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Power Retail Talks to MotoParts About Auto Parts E-tailing

By | Automotive, Blog, ecommerce, Industry, Research, Web Design, Web Store | No Comments
MotoParts-266x266

Selling automotive parts online has proved challenging for MotoParts, but developing a parts-centric approach has helped the company progress. Power Retail chats to MotoParts’ Scott Shillinglaw to find out more.

With a long history in the B2B commerce space supplying wholesale auto parts throughout NSW and Australia, MotoParts decided to launch into a completely new sales channel to leverage their existing business model. As one of the largest online marketplaces, eBay was the obvious choice for MotoParts to start their online presence and drive a whole new section of growth for the business.

This decision was prompted by the rapid growth of the Australian online automotive parts sales industry (estimated to be worth $380.3 million in 2014-2015 and growing annually at a compounded rate of 17 percent) centred on New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – areas that have the highest number of kilometres driven.

Power Retail magazine caught up with Scott Shillinglaw, Online Director for MotoParts, to see how the transition came about and how they used PARts Australia for data and technology.

Read more about MotoParts’ Parts-Centric Approach using PARts.

MotoParts Dives into eBay with an E-commerce Solution

By | Automotive, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, tools | No Comments

MotoParts on eBayRecognized as one of Australia’s top distributors of automotive parts and car accessories, MotoParts boasts of a colourful history in the B2B segment of the market, offering wholesale auto parts throughout NSW and Australia.

In an effort to leverage their current business model, the company decided to dive into a new sales channel, opening a new section of potential growth for the business. As one of the world’s largest marketplaces on the Internet, it made sense for the company to jumpstart their online presence on eBay, this according to MotoParts online director Scott Shillinglaw.

The Need for an E-commerce Solution

To launch a new online sales channel on eBay, MotoParts needed a comprehensive e-commerce solution capable of handling hundreds to thousands of product listings—a solution that could keep up with MotoParts surging online business.

According to Shillinglaw, MotoParts required a robust e-commerce solution that could help manage product feeds, with the additional feature of transforming product data and making it ready for eBay listing. Moreover, the solution had to mesh with the company’s ERP system, in particular, product, pricing, and inventory data, together with eBay and MotoParts’s e-commerce website.

The challenge with automotive parts suppliers is that the complexity and sheer volume of product parts information makes it difficult to find a working e-commerce solution—one that could withstand the impending massive increase in automobile models and corresponding parts within the next few years.

Shillinglaw said that MotoParts needed their e-commerce data to be in a coherent format, allowing their e-commerce managers to list products on eBay by part and vehicle compatibility, all in such a way that entices customers to make a purchase. If the product isn’t presented in a compelling manner, it won’t lead to sales, he adds.

A PARts Driven Solution

MotoParts turned to an e-commerce solution recommended by PARts, an online solution Enform is certified to provide.

With the new e-commerce solution, MotoParts was able to automate and integrate all their product data into one easy-to-access database, through a tool specifically designed for automotive parts content.

MotoParts can now manage and access their product data in one centralised solution, with orders placed on eBay extracted and standardized into a singular format—integrated with the company’s own ERP system. And you can read more about how MotoParts went online profitably with PARts.

MotoParts eBay Listing

Benefits

After just a few months of using the PARts-recommended e-commerce solution to open a new sales channel on eBay, MotoParts saw a surge in total revenue by at least 5 percent. The complete MotoParts e-commerce solution was also fully functional in just a few months. The company also saw a drastic reduction in resource time and IT expenditures.

But more importantly, the addition of a solid e-commerce solution into the company’s business foundation means they can now open as many online sales channels as they want, with very little work required.

You can read more about PARts and auto data opportunities here

Questions To Answer When Designing Website Navigation

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Organising content for a website calls for designers to ask key questions on their planned Information Architecture (IA). Usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) broke down these problems, providing answers to the 3 most persistent questions many designers today struggle with when building sites.

How Many Categories do you Need?

The general rule of thumb is to have enough categories to show all the information offered on your site or app. However, what’s considered ‘enough’ will greatly depend on the content and intention of a site.

Most simple sites with a small range of content will usually do fine with a few categories. This minimalist approach helps users find the information they want as quickly as possible. Take for instance, Dyson’s website for their Airblade line of products (the Dyson Airblade is the company’s take on the quick hand dryer). The entire website has a solid IA scheme since all variations of the Airblade fit into 5 categories.

Dyson airblade homepage

Dyson Airblade Homepage

At the other end of the spectrum is RestroomDirect, a site that also sells hand dryers as well as a bunch of other fixtures for public bathrooms. Condensing all information on the site down to 5 categories makes it difficult for customers to find information on the company’s full range of products, which is why the site features 7 links in the top horizontal navigation, and 17 product categories in the vertical navigation. This combination allows users to easily access all relevant information on the site as efficiently as possible.

Restroom Direct

www.RestroomDirect.com

Both examples show the basic principle behind determining the appropriate number of categories in a website: go with what makes it easiest for users to access the information they need; don’t box yourself in by trying to hit a predetermined number.

Should you List Categories in Alphabetical Order?

Organising categories by a certain order is another issue frequently tackled by designers, many of whom feel that sorting categories alphabetically makes the most sense.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this problem, but what you can do is consider the following factors:

  1. What organising principle would be more meaningful than sorting alphabetically?
  2. Will visitors be familiar with the category names
  3. How many categories do you have?

More Meaningful Organising Principles

One approach that makes more sense than alphabetical organisation is frequency of use, which helps the majority of visitors on a site access the information they’re most likely looking for.

An example of this can be found on RightMove.co.uk, a property listing that has the categories For Sale and To Rent as the first two items in the navigation panel. This setup saves users a tremendous amount of time, since it makes sense to highlight content users are most likely to click on.

Rightmove

If you were to organise categories on this site alphabetically, you would get the unintuitive result below.

Rightmove labels

Standard Labels

However, there are instances when alphabetical organisation is more efficient. If you have categories under just one label (e.g. product names or brand names), users naturally look for information they know, like a particular word—alphabetical organisation is more helpful in this situation.

Do you Need Hover Menus with Touch Devices

With the advent of mobile devices that rely on touch interfaces, UX designers are wondering whether sites should still have hover nav menus.

Hover activated menus are unwieldy for touchscreen users. Even with menus adapted for use with a tap instead of a hover, touchscreens are just too small to display an entire menu. This can result in problems scrolling the menu without deactivating it by touch something else on the page.

However, just because a part of your audience can’t use this feature, doesn’t mean you should withhold it from everyone else. Hover activated menus are still easy to use on conventional desktop interfaces.

The key here is graceful degradation: ensure that customers who can’t use hover activation still have a means of accessing your content. A good example of this setup can be found on the Fedex website, which provides both hover and tap options for all their users, whether on traditional desktop interfaces or touchscreens.

Fedex

The full Fedex website has hover-activated menus

Fedex mobile version

The mobile version of the Fedex site automatically replaces hover menus with a simpler tap interface

As always good website design is about taking in to account your audience and how you can get them to the information they are looking for quickly and easily. It is worth spending time in the initial concept phase on these types of questions to avoid costly redesign and coding later on.  Need help with your site, want an objective review? Contact Enform today.

Google to Rollout Close Variant Keyword Matching End of September

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exact-phrase-match

When people go to search engines like Google, it’s not all the time that they key in their queries correctly. According to Google, at least 7 percent of all searches on their search engine contain some sort of misspelling, with longer queries more likely to have a typo. Web users don’t have the time to care about such trivial matters, especially in this time and age of shorter attention spans and a continually growing hunger for information. People expect to connect with products, services, and businesses they’re looking for.

For instance, a person trying to find “kid scooters,” “kids scooters,” or “kid’s scooters,” will want to see the most relevant Google ads regardless of these small differences in the search phrase. This is precisely why Google is turning to close variant keyword matching as a means of intuitively connecting search engine users with the people and businesses they’re looking for. The solution will apply to all exact and phrase match keywords.

Since its introduction in 2012, advertisers on Google’s AdWords program have enjoyed varying degrees of success. The company notes that the majority of advertisers are already matching to close keyword variations, garnering an average of 7 percent more exact and phrase match clicks with similar conversion and clickthrough rates. Besides this growth in keyword coverage, these incremental clicks directly translate to potentially crucial opportunities missed by low search volume keywords, a common occurrence when misspellings and abbreviations are concerned.

Widen your Reach

Beginning late September, Google will be rolling out close variant keyword matching to all phrase match and exact match keywords. It’s worth noting that close variant matching was already “switched on” by default in the campaign settings, so many advertisers won’t even notice any change in their keyword matching activity.

However, advertisers that opted out will notice the option to disable close variants disappear sometime around the last week of September. All exact and phrase match keywords will then connect to close keyword variations, allowing you to broaden your reach towards more potential customers with the most relevant ads, while at the same time, trying to lower your cost per click (CPC) and improve your clickthrough rate (CTR).

widen reach

 

What Does this Mean?

There’s always some level of anxiety present when Google makes changes to its search engine protocols and paid advertising program, as even the smallest changes can have huge effects on a company’s SEO and PPC campaigns, undoing several hours of work.

However, we at Enform actually see this update as helpful to our clients, as it cuts out the complexities of matching several lists with abbreviated, misspelled, and slight variations of your keywords just to get the coverage you want.

This time around, all you need to focus on is adding close variants of keywords that you don’t want to trigger your ads, to your negative keywords list. This is a far quicker way of shaping your traffic and reducing costs per click; it doesn’t hurt that this also offers a better ad experience to your potential customers.

It’s worth pointing out that Google AdWords tends to trigger ads with keywords that are most identical to search queries, so that doesn’t mean misspelled, abbreviated, and other close variations of your keywords are useless. Try to look how these close variants perform, they just might be able to stand independently as separate keywords with their appropriate bids.

A Different Point Of View

This mandatory change may have larger implications that mark a loss of control which is bad news for SEM (search engine marketing) professionals.

With this release we are heading towards a “keywordless” world where Google dictates when your ads appear and for what search terms.

With Google recent release of Shopping Campaigns, ads are generated using Google Merchant Account inventory feeds instead of keywords. Google is gaining more and more control of ads and advertisers may not be able to even control the outcome or put up a fight.

As long as AdWords keeps delivering results advertisers want, there won’t be many people complaining. Product Listing Ads are getting advertisers more results, and generally so will close variant matching, so it can’t be that bad…right.

google_robot

However, it’s time for the negative keywords to the rescue, that is for advertisers who feel very strongly about exact match terms, there is still the option to use negative keywords to weed out irrelevant queries.

 

Amazon Outs Online Marketing Platform to Rival Google AdWords

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Google-Amazon

Several reports claim that the company is aiming to give Google some competition in the highly lucrative online marketing landscape with their proprietary ad platform. Word is that Amazon’s advertising product will be similar to Google AdWords in how it works, and will replace its own online ads and compete for ad share.

If successful, Amazon could very well shrink Google’s monopoly on online share once they replace their ads with their own. And the market is tempting for any tech company out there, what with more than $50 billion in sales a year.

Amazon’s new project will be called Amazon Sponsored Links, with no confirmation yet on when publishers and advertisers can try the platform out.

Furthermore, Amazon is busy developing a bulk-buying program for advertisers, which would enable the online retail giant to place ads on third party sites more easily. Reports by the Wall Street Journal indicate that Amazon’s online marketing system will roll out to users before the year ends, with the company already pitching ideas to prospective clients.

Needless to say, Amazon has their work cut out for them, should they choose to push through with their own platform against Google. The search engine giant didn’t just dominate the online marketing space overnight. It built its way from the ground up, boasting of more than 14 years of experience and along the way, amassing millions of advertisers and publishers vying for the limited ad space available to their respective niches.

This level of competition has not surprisingly sent prices for ad space soaring, which also means publishers are likely to stick with Google over another online marketing firm.

Although Google has yet to see another online marketing platform capable of toppling them from the top spot, Amazon certainly has a chance of being the company to do it. With the company’s strong experience and leadership in the online retail industry, Amazon has firsthand knowledge about the purchasing habits and behaviour of online shoppers—it’s this area where Google is at a potential disadvantage.

Moreover, Amazon apparently already has more than 250 million users actively using their platform, potentially giving the company plenty of data they could use to push their online marketing platform and rival Googles AdWords program. If the company makes the right moves, we at Enform could see a new player entering the online marketing space.

Of course, we’ve seen many companies out there introduce their own online marketing platforms as an alternative to AdWords with varying degrees of success. All of them, however, have fallen short to knocking Google off their perch.

We’ll have to wait and see if Amazon has the goods to make a strong entry into the online marketing scene. Anything less than spectacular might only result in failure.

3 Tips on Getting Website Product Descriptions Right

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product description matters

E-commerce solutions like PARts B2 provide detailed product descriptions and details from the supplier using a database 

The basic tenet of e-commerce: Help the customer find your product and get what they want. If a potential customer can’t find your product, you obviously won’t get a sale.

However, connecting with relevant product pages is just the initial phase of the purchase process. And while it’s true that many sites have made improvements to their navigation and information architectures, many product pages on e-commerce sites are still in need crucial improvements.

Enform’s clients already know that product pages should do more than just have a product image, a generic description, and an option to add to the cart. Instead, the page should sell the product, convincing users that the product on the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

Yet as simple as that sounds, many pages fail to do this.

Product pages are especially important since they fill the gap of the traditional shopping experience, where users are normally able to touch the product, examine its packaging, and test or fit it before the purchase. Online, users can only go by what they see on the product production.

Multiple e-commerce studies by web usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) show that as much 20% of all observed task failures, or times when users abandoned or failed to make a purchase, were caused by poorly written or incomplete product information.

NN/g recommends the following tips for website product pages.

 

  1. Pages Should Answer Customers’ Questions

NN/g’s research specifically indicates that many users simply couldn’t find enough information to make an informed purchase decision. Now, there’s no way to guarantee that your product pages will answer all questions by potential customers, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for the bare minimum either.

answer_question

The J. Peterman Company is a company known for using lengthy, verbose stories for product descriptions, in their print catalogs as well as online.  They also follow their more eloquent prose with standard facts about the item for sale, such as “pointed collar,” “shell buttons at center front,” “1-inch grosgrain ribbon (antique white) at neckline and left front placket,” and “adjustable cuffs.”

 

Besides the most obvious features of the product, shoppers also want to know the smaller details on products they’re eyeing, and that can be anything from accents on clothes; furniture dimensions; product care information; size of toys; storage recommendations for edibles, to whether or not a hotel has a heated outdoor pool working all year.

Where many sites get it wrong is in their focus on basic information, or sometimes even the wrong information.

 

  1. Go Straight to the Point

Just because we told you not to settle for basic information, doesn’t mean you should input long-winded descriptions of your products. There’s a difference between a complete product description, and a wordy one. Users want information that describes the product, not incessant please to buy. One or two calls to action will suffice, don’t go too overboard with the marketing messages.

to_the_point

Forever21’s brief description covered key details about the product, its construction, and how a customer could wear the item. This was followed by a bulleted list of product details, including fabric, measurements and care which is quite a good example of going straight to the point.

 

Users often skim through text when browsing and reading online, and are more likely to read at the beginning of the text than the end. Given the importance of the first few lines of your product description, don’t waste it on text that doesn’t help the user.

Another great way of conveying the specifics of a product is to use product photos. NN/g’s found out that large and detailed images are a tremendous help to users wanting to know more about a product. Unfortunately, many sites settle for small images that fail to show sufficient product details.

 

  1. Make Comparisons Easy

Several online shoppers view the ability to compare multiple products as a crucial factor in shaping their purchase decisions. It’s imperative that you offer a facility to help users decide which of several products is best for them in a smooth and easy manner.

make_comparisons

Pottery Barn listed information about dressers in a consistent and descriptive way. Two bedside-tables descriptions began with brief overviews, and then bulleted lists that provided comparable details about the products, listed in the same order for each. Each listed dimensions, followed by materials, features, finish information, and hardware details.

 

It also helps if you can reduce the need for comparisons by making your product line simple if your catalogue allows for it. For those that can’t, such as e-commerce sites that carry multiple vendors, some help with tools is needed.

Many e-commerce sites already have tools that enable shoppers to compare products side by side. Some of these are effective, others not so much. According to NN/g, the key here is to offer comparable information in an easy to compare manner between similar products. It also pays to be consistent in the volume of information featured for every product; customers don’t like seeing plenty of information on one product, and hardly any on another.

Overall, remember that many customers are actually looking for a reason or confirmation to buy your product or transact, try not to disappoint.

Google Analytics reports UX specialists should pay attention to

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Contrary to popular belief, Google Analytics doesn’t just provide information about website traffic, it also provides useful data to UX strategists, helping them set goals, and create strategies and concepts for a sound web design.

Of the 95 reports Google Analytics provides, a few offer incredible useful information ranging from how visitors interact with your website, where visitors came from, to the best channels to use for your goals. Ironically, Google Analytics suffers from a lack of web usability—it can be confusing to navigate your way through the service. Worse, finding which report can help you with your usability goals can be a nightmare.

Usability experts the Nielsen/Norman Group compiled a list of the Analytics reports you can turn to for UX applications.

Mobile Access Growth

This information is key when trying to figure out whether or not your site should also be friendly to mobile devices. How much should you invest in an adaptive web design? What kind of priority level should your mobile initiatives receive?

To compare the quantity of mobile traffic between two similar periods, say February 2014 against 2013, turn to Google Analytics’ date comparison feature, and combine it with some easy calculations offline.

Report: Audience Overview

  1. Go to Audience > Mobile > Overview
  2. Choose a date range, then add  comparison date range
  3. This report’s % Change line represents the change in percentage of absolute mobile visits for the specified date ranges. This is not the information you’re looking for, so ignore this
  4. To find the growth rate in percentage of mobile visits, perform a simple calculation by taking the number of mobile visits, dividing it with the number of total visits, finally calculating the rate of change.

Social Network Impact

Google Analytics also provides a useful report if you want to find out just how much your social network activities impact your goals, particularly when it comes to your content strategies (e.g. what content is shared most often and where it’s shared).

Report: Network Referral

  1. Go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals
  2. The report gives a detailed view on referral traffic coming from social networks. You can even click on the indicated networks to see which specific content people are sharing on that social channel.

Conversions

This report offers granular information on the way certain channels add to acquisition, how users originating from these channels act on your site, as well as how these channels contributed towards reaching your goals defined on Google Analytics.

Report: Goals Overview
1) Go to Conversions > Goals > Overview
2) Choose Source/Medium
3) Click on ‘View full report’

4) Upon reaching the full report screen, choose your ‘Source’ and then choose the goals you want to filter.

Number of Visits Prior to Conversion

When assessing and conceptualizing website usability, many UX teams like to build customer-journey maps designed for their target personas. These maps indicate interactions prospects are most likely to take before a conversion (before they become a customer).

Report: Path Length

  1. Conversions > Multi-channel funnels > Path length.
  2. Choose your desired goals to filter

The Path Length report provides a good idea on the number of visits to your websites before users convert or move on to other desirable actions (which you will define in your Analytics account).

Knowing the right reports to base your UX decisions of is the first step towards improving the usability of your website. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, so it is very important to know how to wield it.

Type of Mobile Apps: Native, Web or Hybrid

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mobile apps phones

What’s in a Mobile App? Is it a Native, Web, or Hybrid App?

In an Internet landscape that has more and more users shifting from traditional personal computers to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to browse the Web, mobile apps are king. As such, it’s common to hear new terms like web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps being thrown around.

Native apps are found on the device itself, accessible through icons on the home screen or app drawer. These apps can be installed through application hubs such as the App Store for Apple and Google Play. Native apps are specifically developed for one platform, and can have features that tap into the device’s camera, accelerometer, compass, contacts, image gallery, GPS and more. These apps can also utilize gestures native to the device or the app itself.

Web apps are not actually apps per se, as they are only websites designed to look and feel like native apps. Web apps run on a browser and use the language HTML5. They are accessible through a URL (just like any other web page) and provide users the option of “installing” them on the desktop by creating a shortcut/bookmark. Web apps gained popularity with the rise of HTML5, which allows for native app-like performance in the browser itself.

Hybrid apps are just that, a hybrid between a native app and web app. Just like native apps, they can be accessed through an app store and can utilise features available on a device. However, they also rely on browser-based HTML—just like a web app—as they feature a browser within the app. Many companies use hybrid apps because they enable cross-platform compatibility, which means they can be reused for different mobile operating systems and allow for lower development costs.

For a more comprehensive explanation on the characteristics of native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps, you can turn to this article by Web usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group.

Which Type of App Do You Go For?

We at Enform think that each of these app types have their own pros and cons. Here’s a look at them.

Device-specific features

While web apps have limited access to device features, it’s a far cry from what native apps, and even the native aspect of hybrid apps, can do. Native apps get full access to a device’s suite of features, from gestures, notifications, camera, GPS and so on.

Offline Function

Native apps work best when online connectivity is a problem. HTML5 allows for in-browser caching, but again, it’s more limited compared to native functioning.

Discoverability

Content on the Web is easier to find than in an app, which gives web apps the advantage over the other app types. People use search engines to find information on the Web; it’s rare for users to go to the App Store to do the same thing.

Installation

Installing a native or hybrid app may be somewhat of a hassle compared to the simplicity of bookmarking a web app to the home screen, but the latter is a less familiar process to users. Native and hybrid apps are still superior in this regard.

 

Nielsen Norman Group Survey Finds Websites Not Well Designed for Teenagers

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econsultancy-exciting-digital-opportunities-feb-2012

Given how the lives of today’s generation of teens are so intertwined with technology, most notably the Internet, it’s become especially important for web designers to be mindful of the Internet habits of teenagers when designing websites. Short attention spans, information just a click away, and text message interruptions are the norm with teens, which call for a clear reassessment of web design.

The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g), a firm that specialises in computer user interface development and user experience, recently released the findings of multiple studies on how websites can be improved to match the preferences and web abilities of teenagers.

Web designers and online marketers may find NN/g’s findings surprising, what with the discrepancies it shows with current stereotypes, showing yet again that grown-ups have little or no idea of how teenagers think, in this case, when Internet usage is concerned.

NN/g’s research disproves the following assumptions:

  • Teenagers are tech savvy by default
  • Teenagers depend heavily on smartphones
  • Teenagers want a social aspect to their entire Internet experience
  • Teenagers are fans of online multimedia and graphics content

In other words, the NN/g’s study shows that not all teens are fearless techies, tethered to online media. We at Enform believe that such assumptions are oversimplifications at best, and can potentially lead your web design plans to fail.

Teens’ Purpose for Website Use

Just like adults, teenagers go online for a plethora of reasons, entertainment chief among them. Teens generally have specific goals for using websites, even if they mainly involve killing time for only 10 minutes. As with adults, teens want websites to be easy to use and navigate through, making it quick and simple to accomplish tasks. Teens don’t just surf the web aimlessly, which makes website design just as important with them as it is with adults.

Among the most basic purposes teens use the web for, include:

  • Homework
  • Hobbies
  • Entertainment (e.g. music and games)
  • News
  • Communicating with friends
  • Shopping
  • Product research (even if teens have little purchasing power, they still look for products for their wish lists and for purchases through their credit-card-holding guardians/adults)

By comparing previous studies with their latest findings, NN/g found that teens have grown to become more successful at navigating through websites. During the 8 years that passed between old and new studies, the firm’s research shows that teens show an annual 2-percent increase in the success of their online tasks. 

However, teens aren’t as web-proficient as you might think. Even with the improvements they’ve made over the past decade, they still make mistakes, and when they do, they often give up immediately. With their impulsive decision-making, teens still have a lower success rate for achieving their website goals compared to adults—71 percent for teens vs. 83 percent for adults.

NN/g found 3 reasons for this problem.

  • Lower literacy rates
  • Poor research strategies
  • Higher tendency to be impatient

Given these three issues, NN/g made the following recommendations on web design for teenagers.

NN/g Recommendations:

Improve Content Writing

Create content for impatient users. Younger audiences shy away from pages with walls of text. In other words, they’re not keen on spending too much time reading—they already do that in school.

Communicating with teens requires the use of effective web writing and formatting techniques. Highlight content in brief yet information-filled photographs, use bulleted lists, and be smarter with your keyword usage.

Use easy-to-understand words instead of terms more understood by college graduates. Use short sentences and write through a 6th-grade reading perspective.

Make your Content Entertaining, but Don’t Overdo It

NN/g’s surveyed teens complained about sites that were too boring. Dull content is the bane of websites, but don’t go overboard with interactive and fancy designs. Teenagers are usually drawn to eye-pleasing websites, but they hate cluttered and multimedia-loaded sites (we’re looking at you fans of Adobe Flash).

Some of the interactive features teens are actually drawn to, include:

  • Online games and quizzes
  • Online forms for feedback
  • Online polls
  • Site features for sharing content like pictures, videos or stories
  • Message boards/online forums

Snappy Websites are Gold

Nothing irritates a teenager more than a slow-loading website, so make sure you have a fast, bug-free website. Younger Internet users have a tendency to expect instant gratification, so place speed on top of your list of design priorities.

Avoid widgets that add to your site’s loading time, even if you think they’re cool and add value to your site.

Don Treat Teenagers as Dumb

For your site’s content, avoid using a tone that’s babyish or condescending. Teens feel ostracised by content made for “grownups,” but they don’t want to be talked down to. NN/g’s studies found that teebs gravitate towards content created by peers, so create content that includes images, real stories and examples from other teenagers.

NN/g’s studies surveyed websites included sites aimed at both teenagers and children, using the word “Kid,” which had an effect of driving away teens. They also showed an aversion to garish and colourful web designs.

Give Teenagers Control Over Social Features

Give teens an option to share content, but don’t force it on them. Teenagers like the social aspect of the Internet, but they’re not obsessed over it, despite what’s shown in movies and TV.

Today’s teens are also taught to be more careful with their privacy, so avoid using features like forced registration, automatic linking with Facebook/Twitter profiles and more.

Sharing options should also include email, since according to the studies, teenagers actually prefer using email to protect their social accounts and online activity.

What About the Adults?

Now you may be wondering, “If I adjust my website for teens, won’t that compromise my adult audience?” We at Enform believe that the changes needed to attract teens won’t drive away adults; in fact, it will only target an additional population of adults composed of:

  • Adults with insufficient reading skills
  • Adults new to the Internet
  • Adult users who want to achieve their website goals faster

As you can see, these changes may be tailored for teenagers, but they also target an important segment of adults.

Study Shows Data on Efficacy of Digital Ads

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Digital Advertising Trends

According to an August 2011 study done by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), search and video advertisements are far more effective “calls to action” when compared to several other types of digital ads. The study, titled “Affluent Consumers in a Digital World,” shows that a little over 40 percent of consumers who view video and search ads are encouraged to take some type of action after seeing the ad online during the past six months

Email and banner ads come in at second, at 37 percent; ads on social networks come in at third, with 28 percent, and mobile ads at fourth with 17 percent.

The study also revealed that ranking percentages are pretty similar when it comes to clicking digital ads. Roughly 45 percent of digital ad viewers surveyed in the study have clicked an ad in the past six months. 38 percent have viewed an advertiser’s website at least once, 18 percent have become a fan or follower on social networks, while 17 percent have actually visited the retail location of an advertised brand or company.

When the respondents were asked about what qualities encourage them to pay attention to digital ads, the study indicated that relevance was the main factor to be considered. This relevance includes ads that are correlated to the website or page they’re viewing, ads that are relevant to their needs, and ads that are based on demographics and location.

Affluent consumers were also shown to have slightly different ad viewing natures. Described as having a household income exceeding $100,000, affluent consumers were indicated to react more positively to relevant ads on websites and pages, as well as ads that are relevant to location and interests. However, ads that are demographically targeted were shown to be ineffective with affluent consumers.

Call Enform and let’s talk about what this data could mean for your business.