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Trends You’ll Need In 2022



Trends You'll Need In 2022

How easy is it for you to cut through the noise and communicate with your customers?

Thanks to the convenience of mobile, customers now expect more from businesses and want to interact with them differently – through text message.

Find out how important text messaging has become for local businesses and how to use it effectively.

On December 8, I moderated a sponsored webinar presented by Matt Boyce, Marketing Director, and Austin Miller, Partner Marketing Manager of Podium.

They surveyed more than 1,000 customers to find out how consumers feel about texting with local businesses and how local businesses can take advantage of it.

In this quick webinar recap, you’ll get some tips and advice on making the most out of these insights. For more details, access the entire webinar.

The Evolution Of Business Messaging

The way businesses communicate constantly changes and evolves.

It started with the telegram, morphed into the postal service, and has continued to evolve into the rise of email.

The Problem: Now, our inboxes have become overloaded with emails.

The Answer: SMS messaging.

Consumers say that texting is an easy and convenient method of responding to businesses.

With an extremely high open rate of 98%, text message marketing is equivalent to the open rates of email marketing back in its heyday.

Text message click-through rates are at 18% – 6.9 times higher than email – but only 12% of local businesses use text messaging as a marketing tool.

This means most local businesses aren’t tapping into texting yet, and they’re ignoring many opportunities to better engage with their customers.

Your brand can be the front-runner.

Your brand can show that it cares, show that it respects your customers’ time, and leave a good impression by offering the conveniences of text messaging.

[Gain A Marketing Advantage Over Your Competition] Instantly access this webinar →

The Power Of Conversational Text Messaging

Your consumers crave conversations that go beyond message blasts.

  • 74% of consumers said they would text a local business as if they were an actual person.
  • About half of consumers say they are more likely to respond to a business’s text message if the employee introduces herself/himself.

The Marketing Advantage of Texting

When asked if consumers would like the ability to communicate with a local business via text message, this is what they had to say:

  • 24% – Yes, and I already do.
  • 43% – Yes, and I haven’t yet.

With a big desire to interact with businesses via text, there’s also a big chance for companies to set themselves apart through this channel.

Make your brand stand out by being the first to market SMS messaging in your niche.

When done well, you can gain an advantage and stand out from your competition.

Consumer Text Messaging Trends

Texting has a 209% increase in response rate compared to phone calls, emails, or even Facebook Messenger.

While consumers don’t typically respond to voicemails and calls, they will usually reply to a text.

Why? It’s quick and easy.

Consumers are looking for convenience when communicating with a business.

For example, you may discover that your customers really enjoy a text message reply outside of business hours.

Perhaps you’re able to provide instant answers or create a low barrier entry point to nurturing a new lead.

When you use text messages in your marketing and sales funnel, your customers will feel as if they have a special connection to your brand.

[Get All The 2022 SMS Trends] Instantly access this webinar →

SMS Marketing Tips For Local Businesses

Podium conducted a survey with 1,000 respondents; their answers will give you insight into how to create the perfect SMS messaging strategy.

Offer Incentives

Podium found that customers would like local businesses to send:

  • Incentives (coupons, discounts, promo codes).
  • Loyalty offers and benefits.
  • “Back in stock” notifications.

Add Personalization

You can also make a stronger connection by adding personalization to your text messages.

Personalization, such as using the customer’s name, significantly impacts sales and customer service.

Sending Frequency

On average, Podium recommends sending text messages once per week or once a month.

However, the frequency of sending out promotional messages depends on the type of business.

Create A Frictionless Buying Experience 

Text messaging gives your business the ability to be proactive, nurture a client within minutes, and capture a sale.

Just being there to answer questions, provide immediate and valuable links, and show your lead that you care increases your potential to convert.

For example, within a short span of time you could:

  1. Create a frictionless, second method of payment for services within a text message experience.
  2. Build a sales funnel that starts with a Google search and moves the lead to a quick opt-in to begin the nurturing phase.
  3. Convert your lead with an effortless way to pay through SMS.
  4. Ask customers to leave a review, which helps optimize your page and get you to rank higher on Google.

[Learn How To Implement SMS Payments] Get instant access to the full webinar →

Image Source: Podium

Text messaging is great because it’s already on everyone’s phone, and your customers don’t have to download another app to do all of this.

How To Avoid Unsubscribes

Consumers unsubscribe when businesses text them without permission or don’t recall signing up.

Make sure you have permission to text your customers by having them opt-in.

Other scenarios that lead to unsubscribes are:

  • Receiving too many messages.
  • Receiving messages that are irrelevant to them.
  • More.

[Learn Each Reason Customers Unsubscribe] Get instant access to the full webinar →

[Slides] SMS Marketing For Local Business: Trends You’ll Need In 2022

Here is the presentation:

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Learn how to optimize your landing pages and make better use of the traffic you already get. Join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, Dec 15 at 2 p.m. ET, and learn how to rank better on Google SERPs.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Katrinaku/Shutterstock & Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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Google Explains How To Inject Canonical Tags Using JavaScript



Google Explains How To Inject Canonical Tags Using JavaScript

Google has updated its JavaScript SEO help document to add a new section on how to properly inject canonical link tags using JavaScript. The document says Google does not recommend using JavaScript for this, however “it is possible to inject a rel=canonical link tag with JavaScript.”

The help document adds that “Google Search will pick up the injected canonical URL when rendering the page.”

A note Google made is that “when using JavaScript to inject the rel=”canonical” link tag, make sure that this is the only rel=”canonical” link tag on the page. Incorrect implementations might create multiple rel=”canonical” link tag or change an existing rel=”canonical” link tag. Conflicting or multiple rel=”canonical” link tags may lead to unexpected results.”

Here is a code example of how to do this:

Previously, as Google is doing now, Google warned against doing it this way but did say it can work.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Inflation’s Impact On Ad Spend Detailed In Merkle Report



Inflation’s Impact On Ad Spend Detailed In Merkle Report

The leading technology and data-driven customer experience company, Merkle, released its quarterly Performance Media Report last week.

Research from the past quarter shows valuable insights into marketers’ priorities, challenges, and performance.

With over 57% of respondents indicating an increase in paid search spend YoY, these findings are especially crucial as we face economic challenges and uncertainty.

I sat down with Matt Mierzejewski, SVP of Search at Merkle, where he provided his take on some of the most glaring stats from the Performance Report.

Prioritizing Privacy And Measurement

From the Merkle report, 45% of respondents stated that getting accurate reporting in the face of privacy regulations is a top priority in measurement.

Many companies are likely in the same boat but may not know where to start.

Mierzejewski states: “Brands are big on cross-device measurement. Apple disrupted the measurement game. Many companies are looking to build their data warehouses for multiple reasons:”

  • Too much reliance on individual platforms. The more conversions are modeled in a platform, the less perfect a company’s individual measurement is.
  • They’re tired of black box solutions. Brands want to be able to own or change the way they model conversions.

Mierzejewski also noted that with more brands looking to build their own reporting solutions, it changes the dependency from the platform conversion truth to their own conversion truth.

Prioritizing Audiences & First-Party Data

Looming privacy regulations have kickstarted the need for brands to create and manage their first-party data.

However, only 35% of respondents prioritize managing audiences and first-party data.

I asked Mierzejewski: “what do you see as the macro implications of so many companies waiting on this?”

He responded with a few points:

“From a digital perspective, they’re shifting towards getting their creative and messaging right.” If you’ve interacted with a brand, you’ll notice how consumer expectations have shifted.

“An implication of deprioritizing audiences and first-party data is poor customer experience.” Not prioritizing these crucial aspects of marketing will accelerate the deceleration, or further remove, the customer feeling connected to that brand.

“You have to use those unknown audience signals to your advantage to meet the expectations of consumers and beat out the competition.” For example, In-Market audiences from Google releases more signal and intent of propensity to buy. They’re allowing those signals to be in the open market.

Mierzejewski summarized: “It misses out on the opportunity for the best customers. You’ll be left competing for the worst customers!”

Paid Social Growth In 2023

An overwhelming 67% of respondents prioritized paid social more this year than 2021.

The growing number of social platforms with ad opportunities is a partial factor in increased prioritization.

When asked about what social platform would see the most growth in 2023?

“If we’re talking raw dollars, Facebook and Instagram will still win,” Mierzejewski stated.

Further, he notes: “If we’re looking at percentage growth and who to watch for, it’s TikTok.” Matt shed some light on user projections, with TikTok’s growth projected to surpass Snapchat next year.

Inflation Is Driving Faster Adoption Of Machine Learning

With inflation costs, adopting automation and machine learning may be put on the backburner.

Not according to the Merkle Performance Report.

  • 41% of respondents are beginning to take action on automation and machine learning strategies
  • 38% of respondents have made significant progress in their ML strategies

So, why is inflation driving faster automation adoption?

“Inflation is just one element. It goes hand-in-hand with the last few years. COVID accelerated Ecommerce and the digital world for many companies,” Mierzejewski noted. He went on to say:

“There’s greater scrutiny on the investments in companies. They are trying to beat the market and the competition. There’s pressure for leaders to be tied into the data and marketing measurement.”

Let’s not forget one of the most critical aspects: resources.

Mierzejewski finished by noting that if companies are having trouble hiring individuals, they’re trying to do more with less. They have to rely on automation to supplement the workload.

Inflation’s Impact On Advertiser Strategies

We’ve seen the stats on increased advertiser costs YoY.

We have a better understanding of what marketers are prioritizing in the future.

Amid economic factors that companies can’t control, advertisers might not know how or where to pivot their strategy. When posed with this question, Mierzejewski provided his expert opinions.

“Expect double-digit changes to ad spend.”

Whether the above statement refers to an increase or decrease in ad spend, this change is based on a mixed bag of strategy, cash flow, inventory positions, and the vertical.

“The economic pressure reminds me of 2008 – the downturn of the digital sphere. Some clients will pull back on ad spend. Others may take the opportunity on the downturn and have double-digit growth,” Matt commented.

CPCs will likely decline.

In these types of environments, CPCs are likely to go down. This could allow advertisers to shuffle dollars based on what will work hardest for them.

Matt notes, “If you can be bold, it’s the time to do it.” The decreased CPCs become a buying opportunity for advertisers with the financial capacity to spend more.

“Don’t over-pat yourself on the back.”

Mierzejewski emphasized, “Be careful on the data.” He explained that with inflation and rising costs, you may also see a natural rise in revenue.

For example, if you’re seeing a 10% lift in sales but spent 15% more in advertising or COGS, that can provide a false narrative in growth. The 10% increase in revenue may be attributed to inflation costs and, in this case, shows a decline in profitability.


The Q3 Performance Marketing Report provides invaluable data to unpack.

If you haven’t yet taken action on privacy regulations, you’re not the only one.

And while inflation, privacy, and other economic impacts can cause shifts in performance trends, they’re not the only factors.

The paid media landscape changes every day. Use this to understand how others in the space are shifting priorities and strategies and what this means for you.

You can download your copy of the Performance Marketing Report here.

A special thank you to Matt Mierzejewski, SVP of Search at Merkle, for taking the time to address these statistics and providing additional insights.

Featured Image: PopTika/Shutterstock

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Google Maps Testing New Local Panel With Images & Tabs



Google Maps Testing New Local Panel With Images & Tabs

Google Maps is testing a new local listing interface where it shows more images in the top portion of the local listing and there are tabs to show the business overview on the left and the reviews on the right.

Here is a screenshot I took from the video recorded by Punit on Twitter:

click for full size

Here is his video so you can see it in action:

In 2017, Google rolled out the tab interface like this for local panels in Google Search but I don’t think it launched in Google Maps.

I think I like the tabbed approach, since reviews for many local listings are super important.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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