the site isn’t optimized for mobile use, with 79 percent saying they will go back to search and try to find another site to meet their needs.

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Consumers are more likely to buy online when the site meets their mobile needs. Unfortunately for e-commerce stores, 61 percent said they are likely to leave if the site isn’t mobile-friendly.

Worse still, many fans of the brand are disappointed in the company itself if the mobile experience doesn’t meet their expectations. Fifty-five percent of respondents agreed, “A frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand overall.”

So what, exactly, are consumers looking for in a website accessed from a mobile device?

  • Site speed – loading time of 5 seconds or less
  • Big, mobile-friendly buttons
  • Limited scrolling and pinching
  • Quick access to business contact information
  • “Click to call” access to phone the business
  • Links to the company’s social media profiles

Usability and design features matter. Mobile users indicated they are most looking for (in order of priority):

  • Information in just one or two clicks
  • A search bar that is easy to find and use
  • A site that fits the small screen
  • Clean and efficient design
  • An option to visit the non-mobile site
  • The ability to save information for later
  • Big, finger-friendly buttons
  • Non-scrolling forms with a limited number of fields
  • A “click to call” button
  • One-direction scrolling, either horizontal or vertical, but not both.

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Consumers seeking retail information are looking for things they can act on immediately. They still prefer to do deep research, read reviews, and make big purchases on desktops; making contact and taking action are their priorities when mobile consumers are on the go.

Google’s survey involved 1,088 US smartphone Internet users and was performed by independent market research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger in July 2012. More information on the What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today report is available on the Google Mobile Ads blog.

Images for Online Marketing

Images-for-Social

Source: ReachLocal.com, 9/26/12

With the rise in popularity of sites like Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest, and the emphasis on photo- sharing on sites like Facebook, creating and sharing attractive, interesting, informative, and entertaining images is quickly becoming an important component to any online marketing strategy. Not only can sharing images help you generate engagement from social media fans and followers on sites like Instagram and Facebook, but posting great images on your blog or website can encourage users to link to your content from sites like Pinterest or Tumblr.

But, what kinds of images should your local business share in order to engage potential customers, boost site traffic, and build your brand? Here are five popular image types to consider:

1) High-Quality Product or Service Photos
Own a bakery that creates gorgeous goodies or a home improvement business that transforms ordinary rooms into extraordinary spaces? Have a signature look to your products, packaging, or events? Businesses with visually-appealing products or services like these should be creating high-quality images of them and sharing them online. Not only does this showcase to current and potential customers the awesome work you do, but it can also help you visually build your brand online.

Even if you have a small budget, you can generate high-quality  images by batching your requests. For example, consider hiring a professional photographer or recruiting a friend or family member with photography skills to create product or service photographs for your business once a quarter, and then share the photos over time until you have new ones made.

2) Infographics
An infographic is a long-form image that illustrates a concept or groups of information visually. Infographics are very popular on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs. Users frequently share these informational images, and often, other bloggers will repost them, linking back to your site as the original source. If you have someone create a custom infographic for your business, make sure they include the URL to your website and your business name at the bottom of the image so your company can get the online credit for originating it. Then, post the infographic to your blog and share links to that post on your social media pages. Spread the word about your infographic to local influencers who may be interested in the topic, too.

3) “Snackable” Images 
Facebook’s Timeline redesign puts more emphasis on images in a user’s news feed stream, and sites like Pinterest also feature images prominently in an aggregated feed. For both of these formats, small or “snackable” images tend to perform well. These images tend to be informational or illustration-based, but they are typically in a smaller or square format as opposed to the large, long-form images format used for infographics. Some include photos and text in the form of a miniature tutorial, while others include short quotes or share an interesting stat. These small informational images can be a great way to generate engagement, and businesses that create custom images like these can generate lots of likes and shares from this content type.

4) Meme-Related Images
Memes are extremely popular on social media sites and blogs, and one of the more popular formats for memes today is the image. Chances are, if you use Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr personally, you have seen people re-sharing popular meme-related images of all types. Your business may want to create meme-related images to share with your online community, or you could even create a meme of your own. In fact, the Google+ platform allows you to easily add text onto the images you share there, so you can use your own photos to create a unique meme. Or, consider sharing a photo and asking your fans or followers to “caption” the photo or add their own meme tagline.

5) Inside-Your-Business Photos
Is your business involved in your community? Do you have a unique culture or tradition or business “mascot” such as the owner’s beloved pet that customers love? Photos that illustrate and share the life of your business with fans and followers can generate a lot of engagement, especially on sites like Facebook and your blog. You might showcase a day in the life of an employee in the form of photos once a month. Or, take photos of the Little League team your business sponsors and share them in a Facebook album. Make sure to get permission from employees or customers you include in your photographs. Sharing these photos can bring your business to life online and help differentiate you from competitors.

These are just five types of images that you can use in your online marketing for your local business. You can find inspiration for images for your online marketing just by using sites where image sharing is popular. So, try sharing some of these image types to help build your brand and boost engagement.

Smartphone Users Reward Mobile-Friendly Sites, Punish Laggards

Source: September 27, 2012 by MarketingCharts staff

 
Most smartphone users say they’re more likely to make a purchase at a mobile-friendly site, but that they’re quick to move to a competitor if they don’t like the site experience they encounter, finds Google in new research conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger. Two-thirds of the smartphone internet users surveyed said they were more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site, and three-quarters would return to one in the future. And while offering a mobile-friendly site has benefits, failing to has its consequences. Half of the respondents said that even if they liked a business, they would use it less often if its website failed to meet their mobile-friendly standards.

A Chief Marketer survey released in June found that roughly half of the marketers surveyed either have optimized their main website for viewing over mobile browsers (31%) or run a separate mobile-specific website (17%). For those who haven’t yet optimized their sites, there’s no hiding from the Google respondents: 96% said they had encountered sites that were clearly not designed for mobile devices.

Site Experience Critical

Details from Google’s “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today” indicate that about 3 in 5 smartphone users would quickly move to another site if they didn’t immediately find what they were looking for on a mobile site, suggesting that its not enough to have a mobile-optimized site, but that the experience has to be top-notch, too. 4 in 5 respondents who don’t like what they find on one site said they would search on another site, meaning that a poor experience could steer business to competitors.

Indeed, half of the respondents said that a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to engage with a company.

Companies’ Reputations at Stake

Further report findings suggest that companies not optimizing their sites could damage their reputation among these smartphone users. About half said they feel frustrated and annoyed when they access a site that’s not mobile-friendly, and the same proportion said it made them feel like the company didn’t care about them. More than one-third feel that they’ve wasted their time.

Location, Click-to-Call Important

Companies looking to provide the best experience to smartphone users need to provide users with the ability to take action when on the site. Other details from the study suggest that the key actions most users want to take on mobile sites are getting a location or business hours (76%), click to call the business (61%), sending an email (54%), and downloading an application (48%). Also important are getting to the company’s social networking page (48%) and playing a video clip (41%).

In terms of the most popular features, smartphone owners primarily want: a search bar that is both easy to find and use (78%); to have just 1 or 2 clicks for more information (78%); for the site to fit the small screen (76%); for there to be an option to go to the full site (74%); and for the site to look clean and efficient (74%).

Roughly 7 in 10 want big, finger-friendly buttons, and slightly less than two-thirds for there to be scrolling one direction only.

About the Data: The Google data is derived from a survey of 1,088 US adult smartphone internet users in July 2012.