Desktop Search Has Stopped Growing

For a few years now we have collectively wondered about the future of search. The rise of smartphones, social networks, and apps have had many people predicting that search was being replaced.

Search is dead, the headlines read, as they tend to do when we sensationalize the impact of new technology and trends.

But now we have data. And although search is far from dead, it’s become clear that desktop search, the business that Google was built on, has peaked.

In fact, this article from Quartz makes it quite clear that desktop search peaked a couple of years ago and is not trending downwards.

What does this mean? Should we panic?

No one needs to panic just now. Search as a whole is still growing, thanks to mobile.

If you’re a company that relies on search to generate new business, it is important to recognize that most of your growth from this channel in coming years will be from mobile, not desktop. Your ads and landing pages should be adjusted accordingly.

For Google it will mean even more focus on mobile as a source of traffic and revenue. They can’t make people search on desktops, nor should they want to.

Instead of trying to squeeze the juice out of a shrinking business, they’ll be smart enough to shift and show us what comes next, as far as search goes.

There will continue to be billions of desktop searches every year for quite some time. So desktop search is not dead, but it is now fair to say that it’s in decline.

5 Financial Tips for Starting Internet Marketing

The following is a guest post by Stevie Clapton works at an Internet Marketing company located in Orange County, CA.  McKremie specializes in search engine optimization and reputation management.

So, you are looking to open up your own small business, but are not well versed enough in Internet marketing to know the best financial practices? Internet marketing can be both a gift and a curse for small businesses. On one hand, for the inexperienced, marketing online can be a huge money-sink where small business budgets go to disappear, while chasing big aspirations. On the other hand, internet marketing can also provide small businesses with a cheap, yet effective way to advertise them and gain initial traction, so long as they know what they are doing. A few financial tips that you should take into consideration when beginning your internet marketing campaign include;

Advertise Where It's Affordable for Your Business

The biggest mistake that many startups and small businesses make with internet marketing is choosing advertising that is well beyond their budget. Immediately jumping into paying for Google Adwords advertisements and other paid advertising sources can be beneficial, but may be above the budgets of some small businesses. If your budget is too small for paid advertising sources, look into free options such as classified advertisements and social media marketing to spread the word about your business.

Have A Marketing Budget Set Aside

Your marketing budget should not be included in the general expenses of your business. Try to set marketing funds aside from other business related funds so that you can properly plan the amount that you can afford to spend, without going over budget. Within the marketing budget, you can set aside funds for specific types of marketing or promotion, such as classified advertisements, Adwords campaigns, and Facebook advertisements. This allows you to set daily limits on each of your advertising accounts, and better analyze each of the marketing methods that you are utilizing, cutting out underperforming methods and ramping up those that are giving the largest return on investment.

Use Free Methods Where Available

Almost every small business is going to be working with a very limited budget in the beginning. While you should be looking to cut unnecessary costs wherever available, internet marketing provides you with a unique opportunity to make large scale cuts without a dramatic reduction in the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Instead of paying for advertising, dedicating more time to promoting your business using the free sources that are available to you will allow you to dramatically cut advertising costs without having to sacrifice the positive impact that the advertising has had on your business. As your business grows and more funds can be dedicated to advertising, you can begin to add new advertising sources to your list. This allows you to grow your marketing spending only when your business can afford it, without taking on too much responsibility at once.

Immediate Impact vs. Brand Recognition

When deciding on the marketing avenues that your business will pursue, you also have to decide what the goals of your marketing budget are. Of course, every business has a goal to increase revenue and become more profitable. However, you also have to divide up your marketing dollars between short term and long term impact. Short term impact refers to sales, and immediate growth while long term impact refers to brand recognition and building a long term marketing strategy for your company.

Outsource Where Available

Many basic and repetitive internet marketing tasks can be done by just about anyone. These include submissions to directories, syndicating content across a variety of websites, and generally trying to get your link in front of as many people as possible. These tasks can be outsourced to individuals around the world that will demand much less money than your in-house employees would, and your employees would likely appreciate not having to do such repetitive tasks.

The Internet is a land of unlimited opportunity for a small business, but that does not mean that you do not have to be diligent, both in plan as well as execution. Know what you want your marketing to accomplish, and find the cheapest way to make it happen.

The Rule of 1’s

New rule: First Impressions are Critical.

Okay, so that’s not so new. First impressions have been important in all walks of life for years. But in marketing, first impressions have never mattered more than they do now, especially on the web.

The rule of 1s tells us this, you have one chance to make a good impression. Miss it, and you could very well have turned someone off of your brand, lost a sale or a lifetime of sales, or created an anti-ambassador, someone who dissuades others from buying from you.

First impressions in marketing are all over the place. Your home page has to make a first impression. Your ads have to make a first impression. Your landing pages have to make a first impression. Your social media accounts have to make a first impression. Your emails have to make a first impression.

One way or another, you hope, consumers will come in contact with your brand. It may be during the purchasing process or it may be long before they have a need for what you sell. It may come through a Google search or it may come from a link sent to them by a friend. However, and wherever that first contact is made, the importance of the impression left cannot be underestimated.

“So we’re just supposed to be perfect everywhere?” you’re wondering.

Yes. That needs to be the goal. A goal you might never reach, but the goal nonetheless. Always be thinking about that first impression.

A good first impression gives you someone to follow up with. A bad first impression is a lost opportunity.

Introducing the "Paying Pirate"

The following is a guest post by Kevin Pruett. Kevin Pruett is a NYC-based entrepreneur, specializing in the effective and seamless integration between business, technology, design, and culture.

I’m so bullish on the state of digital economics right now.

For the past decade or so, we’ve been cultivating a new completely new generation of consumers.  Consumers who are used to having everything at their disposal.  A generation who saw the maturation of the .mp3 and who waited 20 minutes to download a 4 minute song on Napster.  We’ve bred a generation who watches millions of hours of free video on YouTube and utilize platforms like Skype to make voice (and video) calls to family across the country at no charge.  Essentially, it’s a generation who feels entitled to most everything and expects to pay nothing for it.

So why would I be so amped about the current state we are in, and why should anyone in the digital distribution space be excited about this time?

It takes a while for a disruption to reach a balanced state.  In our case, with the introduction of digital content on the web, we’ve seen the most chaotic periods in the early 2000′s and an evolving ecosystem being implemented to control it.  It’s taken about a decade for the mass market to consider digital goods and online commerce “legit.”

With legitimacy comes infrastructure.  And that is exactly what we are seeing today.  A sophisticated infrastructure and maturing economic model that has been laid down to make sense of the technological disruption that has occurred over the past decade.

I spoke of a generation who “feels entitled to most everything and expects to pay nothing for it,” just a moment ago.  This generation, like the infrastructure beneath it, is maturing.  Introducing the Paying Pirate.

Most all consumers today are pirates.  There’s no doubt about that.  We are accustomed to gathering content on the web for nothing.  Despite this truth, we will begin to see a massive movement in the payment for digital goods.  The two biggest catalysts in this surge are:

1. Connected Devices:

Smart devices, or devices that have connection capabilities, are becoming the norm.  Leading the charge in connected devices are smartphones, which essential puts a computer into each of our pockets.  In addition, we are seeing more form factors like the iPad transform traditional computing and eReading devices like Amazon’s Kindle change the way we consume books.

Why is this significant? Many of us are willing to pay for content on these devices.  With platforms like Apple’s iOS and Amazon’s Marketplace, this often means shelling out dough to accomplish this.  And for the convenience, many of us are happy to do it.

2. Cloud-Based Services

Enough cannot be said about the transformation that “the cloud” has brought to our digital experiences.  Instead of loading up software, songs, music, and movies onto our hard drives, we are ditching physical space on our computers for the more convenient virtual servers.

Why is this significant? Without direct access to the files, content, or software that’s stored on the cloud, service providers have a unique control over their consumers.  In order to maintain a subscription to the cloud service, a charge, often nominal, is instituted.  It’s pretty difficult to pirate a service in the cloud.  It isn’t as hard to pirate a piece of software that costs hundreds on the shelves.

The bottom line is that the platform(s) have finally caught up to the technology.  What this means for consumers is a more seamless and efficient offering.  It just so happens that many consumers are willing to pay for this convenience.

My advice to anyone that’s skeptical about the state of digital economics is to study these services and to learn from those who are leading the movement.  Understand your consumers and understand the environment because this is just the beginning.

Want to guest post on this blog? Let me know here.