Did Your Organic Ranking Tank? We know why…

This is a safe place, can we all agree on that? Great, then it’s ok to admit the word “algorithm” mystifies you — perplexes you — even scares you a little bit.

So, when you hear Google is updating its algorithm it can cause fear, panic, and the like. Google has admitted to a March 2019 update that actually LOST entire web pages from its index. Gone. Poof. And the effect on organic rankings was HUGE.

In March 2019, Google did what it called a “Broad Core update” – meaning Google is not “fixing” something directly, or even addressing specific industries or areas of need – but rather, creating and implementing more sweeping adjustments to organic searches.

As one tech blogger explained it:

Broad core updates are improvements to Google’s overall algorithm for the purpose of better understanding search queries and webpages. These improvements help Google to more accurately match search queries to webpages and improve user satisfaction.

Everybody, Stay Calm!

Did you feel that? Did your site feel the full brunt of the digital earthquake? Or maybe you just felt a little aftershock. Either way, Google’s “advancements” truly hurt many sites’ rankings about a month after the update’s release.

On April 7th, Google tweeted:

We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites beginning on Friday. We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners. We’ll provide another update when the issues are considered fully resolved.

We won’t bore you with the nerdy details to indexes, search impacts, etc. etc. – but basically Google admitted “Houston, we have a problem.”

Here at RPS we experienced it on our own site. One day we’re trending along, enjoying the top spot in our market for the organic keywords we’ve identified in our marketing strategy, and then the proverbial bottom dropped out. It was easy to recognize, and virtually impossible to explain.

We saw the same trend in several client websites as well. Even after efforts to optimize, the organic search metrics didn’t seem to follow a logical pattern. We weren’t rattled, but rather challenged ourselves to find out why. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mystery, BUT not without an explanation or a resolution. (Every good mystery movie ends by solving the mystery — haven’t they ever seen an episode of Scooby Doo?!)

Oh, that algorithm, it’ll get ya every time! And, just like it seemed to “get us” for a time, we’ve been digging in to deeper understand the update and its aftermath. Google is not really in the practice of explaining in depth the reasons behind updates, or the predicted effects. Sometimes they just drop an update and see if anyone notices.

We Will Rebuild

So, how do you overcome the aftershock of the Broad Core update of March 2019?

First, know that Google has since come out an assured the web community that it is reindexing sites already, and you can directly ask for Google to index your site. Not a great solution for sites with a lot of volume, but an option nonetheless.  

The dust will supposedly settle. Google is quick to assure it’s back to business as usual… but we’re a little more proactive than that. We trust the system but also believe in strategy implementation for the win.

We don’t believe major adjustments are ultimately your best move. Instead, we believe there’s value in monitoring. Organic rankings are the long-game in an often frantic, mile-a-minute digital marketplace. Craft a solid strategy, modify as needed, and remain calm.

We’ll get through this, together.

VR, AR, AI, Oh my!

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI)… If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. It’s a lot to keep up with, and even more difficult for your business to master.

Customers crave a more transformational experience with brands, products, services, and information. And there’s power in delivering those experiences.

Augmented Reality is defined as “a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer generated display, sound, text and effects to enhance the user’s real-world experience.” It is predicted Augmented Reality will grow to be a $35 billion industry by 2022! Talk about opportunity knocking!

So, how are brands using AR effectively and strategically to not only increase brand awareness but to create meaningful customer experiences (and loyal fans?) How to do go beyond the gimmick and make AR work for your company? How does AR become your brand differentiator?

Here’s how industries and brands are leveraging AR to do more than simply impress and entertain.

There’s an app for that

Nike is using Augmented Reality to assist shoe buyers to not only find the right shoe for their activity, but the correct SIZE. Their research showed up to 60% of their customers were purchasing the wrong size shoe, which was leading to more returns and more unhappy customers. Their sizing app, Nike Fit, lets buyers scan their feet at home to get their correct size (within a 2mm of accuracy which, we don’t measure things with rulers much these days but we’re pretty sure that’s super close to perfect) The result – a rise in consumer confidence, more brand loyalty, and fewer returns.

How Will I know?

Companies like Ikea, Wayfair, Target, and Amazon are augmenting the purchases of items, especially larger ones like furniture, and allowing buyers to “try before they buy” — you can virtually place the item in the room to see the piece in the real world before buying and potentially assembling (and we all know the joys of assembling an IKEA piece…) The result again is consumer confidence and a higher likelihood the buyer will ultimately make that big-ticket purchase.

Not sure if you’ll love a paint color? Try it out through AR and get it right the first time — companies like Sherwin-Williams are having extreme success with their ventures into Augmented Reality paint selection and it’s reinforcing the brand’s commitment to helping customers get it right the first time.

Don’t Just Tell Me, Show Me

We all know how essential visuals are to a brand. AR is taking this fact to an elevated level (basically, it’s like a picture times a million). Gone are the days of just showing an illustration to explain how something works. Or dropping a logo onto a piece of collateral to brand it as your own. The possibilities are endless when it comes to AR showing, versus telling, about your brand.

Jack Daniels is using AR to bring customers into the whiskey manufacturing world to immerse them in the distillery and makes the brand more relatable. The bottle’s label becomes a virtual pop-up storybook to show consumers the process, the location, and the history of the company. And, frankly, it’s just cool to watch.

Make The World a Better Place

Augmented Reality is being used as assistive technology for the visually impaired. One service “connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents.” The goal of this brand is to make information available to everyone regardless of disability, making life more full and enjoyable and further enhance everyday experiences.

Social and Search

Social media platforms have been on board with the utility of AR, and are leading the charge. Snapchat and Instagram have built entire identity on filters, which brands are now monetizing into awareness, relationship building, and just plain fun. The use of AR on social communicates the organic voice that a basic post simply cannot convey.

And of course Google is in on the frontlines of AR. Google maps are interactive with walking navigation and visual overlays. Google searches include AR immersive experiences to feel connected to the content that comes up on your next search — it’s fun to see an 18-foot great white shark floating in your backyard as you help your child research sharks for a school project.

Just Plain Fun

A Snapchat filter for a special event is a small investment to create a memorable impact. (Check out the filter we used for our recent RPS Open House event…)

But, be careful. There still has to be value to be, well, valuable to your base. Otherwise, it’s just a novelty that could hurt your brand more than help. Your AR experience has to have a strong message and clear function, and go beyond the initial “coolness” factor.

If your AR experience doesn’t drive customers to take action (buy that IKEA sofa, it’ll fit perfectly!), make an informed decision (that lipstick is totally your color!), meet a customer’s need (“What does this error message mean, oh wise AR tech support guy?), showcase your capabilities (have your smartphone out next time you’re in the RPS offices for our full AR experience), or directly align with your brand’s message and values it could end up being just a novelty (a moment of silence for QR codes…)

Bottom line: Don’t be Pokemon Go (hot one minute, obsolete the next). Using AR, and any other Experiential Marketing tools, correctly can have a lasting, positive effect on your business and brand. The key word — “correctly”.

Facebook’s Secret Weapon for Businesses

We are all about working smarter, not harder. And marketing is striking a balance between effort and time (and money, of course. But time equals money – round up to the next whole number, take the square root of pi and… sorry, we get nerdy sometimes.)

Where were we?

Oh yes, working smarter. This is why we love using a “secret weapon” within Facebook Insights for Business that is helping marketers and small business owners capitalize on powerful vicinity-specific statistics.If you run a brick-and-mortar business, the information you can glean from Facebook Local Insights can impact your ad strategy, staffing decisions, and more.

Within Business Manager there’s a tab that is often overlooked in the sea of other useful Insights. Even as super creative, right-brained people, we geek out over the metrics in this tab once we began to do a deep dive.

Here’s what we mean:

The Facebook Local Insights section provides super geographic-specific data that shows you what’s the busiest time for Facebook users to be in your set radius and date range, what the top age, gender and home location is of those passing by, and how often your ad was seen by those people (if you’re currently running campaigns.) It’s all privacy protected so it’s showing generalized stats and not specific users information, but there’s power in those summaries that you need to be using as you craft your marketing plans.

How does this help you as a business owner? For the three main categories you see in the screenshot above:

Activity and Peak Hours

Facebook Says:

Use info about when the most people are nearby to make smart decisions about store hours and more.

RPS Says:

We can’t make your operational decisions, but we do use this data to make sure content and ads are going out when you expect people to see it (your current followers AND passers-by alike).

 

Demographic Info

Facebook Says:

Get to know the general ages, genders and distance traveled by people near your business to inform your marketing and services.

RPS Says:

We use this data to get to know people who are not yet customers or clients and craft messages and ads accordingly to draw engagement. Creating custom audiences using this insight increases the likelihood of your ads do not falling victim to the mindless scroll.

 

Ad Performance

Facebook Says:

See if your ads reached people who are near your business.

RPS Says:

Spending money is an important decision for any business owner or decision maker. How powerful to be able to verify your ads are being seen by the people around you.

Now, like any data, it’s only useful if it’s actionable. And to be actionable, you have to understand it. A marketing partner like RPS can analyze the data in your business’ Facebook Local Insights and craft a plan to attract the people most likely to walk in your door, drive by your business, or be online when your ad is running.

We’d love to review Local Insights with you in a Discovery Session. Contact us through our site or give us a call – we promise not to be too nerdy when you come in.

RPS at the ADDYs

We love what we do. Digital marketing, web design, and branding get us out of bed in the morning. Our team is excited about our projects and we genuinely enjoy working with our clients. Seeing a finished website or successful marketing campaign is truly its own reward for our hard work.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for the effort and talent of our team, and this recognition came at the recent Addy Awards Ceremony for the Space Coast Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Altogether, we were awarded four Gold, four Silver, and two of the three Judges Choice Awards.

This is a huge honor, and we couldn’t be more grateful! But, we couldn’t have made this achievement without some great clients, so we’d like to take this opportunity to showcase some of our the award-winning projects for the awesome businesses and nonprofits with whom we are so privileged to partner.

At the Silver level:

Advantage Technologies Sales Materials
Advantage Technologies provides creative, effective, and efficient managed IT solutions to small businesses.

Adv-Tech

The Airboat Rides at Midway Video
We had a blast collaborating with Mendx studios on this project! Midway does Florida wildlife like no one else.

The Brevard Humane Society Website
The Brevard  Humane Society has been helping homeless animals find a safe place since 1952, providing shelter, food, veterinary care, and plenty of TLC.

Brevard Humane Society

The National Space Club Website
National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFL) is a non-profit corporation composed of passionate individuals representing industry, government, the Department of Defense, regional educational institutions, and the public.

NSC Website

At the Gold level:

The Rock Paper Simple Brand Book
We love going through the branding process with our clients so much that we did it for ourselves. Our brand book contextualizes who we are as company in terms of message, values, and tone. It also serves as a guide for proper use of the RPS colors, logo, and fonts.

RPS Brand Book

 

Our New Website Promo Video
We may have gotten a little carried away, but who doesn’t love a good party? Especially over a brand new website!

The Rock Paper Simple Website
The source of our celebration. We take pride in our work, and we want our own site to reflect what we can bring to each and every client.

RPS Website

The Bearded Chef Logo
Have you ever seen a logo speak for itself better? And the food is pretty good too!

The Bearded Chef Logo

Of the three available Judges Choice Awards, we managed to collect one for our new website promo video and one for the Bearded Chef Logo.

We are grateful to the American Advertising Federation and judges for the recognition, and we look forward to crafting even more awesome work for our clients in the future!

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait Any Longer to Do Video Marketing

Incriminated in the death of radio stars, video has evolved from a highly professionalized format for marketing to something as simple as livestreaming à la iPhone. Yet for some, the convenience isn’t enough to sell them on getting started. So here are 6 reasons to use video marketing as a tool right now:

1)Video marketing is trending

The success of video marketing has been massive, and not in the places you might think. According to HubSpot, 67% of consumers listed Facebook as a place where they currently consume content online, just 16% behind YouTube. And according to Forbes, 90% of consumers say a marketing video informed their purchases. This means that video marketing is being used, right now, to meet people where they’re at.

2)Video Marketing isn’t slowing down

One Facebook exec even predicted the social media platform will be completely video-based within 5 years’ time. Each year, marketing videos have become more and more popular, indicating exponential growth. And the increase in popularity hasn’t caused a downturn in success. As more content is filmed, people are watching at the same or increasing rate, showing that it is more than just a trend: it is a strategy for the long haul.

3)It’s easier than ever

With so much content out there, it must be difficult to jump in and hang with the best, right? Wrong! (sorry, didn’t mean to yell at you) Chances are, if you have an iPhone, you’ve got most of the ingredients needed. A few simple tools and some sound advice on lighting and editing will put you on the path to creating quality content. However, if you are looking for the assurance of a more experienced touch, plenty of agencies, (like us!) can plan, execute, and deliver great work.

4)Video can tell people who you are, fast!

In using marketing or social media videos, a new customer or client can find out everything they need to know about who you in a way that’s quicker, easier, and more fun than ever before! People can see your vision, learn your values, and get a strong sense of your brand’s identity all in a few moments. And once you’ve engaged with your audience, more videos can be used to share new information, content, and ideas so the world can keep up with all of your exciting plans.

5)Video can give your brand a voice

A video lets the world see who you are and hear your voice. From this, they can build a sense of trust and identity to associate with your product and brand. Video content can engage with people emotionally, and really pull on their heartstrings. A strong video not only tells everyone about you and your passion; it shows them, and this heart-level connection can make a huge difference in engaging followers and consumers with your vision and brand.

Video marketing has gone from an idea reserved for expensive agencies to an important tool for promoting any brand. At first, this may seem like a time consuming and unnecessary strategy. But if done well, video marketing can be a great way to share your vision with a broader audience and show everyone what you have to offer.

Chips Ahoy! Spreading Positivity on Twitter

Chips Ahoy! are no strangers to making people smile. The crunchy cookies sure bring us a fair amount of joy at RPS! But yesterday, their brand found another way to spread happiness, through the combined powers of Twitter and kindness:

And they did. Hundreds and hundreds of compliments, each one personalized to the recipient. Some were based on recent tweets, others surmised from profile pictures.

This impressive display of commitment on social media reveals just what can happen when a brand puts the direct advertising of the product on hold for the sake of keeping it real. The only immediate benefit for Chips Ahoy! is a touch of brand awareness. In the meantime, we all received some extra good vibes for the end of the week! Even Wendy’s, which is already legendary for its authentic, sassy attitude on Twitter, received a little love:

Whether or not retweets actually start customers on the road to purchasing more cookies is unmeasured, but the activity certainly generated healthy conversation around Chips Ahoy!

Some of the best social media marketing can happen by simply having something relevant to say. In our recent blog post on “Keeping it Real in 2019,” we discussed how brands can grow their awareness by putting calls-to-action (CTAs) on hold to engage with comments, users, and existing conversations without necessarily needing to mention the product.

However, Chips Ahoy! has managed to use a CTA to create massive engagement while still being personable, with a recognizable sense of brand authenticity. It shows that, if today’s brands can carry themselves with real human personality, the response can be awesome!

Edit: Chips Ahoy! was so nice they even tossed us a shoutout for the blog post you’re reading right now.

Keeping it Real in 2019

New social media trends seemingly pop up every week, and some of them will define the way marketing happens online this year, and for years to come –  2019 is a new frontier for the industry, and we could not be more excited to discover what’s next.

In order to help you prepare for what this year has in store, we’ve decided to spend the first month of the year talking about what we see as upcoming movements in social media marketing. We hope you enjoy!

Keeping it Real

It may be surprising to learn that something like keeping it real ever went out of style in the first place. When we think of organic social content, being authentic sounds like it’s almost implied. However, 2018 (and even 2017) tells a different story.

With the popularization of phrases like “fake news” and multiple scandals relating to breaches in trust between Facebook and its users, the common social media user is more cynical towards targeted marketing than ever before. Soley creating engagement with good old-fashioned online advertising is not going to cut it in 2019.

A more “human” approach

As the pendulum swings in an opposite direction, brands that want to stay on the cutting edge of content creation are turning to authenticity as a strategy. With prospective followers and customers at such distrust with brands, recapturing the interest and loyalty of the internet is happening by way of connection that feels, and sometimes even is, more one-on-one.

And this isn’t just a prediction (RPS is a lot of things, but psychic is not one of them). In 2017, Chick-fil-a discontinued its beloved chicken-salad from the menu. However, as a parting gift to fans, they publicized the recipe for free, giving fans the chance to relive their favorite fast food option from home

On Twitter, successful brands have found the perfect forum for taking a more authentic approach, puting personality first. Wendy’s success in this sphere has become the stuff of legend:

 

When it comes to your social game this year, taking the lead from examples like this will be crucial. The initial goals of generating sales from an online brand is simply not going to fly with the aware Facebooker. Giving people something relatable and human is where it’s at in 2019, and, as people who love digital marketing, we’re cool with that.

Authenticity and your brand:

Put your Calls-to-Action on hold.

People know when they’re being sold something. They can see a pitch from a mile away. It makes a lot of social media users uncomfortable and even agitated. Throwing a call to action on top of everything in your feed isn’t helping that awkward feeling. Instead, try a different conversation, one that isn’t all about selling. Adidas has found success in creating content geared towards keeping a positive attitude, creativity, and even social-conscious messaging.

Engage with comments

Your followers will talk about you, and they’ll do it in the comment feed. Don’t make the mistake of being “holier than thou” when it comes to having some back and forth down in the comments section. Answering questions, joining the conversation, and having a little fun shows everyone your company isn’t just a logo with a bottom line. Your brand has as much of a voice as you let it.

Leave clickbait in 2018

Merriam-Webster defines clickbait as “something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.” We define it as an ironically bad strategy for getting engagement online.

We’re not just talking about articles with headlines like “She hired Rock Paper Simple! You’ll never believe what happened next!” Any content posted solely for the purpose of getting engagement runs the risk of disappearing into a cluster of trapdoor links. What your brand says should transcend your statistical goals.

Be honest.

Was there a mistake? Own it. Did you fail to meet expectations? Engage with feedback. Need help planning your next move? Publish a survey. The theme here is to give your followers a sense their thoughts, suggestions, and points of view add value to the evolution of your brand. This requires much more work than a passive advertising approach, but in the long run, when your followers remember who you are alongside what you do, it’s an investment that will pay off.  

Launch of our brand new Rock Paper Simple website!! [video]

A couple of weeks ago we quietly launched our brand new website with the plans of doing our big announcement at our March Hangout!! The whole team is excited to make our big announcement! When you’re a digital marketing agency, it can be hard to find time to launch your own work… but we managed to find the time and here it is!

We have invested countless hours into it… so to celebrate it’s launch, we invited a whole bunch of our colleagues, friends and clients to join us to paaarty! Check out our launch video below and click around to explore this brand new website!

Brevard Family Partnership Lip Sync Battle 2017

We’ve put together a Rock Paper Simple team (and friends!) for Brevard Family Partnership’s Lip Sync Battle and will be performing Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer… as Bon Jovi! We are going all-out, buying (and making) costumes and props, meeting after work to practice, playing the song on endless loop (Joe is going to lose his mind, I’m sure of it!)… now we need YOUR HELP!

This is a fundraiser for Brevard Family Partnership, an amazing organization that believes that “All children deserve to live in safe, nurturing homes where they can feel valued and loved.”.

So how can you help? We need you to buy a seat or two or ten… come support us, and in so doing give back to our incredible community by supporting BFP and the families they serve. You can even have your company sponsor the event! The event in October 21st at 7pm.

We seriously can’t do this without you. It’s more than a fun evening where you get to see Dale DupreeScott EllerJoe SmithBrian Hawkins and myself rock out in 80’s garb… it’s coming together as a community and making a difference. So come on… “take my hand, we’ll make it I swear!!!” Let’s DO THIS!

How you can help:

Brevard Family Partnerships: Working in concert with over 70 community partners and providers, Brevard Family Partnership manages and has oversight of child abuse prevention programs, foster care, child adoptions, independent living services for youth aging out of foster care, and family services for residents of Brevard County, FL. It is their mission to protect children, strengthen families and change lives through the prevention of child abuse and the operation and management of a comprehensive, integrated, community-based system of care for abused, abandoned and neglected children and their families. Learn more at www.brevardfp.org.

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