Click Fraud Is a Plague on Online Advertising

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Online Advertising|Click Fraud Is a Plague on Online AdvertisingAs more businesses go online and compete for the same customers, PPC ads seem like the best way to capture users and direct them to their websites. This is because when users see highly targeted and personalised PPC ads for products and services they are interested in, they are much more likely to click on those ads and purchase the products and services. However, some businesses do not want to compete fairly in this way and this is why click fraud is becoming a problem.

What Is Click Fraud?

Before we look at whether click fraud is illegal or not and what can be done about it, we need to look at what click fraud is exactly. Click fraud is any type of invalid click on a link, with malicious intent. In many cases, click fraud is perpetrated by people who want to drain their competitors’ advertising budgets. They know that if they do this successfully, their competitors will not have any funds left to run their advertising campaigns. This would leave the field open to only them. This article from ClickGUARD answers the question, “What is click fraud?” in more detail, and they also provide tips on how to prevent it from happening to you.

What Are the Sources of Fraudulent Clicks?

These sources often include bots, infected computers and servers as well as real people clicking on ads with no intention of interacting with the website the ads lead to. It is important to remember that these sources of malicious clicks will continue to become more sophisticated and varied and this is why it is important to identify these new sources as they emerge.

Tools like the abovementioned ClickGUARD are very effective at identifying the sources of these malicious clicks thereby stopping click fraud before it happens. They monitor your ads to identify threats to your links and ads, thereby getting rid of wasteful clicks. This ensures your website receives quality clicks from real people who are likely to convert.

Is Click Fraud Illegal?

Click fraud is considered illegal in many parts of the world. Many people do not know that clicking on people’s ads with malicious intent is illegal, but it is. Because of how much money is lost and how many businesses are decimated due to click fraud, it should be stopped before it even begins.

It is important to remember that most countries do not have specific laws about click fraud, but people have been jailed due to click fraud and this is why it is considered illegal. In many cases, laws that cover cybersecurity, wire fraud, deception, data theft and money laundering have been used to prosecute these cases.

By its very nature of being one of the most progressive regions for digital rights, the European Union has some of the strictest laws against fraud. Law experts think that with the data protections afforded by the enacted GDPR laws and these anti-fraud measures, it could form a legal basis for these cases.
Many countries have some form of protection against ‘computer fraud’ but what that means depends on the context, the country in question, as well as the evidence law enforcement officers can gather.

Click fraud is one of the worst things that could happen to digital and online advertising. It robs businesses of precious advertisement funds, it prevents consumers from finding the right websites, products and services and it wastes everyone’s time. It is time that countries came up with comprehensive click fraud laws to cover this one specific area.

Business: Dealing With The Digital World

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Digital World|Business: Dealing With The Digital WorldFor businesses, it seems that everything is going digital. Long gone are the days where it was filing systems and a ton of paper being relied on. Offices used to look far different to what they do now. Don’t get us wrong, there are definitely still going to be filing cabinets with a million different pieces of paper in, but they have become more like storage now. We’re living in the modern world now where technology is pretty much ruling everything that we do. From the phone calls we make, to the websites we load, the internet or something digital is always involved. So that’s why businesses are now having to adapt and evolve to make sure that they have a big enough digital presence, and an understanding on how to grow it and how to use digital aids to do so. If nearly everything your business does is based online then this article is going to be great for you. We want to show you how you can deal with the digital world head on with some great tips. Keep on reading to find out more.

Why Are We So Digital?

This is the first thing we wanted to talk about because we think it’s important to understand why we’re so ruled by the digital world, and it’s simply down to the invention of the modern smartphone. Interest no doubt started when the internet was created and computers became slightly more modern. A dial up connection would have been used to slowly load even the smallest of pages. But this gave people a taste for the internet and a taste for what else would be possible. People started to rely on the internet like never before, meaning the demand grew. Then came the smartphone, which most of us are now glued to and can’t go a day without. We can Google whatever we need to and have the answer within seconds. We can Google and business and know so much about it within seconds. So businesses are now having to understand that people want to do everything through their smartphones. They don’t want to have to go out of their way and go into a shop when they could do it all from the comfort of their own home. So that’s how the world has become so digital, the demand began to grow as new technology was introduced and the public realised how easy it was to access a business through the internet.

Understanding Customer Wants

This is probably the hardest thing to do because we believe that the customer wants are always changing, and the customers can be very demanding. They might want something one day, and then want something completely different the next. To understand your customer wants we’d recommend doing some market research. Their wants are going to be similar to their needs, except their needs are going to be the side you work on. The wants of a customer are what you can build the basis for the needs around. Some of the wants are going to be far too outlandish for what you might be able to achieve. Market research is a great way of getting the bigger picture. All you have to do is send out questionnaires, or perhaps put one on your website for people to complete before they start browsing. Not everyone is going to be willing to do this but the information you do get should be enough! Just make sure that you leave the questions open-ended so that you can get a more well rounded answer. You can then use this information to better your company in the eyes of your customers. The only time that you should really listen to your customer wants is when something has gone wrong. Perhaps their order was wrong or they’ve received it late, or perhaps it just wasn’t to the standards that they would have hoped. When this is the case and you have an annoyed customer on your hands, bend to their wants and make sure that they come out of the situation happy.

Understanding Customer Needs

Customer needs are definitely important to the end goal of your business. The more needs you can meet, the more successful you’re going to be. To understand your customer needs we think it’s important to adapt your business to what they’re asking for. If they need a business to offer a slightly cheaper, yet more durable product, why not try and achieve that. If they need a business to order services from where they can track the progress of that, why not have a dashboard created for them to log into. There are so many ways that you can truly meet the needs of your customers. It’s always good to work on any feedback that you get, especially negative ones. If you’re always having complaints of a website that doesn’t function very well, for example, you might need to change something about that. Rather than just focusing on what you need to do to make the most money and to make a sale, you need to think about ways of acting on information you’re given by customers. In the long run this will definitely help to improve the amount of money that your business can make.

Utilising Your Database

Your database is definitely going to be one of the staples to your business. It’s a database full of all of the data that you will have collected over the years, about customers, sales, marketing, and anything else that you’ve managed to cram into your database. All of the documents are something you’re going to heavily rely on. As your business grows and the amount of documents you have grows with it, it’s important to think about how you can organise and utilise this whenever you need to. One way of doing so is to get a company to do it for you, especially if you have no knowledge of what you’re doing. DocuWare document management solution is just one route you might want to try. You need to be working with a company who understands your data and understands how you need to use it. It’s also so important to have a firm understanding of your database and how to protect it. There have been too many instances where hackers have got into a company database and have stolen so many different customer pieces of information and used it to commit fraud. Cyber security is more important than ever before, so you need to focus on changing your passwords regularly and always making sure they’re strong passwords, and working alongside cyber security businesses who can put extra measures in place for you.

Creating A Website Ready To Sell

Your website is going to be the main selling point of your business. As we said, everyone is glued to their mobile phones and if they want to start browsing, the internet and a website is the first place they’re going to go to. So if you have a sub par website you’re only going to damage your business. If it’s slow to load, the images are of poor quality, and your products are hard to find, then you’re going to lose credibility. It might be wise to work alongside a web developer to spruce up your website. Make sure you have an about us page, especially as a small business. Customers want to know that you’re trustworthy. You also need to think working with a professional photographer to make your images stand out more. Finally, it would benefit you to have your website SEO optimised. Have content created that’s SEO friendly so your website can rank higher in search engines. That’s the main trouble small businesses have, when people search for a keyword to find a product, their website might be 10 pages back, and nobody goes back that far! SEO is a marketing technique that aims to bring your website to the first page, especially when people are searching for keywords.

How To Be More Noticed

Following on nicely from the last section, you need to find ways to make yourself more noticed as the digital world is just so big right now. One way of doing so is to use the SEO that we were talking about. Campaigns might be more expensive but they are worthwhile for your business. Making your website stand out more is also going to make you more noticeable. But to truly stand out you need to make sure that you’re being different from everyone else. You need to make sure that your business is bringing to the table something different that people haven’t been able to experience before. If you’re just the same as every other business selling the same thing you are, the businesses who are bigger and more established are obviously going to get the majority of the attention. Find ways of finding a gap in the market you’re in, and go for it, trying something new is always good for business.

How to improve conversion rates on high-value items

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Improve Conversion Rates|How to improve conversion rates on high-value itemsSelling high value items online can be hugely profitable for businesses – but it can also be a challenge. Naturally, the more expensive the item, the harder it is to convince a customer that they need to make the purchase, and (even harder) to convince to make that purchase from your store.

You need to be doing everything you can, then, to make your store the most attractive place to buy a high value item. In short, you need to improve your ability to convert. And you might think that this is as simple as offering a great price and a fantastic service, but it is about so much more than that.
Here we take a closer look at how you can improve conversion rates when selling high-value items on your ecommerce site.

Improve informational content for mobile pages

For high-value items, customers will typically take an average of 68 days doing research before they are ready to complete their purchase. This shows us something very important – making conversions is about much more than just the moment the customer clicks ‘add to basket’. There is a great deal of build-up to get to that point.

It is also interesting to note that when people carry out research on products, they are actually more likely to do it on their mobile devices. So, optimising informational content for a page on a desktop screen isn’t actually your best bet. There is some evidence to suggest that customers are still more comfortable making purchases on desktops and laptops than they are on handheld devices, however, the majority of internet traffic is now from mobiles and tablets.

Optimise the call to action button

Just as we have stated that it can be important to remember that there is more to a sale than the final click, it is still important to do everything you can with regards to the optimisation of the product page itself. This is something that can be done through A-B testing to find out the best available option.

“We rigorously test our CTA buttons,” says Steven Joy, Director at Golf Swing Systems “on expnensive products it is surprising how much of a difference can be made by simply changing the colour of the button from green to orange, or by changing the wording just slightly”.

Limit the choice available

Many ecommerce sites believe that the best way to sell is to give customers as much choice as possible – but this isn’t always wise with very high end items. Having a lot of choice gives customers a good selection, but it also makes it harder for them to pick out what they are going to buy.

There’s a reason that Apple brings out its iPhones in such a limited range of colours: it gives customers less to decide on. Having to make a decision takes time, and can eventually lead to someone rethinking a purchase. So while it might seem like a benefit to have a large variety of options available, it isn’t necessarily a positive.

Use a broader range of content

It’s a great idea to use a variety of different types of content on the page in order to appeal to as many customers as possible. Some will be looking for a fast overview of the key details of the product, others will want in depth descriptive details.

It can also be hugely beneficial to use supplemental content such as videos and a wide range of photos in order to give the customer as much context and information as possible. This can be an extremely valuable way to set up your page to convert.

Final thoughts

Selling just a small number of high value items can be extremely valuable for your busines, so if you can make even a small difference to your ability to convert, it can pay dividends. Perhaps most important is to note that you need to establish what works for you and your website – some things that are extremely effectively for some, will be not be quite the same for others.

The techniques above have been shown to work as ways to improve conversions on high value items, so they are worth trying.

Promoting Your Business Online: Tips and Tricks

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Online Business|Promoting Your Business Online: Tips and TricksStarting and growing a new business is an endeavor with many levels. Once your behind-the-scenes work is done, and you have launched your business, your main concern will turn to promotion. After all, you need your business to make money, and it can’t do that without attracting clients and customers. The business world has become more digital than ever before, and as people spend more time in their homes, promoting your company online is a vital way of reaching potential customers. The internet is a saturated place, and you’ll need to utilize every trick in the book to make sure your business stands out among the rest. Here are a few of the best tips to get you off the ground, and let your business thrive.

Invest in Advertising

It’s understandable that as a new business you might be scrimping on every penny. However, one place it’s important to invest in properly is your online advertising. A good advertising campaign can really put your business on the map. Even if customers don’t click on the ad itself (although conversion rates are obviously important, and a great way to measure the success of different advertising agencies), simply seeing your company logo will help them to think of you as an established, well-regarded company. If you can get into people’s minds, even subliminally, your advertising will be a long-term success.

Use Social Media and Target Audiences

As part of your advertising campaign, do not neglect social media platforms. Advertising on these platforms is a particularly good way to target your audiences. Depending on the type of business you are running, you may want to appeal to different demographics, whether by age, location, or another parameter. Social media algorithms can help you target your ads at the people who you want to see them. This saves you time and resources, allowing you to focus your promotion where it will be most effective.

SEO is Everything

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way to make your business website appear higher up in the results for different search engines, such as Google. As many people come across businesses whilst searching for certain products or services, this is a hugely important way to promote your company and attract customers to your website. An SEO agency will work with you to create the most effective SEO plan for your business, including identifying the keywords you want to be associated with in search engines and then creating content and links that will boost your connection with those words.

Post-Purchase Tactics

A post-purchase follow-up sequence is every interaction you have with a customer after they have used your services or bought your product. At first, this may not seem relevant to business promotion. However, it can be a vital way to spread the word about your business. Sending an email to a recent customer asking for feedback, in the form of a starred or written review, is a fantastic way to gather promotion material that you can then use to attract new customers. Word of mouth is a great way to grow your business’s profile online, and post-purchase sequences are vital ways that you can kickstart this process.

Indirect Methods: Content and Third Party

So far, we have mainly talked about direct methods of promoting your business, such as advertising, targeting audiences, and encouraging positive reviews. However, sometimes indirect methods can be just as effective. Part of an SEO campaign may include creating content for your website in the form of blog posts and articles. These articles do not need to directly advertise for your business, but simply offer advice and discussion regarding adjacent, industry-specific topics. By doing this, you promote the image of your business as a trustworthy source, helping customers feel at ease with you, and further spreading your online reach. This can be even more effective if your content appears on third-party websites, rather than your own. Guest posts, interviews, and opinion pieces can all help to direct customers towards your business from elsewhere, and they often don’t cost you a penny.

Offer Incentives

Finally, one brilliant way to initially attract customers is by offering incentives. There is a fine line to draw here; you don’t want to make yourself look cheap, but a killer deal can hook customers in. It’s then up to the quality of your products to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Including a deal for first-time customers as part of your advertising campaign can massively increase your conversion rates, promoting your business efficiently and quickly.

6 Ways To Boost User Engagement With Your Business App

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Boost Engagement|6 Ways To Boost User Engagement With Your Business AppThe majority of businesses have their own dedicated app these days and if you don’t, you’re missing a big opportunity. Developing your own app is a brilliant way to increase brand awareness and it can be an incredibly effective sales tool as well. However, if you want to boost your business with an app, engagement is essential.

There are thousands of competing apps out there and it’s easy for your app to get lost in the crowd. If you are relying on a flashy design and a gimmick, you won’t find many long term users for the app and your business won’t benefit from it. If you want to be successful, it’s important that you have a clear customer engagement strategy in place to encourage people to download your app and, most importantly, to continue using it for a long time. Whether you are planning to develop your own business app in the future or you already have one on the app store, it’s important that you employ these techniques to boost customer engagement as much as possible.

Create The Right User Experience

If you want people to engage with your app, you need to make sure that they have a positive experience while using it. User experience is vital and a few small mistakes can make an app difficult and frustrating to use, which will seriously hurt engagement. A good user experience starts with the initial design process and extends throughout the build stages, and it’s important that you conduct regular usability testing throughout. Using the Infragistics Indigo.Design design-to-code system allows you to create basic designs and run usability tests, gaining a lot of insight into how positive the user experience is. When you base your entire design and build process around the user experience and use the feedback from testers to drive your decisions, you can ensure that the design is perfect and your app offers a great user experience.

It’s also important that you stay on top of maintenance issues and iron out any bugs right away. If certain features on your app don’t work or pages are slow to load, this will discourage people from using it again, so maintenance is very important.

Consider Your App Store Listing

Now that you have an amazing app that is easy and intuitive to use, you need to put it up on the app store and get people to download it. When you are writing your app store listing, you should consider it in the same way that you would a product listing. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t put enough thought into their app store listing and they struggle to get any downloads.

You need to think about why people would want to download the app in the first place. What problems are you solving? What are the best features on the app? Instead of simply telling the customer what the app does, you need to create a story and explain to them why they can’t live without it. If you are stuck for ideas, check out the listing on some similar apps and look at the listings on the most downloaded apps so you can get an idea of how they entice people and encourage downloads.

Get Your App Onboarding Right

Convincing somebody to download your app is the first step, now you have to convince them to use it on a regular basis. The onboarding process will help the user get to grips with what the app does and how it works. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common mistakes that people make with their app onboarding.

If you launch straight into a tutorial that teaches the user about all of the advanced features of the app, a lot of people will switch off. They are still not quite sure about the benefits of your app yet so you should start by giving more detail about what the app does. Using screenshots of different features is a great way to give people a sense of the utility of the app without bombarding them with a tutorial. Once they are familiar with the overall features of the app, you can then start with the tutorials. It’s best to have separate tutorials that run when somebody clicks on a certain section of the app. This prevents people wasting time learning how to use features that they are not interested in.

Login and authentication is another thing that people get wrong during the onboarding process. If you require a user to be logged into your app for any reason, don’t ask for this right away because you are instantly putting a barrier up and people are less willing to create an account before they even know if they like the app. It’s best to let them explore for a while and get to grips with the basic features and then ask them to create an account only when absolutely necessary. Forcing people to commit to your app too early is likely to put them off and cause overall issues with engagement.

Manage Permission Requests Properly

Permission requests are so important when developing an app because people are very cautious about online security. If somebody downloads a new app and it immediately starts asking for permission to access their camera and their contacts, they may be suspicious, especially if it isn’t obvious why the app requires those permissions.

Ideally, you should keep permission requests to a minimum and you need to be careful about how you word them. When asking for permissions, you should always explain why so you can put the user’s mind at ease. You also need to display a message if permissions are denied, explaining that this will affect the functionality of the app and some features will not work.

Deciding when to ask for permission is important as well and a lot of app developers make the mistake of doing it all as soon as the app opens. But bombarding the user with a lot of permission requests right away will make them more suspicious and it also stops them from getting to experience the app right away. It’s much better to split the permission requests and only ask when the user tries to access a certain feature.

Use Push Notifications

Continued engagement with your app requires some prompting because people may simply forget about your app. Using push notifications reminds them that you are there and demonstrates the value that your app provides, so people are more likely to keep coming back. However, you do need to be careful about how you use push notifications because if you get it wrong, you may encourage people to delete your app.

Constantly spamming people with useless notifications is the easiest way to get them to delete your app. If you are going to send somebody a notification, there needs to be a reason for it. For example, if you sell products through your app, you can send them suggestions or information about any new deals and offers. Whenever you update your app and add something new, send out a notification inviting people to give the new features a go. These kinds of push notifications provide value to the customer and offer them something, so people will respond to them. But if you send lots of notifications that don’t offer anything, people will get annoyed and delete the app.

Your notifications will be far more effective if you personalize them and tailor them to each specific user. It’s also a good idea to use deep linking on your notifications. This means that users will be taken directly to a specific page so, for example, if you send a notification with a product suggestion, they can go directly to that product by clicking the notification. This makes the process a lot smoother for the user and adds more value to your notifications.

Incorporate Live Chat

Being able to communicate directly with your customers through the app is very important. If you don’t have a clear line of communication and a customer has an issue, they will usually leave a negative review on the app store. Naturally, bad reviews make people far less likely to download your app, so engagement suffers in a big way. Introducing a live chat feature will help to avoid that issue because users can message you directly if they have a problem with the app and having that direct line of communication there is a brilliant way to improve overall engagement. You can also use live chat as a way to improve your customer service, so it’s definitely a great feature to add to any business app. If you use chatbots to answer the basic questions, your users can get an instant answer to their queries.

Developing an app with great features isn’t enough to be successful these days because there is so much competition on the app store. If you want your app to help you boost your business, it’s important that you focus on engagement and you have a clear strategy in place to encourage people to download your app and use it on a regular basis.