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November 2018

Viewing posts from November , 2018

Google’s Algorithm Changes So Far This Year (2018 Edition)

2018 has been a rollercoaster of a year for Google. We’ve seen big sites go overboard and small fish rise to the top (erm, in a non-dead way…). In our last post, we talked a ton about 7 ways to put out killer content that ranks, so, we thought we’d dive into Google algorithm updates in 2018 to show you why you should be putting energy towards high-quality original content.

Let’s take this oppor-tuna-ty to see how Google’s algorithm has changed in 2018. Sure, some of this may be a little technical, but we’re going to try to cut out all of the fancy acronyms and overused tech buzzwords. Trust us; this post will have you hooked!

March 7th, 2018 (The Brackets Update)

Let’s get one thing straight, we didn’t get to name this update. The credit for “Brackets” goes to Glenn Gabe over at GSQI. We would have picked something way better, like “The Betta Update” or “The ClickBait Update.”

This Google Algorithm update was one of the “nothing to see here” updates that Google is famous for. SEO experts were seeing shifts about a week before the update was officially announced, and Google made sure to clarify that the update was broad, not specific. Essentially, we saw another quality-emphasized update. Google wants to see unique, quality content, and websites that weren’t delivering took a ranking hit.

We can’t give you any specifics, because Google didn’t release any. But, we can tell you that the update seemed to be 99.9% quality oriented. For anyone familiar with SEM, this update isn’t surprising. There seems to a slew of these “broad” updates every year, and almost all of them are content focused.

The Brackets Update Takeaways

  • You need to be leveraging unique content if you want to stay ahead of the pack.
  • Google is dead set on releasing these broad updates yearly, and we’ll probably see another one pop-up before the year is done.

Tip: For any of you who are having issues penetrating high SERP, check out Google’s official guide on creating quality content. Be warned; it’s dense.

March 26th, 2018 (Mobile First Indexing)

It’s finally here! It seems like Google had been talking about mobile-first indexing before smartphones were invented. Ok, so really they had been toying around with the idea for 2 years, but it seemed like forever.

Google’s index is essentially its collection of web pages. So, all of the web pages that Googlebot crawls through, it indexes. Until now, Googlebot has been indexing pages through desktop crawling, which means that it was only taking into account pages that it found on desktop versions of sites. Of course, not all websites have the same content on desktop and mobile (don’t be like these websites!) Unfortunately for Google; mobile searches overtook desktop searches back in 2016 (and are dominating them in 2018.) So, this was leading to some obvious inconsistencies for all of us who use mobile search.

Now, Google is indexing via mobile. This does not mean that Google is using two indexes; it still only uses one. Now, the index is mobile-based.

The Mobile First Indexing Takeaways

  • Make sure that your mobile site matches your desktop version. Don’t publish different content to each.
  • Mobile is Google’s primary focus, which means that it should be on your radar. We aren’t saying to ditch the desktop. Just like investing, your SEO strategy needs a blended portfolio, or your risk is far too high.

June 14th, 2018 (Goodbye Video Thumbnails)

We could all sense this coming from a-mile-away. Google dropped support to video thumbnails and uses the carousel to rank content now. Of course, the carousel is a mobile-first feature, which further emphasizes Google’s love for mobile this year. Here’s where it gets a little fishy. If you’re an eCommerce site, you need to be paying careful attention to your ranking strategy.

Since Google removes anything in the carousel from the organic search results, anyone whose primary purpose is to sell product may get a negative impact due to this change. If you have a video popped up on a product page, make sure that it’s the correct one. If the thumbnail ends up looking nothing like your product and you get into the carousel, you’re going to get destroyed on ranking.

For example, let’s say that I sell pens. I have a huge page of pens that are all grouped together. I put out a video of my most expensive golden pen. People search for black pens, which I also sell. I used to be on the top 10 Google results page as an organic link (the blue links.) Now, my video is in the carousel, so Google removes me from its organic search. Suddenly, the person searching for black pens is seeing a video of a golden pen and completely skips my page.

This update may not seem significant, but it’s important to pay attention to small details like this. If you feel like you had a ranking hit (or sales have slowed down) since this time period, reach out to us. We’ll get you right back on track.

The Goodbye Video Thumbnails Takeaways

  • Webmasters need to pay careful attention to where and how they’re positioning video creatives; missteps can lead to colossal ranking hits.
  • Google really wants everyone to know that they love mobile. Make sure that you have a mobile-friendly site and start optimizing your creatives for mobile consumers.

July 24th, 2018 (HTTPS)

If you weren’t using an HTTPS website on July 24th, 2018, you were a fish-out-of-water. Starting this year, all sites that didn’t have HTTPS were displayed as unsafe on Google Chrome. We can burst through this one quick. If you aren’t using HTTPS, stop what reading this blog post right now, and go fix it. You can’t rank, and visitors aren’t going to visit your website.

The HTTPS Takeaways

  • You website has to be HTTPS secured. Period.

August 1st, 2018 (The Medic Update)

Google Medic was first discovered by a bunch of health and wellness webmasters who noticed some(fin) wrong with their rankings. Moz started to see some crazy ranking fluxes during this time period, and these rank changes seemed to disproportionately impact health and wellness websites.

This update was another quality-related rank change. Essentially, Google is starting to penalize websites based on their authority. Google’s asking “what authority do you have to make medical claims” and using that as a basis for ranking. For businesses, this means that peer-reviewed studies and consistent linking are a necessity. It’s not enough to say that Octopus Creative is the best agency on the planet, you have to prove it.

The Medic Update Takeaways

  • Make sure that you’re backing up any claims that you’re putting out.
  • If you’re in the health and wellness niche, make sure that you’re not making any claims that could be perceived as fraudulent.

The Other Google Algorithm 2018 Updates

There were a few other updates this year, but they were either A) small or B) had unknown impacts. Here they are:

  • July 21, 2018: Search Engine Round Table shows some significant inconsistencies and ranking shifts. Update unknown.
  • July 9th, 2018: Google announced that mobile speed would play a role in ranking factor. So far, it’s only penalizing super-slow sites. We expect it to start putting more emphasis on speed in the future.
  • May 23rd, 2018: Moz and Search Engine Round Table show some strange ranking patterns. Update unconfirmed.
  • May 13th, 2018: Google reduces snippet length to the previous 150-160 characters (thankfully!)
  • April 17th, 2018: Google confirms a core update after Moz and Search Engine Land find strange ranking temperatures. No one knows why, but most think it’s related to quality.
  • February 20th, 2018: Moz predicts algorithm update, Google denies it.

Conclusion

Google’s algorithm is a living breathing AI that will continue to evolve and adapt to the way that people intent searches. Quality remains a pressing issue for Google, and most changes reflect a distinct craving for quality content. Some strange situations might pop-up due to the Carousel and Medic update, which is why it’s important for SEO companies to be hyper-vigilant about staying consistent with Google.

If you’re running a business and all of this seems like way too much for you to have to think about, we get it. You have a company to run and a brand to build! Let us step up and use our SEO skills to reel you in clients and throw some bait at the bottom of your funnel. Also, don’t worry, just because our brand is an octopus doesn’t mean we’re from Finland, we’re located right here in Canada! (sorry, we had to)

Four Savvy Cannabis Marketing Tips for Canadian Marijuana Pioneers

 Canada’s government passed legislation making recreational cannabis legal in October 2018. This opens the door for a nationwide cannabis industry. 

The problem is that the legislation places strict restrictions on marketing. How can the savvy businessperson get around these rules and still promote their brand? 

Read on for four cannabis marketing tips for Canadian cannabis businesses. First, let’s look at the difference in territorial law as it pertains to who can sell legal cannabis. 

Government Regulations by Province

Most provinces in Canada involve some sort of government intervention. In Yukon, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, only the government can operate storefronts and online stores. 

Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nunavut, and Manitoba allow for private ownership. All other provinces mix private and government ownership. Even in the provinces with private ownership, government rules are a concern for cannabis businesses. 

As a marketer, you must also know that each province has its own rules that it enforces. How can you market your product and stay within Canadian law? Here are four tips for you. 

Use the Media

Canada has restrictive packaging rules that make it difficult to utilize packaging as a brand building tactic.

Packaging must be one solid color, but you can’t use flashy colors that might attract the attention of children. You also have to list the health effects and relevant safety warnings on the outside of the package. You can have a small logo design, but nothing that involves animals, people, or characters.

Advertising your product through traditional methods is difficult, but there are ways to get around this. 

One of the best ways to get the word out about your product is through public relations activities. 

Create pitches for interviews through various news stations and newspapers (especially as more specific cannabis-related media pops up.) Personalize your pitch for each media outlet, and talk about larger trends in the industry. 

You can use your media exposure to work on the second tip. 

Promote Your Company as Socially Responsible 

One of the reasons Canada’s laws are so restrictive is because the government wants to protect the health of the user and keep Cannabis out of the hands of minors. Why not show that your brand represents the same values. 

Holding public education campaigns about the risks of underage use and driving while intoxicated. Run a PSA (Public Service Announcement) about how to avoid over-consumption of cannabis products. 

You’ll get your name out into the public sphere while showing the responsibility of your brand. 

You can use the growing concerns over the environment by using green energy sources to produce cannabis. Focus on water conservation. 

Remember to talk about your brand in a way that resonates with people. Are you a family run business? Are you a small company that provides a boost to the local economy? Talk about these things. Let people know that you’re serious about your responsibility to the people you serve. 

People notice these things and talk about them, providing you with the word-of-mouth marketing that is going to be so critical to your overall marketing strategy

Word of Mouth 

Word of mouth is the original Facebook. Before the Internet, satisfied customers telling their friends and families about your service was the best way to grow your business. 

Now, with social media, the same is true. People still rely on recommendations when choosing a product. If you can get your customers to share their experience with peers, you’ll grow your business organically. 

How do you achieve this without violating Candian cannabis marketing regulations? 

Have a strong social media presence that encourages others to share their experience. With some luck, you could get someone famous to promote your brand. Celebrities and influencers can talk about your product as long as you don’t compensate them. 

You can’t give them samples, as that would count as compensation. You can encourage people to leave stories and tag their friends though. Doing so spreads the word about your brand and encourages others to try your products.

One way of using this method is to place your social media information inside of your packaging. Encourage users to tweet using a certain hashtag or tag you on Facebook with their experience.  

Use SEO Strategies for Cannabis Marketing 

Online, content is king. If you produce great content and know how to use SEO strategies, you can outrank your competitors on search engines like Google. 

How important is your position in search engine results? One recent study showed that 90% percent of customers go to the websites that rank in the top ten of Google search results. 75 percent go to websites in the top five.

If you aren’t employing SEO, you’re missing out on over 90 percent of potential sales!

Ignoring the vast majority of Internet users isn’t a solid business model. Working with a professional brand and marketing agency helps you build your SEO ranking while following Canadian laws. 

Setting up a blog with information about the cannabis industry is the best place to start. Insert keywords, phrases that Google looks for to determine what your site contains, in your articles. Share these articles online and encourage your followers to share, building on your word of mouth campaign. 

The best part about SEO is that it builds upon itself. When your website makes it way to the top of Google and Bing results, more people visit. These visitors read and share your content, bringing in new viewers and customers.

A high SEO score sustains itself as long as you continue to put in the work. 

Do You Need Help with Your Marketing?

Marketing requires a lot of research and legwork. It’s not something that a company can spend a day on; it’s an ongoing process that takes time. Most cannabis businesses find that it’s better to outsource their marketing. They’ll focus on growing the green that keeps your business operating.   

Here at Octopus Creative, we’re focused on your company’s growth. Our wide range of expertise allows us to cater our services to meet your unique needs. 

If you need help reaching your cannabis marketing and branding goals, get in touch with us today!

Can You Really Beat the Algorithm? 7 Google Search Secrets Revealed

With the average small business spending around $75,000 a year on digital marketing, it’s hard for startups to compete. Without Google search secrets to take advantage of SEO algorithms, you could be going into the red just to get attention to your site. Search engines are valuable tools but if you don’t know how to take advantage of their inner workings, you could lose out to your competition.

Here are four ways to stay ahead of Google’s search algorithm.

1. Unique Content

If Google wants one thing from you and your site it’s for you to have lots of unique content. Because Google’s web crawler is seeking to index every single page of the internet, they’ll know if you’re reusing or rehashing content. You can’t cheat the algorithm that’s seeking out new and unique content relevant to your audience.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, become a resource about your industry. Start a blog that’s chockful of information about what people ask you the most about your business.

Instead of leaving a boring and underwhelming FAQ page kicking around your site, create a blog where each one question has an answer in the form of a post. This way you can keep your URL constantly refreshed with exciting content for your clients while feeding the SEO beast.

Unique content will help you to set your brand apart from other brands in your industry. When you answer the most pertinent concerns that people have about products and services in your industry, you provide value. When the answer to those problems leads back to your own products and services, you can sell services in a sincere way.

2. Prioritize Linking

One of the things that Google wants to know about your URL and your pages is that they have some relationship to the rest of the internet.

The internet was started with just a small network of computers that were hardwired to one another. The originating code and ethic of the internet were to ensure that everyone was always contributing to a community. The internet isn’t a one-sided conversation like television or radio.

Take your time to populate any posts that you write with links that can help to support the information that you’re sharing. The more reputable your sources are, the higher you’ll rank. When you connect your information to highly reputable news and information sites, you’ll show that you know what you’re talking about.

Avoid connecting to sites that are purely commercial or e-commerce pages. This will lower the ranking of your pages.

When you’re sharing information, stick to the facts. Pepper the most important keywords in your texts and include information about where you’re located. This will help you get the edge when to comes to searches originating from your area.

3. Get Some Guest Posters

Having a few well-known bloggers to guest post on your site will give your page some extra clout. When you connect with a writer or blogger who is well known and has their own following, you can cross-pollinate. You can double each other’s following when you write a guest post for them and they write one for you.

Guest posters help you in search results by showing off your products and services on well-established sites. These are difficult to acquire compared to paid links and ads, so by trading guest posts with writers, you give each other a bump.

Contact other writers in your niche and see if they’ll trade articles with you. Build relationships over time so that you can continue to stay connected as you each grow your base.

Some sites need writers and will be happy to add you as a guest blogger. Your presence will help them to add content to their sites and you’ll be able to get your name out there.

This kind of network can only yield positive results as more people see your name and find links to your products and services. When you mention products and services, be sure to keep your use of keywords and links organic. Selling too hard will make you look too desperate and will lead users to pass right by.

4. Seek Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are vital to the survival of any brand in the contemporary internet environment. When you search for products and services on Google, you’ll often get links that lead you directly to certain brands and companies near you. Along with the names and addresses of these companies, you get reviews.

If this happens and you don’t have good reviews under your belt, you could be losing the attention of hard-won customers. Getting customers to find you is difficult and resource heavy. If you lose them before you get the chance to make your pitch, you’re tossing marketing efforts down the drain.

Reach out to your most loyal customers and ask directly for them to write testimonials or reviews. Some brands will even run in-store promotions for when you like or review them on social media. Whatever works for you, make the effort to collect more reviews.

While you can’t exactly hack the algorithm on search engines with this method, you can ensure that you get a lot more hits by showing off reviews. Without enough good reviews to buffer against a bad review, one wrong move could do serious damage to your SEO ranking. Collect positive reviews to combat this potential.

Google Search Secrets Will Save Money

A few Google search secrets will help you get ahead and stay ahead of your competitors. When you provide the kind of content that Google knows their users want to see, you’ll be able to claw your way to the top of the rankings,

If you’re struggling to get the attention you deserve on search engines, check out our guide to outsourcing SEO efforts.

Even Santa Would Shop in Airdrie with These Christmas Events Ideas

Christmas accounts for as much as 30% of sales for some retail outlets.

That’s why it’s a great idea to seize the day and cash in on the holiday spirit.

While the holidays might be stressful for some people, it’s the time of year when everyone is ready to spend money, as well as quality time with their friends and family members.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some of the best Christmas events ideas, both online and off, to help boost awareness of your brand and store.

1. Host an Online Advent Calendar

Try an online advent calendar, but instead of giving away a present each day, give away a discount or free gift with purchase every day.

This one works best for users who are almost entirely web-based, or who have high volumes of web traffic.

Each day that people log on, they will be treated to 15%, 20% or a small gift like a lip balm with their purchase.

Don’t tell them ahead of time what each day has in store, but do promote your online advent calendar ahead of time. You can promote it as “25 Days of Savings,” or other such names that makes it obvious what kinds of gifts people can expect.

2. Christmas in July

Host a Christmas in July party, or a Christmas before it’s actually Christmas season. While adults might roll their eyes at the “oversaturation” of the holiday, kids will always be excited to participate in anything Christmas related.

For your Christmas in July event, roll out some of your Christmas items and let people preview some things that will be coming to your store in December.

You can even do this online, giving future customers a preview of what to expect from your store during the Christmas season.

3. Host Santa!

Hosting Santa is a fantastic way to get people into your store. This is especially the case if you run a photography studio. This also works well for pet stores or children’s stores.

While many malls and communities will host Santa, you can coordinate with them to have him in your store for one day.

Let shoppers know St. Nick is coming to town by advertising when you expect him, and his merry band of elves, to show up.

If you run a pet store, having people bring their pets to visit Santa is also a fun activity. Many national pet store chains do this, and it has become a very popular idea. It’s also a great way to ensure that you get a lot of customer traffic into your store.

4. Christmas Events Ideas: Make Christmas Cookies

If your store appeals to families, or sells any kind of homeware or home baking items, host a day to bake Christmas cookies. You can even host workshops in order to show customers how to make more intricate cookies than they might find online.

If you have people from several different countries working at your store, you might even use this time to have them introduce some new recipes to the community. Invite people to come to learn to make classic Christmas cookies and a special treat.

You can either charge for the class and have people sign up in advance, or simply just have it as a drop-in event. When participants finish, they can get a discount to use in the store. You can also show off some of the items you used in the recipe or used to bake the recipe that you have in store.

If you have ovens available at your store, bake the cookies in the store while the customers wait. Or, wrap up the batter well so that each child or family can take it home to cook on their own time.

5. Christmas Crafts

Everyone loves crafts, and parents will always treasure anything their children made with their hands. Host Christmas crafts for families or for young children to come and have fun in your store.

This event can operate similar to the cookies event, in that you can either organize it as a drop-in, or you can have people sign up for the class ahead of time.

Again, use this as an opportunity to show off items you have for sale in your store. Give out discounts to those who have participated, or a free item.

6. Christmas Hashtags

Feeling festive but your business is all online? No problem! You can stay in the holiday spirit by using a wide variety of Christmas hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They’re very popular during the holiday season, and people will definitely be clicking on them to find others talking about the holidays.

You can look at a list of the most popular Christmas hashtags here, and start getting in on it as soon as you start stocking Christmas items.

Participate in conversations organically instead of just advertising your products. If you get good engagement with potential customers, people will be more inclined to check you out rather than if you just advertise your wares.

Getting in the Christmas Mood

There are endless Christmas events ideas that you can employ to get your customers in the festive mood. You can even get special Christmas packaging or Christmas bags for your customers to give them even more of the holiday cheer.

If you’re ready to start talking about your next Christmas event and how we can help support you, reach out and contact us today! If you want a sample of our work before you dash off that first email, have a look here.

Marketing vs Advertising: What’s the Difference?

Marketing and advertising are two necessary components for making your business grow and thrive. Marketing vs advertising isn’t a competition as much as a comparison. Too many businesses lump them together.

It’s best to think of marketing as a giant umbrella that covers many different divisions. One of them is advertising. It’s a very important aspect of marketing, but its only one slice of the pie. Who doesn’t like pie?

It’s important for businesses to differentiate the two. This helps create a marketing plan that is efficient and effective. Believing marketing is just advertising is like eating an omelet with just cheese and leaving the ham, bacon and sausage out. You’re missing out on a tasty meal.

Marketing Vs Advertising: Why the Confusion?

There’s a reason why marketing and advertising are often compared. Before the digital revolution, many small businesses primary method of marketing was advertising. It all started with local newspaper advertising. Radio and television ads came next, but that was all they did.

Small businesses were limited when it came to marketing options. Many didn’t realize what they were doing was marketing. When the grocery store created a float for the local parade, it was a form of marketing. The float was part of the civic pride and they didn’t even realize it was also marketing their business.

This is called public relations. It’s when you do something that makes your company look good to your customer base. Many times public relations incorporates social responsibility as well.

This is when the company does something that gives back to the community. It could be a can drive for the local food bank or building solar panels to power your factory with green energy and then releasing that news via a press release.

Advertising Isn’t Chump Change

When someone uses advertising, they’re using a paid ad in a specific medium. There are many mediums for advertising including newspapers, radio, television, online, billboard, and even bus benches and taxi cabs. It’s anything that a business pays for that’s designed for customers to see. This entices them to visit the store or website.

The cost of advertising depends on the size of the ad and how long people see it. A small ad seen once in a weekly newspaper will cost less than a full page ad seen five times at a daily newspaper.

Look Mom, I’m on “the Google”

Online ads are a little different. The primary method they’re shown is through a pay per click approach. Google, Facebook, and other agencies use this method. You bid on specific keywords, phrases and target audiences and create an ad based on these targeting measures.

Other companies also bid for these phrases and you compete for placement. Your bid and your ad score work together to get you placed. Online ads include search ads placed at the top and bottom of search pages. Mobile phones and apps show mobile ads. Websites show display ads. Video ads are videos you can show on YouTube and other sites.

There are many different types of advertising for the Internet. There is even more to marketing.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a blanket term for anything you do to promote your business to customers. These methods could cost money or they could be free. They’re all aspects of your marketing plan. It could be word of mouth from customer to customer or search engine optimization for specific keywords on your website.

The marketing blanket includes advertising. It’s a step by step process that has many moving parts. Each of these parts acts independently. They also work together to create an overall marketing plan.

Marketing is anything you do to create an interaction between you and customers. It includes social media, advertising, market research, public relations and more. Marketing is more like a quilt than a blanket with each aspect making up a patch on the quilt.

Digital marketing is an offshoot of overall marketing. It deals with efforts on digital platforms.

Marketing Goes Digital

Anything you do to promote a business or website online is digital marketing including advertising.

SEO

Search engine optimization is the effort to make your website more visible on organic search pages, primarily Google. It includes keyword research and implementation on your site, the creation of valued content and user experience on your website. Over 50 percent of traffic comes from organic searches.

Social Media

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms engage and interact with existing and potential customers. Everyone watches those crazy cat videos and shares with everyone and their cousin.

You don’t need cats to get social media traction… but it doesn’t hurt. Social media posting is free, but if you want to reach more people then use paid options such as paid advertising and boosted posts.

Here is an instance where two separate marketing areas interact.

Reputation Management

There are many business listing and review sites on the Internet. Many times they rank well in searches. It’s important that your listings are correct. People may get the wrong information about your site and that could keep them from your website or business. Reviews are also important as they impact how people see your business.

Negative reviews may keep people from trusting your business or visiting your site. Good responses to negative reviews can turn it into a positive. It shows your business cares about the customers and their experience.

It also shows you care about how your employees conduct themselves. Sites such as Yelp and Facebook are popular for reviews. People trust online reviews as much as opinions from friends and 90 percent of people check out reviews before buying.

Drive It Home… One Headlight Optional

It’s important all your marketing efforts work towards a common goal. This is where your marketing plan comes into play. It governs all your marketing efforts and keeps them on track for specific goals.

For example, if you have a sale and want to promote it, then social media, advertising, content marketing and more all create a buzz for it.

If you want to learn more about marketing vs advertising and how they work together to better your business, then visit our website.

#BlackFriday or #GivingTuesday: All, One, or None? How to Choose Your on-brand Holiday Social Strategy

Are you ready for the holiday season?

It might feel like you have plenty of holiday prep time if you’re talking about buying gifts and planning menus. When it comes to capitalizing on the holidays with marketing, though, it’s time to get it in gear.

The days after American Thanksgiving are among the most crucial in terms of a company’s holiday sales. It seems like every year we add a new holiday, too. So far we have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

Chances are that you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with a good holiday social media campaign for all of these. It’s usually best to choose one or two and concentrate your efforts.

The problem is that you have to decide which one. Let’s compare the two that seem to be the farthest apart: Black Friday and Giving Tuesday.

Comparing Holiday Social Media Promotions: Black Friday vs. Giving Tuesday

Before you throw your team full-bore into a social media campaign, let’s compare two of your key options.

Pros and Cons of Black Friday Promotions

While it started in the US, Black Friday is now an international shopping phenomenon. If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, here’s what you need to know.

Pro: A Larger Holiday Social Presence

By a wide margin, Black Friday is a more well-known holiday than Giving Tuesday. As a result, you know that more consumers will be actively looking for promotions on that day rather than on Giving Tuesday.

When it comes to social media, the Black Friday shopping day is even more important. As people browse social media on their phones, they can find your promotions and click on them for a fast and impulse-driven purchase.

If you think people don’t use mobile devices for shopping, think again. Last year, 64% of shopping traffic on Black Friday came from mobile devices. That’s a huge audience for your social media campaign to capture.

Con: Hefty Competition

While the massive popularity of Black Friday means a larger consumer base, it means more competition as well.

With so much money up for grabs, countless retailers nationwide are launching Black Friday campaigns. That means even if someone is looking specifically for Black Friday sales, it will be tough for your campaign to stand out.

Pro: Market to a Captive Audience

Black Friday presents a rare opportunity for retailers. On a normal day, you have to convince consumers to do two things: first to spend money at all and second to spend it on your product in particular.

On Black Friday, that first part is already in the bag. Consumers have a shopping list, and they’re actively trying to buy as much as they can on that day to get ahead on their holiday shopping.

As a retailer, this means you’re working with a captive audience. It takes far less to convert viewers or users into paying customers, so it’s a huge opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Con: Not Everyone Is a Fan

If you jump onto the Black Friday train, be aware that not everyone thinks it’s a fun and lighthearted tradition.

To some, Black Friday and the chaos it incites are symbols of a materialism they oppose. Others see it as a time when retailers take advantage of customers by misrepresenting their sales.

Before you choose to do a Black Friday social media campaign, think about how you’ll deal with the potential backlash.

Pros and Cons of Giving Tuesday Promotions

If you want to get away from the materialistic image of Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is on the other end of the spectrum. Charities are front and center on this shopping holiday. In many cases, retailers donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to a select charity.

If you’re thinking about getting involved, here’s what you should consider.

Pro: Gain Ethics Points

If you’re looking for a great PR move, Giving Tuesday is right in your wheelhouse. It’s an opportunity for you to show your philanthropic side and appeal to your customers’ moral compasses.

It will depend on the cause you choose, though. If you promote a charity whose cause is near to many of your customers’ hearts, you gain an even better reputation in their minds.

Con: Risky for Your Bottom Line

Giving Tuesday is a bit of a gamble. Let’s say you choose to donate 10% of the day’s profits toward a charity. You’re gambling that the promotion will increase your sales to make up for that 10% hit.

While it’s a safe bet that 10% discounts will pay off, 10% donations aren’t as solid. You’re placing a bet that your customers will care enough about that charity to buy more when there’s a donation at stake. If they don’t or if they’ve blown their entire budgets on Black Friday, your bottom line will suffer.

Pro: Not as Much Competition

As we mentioned, Giving Tuesday doesn’t yet have the massive clout that Black Friday does. It gains more and more awareness each year, but the two still aren’t comparable.

In some respects, that’s an advantage for you. While the internet will be flooded with #BlackFriday, #GivingTuesday has less competition for your digital marketing.

As an added bonus, Black Friday happens first. That means you’ll have three days of solid marketing time after to the chatter about Black Friday has died down.

Con: Need to Handle with Care

As much as you stand to gain on Giving Tuesday from a PR perspective, you have a lot to lose as well. Many charities and causes have some degree of political flavour, whether they lean right or left.

To avoid alienating customers, it’s a good idea to choose a cause that’s as politically neutral as possible. If you do choose to get more political, analyze your demographic to find out if most of your consumer base aligns with what you believe.

Finding a Direction for Your Shopping Holiday Social Media Campaigns

Without a doubt, it’s smart to take advantage of the season with one or more shopping holiday social media campaigns. Choosing which ones, though, can be tricky. The pros and cons above can help.

If you prefer to leave your holiday marketing in professional hands, contact our expert marketing crew today.